Sunday, 13 August 2017

Wheelie good fun


Yorkshire has long been famous for many things and, in recent years, there has been a new addition to the list.  Cycling.

This was never more evident than in 2014 when the Tour de France visited the county and millions of people lined the streets over an unforgettable three days.

But it could be argued that the initial trigger for a two-wheeled revolution was two years earlier when the Brownlee brothers came to wider public attention.

I love the Brownlee brothers.  They are the ultimate role models, they do things right and they are the greatest ambassadors the city of Leeds could ever wish for.

As a result of their efforts and the foresight of others who channelled the goodwill generated for wider positive gain, Yorkshire is not only the spiritual home of British cycling but Leeds has become the literal home of British triathlon.

And here is the proof.      


This is where all of this country's top triathletes - and many others - train, including the Brownlees themselves.  

And, a few weeks ago, the powers that be decided that the public could have a go at the cycling aspect of the event thanks to the facility's one-mile purpose built track.  


There was a fine turnout today and a wonderful, happy and healthy experience for all who were there.

The principal reason for this was the fantastically upbeat attitude of the unpaid volunteers who gladly provided assistance wherever it was required.  Nothing was too much trouble.  An A+ for everyone involved.  


Back on the track, our big girl struggled on the first couple of laps but, by the end, was whizzing around with the best of them.  

Well done to Charlotte for helping Mummy along and giving her the confidence to keep going.  I suspect that many other ladies - some even older than 42½ - might well have given up.


We shall return.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Cowboy down - but not forgotten

In common with so many others, I was gutted to hear last night that Glen Campbell had passed away.

Like most people my age growing up in a Terry Wogan-listening household, Rhinestone Cowboy formed a large part of my early childhood soundtrack.

After a long gap, Glen Campbell returned to my world in 2011 after revealing that he'd been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

He released what was intended to be his farewell studio album, Ghost on the Canvas, shortly afterwards and I listened to it constantly.   It was - and remains -  both poignant and brilliant.

Then, in 2013, my friend Mags passed away.  And, for whatever reason, I began listening to lots of Glen Campbell songs once more.

That was when I rediscovered such classics as Galveston, and also Wichita Lineman which featured on my Non-Stop Oldies a few weeks ago.

Fans of the great man will know that the release of Ghost on the Canvas also coincided with the announcement of his final tour.  What happened next is captured magnificently - and starkly - in the documentary movie, Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me, which is often shown on Sky Arts, is available On Demand and is a must watch.  Be warned, you may need something strong in a glass and a box of tissues to last the distance.

Two songs in that film stick out.

The first is I'm Not Gonna Miss You, dedicated to his wife, which refers to the fact that he wouldn't miss her when the end was near as his memory would've gone by then.  Logical when you think about it.

The other was Gentle on My Mind which is heard throughout the movie as the song he began each gig with on that tour.

You might not think you know it, but you will.

What a loss.  What a performer.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Summer and stuff


So, how's your summer going? Hopefully, it's sunnier than ours thus far.

Above you can see Jamie and Charlotte making the best of some "challenging" weather at CarFest North which we returned from this time last week.  

The rain did eventually stop although, as you can see from the black cloud behind Pudsey, it soon started again.


But then it stopped again - just in time for the Happy Mondays to come on stage.  I think Bez enjoyed himself almost as much as I did.  

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That was Friday evening.  Top of the bill on Saturday was none other than Sir Rick Astley.


For his encore he sang AC/DC's Highway to Hell whilst playing the drums.  It was one of the most surreal moments of my life.  And, against all odds, it worked.    


On to Sunday and we met the Flintstones. Yes, the Flintstones.  They're a modern stone age family.  From the town of Bedrock.  (Etc etc).  


So that was CarFest.  I suspect we shall return. 


And we were back over the Pennines again yesterday to see our pal Louise in that Wales.

Louise and Vanessa went to uni together and then shared a flat in London when Vanessa and I were stepping out together. Ah, those were the days.  Louise was also one of Mrs White's bridesmaids.

Unfortunately for us and so many others, she now lives in Sydney.  More positively, she has a wonderful hubby, Tim, and two fantastic kids. 

They're visiting at the moment and we were invited across to say hello.  The hosts were Louise's mum and dad, Brian and Linda, who are officially the world's most generous people.  We had a stupendously fun afternoon and evening and then returned this morning for breakfast.

And then it was time to say goodbye for now.  Let's hope it won't be another four years until we see everyone again.