February 2017 Update

February has been a rather cold month (which you would expect at this time of year!) but we’ve had some nice sunny days, we’ve also had some pretty wet ones! I’ve also managed to come off my bike this month!

Racton Ruin in the Southdown's
Racton Ruin in the Southdown’s

It was the first weekend of the month and I went out for a ride in the Southdown’s where I was due to meet up with my friends Dave and Helen later in the day and ride with them. However, after meeting up at a country pub in a village called West Marden we never moved! We stayed in there all afternoon drinking! We did manage a small ride later in the day, but that was only to get back to Chichester where we carried on drinking for the rest of the night!

Quiet lanes in the Southdown's
Quiet lanes in the Southdown’s

I think I left Chichester at around midnight, it was pouring with rain and I mean really pouring, but I had to get home so off I set on the 8-mile cycle ride home! God, it was miserable, the rain was hammering down with a bitterly cold wind!

Because the weather was so bad I decided to go a different route home along the cycle path that runs beside the main road and this where I went wrong! Normally I cycle home on the back road and have never had a problem, but the one time when I use the cycle path I come off! Stupid cycle paths that’s why I don’t like using them, you’re constantly going up and down curbs when crossing side roads, it was whilst crossing one of these side roads that I managed to come off! I’m not too sure whether I hit the curb or what, all I know is that one minute I’m cycling along the path and the next minute I’m sprawled out over it with my bike lying next to me! Obviously, it was nothing to do with the fact that I’d been drinking all day!

Luckily there was no harm done just a couple of scratches, a torn coat, and a dented pride! Not that I noticed the torn coat or scratches until the following morning!

Not having any work commitments for a few days, I decided that I wanted to go away to France for a bike ride, despite it being bitterly cold!

Snow in Bognor Regis
We even had snow, all 2 minutes of it!

It was a Thursday and I was all packed up ready to catch the night crossing from Newhaven to Dieppe where I would then cycle down to St Malo and get a ferry back to England on the following Monday. I was just about to leave home when I received a phone call from Doreen one of my clients who is more like a friend now.

She’d had a hip replacement the week before and had just come home from hospital. They’d only allowed her home because she had a stair lift as she was still unable to climb stairs. Unfortunately, when she went to use the stair lift and go to bed it wouldn’t work! So, she gave me a call to see if I could help! Which of course I did.

Once at Doreen’s (who’s in her 80s) I checked the stair lift for anything obvious and not really knowing anything about these things there was nothing I could do, the only thing I could possibly do was to try and get Doreen up the stairs!

I certainly couldn’t carry her up, even with the help of her daughter-in-law Ness who was staying with her for the week. The first thing we tried was to help her walk up by lifting her legs one at a time onto each step, but that was too painful for her! Next, we tried her shuffling up the stairs on her bottom, that wasn’t too bad and we managed to get up the first flight of stairs onto a small landing, but now she was in too much pain and unable to move either up or down!

Whilst we were stuck halfway up the stairs wondering what to do, some more of her friends turned up and joined in the debate as to what we should do!

After a lot of debating it was decided that going down wasn’t an option and the only thing we could do was to try and lift Doreen up one stair at a time! But as it was a staircase there wasn’t a lot of room for anybody and it was down to me to try and lift her up!

Ben, one of the friends that had turned up use to be a nurse and suggested that the best way to lift her up the stairs was for Doreen to fold her arms and me to put my arms and hands under her armpits grab her arms and haul her up backwards! Well that was the plan, but Doreen being a rather large chested lady, it wasn’t as simple as that and her boobs kept getting in the way and she kept complaining of being in pain! But despite her pleas for me to stop because of the pain (forget about my back!) her trousers that were gradually being pulled down where I was dragging her up rather than lifting her and me groping her boobs I finally managed to drag her up the stairs! Once at the top we all had a good laugh and got Doreen settled in her bedroom.

After all those shenanigans, it was too late to catch the ferry, which was probably for the best since it was so cold and very!

Because I never went away I decided to give the website a makeover and give it a more modern look, which went fairly well and wasn’t that bad once I got into it. However, it’s still the same old rubbish, just presented in a more modern way now!

New look website for garrymcgivern.com
New look website

Julie got a new cat this month called Murphy, he’s not a kitten he’s about 7 years old and came from a couple who had to spend a lot of time away from home, they felt it was unfair on the cat being left alone all the time, so they reluctantly decided to give him away. He’s a lovely natured cat although rather timid but he seems to be settling in at Julies despite her other cat Marmite not taking to him yet!

Murphy Julie's new cat
Murphy Julie’s new cat

Browsing on the Internet one day I discovered that MSR were making a new tent like my old MSR “Velo” which is the tent I’ve been trying to replace ever since it just wore out! I know I’ve brought a couple of other tents since, namely my Hilleberg and another MSR and although they are very good tents they were just never as good as my old “Velo” so I just had to buy one!

The tent arrived two days after I’d ordered it and I immediately had to try it out in the garden!




It was very quick to put up and it certainly was like my old “Velo” perhaps I had finally found a replacement for my old faithful tent!

Excited at the thought of finally finding a replacement I was itching to get away and try it out, unfortunately I had work commitments and was unable to get away until the following week, but at least it gave me a few days to find a campsite that was open at this time of year!

After struggling to find any campsites that were open I eventually found one at Kite Hill on the Isle of Wight, which is no more than a 30-mile cycle ride. So, to make it into more of a trip I decided to cycle down via the New Forest and catch the ferry from Lymington to the Isle of Wight, making it more like 70 miles.

It was a hard ride down with a strong headwind, although once on the island the wind was behind me. At the campsite, there was nowhere to pitch my tent out of the wind which was now gusting at nearly 30mph and was due to get stronger in the night. In the end the best place I could find was at the top of the hill next to a hedge.

Campsite on the Isle of Wight with my new MSR Hubba Tour 2
Campsite on the Isle of Wight

In the night, the wind really got up as forecast which led to a bad night’s sleep for me! I lay there for most of the night wondering whether the tent would withstand this battering from the wind and even when I did fall asleep I was almost immediately woken up by another strong gust of wind but my new tent withstood this and was unscathed!

Ryde pier with the train that runs along it
Ryde pier with the train that runs along it

The ferry that I was due to catch home the following morning was cancelled, initially I thought it was because of the strong winds but it turned out that they had found a bomb from world war 2 in Portsmouth harbour and had closed it until they dealt with the bomb. This meant that I had to cycle to Ryde and catch the fast cat instead which was good as it’s the only crossing to the Isle of Wight that I’ve never done, apart from the hovercraft that also goes to Ryde but then they don’t take bikes.

Looking back towards Ryde from the catamaran
Looking back towards Ryde from the catamaran

I arrived home at around midday after covering a distance of 100 miles.

Now that winter is out of the way and Spring is here the days are getting longer and the nights shorter, I’m looking forward to going away a bit more on my bike especially as I’ve now got my new tent!

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