“You Heard Me Bike, It’s Game On!”

A cold rainy day in London, not ideal for a three and a half hour cycle ride; nonetheless the ladies powered, or rather power-cycled through.  And Lizzie Armitstead came away with Britain’s first Olympic medal of London 2012 – and I have to say it may have inspired me to get on my bike (perhaps when its not pouring with rain though).

Lizzie Armitstead wins silver for Team GB

Watching it, it’s scary how close the cyclists get to each other.  And when you think it could all be over if they touch, you realise the amount of concentration and fearlessness of these cyclists.  Impressive stuff!  Now  I am most certainly not usually a sports fan, but even I can appreciate the amount of drive required to win (in case you couldn’t tell I think I’m getting excited).   Especially when you consider how absolutely exhausted you would be, having cycled tens of kilometres.

Now I’m not very sporty, so while in my mind having been inspired by today’s cycling, I am the next Olympic cycling champion, I know that that is probably not going to be the reality.  Especially when you consider that these athletes train practically every day, all day.  So don’t expect to see me competing internationally in the velodrome or as the front runner at the Tour de France anytime soon!

Just in the post because I love these little vintage shopper bikes – makes me think I’ve stepped back in time

Regardless, I remain inspired.  The bike is being wheeled out again (excuse the pun)fFor regular riding (which would of course tone the thighs – my biggest nemesis).  I have also been toying with the idea of a charity fundraising cycle ride.  I read about it months ago and thought to myself ‘that sounds cool’, never did anything about it, but after today I’m finding myself increasingly drawn to the idea.  The genesis Research Trust organises cycling trips all around the world and you can now register for Cycle Sri Lanka 2013.  I am definitely keen! It’ll be my very own Tour de France – An adventure and for a good cause. It’s being added to my bucket list!

Cycling for a good cause

http://www.genesisresearchtrust.com/events/cycle-srilanka

http://www.genesisresearchtrust.com/events

Right – game on! I’m now off to wipe the cobwebs off the bike …

Follow me on twitter: @LucyBarclay1

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Olympics Hype, You’ve Got Me (Unconventionally)

Me, a non-sports fan, have suddenly found myself swept up in the London 2012 hype.  Why?  Well my feelings towards it prior to yesterday were fairly nonchalant: I didn’t really see why people were excited but equally didn’t understand the people moaning.  But yesterday I travelled to London for the launch party of the online TV channel I’ve been working on, it just so happened that the launch was at Marble Arch.  As I approached said location the torch was apparently going to be ‘travelling’ through there.  And for me it was not so much the seeing of the torch that got me thinking.  In fact I didn’t manage to catch a glimpse!  It was more the atmosphere, everyone around me was excited and talking about the games.  You couldn’t move for the people around you and I realised that this was something bringing everyone together.

London 2012 Tower Bridge

As I said I’m not in it for the sport. I’m not particularly riveted by the fact that Usain Bolt may run the 100 metres in 9 seconds (if I blink I might miss it), nor am excited by the thought of watching people on bikes cycle round really fast in circular dome.  But that aside while I don’t enjoy the sport itself, I do enjoy watching an athlete’s reaction upon winning and achieving their goal.  It’s not the physical feat that I get excited about, I’m not interested in the world records or medals themselves, but watching someone achieving what they have worked so hard for.  (And I don’t like to admit it) That is one of the things I do find inspiring about sport.

Some things will be unmissable.  I’m excited to see Oscar Pistorius run for the South African team.  He of course has been nicknamed the fastest man on no legs.  This is a man that has overcome massive adversity to fulfil his dreams.  I for one hope he wins!

And of course the other thing I’m excited about is the opening ceremony.  I felt the atmosphere in London yesterday and know that it will continue to be incredible.  I just want to see what London can do!

Oscar Pistorious aka Fastest Man on No Legs

Maybe this time Boris Johnson will succeed in waving the British flag properly: well we can always hope …

 Follow me on twitter: @LucyBarclay1 

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Oh Hello Again British Summer …

I have returned from a week in Cyprus, the weather back home is, shall we say, chilly.  Of course I made the fools error of thinking because it’s sunny and baking hot in Cyprus, it will be the same come home time at Gatwick.  In fact if truth be told I didn’t even consider the weather back home in ye olde England.  I got off the plane, clad in teeny tiny denim shorts and a strappy top.  The result –  I shiver my way through Gatwick and out to the car park to complete the journey home, nursing a minor case of hypothermia.

