Return of the Driving Licence

After a long 11 months of buses, bikes, lifts and the occasional taxi I finally received my newly printed driving licence in the post today. I am very grateful to everyone who has supported me while I have been off the road and also for the kind messages I have received this evening.

Another month and then I shall be back in the saddle, although I am very keen to avoid the temptation of driving everywhere and instead continue to enjoy cycling to work and seeing the countryside at a slower pace. However, for work and for seeing friends and going to gigs etc being able to drive will be a great help.

Midnight Walk Sponsorship total

A huge thank you to everyone who donated sponsorship for my Salisbury Hospice Midnight Walk fundraising.

I am really pleased to say that the final total was £304.00 which is brilliant and with £269.00 of that eligible for Gift Aid the charity will be able to claim a further 18% on top.

Thank you very much to all those who donated.

Oak Class Visit Coombe Bissett Stores

We have just enjoyed a lovely visit from Coombe Bissett School Oak Class learning all about baking cakes. After looking round the shop at possible ingredients the children found eggs, flour, smarties and baking powder in order to spend the afternoon baking some fine cupcakes. We of course offered our services as chief cake testers and are looking forward to seeing the end results.
 (the permission of the school has been sought prior to the publication of this image)

Nicolas the Wine Shop closes in Salisbury

Following the sad and sudden news that my former place of work, as known as Nicholas Wines, is closing I am pleased to announce that Abbey Stores will shortly be filling some of the gap.

Prior to the French chain Nicolas taking over this was where I first started working in retail, back in 2001, when it was known as Oddbins. Little did I consider then that 9 years on I would be running 2 shops and selling a wide range of products - anything from mouse traps to malt whisky! The closure of this business, as covered in this week's Salisbury Journal here:

means that Abbey Stores will now expand its range of wines and whiskies. Up until now we have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with Nicholas since if they were asked for a product they didn't have, the referral would come to us. Likewise customers to Abbey Stores would be sent round to Nicholas for their expertise with fine French and other Old World wines.

I am very sad that an established and well-run shop such as Nicolas should close "just like that" especially with no warning given to the two members of staff . While I understand all too well the commercial pressures of business, especially in connection to building rents, I am shocked at how quickly this has come to an end.

Andrew and Gareth are considering now how to open up their own wine shop in Salisbury and I sincerely hope that this happens both for their sake and because Salisbury cannot continue to lose city centre businesses.

Salisbury Hospice Midnight Walk 2010 - Complete!

After 13.1 miles, 3 hrs 15 minutes, 2 blisters and stiff legs, neck and shoulders my walk is complete. Of around 450 starters I finished in the top 50 or so and then cycled home, arriving around 3.45am this morning and falling asleep very soon afterwards.

 Sitting at Salisbury Leisure Centre having just enjoyed
a sausage bap after finishing. Yummy!

The crowds gather at the start line

A good sight, unfortunately taken down when I arrived back at the end!

I have not yet totted up my sponsorship total but think it is in the region of £200 which is brilliant - I had honestly expected to be chucking £50 in the pot myself but I have been really chuffed with the generosity of customers, friends, family and even strangers who have put something in. I will post again when I have the final figure.

Around a year ago I couldn't walk upstairs without getting out of breath. I was drinking like a fish, smoking 5-6 cigarettes a day (or more) and never walked or cycled anywhere. So I am really proud of myself having lost around 15kg, quit the fags, cycling 50+ miles a week, occasionally swimming and now having completed a walk that is longer than I have ever walked before in a decent time. However, I am not sure I would rush to do it again - I don't feel that walking is the best activity for me and so I think my next challenge will be to do a decent cycle ride. London to Paris has been suggested before now and I might just consider it. Watch this space!

Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me already and it is not too late to do so now if you haven't, my online page is at: