2023 Manifesto

As I said, these will need to be a little fluid, as I'm not quite out of the woods yet physically.

Recover Well

I strongly recommend you never break your shoulder. Prevention is better than cure, and all that.

I'm currently being quoted 80-90% range of motion in 2 years. I'm obviously going to aim for the upper boundaries of that, though good luck really nailing down what "90% range of motion" is defined as with regard to a shoulder...it's got 6 ranges of motion.

I'm going to go through the various ranges now as listed above, and note the results here so I can come back and compare in 3/6/9/12 months time. The "out of" score is the left arm for comparison (and it should be noted that pre-accident my right arm had more ROM, as the left shoulder has previous damage).

Right now, I have;

  • Flexion - 50-60% - 90-100' (out of 200')...able to get just above vertical, with some pain around upper arm.
  • Extension - 25% - 15' (out of 60')...hard to quantify. My left arm can reach my right armpit behind my back. My right arm can just about reach my waist at the middle of the back.
  • Abduction - 50-60% - 80-90' (out of 160')...able to rotate to just above the shoulder. Left arm can go past vertical and have the upper arm resting on ear.
  • Adduction - 80-85% - 25-30' (out of 50')...this one has improved massively recently. In the last week I've been able to wash my left armpit and reach the outside of the left arm
  • Medial Rotation - 90% - 75' (out of 75')...this one is fine...ROM is there, slightly tightening of the bicep at full rotation.
  • Lateral Rotation - 30% - 30' (out of 90')...a real weak one, and physio is focusing on this. Been caught out a couple of times catching closing doors etc.

In more practical terms, I need to be able to get a t-shirt on and off normally (flexion and abduction), and put something in a cycling jersey pocket (extension).

Get back to Healthy

This one starts tomorrow, though some pre-work has been done. I clambered back on the indoor bike 4 weeks ago, and the diet started today. I'm back onto a formal training plan tomorrow, and hoping to get the replacement bike for outdoors in the next week (it's currently at "In Picking" status at Canyons Germany factory...which should mean all the bits are there, it just needs to be assembled and shipped).
I want to be back to sub-70kg, and FTP of about 300w. Those are currently about 75-76kg, and 240'ish FTP. Eat less, Ride more.

I have 3 planned cycling trips, and I'd like to be healthy enough to enjoy them, even if I'm not at the level of fitness I had originally planned;

  • End of January - Gran Canaria (cheapest holiday ever, the original plan was to do a monster base-training weekend. Right now I'll be happy with a couple of hours a day)
  • End of February - Spain Coached Camp
  • April - Mallorca. I'd like to be able to do a "normal" Mallorca trip...maybe 20-25 hours riding, and pusing hard on a couple of big climbs.

Sort out the Mortgage

It's a bloody terrible year for a fixed period on a mortgage to expire...but thats what we have occuring at the start of June. Currently going through the options we have. We are not in a terrible position (over 60% equity in the house, plenty of savings), it's working out what is the best option for now and the next 3-5 years. We now both have remote-working contracts and long term tenure in companies (fun fact, in 4 days I reach my 25-year anniversary at Yell), which also opens up other avenues.

Listen to more varied music

This one is already in motion, but needs formalising. As I've noted, I was in a bit of a rut when it came to variety of music...pretty much having a 24-hour playlist on repeat. In the last month, I've increased my music library from ~5,000 tracks to ~22,000, and I've on purposely added in genres/artists that would normally not get onto a playlist. I've then stopped using Playlists, and instead using Plexamps Radio Function. This is pretty cool...you pick a handful of artists you like, and it then starts generating a non-stop playlist based on the genres/moods etc. I've given it a lot of freedom (3-degrees of freedom), and just let it go.

I've also been actively seeking new artists. I can tell I'm getting a bit old, as my tastes are reverting, and I've been listening to a lot of modern synthwave (if you like CellDweller, Klayton does a shitload of electronic genres, and runs multiple record labels FiXT is where CellDweller lives, FiXT Neon has Synthwave and more electronica stuff, and FiXT Radium is the more metal side of things). Lots of 90's game samples, sythesizer etc...good for working out and the like...plenty of energy.

Read a bit more variety

I've spent a lot of time illinjured, and in hospital this year...plenty of time for reading! I've not, however, really been reading much quality...more pulp fiction reads as comfort food. Thats all very well, but I'll aim to put some more quality in there, and maybe (don't hold your breath) move outside of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy tropes. I un-expectedly really enjoyed Richard Osmans Thursday Murder Club...it's not super-serious, but it's well-written, and with genuinely enjoyable characters.

