And the critics come forth…

Or at least just the one… “Why didn’t you wear the leather shirt and tie too?”

Sorry chap, but it’s taken me all this time to summon up courage to wear a three piece suit in the presence of friends and now you’re criticising me for not enough leather?

Support might be a better idea eh?

My last seasonal trip to Alton Towers

Winter is incoming and November usually marks my final trip to Alton Towers. I generally like to go the very last Tuesday as the park is often very quiet and quite delightful to be in. Queues never get longer than 20 minutes, the kids are back in school, and the autumn colours light up the park.

Yesterday was no exception. After a few days of what can only be described as truly horrible weather, it finally brightened up and on a day of beautiful brittle sunlight I agreed to meet Prakash there.

The day started with coffee. It’s important to start a day right. The ducks weren’t really bothering us at this point but we sat on the wall in the early November sun and enjoyed a Costa.

With the day started correctly we then headed down to X-Sector and caught a ride on Oblivion. There’s no Smiler at the moment because it’s been offline for a few weeks due to a technical issue, but Oblivion was a walk on, and it was also Prakash’s first ever ride on the coaster even though he’d been and seen it as a kid.

A gentle walk over to the dark forest netted us Rita and Th13teen breaking his virginity on those two coasters too. Last time he’d been the area was probably Ug Land and contained the Corkscrew.

Now the skyride was closed all day, probably being decommissioned for the winter, so instead of the usual ride across the valley to Forbidden Valley we decided to walk to Wicker Man. A 30 minute queue on the sign board turned out to be more like 15 but on the way across we caught this beauty of a photo.

Finally we headed down the gloomy woods path to Forbidden and wrapped up the big six (not 7 as Smiler was closed, and that’s not counting the family coasters) with rides on the classic Nemesis and my least favourite coaster Galactica. You’ll be pleased to know that Nemesis Ladder and Nemesis Bulb are both still there.

After completing the big rides, dinner called – hotdogs – and unfortunately the hotdog stall in Forbidden Valley was closed so we had to walk back up to Wicker Man for those. I don’t mind Alton Towers hotdogs, but ffs, would it kill them to do onions?

Afterwards I took Prakash and showed him the gardens. We got some great photo opportunities!

Strap yourself in… This is amusing!

So yesterday I suited up to take some outdoor pics of me in my full leather suit. I’ve become somewhat of a recluse just lately, especially since getting my own decent sized unit which I can store and wear all my gear in.

Now the problem is that one of the woodlands I used to use years ago has now become inaccessible by car – so I packed up all my gear into a bag, loaded it onto the Burley, and cycled the few miles up there.

Once there I found a secluded bit of shrubbery and changed into my full leather. With the weather being pretty atrocious I knew nobody would be around. This particular place is dead most of the time – and I was pretty confident that would be the case yesterday, after all it was windy as hell!

So I’m in full leather, with my phone on the holder on the bike, taking selfies. It’s not too obvious what I’m doing. At this particular moment I’m sat on a tree stump taking some, after doing a few standing shots.

I’m in the middle of doing quite a few photos (a shoot like this usually takes around 100-200 shots to look good)…

When I heard an “excuse me” from behind…

It turns out two guys had been walking down the path behind me and had noticed my bike. They started asking questions about it, and then one of them drummed up the courage to say “nice outfit, is it all leather”?

Sheepishly I said “yes”

He said “I like it, I’d wear that!”. I scanned it for sarcasm. The comment was clean. We then chatted for a couple of minutes, the questions really were serious and very much of the line that I think the guy would wear it. I don’t think they were a couple, just friends, but you never know.

It was refreshing to not get a sarcastic comment about being a gimp, or similar.

(to be fair, he would have probably looked a damn sight hotter than me in it!).

Now speaking of hot, it was 16°C yesterday when I was taking these pictures. I was hotter than Satan’s armpits and I had to change back, but I did manage a short ride in it all. I will say it’s not easy riding in this much leather!

