Friday, 31 October 2008

Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

I mentioned that I hired a bicycle in San Francisco and cycled the Golden Gate Bridge. This was my first time in the saddle for 13 years, and then in Croatia I also hired a bicycle.

Fired up with these wonderful outings I came home and purchased my own bicycle. I ordered it from halfords which is a story in its own and only took 4 visits before i actually collected it. Where I live there is a 3 mile triangle which I thought would be a good daily exercise however I do live on a bit of a hill. Now how good this is going to be I am not sure, first I am not here everyday with all my travel and then what does happen here everyday is the rain. But I was determined to have a go.

I ordered the bicycle before Croatia but didn't finally collect it till the day before I went to Denmark, so today was the first time I cycled for the second consecutive day but my 5th outing in total. All i can say is with the extra padding on my backside it should not ache as much as it does. In fact I also had a flu vaccination today and my arm hurts but not as bad as my backside.

Currently there are 2 small inclines I have yet to manage one at about halfway by the creamery and the second the last 100 yards, but I will get there eventually.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Party for a Good Cause

On Friday evening I was privileged to attend a fundraising Gala Ball at the Europa Hotel in Belfast. The Phantom Ball was themed on Gaston Leroux’s classic French novel ‘Le Fantôme de l´Opéra’.

I was invited by a great friend Joanne Stuart who is a Trustee of the Integrated Education Fund. The Integrated Education Fund (IEF) is a financial foundation for the development and growth of integrated education in Northern Ireland which I believe is a very important element in the ongoing peace and growth of Northern Ireland, which I have called home for the last 13 years.

Joanne who is also Chairman of the IOD Northern Ireland, had selected a table of 10 wonderful ladies several of whom I had not met before. I had a fantastic evening and have hopefully made new friends.

The evening I believe was a great success and I hope we are one step forward towards a integrated education system that does not need a fund to make it happen.

Thank you Joanne

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Making the Most of Travel

In my other blog I talk about the many conferences I get to attend, and want to make them informative about the work that the UKOUG do, but I also want to enjoy all the travel. My daughter is now at university so with no one at home I can take advantage of the wonderful places I get to visit and do more than just the airport and hotel.

So a few weeks ago it was OOW in San Francisco which I think is my favourite american city. I stayed for the weekend after the event. I was using 'frequent sleeper miles' (I love that term) for 2 nights in the Hilton and was to actually pay for the extra night in the Marriott but after the Elevator incident (see the other blog), the gave me the night free, thank you.

Conference finished on the Friday I after finishing up all the outstanding work I went to the baseball, the San Francisco Giants v the LA Dodgers, my first american sports event. I was amased at how family orinantated it was, and even more surprised at how big a stand Oracle had that was mainly empty, as an important Oracle customer who attended OOW I think they should have offered tickets to those who stayed on.

On the saturday I cycled over the Golden Gate Bridge an ambition I have had for a few years, and I loved it. I havent been on a bicycle for 12 years and that in itself was a big challenge but I didnt back out, even when I realised that my left hand would not be able to work the front brake. A few years ago I broke my left wrist at an EOUC Presidents meeting in Amsterdam and it is pretty screwed up, although it is amazing how the human body compensates for issues. Anyway we cycled from Pier 39 upto the bridge (well walked up the hills), across the bridge and down to Sausalito, and then the traditional ferry back. I loved every minute of it and if you ever get the chance do it. We used blazing saddles who I ahve to say are very efficient and the bikes were excellent.

I would love to show you photos but I lost my camera! actually I have covinced myself that I threw it away, after the cycle I went to the Boudin Bakery on pier 39, something else you must do, but I think I put my camera that was around my wrist on the tray and then threw it away, I was so tired I didnt even realise I had lost it till the next day.

So Sunday I had no camera, and I went to the Folsom Street Fair, quite an experience especially if you don't know what is is about. Anywhere else and I would have been offended but in San Francisco anything goes, it is so liberal that people do their own thing, for themselevs and are not intimadating or 'in your face' or demanding of their rights or anything but people simply having fun.