Saturday 22 August 2009


Well we're cheerily tucked up in our hotel after a day that started at 4.30 a.m. And now in the fatherland its 11ish. We were at the back of everything at the airport...queue to check in, queue for the luggage to be x-rayed an dsat at the back of the plane. But we were first onto German soil and first with our luggage and first to miss the bus to the city centre. no sonner were we at our hotel than we left to go to the specacular BMW museum. Well we are boys. We then toured the equally spectacular Olympic park which is being completely rebuilt perhaps for 2012. We had traditional Bavarian food for dinner, although the boy declined the opportunity to sample brain, lung or pigs knuckle. I can't think why. So far in the land where rules rule we've managed to jay walk in front of a police car and get threatened with a 500 euro fine for trying to take a picture of a tube train. The boy thinks its very clean and tidy and I wouldn't disagree in the slightest. Tomorrow we must find the car rental office which has eluded our efforts inspite of us having an address and a sat nav...the onwards journey could see us lost in the hinterland....

Friday 21 August 2009

Holiday time

Our holiday has rolled round, and we're off tomorrow morning. When I say morning, I really mean morning. I can't for the life of me imagine why I decided to book a flight at 8.00 to Munich. There are hundreds of flights all day long to this popular holiday resort (erm), and I really feel like I could do with a lie in. So to Stanstead it is at he crack of sparrow, along with the great unwashed. We too will be unwashed as with a degree of inevitability, our bath decided to start leaking yesterday, and it won't be fixed by the a.m. The water has poured down the walls, and it's not that comforting to hear the light switch in the kitchen below crackling and fizzing. I'm checking our holiday insurance for holiday style accidents and our home insurance for what we do when we return to a burnt down house.

Wednesday 19 August 2009

Brookies back

It's been a hive of activity in the Lane this week. Firstly, and sadly next door but one suffered the dual shock of the death of Granny and death of dog. A cruel blow to them. The knock on has been that the planned eighteenth birthday party for their lad has been cancelled....not postponed but cancelled, which is a shame.

One further down had an attempted break in which led to door to door investigations by Essex constabulary. Their probing questions were, what's your name, do you live here and did you see anything suspicious. The culprit is yet to be apprehended, but it's only a matter of time. This happened on the day I read that the Brighton flat is slap bang in the middle of one of Britain's burglary hot spots.

And then last night as I rode home, I followed a fire engine with lights flashing and sirens blaring, and felt my heart sink as it turned down the Lane and slowed to a halt. I'm pleased to report the boy had not been playing with matches, but the next house up from ours had a fire which appeared to be in the garden. Don't tell anyone, but I suspect it was a bonfire, or perhaps even a barbecue.

So I expect there will be lots of twitching of curtains over the next few days to see if we'll have our first lesbian kiss or body buried under the patio. Alas and alack we will not be able to partake of the twitching as we have received our made to measure wooden blinds and have removed our curtains. I might just mention that I did the measuring, and am distraught to discover that you're supposed to do it accurately. So I've re-ordered. On the other hand, it's probably best not mentioned at all.

Sunday 16 August 2009

Kate Moss woz here

Having previously mentioned that Bristol and I are not as one - see here it's time to report my feelings towards Croydon. I'm beginning to feel a bit like Boris Johnson here, my fellow pickaninnies.

Croydon is the place most famous for producing Kate Moss and....nothing else as far as I'm aware. My main experience of Croydon over the years has been when the commuter train from Brighton stops at East Croydon station. It's not a great place. And neither at the start of your journey nor at the end.

Last year a brave 13 year old (that'll be the boy) and I decided to cycle from Brighton to Buckhurst Hill. The distance is roughly 120km. We did it in a very respectable 10 hours, not bad as it included numerous pit-stops and the occasional detour. I reported on it here. For a thirteen year old it was a real achievement, and something I hope he tells his children and grandchildren about. The high point was when we crossed the felt like we were crossing from one country to the next. Particularly as immediately afterwards we had to cycle up the North Downs, and to be honest at the time it felt we were repeating Sherpa Tenzing's epic achievement.

And I'm pleased to say there were no mishaps.

The low point of the entire trip was Croydon - by the time we got there we were tired, and a wee bit chilly and starving hungry. And most importantly we were neither at the start of or journey, nor at the end. I'm sure it's a point experienced by all long distance athletes....not that we're claiming that accolade.

On Sunday we decided to return from Brighton re-tracing the route of last year's epic ride. But this time were in the Jeep. It was surprisingly difficult to manage, and more than a few u-turns were made. But I'm pleased to report there was only one mishap - the waitress at the pub we stopped at managed to trip and drop our chocolate mousses. The last two they had.

The highlight was crossing the M25 which felt like crossing from one country to another.

But sure as sure, it was Croydon that provided the low point of the journey. Our last year route was blocked by road works, and the end result was a detour that lasted a whole Jose Gonzalez album. Not even the satnav would help. And trust me, the back streets of Croydon have nothing to recommend them. Rows and rows of decaying houses interspersed with empty shops, or shops selling nothing more than rubbish. It's faceless Britain at its worse. And I hope I never have reason to go back. Not even for the impressive shopping centre. Or a gig at the Fairfield Halls.