Sunday, 30 September 2012

Saturday Morning Bike Ride and a Couple of Walks

A yucky morning weather-wise. But... I want to pick some brambles (blackberries) and the best brambling spots hereabouts are easiest reached by bike, being a little too far away for walking to and without suitable car parking as they're on single track roads.

Job done. Sooner than expected too - I decided to head out a road I have for some reason previously only ever returned by. So instead of quickly zooming down it I am slowly climbing up it and find a large bramble patch I never knew was there, and it was better than the one I was planning to visit. Result!

While I'm out I make a quick 10-12 miles of it seeing as the weather's not great.

Young bull.

Twisty roads in the rain.

Glacial erratic with farmhouse.

What's this? The sun's coming out just as I'm about to reach home.

There's even some blue sky.

And more brambles. These were the ones I was intending to pick, they'll need to wait for another day as I only brought one tub.

Cow silhouette, then home. Told you it was a short one!

To make up for the lack of decent outdoor time in the morning we all went for a woodland walk in the afternoon which was looking a much brighter and sunnier affair.

First we get to pass the geranium row...

... then we're up in the woods.Some Autumn shades just starting to appear.

Plenty of green still around though.


A view across the fields at the top.

Dead tree detail.

N has had enough by now and he and hubby head home. I get to spend some time with A, it's not often I get to see her without her little brother around also wanting attention. It was most pleasant.

The path home.

Later that evening I make bramble jelly with my haul from the morning. Five and a half jars. It always seems to take ages to reach setting point and overall it's a fairly time consuming process, but I do think it's worth it, just a nice feeling to to have a little bit of free hedgerow produce stashed away for the winter. I usually give at least one jar to my Dad, it's his favourite. I remember his mum (my granny) always having a jar of homemade bramble jelly available when we went to see her. I especially associate it served with her girdle (griddle/soda) scones which were first toasted and thickly buttered. Yummy!

On to this afternoon and we visited a nearby NTS property as today is the last opening day till next Spring. An excuse for some nice window, stone and garden photos...

The A and I get another slot of time to ourselves. I drag her along to look at some bales before teatime while the sun is shining (lucky girl!). The fields adjoin a main road close to our house. Despite the proximity I never cycle along this road - it's too busy and the cars go far too fast. Walking along the narrow pavement is not a particularly pleasant experience either, but we succeed in getting some golden field photos...

...then it's home for tea, prepared by hubby. Isn't it lovely to get tea made for you!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Saturday Morning Bike Ride

As promised by the weathermen (and/or women) - it's a beautiful sunny morning. I like to check the forecast the night before as although our bedroom window faces east and should therefore give us a good indication of whether or not it's to be a sunny day, a nearby tree covered ridge obscures the early sun at this time of year. All was dark when I got out of bed, but a peek out the window showed that although our house was in shadow the sun was indeed shining brightly elsewhere. I was already wishing I'd got up earlier as the tailend of the sunrise was looking gorgeous - strands and streaks of pale pink were brushed across a clear sky of many blues.

So, after a banana sandwich for breakfast, I headed off at about 7:30am. On the way up to the shed to get my bike I was already taking photos - frosty patterns still being a novelty at this time of year...

Frosty ladies mantel (alchemilla)

Frosty car windscreen -which we noticed later was actually cracked. We'd had problems with a jammed bonnet hinge and didn't realise at the time that it had damaged the windscreen at the bottom corner, the cold caused the crack to spread right across the windscreen. Oh no I thought (I always hate to have things go wrong), but it was very easy to get fixed - a quick phone call to the glass number on the insurance letter and a nice young man came to fix it the very next day.

Frosty car roof (the impending arrival of the windscreen repair man later prompted me to wash the car, not something we do terribly often - our priorities are obviously different to our neighbour's as he seems to be forever washing and polishing his fleet of cars)

Back to the bike ride. I take the same road out the village as last week but the earlier hour make the light more magical - therefore more photos are taken... this one at the top of the hill. I was looking at the view in the opposite direction then glanced round and realised this was happening - fantastic!

This is the view with the sun behind me. You can see my shadow bottom left - I have a rainbow around me! I'm letting off quite a bit of steam after the long climb up the hill.

More views over mist wreathed fields.

The tree (last week a photo of this tree was the first I took)


Another shadow shot, this time in motion.

Crossroads coming up. Last week I went straight on, this week I go right.

Umbellifer, I think it may be an angelica?

Frosty leaf. The verges have recently been mown so you have been spared the numerous frosty leaf photos I I would otherwise have taken!

Grass topped gate post.

My favourite photo for this ride. This is the first view of the mountains to the north and they're looking nice and clear today, so a good day to take this route. The tractor and strip of ploughed land across the middle add a lovely finishing touch.

Pretty countryside. I've just descended quite a long hill through some woodland (it was sooo cold it took my breath away - no sun, no pedalling and fast freezing air) and the mountains have disappeared again. I'll be climbing again later so they'll be back...

Chestnut foal and mother.

Right, here we are after another climb. The mountains are lurking behind the row of houses on the hill behind the reservoir.
There are lots of gorse bushes along this road and they're full of spiderwebs.

Another admiring look at the view, hard to do it justice on a little blog photo.

After a short stop to eat an apple, I descend again.

Taking it slowly this time. There's a little calf here in front of the red feeder.

By here I've reached the bottom of the hill and am halfway back up another one. It's been a while since I've gone this route and I'd forgotten just how hilly it is.

Almost at the top of the last big climb and a last look back at the view.

Rook on a post.

Cow view. There's tiny calf snuggled down in the grass on the far right.

The mountains make a last peek over the hills.

Silly sheep.

I stop here to check my purse. £6. Enough to fund a visit to the charity shop in the village I'm about to pass through. For £4 total I get a little hand painted bowl, a nice chunky hand thrown jug (to add to the collection), a copy of the Farmhouse Kitchen cookbook (a friend has this and is always making lovely things from it), and three other books. Pleased with my haul I join the cycle path and zoom home (as quickly as I can with a carrier bag full of heavy books dangling from my handle bars!).

So a longer ride than most recent ones, and hilly too. I'd been getting a little lazy with my rides. Of course, nice weather always helps encourage more outdoor activity -we've just had three sunny days in a row, it was lovely!


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