Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Barge Trip

Kate and I had planned to go on little 3-day barge trip for a while.
Unfortunately our breakup changed the plans a bit.
I did end up going with a few of my colleagues and friends.

We got to Lee Valley Boats Center early
Friday afternoon and checked out our boat, Emily. A 68ft long canal boat!!!
It would have fitted 10 people but we were only 6, Duncan, Roger, Jarkko, Tina, Kym and I. So, there was going to be plenty of space just in case we would not get along ;).

Before leaving though, we had to quickly buy some food and booze!
This was when the first rain poured down on us... nothing like a british summer weekend!

After a few driving lessons we took off north to the first lock and on to the next...
We had to do all the lock handling ourselves, which turned out to be quite some fun and by the end we had a good "team setup".

The weather started clearing up and it started getting darker.
We made it all the way to Ware, where we decided to have dinner at a little pub.
The food was great and the weather got worse, it started pouring down like crazy.
Back on the boat we ended up drinking more wine and beer and played some card games til late that night.

The next morning started out with a bit of sun and we made our way up to Hertford. We planned to visit a castle there, but it turned out to be a bit different than we expected. It wasn't really anything to visit.
But, we got some more shopping done (because we drank all the booze already)
and made our way back down the river.
That night we cooked ourselves and just ate, drank and talked till late.

On Sunday we went up further north towards Harlow.
We had plenty of sunshine and the river was much narrower and also prettier.
Plenty of locks and nice scenery.

It was a very peaceful ride on the boat, with no more than 5mph. But it sometimes can be too peaceful. So, we ended up doing silly things like
cartwheels on the roof,

or climbing up and down bridges while the boat passes underneath it ;)

We got back to Broxbourne oround 17:00h on Sunday.
It was a very relaxing weekend and everyone seemed to have enjoyed it.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Two Eventful Months

I did more wakeboarding, almost twice a week since I got it.
Unfortunately the bindings broke due to a material fault, but I got
them replaced for some better ones.
I am learning a few tricks like jumping kickers with 180 turns,
doing spins, ... but it is all going quite slowly.
It is a lot of fun though and a good balance for my rather inactive job.

End of July Kate and I went to Edinburgh for a long weekend to see a Tom Waits concert.
It was fantastic and one of the few live concerts I truly enjoyed.

The rest of the weekends, weather permitting it, I went skydiving.
I have joined the Skydive Weston club, a much
bigger drop zone than London Parachute School.
In the last 2 months I did more jumps there than the entire year before.

The dropzone is open from Fr. afternoon until Sun. night. Going back to
London on Sat. and return early Sun. morning seems pretty silly, so I bought a tent,
a mattress and a sleeping bag. It is not as comfortable as a VW mini bus,
which I really really want, but oh so much cheaper. Which means more money
left to spend on jump tickets.

Besides doing quite a number of solo jumps, I started jumping 2-ways,
which are much more fun and I learned loads about flying in formation.

Two weeks ago I passed all my tests for the B-license with my 50th jump :).
And last weekend I passed my Formation Skydiving 1 test, which means
I am now allowed to jump with others, or better: I am considered safe to jump with :).

As you can see in the video below I still have lots to learn.
Honestly, I did the same jump before this one and it all went much smoother!
I just blame it on exam phobia! ;)

I now have 64 jumps with a total of over 50min freefall. With having my B license and FS1
I need to set myself some new goals for this year.
So, I am aiming to get up to at least 100 jumps and have my own parachute rig before the end of the year.

Unfortunately the last 2 months were not just all fun.
Cate and I broke up :(
It's been a great 3 years with her and she was the sweetest and most loving girlfriend I have ever been with.
But it just did not work out, we somehow just don't match.