Bike Maintenance Guide

The best thing you can do to upgrade or improve any bike is the tyres, this will make the biggest difference to your cycle, making it an easier and faster ride.

I see a lot of people cycling around with tyres not at the right pressure, I also used to do this as a kid and its only now I can see the error of my ways. Put some air in your tyres and not only that, put the right pressure in. Most tyres will give you a PSI range on the side:
In the example it shows a range of 60-80 PSI, I normally go for the higher end of the range, you can really feel the difference!

If you are cycling on the road then you need less grip and thinner tyres in general. If you are offroad then more grip and thicker tyres is normally the answer. People who have a hybrid bike or do a bit of both then there are many tyres that fit inbetween to give you the best experience. You can purchase tyres from sites like wiggle or sometimes the best bet if your not quite sure is to go to your local bike shop, tell them what you are using it for and your budget then they will recommend something that works.

Next we have the wheels, they consists of a hub in the middle, some spokes and a rim a similar size to your tyre. When I first purchased my hybrid bike the wheels were reasonably cheap and I had a lot of problems with them going wonky. Normally this is because some of the spokes have gone a bit loose. The spokes all need to be at the same tension and a spoke key can be used to tighten or loosen spokes but this is very fiddly balancing them to the right tension. I found it was worth spending a bit of money on a decent set of wheels to keep you on the straight and narrow.


UK Fiscal and Revenue Stamps

Fiscal Stamps = Term used to denote issues made for payment of tax, duty or fees other than postage.
Revenue Stamp = Issues made to pay tax or duty other than postage.

List of fiscal/revenue stamps from Victoria onwards:

Additional Medicine Duty
Admiralty Court
-Board of Agriculture
CB Licence Fee Paid (CB Radio Licence)
-Chancery Court
Civil Service
-Colonial Office Services
Common Law Courts
-Companies Registration
-Companies Winding Up
-Consular Service
Contract Note
-Diplomatic Service
-District Audit
-Draft or Receipt
-Estate Duty
-Excise Revenue
-Foreign Bill
-Foreign Office
-Foreign Service
-Health & Pensions
-Income Tax
-Inland Revenue
-Isle of Man Revenue
-Judicature Fees
-Justice Room
-Land Commission
-Land Registry
-Law Courts
-Life Policy
-Magistrates Courts
-Medicine Duty
-Mayor’s Court
-National Health & Insurance
-Northern Ireland
-Passport Office
Patent Office
-Pedlar’s Certificate
-Police Courts
-Probate Court
-Public Records
-Railway Rates Tribunal
Revenue stamp with cypher seal and tin strip
-Register House Scotland
Television Licence
Transfer Duty
-Travel Identity Card
-Travel Permit
-Unemployment Insurance
-Specimens (no assignment)

Additional Medicine Duty

When medicine duty rates were doubled, these stamps were attached to existing medicine duty labels.

Admiralty Court

The Admiralty Court handles shipping and maritime disputes, these stamps were used to collect court fees.


Bankruptcy Petition documents required special revenue stamps for payment of the judicial fees.

CB Licence Fee Paid

CB Licence Fee Paid stamps were issued between 1981 and 1990s on licences to operate CB radios.

Civil Service

The Civil Service Revenue stamp was used to pay for examination fees to enter the Civil Service and could be bought from Post Offices by prospective candidates.

Common Law Courts

Common Law Courts stamps were used to pay for several fees involved in the system of Common Law after the Common Law Courts (Fees) Act of 1865. The stamps were in use for ten years, being replaced by Judicature Fee stamps in 1875.

Contract Note

Tax on an agreement to purchase shares or sucurites. Introduced as a penny rate by an Act of 1860, extended in 1888 and 1893, and made into a sliding scale 1910 when the use of these adhesives became obligatory (previously, general duty embossed stamps were permitted). Where several sales of stocks were included on one contract note, each sale was taxed, hence the need for a series of values when the rate was originally simply 1d per contract. Most contract notes issue exist with either the overprint inscription in thin or thick letters.

Patent Office

Issued by the Patent Office for payment of fees for registration of patent documents

Revenue stamp with cypher seal and tin strip

Special revenue stamps on blue base paper for the payment of judicial fees were attached to the document. A tin strip was used to attach the two together just like you would use a stapler today.The name of the debtor was written partly on the stamp and partly on the document and then the embossed impression was made.

Cypher adhesive labels were used as a security device to secure the ends of the tin strip.  This was the first adhesive stamp from Britain and was used to cover the staple on the reverse of the document.  It was line engraved with the royal cypher and its position in the sheet.  Originally they bore the Georgean Cypher but in 1837 it was changed to Queen Victoria’s Cypher.

