PDA

View Full Version : The brillopad race blog



BrilloPad
24th August 2012, 09:41
Background:
18 months ago I was alot heavier than I am now and could not run 50 metres. I was getting fed up feeling tired all the time. My personal problems(including 2 disabled kids) weighed heavily on me. I spent a year losing weight (including cabbage soup diet twice) and getting very basic fitness. This IM was my first race since school. I was looking for something EXTREME - it is what I like. About 6 months ago I saw this event advertised. I was nervous and approached the race organizer John - who assured me I could make it no problem! He is only one of 3 people who were ever convinced I could make this and were not totally mad. The other 2 were the boyfriend of my sister-out-law(I think he wanted to get in her good books or maybe her pants) and Ozzy from White Oak who has been a huge source of inspiration. My wife is used to me doing totally mad stuff - including being one of the most senior/active members of the notorious fathers 4 justice.

I then started training more and more seruiously - then I fell off my bike (wrong way off A2 dual carriage way). Quite badly injured arm and damaged rib. Next week I showed off in front of kids by cycling on wet decking. Straight off taking all the scabs off my arm. Then I tripped over a child in play park(one of the five I was looking after - helping up my wife when childminding). Ribs gone again. Then I was cycling along pavement and a tree jumped in front of me. Hit ribs again and took me a minute to get up - a van driver actually stopped. I tried to train through it but after 2 weeks I gave up - I had to take a week off. It took 2 months to get up to full fitness.

I had swimming issues too. I finally discovered that open water swimming was different to a pool. So reluctantly I joined the local club which does twice a week lake sessions. I don't have much money so I found it expensive(I had already paid to enter the race). I got a wetsuit online for £30 - I could just about afford it. I went to the lake, unfit and still recovering from injury. I freaked out putting the wetsuit on (I wish I had a latex thingy) - then got 50 metres, tired, disorientated and had to be escorted back by rescue boat(cheers Sam). Then when I got out the organizer started laughing at me - "what is that you are wearing?". Me "A wet suit?". Organizer "That is a surf suit. You need a tri suit". £230! £230! Ouch!

About 3 months ago I felt I just had to do this for charity. I discussed with parish priest (who has been a great source of comfort both for me and the kids). Fortunately they were just starting on a new community project. So many people have made amazingly generous contributions. However it became very difficult as I knew I had to make it. The pressure was so intense. In the last few days I started to dream about the race - including getting to a feed station and finding only cheese there!

It was very hard to get information on what is required. At one stage I was told on tritalk that the fastest way of getting round the course was to wear my wetsuit the whole way and I believed it! I suppose they get a few trolls on the site. And subsequently I have discovered a process called sandbagging which is rather like the fiur yorkshiremen sketch. The idea is to pretend you eat only lard and do no exercise. Gosh these triathletes take it all very seriously! Thankfully Dallas stepped in (from a computer forum) and gave me tons of invaluable advice! Cheers Dallas!

Preparation:
Dallas gave me a link on tapering. I decided for the Wed/Thu/Fri to take energy drink, wait 30 mins, 10 min warm up, 3 min sprint. Wed/Thu were great Friday I was getting really aggressive! My wife took the kids out Sat morning - I have air conditioning so managed an hour sleep. Big lunch - getting fed up with pasta. Three diclofenac. It was a very hot day and I knew if I could sleep in the a/c it would help alot. But way too nervous - I believed I would not finish and would have to pay back all the sponsors. The last time I was that nervous was running the first ever superhero fathers 4 justice protest. I think I spent an hour on the toilet.

Got up and waited as I did not want to arrive too early. Headed out on A20 - road block by police/ambulances after accident! I was thinking of cycling which would have included M25 - I would have done it! Luckily we got going.

Wife dropped me at lake (so she could come back and support later). I walk past the bikes. OMG! The machines there! Get registered. Finally pluck up courage to say hello to Dallas - carefully avoiding the race favourites. Her bike looked great and she says "lets see your bike". I turn red. She tells me I have to put race number on. I can't put it on tri suit as its under my wetsuit. "Where is your race belt?". Aaarrgghh. I try to call my wife as I think I have one at home(high5 freebie) - she will bring it with kids on bike course. But I grab John who has a spare Vancouver one! Cheers John. I am then too nervous to put race number on - Dallas has to do that for me.

