“The time has come” said the numb bum to the owner “and if you must persist with this cycling nonsense then “WE” are looking for a decent comfy saddle from Santa!”


Well thanks to the time of the year and all the decorating my cycling stopped dead in its tracks at just over 3600 for 2017. That’s not say that I might get a few last rides BUT the snow arrived last night and now we are running up to Christmas and the New Year. However, as I’m sure we will be over in Durango in the new year I would like to get measured on the “Arsomometer” and see what sort of saddle I really need.




Seems the two bones in your bum are the critical point of this operation and then some other measurements are calculated and then the machine tells you what should be ideal and finally if none of this works its the normal trial and error.

A few things to do before New Year, must get the Car sorted as it has had an annoying amber “Service Stability System” caption permanently on for the last few weeks so it needs a diagnostic on Thursday to see what that’s all about. It had an oil change yesterday so another chore out of the way.

Looks like I “could” get a few rides in, I do have all the “kit”, so no excuses, although the wind is still bloody cold! I think it will be lunchtimes onwards as the morning temps are still below freezing. I still have the mountain bike tires to change and fit the cleats to both pairs of new shoes.


The cleats are on the cold weather cycling booties

That didn’t work out too well. I get the cleats on the cold weather shoes but……… it seems my feet are TOO wide for my NEW Sidis so the afternoon is spent talking to Backcountry who are very helpful.


Too tight for my toes!

Looks like I can send them back are they will send a different Sidi shoe in Mega wide


Not keen on black but the fit is more important

Next up will be this set but I don’t see me using them until at least April or maybe even later.

Thursday, and Brenda, who has been feeling very unwell is off to the doctor and hospital to get a series of tests done to see what is ailing her which is very concerning . Not helped by ridiculous people who through stupidity had denied her medical insurance. However, a lot of good news and she got everything done, although we still don’t know what is wrong.

The Cadi also goes in for service and it too gets loads of tests done and after an hour they tell me its the “Steering Wheel Sensor” but amazingly they have one, and after another hour, I’m back on the road minus the annoying  “Service Stability System” caption and of course $386 and absolutely NO wiser !


Annoying amber caption …. gone!

By the time I’m home the return label is on the table and the dinky shoes are boxed up and sent back to Backcountry for the wider ones.

Saturday, time to get a few things done before Pool, and its the Championship today, so best foot forward. The new Neon lights are fitted and working and now time for the Mountain bike and those New tires.


Tires are on and they look good but I might need a new rear brake cable next time I’m in town.


Brenda in good form

Pool begins, normal practice and I’m really not seeing the angles, let’s hope this gets better! 18 out of the 27 qualified players turn up and the games begin. I get a lucky break in my first game when Tom, who was playing really well, takes a very ambitious shot on the black and dumps the white in the top pocket!

Round 2 and I’m playing Mike Nelson who is very good and frequently wins these competitions.  Once again he is playing well and a few balls ahead but then I start to find my form and I’m first to the black which I miss and it looks curtains for me as he clinically works his way through the last balls to the black. From what appears a simple shot the black comes to rest on the top cushion and the cue ball is in a perfect gift position. Second win, and with an opening “bye” I need one more win to get in the money!


Thank you

Jerry is next and also playing well but I find a good rhythm and slip through 4 balls up. This one puts me in the money and of course being the season championship is going to be pretty good.

Now its the battle of the unbeaten players and I now face Nick who never ever seems to have a bad day. Once again he is clinically taking the balls off the table but can’t get one of his last two and lets me back on with 4 balls to go. I get the wake up call and sink two long shots to opposite ends of the table, and with some cue ball control bring my ball back on the opposite side of the table where my 4 and 6 ball are parked on the cushion just down from the black.

Do or die here so a reverse bank to the bottom for the 4 and I catch it just right and it is gone! The cue ball is back where it started so now I need to repeat the bank shot to the center, and leave the cue ball on that far cushion for the black. This one goes perfectly and I have the black to the corner …….. a nice stroke and the game is mine!!!



