I went to the doctors a fortnight or so after I crashed because of having permanent pins-and-needles sensations in my foot, and much "bigger" pins and needles when I put any weight on it. Kev kept telling me it was still bruised and not to put weight on it but they really didn't seem to be improving so I figured it might be because I wasn't using it, not wanting to consider it might be nerve damage.

 Unfortunately the doctors confirmed I've got quite significan nerve damage to my foot and I've been instructed (much to my disappointment) to remain on my crutches until the pins and needles go away.

 Bah. At least I've got Kev's leg excercises to do!

Confused physiotherapy staff, that's what!

 Last Sunday in the SPKA races, I had a minor incident with the sea wall and ended up being air lifted off the beach, enjoying myself entirely on the gas and air they were force feeding me and had a trip to Crosshouse Hospital, Ayrshire.

I bruised my left heel badly (they were concerned I'd broken my heelbone, but x-rays revealed I've inherited my dad's wonderous ability to bounce and hadn't) and have done some "minor muscle damage" to my right shoulder, and an asortment of bruises all over my body, ranging from just above the elbow on my right arm to all the way down my left leg. And knocking myself out, but I'm still not sure how long for - I don't remember coming to a stop though or someone releasing my quick release and taking the kite off me!

My heel's earned me a shiny set of crutches (now with Tribal Scuba Squirrel stickers on them!) - I think I've possibly done some nerve damage to it as well unfortunately - it feels like I'm treading on something to the left hand side of it when I put any weight on it and it's got permanent pins and needles the rest of the time.

Needless to say, when we went for Kev's physio appointment and the crutchless Kevin handed over his appointment card over and led his crutch using girlfriend to a chair, we got some very puzzled looks!

Nightmare Train Journeys!

Last week I caught the train up to Kev's - I checked the night before and discovered I'd be on a coach from Carlisle to Glasgow Central because of works on the lines, hey ho, I thought, on with the trip, may be a little later than usual but never mind!

On the way from Bangor to Crewe and my first change, the people working on the train announced that there were major southbound delays because a freight train had shed its load near Milton Keynes - haha! I thought, for I am northward bound!

At Crewe, I searched high and low for the platform on which to catch my next train to Carlisle, its final destination Lockerbie. The furthest north I could see was for Preston. Hmm, thought I, strange things are afoot. I found a desk and asked what was happening, and was politely told the train I was catching was only going so far as Preston, and nobody knew why. So I caught it, my logic being I was at Crewe, I might as well carry on! Bit of an adventure and all.

Upon asking the crew of the train what was going off, and this time they seemed to think we were going all the way to Lockerbie as planned. Things were getting stranger.

At Preston we were all told to get off. Another freight train had shed its load, this time over Shap, and we were all to catch the bus to either Carlisle or Lockerbie. So we did, and I ended up sat next to a nice enough old lady who ran an animal sanctuary, which wasn't so bad because we had an awful lot to talk about with complaining about the way Universities are run these days to keeping small animals.

Carlisle came and I had just enough time to run to the toilet before catching the next bus to Glasgow. On the M74 on the way into Glasgow we overtook a very familiar looking white Astra estate (and waved to the driver, this was myself and a new old lady I'd found). Eventually Kev found me outside Glasgow Central - I finally got to my destination!

 On the way back, my train left Glasgow 20 minutes late. Some overhead lines had gone down between Carlisle and Oxenholme, so the trains were having to take it in turns to get through! This meant I arrived at Warrington Bank Quay an hour late and had to wait a further hour for a train to Llandudno....and then another one to Holyhead! I got back 3 hours later than I should have done.

I think I'm going to give up getting the train. Until Thursday, when I go to Hoylake again. Hmm.

PKA Round 1 - Hoylake - February 2008

Well, on Friday I made my way over to Hoylake by train and car - when Si and I got there at 11 the wind was less than appetising; this resulted in us spending most of the day in the Clubhouse and only maybe an hour or so on the bank in the evening before the sun went down (though some of the more intrepid pilots had been wind fishing most of the afternoon!).

