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THE RIDE GOES ON

Coming soon!

The Quest continues post Chemo, and even a surprise ride on Thursday which I hadn’t planned on, as the Thursday has always been a recovery day during the last 12 sessions especially with the infuriating bag.

With 3 days of hospital visits I effectively lost 2 days riding, but none the less added another 148 miles to the total with 39.42 today, in what turned out to be near perfect conditions, despite what the forecasters had in mind.

Supposedly cool, about mid 60’s and windy. Started at 36F when I got up but steadily climbing. Shorts or thermals? Only 10/11 and 220 already done.

Well it just got more and more windy with leaves and dust blowing everywhere and not very warm! Project abandoned for the day !

Into the new week, FREEZE Warning! down at 29F but now climbing and still windy ….. won’t be long, but the forecast says 70’s for the rest of the week.

Eventually on the road around 1115 and it really is lovely, the wind isn’t too bad, not too cool either and the light thermals are the right kit. 24.89 for the morning run then home to feed and walk dogs. Now need those “extras” I missed yesterday in the high winds and I’ll be back on track.

Finished on 37.55 for the day  by 1530, now off to the hospital

It seems the other growth was not a tumor but an ugly polyp thing that my Doctor says should be removed, but surgery is not the way to go while under chemo. Well we will wait and see if it shrinks during the treatment and then reassess after the next set of scans.

This “one” isn’t mine but the pictures he showed me are very similar   ugly little brute!

Little windy this morning but temps on the way up. Need to do some car research and work out what I need to sell. Looks like my shotguns will be going along with the Giant MTB which I don’t seem to use

Great bike for someone, be on Craig’s List soon.

Another delightful day and the “Trees” have taken over having sat and watched all the flowers growing and blooming and now they are saying “Now it’s our turn!”

Back to shorts and shirt today and another 27.70 takes me to 4206.89 as we continue the upward climb.

Busy day doing all manner of things and never got to have a ride, well no matter, I was feeling a bit tired. Cleaned the MTB and got that on Craig’s list and Facebook and also did the same with the Beemer for Facebook and tomorrow that can go on Craig’s List as well. Quick check on the Safari and the engine batteries haven’t charged again so I suspect a blown fuse somewhere as the house batteries are up there at 13.40 volts and are in constant charge from our power source. Might be something for Jack ?

Looks like the weather is changing with freeze warnings and strong winds again and I think I’m suffering from feeling depressed and unwanted. Weight is still down at an all time low of 165.4 as I just waste away! Life is NOT enjoyable!!

If I set my sights just a little lower I could be up to 4600 by the end of the month which would be good so we will see what can be achieved.

The 2018 run made landfall 100 miles from the coast at 4644

Managed to get out there and fight the wind for another 26.42 which puts me at 4233.31 so by tonight I should be within 400 miles of that target.

Last night not good for me with a few side effects, liquid filling of the bag (twice) some very strange dizziness, and one bout of nausea which I put down to dehydration. Well never mind, as I’m told I can do nothing right, and even my future car choices are unacceptable for Colorado, I will just blunder on and see if those Pearly Gates are over the horizon.

Seems they like it too

Almost there and time to try R.I.P.

Cooler and a fair bit of wind but I got back on track with a good couple of rides and banged in another 39.42 which puts me in sight of 4300 which I will hopefully pass through tomorrow, all being well and hopefully no more nausea.

No Gates today!

Saturday and down at freezing but zero wind and what looks like another demi pleasant fall day. After yesterday’s efforts only 27.27 to crack the banner. Warming up, better get out there! Not too bad out there on the open road and another 38.35 for the day and 105 for the last three days. Total now 4311.08      and on we go!

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

MORE OCTOBER FUN

No that doesn’t look like fun!

and I agree, it most certainly wasn’t!

Here we go again for the next round of fun and games starting with the “up yer nose” Covid test before yet another colonoscopy and all the fun of liquid diets, Ducolax tablets and the awful tasting Miralax powder.

Yumee! I can hardly wait

Beginning to warm up, but I’m still cold so I’ll do part one in thermals then take those ducolax pills and try for part two of the cycling bonanza. The next real BIG target will be the 2018 top total of 4644.30 and see if I can crack that amid all the new chemo days and whatever else these medics have in mind.

Managed to take out another 27.92 and lift the total past the loose ends of the 44.30 at 4054.23 so only less than 600 to the goal.

Ever closer

Tuesday morning in for colonoscopy No 3 and this I’m told is not so good as the original tumor has grown back again and now has a friend on the other side of my body. Not exactly what we were looking for so now a full explanation of what awaits when we get over to Durango tomorrow.

No riding tomorrow or Thursday as I’ll be on that infernal drip but maybe if I get a few today I might be able to ride Friday and Saturday depending on the effects of the chemo. Eventually out and its quite pleasant and the new gearing gets me another step closer and now the total stands at 4075.89 and there it will stay until this session of chemo is over.

Wednesday and Durango for session 1 of round 2 in the chemo world. 5 hours in the chair with an assortment of drips and bits and bobs. More blood work and the tumor index is currently 28.3 as we start this new sequence. So far no nasty side effects, and two more days on the drip so I’ll wait and see.

