Craig Gibbons' Lifeblog lifeblog://tri.eat.net

27Feb/070

Triathlons: Blenheim, London – Cycling: London to Brighton

Ever since I decided, shortly after the Chicago Marathon, to do triathlons I have been making slow but steady strides in that direction. Some have been easy (shopping for a new Cannondale racing bike), some not so easy (going swimming in a new Speedo... 1 size too small). With this sort of thing, I am not the kind of person who relishes the thought of a 6am gym session, or a bike ride on a Sunday morning after the night out so there's really only one way I can get motivated to do these things my head longs to do but my body is too lame to contemplate, that being, to just darn well book it!

So with that, I have entered myself into the Blenheim Triathlon, the London Triathlon and the London to Brighton bike ride. Like the Chicago Marathon, this will be an event organised by Merrill Lynch, so I get to wear a spiffy team vest, or more likely an all-in-one again. Yikes.

I have only ever done a duathlon once, and that was many years ago, so preparing for these two triathlons is going to be challenging at best. Fortunately global warming has made my task easier with back-to-back mild evenings just about the whole winter so far. I also did the Argus Cycle Tour, a major cycling event in South Africa, three times when I was younger, one year even managing to come 3rd in my age group, but it sure has been a long time since then. I certainly have my work cut out for me.

27Feb/070

Dualit 3 Slice Combi Polished Stainless Steel Toaster

As a thank you for all my hard efforts finding and procuring a house, my wonderful Gemma has purchased me us the finest of toasters and a long time thing of obsession, the Dualit 3 Slice Combi Polished Stainless Steel Toaster. My friend Brian purchased a toaster of the same a few years back. At the time, I couldn't quite understand why anybody would spend quite so much money to toast bread, a task which, afterall, can be accomplished by just about anything, including a candle stick lighter, but of course the Dualit toaster is iconic, I would go so far as to say important, in the way the SMEG fridge and Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair are iconic and important. It will make a perfect addition and a great start to the appliancing of our new house. Thanks Gem.

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27Feb/070

Adventures in House Buying

It’s been a while since I sat down in earnest to write something to post on this blog. Truthfully, even though so many things have happened over the last couple of months, I have lacked inspiration. Call it writers block if you will. But now, after all this time, despite an all consuming work load and seemingly endless life and work administration tasks to perform, something wonderful has happened, something inspiring, something life changing! Gemma and I have bought a house!

We had in the past, discussed at length houses in London and our desire to own one. For the longest time we’ve been peering through windows and leafing through papers and watching those TV shows where somebody takes a wreck of an old barn and makes it into a palace and all along, the desire has been growing and growing until about a month ago we finally decided enough already, and we began to look for our own house, well, our own home.

People will tell you different things about buying a house and the gravity of the decision is not to be underestimated, but I don’t think either of us were fully prepared for the experience. Certainly in years gone by the property market has been buoyant, but never ‘white-hot’ as the Metro (that all-authorative source of information) put it a few days ago. This is by no means an exaggeration; it is profound how prolific house buying in this town has become. It’s a seller’s paradise out there and everybody owning anything from a town house on Regent’s Park circle to a janitors 3m x 4m shoebox in Kensington (no kidding) is cashing in. While this is bad news for buyers, I am confident this is still the time to buy. With London having now eclipsed New York as the financial capital of the world and city bonuses set for another record year, the trend seems set to continue. One is left with the feeling that every day spent not owning a property is a day one is losing money and as an estate agent friend of mine said, “Buy anything. Buy it now. It all goes up”.

Our new place, Subject to Contract (he says while clutching a wooden chair), is a 1st floor apartment in a beautiful period house not far from Queens Park in North West London. Guests welcome anytime.

UPDATE 10th August 2007: We heard last week our sellers have decided to pull out of the deal. Apparently the market had risen so much during the time us faithful buyers were waiting for problems to get sorted out, the sellers decided to go back out to market, for another £75k. Nice. We've been back in the hunt for a while since then. No darn fun.