Sunday, November 20, 2011

Settling In

Somehow, I've found myself back doing twelve-hour shifts, two days, two nights & four days off. At least this time, it's only for a couple of weeks just to get familiar with the finishing plant. Alas, there was no fifty percent pay increase this time. My first week at work was spent mostly meeting all sorts of people around the company & learning what they do, as well as reading a lot & trying to get my head around the polymerisation process of making SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber).

I've settled into a nice big room (lodging locally) with plenty of storage for bikes, skis & other necessary items. It's an arduous two-minute drive to work (I will bike when I finish shift work & get organised) & the New Forest is a few hundred metres away in the other direction. I'm also interested to find the history of the kiln of Lime Kiln Lane, off which my street runs. My first weekend here I went for a little explore on my bike in the forest. With a stack of trails off the net on my GPS I just headed out to see what I might find. Pleasantly, I bumped into some local riders & tagged along with them. So I got to find some of the better trails (it's all pretty flat, but more than enough to amuse me mid-week), avoid the steers, ponies, donkeys & the trained falcons. Somehow my intended two hour explore ended up well over fifty kilometres, four hours & all the way to Brockenhurst & Lyndhurst.

That afternoon I popped down to Hythe to take the little ferry across to Southampton to have a look around - rather, to finally get a decent phone. The ferry takes about fifteen minutes - which is almost as long as it would take to walk the length of the pier (one of the ten longest in the country). But it works out well that there is the oldest pier railway in the world to get you to the end. It is a rather rickety ride down the pier in cute little carriages pulled by a tiny little electric engine. The ferry ride itself is also interesting as Southampton is a big port & there are usually cruiseliners & other big ships around.
I really didn't take many photos - there is pier there somewhere
The local MTB club had their fortnightly ride the day after, & feeling a little tired I dragged myself off north of Ringwood to Braemore. It was a very pleasant drive through the countryside, crossing into Wiltshire & then back into Hampshire. It turned out to be a big group - about forty riders - that split into four groups to keep things moving on. Once again, it was a flat ride & we managed about thirty kilometres of bridleways & the odd connecting road. Although it has still been quite the mild & dry autumn, the ride was an exercise in getting covered in mud. The worse part was the half a mile or so of road outside a pig farm. The road was just one ordeal of riding through sloppy shitty mud. That caused all sorts of chain-suck problems for me for the next few miles, but they eventually disappeared. All in all a nice little ride to get out & meet some locals.

My return appointment to get the results of my MRI was last Tuesday, so I spent the day up in London. As expected, the front of the capsule in my shoulder is torn. I was given the choice of surgery or not; it could well be OK if I sat still for the rest of my life. But the desire to go riding, skiing or do other interesting things isn't likely to abate - so I chose the surgery option. Now I just have to see the shoulder specialist & then wait for the operation. So that could be a good three to six months away - which makes it a little hard to plan trips as I would be wingless for at least two weeks afterwards.

1 comment:

  1. its so funny reading all those place names, they are totally familiar to me, even though I've never been to any of them, because my family is from that area (several generations back) and my granny kept in touch with all the distant cousins, so she was always talking about those places. I look forward to more photos :)