Archive for the ‘Challenges’ Category

Cookoo

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Woke up around 0730h for 0800h breakfast which was a self service of toast, muesli, cornflakes and cheese, salami and chorizo.
Got the bikes off and ready for the day as we were going up into the mountains. Within a few minutes of starting we already lost the track which caused a bit of confusion. At this point we also lost Richard and Sharon. Following the limited car track, we soon came to another stop where a barbed wire barrier was blocking our way. Luckily someone before us had twisted the fence so that the bikes could be pushed over the posts. Following this track a while longer it turned into a walking path only, thus making it very challenging for riders as it was very rocky. Russell fell off at one point and didn’t look too amused of where we were.
We came to a path which went two ways, down or very steeply up. Clive decided to give the up and over track a go but struggled from about a 1/3 of the way. The rest of us waited 10 minutes or so until he returned.
Carrying on down the track we found a road which we followed for a while before finding a nice place just on the edge of Hecho by the river for lunch. The river was ice cool but crystal clear/blue. The afternoon ride was quite relaxing taking on some magnificent scenery in. We rode up this mountain road stopped at the top to take photos and you could see the road twisting up the side of the rocks. We went up a track that said no entry for cars or bikes which went for some 4 miles before coming to a dead end. The laugh we had coming back down we left the others to meet them at bottom, at one point Porl had actually lost me off the back because of the size of the pot hole we, it hit launched me sky bound. We both giggled like little girlies. Arrived back at Hotel approx 1800h to find Richard and Sharon not too impressed having left them earlier. We met them both early for diner had few drinks before the rest joined us The meal consisted of boiled rice spring rolls tomato soup drizzled over the side for starters, hake in creamy sauce and ice-cream for pudding. Once finished we sat and talked about not leaving anyone behind again we are all on hols together and we all stay together

Fun In The Wet

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Awoke way too early, feeling the brunt of staying up late. Packed last few things into Landy as we were moving on to Hecho. Had a lovely breakfast but same as yesterday.
I went into the village to take photos whilst the others got fuel.
Left Ochegavia by 0940h and headed up into the mountains by a gravel track. Even though it was only a gravel track, it was somewhat busy including an artic truck which over took us. Some lovely scenery including a logging area that looked challenging but sadly couldn’t do it because of bikes on back of cars.
Stopped for a quick tea which had UHT milk gone off, which was lumpy but ok.
Headed off over several more mountains seeing breath taking scenery, some tracks were no longer accessible so we found a nice picnic area by a river to have dinner.
Got back on the road after a 30 minute stop, saw a great photo opportunity under a bridge by a river.
We headed off into a really picturesque area with great dirt tracks and massive mountains in the distance. Half way down the lane, it said vehicles were not allowed past, but Clive said it will be ok, so we followed suit! We had seen 2 of the best green laning areas to date, not particularly challenging but very very interesting. There was a new road being built en route which added to the scenery. We came across a river which we were going to follow beside but decided to give it a go. First Russell went up stream then us in the Landy, followed by Richard and Sharon who almost disappeared on her Honda XR. Porl and I then went down stream but sadly had to turn back due to a thick bush stopping us. The day was drawing to a close but still had 40 miles to do, which caused a bit of friction as some wanted to continue via green lanes others wanted to get to hotel. Ended up going main roads, which took about 30 minutes. Found hotel just outside of Hecho, a really mountainous area which is in a valley. Unfortunately seems to be a very windy night, maybe situated in a wind tunnel.
Settled in as we are now staying here for 3 nights, then met up for the meal at 2030h. Today’s starter was salad, of which I ate more of but still left too much, followed by pork chops, chips and sweet pepper followed by cherries or ice cream for desert. We then sat in the lounge over looking the mountains having a few drinks before going to bed around 2330h. Going back to room, you could hear the wind howling past the trees, looks like its going to be rough tomorrow.