I also have a metric butt-tonne of audiobooks that I can work through...

A long to-do list

There is some other stuff I'd like to do, but much of it is dependent on health, or secondary issues around recovery. These may get shuffled in/out as opportunity permits.

I have a phase 2 of tattooing planned (legs, shoulder), but need to be comfortable sitting/lying for several hours, and the shoulder scar needs to fully heal for repair work.

We are hoping to get back to the Maldives in autumn, and I'd like to get my advanced diver and Nitrox qualifications...but need to sort out mortgage first.

I'd like to re-work my office, but again mortgage and top-level financials come first.

I'd obviously like to not break anything this year...however that does not feel like it should have to be a stated goal.

I'd like to rationalise my bike collection...this is already partly underway. I have 2 bikes in a repair shop, with the intention that only one comes back (with lots of spares).

(this is going down a rabbit warren) I've been investigating how to rework my commuter a fairly old Planet-X London Road. In a shock to absolutely no-one, I've formed quite strong opinions on what I do and do not like about bikes, and I really don't like SRAM gear systems, and cable-operated gears generally. My commuter tends to spend long periods inactive, and is only ridden in bad weather or when I need to go somewhere and then walk (shopping etc), as the shoes/cleats are embedded. This means that it tends to rust. Right now it's got one gear on the rear, as the gear cable as rusted in the sleeve (replacement cable on order, but the age of the bike and the vagaries of SRAM supply chains means it's gonna take a couple of weeks). So my "good" bikes don't have gear cables...they are all on electrically actuated gears (aka Di2), which is;

  1. Bloody Amazing
  2. Bloody Expensive

Buying a full Di2 groupset for the commuter would be a couple of thousand pounds...way more than the bike is worth. Another option may be (and I've only just discovered this exists) getting a Di2 internal gear hub, having a rear wheel built around it, and then use some of those spares from the 2 bikes in the repair shop to build 1x8/11 bike up (with a 300-400% gear range, more than enough for a commuter). I'd only need one Di2 shifter (which I should have spare), and a cable set (which I should have spare), and a bottom bracket (which I should have spare). I think that the shifters will run cable-actuated disc brakes (rather than hydraulic, which would require a lot of extra money)...so I'd end up with a 1x8 all-weather bike, and only the chain can rust really, no sleeved gear cables🥳!

I'm going to speak to the repair guy about the feasibility of it all. If I can do that, I may be able to get rid of my (very very old) Boardman MTB, which is my spare spare bike.


A bit early, but next few days are looking busy.

We've obviously done a big jink in terms of the yearly goals. I'll keep the house move core stuff to this post, but some of the secondary stuff will spill over into here.

Recover Well / Get Back to Healthy

This is a mixed bag. The shoulder has really not been responding well to physio. I've had both NHS physios (who are awesome, but so busy that I only get an appointment every 3-5 weeks), and private (paid for by the drivers insurer...and have been awful, with 3 successful appointments, and 7 cancelled ones). I've also had 2 bouts of cortisone injections into the shoulder to attempt to release it, but to limited avail. The range of motion can be forced beyond what I'm able to do myself, however there is a serious pain limitation in this. Next steps will be decided mid-April, with optinos including;

  1. General Anaesthetic, followed by violent manipulation of the arm
  2. Local Anaesthetic, followed by a bucketload of saline pumped into the joint to hydraulically force the joint apart
  3. General Anaesthetic, followed by keyhole surgery to release the restrictive material in the joint

All sound brutally unpleasant.

I also still have the tinnitus, and I've now been referred to the NHS Audiology department. The main impact here is sleep, or rather the lack of it.

Mentally, I've struggled to get back to training. Partly sleep, partly a lot of things going on. I've resigned myself to not being race-fit this year, so the revised goal is keep some semblance of healthiness during the stress of the house move, and look to get outdoors once we are up north...hopefully the change of scenery will give me a motivation boost.

Sort out the Mortgage

That has been done, though not in the original expectation. If we estimate moving costs at ~£25k (stamp duty, fees, moving costs etc etc), and pumping in savings to the new house, the new mortage will be about 25% of the old one. The new mortgage is already sorted (of all the people we deal with moving house, our mortgage advisor is by far and away the fastest and most efficient). There is a possibility that once we move we actually increase the mortgage again to pay for an extension...however that will be at least 6 months after we move, and more realistically next summer (not chopping the back of a house off in winter!)

