May 2007 Archives

Record speed.

Kev, Ally and I went with Sam and Liam to Llanddona yesterday. The wind was blowing between 10-16mph up the estuary (one of my favourite directions because it makes heading upwind fun). I took the trick buggy with the intermediate tyres on along with my gps and went off into the beach.I was doing really well and managed a few upwind turns - they still feel really awkward but hopefully with time I will improve on them. The wind seemed to pick up a bit so I went for a couple of speed runs across the beach.

One run seemed to get a bit hairy (I was half sliding half rolling most of the way across the beach) and felt like I was losing control as the wind seemed to pick up further so I decided to call it a day at that and go grab something to eat. I made my way back to our base camp and checked my GPS.

Did I beat my speed record of 21.5mph? See for yourself.

Latest speed record.


Friday 25th May 2007 rolled along and Ric and I caught the train to Chester where Wee Andy, Ally and of course Kev picked us up (Ric bought a Frenzy earlier in the week and went to Wallop to pick it up - 9.5m 04 in Red, £145 - Bargain). After a long car journey - Ally and Andy spent over 10 hours in the car that day, but it was only 5 or so for Ric and I - we finally arrived at Middle Wallop Airfield and started putting up tents and finding people to say hi to. Jon and Jango didn't arrive 'til gone 11 so Ric was a bit tired - they were lending him a tent - but we eventually went to sleep about 2ish.

Saturday morning started off ovrecast, a quick pilots briefing for the traction field users at 9 and a queue for people to get their insurance. We went out fairly quickly and spent roughly 11 hours out - a nice wind (could have done with a bit more but I was happy enough) and sunshine. Took the GPS out but not beating 15mph which was a bit of a let down having been faster than that downhilling! That evening was the Film Fest - we sat in the car and watched it on the inflatable screen like a drive in cinema because it had begun to rain by that point, some very good entries and some not so good ones but everyone put in the effort and it was a good laugh for all. I only saw half of them, me and Wee Andy went for a wander because I had a headache.

Sunday was wet. This is somewhat of an understatement, as it rained heavily and consistently for most of the day. We spent most of the morning in the beer tent chilling and playing with circus toys (some people making this more dangerous than necessary, looking at no-one in particular) and Ric went home, he wasn't enjoying it which is fair enough. 17 of us decided we'd go to see Pirates of the Carribean in Salisbury, but when we got there (wet and muddy, as kiters are) it was fully booked until 7pm - we got there at 3.30pm ish. So we decided to go bowling instead! When we got to the bowling alley, that too was fully booked so we looked into the laser games held there in a childrens play area (think Wacky Warehouse, Jimmy G's, Charlie Chalk's Fun Factory etc.) and ten of us decided it would be great fun. There were 5 people on each team (Buggiers vs. Boarders), and then we went in. 3 people from the buggiers ended up injured, and 2 of us ended up in hospital - no prizes for guessing who was one of them! Luckily though this meant we got to sit in the warm and dry and miss the karaoke for a couple of hours, although I strongly suspect that in the ball-pit environment we make much better buggiers than laser gamers.

Sunday night was windy. The registration tent went first, followed by the St John's ambulance tent, followed the tent belonging to the St John's volunteers, with them still inside. Lots of other tents had been demolished by the 45mph gusts coming through by the time we returned from the hospital, and we decided to sleep in the car - me and Kev had the front seats of his Punto, and Wee Andy slept in the back.

Monday morning came after a warm and cosy nights sleep to see the part of the tent Kev and I were sleeping in was flat. I'm not sure if that spar snapped but another one did. The tent Ric had been sleeping in was 2 inches deep in water inside, James' tent stayed up well and Ally's tent didn't even move.

Wee Andy and myself did our written papers for the Enduro licencing and then we headed north! Ally and Kev came back to Bangor with me - when we got back we went straight to the beach where the wind was onshore at 15mph and the weather was sunny!

All in all I had a fantastic weekend, even with the rain - more Happy Wallop Memories.


Dennis' health appeared to improve until Friday when I went to Wallop, so I put him back in the big tank and left for the weekend.

 Upon our return to the room on Monday evening, we realised that only Owyn and the minnows were swimming around - Dennis was nowhere to be seen. A quick hunt around revealed Dennis as being lying dead at the botom of a tank, near some pebbles. It was getting late so we left him in to fish him out in the morning.

When I went to get him out of the tank yesterday he tried to swim (evidently he wasn't actually dead) so we put him in the pot again to see if he picked up - though at this point it was fairly obvious there was something badly wrong with him and so we began trying to think of humane ways of putting him out of his misery.

He died last night and, after a watermelon eating competition, we thought of the best way to send him on his way to the fishy valhalla.

The suggestion of throwing him off the suspension bridge in a casket was made, and then setting this casket on fire to do it, then throwing him off in half a watermelon skin. In the end we made a funeral barge (Viking style) to put him in.

Today we held his funeral on the northern side of the suspension bridge in Menai Bridge; a daisy in his coffin alongside his lifeless body and a penny for the ferryman (its cheaper for fish).

