Monday, 2 March 2015

MusicMonday - moods

It's been a mad few weeks, mindblock is a pain - but here's a music monday for you!

Today it's based on moods - mine is a bit cloudy right now, this landed in my suggestions on youtube and fit my mood perfectly. The weird thing is I'm happy! Really weird no?
Do you have a moody song? Let us know and we'll add it here!

Savlonic - Android  (Eqavox Remix Album version)

The London Bike Show 2015 - An epic day out!

Last week me, the girls and their friend, L took on one of the busiest cycling events in London bar Critical mass. The London Bike Show 2015

We were promised a plethora of fun for all the family and I'm happy to say they didn't disappoint here, with the tied in nature of the London bike show and the Telegraph Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show it wasn't long before we got our bearings and worked our away around seeing where the day would take us, starting off at the British Triathlon Trust's stand, where the girls were spoilt with colouring in and a mini triathlon, with the girls pulling off some very impressive times for their ages.
While they tried to beat the clock I discovered a dancing goat - It was at this moment we knew we'd picked the right day to attend, as everyone working the event were ramping up the madness for the last day, you just knew.
A video posted by Paul Hooker (@hooker1uk) on

It's time to test some toys, firstly the Islabike Bienn 20 and 24 small. L is less confident but jumped on and once she found her footing she took to it like a duck to water, similar to Lissy, who's looking for a new bike at the moment and seemed shocked that she needed a 20 inch bike compared to her 14 inch wheeled bike she currently rides. From here it was Daddies turn to test some Boxer Cycles utility trikes, mainly the Shuttle and the Rocket, I have to say I scream like a girl on the shuttle with the girls in the front, mainly down to how it steers on top of the power it has under the hood, suffice to say it's fast and fun.
Similarly the Rocket is a one stop mad transporter machine, pimped out for fast paced fun with uprated suspension, indicators, lights and horn to help keep you and your precious cargo safer.

From here the children wanted more fun and thanks to activities from
SuperBloc, Guide dogs for the blind, DMR Bikes, and much more for them to see and do. Leaving the kids buzzing with anticipation for next year. From a parents point of view - An amazing day for the more active children, however if bringing two or more children I would suggest getting there for doors opening to get the best from the day.

 Our video will be embedded here - once L's parents give us the ok to publish. I apologise about the screams and poor editing. It's taken ages to put together without crashing!

For the adult cyclist, outdoor fan and even the novice looking to get more from sport it's an ideal place to go, learn, try some of the years greatest feats in cycling so far and a key insight to future cycling trends. With Innovation from both companies and charities like See.Sense, CUDA Cycles, Raleigh, Rubena, Stolen Goat, RIDE EAT DRINK SLEEP, CTC, Sustrans, British Heart Foundation, British Triathlon Trust and many more too you could easily find anything you wanted to see and do in a relaxed atmosphere, something quite different compared to other major events I've been to in the past. While next year I'll try and take a day out to visit the 2016 show to get more photos and immerse greater in the sanctity of two wheeled greatness. both with and without the smalls.

The final show from Action Sports Tour was so full of energy, people who were there throughout the event told me these guys were upping their game every day becoming more immense every time they bought the show to a close. Truth be told I missed the first part of the show but was fortunate to see the second half and the finale, these guys were amazing, kept the now slightly tired crowd pumped and you could see how hard they were pushing themselves for the finale and they pulled it off spectacularly! Hat's off to them!

To wrap up - The 2015 London Bike show was an amazing event, tied in with the telegraph outdoor and adventure shows made it one of the most complete sports days out for everyone! I wholehartedly recommend going to the 2016 show from the 11th-14th Feb next year.

I must add extend a huge thank you to Steve Backshall from Cbbc's Deadly 60 for giving us a moment of his time while trying to relax with his family and at the same time sorry for disturbing you. We do appreciate it

What were your highlights of the London Bike Show 2015? Let us know and we'll add them to the post too!


Thursday, 5 February 2015

Fun: Do you wanna build a guided snowman?

Yes we do!

This morning we ran later than normal, possibly down to me on a goslow and the snow! (blame me here t'was my fault i think) So we're left with no choice but pop to the nearby guided busway to pick up a through bus for the school snow walk.

On getting there the area was covered with mostly untouched snow, so naturally we played while waiting 19 mins for a bus, a welcome late bus for the girls.

