modern society has pretty much managed to convince itself that new and modern is better than tried and trusted. i recently cycled with a fellow who admitted that, as a marketing man, he was a real sucker for believing in the next big thing. of course with continual development in many different ways, there's little doubt that modernity has contributed much to the wellbeing of the modern man and woman, but new and shiny doesn't necessarily equate to better.
as i made mention not too many posts ago, the ludwig drum company, in existence since 1909, has only recently added the slogan to its advertisements 'sometimes it's the step backwards that moves you forward.' this was reference to their eschewing the ubiquitous thick maple shelled drum for that of three ply mahogany beloved of drummers in the fifties. the equivalent in velocipedinal terms would be pinarello throwing out the carbon fibre and phoning columbus for a tonne of steel tubing.
there are those of us who might think that a somewhat spiffing idea.
but it's not just in the realm of bicycle frames that modernity might be shuffled backwards in favour of the plainly historical. present day cycle footwear has followed the path of the frameworks, with admirably stiff carbon in the soles, synthetically pliable uppers and closure systems that demand a degree in physics to comprehend. whatever was the problem with tying laces, a fastening solution that giro has shown enthusiasm for reviving with its empire and empire slx footwear to great effect? however, there is a precedent that has enjoyed pelotonic approval over a number of recent years, offered by dromarti.
however, these almost too beautiful to wear shoes have stopped well short of losing the retro vibe for which they are world renowned. featuring immaculately crafted leather uppers available in black or burgundy with a matching pair of sturdy laces, dromarti's classic race shoes (as recently worn by david millar in front of a maserati) are a welcome antidote to many of the fluorescent models beloved of the professional peloton. though the soles seem mercifully free of carbon fibre, they're more than up to the job of maintaining the stiffness we're all told is our birthright nowadays.
it causes me no end of embarrassment to admit that these dromarti road shoes ought really to have been the subject of a review several months ago. this particular pair were sent by dromarti in the early part of this year, at which point i ordered a pair of appropriate cleats to fit the pedals on the colnago c40. however, at that time, the cleats were out of stock and mrs washingmachinepost put the shoes in 'a safe place', from which they were only discovered a few weeks ago. for this state of affairs, i must apologise profusely to martin at dromarti who doubtless has been thinking negative thoughts about having sent them up here in the first place.
however, cleats back in stock, delivered and affixed, these beautiful burgundy items of cycling footwear have accompanied me on several delightful and one or two less than delightful bike rides around the principality. as mentioned in a previous dromarti review, the original made in italy versions have now been relegated with all the current production made in the far east. and to be quite honest, they're all the better for it. not only do these look subtly superior to their ancestors, but they are most definitely more comfortable, even after several hours into a galeforce headwind augmented by horizontal rain.
but what might turn out to be their unique selling point, even were you to be seen aboard one of team sky's ronde van vlaanderen suspensioned dogmas, a pair of these on your feet would never, ever look out of place. as david millar has amply demonstrated, were it not for the iniquities of sponsorship dictates, there's every likelihood that a few more in the world tour would indulge their inner style council. at a price of £223.70, they're every bit the competitor of anything else around cleated to a pedal, but with lashings of desirability.
dromarti's classic road shoes are available in sizes ranging from 42 to 47 (44 reviewed) and in black or salubrious burgundy.
monday 6 april 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
i'm not a facebook user. in fact, i'd go so far as to class the so-called 'social media' site in the same category as turbo trainers. however, in order to pay attention to the infrequent links sent in my direction, i do have a facebook account. since i really have little to no idea (nor do i want to have) how to populate my page, it is utterly devoid of content (just in case you went looking), but it does mean that, when the notion takes me, i can look at stuff that might conceivably be relevant.
there are others, however, who seem to spend their every waking moment updating, one of whom is the inimitable richard sachs. though i've no real idea why this happens, i receive constant updates from facebook telling me when richard has added another photo to his page, some of which are amusing, some of interest and others are, to coin a well-worn phrase, 'right on the money'. just such an update took place only a day or two ago.
a long gone individual with whom i used to ride generally failed to grasp the idea that, in order to reach greater heights, or in his case, simply keep up, it might be a noble idea to put in an hour or two of training every so often. his solution to an apparent lack of speed was simply to buy something quicker, preferably something that would confer a degree of status, and if anodised in an attractive, stand-out colour, so much the better.