Swim:
Good atmosphere at the start - I find a pipe to stand on. Someone calls "tritalk" and I pop over - met hillwall and wicksy. Then it is off and field disappears in front of me. Few behind. Halfway round first lap I see quite a few have gone wrong way! Alas all on the half route - no competititors. I keep plugging. On last lap someone goes the wrong way - boat leaves them to it. Why? I was going to pop over to boat but almost no-one left and I need to get going. Later find only 3 behind me in the water. Get out and its 1:45! I cannot believe I was soooo slow - very down. Later find out it was 400m too far so was okay!

Bike:
Bike racks almost empty. Say hello to Sir Velo who is off. Wet suit stuck. Will not come off. I pull and pull. Finally pull timing belt to bits! It was over wetsuit. Beg race marshall not to DQ me - who laughs and says no issue. Lots of caffeine and out. 7:50pm. I pull out to track - marshall lets me go stopping car and also 2 other racers! I apologize then put my head down in case they punch me - luckily they are not bothered.

Far end of course - wife and kids there! They have made signs "go daddy" and "go andy". They sing the song they composed "go Daddy you're the best. you are better than the rest. go Daddy!". I later find my daughter apologized to other racers "Not to disparage the rest of you". Apparently someone shouted out "where is my sign". First sight of the amazing support at that end of course. Lady with 2 huge bottles (I hope a bottle just means a bottle in triathlon language) jumping up and down! Wow! Get to end of lap 1 and it is 20 minutes! If I can keep that up it is 6 hours.

Next 8 laps are 20 minutes each. I chat to Dallas (who has done 1 more lap than she thought). I chat to number 76 (I think he chatted to everyone!). Lose a full high5 on dual carriageway - sorry I did not stop to pick it up but Brillowood on a mission. Then I get overtaken by number 30 - one of the favourites. I sprint after him and overtake. Yeeaahh! I overtake a favourite. I feel happy but somehow like a saddo. Wife and kids go home leaving signs - but the support at top end of course is incredible. I encourage them with hand waves and shouting - definetly faster in that part of the course. They are amazing! Marshalls also clapping - wow!

Next 6 laps take 2 hrs 10 min. I had to stop for a pee. I keep swallowing mosquitos. And being bitten. A fox eats an empty gel sachet. Gets scared and runs off right under me - I have to break very sharply. How do the supporters at top end of course keep going? Marshalls also doing a fabulous job. Hear one person shouting at marshall - later seems he wanted to know lap count. Not nice.

Last 3 laps are 1 hour 10 minute. My back is hurting. Supporters keep me going. I need 2 pees - one of which Dallas is going past. Hope she sees nothing. As penance mosquito bites my 4rse. One of the things I find really annoying about heavy exercise is that my bits almost vanish - hard to pee. Luckily so far they end up at normal (what does that mean?) size when I stop. I wish I had to confidence to pee on the go.

Run:
Marshall has my timing band back. Fabulous course! I keep bumping into everyone! Very quickly Sam joins me to keep me going. He ends up doing half marathon. Cheers Sam! But its like a social gathering. I realize I could be on for a fast time - will wife and kids be there to see me finish? My back finally goes fully after 2 laps. But no chance of long term damage. It is really painful but I have to carry on.

Its start to hit me that the sleep deprivation has been countered by caffeine and adrenalin. I can make this!

Crowd, other competitors and caffeine keep me going. 4.5 laps my knee goes. Now this is serious. This is long term damage. But I MUST keep going. Charity depends on it. 5.5 laps wife and kids turn up. I direct them to finish line and tell them to cheer Ozzy who is nearly done.

Finally finish line appears. As I have limped I am not in bad shape apart from knee. Wow! I finished! And not such a bad time. Can't wait for t-shirt and medal.

to be continued

BrilloPad
24th August 2012, 09:41
Aftermath:
Total time 13:36 - 1:45 swim, 0.05 T1, 6:20 bike, 0.01 T2, 5:25 run. I get photos with Oz, Sam, John and Dallas. Dallas shouts "Keep away - I am minging!" As if after 13.5 hours I am fresh. Or maybe she hates me....
Leave Sam with Bike - wife will collect them both later. Get in car and get first back spasm. Which then goes every minute or two for next 4 hours. Get in bath. A hot like usual. I overheat and feel I am about to puke. Want to get out but back spasming. Finally crawl out of bath. After spasms stop I go to sleep - only manage 2 hours due to all the caffeine.
But I have raised minimum of £2550 for charity! Still collecting at church so will end up with at leat £3k. Superb!

