Saturday, February 21, 2009

Plus one

During the week, I had the good fortune to be led to a Bath establishment that I had not yet been to. The Chandos Deli, in George St. Best sandwiches I've had here (meaning the UK. It can be done), including actual tasty bread and fresh ingredients. And the coffee was decent too.

I'm going to add this place to our work posse's lunchtime coffee haunts list. Trust me, that's almost as hard as getting three Michelin stars.

In rough order of cappuccino and americano quality, the list is currently:

Same Same But Different
Chandos Deli
Tea Centre
Fine Cheese Co
Real Italian Ice Cream joint
Kindling Cafe (both of them)
Epicurean Deli
The Hub

The top five are the best but for some reason we don't visit them as often as the bottom four.

Fire alarm madness

A sophisticated and expensive fire alarm system was installed in all of the flats recently. Unfortunately it doesn't work. Or rather, it doesn't know how to distinguish between, say, having a shower and a full blown fire. Or cooking (which has been known to produce smoke) and a full blown fire. Or even heating the kitchen and a full blown fire.

It seems to be the alarms in my place that are the worst, although the guy downstairs has had his go off too. Resetting involves dashing down to the ground floor, punching in the right sequence of numbers on the panel, getting annoyed and reassuring the neighbours that you were merely browning the onions.

It is not satisfactory.

The worst was when I came back from a five hour ride last weekend, fairly knackered and hungry. I had a quick shower, opened the bathroom door and the steam set off the alarm. Argh. I wasn't thinking straight and couldn't work out how to reset the thing, so half an hour and a phone call to the installer later, the noise was finally silenced. Neighbours were not amused. Nor was I.

The problem had been that the vents in the extractor fan in my bathroom were closed, so the steam built up. But still I wanted to know if I could turn the detectors off, even temporarily. The installer bloke said he could only switch them to a heat detector and didn't recommend it. I spoke to the landlord, who agreed it was a pain in the arse and we will do something about it.

But I may have a solution. Pete, one of our developers, told me that he just used to put plastic bags attached by rubber bands over the detectors. Of course it doesn't help if you have an actual fire, but after doing extensive user testing of this system, I conclude that it's rubbish and I'd probably burn to death if there was a real fire anyway.

Weather et al

The snow has all gone and the country is back on its three feet. In fact, we've had some rather pleasant weather of late. Today it was blue skies and 11 degrees. Joy!

'Twas a perfect day to clock up 140km, including a lap of the Chippenham hilly course (38.7km, couple of short climbs) and some time with the club chain gang. The Chippenham hilly on March 8 will be my first race and I'm looking forward to getting stuck in again. I was 3'30 quicker over the course than last week for the same heart rate, so that's a good sign. Even better was that I was five minutes quicker over it with a slightly higher average heart rate than I was at this time last year.

It kinda made up for being a bit slower on Tuesday and Thursday during the week. That was a result of doing a bit too much last weekend and not going easy enough on Wednesday. Gently does it on rest days. I think with another couple of weeks of training, I should be in pretty reasonable shape. Can't wait to race in my new Chippenham skinsuit with rainbow cuffs ;-)

150km tomorrow then off to Belgium on Monday to visit Reiny and Gwen, do a few Schelde rides (yep, I'm taking the bike) and catch up with some old friends.

Much more exciting is that at some stage during next week, the family will be increased by plus one and I'll become an uncle. Go Lucy!

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