Sunday 28 March 2010

Saturday Morning Bike Ride

Off for about 8am, wishing I'd left earlier. We were woken as usual by N at 6:30 but I felt tired and wasted time (and sunshiney time it was too!) trying unsuccessfully to get back to sleep.

Unlike last week though it's cold so the gloves are back on.

The sun was still shining by the time I get to the top of the hill.

Lots of clouds around though. I head downhill onto the cyclepath.

I take a little detour off the cyclepath to have a wander round the medieval church (built in 1504).

I like the posing birds - one on top of the tree and one on top of the tower.

The view inside.

Some lovely stonework.

Back onto the cycle path and past the loch.

Further along there is a castle dating from the 15th century.

I wander over for a nosey round this too but there's no access to the inside.

Another posing bird on a bare branched tree. On some trees the leaf buds are noticeably swollen and green.

The view from the castle looking towards the loch.

Off the cyclepath now and back onto unclassified roads. I know from the map that there is another ruined castle just to right of the above scene . However, it's up a dead end farm track which has a big gate across it's entrance, I chicken out of going to see it.

If you look closely there's a rainbow over the hills between the tree trunks. Shortly after taking this photo the rain starts, just little showers, nothing too heavy.

Passing this field I hear lambs bleating. LAMBS! The first ones I've seen out in the fields this year. They were away over the other side of the field, also it was still raining at this point so it's not a terrible good photo I'm afraid.

Nice hut.

It's a bit of a climb up to here and I stop for some chocolate. Once I reach the farm a very unfriendly dog chases after me, growling fiercely and showing me all his sharp pointy teeth. I zoom off safely down the other side of the hill.

I realise I've not taken a bike shot. Here you are - beside my favourite gate and tree mound on my favourite little stretch of road. It's the first time I've cycled down rather than up this road and it's definitely less interesting going in this direction

Up past the big stone towards home.

I indulge in some more crocus photos in the garden before going inside.

And here's what was in the Cath Kidston package from my last post.

A messenger bag from the sale. I wanted a big cross-body bag for carrying nappies and stuff now that N is walking more so we don't always have the pram for carrying things. I've not had occasion to use it yet though and I'm a little concerned that when I do I'll feel as though I'm wandering about with a cushion strapped to my hip. Ah well.

To completely change the subject again, and not in a good way, I was very saddened to find out this morning that Elspeth Thompson has died. I have several of her books, my favourite being Urban Gardener - she writes more knowledgeably in her later books which somehow makes them slightly less interesting for me though still beautifully written and enjoyable. I had looked forward to more from her, but sadly that's not to be. Someone who'll be missed by many.

Wednesday 24 March 2010

This week...

At the weekend I finally started tidying up the garden. The weather since then has turned colder again and we've even had some rain; it's been ages since I've had to wear my raincoat - an unusual winter for us indeed.

Most of the week up till now has been spent indoors...

Mmmmm, crispy cakes dressing a 10p charity shop plate.

Jackdaw silhouettes.


I was responsible for buying the prizes for the lucky dip box for our toddlers Spring fundraising event (held yesterday, Tuesday) which required a visit to the nearest big Tesco. I don't normally shop here which is just as well - I find the non-food aisles are just too tempting as the above photograph proves!

Lindt chocolate is my favourite. Amazingly the rabbits and packets of mini eggs are still intact despite being in the house for over 24 hrs. Not long to wait now...

I liked the cheery green apple print on this tea towel. £2 for a pack of 3. I've recently replaced quite a few of our old tatty, holey tea towels. Sadly it doesn't make me any keener to dry the dishes.

Talking of dishes, we use pasta bowls a lot - not just for pasta but also for mince and casserole based meals, we just prefer them to flat dinner plates. The ones in our cupboard though were showing their age - chipped, crazed and from various sets. I'd been on the look out for new pasta bowls for over a year now but hadn't seen anything in the right shape which wasn't just plain boring white. These ones are perfect. I bought 6 but will buy another 2 later (£3 each).

A set of mugs. Strictly speaking we don't really need these but I liked them. They were in a pack which makes it hard to see them properly and unfortunately the blue ones are flawed in that the pattern transfer is quite smudged in places. I didn't think it worth the petrol cost to return them and really it's only me that probably notices!

And yes, I did buy the lucky dip prizes, then spent a couple of evenings wrapping them. All 52 of them! It was worth it though to see the pleasure the children got from picking them.

Some homebaking for the fundraising event too - chocolate caramel shortbread and tablet (the most dangerous type of homebaking for me - just one taste and I could easily eat the lot!).

And a big batch of blueberry muffins freshly baked by hubby early on Tuesday morning.

A and I were lucky in the raffle, I was going to save the chocolates and Cava for a DVD evening but have to confess to opening the chocolates already.

Lastly, a long awaited package finally arrives. What's inside? You'll need to wait and see!

Sunday 21 March 2010


Yesterday afternoon was a sudden burst of Spring for us. The sun was shining and it was warm enough to potter about the garden without a jacket. Today it's cold again and also overcast.

Here are a few photos from yesterday of the garden coming to life in the warm sun

This is the first time this camelia has had flower buds since it was planted about eight years ago. I can't even remember what colour they're going to be. Exciting!

It was such a lovely afternoon, I hope it's not too long before we get more warm sunny weather.

Saturday 20 March 2010

Saturday Morning Bike Ride

Off just after 8am this morning. I need to be back home for 11am or so, so I set off on one of my fairly short regular routes - a circuit of Barcraigs reservoir.

This involves quite a long and steep climb out of the village of Howwood. I think I'm doing quite well on my way up when I'm passed by two cyclists who not only are going pretty quick but are also chatting all the way! Hmmm.

I make it to the top in my own time. Bike shot.

A glimpse of a little island in the middle of Barcraigs through tree branches. Wild geese are honking away - heard but not seen.

Gorgeous ivy colours.

Lots of catkins now out.

Another bike shot with the reservoir in the background. This is looking eastwards. While I'm stopped here and as it is rather a pleasant spot I take a photo in each direction...

Looking North...

Looking South...

Looking West.

Ruined barn/cottage.

Windswept tree and neatly trimmed beech hedge.

Still no lambs.


Cows are now appearing back in the fields as Winter disappears for another year.

A last look at Barcraigs before returning home. There seemed to be some sort of fishing do happening - I've never seen so many fishermen here before, though I still managed to avoid photographing them!

Today turned into a beautiful day. The afternoon was absolutely gorgeous - blue skies and WARM, the first time we've been able to be outside comfortably without jackets.

Spring is in the air, everywhere I look around...


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