Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Good morning Greece, Καλημέρα Ελλάδα

The lovely transit at Athens Airport and an early morning flight, I've had little sleep!

After being reunited with my rucksack, having asked the girl in the cafe to fill my water bottle, she gave me some ice too! before pointed me in the direction of the taxi rank, before getting into a long conversation about about my command of the Greek language,   I didn't bother to tell her I was planning to walk.

In my twenties travelling across Europe by train. Armed with a small phrase book and causing much  amusement, with help from the local people I taught myself to count to at least ten, say the basics of, hello, thank you, and a few first words, what, where, and when in each of the local languages before arriving in any new country.   Of course, for a while I was totally throwen when ever I got a reply that was never the standard rephrase book responce.   It was a useful way to pass the time on the train, while the seats were hard and the journey long hot and dusty.   Bored and alone, why not simply start the conversation, certainly I made freindships with a few strangers that I couldn't understand.  They laughed with me at at my attempts.   It's a proven and well known way to learn a langauge, total emersion, just throw yourself in the deep, and get into the local community preferable with people who don't speak your own language, eventually you will learn.

The last time I was here camping on Mykonos, that was way back in the late 1980's - before the girl working in the cafe was even born.   The beginning of a personal odyssey.   I ended up moving on, doing the rounds of a few islands.   Apologies for the total understatement,  I ending up working in the holiday industry, a job that became my life, resident in Greece for over twenty years!

When the local council on Symi, a small island between Rhodes and Kos where I settled for some of those years, had european funding to provided free language lessons for residents, that spoke greek as a second language.  I rocked up, along with a plethora of other nationalities and abilities, much to the shock of the teacher.   A newly qualified and local young man in his early twenties, whom I had know for the majority of his life.  He stated on that first day, that I already spoke excellent Greek, and in the local dialect too so, didn't need lessons.   Shamefully and rather embarrassedly I had to admit to being illiterate.   I still wonder if a strong local dialect, is something to be proud of!  

Very slowly sipping the strong dark coffee, to wake me up, while the digital gadgets plugged into the electrical sockets behind the seat in the cafe charged!  :-)    Common, you don't expect me to start the day, after the first sleepless night, without some strong greek coffee do you!   Who wants to eat in an airport cafe,  well not me,  soon to be sitting on a rock in the middle of nowhere with the fresh smell of oregano in the spring sunshine, enjoying every mouthful of "bougatsa" a sort of custard pie.

Binking in the brilliant sunshine. Why hadn't I purchase those expensive prescription sunglasses, I have been eyeing up online, on the cycling websites, a sport I have really thrown myself into since the novelty of being back home in Britain wore off, and influenced by the London 2012 games.  Maps already up-loaded.  I'm better prepared than last time I was here, and just about to set off due south.

So here goes, it's  a short hike, which might be a tough on the legs, no amount of cycling can prepare you for walking downhill over quite rough mountainous ground.    My rucksack heavy with camping kit, minimum of clothes, even a few basic rations.  Wonder if I will be able to still find my favourite spot,  or has it been built on by now?   Who knows,  I might just have to find another olive tree and possibly even another beach, let see where this adventure takes me. 


Walking route



Plan is to find a pitch tent, peg it down well, then, swim in blue sea, before a snooze in the afternoon sun, followed by another swim and an early night.  Not sure when I will next have juice in the gadgets, so don't worry if you don't hear too much from me,  I'll be saving energy and doing not a lot other than read my book and enjoying the sunshine.



Sunday, 20 April 2014

Britain is beautiful

Margate is really quite a lovely place, just look at my local beach, at the end of my road.   People on the beach Easter Saturday, yet this time last year it was snowing.  If you look closely, most are fully clothed and not many venture into the freezing sea. When the sunshines Britain is beautiful, the only problem is you never know if the sun is going to bless you or not.




At this time of year, too many people walking on the cycle paths for comfortable cycling, so turned inland, just a few minutes ride and I'm into countryside in spring.




Looking at these pictures it is hard to understand why I'm going away on holiday.   

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Targets

250 Kilometers cycled in a month trophy

We are officially on summer time,  the evenings are lighter.  We have no excuses for not to get out on our bikes.  March was a good start to the cycling season, I'm proud to have completed over 250 K, a first distance trophy, of course we can all, always do better.  so for me what comes next?  500 K, or am I being an April fool?

Have you set yourself a target for spring.   I have many, and they are not all related to my cycling!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Trophies

Digital Trophy, with my results as Queen of the Mountains on All Saints avenueStava certainly know how to keep your business, a certain glow in the cheeks after a pat on the back and nice comments that keep us motivated and returning for more.

Queen of the Mountains arrived in my inbox today.




Now all I have to do is go faster than the men, or find a quieter stretch of road with a bit less competition.

All the same check out the Max speeds, nothing like a bit of bragging!


Friday, 21 March 2014

Second Place -against the Ladies

Should be happy with second, but was giving it my all and going for the 1st place.

Feeling a little gutted

Snap shot showing route map,  and the results leader board where I reached second place
See more on Strava.com
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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Hot Cake

Hot Carrot Cake
The smell of hot cake baking, and the delight of turning out the tin, without it breaking, are just part of the process of cake making. Leaving it long enough too cool before adding the topping, is the hardest part of baking.