Next ride maybe Friday when I’m “bag” free

Thursday and feeling quite good and no nausea. Breakfast coming soon and I get to take 2 steroid tablets for the next 3 days which are dexamethasone, yes, the same ones they gave Trumpty Dumpty. He claims he is feeling better but of course how can you tell with him?

So far no side effects but usually they do take time to build up, but currently if I can secure the bag and pump I might try a couple of small 5 milers when it warms up. I seem to be itching to do some thing, anything, which is so much better compared to last year when all I wanted to do was sleep!

Now “Trumped” with my two steroid pills!

Well. took a ride, pump and chemo all working, another unexpected 13.78 goes in the books and no ill effects! First time I’ve attempted a ride while undergoing chemo …. maybe this new cocktail of poisons is the one for me.

First ride while on chemo with it being pumped in as I ride !

Following the success of ride 1 and no ill effects ride 2 is attempted and the daily total tops out at 26.33 and takes me over 4102.22 which was never in my expectations!

Feels good to be at 4102.22 on a day I wasn’t planning on riding!

Meanwhile,  as the pandemic rages on, and cases all around us continue to rise,  gardening slips onto the back burner as foliage changes and annuals say goodbye. The Giro d’Italia is in full swing but not on TV, not sure if Trump has upset the Italians? The Vuelta  is scheduled to start on 10/20 so before all that its time to review the car market and see if there is anything for me?

You may remember I was looking at a gorgeous Range Rover down in Phoenix which was my No1 choice at the beginning of the year.

Sadly it caught the “TC” for which there really is no known cure and to take all the timing chains out and replace them is a ton of work which can cost around $6000 or if that doesn’t work then how about $22,000 for a new engine?        I don’t think so! what a shame.

The mind thinks back and I still rather like that S-Type Jaguar from the 2005 era, maybe its the appointment and woodwork or the nostalgic looks from my childhood. Here are a few that I’m currently looking at.

Another in Phoenix, actually Cave Creek, where we used to live. This is currently my No1 choice, a 2005 model with 59K on the clock

Gorgeous in BRG in CA, a 2003 with 67K

Photographers can’t shut the hood ?

Love the color!

Choice 2

A 2008, also in CA and also in BRG

Not bad, choice 3

Top of the range the 2008 R model with the supercharged motor

Not sure about the cockpit, a bit bland!

Still a good looking car

Back to reality, the chemo bag came of yesterday and the tiredness caught up with me so no riding. Never mind, still on target after Thursday’s surprise rides. Weather turning, cooler and yet more wind for the next few days. Will do what I can, now off the steroids and the weight is down to 165.8  ….. what is going on?????

Wedding Anniversary today! Cake and card at the ready!

TONY DOWN

 

 

NEW POISON

That time again

October 1st, and off we go again with more Chemo and other delights! First off a meeting with Doctor Matteson to discuss yet another colonoscopy after last week’s PET scan. That will be on Tuesday after an up the nose Covid test on Monday. Wednesday and back to Durango for the first dose of the “NEW” poison.

Meanwhile the pedals keep ticking over to maintain the round the World Tour. Currently on track to crack the 4000 by Saturday with a 31.76 miler to open the monthly account.

Saddest news of the day was having to lose our beloved King Charles spaniel, Hercules, as he was experiencing heart failure and kidney shut down. A superb pet with virtually no vices and love for everybody. He will be greatly missed as much as his big sister Millie, who was very much my dog, who I had to let go to cancer on July 15th 2018.    and it still hurts!

Friday and time to get a few things done on the Roubaix. Into town and a new rear cassette and chain and home again and out for the first run, but now the bloody odometer has stopped working so off to get the batteries for it’s computer and sender unit.

NEW cassette and chain

Finally after another consultation with the hospital about the new chemo poison and potential side effects I get on the road. Now mid afternoon and blowing the non stop gale I get 13.50 done when the back tire starts going down!! Home again and change over to my new Michelins with the blue sidewall. Too late for any more this afternoon so I’ll pick up those extra miles on Saturday and failing that the Champers will have to wait until Sunday! All that being said the new cassette is 11/27 compared to the 11/23 we took off which was a bit of a “close ratio” set up and I like the new set much better and I’m pleased the worn out “clacking” has stopped.

Let’s try these flashy ones from Michelin

I like the colors

Outside no sign of Momma cat and the current litter of five are growing pretty quickly. Rather like “Hercules” if there can ever be any bright spots when you lose a loving faithful animal, one of the kittens, who I have named Twizzle has become very, very, friendly and follows me everywhere outside to the point of me having to be exceedingly careful as he is weaving his way between my legs like an agility dog on a slalom course. He never shows his claws, unlike some of his siblings, purrs, and is happy to be picked up. Brenda says NO! but she also picks him up so I feel we may soon have a new furry friend whether we like it or not.

Hello, my name is TWIZZ, I’m here about the job, full of love, very friendly, furry, and I purr if that’s Ok ?

Here’s my best side

I know I’m right for the job, the other 4 aren’t interested

 Saturday, and windy again and much cooler, so a late start that doesn’t bode well for a full distance ride so elect for a shorter effort around town  and back for coffee after13.67 which is about where I wanted to finish yesterday. Out again in the afternoon and despite the non stop wind I take the daily total up to 27.70 which is only 6.38 short of that big 4000!