in our current standing as islay's most successful cycle club, we have occasionally played host to one or two cycling wannabes, individuals who have mostly come under the tutelage of the mighty dave t. in his wise and cynical way, he has rather tautologically pointed out that no matter the grandiose misapprehensions under which these erstwhile compatriots labour, at some point in proceedings, those bicycles are going to require pedalling. and that's probably going to hurt now and again.
buying the lightest carbon fibre on the shop floor and systematically replacing componentry to engender a gravity defying velocipede is not the true path to nirvana. granted it rarely seems to have done chris froome too much harm, but at least he is somewhat inured to the notion of a pragmatic and comprehensive training programme. and if you don't mind me pointing out the obvious, there's a tad more at stake in his case than who reaches the leather sofa in debbie's before the birdwatchers and the rest of the pelotonese.
i cannot pretend that some of the world's cycle manufacturers are not complicit in this illusion.
however, though i may wax lyrical about learning our own place in the firmament, i doubt i can encapsulate that which needs saying better than mr sachs, so i have quoted his answer to the question 'what do you think is the biggest misconception about bicycles?' below. the man speaketh the truth.
"Clearly it is this: change a few things, or replace some others, or just throw money at it like there's no tomorrow (and call it innovation...), and the bicycles will pedal themselves. Folks obsess and fetish, but the only component that matters, or affects change, is the nut on top of the bicycle. If you're sedentary, or don't have a training plan, or think next year's new drive system is going to make you faster or a better rider, well - you're the nut I'm talking about."
he's not wrong, you know.
richard sachs team photo by carlos alejandro photography
sunday 5 april 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
bands falling apart is nothing new. whatever the real reason for such a situation occurring, more often than not, it's put down to musical differences. that is the public persona, even if the singer and the bass player are at that very minute in the dressing room beating the sh1t out of each other. musical differences looks so much tidier on the press release. but musical differences can also separate individuals who have little in common other than the fact that they dislike each other's taste in music.
a friend of mine who i have not seen for many a long year, had a particular penchant for iron maiden, a band formed in leyton, east london in 1975. i recall some of their earlier material when still at art college, but that particular style has never featured at all in my collections of vinyl, cassettes, cds or downloads. john coltrane, max roach, art blakey and what was tentatively named progressive rock was more to my taste at the time iron maiden were making a name for themselves. the first three still are.
however, it is not particularly uncommon for fans of any style of music or bands to wish to meet their heroes in person, however unlikely that might seem at any given time. in the case of my iron maiden loving friend, their continually changing personnel must have made it rather difficult to pin down anyone in particular with which to spend a social evening. however, his opportunity to meet singer bruce dickinson, previously of the band samson arrived after a concert in glasgow.
there is an oft repeated saying 'never meet your heroes', one that is sometimes well advised. for in the process of offering adulation towards those with whom we think we most closely identify, we come perilously close to anthropomorphism; applying human attributes to people who are rarely what they seem. it turns out, according to my colleague, that mr dickinson was something of a total prat (not the word he used, but one starting with the same letter). this inopportune meeting somewhat coloured his appreciation of the band from that point onwards.
however, if we all adhered to the dogma of not meeting our heroes, there's always the chance that we'd be missing out on some remarkable human beings. my drumming hero since the early seventies had always been bill bruford, and after meeting the bass player from his band at an early islay jazz festival, he intimated that, were i to make it over to the band's gig at the renfrew ferry, he'd be happy to introduce me. though the meeting was somewhat on the brief side, bill turned out to be a very pleasant fellow.
heroes are every bit as applicable to the world of cycling, and to which the same caveats apply. we may marvel at their exploits on the bike, cheer at their winning ways and shout their names from the roadside as they whizz past in search of victory. and while the majority are nice people just like you and me, some of them didn't sign up for the niceties of public relations. a certain scotsman with a ponytail springs to mind (though he has subsequently turned out to be quite the opposite of his reputation). on the other hand, a certain other scots bike rider is one of the nicest and naturally friendly people you could ever wish to meet, and i speak from personal experience.
