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31 Aug


Winning is sometimes

a stand on the podium

a victory clasp,

a medal or a cup.

But sometimes it means keeping on:

making steps, one foot and then the other;

a refusal to lay down and surrender;

to love and never give up.

Bradley Wiggins Tour of Britain Win 2013



The Shock of the New

4 Nov

New hair, new dress;

new girl, new bike:

Spells danger!

Cavendish and Wiggins

3 Nov

Loser today, winner tomorrow.
Photo by Ru

Here’s a picture of Mark I took at the Nottingham to Knowsley stage of the Tour of Britian this year. He didn’t look that happy and I learnt afterwards that he’d just lost out on the stage to Leigh Howard of Orica Green Edge. He was kind enough to sign my tour programme for me, despite me momentarily turning into a dumb, gawping lump.

I happily watched him on TV the next day put this defeat behind him, powering pheonmenally past all the other competitors as if jet propelled, to win the stage.

Years of focus and determination have got Bradley where he is today.

And here’s a picture of Bradley.Things were pretty hectic round the Sky tour bus but he seemed to take it all in his stride, signing as many autographs as he could and smiling and posing for photographs. After the race presentations huge crowds of people appeared; the bus was swamped!

Seeing these two cycle heroes in the flesh was a timely reminder about staying focused. In order to get where they are now, they’ve had to keep believing in themselves, no matter what their critics say or how utterly crap things seem.In short, tune out all the other distractions and persist.


Don’t Give Up On Your Dreams

16 Aug

It’s hard to believe the last time I wrote on here I was thrilling about sickly cup cakes, I feel like I would throw up if I ate one today. Come July, I’d been working furiously for ages, trying to wrestle the last six chapters of “State of my Heart” to the ground; I was stressed and anxious, though I was drinking so many cups of coffee I didn’t notice how I was feeling. The last week of last month was especially bad: To say it was crap is something of an understatement.

A few weeks down the line, after a week’s stay in hospital and enforced rest at my parents and still not ready yet to get back into my “normal life” and despite the queasy feeling on my stomach I am going to reflect on what I thought before I got ill – God willing – it will speed up my recovery. This is what I was thinking at the height of “Tour De France” mania on July 18th:

This morning I was about on the computer this morning in a rage and found what I wrote almost a year ago (What makes late summer so impossible?) “What to Do if You Think You’re Falling Apart”:

‘1. You carry on.  Say to “hell with it, I’m going to carry on doing what I’m doing, and ignore everything else.

2. Or you give up.  Go and jump off a bridge or a tall building or something.

I don’t see the point in the latter so what about the first?’ See link.

And I went on to quote Mark Cavendish. Well, I suppose there’s no ignoring one’s own advice! Though I think the Dutch cyclist Johnny Hoogerland from this year’s Tour De France sums up things well this year.  He bravely carried on with what is reckoned to be one of the hardest races in the world, despite being ripped to shreds after falling into a barbed wire.

“The Tour de France has been a dream of mine for ten years,” Hoogerland pointed out. “I have to keep on smiling. I’m still in the race, so why would I cry?” See link

Thirty three stiches – ouch excruciating – and he not only kept the polka dot jersey for a couple of days he completed the entire 3,430.5 kilometres of the twenty one stage race.

Rudyard Kipling also had something valuable to say on the matter:

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’


What Do You Do When You Think You’re Falling Apart?

12 Jul

When one’s life is falling apart, (as I see it,) you have two choices.

  1. You carry on.  Say to “hell with it, I’m going to carry on doing what I’m doing, and ignore everything else.”
  2. Or you give up.  Go and jump off a bridge or a tall building or something.

I don’t see the point in the latter – so what about the first? I read an interview with Mark Cavendish the other day in The Times. He’s also had a sort of rubbish year by all accounts – grandma dying, best mate in a road accident,  brother going to prison, health problems.   He was talking about the tour (De France) but he could have been describing writing a novel:

“It is more than a job or an ambition. It is my passion, the think that makes me tick, the thing I wake up thinking about. But the pain is not a negative. It is inseparable from the high you get from riding the Tour.”

(3.7.10. The Times.)