Georgean Cypher Stamp position 172 in the sheet
Georgean Cypher Stamp position 172 in the sheet
Queen Victoria Cypher Adhesive Stamp
Queen Victoria Cypher Adhesive Stamp

Later in Queen Victoria’s reign the label was changed.  The new label was given an engine turned background to the more highly engraved Royal Cypher, it was also given corner letters which indicated the position of the label in the printed sheet.

Queen Victoria Royal Cypher engine turned background
Later Victorian Label. Letters S-K indicating Row ‘S’ or row 19, Stamp ‘K’ or column 11

Television Licence

Television licences first appeared in 1946, from 1968 a higher fee was payable for a colour receiver. From 1972 licence stamps were made available at Post Offices; the fee could also be payable directly to the Bristol Licence Office.

Transfer Duty 

Tax on the transfer of stocks and shares. This tax was payable only once a year, so if shares were transferred several times in a year, only the first transaction was taxed. The stamps were dated to show their period of validity. Rates were based on the face value of the shares or security – 3d below £25, 6d below £50, 6d per £50 thereafter.

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Windows Vista Hangs While Downloading Updates

I found a solution to my problem when Windows would search for updates, but then when it started downloading it would stay at 0% forever. I started by stopping the Windows Update service (in my case the service proved to be frozen so I restarted my computer and disabled the service before it starts) and the Application Experience service. After that I went to the C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution folder and pressed ctrl+a and shift+delete to empty its contents. Mine contained more than 70,000 files so it took a while. I started Application Experience and enabled Windows Update. I let it check for updates and try to download them. It worked perfectly.
Do not worry about deleting important windows files in this case. The contents of SoftwareDistribution is used as a cache and data for Windows Update. When Windows Update starts again it rebuilds the cache repopulating it with up-to-date versions of the files and chewing up a ton of harddisk space again.

What chews my cud – Bread Boards

You would expect somebody who is going to moan about bread boards to comment that it may fill you up too much before your starter or main course but my perspective on this is different!

I have been to many restaurants and I love a good bread board. My frustration with some (not all) restaurants is that you don’t get enough bread, and god forbid you get a tiny dish of Olive oil with Balsamic vinegar in the middle! What is with those tiny dishes? I need, I want! The whole damn bottle please!

When a bread board is a good bread board it works well, it’s a delight to see the waitress bring over a bucket of bread white, brown, granary even rolls! Maybe a jug of Balsamic vinegar? Even better when it’s already on your table in preparation for the gorge of a week’s supply of bread. To be provided a kilo of bread for a table for two is my idea of a satisfying aperitif! God I love bread! Unfortunately I am one of these folk that see bread as bad so I don’t have it at home or eat it daily; my restaurant bread board is my carbohydrate fuelled treat, and hence my somewhat addiction to a mean bread board.

I recently visited a lovely restaurant and to be honest I cannot criticise the food, atmosphere and service it was top notch. But the bread board…

For a table of 4 we were provided with a plate, yes a plate of 4 slices of white and brown crusty bread. The slices were small I was able to fold it over and eat it in one hit, there was no oil provided just a tiny slither of butter – yuck. It actually came to the point that I tried to keep people talking while I slyly took the remaining extra 3 slices, (I think others noticed but didn’t think to question) then politely and quietly I caught the waitress’s attention and asked for more. She looked puzzled as it was clear nobody else had eaten anything just me. The 2nd helping arrived and I had to force myself not to make eye contact with it. Those carb filled delights kept shouting at me “eat me; I am so fresh and crunchy”. Luckily for me bread came with my starter too, so I was out of the woods by then.

But is it right that bread addicts need to go through the torment of sharing bread, or fear being judged by ordering a bread board for oneself (I did this once and was served a mini bread board, there were tears). Can’t we live in a world where a bread board is constantly restocked throughout a meal? Or shall I just bring a loaf of with me in the future?