3993.62 you say! guess I could have made it after all

Sunday and things are looking good, warmish, not too much wind, so no excuses and get out there to cement the deal with a quick (must be the new gear ratios) 10.07 before lunch bringing the yearly total to 4003.69 and a happy smile with those remaining teeth! Not finished for the year so I’ll be looking for a few more towards the next target!

4000 miles and a few more to come!

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

2020 CHEMO

After yesterday’s PET scan at Durango it seems the Maintenance Chemo Pills were unable to keep things in check and it must be said that the associated side effects were also less than acceptable. Numb fingertips, splitting skin all over the hands, and a near total loss of fingerprints for a start. Cracking heels, teeth falling out, watering eyes and a constant running nose do little to make you say “I’m feeling so much better”

Peeling numb fingers with no prints!

Great!

Deep cracks and splits on my heels

The PET, quiet and non painful

The procedure kicks off with a pinprick to the finger for a blood sugar check and then they mix up glucose and some radio active material which you are given through the port and then you rest for 30 minutes to let it run round the system.

During all the ins and outs of sliding through the machine it images all the areas known as “bright spots” where it detects cancer cells actively feeding on the glucose so we know exactly where the problems are.

Well Mr Data ?

and now some pretty images other than misery or Trump!

That’s better

Julie told me NOT to start the next session of pills so I’m expecting to be back on the drip maybe by Wednesday which will most likely screw up my monthly target. With a determined effort yesterday I pushed through the 3800 banner and I should have had 4 more days for the last 100 ….. we will see.

Cheers to 3800

Sunday and a nasty strong wind but I will persevere and see what I can manage in town between the houses. A hard fought 18.27 miles before lunch but that wind will just not let up and its currently gusting 30 mph !

I think I’ve BEE’n all I can BEE today

Monday, what will this week bring? Chemo ? maybe, cooler? yes! More bloody wind? Oh yes! So despite everything which seems to be determined to screw up my personal plans I’m forced to take it one hour at a time. Currently pretty cool and very windy.

Eventually get out around 1315 and set off up the hill to Telluride amid the swirling gusty wind which is cool to say the least and push on to get back on target and finish at 30.33 which catches up the 5 miles I missed yesterday. Now at 3850.95 with two days left in the month, but I rather suspect I’ll be on that chemo drip thing most likely tomorrow which will leave me 25 miles short!

Can only do what you can do!

Tuesday 9/29 and a reasonable 2 part ride to knock out another 36.71 which creeps the total up to 3887.66 and when I got in the Hospital rings to say the “NEW poison” will not be here this week so I’ll be chemo free and should complete the mission by the end of the month.

Closer and closer to the 3900!

9/30 and a demi pleasant ride apart from some severe gusts and finally the day is done on 33.00 taking me up to 3920.66 and maybe I’ll see 4000 by the weekend?

The month overall had 22 riding days with 8 days either as rest or gardening days and hospital appointments but all things considered 666.09 in those 22 days was a fair achievement in my book!

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

FINI DE TOUR

The 2020 Tour de France turned out to be an epic event. As we entered the Saturday individual uphill time trial it looked like the long time leader, Primoz Roglic, would be able to hold off his fellow countryman, Tadej Pogacar, who was just under a minute behind.

Well that was not to be the case as Pogacar surged up the climb  to convincingly win the the Time Trial and in the process also won the King of the Mountains jersey along with the White jersey for the youngest rider and he turns 22 today on Monday 9/21. A pretty good haul for a young man in his first Tour de France !

To the Victor his spoils

Gracious in defeat , can’t say I’d be that pleased after 3 weeks

PARIS, FRANCE – SEPTEMBER 20: Podium / Primoz Roglic of Slovenia and Team Jumbo – Visma / Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia and UAE Team Emirates Yellow Leader Jersey / Richie Porte of Australia and Team Trek – Segafredo / Celebration / Trophy / during the 107th Tour de France 2020, Stage 21 a 122km stage from Mantes-La-Jolie to Paris Champs-Élysées / #TDF2020 / @LeTour / on September 20, 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

The top 3 all well deserved

Local lad, Seth Cuss, from Durango 

Watching the event tired me out and I was only able to hit 27.57 on my uphill headwind ride to the lakes and back.  Never mind, adding this year’s current total of 3653.42 to the hard fought previous numbers, I’m currently at 15,044.35 miles completed out of the 24,902 target that I set myself. Is another 1000 miles on the cards for this year before the snow shuts me down?

September has been a very strange weather month and with ultra cold weather in a nasty snap that went from the 90’s down to the low 40’s and I’ve had SIX “enforced rest days”. 9 days left but I’ll lose one of those for medical scans over in Durango. Might crack another 200 miles  if there are no problems.

Looking at today’s weather its cooler, overcast and after a quick look it’s forecast for thunderstorms! Hmmmm, we will wait and see if it warms up but its not too nice right now!

Coming soon will be the annual “go through” on the Trials Bikes with a view to selling a few and maybe the faithful Beemer. Apparently my “No Excuses Cub”, although a genuine Pre 65 is not one of the oldest Triumphs around    …… read on

Dazzling !      Nice one Moses

Will he ride it again ?