There won’t be winning any prizes for cake decoration, but who cares  that the cream cheese icing is running down the sides, when I just know it is going to taste good.

Admit, I've already had the first slice, and tempted for a second. I did adapt the recipe, reducing the huge amount of sugar, even so I dread to think about the calorie intake.  It contains a pound of carrots, so it must be one of my five a day and good for you right!

Taste test over, the safest thing for me to do is slice it up and put it in the freezer, just to pull out a large slice to defrost, just before I go out on a long cycle ride.


No prizes for icing
slice of cake on white plate, with a for fork, ready to eat.
Taste is good


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Friday, 7 March 2014

Reaching Goals

In life, we're told to dream big. Reach for the stars. Go for the gold. While I think everyone would agree that having big aspirations is admirable not to mention inspiring, we should take a more calculated approach when setting goals. The truth is that even when people have the best of intentions if the goal is too big, we fall at the first hurdle, or in my case hill. We need to break the big goal into small achievable targets, that can help you both physically and mentally, and we all need an excuse to celebrate the small successes too.

My goal on Tuesday was to get up Brook Lane Hill in one go, and made it to the windmill without stopping, I got up the other side and over the bridge too. I haven't managed that since the excesses of the winter months. My goal on Thursday was to make it to Wingham, a distance further than my normal ride :-)

Today I cycled Brook Lane Hill in the other direction and failed to reach the top without stopping and pushing, so the plan is to do it before the end of the week, and hopefully I will exceed the 150K in a week marker at the same time.

log of training miles  - showing distances
And now I have shared that goal with the world, I just have to make sure I do it.

It’s been proven that it takes 3 solid weeks of consistency in order for a new habit to form so stay true to your goals and track your progress – a true recipe for success!

Those of you that know me, know that I love my gadgets, the beauty of the smart phone apps like Strava is you can track your progress without the need for complicated log books and stop watches, set yourself goals and targets, and improve on your achivements on every ride.

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Thursday, 6 March 2014

First Ride in Shorts

Working on tan line and waist line! Spring is on it's way and the blossom is starting to show on the hedges

Avg Speed 16.9km/h
Max speed 55.1km/h

Im especially pleased to have managed the Dean Farm Lane Climb, to be in the top ten is one thing but to do it on a hill that's something else.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Soft Diet: Doesn't need to be boring

After dental surgery, and not eating solid food for a couple of days, I needed something that tasted good and quick and easy to make.

Sweet Potato, Coconut Soup

An onion, chopped and softened in a little oil, a small teaspoon of curry powder added and cooked just long enough to enjoy the smell, meanwhile peel and grate a sweet potato, add to the onion mix, and cover with boiling water, thrown in a chicken stock cube.  Boil for five minutes to cook the potato, and then puree with a stick blender.  Stir in a small can of coconut cream or milk, served with a sprinkle of chilli flakes if you like it hot.

From the cupboard, to the bowl in ten minutes and tastes fantastic

Should have made double and frozen some!


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Monday, 24 February 2014

Online Interview


It is very excited to be chosen an online job interview, very forward thinking, I like the idea, impressed by the organisations innovation, and doing something and new.  After googling “Online interview tips” I had think, and then re-arranged the furniture so my kitchen junk could not be seen in the back ground.  Adjusted the lighting and put on a full face of makeup before sitting at the screen in a smart jacket and shirt, over my jogging bottoms and slippers.

So late into the night, at a time convenient, I had first round interviews for a volunteer position at the Grand Départ. In case you don’t know The 101st Tour de France is starting in Britain later in the year, the UK section is called The Grand Départ. It has three UK stages Leeds to Harrogate, York to Sheffield, & Cambridge to London finishing in The Mall.  

As a keen cyclist, to be there to see some of the great names in cycling competing for the famous yellow jersey is enough, but of course I want to be part of the action.  It would be good to do a bit more, than just stand by the side of the road with cow bells and cheers,  a few 'Cheers' in the pub with a big screen to watch the racing highlights, at the end of a hard days work, is still likely to still happen.  I'm happy even tempted to go to France for the finish too.

Map in yellow with route marked out in black Tour de France and dates in french logo

The interview questions were fairly simple, and the computer software easy to use. I chose to use the desktop computer, but was impressed to see the option of doing it from a smart phone. Now that’s amazing, truly mobile in a global audience. I could do my interview from anywhere in the world.   I wonder how long it will be before ALL first round interviews are done in this way, it certainly is cost effective for employer, convenient for the interviewee too.  No need to take a day of work and spend sixty quid on a train to London for the day, for an interview.  They get an idea of who I am, my interests, skills and knowledge before taking it further.  They record the questions just once and use them countless times, reviewing candidates at a time that is convenient to them, it's got to be a win/win solution saving everyone time and money in the costly process of recruitment.

According to, Road.cc:  26,000 people have applied, more than double the number of people that are needed.

I'm one of the lucky ones to have got this far.  If it’s anything like the London 2012, Gamesmaker application it will be months before I hear anything more, and depending on what my role is going to be may have to go through the whole security vetting process all over again.  So it’s fingers crossed and watch this space in the meantime, take a look at Sonru.com to see how online interviewing could work for you.


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update:: #WIN