Friday, 30 September 2011

Busy Week one way or another

Where to start ? Well we should have been in Cornwall this week but due to circumstances we didn't end up going - and we missed out on a mini heatwave - it's been in the mid to high 20's since Tuesday.
Tuesday night saw us on the (now familiar) roads to Carlton. This time it was in the Doodson League Cup. A much improved performance from the team saw us 2-0 up with 5 minutes remaining, but two lapses in concentration left us with a 2-2 draw and extra time. Two goals from Jon Froggatt (who had already scored one of the first two) saw Belper through to a 2nd round tie with Sheffield Club next month. Photos from the game can be seen here: Carlton v Belper
Wednesday saw us take a trip to Chatsworth. It was a very hot day and we walked about 7km but it felt much more due to the heat. Took a few snaps including these at a location we had not seen before at the far end of one of the lakes.

A few other snaps from the walk.
 I can't help but wonder why they planted the two trees at the bottom of the gap between the two copses on the horizon
 Mrs Snapper takes a few minutes break to take in the tranquil surroundings
When we got back from Chatsworth I decided it was too good an opportunity to miss out on this hot weather so the bike was out and off I went. Due to the risk of punctures on the road into Little Eaton (see previous blog entry) I have got a new circuit which goes through Holbrook and into Little Eaton, missing out the 'puncture strip' - then back via the A6 and the Chevin. Still leaves the drag back up to home but hey thats the way it is. Got round the 15.65 miles in 1:04 - which considering the heat and the hills was ok.
Thursday we had planned a trip to Ladybower but decided that the heat was probably a bit much for the walk we had planned so Sally decided our time would be better spent cleaning out the garage ! Ok so it was in a mess after a week of having Sallys brother revamping the en suite shower room. At the same time we had a chap come to fix the washer (which stopped working the day before), that cost us a new motor. After about 4 hours of that I decided it was time for another bike ride. I repeated the circuit of the day before (in the even hotter weather - 27 degrees) and knocked off about 1 minute and came in at 1.03 - by the end of the year I would hope to break the 1 hour mark although a lot depends on traffic.
Thursday night was the best part of the week for me. After hour upon hour on the internet looking at different bikes I saw a newly listed Boardman Competition Road bike. It was in Mansfield and had been re-listed due to someone time wasting on the first sale. A quick email to register my interest and check the size, then an offer (it was up at £500 buy-it-now price with a Best Offer option) and by bedtime I had bought myself a new bike. The owner (a really nice guy named Lee) had said he would meet a buyer within 30/40 miles. I googled his postcode and found he was 19 miles away. A quick email and we agreed he would deliver the bike for an additional £5. 
Today (Friday) I had to go into work to play my part (Dr Trevor Richards) in the Mock Inquest and when I got back there was a new addition to the newly cleaned garage.
This photo does not do it justice so I'll take some better ones tomorrow when I can get it outside. It is the 2010 model which although makes it a year older than the current one does mean it comes with the better Shimano 105 gears and Tiagra levers which the new ones have the cheaper Sora set up. Lee has also upgraded the saddle and the handlebar tape, it comes with a wireless computer, Shimano SPD pedals (which I will have to change initially as I don't have the shoes / cleats to work with them at the moment), two bottle cages and four spare inner tubes. The cost of this fantastic machine ? Would you believe £465 ? 

It does have a few chips and rubs on the paintwork but thats not a problem as none of them are serious, just the usual damage you get from use.
Tomorrow I'll swap the pedals over and get the bike set up at the right height and go for a spin around the road, just need to work out how to change gear now ;-)
Belpers game is at Rainworth, one of the few teams still below us in the table - heres hoping (and expecting) a win for the Nailers.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Football, Cycling and Photography