Right now I’m obsessed with this cycling thing and it certainly passes a lot of time during the pandemic. Keeps me fit ? clearly keeps me away from people, and passes quite a few hours climbing hills and fighting headwinds.

Yesterday was definitely Fall or Autumn, whatever you choose to call it, and as I go up the hill towards Telluride the changing colors of the foliage are quite beautiful. The day started cool, no very cool, and with the Easterly wind which I don’t really like. Many thoughts on what to wear, and went thermal for the late morning mini ride which took me through the 3700 kite but then the day changed and it became pleasantly warm so back to shirts and shorts. Second ride racked up a few bonus miles and finished on 25.15 for the day.

Recently bought some new inexpensive sunglasses in the “Tour” style wrap around look and early trials say they are pretty good!

Comfy and good for keeping the wind out

Also waiting for another pair of “Von Zipper Rockfords” from France which should arrive in the next week.

Always loved the Rockford Aviator style both for flying and Trials

Before the Pandemic arrived I was doing a lot of research on a car for me to drive, assuming I could beat this cancer thing. A sort of prize, or something to look forward to. The choices were vast but eventually my selection was narrowed down to a chosen few. One of my favorites was this gorgeous 2010 RR Turbo.

Private sale down in Phoenix, only 89K on the clock.

Just different enough to appeal to me!

I can’t say that I was surprised it hadn’t sold as I thought the asking price was a little high and with all the uncertainty of the Pandemic who would be car shopping?   Well I looked again and the price had DROPPED by 6K !!!!  ……. reading on, sadly there was a “rider” that there was a timing chain issue ?    Again more research from yours truly shows that the engine that was fitted to the “2010” was subject to this problem and the fix is likely to cost around $6000 or even a replacement engine at around $22,000 !!!!

Well if that one is not for me there are still a couple of Jags out there that I quite like, are at the right price and mileage, so maybe just maybe?

Good looker, and no, NOT a soft top but the roof covering that was all the rage back then

Tons of wood of these beautiful dashes

The S-Type

Another S-Type at a dealership

Bigger engine on this one, “The R Model!!” They say Green?

Better refurbish some stuff and get it all sold, so anyone looking for a TY125, maybe the No Excuses Tiger Cub (64), or my very personal TY 250A Superglitz and even the BMW 2005 K1200LT with only 12,000 miles and recently serviced with new tires and seats …. send me an e-mail

Recently found this old brochure of Mick dating back to 1973 when it first came out

From the 1973 Brochure but not for sale until mid 74

Many hours looking at same after years on Montesa and Bultaco before writing directly to Yamaha Japan to ask if I could have one ? Bit of a nerve but as they say “Don’t ask, don’t get!”   and I GOT MINE!!

1974 at the Cattle Market ready for the SSDT

Hardly used TY125 I built for Brenda

Friday 9/25 and hospital time again over in Durango for a different type of scan to see what’s happening. Not sure how long all this will take but maybe more news on the knowledge front.

Scan and bloodwork all done and now wait to see Julie, the Nurse Physician. Scan pictures and findings she will pass on when they are available later this afternoon. All the blood work looks good, but the tumor index, which had come down from about 97 to just over 3 during the 12 chemo sessions had been increasing since moving over to the pills and was still rising at 27 so time to address this issue and the scan which can track the radio active stuff that they injected me which shows where the cancer is actively working and eating the protein that the blood produces ……. very clever! No surprise then that the cancer tumors in the liver and another in the colon are not being fully held in check with these pills so its back to another dose of the full chemo drip, but with a change of some of the poisons and perhaps some reduction in the side effects. This could start as early as next week!

Following this we both went for some Flu shots in Cortez and I’ll need another pneumonia shot to stay one jump ahead.

Back to the chair!

Ah yes, I remember it well

Of course this sudden change could upset my cycling plans but I think I can get through the 3800 marker by this weekend

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

SEPTEMBER RIDING

No bus driving, so press on around the Equator! Next target on the horizon will be the 3602.09 marker where I finished 2017 at around Thanksgiving. Yesterday I was down on energy and after getting back from the hospital blood session it was blowing like hell and my enthusiasm  said NO so I settled for some weeding.

A bit more get up and go today and all is going well until I stop for an apple at a friend’s tree ……. CRAAACK! and another one of my remaining teeth, front center, breaks……. not sure how to deal with this, seems the only thing holding it in is my upper gum. It moves a bit if my tongue touches it and I fully expect it will be on the plate come dinner time.

Little early to see how the local school will fare with cases but we have the holiday weekend to get through and then 2 weeks from there we will see if there are any spikes. I see Sturgis didn’t do too well and the first death has been recorded. Locally up 3 cases and another 2 over in Durango.

Just as I expected ….. all over the seats and floor!

Well even though I’m not currently driving I did go and get my DOT physical to maintain my CDL for driving said bus. At the same time I got yet ANOTHER jury summons! This one I have got out of thanks to my Doctor  writing a nice letter saying I’m undergoing chemo. Meanwhile without thinking I bit into an apple, which was clearly TOO hard and one of my last teeth cracked … its loose and wobbly but won’t fall out but it was one of my 2 front upper crown teeth and most either side have fallen out thanks to the chemo poison. Not sure how I will be able to eat in the future……. there certainly won’t be any smiling that’s for sure! but as everyone is wearing a mask who will know?