We'll miss you Dennis. The trout of Death has slapped you and it is with a heavy heart we send you on your way to the afterlife (or Caernarfon, depending on how you look at it).


It's a tense moment in the fish tank.


Two days ago Dennis kept stopping swimming and sitting on the bottom of the tank. He started to move again and seemed ok, then yesterday he sort of sunk into the plastic plant and rested for a good couple of hours.

This morning I have woken up and he is in one corner of the tank not moving  a great deal.

Is this the end of the half of the terrible two that is Dennis?

New Wheels!

Haven't had much chance to post recently, so just a quick one to post some pics of my buggy with the new disk wheels!

Disk Wheels

Had them out at the weekend and they held up to some decent abuse on some hard ripples and a lot of powersliding, just got to test them on wallops tarmac now...




The Herring Gull that has not budged from the nest for the last fortnight keeps getting up off the nest. I hope the eggs are ok. She gets up before she looks at them, wanders about a bit and sits back down again, so I'm guessing she's getting fidgety.

 Ideally I will still be here when they do finally hatch but they are not due for another fortnight at least (I can learn all sorts about herring gulls when revising oceanography don't 'cha know).

Patience is a virtue I guess!

Mathematical Rocket Penguin

Was just digging through my folders on my laptop and found the photo of the Mathematical Rocket Penguin.

Rocket Penguin

The paragraph says "Innaccuracies in given data in which calculations are based are called [illegible word, sorry Mr Emsley] errors." And the script next to the rocket penguin says "Mathematical Rocket Penguin - Saving the world from Mathematical Errors Once again!"

I think at this point its quite obvious why I couldn't answer the question in the Key Skills paper.


Dad sent me this the other day and I spent ages on it this morning - its full of random rubbish from all over the internet. Loads of really clever stuff in it!

Have fun!


I heard somewhere that fish like cucumber so I decided to give it a go.

The other day in Morrisons I bought a cucumber portion and while I've enjoyed the part of it I have eaten I put a slice in for Dennis and Owyn. They didn't seem to like it at first but now they love it!

There isn't much left. I will have to remember that for later on. Now I know they like bread and hard boiled egg yolk, and can now add cucumber to the list!


Had physics just this morning, as you can tell I'm out considerbly earlier than I should be (it isn't due to finish until 10.34am) but I couldn't remember any of the formulae.

I did try and revise but it wasn't sinking in. Now all I have to do is sit down and make sure I do really well in my last two!

Urgh, I hate physics!


A while ago (about a month and a half before the Easter break) I was looking for a copy of a book, "The Curious Clownfish" By Eric Maddern. I searched high and low for a copy and couldn't source one - when I stumbled across an address for Mr Maddern I thought why don't I write and ask him? If anybody knows where I could find a copy of the book, surely it'd be the author?

Weeks went by without any reply. I searched all over bookshops online and bookshops in Derby to no avail.

I found a place that had a copy eventually and I bought it for about £3.

 Yesterday something very strange happened.

Sam went into Security to check his post and the guy checked for me as well (they know me by name and room number, I can't think why) and he came out with a parcel. For me.

Inside was a leaflet for Cae Mabon, where Mr Maddern works/lives in Snowdonia, a postcard - and the book.

I felt so special getting that parcel. It means so much to me that Mr Maddern did write back to me and even included a copy of the book, which he signed, and a lovely postcard.

Simple things can make us happiest I guess.



Just to let you all know, Dennis and Owyn did survive the Easter break - sorry I haven't written about it.

 I got back and the tank was green - but I soon saw two big orange blobs moving about inside. I whipped the lid off and tried to find the minnows but I couldn't!

I figured they'd died and the others had eaten them - but then I saw one right down at the bottom - at least I had one left!

A couple of days later I thought I saw two of them together so I had another good nosey but could still only see one. Then I saw both of them!

I'm really pleased they all survived - I will miss them next year though! The house I am living in on Bitch Hill won't allow us pets.

One more.

Key Skills this morning was ok - apart from one question where it was the most ridiculous question in the world and another where I remember the lecture consisting of Simon drawing mathematical rocket penguins being fired from a cannon.

The stupid question didn't give any figures to work with apart from one sediment density and asked us to work out the weigh in kilograms of all the sediment in the English channel. Hmm. Some people didn't answer it, some people did but made figures up (like me and Simon).

Ah well. Now I have to revise for Physics on Monday then luckily I can take a bit of a break (though I will still revise for Chemistry and Biology, because I'll fail if I don't) in time for Wallop.

Only three more to go!


Took the GPS out in the buggy today - did some really fast runs, went to check the device and it'd lost signal in my pocket! The wind died off but I clocked 21.5mph after that which I'm pleased at!

 Sam had the chance to go to Wallop today and he didn't even though he said he would, and Liam said he won't go because he told Sam ages ago if Sam wasn't going neither was he. Ric won't go because he's got exams.

Tut tut. I'm really looking forward to it. At least it will mean more buggy time for me and one less person to hit on the field!


Isn't that such a good word?

I'm doing a lot of it lately. Facebook, the blog, tidying my room - it all tries to stop me revising.