Listen to more varied Music

Done - I've completely transitioned from a static playlist to a locally hosted dynamic radio station (or a few of them actually). A quick estimate now shows that about 2,500 different tracks have been played this year. Huge success!

Read a bit more Variety

Yes, but no. I've actually been slowly working through William Gibsons back-catalogue, after having read (and watched) The Peripheral. Currently halfway through The Bridge Trilogy.

As an aside, in January I had my first eye test since ~1998, just after I started work. Old age is slowly catching up with me, and I now have occasional reading glasses (with orders to only use them towards the end of the day when I'm tired). It's a very mild prescription, but it's made long work sessions a little less draining. Apparently at longer range I have "better than pilot vision" (whatever that means...I was reading the smallest text on the boards they show).

A Long To-Do List

Well this has changed!

The tattoos have taken a back seat...until the shoulder is under a "no more surgery" flag.

I definitely need to sell the motorbike. I had a "we buy any..." company come round, and they really took the piss on changing offer, so sent them away again. I'm going to a bike garage tomorrow to arrange a pick-up, fix and MOT, then I'll list it privately.

We are currently going through the house and giving away, eBaying or Facebook Marketplacing as much as possible. I've done a first wave already (unopened Games Workshop boxes mainly), and this morning I've spent a load of time doing Wave 2 (boardgames, small electronics etc). Wave 3 will be bigger items, (mainly more boardgames). Stuff that cannot be posted is going on Facebook Marketplace. My office is starting to feel a little empty, but plenty more to go. It's very much a "are we going to pay someone to take this up north" for everything vibe.

We have a list of things that will need doing once we get up north. I want to run power into the garage, and add a side-door (as that will become the bike workshop and also probably training area). We'll need to put a basic fence up to keep the dogs out of the stream. The survey has advised us of some items that will need doing (nothing major...the gutters need clearing, and the moss on the roof could do with being cleared off).

My mountain bike is going to be donated to Reading Bicycle Kitchen...I ust need to work out when I can get there to drop it off (or more precisely how the hell I'm going to get back home after!)

As part of the eBay process, Gill has just found out how much some of my 40K models cost. She's just looked at the 10 packed boxes with a new level of disgust.

//added added
I've just totted up the "buy from new" cost of the 5 armies I'm keeping, and it's come to ~£4K. She may have a point.

babychaos's picture

I think WH40K is excellent value. Look at the hours you've enjoyed building, painting, playing and ultimately forcing the rules to change.

brainwipe's picture

There is probably a formula to determine the amount of misery I've generated per pound spent somewhere by means of system abuse and rules stacking.

My proudest moment will be having the only 4-0 tournament result in the event (with 3 tablings), yet failing to win as I got zero "favourite opponent" nominations 😂 with my filthy, filthy Grey Knights "Ride of the Valkyries" list. I believe it's no coincidence that the chap who ran that event is now Studio Manager at Warhammer World, and soon after he started many of the rules that the list abused were changed, effectively banning both the list and tactics.

My redemption ark was winning "Best Necron" at a massive event at Warhammer World after winning the tie-breaker against another player...that tie-breaker being "best designed army list". (as in, the bit of paper you submitted with your army list on...I'd named all my characters and provided some backstory for each 👌). That list was equally filthy, but at least allowed the opponent to play the game.

babychaos's picture

Another update...this year seems to be flying past, and yet it does somewhat feel like very little is getting done!

Recover Well/Get Back to Healthy

Recovery of the shoulder has been slow. I wasn't responding to physio or cortisone, and in May it was confirmed I had (coughs and clears throat) post-traumatic frozen shoulder. The answer was (clears throat and checks notes) an Arthroscopic Capsular Release with Manipulation Under Anaesthetic (fun fact, I can now spell "anaesthetic" without a spell-check...that sums up my last 12 months quite well). I had this done 5 weeks ago...it was actually fairly smooth running compared to previous operations I've had. I've now had surgery in 3 of Readings Hospitals (just missing the Independent), and Circle is by far and away the nicest. I've also learnt what I need to recover post-op...basically fluids...lots and lots of fluids.