The last couple of days I have been unbelievably tired and completely washed out by 1800 hours and last night went to bed for a full 12 hours ….. still felt tired when I got up but seems OK for the time being. Time to get out there and knock up a few more miles.

Right side Crown tooth!  … no more smiles from me!

Still feeling tired, broken tooth refuses to fall out, not sure if I need a couple of rest days? Another 50+ went in the books for the last 2 days so I’m up to 3331.32 but not feeling much like riding.

Forced myself out and managed just enough to stay on track at 3350.58, but today is another day. Tooth gets looser but still in there and won’t let go so another day on liquids and soft food and still feeling unbelievable tired. The symptoms are discouraging as they say they are signs of life coming to its end!……. and I quote from the Cancer Journals. I have certainly not had this degree of tiredness in my lifetime or lack of energy. Perhaps my planned rest day is a good thing and just maybe tomorrow I’ll be back to banging in some more miles.

Can’t quit yet

Sudden change in the weather for this week, much cooler and showers and thunderstorms ….. so could end up as a REST WEEK! and of course the tooth still hangs on which is becoming a real nuisance and I would like to eat something other than baby food !

Labor Day gone, tooth still there working like a “cat flap”, can’t take any more of this so go find a dentist. He takes x-rays, yes it has cracked all the way through and the gum is all that’s holding it in. Several injections and the broken section is popped free ….. still numb, we will see what works later. Now cold! down from the 90’s into the low 50’s and a winter storm warning! Unreal!!! Even SNOW in the forecast!!! So this day 3 of the REST cycle and subject to weather, might be back to thermals, maybe I can start again. Still waiting for the numbness to wear off and have a coffee without dribbling it all over what’s left of me.

A bit better on the mouth front, looks awful, don’t smile, but at least I managed some solid food. Miserable day NO riding!

Wednesday, very, very, cold! Only 37F when I got up and now my personal world has gone “Mercury retrograde” …. computer won’t start after an update and the Tour de France decided not to record the 0500 first showing but is set to record the 1300 re-run! Well its a flat stage so watch it live as the computer won’t start!

Into town to the computer rescue …… 2 week backlog!! No choice so home we go with temps just cresting 44F …. it was 90F last week!!!! …… so yet another rest day as its raining and bloody cold.

Brenda drags out her old computer and at least I have something to play with and look at while the rain keeps coming down and the temps are frigid.

Thursday, computer good, TV not so much. Back in there and change all the recording options. Weather still very cold, 40F and raining with more to come and thunderstorms this afternoon.

Another rest day! but today, Friday 9/11, and a bit warmer, thermals not required, a bit of sunshine, no excuses and winds currently within my limits. TV recorded Tour de France for an epic stage.

No thermals but I needed a jacket

After 5 days off a much more determined effort and another 58 miles joins the total and, finally I’m through the 3400 barrier and can now set about the next target of 3602.09 which was the 2017 total.

Sunday 9/13 and those pedal crank round again and by Wednesday 9/16 I’ve forced the numbers up another good chunk and I’m through 3500 and then on Thu/Fri I really give it the hammer with  another 85.10 in two days  ….. I think a personal record here!

Saturday 9/19 and my daughter Sally’s birthday, so although wild and windy the first morning ride nets 13.55 which surpasses the 2017 total of 3602.09 with an easy 3605.95 and still an afternoon ride if the wind abates.

OK, through the 3602.09 (2017 Total) Is the 2018 total going to be beaten ? …….. 4644.30 I think I can!

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

NO! I COULDN’T DO IT

Well of course anyone following this blog would immediately know who I am referring to ………

…..And somebody that understands what it means to be the most powerful man and deserve the title “Commander in Chief”

But first, a little about me, as a young man my mind on career had already been decided by the age of 12 when I joined 312 Squadron Air Training Corps in my home town of Canterbury UK.

Yes, I was going to join the Royal Air Force, no matter what, but of course I wanted to fly, and that meant being an Officer in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. 5 years in the ATC confirmed my opinion that this was right for me.

Just before my 17th birthday, and having taken all the necessary educational exams (GCE’s), I arrived at RAF Biggin Hill, the Officer and Aircrew Selection Center. I was one of 120 candidates to go through all the rigors, of the aircrew medical, interviews, aptitude, and leadership evaluation.

This was a 4 day selection and after initial arrival I was given a 4 man room for the duration of my stay. I wandered over to the Officer’s Mess Bar, which of course I shouldn’t have been in as the legal age was 18 back then, although if you look big enough nobody bothered you and we didn’t have ID cards back then either! Didn’t spend too long in there with the loud mouthed Rodney’s and Charles’s as I felt a little self conscious among these  23+ year olds.

Day 1 and the medical begins with X-rays, eyesight tests and of course the full physical. A very full day, with interviews, and a whole lot of aptitude tests…… back to the Mess with lots of stories and tales of what people had been asked to do. Come bedtime two of the 4 beds in my room are already vacant following eyesight and x-rays, so a rapid visit and exit for Rodney and Charles!

Day two, more of the same, with lots of aptitude tests, high g test centrifuges, and periodic interviews. After dinner back to the room to find I’m now the single occupant!