He had a terrible first few days. During the 4th stage sprint before the end, he visibly appeared to give up and drew back from fully sprinting to the finish. Things didn’t look good – what a comedown for him after his six stage wins in last years Tour. But he came back the next day and with awesome support from his team he won the fifth stage in dazzling style. No air of defeat this time, he rode like it the last ride he was ever going to do.

What did Nietzsche say? “What does not kill me, makes me stronger.” Or was it Kanye West? And what about Muse? “Rise up and take the power back… We will be victorious!” (A very strange coincidence I thought, that they chose to cut the footage of Cavendishes’ tearful win with this song on ITV 4.)

To hell with misery, I say. I  will not give up, I’ll carry on. I will finish this novel.

Uber fabulous August

16 Sep

It’s September, which is officially I guess, the end of the summer. Time for some reflection – i.e. get back to some blogging. John Barrowman aside (and the lack of sun!) there have been some uber fabulous August moments.

I’ve managed to complete chapter eighteen and most of chapter nineteen of  “State of my Heart”, which is incredibly cool. They’re two of the darkest chapters so far, but probably the best.Where are they all off to?

Heard the premiere of  the sexy sci-fi romp, Muse’s Uprising. Went full on demented for five minutes in the kitchen, before remembering to check on the tea. (Fortunately, it wasn’t burnt as I’d have been in trouble. It was our anniversary dinner!)

Was also a witness to a very grand spectacle – U2’s 360 degree tour. I’ve never seen a show on such a scale.

Is it from another galaxy?The sound was incredible, (especially when you consider the size of the stadium.) So was the 164 foot “claw” stage. The lights were wild. The spotlights during “City of Blinding Lights” shot up miles into the sky. Best songs, were: City of Blinding Lights (those spotlights!), “I Still Haven’t Found” (was I crying, for goodness sake, in that one?)”Where the Streets Have No Name” (always a winner), the football chant style “Vertigo,” the brilliantly bonkers remix of “Crazy Tonight”. It was no less of a spectacle afterwards to see tens of thousands of folks pouring out and filling the city!

After that I managed to steal away for a week’s cold but thrilling, cycling and camping in Scotland with Mr. F. Got back on my mountain bike after nearly a year – hurrah!  I’d forgotten what true freedom is.  It was cold in Scotland.  But the end of the week the temperature plummeted to 11 degrees (in the day.) But we rounded off the week in style with couple of razzle dazzle nights on the town in Newcastle. What a great city that is! I’m always sad when I leave.

That’s I suppose that’s it, for fun. It’s time to put my nose firmly back to that grind-stone…

Chapter eighteen at last, Two Tour De France victories and a bit of Muses’ Resistance.

31 Jul

What’s this I spot on the horizon?  No…it can’t be…chapter eighteen! According to my (totally erroneous) calculation I should have finished this chapter in March. OK so it hasn’t stopped me from being excited. Unreasonably so. It not only happens to be one of the oldest chapters it’s the “heart” of “The State of My Heart” – ha, ha! It’s awesome. It’s also dark. I have fortunately, found plenty of things to take me out of my scribblings and wake me up to the fact that I am still Evangeline and not fiendish Luke Joseph.

Our fab guy, Mark C!

Last week was grand, for British cycling. Mark Cavendish seemed to  quickly get over his disagreement with Thor Hushovd and came back, stronger than ever. One amazing hill win at Aubenas on a category two climb and on the Champs Elysée, taking his stage wins to six! Bradley Wiggens, Fourth! Don’t know what the world is coming to. When did we last win anything in The Tour De France?

Muse’s fantastically, OTT, “United States of Eurasia” was finally “unlocked” (no, I don’t understand it either) by some long-suffering fans on their web-site so the whole thing could be heard. What a song!  As it built towards the chorus it sounded like it was going to burst into “We are the Champions” .  A bit unnerving. But I can’t remember the last time however I listened to rock with  as grand as pretensions, since 1991, when Freddie (Mercury) died. The Chopin is incredible – a stroke of crazy Bellamy genius.  (It’s also v.  moving if you watch the promo on you tube.)Muse's forthcoming album