The dust has finally settled on Saturdays opening game for Peter Duffield and Mick Godber. A definite improvement on previous games this season and we were only denied a point by a controversial penalty in added on time. The players were so incensed that they surrounded the ref at the final whistle (about 1 minute after the penalty) that Damien Magee was shown the red card.
The day didn't start well when full back Aaron Pride got lost and turned up about 15 minutes into the game (despite the fact that he was originally in the starting line up at number 2). Andy Rushbury started instead of Aaron and new boss Peter Duffield was livid before the kick off. 
Coincidentally we play Carlton again on Wednesday night in the league cup - again at Stoke Lane and then again a week on Saturday in the FA Trophy (would you believe again at Carlton).
Photos from the game can be seen here: Carlton v Belper
Sunday saw the Olympic Road Race in Denmark. Britains Mark Cavendish was favourite to win the gold medal despite no English winner since 1965. We watched the Singapore Grand prix before setting the hardrive to record the highlights and then heading off to Ashbourne to have tea with Sallys brother. Just as we were leaving Hadge sat at the PC and said "Mark Cavendish has won the cycling" - so much for avoiding the result !
While at Brother-inlaws I took a few snaps of their cat Dart, here are a couple of them

I especially like the last one. For any interested togs reading this it was taken with a 50mm 1.4 lens, in the garage under artificial light with no flash.
Work yesterday then went to watch my nephew play football on the school field. Due to the later start my bike ride of 8 miles ended in the dark. The nights are really starting to draw in now and it was dark for about 7:15. One minute it's still quite light the next thing it's as though someone has turned the big light out. I've got three lights on my bike but I think I'll invest in a 2nd back light to be on the safe side.
Today we went to Cromford Canal to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather (up to 23 degrees with more forecast for the next few days). Due to work on the canal there is a limited length that can be walked without going into the woods and a boggy route so we walked to the High Peak Junction and then back to the Rugby club. After a coffee at the cafe we walked into the mill complex where they have opened a Christmas Shop !!  It is September 27th !!
Tonight we were treated to a stunning sunset as the warm day gave way to a clear night. I snapped a few shots from the bedroom window as the sun set over Far Laund.

Tomorrow we hope to have a trip to Chatsworth for a bit of a picnic and maybe a quick cycle ride in the sun before we head off back to Carlton Town for the League Cup tie. Lets hope it doesn't go to extra time !

Friday, 23 September 2011

A week is a long time in football

This time last week I was contemplating a trip to Sutton Coldfield and the pressure that was building on the management team due to the poor start to the season. Now we have a new management team in place and people are starting to seem a bit more optimistic although there is no doubt that it will take a few games for the side to find it's feet. I think a draw tomorrow would be a very acceptable result.
Reports are starting to come out that players are leaving, Tommy Hannigan has already left (returned to Rainworth), Mark Camm has also gone back to Rainworth - which is interesting as we have a re-scheduled game at Rainworth coming up next Saturday.
The new management team is made up of Peter Duffield and Mick Godber - a combination that won the UniBond League Division 1 title two years running with Retford (they were not allowed to go up the first time as the ground was not up to standard - many people would say it wasn't a lot better when they won it the 2nd time but they were allowed to go up at the 2nd attempt).
Peter Duffield's history is here: Peter Duffield
On the cycle front I finally got a track pump that worked after returning the 2nd one to Decathlon. I was amazed when I attached it to the bike and the gauge only went up to about 70 psi when it should be about 120. I could only get it to 70 with the hand pump. I went out on the bike (with it's now rock hard tyres) and clocked up my first 20 miles since returning to the bike. I decided to avoid the previous route to Little Eaton so as to miss the road debris that caused  last weeks puncture. This time I went through Holbrook to Little eaton, then Eaton Bank, Duffield, Milford, The Chevin and back to Belper. I then turned left at the Mill and went along the A6, up Cemetery Road and back home (via a quick trip round the block to make it up to the 20 miles)
I am still spending hours on ebay tracking down that bargain bike but they are either too expensive or they are just too far away (as they are all collection only). We'll keep at it and eventually one will appear.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Tommy Taylor Resigns !

