Friday, 18 April 2014

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me...

Birthday McMuff
Another year older...I'm now at the age where I try to keep my birthday a closely guarded secret...awww crap another Fail!  Saying that I have to admit this birthday has been quite enjoyable. Maybe it's because I have lots more supportive friends who I enjoy spending time with and who in turn give me the kick up the arse I sometimes need in order to get me into action. Maybe it's because I'm a lot happier in myself as things are pretty tickety boo at the moment (well apart from this dam blog thingy going from my chosen text Verdana to something completely different as I type Grrrrr...Bloody just stop on Verdana)  Oops sorry side tracked there...Omg why is it doing that... Focus Glenn, Focus.

So to my birthday I awoke to a bit of a dicky tummy,never mind I popped my happy head on as I got ready for work and as is my usual set off at 07:20 in the AM.  A nice relaxing ride into work, that's a first as usually I encounter all the muppet's as I drive into Newcastle. Anyhoo don't get me started on yellow hatched lines and lane protocol. I had a good morning at work, where everyone wished me a happy birthday and I got a lovely signed card. I'm very lucky to be in a job I love with a great team of fantastic people.

Before leaving work I checked my mobile and my friend John had Facebooked me a message "we still on for today like". A quick reply back to say "whey aye" and I headed back home. Once at home I  did a quick Mr Ben and changed from an ordinary bloke, to a mountain biker with a Terminator look about him, donning my new bright orange Troy Lee shorts...WhoooHooo sexy (well in my mind). John was down for around 13:00 hours, handing me a lovely card from himself and his lovely family and giving me a friendly handshake and wishing me a happy birthday. Our route for the afternoon not exactly planned, as long as we hit McDonald's for a birthday muffin we just decided to go with the flow and make it up as we went along. John saying "you don't seem on form mate"...

We crossed Durham Road and headed through Holly Hill Gardens, coming out at Hustledown. From there we made our way over the playing fields opposite the "pines" That's probably not what that area is called. From being a young kid and playing in that wooded area all those years ago that's what I and my friends knew it as. I can remember playing a game called "Tally Ho" as a nipper and hiding for hours at a time from the "Big lads" as I knew they would torture me if I was caught... I can also remember climbing the trees and thinking how tall they were, yet now when I look at the wood the trees appear smaller and less dense. Funny how time changes your perspective.

Past the pines and we go past the new school that has been built to replace Greenland. Now there's another memory Greenland. I attended there as an infant and junior, so many memories, from my first crush on Miss Patterson whilst aged around 5 or 6 and finding out she had a boyfriend and being devastated, well until I got to meet her boyfriend at some school play or open day and he knew he had competition so black mailed me with a rather tasty ice lolly. To the end of my footballing career aged around 10 when Glenn Seaward tackled me from behind when I was about to score on the top field and I fell thinking I had broken my arm. Ooh and then there was the collision with Kevin Pritchard in the school playground resulting in a huge black eye as we bumped heads. Funny what you recall when you think back isn't it. I wonder what will happen to Greenland's, probably get knocked down and some of those new houses built on the land, you know the ones with a garage that a car can be driven in to, however you have to get out of the sunroof to get out as you can't open the doors as it's not quite wide enough...why do they do that ?

Over the road and into South Moor Park. It's just a little park, however I like riding through it,again memories I guess and after all I'm at that age lol. Along to the "Drift" I think it's called the drift as there used to be a drift mine, however not sure. Another one of those instances where you just know of somewhere and always called the place that, but not sure why. From the drift up the trail towards langley View and where the 3 stones used to be. I've spoken of the 3 stones before. This used to be a well know place that you could use to meet people in days gone past, before new fangled telephones. It connected South Moor to New Kyo easily. The 3 stones where situated at the top of the "Black Path" another well known place to locals, named the black path as it used to run past the mining slag heaps and hence was a black path from the old coal and dust. Off we head down the "Not so Black Path". To the top of South Moor coming out at Ivy Terrace. I remember in days gone by our family having what was known as a "party line" ((For you young'uns NO it wasn't like one of these 0800 numbers)  it was a shared line and we just happened to share ours with these right nutters who lived at the end of Ivy Terrace. From there it was across the playing field which used to be a huge pond at the bottom of the slag heaps. Again I can remember catching tadpoles and frogs as well as what I believe are now pretty rare, newts. Wow more memories of that field and how it has evolved. I can remember the pond drying out as the slag heaps where removed and camping on what became a field. Then there were things like bonfire night and looking for straight sticks to roast tatties on. On one occasion thinking I had found the perfect tattie roasting stick, however it had one small problem it had a piece of plastic stuck to the stick. So I pulled and pulled and the plastic came flying off, not before I realised the stick wasn't actually wooden, it was fibre glass and splintered as I pulled. One piece going straight through my thumb, the other left in my hand with the piece of plastic. I sounded like a whaling fire engine as I ran across the field home. There my dad pulled out the piece of rod from my thumb like it was some arrow as I looked away still whaaaa whaaaa whaaaaing!!! Oh and another Bonty night when I was a bit older being on the same field with the Cox brothers and this girl (I won't mention her name save embarassment) Anyhoo us lads had thrown a few aerosol cans on the fire and one went off with a loud bang. It must have shot the small rattly ball that you get in the can out as it hit this lass right in the arse and she ran home semi jumping and  crying holding her bottom while we were all rolling about laughing.