Day 3 and we are reduced down to about 20 souls remaining and now its a mixture of leadership exercises, interviews and more aptitude tasks. We are all given vests to wear and no surprise I’m number A1 as I’m the youngest. A lot of climbing through trees with poles and ropes telling other people what to do when you are the designated leader.

Day 4  a few more exercises then final interviews and on my way.

Within 2 weeks a very official letter arrives …… and feverish fingers nervously open same ……… I have been accepted for Officer and Aircrew Training starting March 2nd 1964……… YIPEEEE!

Still only 17 and a Commissioned Officer in the Royal Air Force …duty picture for Mother

Next phase, Flying Training, and by July 1966 I’m out in Cyprus at RAF Akrotiri on 32 Squadron Canberra bombers. Now promoted to Flying Officer the Pilot Officer pulled thread rank braid is removed and people actually salute you!

1969 and home from Cyprus and now on a special trials unit to develop and fire the Martel TV guided missile at Boscombe Down just outside Salisbury and not far from Stone Henge.

XJ 481 our primary training aircraft with the glass nose and CCTV

Primary firing aircraft, XJ 476

From here off to be an Instructor in 1972 including a 4 month task in Saudi Arabia to replace a British Aerospace Instructor who was killed when his horse kicked him in the head after he fell riding in the desert.

1976 and on to the mighty F4 Phantom which is now the RAF’s prime air defence fighter at RAF Coningsby where I would stay for an amazing 14 years!

8 air to air missiles and a gatlin gun

Armed and ready QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) 29 Sqn

Following my tour on 29 Squadron it was across the road to 64 Squadron or 228 Operational Conversion Unit. Various roles as an Instructor, Deputy Flight Commander and Deputy Squadron Leader Training.

4 months in London at the Ministry of Defence and then as the Falklands Conflict was still raging a sudden promotion to Acting Squadron Leader and off to the Falklands as Squadron Leader Operations. On return take over the post of Squadron Leader Training on 228 OCU . At the same time I had joined the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight on the last remaining Lancaster Bomber where I spent 8 years on the display circuit before ending up in Saudi Arabia.

Lancaster PA 474 of the ROYAL AIR FORCE BATTLE OF BRITAIN MEMORIAL FLIGHT

A true honor to fly on BBMF for 8 years

In the interim the OCU moves into the hardened (HAS) aircraft shelters and bosses and other personnel come and go. My new boss wants me to be the “XO” or deputy boss which I happily accept. Shortly thereafter he gets the Falklands call …… so I’m now the Squadron Commander of 64 Squadron and 228 OCU with 50+ instructors, 400 men, a Simulator squadron, and 32 F4 Phantom fighters! The powers that be decide not to give me acting rank as Wing Commander, but to give me substitution pay and allowances instead. Well in this case the pay grades for my “new” position are based on years commissioned service so in this case I get a lot more than my predecessor as he was a university entrant, ……. And I get the maximum for a Wing Commander with 6 years seniority!!! It was indeed a HUGE raise!

Being presented with my “2000” hours F4 Badge by RAF Coningsby Station Commander, Gp Capt Chris Coville. Chris was my Boss in the Falklands when he was Wg Cdr Ops, and prior to that he was also my Boss when he was Officer Commanding 228 OCU   …… small world!     I finished my time on the mighty Phantom with 2850 hours on the beast

The Phantom is coming to the end of its service life and the Tornado F3 will shortly be taking over. In my situation, having done my “Executive Tour” (you only get one in each senior rank) it would seem unlikely that I would get another bite of the cherry and having enjoyed my Squadron Commander position, perhaps unlikely, they would promote me so quickly and give me another Squadron. Sitting behind bigger and bigger office desks in HQ jobs had little appeal or take option Two ? Option Two is to elect to go “Specialist Aircrew” where they will keep you flying for the rest of your career but you will not be given Executive Roles or promotion. ….. which became my preferred choice, a sort of “Club Pro”.

The Tornado F3 OCU fires up in the old 228 OCU buildings on the other side of the airfield and I’m on the second squadron to form which will be 5 Squadron.

QRA with the F3 in the same shelters

The British Government sells Saudi Arabia the new F3 fighter and that creates new Instructor posts to teach the Royal Saudi Air Force which, as I know, is a tax free salary! I apply and I’m accepted and due to start there in September 1989.

My plans leading up to my departure are to go out to Cyprus for one last time and enjoy the Island and some air to air gunnery before coming back to the UK and taking the Lanc out to the Channel Islands one last time for Battle of Britain Week.

We  depart UK at some ungodly hour on my birthday morning and join up with our tankers to take us to Cyprus and some nice warm weather.

Our tankers will night stop and then take our sister squadron, 29 Squadron, home the following day. Usual first night party until two very glum faced bosses arrive in the bar to tell us we are ALL going to Saudi Arabia on Saturday! We will be the first two fighter squadrons in theater for the start of Operation Desert Shield !

During my career in the Royal Air Force I only had one Commander in Chief

THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF

HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II

Moving to the USA in 1995 and eventually taking Citizenship I really had no political leanings but eventually “read myself in”. Democrat or Republican ? It really didn’t matter much to me and the world trundled along with, as far as I could see, sensible policies at home and abroad ……… however this changed quite dramatically when the “Prince of Clowns” gets elected in 2016.