I am now in the final and can not do worse than second.

Well that was my best game, we both play well but Nick takes it for a well deserved win. I still walk away with $116.00 and finish 2017 on a high.


Still have a sore arse, and the visit to Durango is coming soon


That wraps up 2017 ……. HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE





….. And so it begins, the late wrapping is done, the presents are under the tree, and the Hallmark films are playing. The forecast overnight snow showers I don’t think made it, but there were some signs of dampness but now the sun is up and it feels quite warm.


The morning moves on, presents first and my list arrives in full, as well as some much needed slippers and a super Tom Sellick type granddad’s sweater.

Sticky bun breakfast, extra wood for tonight, then after the mega trash run, time for the first of the Dangerous Christmas Cocktails, but where are the sugar lumps? Strangely our very expensive grocery is open and he has cube sugar so once more……………….. “Peace on Earth” is restored!


Dangerous Cocktail No1

Now coming up to vegetable time with swede, parsnip, Brussel sprouts, leeks, carrots and corn to prepare … Ho, ho, ho.


Parsnips ready


Leeks, carrots multi colored, and sprouts


Swede going well

Veggies done and now sitting waiting for 1600 feast and my mouth is watering already at the thought of the 5lb beef! Second DCC in the glass and first call to the UK but Edward goes to answer phone (as always)

Edward rings and we have a good laughing chat over all life’s events and misfortunes.

Cooking continues, par boiling, mashing and eagerly awaiting the food to come. Several transfers later carving begins and everything looks good and tastes even better.


The roasted veg leave the meat pan, parsnips and potatoes come out of the fryer


She rests!


Carving begins


Fit for a Queen


mine, all mine ……. yes a bit OTT ……but delicious or YUUMMEEE!

Once again, I fall foul of the “Big eyes, old age” routine over eating, but boy it was good  ……… I made it to about 7 pm but then it was a straight 12 hours in bed!


Haven’t heard from Santa yet, “I hope he is OK”





Christmas approaches very quickly and the last of my decorating will be completed today, Friday 12/22. Fortunately outside was completed before the arrival of the snow and cold that descended on Colorado Wednesday night which coincided with the last day of School.


Thursday morning …. but No driving!


Her snow dance worked

Today’s other missions are a haircut and then Christmas fare shopping of the Beef! Last year marked the change from Turkey to Prime Rib and it was SUPERB !

When the beef and veggies are purchased and the curls are gone it will be time to finish the office area and the Yoga/Lodge room which I got a good couple of hours in on yesterday.


Lodge room complete

Christmas goodies all done and my garland is coming together well, just a few more add ons this morning.

Last look at the Christmas lights contest  …….. and suddenly we have moved from 83% of the vote to equal 1st as suddenly, and quite unrealistically, the Fire Dept surges up the leaders board. By the time I get home from the shopping we are now behind as the Fire Department has taken over the lead …….. looks like I’ve had some “Russian hacking” of the vote? As the afternoon moves on the lead has got bigger and bigger and Brenda calls for a recount after the last voting is done at 1700.

Sometime later the organizer texts Brenda so say there was a lot of bidding from the same email and those votes have all been removed and we are once again the WINNER!!! I honestly can’t imagine why anyone would want to rig the vote especially as their display was not that good. Point made, back to the garland ……..


This is like the tree adding more “bits” each year


Left side


Middle & Right side




Nearly done


Happy Christmas

1200, Saturday and sadly I’ve finished and have NOTHING left to decorate …….. so that’s it for 2017





Well done!

The longest, and at times, most frustrating year for putting up Christmas lights there has ever been! It all starts before the other holiday of Thanksgiving.  Yours truly,  with several reminders from Mrs Claus, gets a head start rewiring the 2 major decs for the balcony with some stronger brighter lights on the Angel and Reindeer. That takes a complete day with 300 lights cable tied onto the originals.


Reindeer done!