But to be honest it’s to be expected, this is the UK after all.  If we didn’t have the weather to complain about life just would NOT be fun!  In fact bad weather and nice queue is enough to set any Brit off on a tyrannical rant about the injustice of it all, myself included.    But if we consider just for a second the possibility of the UK being 35 degrees centigrade every day with blazing sunshine, nothing would ever get done.  We would all switch our complaining to the heat rather than the rain, hail, sleet and whatever else we’ve been subjected to this July.  So while a bit more sunshine would be nice, I’m kind of glad as sunshine for us brits is a treat not a right, it makes the whole experience feel much more like a true holiday!

Cooling down in a tomb

My reasoning is based on last weeks trip to Cyprus.  Every day was scorching, at least 35 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.  I am not one for just sitting on the beach or by the pool, mainly for the reason that I am pasty white with freckles – the perfect recipe for a beetroot red sunburn after a mere half an hour outside.  I am one more for exploring the local area, seeing the sights etc etc.  And I have to say a week in Paphos  delivered.  The Tombs of the Kings, the medieval fort and the mosaics – all of which were a thrill for (and I don’t like to admit it) a history geek such as myself!

The Tombs of the kings are in fact not ‘tombs of the kings’ rather ‘tombs of government officials’.  Set on a piece of coastal desert and carved into the rock, you can imagine the heat.  It comes to something when you would rather sit in a tomb, a place of death, than in the sun to escape the heat.  Of course my snow white skin was absorbing the heat (even though I’m not sure that is scientifically correct), my thighs were chaffing (because unfortunately I was not gifted with airbrushed supermodel legs) and my hair was making my neck hot.  And I could feel that complaining energy coming.  Having done nothing but moan that it was cold back home and ‘why didn’t we have any sun?’ I was about to fulfil my British stereotype and begin complaining about what I could, the heat.  But I thought to myself right there and then, ‘I’m enjoying this’, ‘these tombs are interesting’, ‘why complain?’  And the same goes for the mosaics, the fort and the various other sights of Paphos.

Tombs carved into the rock

The sun and the heat was all part of the experience, it made it a true holiday.  But back home, our weather is all part of the British experience.  Maybe it’s not sipping cocktails on the beach or by the pool, but that’s no ones reality, well not a regular person at least!  I couldn’t imagine my normal job behind the bar and waiting on tables being particularly enjoyable in 35 degrees of heat.  And of course it’s given me something to complain about, now I’m sat in a cardigan shivering, having returned home from a scorching Cypriot paradise.  I joke of course …

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Arm Chair Football Punditry – ‘If they’d have followed our advice, they’d be winning 8 nil by now!’

I will start this post with an explanation as why I have been away for so long.  My university exam season took hold, the time of year when I lock myself away, see no one and become an obsessed maniacal revision fiend.  However I am now finished, out of hiding and ready to pass my opinions.

Now for my return post – my victim is Euro 2012 – a four yearly footballing championship.  A championship that the fans among us will become convinced England have a chance at the title.  The media – television, radio, newspapers, special Euro 2012 features etc etc will all fuel this dream.  Why? Because England won the world cup in 1966!  In the commentary from Ukraine vs England, England qualify for the quarter finals and are ‘unbeaten and unbreakable.’  A fairly OTT assessment of a 1-1 draw with France, a fairly sketchy 3-2 win against Sweden and a slightly improved 1-0 against Ukraine.  But perhaps I’m just being negative.

The armchair football expert

Now I will not lie, I will enjoy Euro 2012 as much as I can.  I will hope England will do well.  I might even get excited (to an extent).  But I will not climb on the ‘rampant optimism’ band wagon.  Rather than get overly excited and eventually sinking into a state of depression when England manage to clutch defeat from the jaws of victory, I prefer to watch and observe the behaviour of menfolk.  Now this may be a sweeping generalisation but my male counterparts seem to, now that Euro 2012 is upon us, have become footballing experts – all believing themselves to be the next England manager.  In fact, they appear to believe themselves to be better than the current manager himself.  Although don’t get your hopes up boys, you won’t see ‘England manager’ pop up on the guardian jobs website any time soon.

Exhibit A – the brother.  Normally a minor football follower, supporter of Liverpool FC but only to support someone, prefers cricket.  However now Euro 2012 has come round, this minor football fan has become something of a football pundit – in his mind at least.  Comments during England vs. Ukraine have included ‘if we are to persist with route one football, we need someone who is good in the air – bring on Andy Carroll’ and ‘he’s never going to beat Hart from that range’.  What?  Now when I last checked my younger brother was NOT a football pundit, commentator, expert etc.  However he seems to have assumed this role since the beginning of this tournament.   I can only conclude he will get worse if England are to progress past the group stage.

Euro 2012

This does however lead me onto my next rant!  Why do football fans (or any other sports fans for that matter) insist on using the term ‘we’ – ‘we’re going to score’, ‘Looks like we’re going to cash in here’,  ‘we are looking poor up front’ etc.   May I point out that just because one chooses to wear an England shirt, does NOT mean you are on the team.  WE ARE English but WE ARE NOT England!  But that rant over, I shall move on to exhibit B.

The father.  Now this man becoming an expert is even more ridiculous than the brother.  This is a man who, as rule despises club football, claiming it to be boring.  This is also a man who has been known on several occasions to fall asleep, chin on chest, during England internationals.  Therefore for this man to suddenly don the crown of ‘football extraordinaire’ during big championships is absurd.  Yet without knowledge, or much genuine interest in the sport, the commentary emanating from his prime seat on the sofa is interesting to say the least.  Remarks have included ‘all of my comments have been erudite and well informed’, ‘terrible goalkeeping’ and ‘even I would have headed in Rooney’s first chance’.  A true football pundit?  The new England manager perhaps?  Well if you can be an expert after watching one match, sitting on the sofa, I suppose anything is possible.

Rooney euro 2012

And finally the worst culprit – the boyfriend.  I will give him credit though where credit is due, he does know a lot about football and sport in general.  An avid follower of Newcastle United, with knowledge of every football player, championship and result – however even with his knowledge, he still is not England manager.  I think he forgets that playing football manager on his laptop and FIFA on playstation does not constitute work experience.  This armchair England manager is worst of all, with the constant spouting of statistics.

I hope England win, I really do, but if not, at least I’ve been entertained not necessarily by the football, but by my armchair football pundits!

 Follow me on twitter: @LucyBarclay1

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Humans no longer need food and water! Well that’s gonna save me some monies!

Apparently people can now live off sun light alone. Well slap my ass and call me a plant then! If apparently I can photosynthesise, then my years of education have most certainly been in vain!

Having said that never needing to buy food again would save me some pennies – Although I do live in Wales! The likelihood of me coming into contact with enough sun to live off is unlikely in the extreme. I might have to have a little search on Google and find me a rain diet – that might suit my circumstances a little better!

This diet was brought to my attention after reading in the news that a woman in Sweden died (unsurprisingly) after following the ill-judged Sunshine diet. According to the diet, we can all live exclusively on sunshine. All the nutrients we need to survive can be absorbed into our bodies from the sun and through meditation.

If that’s true, then why do any governments or charities send aid to Africa or any other starving nation? God if we can all live off sunshine alone, then why don’t we just send across meditation teachers instead and be done with it?
Why? That’s right because your body needs food. And a point to mention, the sunshine diet not only advocates no food but no water either. Now even a plant needs water!

But amidst this ridiculousness there are those who have claimed to have lived years without food or water. Apparently through meditation the brain produces the essential nutrients and fats necessary for survival.

Now I’ve heard of a placebo effect and do not deny that the brain is a truly incredible thing, it produces thoughts, dreams, hallucinations etc etc! But to produce actual physical nutrients and fats is something quite different! Sounds like magic, but maybe me being the simple muggle (and yes I did slip in a Harry Potter reference there) that I am cannot comprehend such a thing.

Call me a sceptic, but I cannot and will not believe we can live our lives without food and water, absorbing everything we need to survive from the sun!

 Follow me on twitter: @LucyBarclay1

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Photography Experiment … There is hope for Spring/ Summer 2012 yet!

I know its raining outside (and has been for a while now).  Its supposed to be spring, yet the Daily Express has predicted not just rain but snow as well for may 2012.  In fact its supposed to be to coldest May on record.

I know its not ideal, when we ditched the coats, hats and scarves in favor of the shorts in March, that was the beginning of summer for many of us.  At least we thought it was!  But even if it is raining periodically and not as warm as we all hoped it would by now, I realized today that Spring/ Summer 2012 is starting to rear its head!

I braved the outside and captured these shots, really lovely and colourful maybe there’s hope for summer yet!

Beautiful plants still with the rain drops on them.

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