It seemed from the “gitgo” that he just couldn’t be quiet or follow any advice and when it came to the military he was quite offensive when talking about Senator John McCain with snide comments about not liking P.O.W.s

Well he served honorably and endured being a POW

Apart from this definitely “non presidential” statement the rest of his increasing nonsense became more of a comedy sketch which I was hoping his advisors would take him to task on … but NO!

Remember ? Insulting NATO members?Blaming the Democrats for a rundown Military? Non believer in Global warming? Wanting to buy Greenland? Stirring up trouble in the Middle East and China ? etc, etc,…… and generally disgracing America on the World Stage with his lack of fundamental knowledge of history and geography? let alone manners, and of course zero grace!

On the Military front, which he clearly knows nothing about, it became offensive to me when he consistently takes the WRONG side of penny and champions the wrongdoer when all the evidence would point the other way.

The first two cases here are the Master Chief Navy Seal and the Captain of a major Aircraft Carrier

He was forced to act as a TRUE Captain …. well done Sir

More Trump incompetence!

Either a total lack of knowledge or yet more inept vocabulary, the word you needed is “Sink”

But it doesn’t stop

What a disgrace this Loon is!

Then this comes to light ….. and here we are MONTHS later and still NOTHING ???

What can I say ?

By now the Pentagon Top Brass has had enough and retired Generals and Admirals are stepping up to the plate

Well of course it doesn’t end there! More news on his truly awful and disgraceful comments on America’s Fallen calling them “Suckers” and “Losers” who the FUCK does he think he is?

….and this of course drew more comments from previous military men who were equally unimpressed by this outrageous halfwit’s stupidity and lack of feelings for all involved

Another with a distinguished career on the F4 Phantom

Let us be VERY clear, there is no apology, or retraction that could ever make this situation right, or begin to appease those whose memories have been shattered by his thoughtless and unwarranted behavior.

BONE SPURS ? my arse!

Views from more knowledgeable Commanders

Of course the Queen would NEVER demean herself with such direct language, even though she may have thought it!

How nicely and accurately put

With this buffoon in a position of so much power it is sad that I have ZERO respect for him, and I’m amazed that his antics are tolerated …. if I were in the Military (which thankfully I’m no longer part of, other than Retired) I could NOT and would NOT salute this pompous, ignorant and arrogant HALFWIT

NEVER IN A THOUSAND YEARS!

I live in hope that this is how it ends

GOODBYE

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

QUELLE SURPRIZE ! LE TOUR ??

What a surprise ! The Tour de France is on! It certainly was a big shock to me as I thought all cycling competitions were off  due to the pandemic. Anyway I’m pleased to see it taking place despite Froome and Thomas missing due to lack of form.

My never ending “Tour de Dolores” continues even with the current strongish easterly winds we have had over the last couple of weeks.

Having watched Stage 1 in its entirety with multiple nervous crashes and rain causing some very treacherous downhills with disaster on some of the corners. It just reaffirms my opinion that cycle racing was not for me! However now its my time to get out there and add some more miles to the global total.

3200 in the global bag on 8/29/covid

Today’s effort was to complete my monthly target which I set at 3200 miles even with 9 gardening days which had to be done to allow me to ride without feeling guilty. The day finished on 3205.32 so my next target must be to equal the 2017 numbers of 3602.09 and then see if the weather will let me surpass the current all time high of 2018’s (monster by my standards) 4644.30    ….. well there is still September and October and maybe a few good days in Nov ?

8/30/covid and after a fairly exciting Stage 2 which was on for 5 hours I was fairly late getting out for my session. Out to the Bridge at the 6 mile point, turn round and back into town with a 2 mile double back to give me 15 miles passing the house. The last 2 miles were in stormy, very windy conditions, forcing me to whip my feet out of the cleats, as the wind was very strong and unpredictable!

Short break to let the storm pass and out for a few more to finish on 23.63 for the day.

….. and a few more

School bus just went by the house, running late, first day of school, but as I have said before I’m not in agreement with the safety rules and fully expect to see major problems within the next few weeks.

Last day of the month and a good run up to the lakes and back for a total of 25.62 to give the yearly a boost up to 3254.57 …..next step the 3602.09 sometime in September!

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

THE CLOWN CONVENTION

…… And so it begins tonight with a constant stream of rudeness and lies and as far as I can see NOT ONE 2016 manifesto/platform promise even  close to being fulfilled.

Well ?    pick one

While we forget about the Post Office shambles, and the Loon’s ridiculous unfounded predictions, we can also forget about the Covid 19 Pandemic, as after all that’s just a Hoax, and if that’s the case then clearly there is no need for Stimulus Checks, or any help for the unemployed, as there are all these NEW jobs which he was waffling on about this morning as the Stock Market soars once again! WHERE DOES HE GET THIS CRAP FROM?????  …… and the next MEGA, indeed MAGA disaster, of school openings hits home in the next few weeks

Meanwhile, and just in time when he gets back from his whirlwind campaign nonsense it will be “SHARPIE” time again as we have a Double Whammie in the Gulf and he will no doubt include the Great State of Alabama in his modified prediction tract!