Angel rewired

Two of the Shooting stars need the same treatment but persistence pays off and they are ready. Other sets are beyond reasonable repair time and are junked before my patience has expired.

With Thanksgiving done all the Christmas goodies in the loft are brought down and now Brenda can’t get the expensive Balsam farms tree to light up and after a couple of days and a few SNOTOGRAMS she rips off all the lights and puts 1200 new ones on!


I think it looks better

Initially outside goes well with layout and design and I seem to have things under control but then along comes another little cold and I’m feeling pretty poorly. The weather doesn’t help as temps drop and the winds get stronger but eventually it all comes together and the power comes on.


Classic “Christmas Vacation”

Be careful with the overseas sourced lights!


Need to check the “font” before selling to English speaking nations

However we press on and after 4 weeks, a load of cables, strings of lights, and some new features, I’m ready for the nighttime pictures


The Maple in sunlight

Time to send out the cameraman on a dark December night ………. and we start at the Maple ……..


Many hours up here!


moving on


Santa and crew fire up Scuffy and the golden wake starts at the base of the Maple


Team Santakins in Economy while the Santas are in 1st Class


With hand on the throttle, Santa powers away from the dock while the Center Bed looks on


Bye Santa, see you Christmas Eve


The lighthouse in center picture is the Rose Bed


Time for a distant look at the house


The ever popular Shooting Stars


……. and some green laser lighting


The Center Bed


…… a bit more detail


Another new Santa and a Darth Vader


and now some new stuff


The Reindeer enclosure with the NEW blue Cherry Tree …… and she likes it!!


…….. and for the first time some lights on the Cozy sign


adds some balance to the front beds


Worth another look


So this is 2017 without the snow ……… but SHE has started  the well proven “Snow Dance” …… and the fire burns “blue” again …….. and true to form tonight and tomorrow  we are forecast for 4″ !!!









Into the weekend, only 13 more driving days to the Christmas break, and the last of the outside displays MUST get finished before Winter arrives in all it’s glory!

We have had yet another nonsense visit from the “woman” at the Chamber of Commerce who truly does NOT have a clue when it comes to organizing the Christmas Lights Competition. After last year’s debacle she was going to do the same thing again having annoyed everybody in the town by letting the kids from the High School be the judges !!!!  Personally if that is the case I would rather have nothing to do with it .

What’s left to do? Well the Maple Tree needs to be trimmed to give me access to get cables and lights up and running, the leaves from said tree need the “blower” treatment to reveal the gold colored “wake” rocks, Goofy needs a bit of “Velcro” on his tummy as the high winds swept him overboard last year.

On Scuffy the boat, hooks along the side need Brenda’s touch while I need to construct shelving for “Santa’s Presents” and all the moving Santakins  who work that section.

Two NEW movers are here and  while old Santa drives the boat Santa Jnr and his NEW wife are learning their trade as this year’s helpers (his wife is excellent on gingerbread men!)

As the week got underway, the New Arrivals of Santa Jnr & Wife were delivered and de-boxed only to be replaced by a “Blackcat”


Very pleased with these two


Yes, Midnight is in the box!

Brenda’s birthday arrived on Tuesday and her mini gifts all made it along with a repeat (at her request) of the Chocolate Ganache that we had for our wedding anniversary.


We arrived at the weekend with Scuffy and the Maple Tree still to do and more festive work in the office and yoga room.

Upstairs the dec boxes are put back in the loft and all the Maple Tree and Scuffy boxes are wheel barrowed over to the corner of the lawn. All 3 ladders surround the tree.



New shoots and unwanted branches are cut back, and after a serious senior moment when the leaf blower refused to work and the master decorator was at his wits end, a bright bulb lit up the east as I remembered the circuits I was plugged into were on timers!!…. and of course they were in the OFF position!

The leaves were blown away, Goofy got the Velcro touch, and yet more checking of lights. With 3 ladders on the go a fair number of ornaments and lights were secured in the tree but by nightfall there was still a lot to do.

