Signs of Spring

March 21, 2009

Ok, the spring equinox might have been technically yesterday but as far as I’m concerned it’s not officially spring until my birthday*.
To celebrate, I persuaded the other half out on one of his quarterly bike rides, helped along by the spring sunshine and the need to work off his three-layer devil’s food cake.

We went on my favourite ride – round the reservoir and past the giant topiary bird in the middle of nowhere where I finally managed to stop to take a picture.


There were a fair few** other cyclists who had emerged for the fine weather, but for the most part the roads were deserted, including this rustic dual-carriageway


Despite the fact that he cycles now once every three months, and spends far less time on the internet reading about cycling than me, the other half quickly became the customary diminishing blue dot on the horizon, but because it was my birthday, he did wait for me at the top of the hills


To cap it all off, as we whizzed down the other side, we passed a whole field full of my favourite breed of cow (is it weird to have a favourite breed of cow?) and their calves

And how did I know it was really spring? Because I ingested my first insect of the season. Just the first of many for the year, I suspect.

(phew. That’s the last time I try and lay out pictures and words in a complicated way in wordpress. If you’re reading this in IE and it’s all over the place – get a proper browser)

* I went from being thirty-*cough* to just *cough*, if you’re interested
** two


I Imagine…

March 20, 2009

… it would be possible to spend all of the daylight hours…

fruit of an hour's weeding

fruit of an hour's weeding

… for the rest of my natural life…

I swear that wasn't there a minute ago

I swear that wasn't there a minute ago

… and still not make a dent in the ground elder population.

several years to go...

several years to go...

Perhaps, rather than fighting it, we should work out whether it’s possible to eat it?

Watch this Space

March 19, 2009

Gosh it was absolutely gorgeous today. In a fit of what might be insane optimism, I have celebrated by doing some planting: my parsnips have gone in, and some of my garlic, plus the first sowings of my baby-leaf lettuce and broad beans.

Here’s the end result:
Yup, it’s a lot of bare earth. But there are seeds under there, honest, and if you go in close you’ll see the garlic too.

In case any of you are wondering, the plants on the right aren’t some misguided attempt to grow tonic water from bulbs (everyone knows it grows on trees) but my mini cloches intended to keep my broad bean seeds (beans?) from forming an early lunch for some hungry mice.

So now all I have to do is watch and wait, and occasionally dig them up to see if they’re growing yet.


March 18, 2009
Hmmm, perhaps I should clean my keyboard

Hmmm, perhaps I should clean my keyboard

Spring, it seems, brings not just warmth and green shoots and sunshine – it has also woken up the ants. They have been evicted from their antly paradise, the cupboard where we keep the sugar, and now every morning brings a new set of scouts sent out to discover and restore these promised lands to the ant kingdom.

So I wasn’t that surprised to find one of them wandering across the wastes of my laptop keyboard – it is, after all, where I keep the remains of my lunch – although I would have preferred it if it hadn’t then disappeared under the keys themselves before I could catch it. So far some tentative poajfkalfjaing and then some vigorous shaajfiqaoefjafjanfidiing have not removed the little chap from under there and I keep catching glimpses of movement which suggest that it can dodge the keys faster than I can type. So I’m just going to have to wait and hope it emerges with the worst of the crumbs – there’soneunderthespacebarwhichisparticularlyannoying – and I can then squash it before it tells all its pals.

Gadding About

March 17, 2009
The rest of you, just carry on as usual

The rest of you just carry on as usual

It’s a strange thing, but I find that the more we do, the less there is somehow to blog about. This weekend we have been whizzing around the country and have variously found a lost dog, helped render someone utterly speechless, caught up with old friends, inspected some woodland, irritated a speed merchant and raided my mother’s wool cupboard – and none of it worth any more than a passing mention.

But now we are home and settled back into our cosy rut and with any luck some tiny incident will generate a couple of hundred finely honed words, a weak pun or two, and a rather feeble payoff line. Business as usual, in other words.

The Joy of Cycling

March 13, 2009

I don’t know what’s been up with the weather this week – perhaps the weather gods were testing their circuits – but so far we have had: sleet showers with bright sunshine (Monday), glorious warm sunshine (Tuesday), constant steady soaking drizzle (Wednesday) and gales interspersed with sunshine-and-showers (Thursday). Today, it seemed like it was going to be NAR* all day, so I took the opportunity to get out on the bike to get the paper for the first time all week. As I set off, I thought it would be a good day to just relax and enjoy the ride: the view of the hills, the birds singing, the quiet roads and the wind in my hair. After all, cycling’s the way to travel, isn’t it? Much, much better than being shut up in a tin box behind the wheel…

All was well until I was a mile or so from the shop when it went from greyish clouds to slight drizzle. Well, this is fine too, I thought. It’s not as pleasant as when it’s dry, and the birds have stopped singing, and I can’t really see the hills any more what with my glasses being all fogged up, but at least I’m getting some exercise and saving the planet. And then clang: my chain fell off and the strange new squeaking rattle that the bike had developed when it was in top gear revealed itself to be the sound of something possibly vital** working its way loose.

One mobile phone call later, and a longish walk in the now-quite-heavy-rain and the other half had come down to pick me up and inform me that the part that had fallen off was probably not all that vital after all and I could probably ride back. But by that time I’d had it, and so we threw the bike in the car and drove home. There are some days when the joy of cycling somewhat eludes me. This was one of them

I really, really, really need a new bike.

*Not Actually Raining

** A technical term

Let’s Do the Time Warp Again

March 11, 2009

‘This can’t be right,’ I told the other half as we pulled up outside the pub on one of our rare (ok, first) nights out up here.

‘Why not?’

‘Well, this is the pub we’re going to, isn’t it?’


‘And this is us parking on the street just outside it. I mean, right outside the door.’

‘You got a problem with that? It’s a legal space, isn’t it?’

‘You can’t just drive somewhere and park right outside the place you’re going to.’

‘Why not?’

‘It just feels wrong. Is this the seventies or something? You can’t simply drive somewhere and then just park, for free, right outside it. Not in a town. That just doesn’t happen.’

And then we went inside, and the beer was 99p a pint. It wasn’t even that cheap when I was at uni…