Saturday, 24 March 2012

Bangor on dee 24/03/2012

This morning I was excited! I'd gotten up early; had a massive bowl of honey nut cheerios; and I went out on my bike for a few hours. I don't usually go out on my bike on  a Saturday; but, tomorrow is Evie's birthday; so my Sunday run will also be a short one. I was excited because it was going to be a sunny day; and I was going to Bangor on dee racecourse with my Mum, Dad, and Evie; my dad is usually very reluctant to do anything, or go anywhere; so I was quite pleased to be going.  The first race however; really put a dampener on the rest of the day....and I'm still gutted as I write this now at 8pm.

I was between the winning post and the last fence; when the horses were making their way around the course on their first circuit. Olivino; hit the second fence; and took a crashing fall. The other runners proceeded; as you'd expect; and poor Olivino got up; and it soon became apparent that one of his front legs was broken. He continued to run, not bearing any weight on his broken leg; which was hopelessly dangling down; and then some of the course staff managed to stop the horse just past the finish line. The green privacy covers went up; to prevent the onlooking crowds from seeing the vet 'attend' to the horse- from where I was standing, I could see what was going on; the vet came over; and literally seconds after he looked at the horse; I heard a loud clatter; and the horse went from being stood up; to lying on the floor. For a split second; I was questioning myself; why was the horse on the floor all of a sudden; why is it kicking it's legs? Then, almost as an afterthought; I'd realised that the horse had been "destroyed" as they call it; and the forlorn movements of the horses legs we're simply the horses nerves; it's brain hopelessly shooting out it's last electrical impulses to no avail. A life ended; right before my eyes. 11 years on the planet; gone in those circumstances- with a bullet to the head.  I felt upset; and the rest of the day; as I continued to pick horses; and read all the form; it was marred by that vision of Olivino's legs thrashing around.

A sense of guilt came over me. I was there as a punter. Someone paying money; to see horses run. Betting on the horses to run. Was I contributing to Olivino's demise? And all the other ill-fated horses who have had their lives cut short for our pleasure? If I go down this path; I end up getting angry with the flag wavers that protest against horse racing; and frustrated at the wealthy people involved with owning the horses; who just see them as numbers or hobbies and care little about the welfare of the individual animal. I've just 'tweeted' my sincere condolences to the owner of Olivino; on Twitter  and he replied "many thanks he gave us so much fun great memories. Never knew how to fall  " - If I owned a horse that had been put down, I'd be well and truly gutted- not because of the money 'lost'; but because my horse had died!  I shouldn't really judge anyone by my standards though. I'm sure the guy is upset.  I'm not waving any flags here; or pushing any causes. I couldn't help but wonder what was going to happen to the horses body? I bet the people who look after the horse; the people who brought the horse to race; would they be gutted, going home with an empty horse box?  At the end of the day; these animals are bred to race and serve their purpose .  They are made for it. If they banned horse racing; quite a high percentage of the Thoroughbreds alive in the UK would be killed- surplus to requirements. There's no way of knowing for sure; people in the industry will give you conflicting numbers, from the "work a day for world piece" hippies that you see giving out leaflets in town centres with pictures of shaved one eyed mongrels in cages.  I was reading a report from the Guardian that went undercover, posing as a racehorse owner who had some horses that weren't up to standard; when calling a specialist horse abattoir (that seemed to confirm that many racehorses that are no longer viable to keep are sent to France for meat 3,000 per year) - I don't really read into this; they also report how much horse meat "we" export to France. France has it's own racing industry; would it really in-source that much meat from us? It's in a news paper any way. They're all liars. Is horse meat that commercially viable?  If the statistics are half true; it's an outrage that the very people who make their millions out of horses are failing to put the horses welfare first- they're all liars too.  Apparently; of the 4000 race horses that retire each year; only 90 are catered for by the industry. Horses cost around 4K a year to keep; not including vet bills.  I don't know what the answers are really; and I don't know what to believe. 

 I know that today will stay with me. At this point in life; it's not financially viable for me to be involved in horse racing; it really is a sport for the rich. I love horse racing, and I love horses; and who knows where my career at sea will take me; and to what heights my income will rise to. I know that I would one day like to have an interest in a race horse; but I'd like to be as involved as possible; I'd want to know the horse and know it would be looked after after it's racing days are over. I wouldn't see it as a hobby; I'd see it as something much more. But then; how would it affect me, if it was my horse that was destroyed? In fact I'd one day just like to actually own a horse; racing or not. When ever I go out on my bike (alone) I occasionally  stop and say hello to them; as most of my rides involve the countryside; and around here horses in the countryside are common as muck. I guess this is all in an "ideal world" - and I'd be here all day blathering on about what I would, and wouldn't do. 

Right now; I want to forget about horseracing. 

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Rotting in the doldrums...

Not much to report in the life of DMB at the moment. I'm eagerly awaiting a letter from Clyde Marine Training, offering me my place for September; hopefully at Fleetwood Nautical Campus. I feel as though my life is dangling from a thread; awaiting this confirmation; and it's all become a little bit too central to my whole existence. It is, in essence the metaphorical doldrums. I've been getting my head down with college; in a fashion; and doing a little more cycling; which I'll discuss in due course.   I just need to keep focusing; on that first trip of an officer; in particular the end  of that trip; where I sign off, and I'm off for a few weeks; with a healthy bank balance!
 Today was Evelyn Mae's 5th Birthday; and as usual Emma prepared her a little party; with food; and invited my family around; something she does every year. I was made up my Nan came down as well and my Mum, Dad, Chris, and baby Carter (Chris's little nephew)- My Nan was made up; you know what old people are like with babies! Cat nip for the old, I always say.

