This week was a quiet week on the bike just a few short rides, but nothing to strenuous. I will take up serious training in the new year, but for now it is about enjoying short rides with friends and not burning myself out before I start. One of the highlights of the week was riding with Nikki, just a few short weeks ago she couldn’t ride with cleats, now she is gaining confidence and going for longer and longer rides. The rest of the week wasn’t so quiet … ,,,,
On Thursday night I was given the opportunity to meet with some local business people at South & City College Birmingham. The speakers at the evert were boxing trainers Paddy Lynch and Frank O’Sullivan. If you’re anything like me those names didn’t mean much, but hearing their stories was so very interesting. Both are highly respected in amateur boxing training, many of our Olympic champions, and boxers who have gone on to the lucrative professional careers. These two gentlemen were engaging and talked about the sport with great passion. Many of their thoughts transcend to cycling, and other sports, the dedication of the athlete, respect both ways between coach and athlete, hard work and how sport does a lot more than keeping people fit – it builds communities and friendships. If I didn’t know anything about boxing before the night, I certainly do now, I could have listened to their stories and memories for far longer than the talk lasted.
Friday Night was a night out in Birmingham with friends. For a few years now I have enjoyed small theatre shows. It was good to be back at the Old Joint Stock Pub and Theatre supporting these artists as they try to regain their livelihoods after the lockdowns. I have seen Tracey Collins before, and was due to go to her show in March 2020 before COVID put the brakes on that. Tracey has shows all over the country with one genre being spoof stars playing bingo. Before she has played ‘Tina Turner Tea Lady’ but this time it was ‘Shell Suit Cher’. It all sounds a bit weird, Cher acting as a Bingo caller but it is a great fun night with loads of audience participation .. which this time included me this time as winner on the bingo game. Much to amusement of my friends I was taken to the stage area to dance and accept my prize. To those of you who have never tried these comedy shows, I would urge you to search out you local theatre and try them out, they are a unique entertainment sector that needs support to get going again after 18 hard months.
Saturday was the Birmingham Business awards 2021, celebrating the achievements of the cities’ business community. A chance to recognise the talent of individuals, companies and charities of UK’s second city. A very enjoyable night, with many awards for business that have shown great resilience over the last 12 months. Two awards of note were BRUMMIE OF THE YEAR – Professor Paul Cadman, a very popular choice with the audience. He paid tribute to everyone raising money for Birmingham Charities, when he listed off the many Birmingham based charities, asking people to stand if they had supported the charities in the last 12 months, it was great to see the whole room standing. The other award was a Lifetime Achievement Award for sports broadcaster Gary Newbon, who at 76 is still reporting and working. He and his wife Katie were sat on our table, I could remember him from my youth reporting for ITV, a very distinguishable voice and great knowledge of football and boxing.
Sunday was a long awaited trip for my Grandson Finley to Twycross Zoo, with a special treat for him and friend Louis to feed the penguins. They had a wonderful time, the Zookeepers were really helpful telling us all about the 18 types of Penguin, then letting us all get close to the penguins whilst the boys fed them small fish. After the penguins there were loads of other animals from around the world including Tigers, Chimpanzees and Giraffes for the boys to look at and learn about. As with many other Zoos, Twycross invests a lot in conservation and helping animals in the wild, and use their Zoo to educate visitors about preservation.
As we came to go it stated to snow (which would have pleased the penguins), a difficult journey back to drop Finley off with Lisa and Dean, not that Finley would have noticed, he slept through the whole journey after a busy day feeding the animals.