Just as I posted the other entry I see on the BTFC forum that Tommy Taylor has resigned as Manager at Belper Town.
A little surprising that he went so quickly but the performances didn't look to be greatly improving. I wonder how that will affect Froggys position ? Hopefully he will continue to play for Belper even if he is no longer assistant manager - unlikely that whoever takes over won't already have someone as a number two.
Perhaps if that happens then we'll see a return to form for Frogba and he will start banging in the goals a la last season. Time will tell

Another Saturday, Another Defeat

As expected we came back from Sutton Coldfield with nothing to show. Admittedly the performance was much improved from last week although as Dave Laughlin said it would have be hard to be worse. Belper had a spell at the start of the second half (with the score at 0-0) when they could have taken the lead but after a point blank save by the keeper from new boy Jaylee Hodgson, Sutton went to the other end and scored with a superb lob (although the lad was offside when he had the ball played through to him).
A second goal killed the game and left Belper looking up the table from 17th place. Not sure how much longer the club can carry on with this level of performance. New players in every week, it's like watching last season all lover again.
The weather in the West Midlands was pretty mixed. We drove there through a mixture of sunshine and heavy showers and that pattern continued throughout the afternoon, including a few minute of very loud thunder and a couple of lightning flashes.
Photo from the game can be seen here: Sutton Coldfield Photos
Out next game is not until next Saturday when we travel to Carlton Town. We then play them twice more in the following two weeks, once in the League Cup and then again in the FA Trophy - all away from home. By the middle of October we should know our way to Carltons ground (like we don't already).

The other day I was thinking back to some of the old bikes I have previously owned. One that springs to mind was  a Peugeot Equipe which I bought from Halfords quite a few years back. I decided to do a search on the internet to see if I could locate a photo as I don't know where my old ones are (somewhere in the loft). I found this one which brought back some great memories (thanks to the person who posted it in the first place hope you don't mind me borrowing it for this blog). I cycled many a mile on this bike when we lived at Sinfin Moor. I can only think that this is why I invested in my current Peugeot 525 bike. Now if only I could find a photo of my very first 'grown up' bike which as I recall was a yellow Allegro brought from the bike shop on Balaclava Road (now a Polish supermarket).
This afternoon we made a trip to the two Halfords stores in Derby to buy (yet another) cycle pump and to look at the Boardman bikes. The Boardman Road bike is a nice looking thing but at £649 it is more than I wanted to spend. They do have a Carrera Vanquish which is £550 with 20% off until tomorrow. At £440 that was a better price but it meant buying it today to get it at that price. Might have to have a look on EBay to see if there is a used one available at a bargain price.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

One Wheel on my Wagon

Yesterday was interesting if a little frustrating. Took the track pump I bought the other week back to Decathlon as it was only a basic one that went up to 60 psi – so much for checking the label when I bought it ! Exchanged it for another one, only to fit it had a piece missing. So another trip to Giltbrook is on the cards. While there I had a sit on a very smart looking bike. A Viking something or other (can’t remember the model) but it felt really uncomfortable. It may have been a number of things, seat too low, racing handlebar stem, frame too small but it felt very odd. It had been reduced from £499 to £399 but it was also white which seems a very impractical colour for a bike in my ‘old fashioned view’ – have to say it did look very smart with it’s aluminium frame and carbon fibre front forks, and it’s fancy wheel rims. I’ll try and find a photo on the net to show you.
Earlier in the week I fitted the new pedals to the old bike and so I went out for a spin as they say. The idea was to repeat last weeks 15 mile circuit but things didn’t go quite to plan ! Got as far as Little Eaton, approx 5.5 miles when I realised something wasn’t quite right. Each bump in the road was getting progressively more uncomfortable. I pulled over and found the back tyre decidedly soft. I pumped it up and set off again. Got as far as Duffield and the same thing again. As I had cleverly decided not to bring a spare tube it was going to be a case of getting as far as I could on each inflation. The Chevin route was abandoned as I struggled home (via another two stops for air, the bike not me for a change).
Made it home on a 13.19 mile route – ripped the tube out and sure enough there was a hole in it. What makes this so frustrating is that I cannot EVER recall having a puncture on this bike when I used to ride it for mile upon mile. I only changed the tyres (to anti-puncture ones ironically) because the back one was looking a little bald and I thought I’d get a puncture !
I had got the intention of taking the small camera with me to take a few snaps on the way but decided to leave it at home as it looked decidedly like rain when I set off. As it turned out it didn’t rain and I could have taken snaps of my bike leaning against peoples walls, bus shelters, shops as I put a few pounds back into the inner tubes.
Today It’s a trip to Sutton Coldfield Town to see if Belper can bring anything back from the team currently in 2nd place in the table. Belper have already been there once this season to play the ‘ground sharing’ Romulus on the newly installed plastic pitch and lost. I see from the forum that we have signed Steve Warne from neighbours Matlock Town on a months loan. He sounds like a good signing as I know the Gladiator fans rate him. We have also signed another player Jay Lee Hodgson which is good as we have lost a few of late, RWT to Carlton and Tommy Hannigan back to Rainworth. Not expecting much in the way of points today so a draw or a win would be a big bonus. Must go, camera batteries to charge and tyres to check – catch you later.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

