Friday, September 30, 2005

Clifden Trip

Had a great time in Clifden, Clifden is about 5 hours from Belfast on the West coast of Ireland and has some of the most beautiful coastline in the country. We travelled down on the Friday night and spent the evening outside the pub in the town centre watching the acrobats rehearse on a crane for the parade on the Saturday night. Clifden is famous for a couple of reasons.
Firstly its where Alcock and Brown landed after being the first people to make a non stop crossing of the Atlantic, its also where the film the quiet man was filmed. With these two facts running round my head I headed out of the town up Sky road. With a tail wind behind me the climbing was easy and the views were spectacular. The weather wasn’t great, but it didn’t matter at all. I was just enjoying being somewhere besides Belfast on my bike. I made a steep descent towards the end of the peninsula and then headed back towards the town with the hills offering me some protection from the wind that had aided my journey earlier on.
I didn’t have long to ride so this 14 mile circular route was ideal and I got back to the bed and breakfast in time to see my juggling partner Chris getting up (He’s not a morning person). The weather got worse as the day went on – probably the after effects of the hurricanes in America. So we had to do the shows in a big school hall, but the crowds are always great fun whenever we do a show down here, its definitely one of my favourite festivals in Ireland.
We finished the day off in the Alcock and Brown Hotel drinking Guiness, listening to a folk band and watching a hen party get more rowdy. A great weekend all round then, plus I got my picture in the Guardian!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Hedge cuttings

Hedge cuttings
Originally uploaded by Bobbins.
I sent this picture to the Guardian last week. They phoned me on Monday to tell me I'd been short listed for going in this weekends magazine. So I was thrilled on Saturday morning to find that it was in!
I've just had a great weekend in Clifden, I'll post some pictures later.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Yet another great bike spotted this morning. I was walking the kids to school and we saw this trike just sitting on a patch of grass near the school. It wasnt locked up and every kid that came past had a sit on it. I dont know who owned it - maybe it belonged the lollypop man across the road.
I'm working at Clifden arts festival this weekend, and i'm bringing the bike, so hopefully i'll get a couple of rides along the west coast.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Get the message

Another interesting bike spotted on my commute in this morning.
The rain was lashing down but seeing this recumbent outside the city hall advertising the garden gourmet event this weekend cheered me up.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


With Trouble flaring up in Belfast again last night, and roads closed all over the place it was one of those days that you were glad you were on a bike.
As soon as I left work it was gridlock. Most employers told their staff to go home early so by 4 o’clock the streets were full of stationary traffic. I just sailed through it all, making a point of whistling a merry tune and swerving from side to side as I went. A couple of people said “you’ve got the right idea mate.” Apparently some people were stuck in Belfast for 2 ½ hours! I wonder how many of them came by bike today?
Looks like we might be in for more fun on Wednesday as fuel protests are due to start again.
Panic buying and hour-long queues at the pump always bring a smile to my face.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Ditch Monkey

I came across this blog the other day. Its about a bloke who is spending a year living in a ditch! He still go's to work each day in a suit and tie but each night go's and sleeps in a wood.
The idea was to raise sponsorship for the Woodland Trust. But he is also making a point about how little we actually need to live on, and how we can all try and reduce the amount of waste we leave behind. I seem to spend half my time telling shop workers not to give me plastic bags. Surely, it wouldnt be that difficult to charge for plastic bags - Lidls already do. And you'd think the government would give businesses some sort of tax incentive for not using non-recyclable packaging. But anything the government does always seems like token gestures to pacify the greens. My local council have recently introduced a re-cycling scheme but its only so they can avoid the financial penalties that they'll face if they keep sending as much stuff to land fill.
I think a lot of people think they are doing their bit by recycling some of their rubbish, but I think that the key issue that is often overlooked is that we shouldn't be creating as much rubbish in the first place.

Ditch Monkey

Friday, September 02, 2005

Back to the routine

Well its back to the daily routine after my short holiday. Its good to be back on the bike though - especially when I'm armed with my new camera! I saw this bloke struggling up the road as I waited at a set of lights so I went after him and asked if I could take his photo, he didn't seem to mind. He was carrying an old sink and a few other bits of scrap metal all in a homemade cart. It looked like hard work in this mini heat wave we've been having.
Just a few more thoughts on the Greenbelt festival: As usual it's more often the smaller things you see at a festival that stick with you. My favourite stall on the site was the bubble stall, who'd of thought you could have an entire stall just dedicated to making bubbles! I hope they made some money because they kept kids entertained for hours trying out all the stuff. Next door to the bubble stall was the fairy stall - basically all they sold was fairy wings and tutu's but they seemed to be doing good business. The juggling stall always had a big crowd outside trying all the stuff. I treated my self to a set of Poi, I think it's the only juggling art that I haven't tried. When you see someone who's really good at it, it always looks really relaxing - a bit like tai chi.
Besides The Proclaimers and Emiliana Torrini, who I knew would be good anyway, Juliet Turner and Duke Special were both worth seeing. And funnily enough they're both from Northern Ireland so getting to see them again shouldn't't be a problem.
I managed to hear 2 talks in full - Leo Hickman drew a big crowd for his question and answer session on his book "A Life Stripped Bare". I was about to ask him a question when someone else asked exactly the same thing - how do you deal with the ethical dilemma of choosing between fair trade and locally sourced products. His preference was for local but he said it was down to personal choice. I reckon if you cant buy it locally then you should go fair trade - but we should be helping these countrys to live sustainably aswell, and not necessarily see global trade as the best solution. When we got back there was a leaflet for a green living fair through our door and he's speaking there aswell, so I'll have to think of a better question - something along the lines of " with the current political structure of most of the modern world being predicated on the desire to consume, do you not think our attempts at recycling and saving energy are always just going to be a drop in the ocean in terms of the damage we are doing to the planet?"
I also contributed a few comments to a discussion on blogging but I''l have to listen to the download to remember what I said. Greenbelt is a christian festival, and not being a christian myself I did have some reservations about going. But I found it a very friendly and relaxing place, and the people were very motivated in terms of pushing the ethical living thing. One of the themes of this years festival besides making poverty history was living generously. This was something I could realy identify with, and since getting back I've already decided to give blood, change my bank account to the co-op and ask people if they are buying me to presents to consider "good gifts" . There were also a few nice folding bikes at the festival, and my wife started to get a bit fed up of me taking pictures of them all but i've posted a picture of one of them - it is a bike blog after all.