Monthly Archives: April 2009

Out for a sunday morning drive…

I spent this weekend shooting in the woods in Tonypandy and despite the occasional downpour had a really good time. However, one of the nice things about shooting in The Valleys meant that I got to drive along some of the best driving roads that you can find.

For possibly the best route from Neath to Brecon, head out of Neath eastwards on the B4287. When you get to the end of this road take note of all the high level railway bridges that remain, a sure indicator of how busy this area once used to be!!

Turn left onto the A4107 and you start heading up the valley. After passing through Cymer and Blaengwynfi you start making some serious headway up over the valley head, switchbacks and sheep-on-the-road are things to look forward to!!

There is a place to park (and quite often an icecream van) when you arrive at the A4061. If you do use it you can look out and along the valley towards Treorchy, a thousand feet below you. Sticking to the A4061 through Treorchy and Treherbert you head up the Rhondda Valley (a climb of 800ft), passed the source of the River Rhondda and when you get to the top you are greated by yet another view and a 300ft drop to the valley bottom… yep, more switchbacks!!

When you arrive at the A465, ignore it. Head straight over and onto the A4059 and you’ll be on a road that heads into the Brecon Beacons National Park. A near empty road that you’ll only share with the sheep, which’ll take you all the way up finally joining the A470 for the final run into Brecon at the Beacons Reservoir by the Storey Arms; the perfect place for making the ascent up Pen y Fan, the highest mountain in Southern Britain!!

Fifty miles and 90 minutes of fabulous driving.

And I’ve not even mentioned the A4069 from Brynammen to Llanadog over the The Black Mountain. Often appears in Top Gear as a lovely, empty road… straightish bits for going fast, bendy bits for going slow and sheepy bits for dodging!!

I’ve not mentioned this, these roads can be our little secret, ok??

Now go have some fun!!

Shiny…

I was a little bored this afternoon and having been told off yesterday for going out shooting and not returning in time for dinner* I decided to stay home and do a few of the small chores that I’ve been meaning to do for a while.

Like clean my car.

It’s now empty, washed and even waxed and looking all shiny.

Willing to bet that when I get up tomo some pigeon will have emptied it’s load all over the bonnet!! ;o)

* – I do put shooting over dinner, when I’m by myself dinner ends up beeing about 10pm after it gets too dark to carry on shooting!!

Moving on…

This weekend we moved my sister from one place near Oxford to somewhere near Gloucester…

She had a lot of stuff and as she was living in an upstairs appartment there was a lot of carrying stuff downstairs.

Thankfully the new place had a garage and a downstairs so were were able to dump most of the stuff down there and leave her and her boyfriend to sort out where everything goes!!

Moving house does make a very good argument for living in a bungalow!!

Living like pigs…

Somewhere out there, there is a television producer who honestly can’t believe his luck. Somehow he or she has convinced the BBC to put on a programme called; ‘My Life As An Animal‘ in which double-Z list celebs spend four days living with animals (tonight it’s pigs) to gain “an inside into how animals live”.

What it really is, is a chance to see people living like pigs.

On yer bike…

As a semi-regular cyclist* I often pick up on bits and pieces of news for cyclists. I however manage a lot more travel in my car so news that effects driving also catches my eye. So you can imagine my joy at the apparent news that cyclists may soon be allowed to “jump” red lights in London.

Ignoring the fact that the majority of cyclists, especially in London, seem to think that red lights are mearly serving suggestions already!!

I know that they often say that people who drive cars get in their little metal box and seem to think that they are safe from all forms of harm. What I just don’t seem to get is the fact that a large number of cyclists seem to think exactly the same. There seems to be something about getting on a road bike, strapping on a cycle helmet and squeezing into lycra shorts that means coming within inches of getting crushed by the wheels of my car is perfectly acceptable. When I do take one out I fully intend on getting a little crossed out cyclist to put on my car a.k.a. Top Gun style.

Don’t get me started on those that are out at night with no lights and wearing dark clothing!!

* – well, I’ve fixed my brakes this weekend so maybe a bit more is on the cards

My special skill…

…is the ability to wake up at 4am.

Every morning.

Which wouldn’t be too bad if it wasn’t for the fact that my alarm clock is set for 7am. What makes it all the more strange is that it doesn’t matter what time I go to sleep; I still awake a 4am. In fact, even the changing of the clocks to BST made no change. Before the change I awoke at 4am and after the change I awoke at 4am!!

One day I bet I’m going to have to get up at 4am and you know what…?? That’ll be the day when I sleep through!!

Bustin’…

Yesterday I was shooting out in the depths of Essex, somewhere just off the A12. Coming back I decided that I would pop into South Mimms services for what I believe our American cousins call “a comfort break.”

However things conspired to prevent this, naming being the M25 a traffic jam.

But no fear, I dive of the M25 and head towards London on the M11. This is roughly the right direction and I could always cut around somewhere… for instance on the North Circular which was a really good idea… until I got to Finchley and found yet again more stationary traffic.

Forty minutes later (and a mile down the road) I took the opertunity to head towards Central London yet again, this time on the A1… stop-start traffic due to traffic lights, but it was moving… until I got to Kings Cross where it stopped… I don’t know why it was stopped, but certainly the broken-down Alfa in the Euston Underpass didn’t help matters.

At this point in time it’s been two hours since I set off and I’m still waiting for my comfort break. Or discomfort as it was now.

Cutting down towards Westminster on Regent’s Street didn’t seem to be a good idea… that was pretty solid but a quick U-turn later and a shortcut through Mayfair sent me through Knightsbridge and the A4.

The nine mile queue of traffic on the A4 due to a closure at Olymipa, thankfully, was in the opposite direction but I’m telling you, when I was able to pull into the Heston Services on the M4, over three hours after thinknig that I’d quite like to stop… well, I was a relieved man!!

Just don’t look…

I don’t know if anyone here has tried out the newish Google ‘Streetview’ but the couple of times I’ve gone looking for things I’ve found it quite cool. I know I’m not the only person with such a view however it seems that there are those who seem to think that if any sort of image of their house appears on such a thing like the “internet” it will become an imediate target to all thieves, robbers and general bad-doers.

Such people can be found in the village of Broughton in Buckinhamshire woh when they saw the purveyors of this magic called “technology” came out and blocked the progress of the car, called the police and accused Google of facilitating  crime. They had no problems with the outsides of their houses to be shown to the whole population of the country on the BBC lunchtime news and on the BBCi as seen here: BBC

And those of you who actually looked, well, I hope you had your eyes closed or you to were invading their privacy!!

Magic ‘e’…

I love watching tv with the subtitles, especially live programmes like The News because then you quite often get mistakes and misspellings. Yesterday for example they talked about the “chock” downs that have become Britain’s newest National Park. Or the indecision of whether Henry VIII’s boat, The Mary Rose, was called Mary Rose or Maryrose… that old one-word-or-two conundrum….

However I came across an even better example while watching that great Tommy Lee Jones movie on E4 last night. Volcanoe. Yeah, that’s right, VolcanoE, with an E4 magic ‘e’.

If it’s on TV it must be true!!!