On the subject of the merchant navy; at the weekend I went with the vics (my cycling club) to watch one of our members'; Mr Walmsley running his "half" marathon. I got talking to some old cunt who was wearing a Subsea 7 boiler suit; which is one of the companies I may end up with. I got talking to him; and it became apparent I was talking to an older version of myself; except; he was much more xenophobic towards Scottish people than I ever could be. I agreed with much of his rants; about society going down the pan; the government keeping us dumb, and just enough into the red so we don't decide enough is enough. I told him my plans, and he reckons that I'm on the right track (getting out of the UK) - He was telling me about his house that he'd had built in Malaysia; and his 21 year old wife who was "fit as a butchers dog"; him owning the house sounded like a contractual minefield involving solicitors and none existent companies; I think it was this point that the fork was stuck into the road.

Fat people in lycra need banning; the way I see it though is I should be moving fast enough for people not to notice; and I would like to think that my fellow club members are desensitized to it by now.  This is getting to the top of "the steps" 

This is me and sean getting to the top of World's End; which I have to say is one of my favourite climbs

Into the red . . .I suppose it doesn't help when your hair brained fellow rider is trying to get you to "time trial it" out to Chester; before these wretched climbs! 

The picture doesn't do it justice; it really is one steep hill.

This month I have climbed the steps twice; world's end twice; the old shoe, and the new shoe. Now; those little monikers might not jump out at you as things that are horrendous; but I assure you; when you're riding your bike up them; they are. Coming back from Llangollen yesterday; I was just too far into the red; so I told the guys to head on without me. I enjoyed the isolation, and going at my own pace. One thing I can say about myself is I know how much I've got left in the tank; I think some solo rides out to north wales are in order! I was nearly ran off the road by a moron driving a articulated lorry full of Chickens...he passed me at speed; then moved in; it's possible he forgot about his trailer!  I also went out with Vita Cycles club last Saturday; which was very enjoyable- lots of riders on very spiffing bikes; and it's always better to ride in a Group.  I'm going to start going out with them on a Saturday morning for as long as my welcome lasts with them. I didn't get weighed last week; and I'm waiting until next week for my next weigh in; so hopefully I'll have reached the eighteens; if I haven't I'll be gutted.

Friday, 2 March 2012

The beauty of this is its simplicity. Once a plan gets too complex, everything can go wrong.

I'm back into the swing of things now; after my eventful weekend away, I am well and truly back into my own little section of this rat race we're all entwined in. Things in my life at the moment are pretty simple, and focused towards one thing; starting my officer cadet training in September. The two obstacles that I face are passing my GCSE's with C's or above; and obtaining an ENG1 medical certificate. Now, I'm pretty healthy as things go, but, the way things are with the ENG1, are that I need a BMI of 30, or less. So; I'm going to  revert back to posting my weight on here, so that I feel compelled to reach my targets more so.  My current BMI is 33.5 so, I need to get that well below 30, in time for August, when I'll more than likely be having my medical.  My current weight is 19stone 4lb (In september, I had got it down to 18 stone 2lbs), so I'm blaming winter, and too much good living, and not enough exercise for the increase; but in all fairness, when I was 27 stone, 4 years ago, I've sort of lost 3 stone, put a stone on, maintained it, and repeated in cycles- so this time, I need to lose 4 stone, put a stone on...maintain it, and then lose a stone an a half- 15 stone is my ideal weight. Saying that, I was 19stone 8lbs on the 2nd of FEB; so I've done well to lose 4lb, considering the amount I ate and drank when I went to Poland. I realise it's not exactly conventional. This time, I need to start addressing portion sizes I think. I don't tend to monitor how much I eat; but I generally eat healthy; bar my take away cravings, usually before I go on my cycling runs of 50 miles or more the day after.

So, apart from the career goal, I'm going to have to add some other goals as well. I own this bike:
While I have been out on it, I've mostly been using it on the turbo. I'm itching to get on it, so, I've said to myself, lose 2 stone, and you can use it! And I really do want to use it! My Fuji bike, has been fitted with a pannier rack, and bag, along with full mudguards; so it weighs an absolute tonne; which I began to notice last weekend when riding up the sunspot; which is an almost relentless climb; especially if you're carrying my weight!   It killed me off! I was going to go to the doctors about joining slimming world; basically, getting them to pay for it for me, as I'm obese. But I just know what it's going to be like. Full of them women; you know the types- typical dieting women. Ugh. 

I can't stop listening to the Kingston Trio. I can't get over how good their voices are; the structure, the harmonies. Over the past few weeks I've been enjoying their Capitol years collection. I want to get myself a banjo. I've had a go of one, and I'm pretty good a finger picking on the guitar; so I reckon I could transfer it over to the Banjo. I've also been listening to the last few albums by Johnny Cash- I sort of feel bad for him; he sounds so old, frail, and like he's not enjoying it- as if Rick Rubin is standing over him, trying to give him direction- in any case; the collection of records is truly awesome with some haunting tracks.

No rest until I'm 15 stone. That's this years target. I would like to eventually get down to 14.