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Eldest Son tried out the Bakfiets for size on one of the last warm days this year. He’s almost big enough to ride it himself.

No matter how mucky your bike may be, always check the weather report before cleaning it.

Yesterday I decided that my bikes were so filthy it was getting embarrassing so I cleaned them. So today it rained. And then I realised I’d forgotten to go to Beautiful God-Daughter’s music recital yesterday evening*, so I rode over to apologise, only to discover that the farmers had been out ploughing the fields and the lanes to the next village are covered in mud which of course got splattered all over my bike.

A fair bit also applied itself to my clothes: I think the whole ‘Cycle Chic’ ethos is better suited to places with dry climates and/or a lack of farming activity.

On the other hand I got a music recital from Beautiful God-daughter and her brother, so I’m not complaining.

*A combination of exams, baby, et c, and being plain disorganised.

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Present construction: Wind chimes for Beautiful Wife made by All The Boys (One piece of wood each). The carpentry apprenticeship hasn’t been much fun, but now I have the skills to use as I want to…

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Beautiful Daughter crashed into the wider world about an hour and a half into December.

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Once she decided she was coming it took about thirty minutes before were holding a beautiful, wriggly baby with functioning vocal chords, which she tested pretty well immediately.

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The hospital staff took one look at Beautiful Wife’s medical history and decided she could probably manage another child pretty well, especially with The Boys helping out, so they’re letting her come home today.

She just called to say she’s allowed to come home around ten, and the apartment is a right mess…

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…one Tiny Person. Beautiful Wife and myself had a lift to the local hospital* this afternoon, and we are now waiting for the smaller person to make their mind up about coming, or not. From past experience, there will be a long wait until the baby decides they want to come now and then things happen very quickly, so although I’ve been sent off home, the phone is staying close by.

I’ve been offered lifts by various kind people, but I reckon that by the time I get to their home, wake them up, they get ready and we can drive off, I’d be halfway to the hospital, so it will be a nighttime Xtracycle ride at some point probably early in the morning.

*Beautiful Wife having rejected suggestions that she ride herself or be carried by Bakfiets: I can’t think why…

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I’m working towards my final carpentry project and as usual, using hand tools as much as possible; much to the disgust of my employer. One of the tools they disapprove of is this ‘Record No. A51′ spokeshave, inherited from my granddad (who featured here). It is looking a little battered and due for a repaint but still working well after at least seventy years of use.

I’ve found a surprising amount of jobs for it to do these last few months. Will have to smuggle it into the exam room next year.

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While on my way to an appointment in our local big town, I came across this.

For the benefit of our local councillors I should explain that this is called a ‘cycle lane’, and is a place where ‘bicycles’ can be used safely and conveniently by people of all ages and abilities.

Significantly this is part of a ‘cycle network’ which means lots of these are connected together, so that people have a choice of transport mode and don’t have to use a car.

I can explain the concept in detail if any local government officials are having difficulty with it. Judging by past experience I suspect that is most of them.

Theory exams are over: no more revision and maths equations, hurrah…

Day one was ‘general exams': Business Studies, humanities and German. I am pretty sure the person writing the business studies exam wrote it for a different course, possibly in a parallel universe, but I muddled through.

There had been rumours of a ‘creative writing’ question for German, but I’d not taken much notice, so I was rather surprised to find one in the exam paper. I don’t know if I passed but I did have at least enjoy myself.

I have occasional panic attacks in exams, and on this occasion one kicked in about an hour an a half into the two-hour ‘important’ exam on day two. (obviously, no point in panicking in an unimportant exam, is there?) It is most frustrating to read a question, know that I understand it, know that I know the answer and should be able to write it straight away and move on, but to not have the foggiest idea what the answer is.

Day three was two hours of Technical drawing. I made a couple of mistakes but they were relatively small, (forgot to show the direction of the grain in a veneer tut, tut…) so hopefully that will pull my grades up to a more acceptable level.

And… relax….

Not quite. I have to present my idea for the final project to my employer next week, so I have to prepare the proposal, with reasons I’d like to do what I want to do. Thankfully some long suffering friends have already corrected/translated the text, so all I need to do now is take one last photo and put it in ready to print. The photo is of a prototype that I haven’t quite finished building yet, but that is a minor detail.

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At the height of apple season I found one of the trees about to break under the weight of fruit. Not wanting to be the one to tell our landlord that we’d killed one of his beloved apple trees, I improvised this temporary support with extra padding so the wood wasn’t damaged.

As the late Douglas Adams said, you should always know where your towel is.

The next day I came back wit the cyclists solution to all things broken: used inner tubes.

 

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This is the most interesting picture I could make of ‘revising for a carpentry exam’. As you probably know, the actual revision is even less exciting. I’m still hiding away from distractions like the internet, hence woodwork bench in the background.

All the theory exams are next week because obviously the best way to see if someone has understood two and a bit years of learning is to give them a couple of hours of multiple choice questions.

Today was supposed to be Business Studies revision, leaving the next two days free for doing maths. Except that with perfect timing, I’ve picked up a cold, I’m thoroughly groggy and can’t think straight.

Urg. Whine.

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