Dear me I'll never get to the end at this rate...Off up past the allotments to Oxhill, past the Ox Inn and rode on the field behind  Oxhill Community Centre, getting back on to the cycle path. You can certainly tell the kids have been off this last few weeks as the Lambrini girls have been out smashing all their bottles on the path. Now at Tesco's at the Plain. I still call it the Disco, lol, locals will know better than me why it got that name. Think it was when the old Co-op was there. From here it's a pretty straight forward ride along and over the footbridge, to come out past the industrial estate. Cross over past the little pond where people often fish and carry on along the path until we get to the C2C route at Greencroft. From here I decide to take John a slightly different route and we come out at Northumbrian Horse Holiday's at East Castle. We cross the road and head up to Pontop Pike.

The bank on the way up the Pike is a canny little tester, John and I do pretty well not stopping. I then show John the way and we head right up past the radio transmitter. Apparently 3 young lads climbed the 300ft mast a few weeks back. A very dumb thing to do.When they do something like this they must not think of the risk to themselves, not only that but the potential risk to others if they have to be rescued. Why not join a climbing group lads and do it properly? It's ages since I have been up this way. I know you come through Dipton woods. "Ah this way" I say to John and off I go full steam ahead down this trail. "Awww this is mint" I'm thinking as I belt down this down hill section, it's only then I realise "Ohh Shit" there are steps cut into the decent. Ahh well to late to hoy on the anchors I just go for it, ass hanging over the back end and using both my good and BTK knee's as suspension. I get to the bottom and I'm thinking "wish I had had a picture of that, it was class". I'm very surprised to see John a short time later having ridden down the steps too. "Well done m8" I say as I know John isn't quite as confident as me yet. "Well I had to just follow " he remarks "the steps came up on me so quickly I didn't have time to slam on the brakes".

From Dipton Docks we ride up the bank to High Stables and in the direction of Consett. Our goal McDonald's firmly in our minds. The whole way I'm whining "But John how can I do a blog we have no pictures yet". We are now at Leadgate and the Jolly drovers which is being made into a Carvery or something. I'm telling you my mate Carl had the best idea make it into a bike shop,come cafe,repair place, that also sells beer. Never mind might try it as a carvery when it opens. Back on the C2C and a uneventful ride up to McDonald's.

Once at our destination I mind the bikes and John heads off in search of Java and Muffins, oh and don't forget the sugar John. As he returns and we set about sugaring our coffee and unwrapping our muffins John produces a candle and puts it on to my muffin. We try in vain to get the candle to light however the wind has stolen my wish...dammit! I take the chance to grab a photo opportunity, well a blog without photo's is just unheard of. 

The B'Day McMuff
  We have a bit laugh and carry on then it's back on our bikes and the ride home. This is where we decided to grab some more pics and start mucking about.

My friend Mark in Utah does what he calls a "death angel", it's where he rides with no hands or feet upon  his pedals. I explain this to John and ask him to try and capture me doing a 3/4 death angel. I don't think I can do a full one as I would have to un-clip my BTK and that could be a bit dodgy. Yeah even more dodgy than riding with no hands and one fake leg attached lol I manage to pull one off and hope Mark appreciates my homage to him.

3/4 Death Angel
Just being Silly

 My McMuffin and coffee with 6 sugars has given me a sugar rush Wheeeee!!! We are now on the Morrison section and I am jumping off manhole covers. We stop and cross the road at Langley View and head back the park way taking various shots as we go.

Ooooh Pretty
I dunno why???

  I feel slightly better. I like acting the clown when I'm out with John as I know it cheers him up. It's tough not working, been there so know exactly how John feels, money is tight, feel like you have no prospects and everything is against you. At least when we are out it gives John some release and I'm happy I can entertain him for a few hours.

 I give John a bash on my Fat Bike as we are taking pictures "bloody hell it's like riding a tractor" he says with an enormous grin on his face. A few more pics taken at the bottom of the steps near the stream. Unfortunately these snaps didn't turn out as I was riding through the stream, a bit blurry as my camera was on auto and couldn't keep up with the action. 

A quick bit play on the steps in the Park and then we head home going half way up Park Road and turning and cutting past Westfields all the way along past another school I used to go to, Stanley Comp. Again more houses I suppose, so that means more Trolls and Orcs in Mordor. Then across Tyne Road through the Crescents and we are out at the shop opposite John's house. Bye Bye John see you tomorrow.

I get in to my dad fixing the local kids bikes. My dad says " I think there is a card from Mark or his mom" I pop my bike away and head indoors. Sure enough there is a card from Mark's mom Sandy, my adoptive mom. I am well chuffed what a great way to round off my birthday. Can't believe it's arrived on my birthday. I read the card and smashing note that's inside. I then come straight up to my bedroom strip off my sweaty gear and pen a letter immediately. I firstly write it out on my puter, then copy it using a pen and paper. I'm trying so hard to keep my writing neat and straight. After 2 and a half pages I give up. I have to admit defeat and decide to explain I can't write the letter in my letter and I print off a return reply. I have been to Spec Savers and the advert is indeed correct "should have gone to Spec Savers" I need reading glasses. Anyhoo long story short decided to buy a tent instead, but hey that's a whole other adventure...


  1. Brilliant ! Love how you capture the past and the present all in one.

  2. Cheers Mick, wow they come and go so fast :)

  3. Class mate good times!lovely muffin too numm numm numm lol