That was awful

Even after 24 hours contemplation yesterdays performance was one of the worst I've seen from a Belper Town side. Probably not THE worst although I can't think of a worse one off the top of my head. A full 90 minutes of football without an effort on target is very poor at any level, especially semi pro. At 3-0 down after just 45 minutes it was really game over. To prove the point Grantham used the 2nd half as a 'training session' according to their fans forum and I wouldn't really disagree with that summary. Bearing in mind that Grantham had not won a game so far this season the manner of the defeat was even worse. Before the game we found out that Deon Meikle was possibly on his way to Ilkeston, and the new lad from Northampton only managed 45 minutes before being replaced by Andy Rushbury.
New Boy Alex Konstantinou
The 2nd half also saw a comical event when Belper won a corner and in his haste to take the kick Andy Rushbury managed to kick the corner flag at the same time as the ball - resulting in it rolling slowly forward. Andy was the nearest player after he had kicked it but not allowed to touch it again until someone else had done so. As we watched, he ran to the ball screaming for Damien Magee to come to the ball as the defender raced to clear the ball. Typical of the performance really. One bright spark came in the form of the Gingerbreads keeper who turned out in a fetching short sleeved, pink number. I asked the press officer if he was wearing it for a charity like Breast Cancer but apparently not. I'm sure he'll regret that decision one day but not yesterday as he had nothing to do for 90 minutes.
The board really need to make a decision as to what happens next as this is really like watching the worst of last season again.
The rest of the photos of the game can be seen here: Belper Town v Grantham Town Photos

On the home front we have a Sunflower in our garden - nothing too exciting about that, especially as it is only about 4 foot tall (which is pretty feeble as sunflowers go). The difference with this one is that it was not cultured but grew from a seed that fell off the bird table. I think I'll try and grow a few next year from seed and plant them out.
I've also collected a number of seeds from the poppies in the hope that I can grow a few of them too.
Finally on the bike front I nipped round to the car shop and got some degreaser for the chain. A quick half an hour with that and an old toothbrush (not got round to picking up a proper chain cleaning unit as yet). Then a quick bit of lube and we're ready to go again. Trouble is we are due to get the back end of a hurricane tomorrow so it may be hard work !

Friday, 9 September 2011

It's all coming back to me - slowly

This morning we were expecting a delivery of a new sofa and chair from Laura Ashley - only the chair arrived which was a bit of a blow, especially as we had sold the old sofa to next door and delivered it last night ready for the new one... Apparently there was a mix up and it's now coming in about two weeks, good thing we don't get too many visitors.

Today saw the longest ride since I returned to the saddle, . For anyone who knows Belper and the surrounding environs the route went like this. From or house up to Over Lane down to Kilburn Toll Bar (avoiding the White Van man who overtook me and then cut back in front), right at Kilburn Toll Bar to Little Eaton, along Eaton bank and back to the A6 at the Duffield triangle. A6 to Milford, along the Chevin and back into Belper at the mill. Back along the A6 and up Field Lane, Church Street and Chesterfield Road. Along Far Laund and then back home. 15 miles in exactly 1 hour. The bike is starting to feel comfortable again - the new tyres are good, think I'll change the pedal as they aren't the most comfortable. I don't think i'll go for the clipless pedals this time as I did once before - think I'll leave that for another time.

Just made it back before the heavens opened, but with the sun shining at the same time we were treated to a full rainbow (couldn't quite get it all in with the little compact I had to hand).

