The numbers do not lie

On 1st December 2014, between the dark hours of 6.30pm and 9pm, Thames Valley Police checked 110 cyclists in Oxford’s High Street.

How many £50 fixed penalty notices were issued for not having any lights?

Ninety seven.

That’s 97.


And let’s remember where cyclists often put the blame for their accidents.

A £50 penalty is obviously insufficient.

Because, if you read the report, all 97 of these morons can get away without paying the £50 penalty.

Perhaps if the fine were £500?

And there was no loophole that got the law-breakers out of it?


Weekend list


  • Get up
  • Notice that it is pouring down
  • Shower
  • Shave
  • Teeth
  • Dress
  • Put motorbike stuff on
  • Ride the VFR to Shipston on Stour
  • Get wet
  • Get two new tyres fitted to the VFR
  • Ride to Oxford
  • In the pouring rain
  • Get to the B&B
  • Check in
  • Strip off
  • Shower
  • Get warm
  • Then get dry
  • Slide in to bed to read stuff
  • Wake up three hours later
  • Get dressed
  • Go in to town
  • Find the ticket/bracelet exchange
  • Find the Purple Turtle
  • Order cider
  • Drink
  • Listen to music
  • Drink
  • Get deafened by absurdly ill-balanced PA
  • Meet up with muso friends
  • Gossip
  • Drink
  • Gossip more
  • Listen to music
  • Drink
  • Get deafened by absurdly ill-balanced PA
  • (repeat until)
  • Stagger out of the venue
  • Find a taxi that knows where my bed for the night is
  • Fall in to bed
  • Sleep


  • Wake up
  • Sleep
  • Wake up
  • Check phone
  • Sleep
  • Wake up
  • Check phone
  • Read three emails
  • Reply to three emails
  • Sleep
  • Wake up
  • Watch the Japanese F1
  • Sleep
  • Wake up
  • Watch more Japanese F1
  • Sleep
  • Wake up
  • Check phone
  • Read four emails
  • Reply to four emails
  • Watch more Japanese F1
  • Sleep
  • Wake up
  • Shower
  • Teeth
  • Dress
  • Put motorbike stuff on
  • Ride the VFR up the A43 then M1
  • Get wet
  • Arrive Rugby
  • Soaked
  • Park up outside the house
  • Squelch in to the kitchen
  • Peel every soggy layer off
  • Shower
  • Shave
  • Teeth
  • Hang wet motorbike clothes up to dry
  • Make tea
  • Grab chocolate
  • Slide in to bed
  • Start to read last night’s notes
  • Sleep
  • Wake up
  • Get up
  • Put cold tea in the microwave
  • Fill a plate with Friday night’s leftover pizza
  • Slide back in to bed
  • Drink tea
  • Eat cold pizza
  • Read last night’s notes (noticing the writing gets extremely erratic towards the end of the evening!)
  • Watch two episodes of The West Wing
  • Sleep
  • Wake up
  • Notice it’s stopped raining
  • Get up
  • Get dressed
  • Wash down the VFR and cover her up
  • Make more tea
  • Rearrange drying motorbike clothes
  • Get in to bed
  • Drink tea
  • Send emails to various outlets, re last night’s sets
  • Watch another two episodes of The West Wing
  • Collect the website addresses of the seven bands seen last night

and it’s not even 15.30 yet!

Blogathon 12/13 Confidentiality? Blogathon

this post should be filed under the ‘is it me?’ category, if I had one

A friend has been admitted to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford (hereafter known as ‘the JR’, which is nothing to do with fictional Texas-based oilmen, obv).

My first thought:
Holy shit, she’s so young! (she’s still at school)

My second thought:
Go see her and take some chocolate!

So I stuffed a large bag of large Cadbury’s Chocolate Buttons (yes, two larges back there) in to my laptop rucksack, for one of those days when I could stretch some time to visit the JR.

Today was one of those days.


On my way through Oxford I diverted to the JR and (miraculously) found a parking space.

I schlepped (this is becoming my new favourite word) in to reception, walked up to the desk and gave the receptionist my most beamingest of smiles.

‘My friend [firstname] [surname] has been admitted [with condition]. Could you tell me which ward she’s in so I can drop in this Get Well Card and some chocolate?’ I asked, waving an envelope and bag of chocolate.

‘Can you tell me what you are to her?’

‘I’m a friend.’

‘No. I can’t tell you that’, replied the antipodean receptionist (she wasn’t actually in the antipodes, she was from there, but sitting in the JR).

My jaw thudded on to the desk.

‘Really??’ I responded, actually fitting two question marks in.

‘That would be a breach of our patient confidentiality rules’, said The Guardian Of Patient Confidentiality (who I had mistakenly assumed to be a helpful receptionist).


She could sense my incredulity.

‘I’m not making this up!’ she flung in my face.

‘Hang on,’ I said nicely. ‘I’ve already told you the patient’s first name and her surname. I’ve told you the condition she has been admitted under. I can tell you her address. I can tell you she’s here. And yet you are telling me – for reasons of confidentiality – that you can’t tell me which ward I need to go to, to deliver this card and these chocolates??????????’

I could sense the receptionist counting each of those question marks (ten, in case you’re interested).

‘That’s what I’m telling you’.

I was tempted to ask which hospital directive she was following – and could she show me this directive in print – but I was so stunned at this new definition of ‘confidentiality’, that I picked my jaw up off the desk, turned around and left reception.

I stood outside the doors, in plain site of The Guardian Of Patient Confidentiality, pulled out my phone, called the patient, and asked which ward she was imprisoned on.

The I walked straight in to reception, past The Guardian Of Patient Confidentiality, walked down the corridor and in to the lift.