A Hard Days Holiday

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Woke up at 0730h to Porl and myself doing synchronised alarm jumping and both saying ‘oh bloody hell’.
Within the hour we went down for breakfast, comprising of orange juice, tea, toast, biscuits and cakes, all in a really posh room.
Starting the day took a while as we were deciding whether go by car or bike, the intentions were to go on bike but the weather was looking poor. By about 1030h we were on foot/bike up a track that could only cope with riders… What a challenge that was, zig zag, rocky, wet grass up very steep hills for about 1.5 miles. Heat made the walk pretty bad, let alone the people struggling on the bikes. An hour and a half later and all exhausted we stopped for the first tea break and dinner.
The afternoon looked like it was going to be nicer with blue skies appearing, so we set off for the hills. Sadly heading in the wrong direction, it wasn’t long before we were in the clouds which was getting cold and wet, hardly seeing much further than 10 yards, and water dripping off our glasses and faces we drove higher and deeper into the French hills where the weather worsened. Before long Porl had me in stitches nearly wetting myself 3 times. We all decided it was time to trace our tracks and head back down, it was a really eerie sense of silence with cows bells in the distance; coming from the cows but not being able to see anything.
Heading down slowly we reached warm air pockets again which was a blessing as Porl and myself were only in shorts and tee shirt.
We realised that the track we did this morning was wrong, so headed for the right one, which turned out to be much easier and more like a track. Before long we had gained a couple of hundred feet and the tracks were becoming difficult to find even with the GPS and maps. The fields were plastered with thistles and thorns which caused Porl to give me a verbal because I nearly threw us off the bike, flinging my feet past his shoulders!!!
Spending some time going back and forth trying to find the track we decided to go off course hoping to find it… not really reaching it we looked further a-field for new tracks. Finding some nice tracks we started to have fun bouncing about on mud tracks and what a giggle it was.
Nearing an end we decided to do one more track, and this had to be the funniest of the day, Richard could hear Porl and I screaming through the brambles grazing our feet and legs. By the time we got to the end we realised we had ended up where we had lunch. Deciding whether we were to go back via road or the reverse of our mud track, I realised we were plastered in blood and flies.
Richard, Sharon, Porl and I decided we would reverse the mud track whilst the others headed back to the house.
On our way back we came across a bull, cow and two calves which was a bit worrying, the bull had the biggest b*!!*(&s you have ever seen!
Once back at the house and all cleaned up it was 2000h so we decided to go and eat at the other restaurant in the village. The menu for 15Euros was a selection of local produce, we said we would have what he recommends, which was asparagus for starters and lamb for a main. The meal was really nice, lamb was most tender I had had.
Porl was extremely excited with the fact we were in a ciderie, which had a large keg and a self service tap! Some ciders later and after a pudding of solidified milk and sugar, similar to [what?] we paid up and realised all the drink was free!
Entering the home at around 2330h we have stayed up chatting and typing this, now being 0115h we have decided to call it a night.

What’s all the fuss!

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Got up at 6 this morning after realising it had snowed some several inches in Redditch overnight. Got onto the roads about 6.20 and suddenly felt uneasy, it was probably the first time in my 7 years of driving all roads were fully snowed in, let alone the fact I was in a rear wheel drive for it too!!!
After circling a few roads around my area I decidied to bare the streets to Birmingham city centre. Immediately becoming gobsmacked by other peoples driving, I had only gone some 100 yards and there was an Escort right up my rear, refusing to use my brakes I slowed gradually using my gears and it worked great.
Pulling away in 3rd still seemed to cause my rear to slip and slide but gently pulling away I managed to do it without getting in a spin.
I had travelled about 1.5 miles in 10 minutes and I was still being amazed by some peoples attitude towards the snow; a 4×4 may pull you better in the snow but it doesn’t mean you can stop any better!!! I had a Freelander so close to me, I couldn’t see his lights, whilst doing about 30-40mph.
None the less, I managed to get into work unscathed in about an hour, just over twice my normal time but I feel so much better for doing it, it was a great experience and valuable for future driving.
It was a scary but fun drive in, recommend it to anyone, just be sensible and use your gears not your brakes.

Sorion makes news!!!

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

During the current automotive crisis it is good to see that Sorion has made the news for its success… Sort of!!!

Sorion brings cheer ahead of auto industry summit is a small article which appeared in the Birmingham Post on Monday 2nd February 2009, a time when businesses such as Honda have just stopped production for 4 months due to the downturn.

Also in the news;
Birmingham engineering firm Sorion wins £400,000 deal.

Newpaper Article

Promising times ahead then hopefully.

Wow, long time!

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

It’s been a while since I last came here and wrote anything so I thought again, new year new start I would write more… but already we are 17 days in to it!!!

Reviews of 2008… I think I will just leave that one for my memories, not a productive year at all.

2009 however, lets start optimistic!
Within the next 2 months we will be seeing the final fall of Weberrific as neither of us (Dean and I) have the commitments anymore. I do still intend to keep the site(s) alive and maybe, just maybe actually develop a few… Looking at it, I have nickwilkes.co.uk, where-local.co.uk, redditch4x4.co.uk, wilkesphotography.co.uk. hmm, what to do! Lets review in 12!

