Saturday 30 January 2010

Saturday Morning Bike Ride

Woo hoo, I'm back on my bike! It's been nearly two months since my last bike ride mainly because of unsuitable weather. It feels GOOD to get out again - fresh air, excercise and lots of great views for photos! This morning was very cold and frosty but unlike last Saturday most of the roads were dry and therefore ice-free and cycling-safe.

I set off with some vague notions of photographing the rising sun behind the standing stones so head down that way. The sun isn't really in the right position though but I take a few photos anyway hoping that passing dog walkers don't think I'm too daft.


Then it's off up the hill away from all the houses and people and out into the countryside.

Still not far from civilisation though - Paisley and Glasgow can be seen in the distance here.

As I climb higher I get my first glimpse of Ben Lomond.

Now I'm over the top of the hill. Up here the landscape changes dramatically and is wide and open. There are no towns or villages and few farms and it feels quite isolated despite being so close to Glasgow. This is the view looking back towards Ben Lomond again.

Through the avenue.

Sheep fluff on barbed wire.

A lone tree (Ben Lomond still visible behind).

Baa baa black sheep.

The wind is a little chilly here - just taking my glove off to take a photo makes my hand uncomfortably cold.

Once I'm up here I don't actually put much effort into the cycling as the roads are fairly flat and I tend to freewheel around admiring the views, taking too many photos (and getting cold!).

I'm now about to head down to Barcraigs Reservoir which is frozen towards its shores as can be seen in the above photo. There are several possible roads down, I take the one I've not been on before...

...and get an excellent view of this little cottage which I've often passed on the main road thinking it would make a nice photo, I'd never noticed the side road here till I was on it today - ideal!

Getting closer to the reservoir.

Here we are, with wild geese flying above too.

This is the first time I've seen this boat though I've come across photos of it on flickr - it feels almost like finally visiting some famous monument. Also in the photo above you can see a little walkway out to a tower in the water, that's where I head next...

...on the walkway over the reservoir.

Enough wandering about! Back onto dry land, back on the bike and then back through the lovely gates onto the road home.

I remember I've not taken a bike shot for a while, so here you go, not one...

...but two. It's at this stage, when I'm just about to start the big descent back down from the hills, that I remember my brakes aren't working too well!

I take it slowly and sensibly (boring!) and make it home safely. I've even enough time to scoff some pancakes and dye my hair(!) before hubby, A and N return from the Saturday swim & Grandad visit. The afternoon is spent with A and friends at a five year old's birthday party hosted by a Mum who is a phenomenal cake baker. A very pleasant day altogether.

Thursday 28 January 2010

Crochet, Cakes, Colour.

Some colourful round the house pictures from the last week or so...

The granny square cushion cover has now been blocked. I'm thinking of adding a border round it before I make it up into a cushion so that the outer squares don't half-disappear round the cushion edges.

Blocking in progress. I put the joined up squares on top of a towel laid on the bedroom carpet. I then pinned them into place, sprayed them with tepid water and left them to dry. It seems to have done the trick though next time I would block the squares individually beforehand just because mine were so wonky.

I made my first cake from this book (here is a review of the book that reflect my feelings about it too).

I did intend to make the light chocolate cake but didn't have the necessary buttermilk so made this fruity one instead. It didn't satisfy my cake cravings at all, forcing me to raid the freezer for the last tub of Nigella's chocolate caramel shortbread that I knew I had stashed away (and have discovered can be eaten frozen) and of which I ate all five pieces (with perhaps a half hour break between the 2nd and 3rd piece so not quite all at once!).

Hubby loved it the cake though (he's a bit of a healthy eating type) and A enjoyed it too. N spat his mouthful out. I will be trying more recipes from the book though as I would like to cut down on the calories and fat but still have my cake (and eat it).

Artwork from A brightening up one of the kitchen cupboards.

Some hamma (actually the Ikea version) and aqua bead creations. I particularly like the little flowers made with the aqua beads. I'm thinking we might make more and use them to decorate a photo frame.

And the other crochet cushion - one side complete and the other side growing rapidly. I'm really enjoying making this cover - I've introduced three more colours for the second side and love deciding which colour to use next while watching the rings multiply.

Housework and mirror-making are all sadly neglected while I crochet away.

And for my footnote today, some nice slippers, hehe!

Tuesday 26 January 2010

A Dining Room Corner.

On Sunday we finally had our turkey Christmas dinner. (Illness and disorganisation had prevented us having it on 25th Dec).

First of all the dining room needed a bit of a clean up as it was suffering from more than a little neglect.

Houseplants have to be tough to live here, the ones above which live on the dining room window sill have not even been repotted since before we moved in 7 years ago. Just removing the dead leaves though makes a huge improvement to their appearance.

Also on this window sill is another of the stained glass panels that I made at evening class. This one is of a lovely bright sunfower which brings colour to the room even on dull days. It's made using the lead came method.

Before it can be used I have to clear the dining table of the huge piles of clean washing which normally linger there en route to being taken upstairs at some later date.

I then set the table for just the three of us (plus N in his high chair). No guests so stress-free.

It's so nice to see this room finally tidy! I know it won't be for long though but never mind.

A close-up of the picture on the wall - it's a page from a huge M&S calendar that I got framed in return for selling some leaded mirrors through a local gallery.

For Christmas I'd been given this bottle of wine and was told it was a "good" one. I'm not a wine buff by any means, I tend to stick to merlot & shiraz for red and pinot grigio for white. Hubby takes A out for some fresh air, N takes a lovely long nap and I get down to some wine tasting while getting the turkey and all the trimmings ready.


Just as well you can't see the other corner of the room though - I didn't get as far as tidying it!

Saturday 23 January 2010

In Search Of Trolls.

Today I set out for a Saturday morning stroll while "the other three" attend swimming lessons and visit Grandad.

There was quite a hard frost last night and the roads are a little icy for me to risk cycling (6 ft height + large cake habit = a big lass & a potentially sore fall!)

I take the opportunity to walk where I wouldn't normally cycle, it involves a short stretch along a very busy road, there is a pavement but it's altogether rather narrow and even walking this section isn't particularly pleasant as the cars zoom past just a little too close for comfort.

Today it also means descending from sunshine into gloom as there is a little bit of a temperature inversion happening.

I'm not on the main road for long and after a short section along a lane I join the cycle path.

Despite being surrounded by a soft mist the sky above is remarkably blue.

I stop frequently to admire the frosty plant life...

I'm rather taken with the brightness of this ivy/creeper. It's entwining its way over one of the stones on a bridge high above a river beside which is a handy path for descending on a troll hunt... trolls under the bridge today, just a lovely (though drippy!) view from under one of the arches.

Shortly after the bridge I leave the cycle path and head back onto to unclassified roads... of which passes by a cattery, here's a detail from their rather attractive sign.

As I climb further uphill more views appear. The far away mountain on the left is Ben Lomond.

I'm now as high as I'm going to go on this walk. From here you can see how the mist lies on the low ground along where I've just been.

Not far to home now. This fellow is in the field next to the village.

I've just enough time to upload the photos and write this brief trip report before the others arrive back home. Here ends the peace & quiet! Enjoy your weekend.


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