As I walked out of the lift to my friend’s ward I wondered what would have happened, a few minutes ago, if I had lied about my relationship and had said I was the patient’s step-brother or cousin, would The Guardian Of Patient Confidentiality have granted me the information I had asked for?

Or would The Guardian Of Patient Confidentiality have interrogated me, in tiny detail, over my friend’s physical and mental characteristics, until I eventually fluffed a question, and would she then have thrown me in to Hospital prison?

But seriously, on the simple say-so of ‘I’m related to this person’, or ‘I’m not related to this person’, this is now a point of patient confidentiality?


Dr Bonkers











picks up jaw and wanders off muttering how much the Daily Mail would love this story

Food for thought

The more I think about the very good-looking woman, and all the eye contact that passed between us, the more I become convinced it was an invitation to break the conversational ice.

She pulled up in her BMW 4×4, and parked outside The Old Mill Coffee House and Bistro, in Chipping Norton at about 1.30pm on Sunday.

Of course, I could be completely wrong.

She may just have been amused at the motorcyclist, sitting at his table – in his leathers – sipping hot chocolate and blatantly people-watching.

Yeah, I’m probably misinterpreting everything.

But still.

So this Sunday, from 1pm, I’m going to be sitting in the same place.

And if she’s there (because she was obviously a regular), I’m going to say ‘hello’.

And if she’s not there?

I’ll have some hot chocolate.

And carrot cake.

(why the fuck didn’t I say something on Sunday?)


Riotous Assembly (without riots and with scant assemblage)

I picked up my houseguest from Heathrow’s T5 last night.

We stopped at the Oxford motorway services on the way back, for coffee and a chat, because I felt it was important that she and I had a good opportunity to suss each other out before we got anywhere near the house.

It was, after all, the first time we’d met.

She’s shorter than I’d imagined. And way thinner. And cuter, in a pixie-ish sort of way.

We chatted, we quickly established a relationship, we finished our coffee and drove home.

She loved the room I’d prepared for her, we chatted more until it was time to call it a day and went to our respective beds.

I did not have a good night due to my over-active, hyper-analytical brain going in to overdrive. However, in happier news, the massive amounts of deconstructing/reconstructing that did go on, last night, have helped clarify things for me.

Today, my German houseguest has had a day of it.

We bobbled our way in to town this morning, where the staff at Hacketts threw open their doors in welcome, and forced us to eat this:

Breakfast at Hackett's

It was tough, but someone’s got to do it.

After breakfast my houseguest declared a need to walk it off. No shit, Sherlock.

So we nipped over to Burford, where we wombled down the High Street, pootled around the back of Church Lane, dawdled back on to the High Street, wandered over the much-flooded bridge, then wandered *back* over the much-flooded bridge, then meandered up the High Street on the other side of the road.

The internationally-renown Burford Formation Car-Parking Team at work

Were we found Huffkins. And bought Lardy Cakes. In retrospect this was Not A Good Move.

With cakes safely locked in the boot of the car, and with my houseguest saying she needed to walk more, we drove almost to the yard where Sicknote Vin (as he has been renamed) lives.

I say ‘almost’ because I parked-up some distance out, and we walked down to the stables.

As we approached the main block, Hayley was leaving for lunch. She tried to run me over.


What a funny girl she is.

We had a chat. She took the piss. Plus ça change.

My houseguest and I wandered in to Vin’s stable and threw five metric fucktons* of carrots down his throat.

He looks a bit sorry, after banging himself around on Friday, but his appetite hasn’t diminished and this, frankly is a good sign.

Then we wandered around a bit.

I introduced houseguest to various folk as ‘someone I found wondering the streets’.

I’m glad my sense of humour is still intact.

Now and then.

I got invited to a Christmas party.

A Christmas party?

It’s 16th October!

Anyway, I said yes.

We nipped back to Vin to dole out another pat on his neck and some more carrotage, and then we drove to Charlbury for a bit of shopping, then drove up Leafield Hill, where we had a long walk around the cross-country course, and admired the views over the valley.

From there we drove down to the Cotswold Water Park, where we ambled around a lake and looked at boats.

She sails, my houseguest.

When we got home and unpacked the car, the Lardy Cakes made themselves known.

A swift mug of tea and a Lardy Cake each later, and suddenly, neither of us is hungry any longer.

Nevertheless, there may be a snack soon.

How was your day?

* This statement may contain traces of lie. A smaller amount may have been fed to the orange chap.

Oxford Band Practice

The theory is that once a month there’s an ‘open Mic’ band practice at the Soundworks Studio, Blackbird Leys, Oxford.

An advance announcement is put out on the Oxford Band Practice website; which day practice will be, which piece will be practised, and a download link for the parts.

People interested can download the music, practice a little in advance and then just…

Turn up on the night and have fun.

June’s Band Practice will be at 7pm on Thursday 9th June.

The practice piece will be ‘Live Forever’ by Oasis.

You can get the parts here.

Care to join us?


The weekend has almost ended

I’ve coughed and sneezed so much this weekend that I think I’ve pulled a muscle. Or trapped a nerve. Or pulled a nerve and trapped a muscle.


We cleared the cars of snow this afternoon; between 6″-8″. Not a lot in global terms, but for West Oxfordshire, far more than usual.

‘Big up’ to West Oxfordshire Council and Oxfordshire County Council for gritting and clearing the roads.


Anyway, on Saturday Soph and I walked in to Witney. As a result of that brief but arduous trek I’ve put together this little 1m 8s video:

Don’t people know that they are supposed to have headlights on dip in snow conditions?

Don’t people know that they are supposed to clear all car windows, not just the ones they think they’re going to use today?

Don’t people know that they are supposed to clear all snow off the roof of their car before they commence their journey?

Apparently not.