Although work has been difficult, I have full intentions of getting to grips with a few things this year, in particular my timing and motivation. We have a lot of work scheduled for the next few months so that has at least taken the strain off things for a while. With Lamborghini and Bently placing large orders with us it stands a chance that things will be quite challenging and interesting for me. This week has also seen my annual review which went very well I feel with a mutual understanding of where I am and what it is next I need to achieve. It was a little dissapointing to hear no cost of living increases planned for the year but under the current climate I guess it was innevitible… There goes the house buying idea! But none the less, I am now a Software Engineer, no longer Junior… thus meaning I now have to show my worth and develop into a more expanded, professional and self motivated role.

That leaves me with pretty much 2 options to leave us with, save save save… haven’t proved to be any good at it in recent years but this is the year of the save! The other option being inventive and dynamic, with my interest in automation significantly increasing I have all these wacky and wonderful ideas in my head which are probably already out there but the fact they are hard to find suggests that it is either in its infancy, or is just a poor idea… Time to investigate (Watch this space)!

Uncertain Changes

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

We all go through dramatic changes in life, but never did I think it was possible to feel so low through them.
There is a level of uncertainty for me at the moment, I have no way of knowing which way to turn, and even if I did, I think there would be nothing but emptiness awaiting the other side of a monstrous hill climb.

My career has become challenging, of which I have no idea how I am going to cope, and at the present moment in time I think I need friends more than ever, but that is something else that is changing, our friendships have become weak to the point it feels lost, like a long term relationship it feels a relief, but at the same time it leaves you looking at an empty space within your near future. I have been spoilt for friendships, but never have I felt so alone, maybe because I have been so spoilt and now have nothing it is a shock. Nothing ever seems to come easy or ever rewarding and there is only so much that one can take without there being consequences, uncertain consequences that hurt.

Something must come along surely? Life is never about doom and gloom for me, so what is going on? Bring back the happiness, please!

Farley Quarry 20/01/2008

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

On Friday 11th January I won an auction on eBay and collected the Suzuki SJ 410 on the 12th for the sum of £330;

My new Suzuki SJ 410

Since then my dad, Jon and I have done nothing but work work work on this little beast (aka Roller Skate) to get it ready for Farley Quarry near Much Wenlock, which was on the 20th. A new clutch was required, new battery and alternator and a few legal issues with the trailer.

Started fitting the clutch on the 18th and immediately had problems, we had bought the wrong one, registration of vehicle seemed to be incorrect with engine, no problems, we looked further into it, apparently it had part Fiat, part Spanish Suzuki, with special thanks to Sureparts. Sure enough my dad managed to get it in by late Saturday afternoon and it was suddenly a mad rush to test it all, to my horror I didn’t concentrate properly and wrapped the trailer lead around the front bumper of the SJ… without realising I drove it off the trailer and nearly wrecked some £100 worth of electrics but thankfully nothing was damaged. On a good note the clutch worked a treat. So she was ready just in time for Sunday.

Got to Farley quarry, she started up a treat which was good news as the alternator was not working and we were unsure of the new (old) battery condition. Porl got in and we went around a bit of the grounds to see what was about, I saw something interesting; axle twisters (extremely uneven ground over a short space). Within 5 minutes I had almost rolled the vehicle, we were precariously balancing near on 90 degrees sideways! Driving in this position is quite difficult and stalling really doesn’t help!

Porl decided to go in his vehicle and I follow for a while, this scared me a bit as I was still totally new to it all… I regularly forgot to let handbrake off and have now managed to totally knacker that up. I stalled the car a few times, but was really amazed with her capabilities up the hills.

Not a video of my car, but almost identical to what I did in the same spot (in wetter conditions) – not that I am trying to make excuses! I got my wheel caught too in the same way, causing the vehicle to go up at 90 degrees, but twice, you would have thought I had learnt the first time!

In the mean time however, when I stalled, it wouldn’t restart so I was stuck in this little ditch that is far worse than it looks in video. After trying to get her out for a while, a chap comes over with an electric winch, great, got the straps out and started pulling. All of a sudden, ‘snap’ the strap frayed and snapped flying the shackle on the end straight on to the window, smashing it completely.

Smashed Window

Got it restarted and went for dinner, had a whopping great big double beef burger with cheese, MMMMM!

After jump starting it down a hill, I just thought that things were going to get worse, but carried on out. Within minutes I was struggling to find gear and managed to stop some way away from the starting position. Had a little look but couldn’t really do much so Porl towed me back to the trailer and we left it there whilst going out for a little longer.

Absolutely fantastic day out (to the point of wetting myself of laughter!) and are now aiming to get it all repaired and better than ever for Sunday 10th February which is at Sibbertoft. Finding someone to deliver a windscreen is impossible so I am going to Chesterfield on Friday all being well, might have to stop in at Deano’s as it appears the scrappy is minutes away from his house, bargain!