Next:
I put on weight during my injury time - I could not lose it as I had to keep training. I am now mostly off carbs and doing as much exercise as I can. I need to lose that 3-5kg. My swimming is bad bad bad. I have lessons booked. I do Hever castle 25 mile bike as part of white oak relay team at end September.

I am definetly doing midnight man next year! Apart from that I am totally at a loss. I have been challenged to Gran Fondo Milan (http://www.milano-sanremo.org/en/) - but I can't see how to get the bike there. I might do John O'Groats to Lands End (that way is its downhill). Wife has offered to take car and carry my stuff between hotels - as long as they are 5* with a spa. I reckon 160 miles a days is doable.

Summary:
Well done John! Can't wait for next year!

Troll
24th August 2012, 09:43
You you you...it's always about you isn't it :D

BrilloPad
24th August 2012, 09:57
You you you...it's always about you isn't it :D

You can do it! It just takes 18 months of no alcohol and 30 hours exercise a week!

mudskipper
24th August 2012, 10:00
What sort of bike do you have? Does a shiny fast looking racing bike really make much difference?

BrilloPad
24th August 2012, 10:06
What sort of bike do you have? Does a shiny fast looking racing bike really make much difference?

I have a boardman - old model. No tri bars. I went to get kleets yesterday - they no longer make shoes to fit the bike ones! I have had to buy new pedals.

I suppose it does not make that much difference - but I still nearly mugged Dallas for hers! I am sure I would have been 5 minutes faster.

Mich the Tester
24th August 2012, 10:12
TT bars make a big difference, as do TT wheels. Somewhere on the web there's a table of how many watts you save for each adaptation; you need to look on the time trialling sites.

wurzel
24th August 2012, 10:14
You can do it! It just takes 18 months of no alcohol and 30 hours exercise a week!

Is that part absolutely necessary?

BrilloPad
24th August 2012, 10:16
Is that part absolutely necessary?

Okay. I lied. You can drink ALL you want. And just eat lard.

Seriously - I have no idea. It worked for me.

escapeUK
24th August 2012, 10:18
I still cant believe he didnt slow down that last minute and finish in 13:37 :music:

Gentile
24th August 2012, 10:19
I still cant believe he didnt slow down that last minute and finish in 13:37 :music:

If only Xeno were here. Well done again, Brillo - fantastic stuff. :)

escapeUK
24th August 2012, 10:21
If only Xeno were here. Well done again, Brillo - fantastic stuff. :)

Excuse me, sir... a Xeno-WHAT?"

Gentile
24th August 2012, 10:23
Excuse me, sir... a Xeno-WHAT?"

I had a Google around the other day after noticing something about "Xeno Points" in somebody's sig (I think it was k2p2's). Apparently they're 'awarded' for impressive geekery.

Edit: this was the thread I found that explained it (http://forums.contractoruk.com/general/53476-xeno-geek-points.html).

mudskipper
24th August 2012, 10:29
I had a Google around the other day after noticing something about "Xeno Points" in somebody's sig (I think it was k2p2's). Apparently they're 'awarded' for impressive geekery.

Edit: this was the thread I found that explained it (http://forums.contractoruk.com/general/53476-xeno-geek-points.html).

Nope - I never earned any Xeno points. Mostly before my time I think.

BrilloPad
24th August 2012, 10:30
Excuse me, sir... a Xeno-WHAT?"

http://forums.contractoruk.com/general/76331-xenos-ama-thread.html

I am Xeno and I used to post on CUK.

I am a professional contractor by day and an almost alcoholic fun-seeker by night; I enjoy a Pot Noodle and a wank; I am responsible for Xeno Geek Points; I have been to several CUK meet-ups; I've had a threesome with two other prominent CUKers and I have also jerked off on webcam to another ex-CUK poster.

-----------------------------------

I miss Xeno. Come back!

Gentile
24th August 2012, 10:32
http://forums.contractoruk.com/general/76331-xenos-ama-thread.html

I am Xeno and I used to post on CUK.