……. and here they are

Easy to see now, with 24 hours hindsight, that  our Worldly Acclaimed Doctor Extrordinaire pressured  the head of the FDA (who he had recently appointed) but then made his “own” bullshit predictions about the safety and availability of the new plasma treatment which subsequently was conveniently leaked to the Stock Market. I honestly do not believe he knows the difference between a vaccine and a cure ? With Wall Street waiting for any glimmer this pushes the numbers up and hints of a booming economy for all those holding big pharma shares ….. must be jobs too!

I’m afraid I DO NOT TRUST this Oaf with anything and I don’t believe any of the nonsense that dribbles down his chin. I am a little surprised, perhaps I shouldn’t be, that the ENTIRE Trump family gets a speaking part at this convention, or whatever you want to call it? Not one of them has any political knowledge or experience other than what WE have given them while they have been enjoying 3.5 years as contestants on “political apprentice” at our expense  ….. it will be with great delight when this is all over to be able to say 

“TRUMP family you’re FIRED!”

Of course there are other speakers, some paid, others just loving the sound of their own voice with nothing to say other than lies and political rudeness which is the norm.

Well so far absolutely nothing!

Meanwhile USPS still under the hammer, pandemic/ schools/ stimulus checks …… forget it !   But more screaming about Goodyear  …….

 Is USPS right for you ?

Night 2 and even more fun!

Glad she doesn’t live anywhere near me !

Also from dreamworld, and we are told (paid)

Seems like poor editing again!

…. and there was little old me believing the news that 40 million were unemployed  ……. how can they seriously spew this crap out ?

…….. and this one really makes me chuckle

Pray tell me learned firearm expert is this a custom left handed model ?     …… if not, you are in for an almighty surprise when you squeeze the trigger!!!!!

….. and here is something else that didn’t happen ….. but they had it ready if it ever does

……. but they acted just in time with this one

…… not quite quick enough with this one

Never mind

There goes the “Vet” vote

……..and from his sister  (not invited to speak of course)

Pretty solid endorsement here

Like Stephen Colbert I was unable to watch the constant stream of abuse and lies and switched off Nights 3 & 4 in favor of entertainment!

I was reminded by Mask Dispence of the fantastic leadership by Trumpty Dumpski in setting up the Space Force ! Nobody has yet said what this fine body of men will be doing or what threat they face that demands a “Super Duper Missile”   ????

That went down well

…….. and to finish with Night 4 of Zero!

…… and tonight

……. and when asked the question ?

I can’t wait to watch this!

How very, very true

We live in hope ……. meanwhile

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE “JOY OF JOY” POST OFFICE ?

Just as I predicted !

I thought it would be a “go slow” while the new leader found his feet and assessed the situation, but No, no, no! Clearly if you can give Trumpski Dumpski several millions for his campaign then you don’t really need a job, do you? So what are you there for ?  You have no experience in this or ANY similar operation so you can only be there to disrupt, slow down, or destroy the Organization that is NOT a profit making unity! You Sir are a fraud and to my mind are CRIMINALLY responsible for your ridiculous actions which are NOT, and I repeat NOT, going to improve the service, or be in any way, shape, or form, a cost cutting measure. YOU SIR, ARE ANOTHER LIAR, LIKE THE MAN WHO APPOINTED YOU.

Immediately!

These locks and block plates were not made in a hurry, so this mission has been ongoing for some time

It almost says it all, but  ….. here is the real thing >>>>>

…. and could it just be that those mystery “police” have now taken on a second job with unmarked trucks ? Mercenaries WILL do anything as long as they are paid!

……. well, in other news, what has the “cretin in chief” done this week?

Well he has of course been rude to all and sundry, Kamala  Harris is still phony, the work on the Post Office had to be done, …… and if the house passes it I’ll VETO IT! so there!

The child was further outraged when Goodyear Tires announced no more MAGA hats and Trump slogans ….. stomped off tweeting how bad Goodyear tires were ….and everybody should buy better and cheaper tires……. and is having them taken off his security limo! what a child!

With raging wildfires in CA, and the Governor trying to declare a state of emergency, Dumbshit has the audacity to say he warned them to sweep the forest floors ?????? and they will have to pay for HIS help ?

He is still going on and on about how long it will take to get the votes counted, maybe weeks, maybe months, maybe never and of course THIS IS ALL PART OF THE SCRIPT THAT THE PUPPET MASTERS WROTE AND THAT WILL THEN BECOME REBELLION and once more we will see BLACKWATER BACK ON THE STREETS AND MARTIAL LAW DECLARED  …… and for what ?

As a final part of the week’s a surprise entry with more on the Wall but first let’s think about the important issues, The Pandemic ? No, don’t want to see the numbers etc, etc

I guess it vanished ?

Guess not

How about the Stimulus Package ? Won’t agree on that unless I can close the Post Office

Schools ? It is what it is !

Would you send your child into this semi prison environment ?

……and finally the show stopper of the week

Here’s trouble

There seems to be a problem with the wall, the foundations…. no not the donations, I’ve spent them

Oooooops

Foundations support walls ……. not donations

Before you go Mr Trump I have a couple of bills

 

TONY DOWN