How clean does she look considering the dirt she had been in, damn!

End of First Day

Football

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Well, what a game! I feel as though I have learned a lot tonight from our game… For some it may be offensive (I’m Sorry) and for others it may be an appraisal (Bloody Hell)!

Tonight showed how different we all take the game, and the fact we didn’t let anything get to us and the way we worked is why we came out on top. Firstly we noticed their weaknesses and beat them, we worked as a unit/team, we had no internal competition, treated all equally and we did a hell of a lot of shouting!
You may laugh at the amount I shout, but most of it was appraisals or making life easier for others. The shouting encouraged people, not belittled them, this seemed to give people confidence in what they were doing and they excelled throughout the game

Passing was in an abundance and apart from the few opportunities or where there was only a solo effort, there was no selfishness. This created a zig zag effect straight past them every time without fail, which also suggests we had a structure, and seeing as though most of us scored many or had plenty of opportunities it shows there was always support at the back or the front whenever it was needed. Hardly ever did the whole team come unstuck for all rushing in one direction, we almost took it in turns to go up and come back, with minimal support only when it was required. Don’t stand in one spot all the time, even if it is open, move your feet, create chances, and most importantly mark people and stick with them. I never used to be a marker and I struggled when I had to, I was a space marker and I think I did very well at it. I now manage to mark people far better than they mark me, this is by taking a healthy balance between my speed and strength. There is nothing worse than having to mark more than one person and seeing your own team standing in open space running circles only around themselves!
When marking people you put them under instant pressure, something everyone on our team achieved fantastically tonight, they didn’t stand a chance very often and this really showed when you hear the frustration shouting out loud.

In essence, the game became far too easy for us seeing as though we were huge underdogs on paper, but that gave us a challenge and I have noticed how pushing yourself gets so much satisfaction. I give myself a goal to be running as much at the end as I do at the start, the only way I get there is pushing myself beyond a barrier that I get, everyone on the opposing team tonight reached that barrier and became worse off. When you reach that barrier, push yourself further and further, you will be amazed how fit you become and when you get beaten, for pity sake don’t give in, you become far too much of a walk over, chase them, get fitter, get better then you will be beating them, every time.

All in all, not a bad game, I do prefer more of a challenge though, and it did become far too unfair… but I think we showed how it should be played, of which I haven’t felt in ages… Partially because no matter how much I rush around I never feel part of the team but tonight I think I can say we all felt that… maybe something for others to consider? Partnerships don’t work, single runs don’t work, but remember ‘Together Everyone Achieves More’.

P.S. No offense, I noticed a huge difference with the two parties missing tonight, don’t know how others felt?
I do have a little rant to make though… What is it with the hand ball claims all the time (LEARN THE HAND BALL RULE!!!), we should have let probably every hand ball go tonight with the exception of the top of the arm control and the blatant hand ball 4ft out!!!
If the hand touches the ball, and the hand is in line with the body and direction of flow, let it go unless it is blatantly on purpose, and anything that isn’t a legitimate handball at other times (It’s not rocket science, I can assure you!), get over it – it does my head in!

Targets

Friday, December 7th, 2007

These last few weeks have given me many thoughts as to where I am and what I want to do/be…

My targets for this year were pretty simple; Finish Uni with a 2:1, get a good job and go to more gigs.

Well, I passed my degree with a disappointing 2:2, but none the less I have passed and got myself a really good job working for Sorion Electronics.

… and of course I had tickets to see My Chemical Romance but pulled out, but have been to see Razorlight, The Filthy Habits and Kaiser Chiefs.

This now means I have new Targets to set for 2008;

Even more gigs;
I have tickets for Scouting for Girls, and intend to find even more gigs to go to as I have really enjoyed myself this year.

3 Peaks Challenge;
I do not set myself challenges and I would like to set myself at least one challenge every year, of which has to be somewhat difficult, enduring, for charity and a way of getting fit. So the aim for 2008 is to prepare for the 3 Peaks Challenge sometime in the near future.

Activities;
I would like to be involved in more activities and maybe find a really good hobby that I can enjoy, things such as Photography, 4×4 Off-Roading, Water Skiing, Snow Boarding really sound interesting to me and I aim to get more involved with as many of them as possible in 2008.

So all in all, hopefully a good year ahead but as usual I am sure it wont go to plan, 2007 has been a challenge for me and I don’t regret a single thing as I have learned so much about every day life, friendships, work, education and more importantly myself. I have had some terrible moments in 2007, to the point of shear despair but I have got through them and rose above the bad moments and ended up enjoying myself.