I am a professional contractor by day and an almost alcoholic fun-seeker by night; I enjoy a Pot Noodle and a wank; I am responsible for Xeno Geek Points; I have been to several CUK meet-ups; I've had a threesome with two other prominent CUKers and I have also jerked off on webcam to another ex-CUK poster.

-----------------------------------

I miss Xeno. Come back!

You might want to put quotes around that. I thought for a second you were making some pretty disturbing admissions, rather than merely quoting someone else doing so. :D

Gentile
24th August 2012, 10:35
Nope - I never earned any Xeno points. Mostly before my time I think.

It might have been Mary Poppins I was thinking of. It's hard to keep track when people keep changing their names and avis. ;)

I only realised the other day that BigTime and FiveTimes aren't the same person, since their names sound so similar and they both use different images of "Monkey" as their avis.

Barley
24th August 2012, 10:36
Brilliant report you are an inspiration and well done on the fantastic achievement.

Re shipping bikes, you can fly with a bike but it has to be in a bike box / bike bag, this means stripping it down a little i.e. handlebars off and folded back, seat & wheels removed. A lot of bike shops will have boxes they hire out for a weekend/week, these can be maybe £40/£50 to hire. Alternatively you can buy a bike bag from about £70 (im guessing as havnt checked in a while). Last option is to check with your tri club or look on tripe talk to see if anyone can lend you one?

All airlines will let you fly with a bike box but its worth checking their payment terms as some will rip you off, some will charge maybe £20/£25 per flight and some like BA wont charge.

Mich the Tester
24th August 2012, 10:41
Is that part absolutely necessary?


Okay. I lied. You can drink ALL you want. And just eat lard.

Seriously - I have no idea. It worked for me.

Drink moderately; 1 or 2 normal glasses of wine or beer won't do any harm and if it helps you relax then it's probably more good than bad. But 3 glasses, or moving on to vodkas and so on; that becomes a problem. Obviously, if you have a couple of extra drinks (I don't mean getting drunk) every once in a while ( I don't mean every week ) then it's OK too, but just be sensible.

As for food; personally I don't eat deep fried food simply because I don't like it, but I don't really worry much about it; just make sure you get all the vitamins plus plenty of proteins for training recovery, and obviously, keep off the fatty wobbly take-aways.

mudskipper
24th August 2012, 10:44
You might want to put quotes around that. I thought for a second you were making some pretty disturbing admissions, rather than merely quoting someone else doing so. :D

That's quite tame compared to some of Brillo's confessions.

Mich the Tester
24th August 2012, 10:44
All airlines will let you fly with a bike box but its worth checking their payment terms as some will rip you off, some will charge maybe £20/£25 per flight and some like BA wont charge.

Is this another example of the theory that paying more up front to fly with DecentAir almost always costs a lot less than the 5 quid deal with tulipAir?

mudskipper
24th August 2012, 10:48
Cost £20 to take bike on Eurostar. That really p****d me off.

Barley
24th August 2012, 10:55
Is this another example of the theory that paying more up front to fly with DecentAir almost always costs a lot less than the 5 quid deal with tulipAir?


It doesnt always split between Decentair & TulipAir, I know someone who'd booked with Lufthansa and found out it they were going to charge something like £125 per flight for their bike, it was cheaper for them to forego the flight and rebook with BA.

Some of the budget airlines are ok with bikes, ive twice flown Flybe Manchester to Frankfurt, once they charged me £25 on the out flight, second time they didnt charge me at all. I think Ryanair arent to bad (aside from all their other shinnanigans if you dont follow their requirements to the letter).

I'll always go with BA given the chance as all costs considered (and no charge for bikes) I dont find them any more expensive and have always had a good experience.

escapeUK
24th August 2012, 11:17
I had a Google around the other day after noticing something about "Xeno Points" in somebody's sig (I think it was k2p2's). Apparently they're 'awarded' for impressive geekery.


It was a quote from Aliens, I guess it went over your head ;)

BrilloPad
24th August 2012, 12:15
Brilliant report you are an inspiration and well done on the fantastic achievement.

Re shipping bikes, you can fly with a bike but it has to be in a bike box / bike bag, this means stripping it down a little i.e. handlebars off and folded back, seat & wheels removed. A lot of bike shops will have boxes they hire out for a weekend/week, these can be maybe £40/£50 to hire. Alternatively you can buy a bike bag from about £70 (im guessing as havnt checked in a while). Last option is to check with your tri club or look on tripe talk to see if anyone can lend you one?