Everyone made our way to the Railway for tea where we met up with a few more pilots arriving for the weekends racing, and generally had a chilled out evening drinking and talking rubbish (as is the custom). It was a good chance to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in a long time and even make some new ones.

That night we all went back to the clubhouse car park to sleep (since sleeping in the clubhouse is banned). Since I went over by train and Roger was sleeping in a B&B, I spent the night curled up in the back of his car with my sleeping bag – I had taken my thermal diving undersuit with the intention of using it for buggying but it made for some cosy pyjamas amongst other clothes! The temperature dropped to -6degrees that night and I only got 2 hours sleep!

Saturday morning came and we all kitted up and made our way down onto the Bank to a pleasant 8mph ish wind - I look my 6m PKD Combat out and was buggying quite happily, though the wind wasn't quite enough to pull the little Parastorm buggy's barrow wheels through the softer sand! We were given a practice lap to learn the course and my 6m Puddle Magnet found a huge pile of water just after the first marker – resulting in me walking back to the pits to dry and dry it out before the start of the race! The wind picked up steadily and when the time came for the first race I was well powered on the (now fairly dry) 6m and looking forward to heading out!

There was a large amount of pilots there this weekend (the fleet count was 32) and starts are always hectic - I was unlucky enough to be caught in the fray and was in a very minor collision with another pilot. Someone’s kite caught mine and I luffed out – I hauled on the brakes and put my feet down to stop my rolling buggy causing my kite to cause issues for the other pilots still crossing the line. I heard a profanity from behind me and turned to see another pilot sliding sideways towards me at speed – a fourth pilot closing any chance he had to turn to avoid me off and then a bang as his buggy hit mine! Since my legs were on the floor the buggy moved without me and the full weight of the other race buggy tried to force its way through the back of my lower legs. Once the pilots had all passed I tried to get up and sort my Combat out and realised how much my legs were hurting so got some assistance from the marshals to pack my kite in and sat my first race out!

Feeling a bit fed up I watched as the race continued and the other pilots doing their laps happily. As the race progressed the wind picked up a shade and I decided the next race would see my 4.8 PKD Combat coming out of the bag – a fast kite for its size and my favourite Combat to fly.

As the countdown began for the start of the second race I frantically searched for my pulley to no avail – I figured I must have dropped it when I released at the start of Race 1 but had no time to look for a spare so took the 4.8 out on the strop straight onto my spreader bar.

It was hard work without a pulley, and the soft sand was slowing me down greatly so I finished that race with one lap in and hurriedly searched for my pulley. Eventually I found it tangled in the bridles of the soggy 6m – just in time for the 3rd race.

The other races went without much hassle. At the end of the day we all walked (or got a lift on the John Deere!) back up to the clubhouse, cleaned up ourselves and the buggies, had chance to rest and chat for a bit (and post on Facebook) just before the power cut out – signalling it was time we went to the pub again for tea!

After an early and much more comfortable night in the Trainor’s “Campermobile” (the forecast was for -10degrees) and waking up to frosty buggies we set out to the beach for our 10.30am Pilots Briefing with little optimism for the days wind – the turbines at Burbo Bank were not moving; even at the start of Saturday they were turning steadily.

We spent the morning fixing, repacking, swapping lines, pumping tyres and generally doing niggly bits of maintenance to kit and static flying the biggest kites we had (most people were on between 12 and 14m worth of PKD Combat, U-Turn Butane and Ozone Yakuza) or the smallest – I was lucky enough to try some new PKD prototypes lazily in the sunshine before at 1pm it was decided it just wasn’t going to get better so we headed back in.

After packing and tidying and cleaning we had the prize giving - positions given below – and headed home!

 All in all I had a fantastic weekend and I'm looking forward to all the other events I have planned.

Goodbye, Henrietta…

Sarah and Pete have been growing increasingly resentful towards their poor nocturnal hamster and today, Pete announced to his Chemistry class, that a hamster was available for free - and someone wanted it.

 So Henrietta has gone to a new home.

Goodbye, Henrietta...


After seeing my last post on a cyclometer for the hamster wheel, mum posted me one she got from Kellogs.

 I've tried several different ways to fit it to the wheel but sadly the cage isn't big enough to try any more and the others were unsucessful!