What chews my cud – Store Cards

Store Cards
So I love shopping and the concept of a discount or money saving is always welcome. My only issue is nearly every shop now comes with a points card, which in concept a great idea to bring your custom back but I think this has become slightly out of hand.
My purse for example is bigger than my handbag, I counted today how many points/loyalty cards I have. I have 10! Statistically talking this takes 80% of my purse. When do I visit these shops? About twice a month if that!
So there is me staggering to the shops under the sheer weight of my purse, full of pennies and plastic of course! You then get to the till and the cashier asks “do you have one of our loyalty/points/ you’re a great customer/ super duper saver card?”. Warning cashiers you need to give me 30 seconds to realise I do, only then leading me to delving through the pit of my purse to find the right card which would take a good 5 minutes minimum. All that for 2 points which equate to about 0.05pence! There have been times I have given them the wrong card “sorry mam that’s not your super duper saver card that’s your loyalty point system card”. Face palm moment!!
The consumer struggle to gain enough points to make it worth it takes potentially years, when finally the day comes you have £5 from the £6,000 you spent overall trying to get it, the sense of achievement when you purchase your “free” sandwich or bottle of bleach is beyond amazing! Is it really worth it?
Then come the vouchers! There was a day and age when you received post that had meaning like a birthday card somebody has sent to you 3 months before your actual birthday, with the joy of finding a ten pound note in it (thanks Gran). Weekly, Monthly letters now come through “Hi you are valued customers so here is a 100 point bonus voucher if you buy this tin of cat food”. This would help if you had a cat, if anything it embeds that inner struggle and constant wondering “I wonder when I can get my next free sandwich”.


What chews my cud – #Instagram

This concept is beyond me, I downloaded the app once had it for a day and got bored pretty sure I still have an account on there but I wouldn’t know squat about getting access to it.
If anything I have learnt from this Instagram/#selfie nation is that you should always take photos from above as far above as possible (in my case google earth distance). That way your face looks thinner and with that pout your lips look plumper, plus you look really “cool”. Take a photo face on and you look like a moose.
Once you have the process of making a relatively good photo of your face (because everybody wants to see that) you must then decide what filter you want. Please note if you don’t use a filter you must announce it #nofilter just so the world know if you are looking up and pouting you look good.
Filters come in all kind of styles you can choose to make yourself look mega huge and your teeth like daggers but strangely most people don’t go for these. The popular filter seems to be this one whereby you have flowers in your hair and your eyes are made ten times bigger.
Once you have your chosen filter you must then decide where you want your photo taken so you can show the world what you do. From what I have seen the gym seems to be a popular location it doesn’t matter if you go once a year with the flowers in your hair, big eyes and from above you can look proper good in the gym, even if you have completed 5 minutes on the cross trainer. Don’t forget the hashtags #gymtime #fitness #proteinshake!
Another popular attraction seems to be the ladies toilets of a club or bar although this is a whole new arena. Selfie groups emerge from this location like hyenas to a fresh carcase. It seems everybody is celebrating what you have just produced #number2, I think it is suppose to show how much of a “good time” you are having. From my perspective it portrays an evening of diarrhoea, constipation or if you are still suffering from that bacon sandwich you had that morning. Why else would you spend that amount of time in the toilets?

What chews my cud – Work Christmas do’s

The hatred for the word festive links into the sheer lack of enjoyment during Work Christmas do’s.
Its August, a meeting at work and the dreaded suggestion is announced we must book the venue for our Christmas do, everybody sits there waiting for that one person who has a hint of willingness/insanity to volunteer to arrange it. Little do they know this will take weeks out of their life to arrange.
Its August, an email comes round please can you confirm by C.O.B Friday if you are free on the following three dates 2nd December, 4th December or 16th December. Did I mention it’s august!
After this the whole Christmas do thing pipes down until you bump into that poor colleague who is arranging it, they mention we need a £400 deposit everybody needs to send money to them now or its not happening, It’s so stressful, If somebody doesn’t pay they are not coming, the venue has limited capacity etc.
Nothing more is heard of this and you start to ponder where did my £20 deposit go? Did they run off with the money?
October arrives and you bump into that colleague by now they are fully grey and chain smoking outside the building. You don’t know whether to mention the dreaded Christmas do, but you go ahead and ask. As you are half way through your question you see the sheer lack of enthusiasm in their eyes, like their soul has been drained out of their pupils and they no longer care for the world. To which they mutter quietly yes an email is coming out asking for you to choose your food. It’s October.
I’ll fast track now to December as this 4 month stint has lead the organiser to complete demise, you are sitting in an overcrowded restaurant, sweating and have ended up with the colleagues you don’t really know here comes the small talk. A strained looking waitress comes over and shouts “who ordered turkey” to which everybody looks blankly, we made our choices in October.
Nobody ends up with the right food and it is not always the best quality when cooked in bulk. Everybody pulls a cracker which is so cheap the whole thing collapses in your hand and a small plastic frog flies across the room, you are made to wear a paper hat that doesn’t fit your head, need I mention the jokes…
You finish your meal quickly as you overhear the waitress saying we are coming up to our time limit on our table and then we are set free into the bar area which is already full. You get separated from your work colleagues and feel forever trapped in the mosh pit of drunken mayhem. Once you locate your colleagues nobody is open to going to the bar as by this time it’s about 50 people deep. We all make our excuses and abruptly leave. The organiser is never seen again.