All airlines will let you fly with a bike box but its worth checking their payment terms as some will rip you off, some will charge maybe £20/£25 per flight and some like BA wont charge.

Many thanks!

Its the stripping the bike down that gets me! I am just not mechanically minded. Pre IM race I had to get Dallas to sort out my race belt! :emb

At the moment I am thinking of 2 options :-
1. Arm-twisting Dallas into doing this race so she can help me through customs!
2. Driving over with wife and child and staying before/after the race. Mrs BP is up for it.

I bet getting a bike from London to Milan by train is just as bad...

Platypus
24th August 2012, 12:20
You can do it! It just takes 18 months of no alcohol and 30 hours exercise a week!

no ta

MarillionFan
24th August 2012, 16:02
13:36

Rubbish. I'd have done it in 12:00

Gentile.

Mich the Tester
24th August 2012, 16:39
Just trained.

1. 2* 25 crunches and 2* 25 press-ups

2. Bike ride;
Distance 30.6 km.
Time 58 min (Av Speed: 31.7 km/h)
Top speed 46 km/h
Energy use 1194 kcal

3. 5 mins easy jog

Now to eat a bucket of pasta :wave:

Dallas
24th August 2012, 17:50
but I still nearly mugged Dallas for hers! I am sure I would have been 5 minutes faster.

average 20 mins faster on a poncy TT :tongue

Dallas
24th August 2012, 17:57
Many thanks!

Its the stripping the bike down that gets me! I am just not mechanically minded. Pre IM race I had to get Dallas to sort out my race belt! :emb

At the moment I am thinking of 2 options :-
1. Arm-twisting Dallas into doing this race so she can help me through customs!
2. Driving over with wife and child and staying before/after the race. Mrs BP is up for it.

I bet getting a bike from London to Milan by train is just as bad...

If you spent as much time with your bike as you do on here and t'other boards you'd be well savvy in no time

taking punctures to halfords..

ffs :grin

BTW: I am a binge drinking smoker ooops - BP look at lifeofrileys enduro report ... he got his fags out during the race :confused:

Mich the Tester
24th August 2012, 19:15
taking punctures to halfords..



:rollin:

Even I can repair my own punctures, and I'm a dimwitted tester!

Mich the Tester
24th August 2012, 19:26
average 20 mins faster on a poncy TT :tongue

This bird's got quite an impressive collection of bikes, but then she is rather more talented than the average bod and her bikes are paid for by some sponsors;

Naamloos document (http://www.birgitlavrijssen.nl/Materiaal/Materiaal.html)

Mich the Tester
24th August 2012, 19:36
And this bird is a member of the same cycling club as me;

Welkom op de officiële website van Kirsten Wild (http://www.kirstenwild.nl/)

6th in the Olympics Omnium, so she's seriously bloody quick; no shame in being chicked there. Even Lady Tester approves if I train with her because she's quick and she's a minger.

Dallas
24th August 2012, 19:37
:rollin:

Even I can repair my own punctures, and I'm a dimwitted tester!

but he did just flog himself to raise several thousands for a church roof...

can a dimwitted tester do that?

:ladybags: :smile

(in IM terms - this is a smackdown :wave:)

go help BP sort his bike out

Mich the Tester
24th August 2012, 19:43
but he did just flog himself to raise several thousands for a church roof...

can a dimwitted tester do that?

:ladybags: :smile

(in IM terms - this is a smackdown :wave:)

go help BP sort his bike out

I've played a lot of charity rugby matches before, so I think I'll try and do the same thing on the Sanremo ride. Probably for this lot; KiKa Kinderen Kanker Vrij - KiKa website (http://kika.nl/) and/or this lot; CLIC Sargent - for Children and Young People with Cancer : Home (http://www.clicsargent.org.uk/Home) since I know them from playing rugby for this lot; About - CLIC Sargent Godfathers Rugby (http://www.godfathersrugby.co.uk/?page_id=67)

MarillionFan
24th August 2012, 20:30
but he did just flog himself to raise several thousands for a church roof...

can a dimwitted tester do that?