I now have 3 more, small incisions in my right shoulder (camera, dremel, drain), and I had immediate improvement in ranges of motion. The consultant proved this in the post-op by immediately taking my arm out of the sling and yanking it above my head (I had had a nerve block, I coldn't feel anything!). A quick check compared to the numbers above;

  • Flexion - 75-80% - 150-160' (out of 200') - from 100'
  • Extension - 50% - 30-35 (out of 60')...from 15'
  • Abduction - 70% - 120' (out of 160')...from 80-90'
  • Adduction - 90% - 40-45' (out of 50')...from 25-30'
  • Medial Rotation - 90% - 75' (out of 75')...from 75'
  • Lateral Rotation - 50% - 45-50' (out of 90')...from 30'

I'm now also with a physio of choice (the wonderful Rebecca at Berkshire Physio) who sorted out my pelvis, and immediately said "what have you done to yourself?" when I walked in). Current weaknesses are rotation (which is a really important thing for shoulders), and the muscles that make the arm work above the shoulder have atrophied away quite badly...there is a lot of work to go, and realistically I probably won't get to 90%...the goal is getting the movements I need without massively impacting my quality of life. I have the 6-week checkup next week, and the legal examination just after. It's starting to feel like the beginning of the end of the process, though I'm going to be doing physio on it for months.

I have been able to ride my bike, though struggled to get the consistency that is needed for true improvement. I'm really enjoying track riding right now...I've done some local league races, and a few Opens (better competition), and it's helped massively with both fitness and handling confidence. There is something that is incredibly enjoyable sitting behind a derny at 50km/h

Sort out the Mortgage

Well yes...aren't mortgages fun? This obviously segues into the house purchase, so as a quick summary;
We have now accpepted our 3rd offer on our house. We've had a couple of collapsed chains below us, however we've been able to recover it both times, and (at time of writing) we are still aiming to move to Harrogate. The delays mean that our current mortgage ran out (end of May), however our frankly amazing mortgage advisor worted out a stop-gap to avoid going to default-rate. We might be moving in August (the new buyer is currently renting, and has a 2-month release), but probably a bit later. It does feel a bit like we've been in limbo for the past few months, hard to plan anything as not sure what end of the country we will be in a couple of months time.

Listen to Move Varied Music

Already done...Plex is still amazing.

Read a bit more Variety

I have totally not done this...I've now finished William Gibsons back catalogue (and bloody hell that guy can predict a lot...quite often I had to check publication dates, as you could well believe he had written a book last year, but actually it was written 20 years ago, he just nailed a lot of where we would be in terms of technical society). Which is worrying, as "The Peripheral" is near future, and it's looking _pretty shit_ for everyone in that!

A Long To-Do List

The tattoo is still on hold...more scarring, and I'm not quite in the 100% no surgery window yet.

I sold the motorbike! I initially looked at a "We Buy Any..." company, as it was listed as SORN, and had a puncture. They came round, had a mechanic check it out and he said to me it was in good nick. Their sales guy then tried to massively low-ball me (like 35% off the original offer) claiming that it needed loads of work. I told him to fuck off. I then had £250 work done on it (including having it picked up and MOT'ed), and sold it privately for double the "We Buy Any..." company within a week. Shisters.

I did a lot of eBay'ing, cleaning out about 2/3rds of my boardgames, a lot of older tech, and some of my boxed miniatures, as well as a bunch of nick-knacks. For about a month my room looked like a post-office, with parcels lying around with post-it notes on them...and I'm now on first-name terms with the Evri and DPD delivery guys (as I was doing pick-up from house). It was a worthwhile process, making about £2500 profit from a bunch of stuff that simply wasn't used.

I did indeed donate my mountain bike to Reading Bicycle Kitchen...they were happy to receive it (and surprised at the good condition). I also donated away an old carbon bike frame I had (that's gone to a Reading Cycling Club member...it has an interesting hertitage, so was uncomfortable selling it, and ensured I had full disclosure of it's condition), as well as giving away some un-used parts and components to the local cycling community. I still have 4 bikes, so I'm not struggling for transport!

All-in-all, while we wait for the house move to actually happen, we've made good on reducing clutter and junk from the house, and raise some money towards moving costs....turns out moving 250'odd miles is not a simple process.

babychaos's picture

Totally impressed with the clutter removal. Fingers crossed that the mortgage adviser manages to cut you a good deal.

brainwipe's picture

Sara is amazing (she has already got plans in place in case our current offer gets near expiry, which happens mid-September), and as we are chopping the mortgage in half any deal will be good! That, combined with a fairly healthy savings buffer mean that we are well placed to weather the current shit-storm. I pity people who are trying to arrange mortgages at the limit of their ability to pay right now, it must be hell.

babychaos's picture

There are lots of people in hell but if the shock is short-term then the banks have things in place. They don't want people to default because it hurts their liquidity. Instead, they'll actually try and keep you afloat for a long time. If it lasts more than 12 months then we're going to see problems.

brainwipe's picture