Monday and the bitter cold is here. I don’t mind the cold but the wind chills me to the very marrow. One hour is spent searching for the wire cutters and I eventually find them UNDER one of the red boxes ……. don’t ask!

Not enough progress this morning and this manifests itself over night as after 4 hours I’m wide awake and can’t get back to sleep as these bloody decorations are now stressing me out.

Now 0520 Tuesday morning and hopefully although cold at 16F with any luck I might get the maple tree finished this morning. Close but no cigar, the temp continued going down and by the time I got to work it was down to 9F and only 18F on the way home. Some good progress this morning and I finish up with only one string of meteor lights left to put up before connecting all the cables.

Now I suddenly have a cold and now I can’t sleep, never mind I need to get these lights finished!!! Back from the morning runs and I get the last string of lights up and now start linking up the  connectors  in the hope everything will work as planned.


The high winds are a nightmare for the outside decs but no major disasters so far.  Cables are connected and all the lights checked one more time to make sure they are plugged in to something … anything! ……. final tests look good and only one string of meteor lights may not be working.

Home at 1800, wind still vicious, but the lights look good other than the suspect line. Firewood chopped, dogs walked and time for a Hallmark movie.


The Maple Tree has now officially joined the 2017 display so now I’m left with Scuffy, the Lazer light show in the trees, a couple of extra spot lights to find …… and maybe that little something extra for the Cozy Comfort sign area and Waterfalls ?

The winds were horrendous overnight and 3 sets of step ladders have been blown over. Warmer this morning and a lot less windy so time to get out there and attempt to fix that last string of meteor lights. There were 3 sets of 8 lights and I had to fit a plug on each set of 8 rather than have a continuous string. Its done! Scuffy tomorrow.

Pool on Saturday afternoon and 24 players and I win my way through the first 4 rounds so I’m back in the money and finish in a respectable 3rd.

Sunday and its Scuffy time and a lot of work gets done but the task is not finished although I do get the extra spotlights set up along with the Laser lights for the big trees.


New spots


Lasers in

Back from the morning runs and now only 7.5 driving days to go! Coffee and dogs first then out to the boat and start wiring up. Wire all the gifts in, now the 4 Santakins, fit Darth in place and connect the 2 new Santa and Mrs Claus along with the 3 spotlights. First sets of red lights around the hull.


Crew ready to embark


Music while I work


First sets of reds in

Tuesday, and I’m too tired to do anything! I will perhaps take a few daylight shots of what is done so far.

Wednesday and another sleepless night and nothing gets done so I now have to see a Doctor on Thursday.

Thursday and after the Doctor’s visit yet more antibiotics and some mucus remover!

Friday, a much nicer day and I’m back on the task. A major round of repairs after another very windy night. Some stabilizers for the “Santas” and now more hooks on the hull and the red and white lights are finished and once again I’m out of time. A couple of visits from a school girl and the local sheriff who says he parks his car opposite the display to catch speeders and enjoy all the lights.

Back home from the afternoon run at 6 p.m. only to find some idiot has driven over the corner of the lawn and collided with the huge rockery stone and nearly destroyed the Lasers! More repairs for Saturday morning!!!


Can you believe it ?  A clown with a travel trailer tries to turn in front of the house!!!   Yes, he was caught on the security cam

Last items to add for today are the front blue water lights, the rear yellow wake lights on the gold rocks and a last collection of Darth and the “blue” cherry tree and the LED’s around the Cozy sign. Then it will just be minor details outside and my office garland downstairs.

Work begins, and I WILL finish everything by Sunday! My starter for 10 is to repair the damage caused by the idiot with the travel trailer, some people should NOT be allowed behind the wheel of anything.


Bloody halfwit !


All repaired


Laser Cabins built

Repairs complete, and  time for the Laser Cabins to keep the snow out. Now onto final wiring for Scuffy with warm white lights up the wake and 4 sets of blue water lights on the rocks with a shimmering effect.