:ladybags: :smile

(in IM terms - this is a smackdown :wave:)

go help BP sort his bike out


Hang on! He was doing it for the Church? For Jesus? For that imaginary fella???? Feck! I sponsored a god squadder

BrilloPad
24th August 2012, 21:53
Hang on! He was doing it for the Church? For Jesus? For that imaginary fella???? Feck! I sponsored a god squadder

It was for the community hall.

Is there anything wrong with it being run by the church? On second thoughts - don't answer that....

BrilloPad
24th August 2012, 21:57
If you spent as much time with your bike as you do on here and t'other boards you'd be well savvy in no time

taking punctures to halfords..

ffs :grin

BTW: I am a binge drinking smoker ooops - BP look at lifeofrileys enduro report ... he got his fags out during the race :confused:

I mostly post from work - I am very good at what I do and always seem to end up with loads of time on my hands. I do wish these hedge funds would get their act together.

I dod enjoy what LoR wrote - I had already read about it on another blog. Top marks!


but he did just flog himself to raise several thousands for a church roof...

can a dimwitted tester do that?

:ladybags: :smile

(in IM terms - this is a smackdown :wave:)

go help BP sort his bike out

errr - any chance of you doing this bike tour then you can help me get my bike through customs? I will give you a lift to/from UK airport. <runs and hides>

BrilloPad
24th August 2012, 21:59
Hang on! He was doing it for the Church? For Jesus? For that imaginary fella???? Feck! I sponsored a god squadder

Oh yes. I managed to get a Northern Irelnd staunch protestant to sponsor me! Apparently her husband is still laughing at her.

Dallas
24th August 2012, 22:02
Oh yes. I managed to get a Northern Irelnd staunch protestant to sponsor me! Apparently her husband is still laughing at her.

you my friend are a true nutter, enduroman is for you, deca anyone

if i dont join in i'll help you

now, am confused, what you want?

if i can i will

Dallas
24th August 2012, 22:10
you my friend are a true nutter, enduroman is for you, deca anyone

if i dont join in i'll help you

now, am confused, what you want?

if i can i will

brillo
you are online
send me details?

henley is still open

mudskipper
25th August 2012, 06:44
And this bird is a member of the same cycling club as me;

Welkom op de officiële website van Kirsten Wild (http://www.kirstenwild.nl/)

6th in the Olympics Omnium, so she's seriously bloody quick; no shame in being chicked there. Even Lady Tester approves if I train with her because she's quick and she's a minger.


Real men don't mind being chicked.

Do they, MF? ;)

MarillionFan
25th August 2012, 07:07
Real men don't mind being chicked.

Do they, MF? ;)

It's because I is a gentleman. Ladies first and all that. What ho!

BrilloPad
25th August 2012, 17:12
brillo
you are online
send me details?

henley is still open

I think I am going to miss Henley. I will still be collecting sponsorship. At the moment I want to lose weight and learn to swim properly. But, out of interest, when does it close?

I also still have fluid on knee and back still spasming.

I am thinking of how to do this bike race with Mich next year - currently talking to Mrs BP about driving to Milan, staying 2 nights pre race, then staying one night at other end and driving home.

If not I am going to try to talk Dallas into doing the event so she can help me get my bike packed/unpacked. :emb

It does not open until September anyway.

mudskipper
25th August 2012, 19:01
Cycle Show 2012 - VISIT THE UK'S #1 CYCLING EXHIBITION (http://www.cycleshow.co.uk/) is worth a visit. I went a few years back at Excel - they had quite a bit of focus on tri stuff, including a little pool thing which they could film and analyze your stroke.

MarillionFan
25th August 2012, 19:18
a little thing which they could film and analyze your stroke.



Brillo normally uses a webcam for that.

BrilloPad
25th August 2012, 20:01
Brillo normally uses a webcam for that.

But not with Xeno.....

BrilloPad
25th August 2012, 21:05
Midnight iron man 2013 entries open 23:59pm on Monday.

ctdctd
25th August 2012, 21:14
Midnight iron man 2013 entries open 23:59pm on Monday.

First learn to fix punctures :tongue

How's the recovery?

BrilloPad
26th August 2012, 10:05
First learn to fix punctures :tongue

How's the recovery?

Slowly getting better. Back spasm Friday night. Fluid on knee going slowly.

What is tough is lack of carbs. I am determined to lose weight. I am doing all the exercise I can.

Looks like Hever Castle might be off (5 weeks today) so I might have to find another event.