They decided to make a snowman, and i think they built a pretty good one in such a short time.

While making our busway snowman he was offered a lift by a pretty lady in a BMW ;)

But in the end both smalls bought a smile to many faces as a result, even if we were late for school .
After all, fun is just as important as learning!

Vee Giggles: Chinese

Morning all.

It's been quiet recently on my side, I've had bloggers block and it's been getting worse as of late, I suppose it's down to how busy I've been but last night we had a bit of a giggle moment with the girls while sorting dinner out.

We decided on takeout last night for a treat, so on asking the girls we expected the usual responses from them however things took a strange turn.

J: So, Vee. What do you want for dinner?

Vee: Take away!

J: *rolls eyes* What kind of takeaway?

Vee: Chinese!

J: But you don't like Chinese?

Vee: *deadpan* I like prawn crackers though!

*facepalms and laughter*

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Cancer day and things need to change!

Disclaimer - this is a rant and opinions are allowed but no abuse for differing opinions please!
This is my opinion and not libellous or meant in such a way. Cancer Research UK I've emailed you and requested meetings with you publicly over social media but you ignored me, if you wish to meet to talk let me know and we'll do so!

It's World Cancer Day. While awareness is good something has pissed me off severely.

Yes Cancer Research UK it's you that continue to piss me off, still!

Why's that Paul?

Well 20 years ago a few of you know my mum lost the fight to cancer. So to me cancer is an asshat of ultimate proportions.

What miffs me the most (and yeah, broken record time again) is how we as a country fund raise the research for cancer!

It's 2015, cancer treatment has come on leaps and bounds! Sadly with the lives we live these days Cancer is becoming a more common thing.
Cancer does not discriminate against a person due to gender with recent reports claiming most of us will get some form of cancer or another in our lifetime, affecting all of those around us.

My soapbox is how a charity like Cancer research UK (referred to now as CRUK) can get away with the race for life still being a female only thing with men volunteering their time to "support" sorry but that's only winding me up more! (bear in mind some women I've spoken to seem to think Race For Life benefits breast cancer fundraising - While I'm definite it's not true it's possibly the female only aspect that brings this potential misconception)

CRUK allow boys under 11 to participate and when challenged they released the following PR statement from 2012! (source similar post from 2010)

Emma Hyatt, head of Race for Life, said CRUK did not plan to open registration to men to take part in events in 2012. "We recognise that men have a really important role to play in Race for Life and we have many male supporters who volunteer their time to help out on the day," she said. "We also encourage men to come along to support the women who are taking part and are continuing to improve facilities to ensure it is a family-friendly event."

I'm sorry but men should be here doing events like this and raising money not standing on the sideline, I've wanted to do race for life since mum's passing in 95 (race for life began in 1994) but was told I'm not allowed as I'm a boy! 20 years later it's still the same bar they let boys do it now

Then CRUK make events like dryathlon what seemed to be marketed to the male market but the events are UNISEX!!
This to me is not on and needs to change and this year I'll be looking for men who want to join me in urging cancer research UK to let men join Race for Life and to change this. Sorry to bring feminism into the post (I'm ignorant in the sense I don't know enough about the movement bar it's for equal rights and female empowerment if understood correctly) but if the event was men only I feel there would be a shitstorm.

This is not about rights or gender it's about all the boys, dad's, granddads, in laws, uncles, brothers, stepbrothers, cousins, boyfriends who've been affected by Cancer, want to be part of something amazing but can't because of their reproductive organs!

Again Cancer does not discriminate with exception of reproductive organs. Why should we still discriminate in 2015.

There are many, many men waiting to join in and fund raise. Let's make 2015 the year it changes!

I want genuine opinions and thoughts here please?

P.S. Movember may be a male event but unless you have the ability to grow a mo we can't control that, but maybe other body hair like arms or legs could be substituted. Especially with the changing ideas of self love and the need to change body image and acceptances!

Disclaimer - this is a rant and opinions are allowed but no abuse for differing opinions please!
This is my opinion and not libellous or meant in such a way. Cancer Research UK I've emailed you and requested meetings with you publicly over social media but you ignored me, if you wish to meet to talk let me know and we'll do so!

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Arriva - A word please?

Disclaimer - this is a post of my thoughts and ideas, while factual inaccuracies may result they are derived from the information available in public,

Arriva the shires we need to talk.