Wake lights on the gold rocks


Blue lights down the starboard


Bit more water on the port



Last checks on the Crew

Wiring complete, and time for Saturday pool. 19 players today and I battle my way through with 5 wins to the final and a guaranteed 2nd place or better. 2 very good games in the final but I lose both and end up in 2nd position again.

Well its Sunday night and I’m done!  Yes, it only took 4 weeks to do and I’m pleased with the overall result. Next article will reveal all the lights in their glory.






A full week off school and now I need to get into full swing with all my Christmas lighting and displays. This ritual, although enjoyable, takes longer and longer every year.

Sunday cracks off with a redo of the two major figurines that are out on the balcony. I thought they needed some extra lights as the originals, some 12 years old, seemed to be on the dim side. 150 new lights per unit later I’m done!!


150 new lights later


Another 150 here

Monday and the job starts in earnest with everything to be brought down from the workshop loft and tested before layout can begin. However, before that all the shade garden cushions need to be put in the boiler  room and stacked for the winter, and once the Christmas lights are done then the Gazebo needs to join them.

Outside the clematis restraints have been removed for the lights that go up the poles. Hoses rewound and branches from the last bout of high winds put in the trash.

Despite putting everything away in good order with the increasing volume of stuff its difficult to remember where it all goes. The brain is trying to recall where it all went  and after 3 days of repair and thinking I’m moving along.

A rebuild on a twinkling star took a fair time but is now functional and extra deer for the waterfall were constructed and mounted on their stands and should survive the blizzards to come! The old polar bear had to have some repairs and now all the major items are laid out in the center bed. Just cables and lights for that sector and then on to front of house.


More repairs


The herd gets bigger

Its been way too cold and windy to even think of a ride but I did manage to change the troublesome tube on the Roubaix and maybe this morning I’ll do the Giant MTB tires now that I have the bike repair stand functional.

Wednesday, repairs completed (I hope) and front bed layout in full swing. A quick visit to Walmart and a few more lights replace the 1200 or so that are now beyond use! Cables everywhere and it comes together as dusk arrives ……. not too bad, just one little fir tree that needs some lights.



The NEW Santa with Darth

Thanksgiving Day, and while tradition says Brenda will be hard at it preparing the delicious feast I will be outside dealing with front of house lighting. If I can complete this then I will be pretty much on schedule. Remaining sectors are; Rose Bed, the Balcony, Maple tree and Scuffy.


Chef in full “cook” mode


“Here’s a pumpkin pie I made earlier”


A helping hand from me!





The Center Bed gets finished with all the passengers in the sleigh and the clear lights on the last fir tree. The lights go up the 5 poles out front but the Christmas cocktails are kicking in and work up a ladder is not a good idea. Eat and be thankful!


Friday and the weather continues up in the 60’s so make the most of it as it will surely change. Today is  all the household decorations that are up in the loft which Brenda will dive into as I try to finish the front of the house.

Brenda not feeling too good this morning and my dizziness is not helping and becoming very worrying. Several hours spent rectifying lights and eventually the lower section of front of house is complete. Some of the boxes are brought down from the loft so I can get on with the balcony section on Saturday morning. Yet MORE lights to repair.

Seems the lights are not working on the expensive Balsam Tree so after much, and I mean much frustration, Brenda rips all the lights off the tree and replaces them with another 1200 ……. and sends Balsam a snotogram of epic proportions!!! ………. however, we now have the 2017 tree completed and it looks very good.


A lot of hard work!

By Sunday evening I have ALL front of house completed save for the last shooting star which also now needs rewiring! Monday and now I find one section of ice lights out so after replacing those, the last shooting star is hauled up and checked. Timers are now fitted and tested.

Just when I thought I was done the “Shivering Polar Bear” lights are starting to fail so they get replaced before I really start losing it. Now its Friday and I actually manage to rewire the Rose Bed and connect it into the display.

Only the Maple Tree and Scuffy to finish 2017. This MUST be completed by Sunday night as the weather is turning wormy from then on, but it is December after all.