I’ve now ordered a couple of extra bits as I’ve realised that holding my Galaxy Fold 3 steady really isn’t easy with the phone holders I have. I need to think more tablet!

What’s with all the hate guys?

I sparked controversy a couple of days ago. I’ve had some pretty opinionated comments on Instagram from people who have since been removed from my circles. Why? I hear you ask?

Well consider this photo. I’m out on my Fiido enjoying a ride. I’ve got the trailer hitched on the back and I’ve just been shopping. You’ll notice I’m wearing leather trousers. Leather chinos to be precise (not jeans, and if you want to stay friends with me you’ll learn to differentiate between chinos, jeans and formal trousers! 😉)

That’s the problem.

Guys think I shouldn’t be riding a bike in “expensive leather trousers”.

Fellas… They were £15 off eBay. Most of my leather trousers/jeans come from eBay and cost under £20.

Now let me put this in perspective; I have a couple of pairs of Levi 501’s. A pair of 501’s is currently around £90. You don’t say a thing when I wear unwipeable non water-resistant £90 jeans when cycling but you moan because I wear a pair of fifteen quid leather trousers?

Seriously guys, stop standing in front of the mirror getting off and sharing bedroom photos on Instagram and get the fucking things worn in your life!

I’ve been wearing leather trousers in my daily life for about thirty years now and I won’t be changing any time soon!

What’s in my bag, 2021

Years ago I used to carry a bag with me containing laptops, battery bricks, cables, in fact loads of stuff! They weighed a tonne but it was what I needed. Nowadays, however, my “bag” is variable depending on what I intend to do. These are the items that go in my full size travel bag; but obviously I do change from day to day and sometimes by bag read pockets.

1. Top left – T-Core power brick. It’s a decent two charge brick with USB C support. I also have larger bricks for weekends but this one is a good daytrip one.

2. Galaxy Note 20 Ultra phone – the powerhouse of my setup. The reason I don’t carry a laptop everywhere.

3. Cheerdots “Cheerpod” (with it’s case and USB C cable) – A Kickstarter I backed for an air mouse/desk mouse combination. It turned out to be a great little device and it can replace both a presentation controller and a mouse; plus it’s a USB C charger.

4. Samsung Galaxy Buds Live (the beans) – I have very small ear canals and these fit great. I can wear them for a few hours without even realising I’ve got them in. Plus because they’re not “in the ear canal” I don’t get the perpetual ear infections I get with regular in ears.

5. Andoer LED video light – a multi function full RGB video light and emergency battery bank. Great for the never ending live streams and video chats we have these days. Superb for throwing effects onto photos and multi directional lighting.

It has a 4500 mAh battery bank built in which is a great saviour too.

Finally, the thing I get asked most about is the keyboard.

6. LG Rolly 2 – a roll up keyboard. Of the portable keyboards I own this one is the best to type on. It’s great on a flat surface. The length of it can be a bit off-putting as it is about a foot long rolled up, but it fits inside my coat pocket and I don’t notice it’s there.

It even fits in a jeans pocket… Sort of. But you might not want to sit down. These are some of my looser fit leather jeans and the pockets are quite big. I dread to try this with my slim fit latest pair.

So that’s the contents of my bag. Tiny isn’t it! I often keep it in a retro Gameboy Advance case although the keyboard is the issue here – I do a have different folding keyboard that fits in there but I’ve never found one as nice to type on.

Perhaps in a few years it will change again, but for now it’s been stable for quite a long time.

I’m weird.

Apparently I’m “weird” because I enjoy wearing shiny clothes and I sometimes go to fetish clubs. This was the opinion of someone who I would describe as “dull and uninteresting”.

I’m not going to make out that what I enjoy is in any way normal to most people, but FFS we are all different and we all have different things we enjoy which someone else will think it’s a bit strange.

Don’t knock the train spotters when you see them stood on the end of Doncaster platform. It’s their little bit of weird. Live and let live!