Nature red in tooth and claw

DSCF1001The remains of a bird, perhaps a pigeon, were left on the lawn this morning after a sparrow-hawk was spotted in the far corner under a fir-tree enjoying his lunch.
sparrowhawk 2

I captured a similar incident four years ago.

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Tanat Valley Firewood Now Available at Greatorex

Established a new business partnership with Greatorex serving Llanrhaeadr and area. They supply everything that you might need from 08:00 to 22:00 daily, so support your local shop. You can now get your Tanat Valley kindling and oak or ash logs from Greatorex.

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David’s Ironman journey… Barcelona 5 October 2014

Official pics montage

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Perfect Autumnal Afternoon With Megan

We went to sell logs and kindling at the Rhydycroesau Autumn Fair, Megan was great at taking money, giving change and taking kindling to the car. We had a super time.

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Iron Man emerges from the Med

IronMan event (8)David completes the first stage of his Barcelona Iron Man event as he transitions from the 2.4 km swim to the 180 km cycle ride. After an hour or so swimming among 2500 others, he is still on top form!

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David in action at Ironman Barcelona

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The Knockin Shop Stocks Tanat Valley Firewood

Delivered the opening stock to The Knockin Shop today, my first retail outlet. I dropped off some oak and ask log as well as kindling. Knockin is on the road to Mid Wales and the coast and passing trade often stops for logs for the holiday lets and country cottages. You can also get your hair cut while you are there!

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‘David – you are an Ironman’

David You are an Ironman

What a day! What a race! I smashed it in a time of dead-on 12 hours. Mother nature welcomed us at the start with a firework display of thunder and lightning, delaying us by 30 mins. I felt strong throughout the swim, avoiding any kicks and punches and coming out of the water after 2.4 miles in 1hr 14 mins.

The sun dried us quickly on the 112 mile, pancake flat, beautiful coastal ride . The sea breeze kept us from being baked. I rigidly stuck to my nutrition plan of gels and energy drinks every 30 mins resulting in frequent pee breaks. (Memo to self: must trying relieving myself while riding to save time. Check first if anyone is drafting behind!)

After 6 hrs 3mins I sped into transition. Helmet off, fresh socks and running shoes on and out on the marathon course. I mentally counted down 8 parkruns, walking through the feed stations refuelling with banana, gel, water and energy drink before picking up the pace. (Note to self: vomit inducing gels really do work – keep taking them). After 20k and as dusk settled my morale faltered briefly as I reflected on what an idiot I was to take on this challenge. Singing old club dance favourites kept me going: Soul II Soul – Keep on Moving, Salt N’ Peppa – Push It. So that’s what I did. I pushed on. Making the last 5k the fastest parkrun split of the lot.

The volunteers and crowd support were fantastic. Nothing lifts the spirit more than hearing a random stranger saying: “C’mon David – you are amazing, stay strong!” Our bodies are indeed amazing and with the right mental attitude you can achieve much more than you perhaps thought possible. 24 hours later I can still hear that unique phrase ringing through my mind I first heard as I sped down the finishers funnel ‘David you are an Ironman!’ Mission accomplished.

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Ironman Barcelona – David Patrick is ready for you


Wow. Arriving in Barcelona felt like a baking hot summers day with the temperature edging 25 degrees. I took the coastal train line along mile after mile of sandy beach past the sun worshipers topping up their tans. As I reached Callela the adrenalin begin to kick in as I set eyes on the huge Ironman expo set up on the beach with some seriously fit people with pointy hats and top end time trial bikes cycling along the promenade.


There is a real buzz here and as I made my way to registration you could sense the excitement. For many folk like me this will be their first Ironman. Many, many hours of training has finally brought me to my first long distance triathlon. That’s 2.4 miles in the Med, a 112 mile fast coastal ride, finishing with a 26.2 mile marathon. Bring it on! This weekend is a celebration of all the hard work over the last 18 months. I plan to enjoy it despite the inevitable pain and suffering that lies ahead.


I have appreciated the support and shared the journey with many people. My pals and coaches at Long Eaton Running Club, Long Eaton Tri Club and Broxtowe Tri Club. They have taught me an enormous amount and I’m truly grateful. It’s also been great fun along the way. You can’t train, race, sweat, suffer, celebrate along the way without making some deep friendships.


My family have also been enormously supportive. Feeding me after training sessions, coming along to events like the Outlaw Half and the Big Swim to cheer me on. Their support has made an enormous difference and I am very grateful for it. I’m delighted to have Daniel over from Uni in Marseille and my parents who have been fantastic supporters every step of the way.


Over the next couple of days I’ll be soaking up the atmosphere, making some new pals, attending the race briefing, then racking my bike and handing over my transition bags with my kit. They after hopefully a deep sleep on Saturday I will be up and at it.

My (very) approximate times for the race will be: my age group starts at 8.53am and I plan on a swim time of around 1 hour, 15 min. After 5 mins in transition I’ll be off on what should be a 6 hour, 15 min ride. Another 5 mins in transition followed by a 5 hour, 15 min marathon (heat permitting!). That should put my overall time at 12 hours, 45 mins, finishing at around 9.30pm. There are so many variables that this prediction may well be wide of the mark. Will I get the nutrition right or see my body seize up without sufficient carbs? Will the heat sap my strength? Have I done enough of the right training to prepare? I’ll know on Sunday – bring it on!

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Don’t Try This at Home

They came, they sawed and they conquered. Last of the ash tree that came down Feb 12. Ready to log for firewood for next winter. 10653312_938249856191334_2513522948645164198_n

P Hughes2

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