i've met graeme on several occasions, enough to know that the scottish government should long ago have named him as a national treasure, such is his personality and limitless ability to innovate and question the accepted norms in the world of cycling. all this, while building the next big thing in the kitchen of his flat in saltcoats. fortunately, graeme is garrulous and sociable enough to make frequent appearances on the public stage. if you haven't already experienced his personality at first hand, cyclefestedinburgh is offering you the opportunity so to do at edinburgh's corn exchange on the evening of wednesday 20 may.
his appearance is in conjunction with rondebike and poppyscotland, with tickets priced at £13.50. limited numbers are available, so the sooner you book, the happier you'll be. it's not every day you get to meet a living legend.
saturday 4 april 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
while everyone else in the office chooses their lunch and snack at afternoon break based on a match between their eyes and the perceived size of their stomachs, i am regularly accused of viewing any form of foodstuff as fuel. a means to an end as opposed to an end in itself. i cannot claim to be entirely innocent in such matters. over the years, i think i may have sussed the type and quantity of munchie stuff that will best equate with my velocipedinal desires.
of course, none of this is based on scientific study, but on more of a gut feeling (if you'll pardon the pun). over the course of the last decade or so, i have received several publications for review, advising of appropriate training regimes geared towards differing cycling requirements. many of these have included at least a chapter of recipes, few of which have included meringues with double cream, chocolate eclairs, packets of bon-bons or burger and chips with a dollop of mayo on the side.
the more likely culinary scenario set forth healthy quantities of vegetables, fruit, smoothies, bread baked with organic flour and muesli; you get the idea. this is because, from the early days of cycling activity, common lore would have us believe that carbohydrates extinguish all opposition, though tempered with a soupcon of protein. fat, of course has its part to play in proceedings, but ideally, keeping that to a minimum has been the mantra of fast pedalling. lower the fat but maintain the power and that ratio will get you to the finish line ahead of the competition.
i have little need of training, not so much because i have no desire to be any faster than i am, but because there really is little point. the sunday ride is conducted in the company of others who enjoy their bike riding augmented with the sprint at bruichladdich purely for a bit of fun. winning this rests more upon wit and guile than it does on power to weight ratio.
however, you need only peruse the pages of the comic each week to note just how often scientific advice varies. firstly we ought to avoid anything that is not carbohydrates, then the latter ought to be ousted in favour of proteins, before settling on the incontrovertible evidence that fats are very much flavour of the month and carbohydrates can go raffle themselves.
that last point is pretty much where the inimitable grant petersen entered the fray only a few weeks back with his latest book eat bacon, don't jog. the basis of his advice was to embrace all the fatty foods that had been persona non grata for all those years while exercising only if you enjoyed doing so. for apparently busting a gut on the ventoux and the stelvio were of no earthly use in the pursuit of strength and fitness.
or something like that.
due to mr petersen's wholesale dismissal of vegetarianism, i was unable personally to check the veracity of his advice, but one of my readers, whose daily chore involves flying commercial aeroplanes, did.
"After reading your review I went ahead and ordered the book on my Kindle, read it, liked it and started the diet that very same day."
i'm rather honoured that not only did this chap read my review in the first place, but that i had framed mr petersen's writings in such a way that encouraged further investigation. i did make it reasonably plain that i thought the author rather relished the chance to exercise his reactionary stance to many aspects of cycling, including that of diet, but without the opportunity to try the diet myself, i could only offer that while his logic seemed pretty much at odds with the norm, that didn't mean he was wrong.
however, as you might note from my reader's initial quote, he did adopt grant petersen's dogma, so it seems only right and proper that we follow the story further. "After one week on the diet, I undertook an application process for a new job, which included a physical examination. My colleagues in the waiting area heard a shocked doctor call out my LDL cholesterol numbers from way over in the other room. He was about to revoke my flying license if I hadn't been able to convince him I would be dropping this diet right there and then."
now there's no way of knowing whether his cholesterol level had been a tad on the high side prior to undertaking the eat bacon, don't jog, but on the basis that i believe airline pilots undergo medical examinations more often than most of us, it doesn't seem to outlandish to suppose the diet was partly, if not entirely to blame. "Basically what I'm trying to say is that this diet cost me my health and nearly my career in the space of only eight days. Maybe your readers would be well advised to reconsider before embarking on this potentially dangerous diet."
