balsaboy

Competitive Dad?

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May 102011
 

This morning, whilst i sipped my cup of tea, my partner made up the kids lunch box for school and my daughter sang something almost recognisable as Mumford & Sons (or was it kum bay ya, my Lord…), my son took a gulp of his milk and quietly but purposefully moved his Castle, putting me in checkmate.

Whilst i am no Robert Fischer, he is only six years old.

I’m quite impressed.

I’m also very proud :-)

Sep 062010
 

I was just installing a new WordPress pluggin so i can include some photo galleries to brighten my blog up when i came across some photos from the testing in Spain in February. So i uploaded them to Picasa and now i’m hoping the pluggin will work so you can see the images (i promise to try and find something a bit more interesting for the next blog!)

Hmmm, doesn’t seem to be working, give me a minute….

[photoxhibit=2]






OK, so now it appear to be working. If you hover over the image it’ll pause and you’ll get some text about the image (if i wrote any that is!). If you click on it, you’ll get a big version of the image come up.
N.B. i noticed that some of the images are actually from the Stowe shakedown a few days before we flew out to Spain. There is one or two photos of us driving from Jerez to Barcelona – what a driver that was: Most people went home between tests but a few were needed in Barcelona staright away. It was sold to me as apparently even though the drive is seriously long (circa 12 hours), you get to see a lot of Spain including some pretty spectacular mountains. The problem we had was that is rained most of the way there and on the mountain run, we were actually in the clouds and could see chuff all – great!

Sep 022010
 

So as those regular readers will remember (if only i had any – Ha!) the “Drink!” post explained my regular visits to the Peterborough Beer Festival, and the fact i couldn’t go this year due to work commitments (see the “Spa” post).

So, upon landing at West Midlands airport from my work jaunt abroad, i re-enabled the data roaming on my phone to find a number of Facebook notification from Peterborough beer festival. Strangely, as i observed the photos it appeared that i had actually gone to the Peterborough beer festival without realising it – was i caught in some metaphysical singularity, was Spa just a dream (for “dream” re “nightmare”) or had someone been a bit handy with photoshop? Oh no, to all of the aforementioned….

You see Nige, my mate, works at one of those places where they have giant printers. He carefully extracted a photo of me from last year’s beer festival and put some company property to good (well funny) use. Printing me out on a large piece of cardboard and cutting me from my surroundings, he carted me (well my cardboard image) from York to Peterborough (on the train) and took me to the beer fest… apparently not only did i have a good time, but i pulled several times and have the photos to prove it :-)

I have no more memories of the beer festivals that i actually did go to, to this year’s that i didn’t, but at least i’ve got a lot of photos to prove i had a great time. Thanks guys, it really does mean a lot. x

Nige, me and Eddy with a pint at the 2010 Peterborough Beer Festival

Eddy, Me, Lou and Nige

Stu, me and Nige

Sep 012010
 

It took us around an hour and a half to drive from Brussels airport to our hotel just outside the small town of Spa. The monotony of the first part of the journey encouraged me to remove the iPhone from my pocket and watch an episode of Band of Brothers. The harrowing story followed the men of Easy Company during the Battle of the Bulge, whilst they tried to hold the town of Bastogne. It wasn’t until the episode had finished, that the dramatic change of scenery presented itself – We were in the Ardennes, the very area that had been fought over so hard by the Allies and Germany, and that i’d just being watching on the tiny screen of my iPhone. The realisation was a bit of a shock, and put into perspective the task ahead of us over the following days.

Each circuit on the F1 calendar has its little quirks – its little points of interest. Corners that are unusual in some way, or a unique series of corners designed to challenge the very best of drivers or unique settings, such as Monaco. Spa is different. Spa has Eau Rouge.

Strictly speaking Eau Rouge is one corner, but the name now popularly describes three corners, the first of which is at the bottom of a hill, with the last being on the blind brow of a very steep hill. The thing that makes this so impressive is two things – how steep the hill is and how big the drivers balls must be to exit the last corner at around 300kph not being able to see the exit of the corner. There have been many big shunts.

The circuit is just over 7km long a weaves its way through the woods of the Ardennes – an impressive sight, with equally impressive weather: Rain clouds form here from no where, invariably dropping their contents on only part of the circuit. Tyre choices become extremely interesting when a slick tyre can have you off on one of the rain drenched corners, or the intermediates can perish in only a few laps due to large sections of dry circuit. Eau Rouge is just one of a number of seriously impressive corners. So far its been the only circuit that’s made me want to jump in a fast car drive it as fast as i can.

Looking up Eau Rouge

Looking up Eau Rouge

Aug 232010
 

It’s the Peterborough Beer Fest this weekend: Its the second largest in the country and has something daft like a couple of hundred real ales on – nice. I’ve been going for the last five or so years and it’s become the annual meet for me and some of my old school pals. Unfortunately, it’s the Belgium GP this weekend and i’ll be there with work. On the face of it, being at the GP is great, but as it’s my job i can’t get too excited about it. Stress and 20 hour days are the norm. So i’ll be thinking about the guys, and wishing i was there getting toasted :-)

Nige, Chris and Stu

Nige, Chris and Stu