King Jorge

Little Britain has a sense of self importance dating back to the Empire, which of course is long gone. But still the folk who ply their trade in positions of power like to think that they can dictate the terms to the rest of the world (which includes Ireland by the way).

Let’s talk storms.

Here’s the official list of UK and Ireland (and the Netherlands) storm names for the winter of 2019/20:

Atiyah ✔

Brendan ✔

Ciara ✔

Dennis ✔







So let’s give a big welcome to…..


Jorge? Aye, Jorge.

Y’see Boris may have thought he could dictate the terms on all things Brexit but Spain still owes us one for the Armada in 1588 so they got in first, named this storm Jorge then packed it on its way to dear old Blighty…

I suppose it’s a bit like fishing rights. The UK establishment accuses the Spanish of nicking half our our fish, hence the need to get out of Europe, but they in turn have struck back at the EU Withdrawal Agreement by sending us a weather bomb.

I wait with baited breath what the next storm will be. Will they meekly slip Ellen back into the list – sorry, she’s out of alphabetical order – but storm Corona’s not on the Met Office list either so while it’s on everyone’s lips, why not get in on the act and brand the next baddie with the virus?

All of this brings the whole concept of storm naming into disrepute, of course. It’s a load of old bollox. Every man and his dog knows that last weekend’s storm, which I casually identified as “A Storm With No Name” was worthy of one. But no doubt some twit at the Met Office took a phone call from the Government that went something like this “Look, we think you’ve been spooking the people by calling these storms by names for the past two weekends. The country is fed up of all this wet weather, so we’d rather like it if you don’t give this one a name, then they probably won’t notice how bad it is”.

That in itself is bollox because the flooding in Shropshire, in Wales and in parts of the east coast beggars belief and my heart goes out to the people who’ve lost everything. What I would say to Dominic Cummings, who after all employs Boris Johnson, is this “Forget your hundred billion pound train set, and forget your daft bridge across the Irish Sea. Invest in flood defences along our major rivers, and invest in local infrastructure that gets people out of their cars. Climate change is real, pal, and it’s coming round the sides of your Thames flood barrier real soon.

Rant over.

Now onto the serious stuff: the Ride2Cure journey.

It kind of feels like this week has been some kind of pregnant pause in the trail of weather devastation of my plans, except of course that every time the weather gods have hit me with a sliced serve, I’ve managed to whack it back with top spin. Lighter winds, for sure, but by heck there have been some cold outings this week, no moreso than today.

I knew the rain was coming, and it was my own silly fault for sitting in bed with a cat on my lap until almost nine o’clock: the joys of semi-retirement. I should have got up at seven.

By the time I headed out the door at the back of ten, the light rain was starting. It wasn’t light for long: today was one grim, grim day, and I’ve already gone on record as saying that it was the most weather challenging stage of Ride2Cure2 to date. Out at +1C in rain: back at -1C in snow. I couldn’t feel my hands: I couldn’t feel my feet. I’ve been here before: I know from painful experience at 7am at my old work in Glasgow how important it is not to walk straight into a warm environment when you stop. Even fifteen minutes later, when I jumped in the shower, my fingers were soooooo painful that way they get when they’re waking up from extreme cold.

See if someone wants to help me through what’s left of this winter – with 2020/21 in mind – please find me a pair of waterproof socks and gloves that actually work: but don’t suggest Sealskinz because I’ve tried and failed half a dozen pairs of their stuff: it’s rubbish in R2CN conditions. I’ve tried several brands that talk a good game, but every one has been found wanting – you should see my collection of gloves! See tomorrow: I’m going back to bread bags on the feet and coronavirus gloves, aka Marigolds, on the fingers.

I long for the warmth of the spring, and ultimately the heat of the summer, talking of which I have an event to announce.

Building on the epic adventure of 2222km in Australia, and the recurrent 2’s, I am proposing to ride 222km on the 22nd of June: and I’m looking for anyone who’s daft enough to want to join me, either for a wee leg, or a couple of legs, or for the whole shebang.

I’m (currently) planning on branding this thing the Tour De Cure, or maybe the 2’er De Cure, I haven’t decided on that one yet.

The route is epic. It’s a one day classic.

From the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow, home to the kids’ Schiehallion ward, to Ardrossan harbour via the Paisley-Johnstone-Lochwinnoch-Glengarnock cycle path that I’ve recently made my playground. Then it’s the Five Ferries in a day:

Brodick to Lochranza: 14.9 miles

Claonaig to Tarbert: 10.5 miles

Portavadie to Colintrave: 19.2 miles

Colintrave to Rothesay: 8.3 miles

Wemyss Bay to Ardrossan: 18.5 miles

And finally, the reverse of the out leg from the Queen Elizabeth.

If you want it in miles, it’s 138. That’ll be the biggest single Ride2Cure Neuroblastoma distance in a day since Dunco and I did the Highland Bike on the day that wee Oscar passed away. Jane’s done the Five Ferries and she tells me it’s hilly. Very hilly. I can manage that: the Rohloff is geared for hills. In kilometres, it’s 222.

This gig was meant to be. If you want to be part of it, then put your name down. We’ll organise accompanying transport to accommodate folk who want to do wee legs here and there, sticking the wheels on a motor for another shot further down the road, but this really does have the potential to be an epic day out. The plan will be to leave the QE at the crack o’dawn (4:30am…) and be on the first boat out of Ardrossan at 7am.

The fact that the whole route in 222km, door to door, is like “This was always meant to be”, and if there’s one person in the whole wide world who I know believes that to be true, then she lives in Adelaide: Theonie Roussianos. Without even knowing it, Theonie called this gig a couple of years ago.

But there’s another reason why 222km on the 22nd June is special. Indeed there’s actually a reason why this should become an annual event. 22nd June was the day of Vanessa’s funeral, and to take on this challenge in her memory is as fitting as it is challenging. Vanessa, this one’s for you.

Ride2Cure Neuroblastoma will always overcome everything that the weather gods choose to throw at it. And then some. Giving up is not in the manual.

243 stages on the spin, and counting.

19 two hundred mile weeks on the spin, and counting.

8000 R2C2 miles in 8 months – 7K in 7 months lasted only four weeks – and counting.

King Jorge, let’s be having you. Show me what you’ve got…

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