Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Julian Cope - books and CDs

One recent download from was Julian Cope's Psychedelic Revolution.  Despite having been a huge Cope fan for years, I was amazed at just how good this album is.  I really like at least 9 of the 11 tracks and the other 2 aren't that bad!  Particular favourites are the tracks Roswell and As the beer flows over me.  I have probably heard the album a dozen times now, perhaps the most times I have listened to any album this year.  Excellent stuff.

Inspired by the album, I have re-read Cope's book on Liverpool, the early Teardrop Explodes and the early part of his solo career.  No doubt he is very busy, but hopefully a new volume of autobiography will appear at some point.  I have also bought Copendium - a collection of his online music reviews.  I have heard of a handful of the bands reviewed and even have one or two of the records - not many though

What I did on October 15th 2013

4:30 Woke up - currently my normal waking up time.  Thought about the changes necessary for our French property advert

6:10 Went to the gym - one hour of swimming, about 80 lengths, 2 km.  Front crawl stoke is getting better, but still can't do multiple lengths

8:00 Read the Guardian and worked on house advert

10:00  Drive to western edge of London to deliver mirror bought from us on ebay - the most expensive item we have ever sold and deserving of care and attention in delivery.  Thought about going into central London, but too much to do at home.

13:00  Called in Homebase for final DIY purchases before our trip to France.  They don't sell overalls any more apparently - I had planned to buy Wife some for her role as my new apprentice.

14:00  Worked on new structure for house advert - lots of text changes and a complex message to deliver for next year.

16:00  Half an hour of French practice - actually mainly a skim read of the next few chapters so I know what topics are going to be covered.

17:00  Nearly finished Julian Cope's Repossessed.  Listening to Cope albums - but also the first couple of CDs from the huge King Crimson boxset, The Road to Red, which arrived this morning.

19:00  Dinner - old stuff from the freezer - some sort of fish

20:00  Watched the first half of the England football match

21:00  Watched an episode of Breaking Bad with Wife

23:00  Asleep

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Constant changes to plans - not good

Swimming progress - great leaps forward

A few week's back, I decided that I ought to learn to swim front crawl - so I don't look like a plonker when competing in my next triathlon!  Initially, I was able to swim just 10 minutes or so before taking in so much water that I had to come up spluttering for air.

But the last week or so has seen quite an improvement.  First up, I downloaded half a dozen educational videos from Youtube and have been very impressed with how I have been able to constructively use these.  From the very moment I started watching them, I have realised so many things that I was doing wrong.  Perhaps the main one of these has been the need to rotate back and forward off the body's central axis in time with arm motions.  For some reason, I had never known this before.  The other main issue has been breathing without drinking water - which is taking me a little longer to sort out

Secondly, I have been reading a couple of books about triathlon technique.  These have incredibly detailed instructions on swim technique and I have been slowly putting these into practice - each morning swim session features one new thing to try and remember.

So gradually some milestones have been passed.  Managing to swim one length, managing two lengths, managing twelve lengths in a row (though with rests between pairs of lengths), managing 50 lengths front crawl out of a total swim distance of 80 lengths, swimming a length front crawl in 25 seconds compared to the 40 seconds that was my fastest time doing breaststroke, and so on.

Today's extension?  Swimming 80 lengths with the final 40 being all crawl and with minimal stopping between lengths.

I now have decent breathing technique and need to work now on upper body strength so my strokes are more powerful

Probably exactly how I look when swimming front crawl

A quick trip to France - 27 hours at the house

The day after Daughter's move to Oxford is complete, I am off to France for a lightning fast visit in our van, spending just 27 hours at the house and more than that travelling.

During this visit, I have

1.  delivered 60 boxes of wood flooring, four chests of drawers, an armoire, four single beds and two double beds, plus six mattresses.

2.  liased with our builder about the plan of the work for the next few weeks and the outstanding amounts due.

3.  visited the other farmhouse we are interested in and taken loads more photos and measurements

4.  started the painting of the main bedroom - some wall tests and the white for the ceiling

Interestingly, the pool looks really good now - the best it has been all season.  I am considering not replacing the liner next spring.

And while I was there, Wife and I had something of a bust-up about our future plans.

On the way back to Caen, there was a huge electrical storm that illuminated the sky after dark for over an hour.  At its peak, there were probably as many as 10 flashes of lightning per second!  I have never seen a storm like this before - quite headache inducing after a while.

Daughter has started her MPhil / DPhil at Oxford

After a year of travelling and various other things, Daughter has officially moved out of our house and into her accommodation in Oxford and has started what we hope will be a two year MPhil followed by another two years doing a DPhil.  Moving her in took two trips to Oxford, but her room already looks nice and should be very good for the next nine months or so.

For the past couple of months, Daughter has been studying maths for a few hours a day.  For the next two weeks she is doing a maths primer and then her proper lectures start in mid-October.  She also has a huge list of possible going out events and we are slightly concerned that she may be distracted by them.

But this is an event of major impact.  Four years of study at Oxford.  What I wouldn't give to be able to do that!

New College, Oxford - Daughter's place of study for the next four years (we hope)