there's not really much i can say after that. i have no great desire to promote sales of anything that might be found either harmful or ultimately less than suitable for the job at hand, but there are always going to be situations external to the scope of my reviews. the same goes for any published review; ultimately they are only one person's informed opinion, particularly in the case of books.
i think it may be sane advice to offer that anyone who decides to undertake a diet substantially different from their regular fare might like to take professional medical advice. while the medical profession may not be infallibe, they may be better placed than an american who owns a bicycle company and enjoys eliciting a reaction from his readers.
friday 3 april 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
before anyone reaches for their e-mail client, i am well aware that the above entitled book is entirely fictional and that its announcement was a very cleverly written and illustrated april fool. i have no intention of feebly attempting to prolong the humour.
however, while i received the news of this fictional publication from my good friend, chris distefano in rapha's portland office, a link contained within its text led to a fully formed page dedicated to the non-existent book. this augurs well for the corporate humour provided by the international outposts of imperial works. several years ago i attempted to promulgate a rapha-based april fool of my own, having swapped the white hoop on the left sleeve over to the right (in photoshop) for a mythical rapha continental jersey.
in the process of doing so, i managed to create a verisimilitude of a rapha web page advertising this purported limited edition jersey. though i had advised rapha of my plans, i was asked to desist from linking to the fictional web page because its accuracy could conceivably lead to prospective customers contacting an already busy customer service team to order something they simply could not have. since i figured they may have a point, i complied. the fact that they have now done a similar thing themselves does, i think underline the humour that still exists within a continually expanding and increasingly corporate company.
for that, i think they ought to be applauded.
however, the foregoing is but an aside to the real message for the day. at the foot of the great road climbs of the netherlands web page is a quote (real or apocryphal, i know not) from the great joop zoetemelk, world road race champion in 1985 and winner of the amstel gold, fleche wallonne and paris-tours. "Headwinds are far more menacing and unpredictable then any Alpine pass.", a statement with which i am in total agreement. and many who rode and watched last sunday's gent wevelgem may be inclined to follow suit.
mountains are, by and large, fairly predictable in both their ascents and descents. granted, the weather might conceivably play an important part, but taken individually, the roads can be carefully studied prior to the get-go, without concern that they might change before race-day passes through. there may well have been many teams whose riders reconnoitred the parcours between gent and wevelgem before sunday's race, but 50 mph crosswinds must surely have negated any handwritten notes taped to their stems.
in short, serious winds, such as those in belgium, probably holland and most certainly on islay, are the very factor that alleviates any sense of tedium by cycling relatively flat roads. i would love to say that training in seemingly perpetual winds invigorates the very same abilities as required when enduring lengthy climbs. however, my vastly underwhelming performances on the climbs of southern france would rather undermine that contention. perhaps alone amongst those watching gent wevelgem, those of us in velo club d'ardbeg could identify with every windswept pedal stroke seen on sunday past. even down to being blown off the tarmac into a roadside ditch.
we consider it our birthright.
several years ago i was asked by argyll & bute council to write and prepare a leaflet explaining the finer points of riding on islay and jura, taking into account the existence of passing places, single track roads, tractors and wandering livestock. in this i paid tribute to the force of the island's winds, which many a visiting velocipedinist has found a tad more onerous than had been expected.
at the proofing stage, one or two local councillors objected to my highlighting the wind on the basis that it might be seen to dissuade prospective visiting cyclists from making the ferry trip across. my counter argument ran parallel to that of joop zoetemelk's. on visiting the alps or pyrenees by bicycle, the many kilometres of climbing would be taken as read by those in the saddle. thus, it seemed only right and proper that i highlight the prospective joys of pain and suffering that could be enjoyed over considerably flatter roads.
i've no idea whether we can put this down to a celtic heritage or whether it is further proof that we are truly the flandrians of the west. you're more than welcome to pop over and find out.
thursday 2 april 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
there's a very nice hill leading off the end of uiskentuie strand onto foreland estate, bounded on one side by a smallish wood, concealing foreland house. it's probably only about two kilometres in length and has one or two false flats along its length, and at its steepest point, the gradient is likely only as much as 8% or 9%, and even then only for a short distance. it's the sort of descent, when approached from the loch gorm side, that offers great satisfaction, though a couple of blind corners mean paying close attention on the way down. for the road is only singletrack and motor vehicles, including tractors, more often than not spoil a perfectly good freewheeling run.