Over the last week you've announced changes to the Dunstable and Luton bus network with a consultation on at the moment. The problem is Houghton Regis News Desk broke the news of this first.

The Luton and Dunstable Busway made some positive changes to journeys for most of us but said busway misses out a lot of important services for the communities the buses serve. This means more stops for some but for now we have some legacy services left, like the 38 and the 24.

Now for many it's done the trick but the legacy services now suffer with dropping numbers, in some cases I see it's going to become unprofitable for them to run the legacy services as it is without changes. Problem is implementation of said changes made things worse for many, for instance. The 38 still runs, but on a 30 min basis over it's 15 minute basis (face it, one slowdown in bury park and everything bunches, and on the old setup it was really bad)

But from March, they want to delete the 38 and offshoot 39 buses. This will be detrimental to many people, from workers getting to the Woodside estate, parents and children going to schools, the elderly requiring medical assistance or rely on the service to be independent and the disabled/vulnerable who would not be able to make it to the busway due to it's distance or it's lack of options for those who require assistance.

The removal of the 38 (ignore the 39 for a moment please) would remove Ashton square, High street north and Houghton Road from any bus services bar council run ones that are not suitable for many commuters and not under the hiphop multi bus ticket scheme in place. cutting off access to three schools, doctors and dental practices, shops and access for those who require a bus service in specific areas.

Now here's the annoyance for me, Arriva have put a dedicated information page online with a survey but the information they've printed out tells you to go online, so those without internet or without the need for a computer will have no voice, plus the survey expires on the 3rd Feb. This is naughty Arriva.
Now for those offline Arriva have sent CBC Travel choices flyers about the proposed changes but as the staff have to be impartial as it's not being run with help from the hub. So unfortunately there's not much they can do bar pass you a flyer, but sends you to a weblink!

Now the community of Houghton Regis and Dunstable is split on the changes, many don't care as the busway serves their purpose and the others are worried as the 38 and 39 is their lifeline out of the home to town, doctors and other services. We'll not go in circles, it seems that's the Arriva Social Media dept's job.

Me and a few others want to represent those without internet access so their voices are not heard and in doing so wish to meet with Arriva staff to talk about this in a decent manner, the image below show's my fruitless conversation!

Well for now we have a few days left to spread the word. If you can help join this page, Tell your family who may be affected by the change, and please fill out the survey

I do have an idea for an alternate route which could fix a few issues for both residents and bring a good compromise.  A looped service, using smaller buses.

Arriva are trailing 7 electric buses in Milton Keynes, the buses previously used on these routes (according to spotters I've spoken to - this may not be gospel) were smaller vehicles, while the route is under trial could we not move the displaced buses here and try a looped service.

The service would serve Dunstable, Lewsey and Houghton Regis, but only certain buses would serve the L&D Hospital. Also on peak times for workers there could be a loop around the industrial estate.

These respective routes would be the
38L (loops to the busway,) similar route but goes to the busway to get back to Ashton Square.
38W for the industrial estate, missing out Lewsey park (a limited service for factory workers so they can interchange with other buses)
38H (loops to either the busway or the A505.) but adds the hospital into the route, the only one on the map that would actually stops directly outside the hospital.

All of these would interchange with other services on Ashton Square and opposite the Quadrant, High St.North, Dunstable, Morrisons in Houghton Regis and finally Dominic Square, Lewsey farm. meaning more services link up together, bringing more revenue for the company and a potentially better service.

Now before anyone says they want a complete service, it's going to be difficult to get this, especially with costs of operations compared to actual users throughout the day, not just in the peak times it becomes clear things do have to change. I wish it could be the same but this is the consequence of a fast services via the busway being introduced.

If you have something to say about this let us know below, and I'll try my hardest to get Arriva to respond!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Music monday - change

Well it's that time of the week - Music Monday

I was going to choose a theme but decided against it purely out of laziness today. That said the track I chose has it's own theme in a way, but for now I can't speak about it. (I keep you so out of the loop, there are reasons I assure you)

Take what you want from it - tell me your tune, it could be featured here too!

I'll be truthful with you now, this track I discovered on the white label scene many moons back - while the vinyl went missing years ago and many things changed it's still ripped on the hard disc and stacked on the phone, ipod, virtualDJ setup ready for a blast and a blat when the mood deems fit.

The tune is: 3rd Core - Mindless and Broken MJ Cole Mix