The main issue is however that due to the use of magnets every time the magnet nears the sensor it grinds its way around the metal framed cage; it's really noisy and my nocturnal hamster is noisy enough as it is!

Never mind.


I bought Biscuit a bigger wheel for her cage the other day as the one that came free was far too small. It's taken her a day or two to get used to it but now she uses it fairly regularly.

 I want to get one of those speedos you can buy for bikes and rig it to the wheel - then I'd know her top speed and how far she was going in one night!

The very latest in Extreme Sports?

The other week my double divan here gave up the ghost and so my landlord bought me a replacement (which is considerably more comfortable and has more storage under it).

When my housemates saw the scrap parts of the old bed, its small wheels and iminent trip to the tip, a thought occurred - we live on a steep hill. There can only be one purpose for the remaining bed.

Bed Racing.

Last night, a race was had between the two halves of the divan I hear; one of my housemates has demolished his two front teeth and most of the bottom of his face after playing chicken with the wall at the bottom, and I'm reliably informed that a randomer who joined in may have broken his ankle. If he did and he ever reads this, I'm sorry you got hurt!

However the other 6 who had a go escaped unscathed - could this be the beginning of a new sport?

I think not somehow.

About a week ago I got a frantic phone call from my housemate saying she'd adopted a hamster - consequently everyone fell in love with "Henrietta", but she didn't like the name it came with and we've since been trying to settle on a name for it - the three that have stuck have been Alfie, Hettie and another one I'm not going to repeat on here.

After an evening sitting and fussing the small ball of fluff I realised just how much I have been missing having something to care for and love of my own - Alfie-Hettie D. reminded me of my old Flash (the most friendly and lovable rat you have ever come to know) - so Kev and I went on a Quest to find a pet I could keep with ease but still have something to love.

And then it happened.

As the pet shop worker in the adoption section tipped a fat, abandoned ginger lump out of its obviously cosy bed I knew I wanted it - Kev to my left practically jumping up and down beside me showed he wanted it too. And those little black eyes just asked for a better life, so we had to take her home.

She chewed her way out of the container on the way home so we had to make her exercise ball up hastily - she chewed that a bit too but not in the time it took to visit Tesco, buy a cage and some bedding and come home.

So there you have it. Allowed or not, I now own Biscuit the Ginger Hamster - and I'm going to do all I can to provide a better and more loving life for her than she ever had before being abandoned in Llandudno.

Back into the Swing of Things.

After New Year's we drove Ceri back over to Derby, picked up my kite kit (and put it into my nice shiney new black and blue PKD drybag, it's so good that I colour - co-ordinate) and headed back on over to Bangor.

My return saw two new major purchases - I finally paid for the 7.5m Combat so now I own most of a set - the majority of the set I will ever use, and I bought a drysuit from eBay - a 2 year old crewsaver drysuit, it's hardly had any use out of it and was a bargain at a mere £58 + postage.

Revision and kiting pretty much filled up the majority of January - we went to Black Rock Sands for a session, the wind being inexistent to start with but picking up around lunch time to a fairly steady 12mph.

Kev caught a cold off Sam just after New Years, now wandering about with barely a limp, so his scheduled op to remove his loose screws (yes I found his loose screws funny too) was cancelled so he stayed south for longer, meaning when my exams were finally over I returned north with him to compete in the SPKA races on the 27th and had the chance to try out my new suit.

I'm now back and into Semester 2 with some of the most boring modules you could ever imagine - Soils and Contamination (soily pollution), Ecosystems and the Environment (soil and air pollution) and Earth and Ocean Observation (which consists of pretty much just marine acoustics and their acompanying formulae).

I am scheduled for going on the RV Prince Madog on Friday and Monday this week and next - weather permitting that is; so far the forecast is for gales on Friday.

Saturday will hopefully see some very chilly WSYC racing - I will be mostly taking my dive thermals for underneath that shiny suit of mine!

Returning to Bangor also made me say goodbye once again to the unforgetable Owyn - the very fat and growing rapidly goldfish residing in mum's tank. I really wish I could keep pet's here!