the mighty dave t and i harbour secret plans to cobble it.
we figured that, if we sneaked out under cover of darkness, with no thought for the acquisition of planning permission, we could get the job done without anyone noticing. once completed, it would surely be a simple matter to rename the hill foreland muur or forelandberg. it seems like the sort of cunning plan that only comes along once in a lifetime, so until the matter is resolved, mum's the word.
sadly, cobbles are totally conspicuous by their absence on islay, so mostly we have to make do with potholed roads for our verisimilitude of either flanders or roubaix. even the gravé offers little in the way of succour to the roughly challenged (so to speak). though peats are cut in far less numbers in these modern times of central heating, their past has left marks upon the island's topography. many of the gravel tracks simply head into the foothills and peat mosses and stop; there's really nowhere that could be considered a circular route, and we all know how dependent the pelotonese are upon their circular parcours.
so, supposing i fancied riding the cobbles of paris-roubaix, purely for the pleasure of so doing. where on earth would i practice, unless the mighty dave t and i take matters into our own hands? to a certain extent, scots author iain macgregor suffered from a similar ailment. though no longer domiciled north of the border (though coincidentally with a daughter named isla), he was buoyed by the experience (and purgatory) of riding the 2013 etape de tour. that in itself demands a level of commitment and training, a level that, with hindsight, it seemed a shame to waste.
thankfully, from his point of view, it took remarkably little persuading to have his wife agree to let him undertake the paris-roubaix challenge, an organised sportive following the route of the professional race. no small undertaking for any cyclist, but undoubtedly harder for anyone living in an area devoid of any meaningful cobbles. to hell on a bike is macgregor's recounting of the process that took him from fit etape cyclist to one capable of successfully riding the arenberg forest without falling off. at least, not at that particular point.
undoubtedly a sense of pragmatic caution would have the intrepid velocipedinist enquire further of those who rode the race for a living. riders such as roger hammond ("I don't think it's a difficult race, actually"), barry hoban ("...it's a war of attrition") and sean yates ("...i thought, bloody hell what's this all about?") all of whom seem to have involved themselves, albeit briefly, in the personal task set by mr macgregor. the book, therefore, is the story of one man's preparation to ride the hell of the north, an enjoyable distraction, augmented by snippets of history. it includes a visit with francois dulcier, president of les amis de paris-roubaix, an organisation dedicated to preserving the cobbles, a brief sortie to the roubaix velodrome to plan a strategy for the finishing sprint, and a few words with william lanigan of lille's pavé cycling classics.
a part of me figures that iain macgregor might have drastically overthought the entire affair. i'd have settled for watching a few recent editions of paris-roubaix, and had i lived as near the eurostar as does he, i may have popped across one weekend to try out a few cobbles in advance. but there's little denying just how tedious a book that would have turned out to be. this way, we garner far more information about the race itself, as well as the thoughts of those who have succeeded and almost succeeded in roubaix velodrome.
all in all, to hell on a bike is a highly entertaining read, well written, well paced and guaranteed to bring your enthusiasm for cobbles to the boil if you order a copy the minute you've finished reading this review and before the 2015 edition of the classic. it only remains for me to point out that, when interviewing francois dulcier, his disappointment at there being no scots amongst the society's membership is entirely unfounded. i joined years ago.
did he make it to roubaix? that would incur a spoiler alert.
wednesday 1 april 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
drummer buddy rich once advised that, if you awoke in the morning and didn't feel like practicing that particular day, then you probably shouldn't bother. a lack of application would be unlikely to lead to much in the way of improvement. however, at the risk of inserting a dreadful pun, that was somewhat rich coming from him. buddy had more technique than an entire big band of drummers put together; a few days away from the practice pad was unlikely to have given much cause for consternation.
oh that the rest of us should be so lucky.
however, it was the very advice many of us were looking for, particularly from one of the greats. whenever a moment of distraction arose, 'twas but a simple matter of quoting buddy rich before bunking off to do something less onerous instead. perhaps someone could goad sir bradley, tom boonen or greg lemond to spout forth a similar edict as regards training in cold, wet and windy weather. that would offer the less than intrepid the very escape route they desire, endorsed by the world's finest.