I had my first exam yesterday - Earth and Atmospheric Processes - and I think it went quite well. There were some half decent Earthquake questions and a question on Warm Fronts - of which I'd gone over a few times not an hour beforehand which was lucky!

My next exam is tomorrow - Key Skills for Oceanographers. When I've eaten my breakfast this morning I will start revision for it and Physics, which is on Monday.

After that I have Physical Oceanography on the 31st (after Wallop. Urgh.) and then the day after I have Chemistry and Biology in the Environment. After that its time to chill apart from a pesky presentation to do for Smudge for Environmental Contamination.

Sigh. It doesn't get any easier.


It's that time of year again!

 It's only just over a week to go until Middle Wallop Kite Festival, the biggest kite gathering in Europe and probably the world - 900+ people attended last year to fly, buggy, board and socialise on 900acres of treeless grass on the airfield at Middle Wallop.

I didn't go last year because of Uncle Carl's wedding - and though I really enjoyed that weekend I did miss Wallop a lot. This year not as many people I know are going to Wallop but it should be an awesome laugh anyway because new people are going - Ally and Wee Andy!

At Wallop I'm doing a pilots licence test (it isn't a full pilots licence) so I can race in the 24 hour Endurance race for charity at Hoylake in June. I'm really nervous about this test because I'm not very confident with the buggy yet - although I'm greatly improving each time I go out!

I'm really excited about the Enduro- it's going to be hard work and I forsee us needing lots of snacks, drinks and red bull but it should all be good fun!

Now all we have to do is wait.


After reading an article in National Geographic at Easter I have been in awe. The article tells of a young leopards life as it grows up.

 When it gets a bit older it kills a baboon, then discovering a baby baboon clinging to the corpse crying. The leopard eats the adult and takes the baby high into a tree where it grooms it, takes it higher when it cries and even goes to sleep with it.

If this doesn't show compassion on Earth I don't know what does. I'm truly in awe that a creature designed for killing and eating other creatures would take responsibility of something in that way. I can't describe it!

 Another thing in nature I totally respect is commitment. From my bedroom on Ffridd I can see a building with a Herring Gull's nest on. One of the parents is on the nest permanently and the other is never far away - you don't go long without seeing them return. It's not just birds and nests its other stuff too - two animals who recognise each other and their role no matter what - yesterday it was blowing a gale and pouring it down with rain but that gull is still sitting there.

There are shed loads of other things I am amazed and inspired by - how the trees know when to wake up, the intricacies of flowers, flight, even the human hand, although ugly is fully functional - how many other creatures have the dexterity in their fingers to fold sheets, send a text and other daily things we really don't realise we're doing.

Nature is truly beautiful when you get down to it and I really wish more people would see it for how amazing it really is.


Lately I've been buying random wheels on ebay to make myself a set of disc wheels for my buggy for harder packed sand, and have discovered bmx mag wheels, which I've discovered have a big enough bore through their hubs to allow a 20mm bolt through with some clearance, and since the old mans now got his lathe just about working I purchased some Nylatron from to create some bearing housings.

So far its going well, heres an example of one of the wheels as it stands at present:

Rolling Wheel


It's been so long since I had a good old rant about Morrisons!

 Two or three days ago I went in to buy some stuff to make fahjitas with - I had the tortillas and chicken but needed a pepper and an onion.

 To my disgust I found that red peppers, usually costing 55p, now cost between 80 and 90p.

Personally I think its shocking and I hope its just because its summer.


First Exam of Semester B


Thats it over with, the first exam of Semester B, commonly known as Business Database Management.

A 1 hour exam, with 40 multiple choice question, I think it was a bit harder than everyone had expected, and slightly harder than all the sample/example papers we'd been given, so I think it went reasonably well considering.










Leah doesn't want to do her exams :-(


Well the elections went as planned (though Jenny got the Press Officer position and Jamie is now our Social and Fundraising Secretary) and I am still Equipment and Training Officer.

 The 2nd and 3rd Demo Days went well - the first day we had a huge turn out but it was really windy so we didn't get much training done, the second day was still very windy but we had fewer people and it was kite-able. Got some good buggying done!

So far I think I have spent most days since going back to Bangor after easter on the beach. I'm not sure if this is a good or a bad thing.


Been downhilling this weekend - I came home because I'm wound up at uni and need to chill!

 Bought a cheap GPS from Aldi yesterday (I need one for the Enduro in June) and spent yesterday evening trying to set my own speed record for going down a) the road at the old car park at the south end of Hatshorne and b) the tarmac path on the road down into the village.

The fastest speed me or Dad could reach was 14.4mph but the tyres were a bit squishy so we decided to call it a day and have another shot today.

We went out today and dad had a fantastic blowout on the old road and has split his helmet in two - luckily it was the helmet and not his head. I set a new speed of 15.9mph on the road. I carried on and we went down through the woods and over to the fields with me on the board and I'm really pleased with how I've got some confidence back on it.

From now on, with the aid of my new toy I intend to try and beat my own records (going to start setting them in the buggy too).

Hopefully I will continue to improve.