After that the clouds seemed to clear a bit and by the time it had gone dark we were also treated to the sight of an almost full moon. I hooked the 70-200mm L lens onto the 50D and snapped a few shots through the window in the bedroom. After trying a few different manual settings I finally came up with this one which I was quite pleased with.

Tomorrow it's back to league action with the visit of Grantham Town. We haven't beaten The Gingerbreads in the last three attempts and although they haven't started the season well they are always a threat. The Grantham fans are sure to make a big noise as they always do. Pressure is on for belper to put in a good performance after last weeks defeat at Market Deeping. Prediction ? I think I'll go for a scoring draw but I hope I'm wrong and Belper take all three points. 
After the match it's straight round to Carts to watch Coventry v Derby County on SKY TV.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Up and Running - well cycling

Yesterday saw me out on the Peugeot for the first time in about 13 years - what a strange feeling to be back on 20mm tyres rather than the chunky mountain bike tyres I've been on for the past few weeks. the strangest part was the gear changing - having to reach down for the gear levers when I've got so used to the twist grips on the handlebars. It was harder work than I thought it was going to be especially up hill, I guess thats down to the gearing compared with the mountain bike set up. Eventually it began to flow a little and I completed a 7.8 mile circuit in 32 minutes although it was blowing a gale at times. I need to do the usual 7.46 mile circuit in calm conditions to see how it compares with the MTB (although I haven't yet got the confidence of going flat out down hill yet like I do on the wide tyres.
Today I spent about 30 minutes putting the new tyres onto the old rims - like the bike ride yesterday it turned out to be harder than expected. I managed to break a couple of tyre levers in the process but I got there in the end. They look quite smart with the blue edges - will see how they perform either tomorrow or Friday. You can't really see the tyres on the above photo but you can on this close up:

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The Wembley dream is over

Yes it's true, the dream of Wembley is over for another season. Ok so we were never going to make it to the Twin Towers - or the Millennium Arch or whatever it is you make it to at the new Wembley Stadium but I (along with many other Belper Town fans) was expecting to make it past the Preliminary round stage for the first time in three years. Three years running we have now lost to a team from a lower division at the first attempt.
Yesterday was the first time we have ever played Deeping Rangers (based in Market Deeping near Stamford). A friendly little club with some really nice people but Belper didn't really turn up again yesterday. Missed chances and a poor work ethic from some players cost them the chance of progress. A long trip (2 hours there and 1 hour 50 back) for a 2-1 defeat. The fans of the forum are already calling for Tommy Taylors head (or rather saying that we should never have given him the job in the first place) - early days to be saying that but it's easy to see the frustration.
To try and get over the disappointment I spent a good two hours cleaning my bike today. I also ordered two new tyres from Amazon - smart looking ones with blue edges to them. Hopefully they will look as good on the bike as they do on the website: New Tyres

Friday, 2 September 2011

The Magic of the FA Cup

Tomorrow sees the start of the FA Cup for Belper Town (and many other clubs at this level. The competition actually started two weeks ago with the extra preliminary round which saw tomorrows opponents Deeping Rangers beat Spalding United after a replay to set up the tie.
A two hour trip lies ahead which is strange as the past two seasons have seen us play nearest rivals Holbrook - although we lost both of those ties so lets hope the trip tomorrow is worth it. My forecast is a narrow win for Belper.
Barton Marina
Today saw us take a trip out to Barton Marina just past Burton on Trent. Although it was a really nice place there wasn't much to see there although we had a nice coffee and a piece of cake. A quick walk around the lake before heading back to Belper. After lunch it was time for the Friday bike ride. Put on my new Carrera shirt and headed off to do a 12.5 mile ride into Milford, along the Chevin and back via Far Laund. The drag back up from the A6 was real hard work - a real sign that there is a long way to go before I reach the peak of fitness (although there is a fear that I have already peaked a lot of years ago !)
After that Sally decided we should wash the cars and then she got my old racing bike out of the shed (I think she's trying to tell me something about buying a new bike - or not as the ase may be !). I was surprised how good it looked after 12+ years in the shed. A quick clean up and some air in the tyres and we'll see how things go. I think that it may need some new tyres and possible some new inner tubes. We'll see how things go - if nothing else it should give me time to save up for a replacement.