personally i'd settle for any of the above to soundly castigate the very existence of the ubiquitous indoor turbo trainer. it would only need a prominent member of the professional peloton to state that riding a turbo as an alternative to riding out of doors was of no earthly use and the collective sigh of relief could likely be heard from saligo bay on a windy day. in the light of this fatuous plea, you might well ask, therefore, why on earth i'm attempting to review one of the dastardly devices on the post?
ransack every washingmachinepost archive you can find and not only will you not find a previous turbo review, you will struggle to find any words typed in their favour. and there is good reason for that; they are the spawn of the devil.
however, if you paid heed to yesterday's review of the excellent foxonline cycle training it would not take too much in the way of grey matter to realise that the review, of necessity, required that i had access to a turbo trainer of some description. swiftly to my rescue in this department was simon beatson of paligap, the uk distributor of cycleops indoor trainers. he kindly despatched a classic magneto progressive resistance trainer to accommodate my needs.
many, many years ago i owned a wind-resistance turbo trainer with which i managed to wear a hole in the kitchen lino. mrs washingmachinepost did not take kindly to that situation. however, the cycleops magneto sets itself up in an altogether different manner, removing the likelihood (as far as i could see) of my repeating that particular performance. there are two folding legs that can be set forward to create the triangulation required for better stability. the feet of the rear section can be easily rotated to achieve excellent stability on any less than billiard flat surface, and even on polished lino, the turbo remained impressively in its original position.
the downside to the wind resistance trainer of old was its verisimilitude to that of the twice daily loganair flight into islay airport. in full flight (pardon the pun) the noise generated would have drowned out a 32 seater twin prop. the progressive magnetic resistance of the magneto promised, according to the legend on the box, a healthy degree of silence, though it's a word that may mean something different to the cycleops people than it does to the rest of us. i cannot deny that it was impressively quieter than its 20th century predecessor, but at speed, still emitted an audible thrumming, even using an all but treadless rear tyre.
the magnetic unit requires to be affixed to the frame by a single nut and bolt, while fore and aft adjustment of the roller is by means of a bright yellow threaded adjustment wheel. to fit the colnago into position, it was first necessary to remove the shiny blue aerozine featherweight skewer and replace it with the more traditional version supplied in the box. cycleops are quite vehement about ensuring only this skewer is used.
the right-hand wheel clamp features a sturdy, removeable handle that follows a helical slot in the turbo's frame. by lining up the skewer with each side, it's a simple matter of pushing the handle home to securely fit the back wheel in place. having doen so, that yellow wheel can be adjusted to bring the roller into contact with the tyre.
the oddest feature to get used to is the sole manner of increasing pedalling resistance. the online training i was required to review, not unnaturally attempted to replicate repeated climbing throughout the sessions. in the real world, when the road slopes upwards, switching to a larger sprocket at front and rear is the natural option, but on a turbo, that will lessen the resistance. therefore, it's a case of moving into a bigger gear, including the big ring if necessary, to make life harder.
that took a bit of getting used to. but harder pedalling resulted in increased magnetic resistance at the rear and it really didn't take too long to get the hang of the reverse psychology.
cycleops do, it's only fair to state, offer turbo trainers with variable resistance activated by means of a bar mounted cable and lever, but that's going to cost you a bit more. what i was slightly disappointed by was the lack of a front wheel riser in the box. in order to better replicate the common road position, keeping both wheels on an even keel makes perfect sense; though such a device is available as an optional £20 extra, it would have been a nice touch to have included it from the start.
it's not often i can end a review by confidently stating that i hated every minute. it quite obviously takes an entirely different psyche to clamber aboard an indoor turbo than to head out into the wide grey yonder, no matter the inclemency of the elements. i'd really rather give up cycling altogether than resort to this. however, this is delivered with no disrespect to the cycleops trainer itself. not only was it remarkably simple to assemble, it performed what was demanded of it with aplomb on each and every occasion, and remained impressively stable throughout.
if cold, wet and windy weather is not your bucket of cleat bolts, or perhaps you find yourself time-challenged when it comes to training schedules (online or otherwise) this may well be your saviour and at a price that makes it a particularly sound investment (£225).
the real hell of the north.
sincere thanks to simon beatson of paligap for assiatance over and above the call of duty.
tuesday 31 march 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................