Make Do and Mend

March 20, 2012

The problem with knitting your own socks, is you feel compelled to darn them too:

Clearly alpaca, while lovely and soft and warm, is not particularly hard wearing. My darning skills are about as effective as the council’s pothole mending ones but I’m hoping this way I can make them last long enough for me to knit the next pair.

And talking of potholes, look:

After two years when we’ve had nothing but road patching, last year’s mild winter has clearly left enough in the budget to put in some shiny new road! This stretch used to include a shocking section which was actually dangerous because it left you with a choice between swerving right across the road or risking coming off on what was basically loose scree. The other stretch they did wasn’t quite as bad – in fact I can’t really remember it being that bad at all, although I suspect my tolerance for potholes is quite high as I’m mostly able to go around them.

In the four years we’ve been up here, they’ve managed to do three sets of resurfacing on the Papershop village road, each amounting to about half a mile. So at the present rate of progress, they should have completely resurfaced it in, oh about another eight years.

By which time, if the last lot of shiny new road is anything to go by it should be time to start again:

It’s just like knitting socks, when you think about it.


All Change Please

March 19, 2012

the last of the parsnips…

… the first of the weeds.

Oh, okay, daisies aren’t really weeds. But they are a sign that we need to step up the cobble clearing. Now that they think they may actually finish painting the Forth Bridge, may I humbly suggest weeding our cobbles as a replacement metaphor?

Hark Hark!

March 17, 2012


It was truly glorious today, sunny and warm and definitely spring, although not *quite* so warm that setting off without my gloves on was a sensible idea (fortunately I’ve been got that way before and I had them in my pocket). I had a meeting in town and on days like today I wouldn’t have driven in for it had you paid me. I was hoping to leave in good enough time that I could pedal sedately and arrive looking sleek and cool and a true advertisement for cycle chic although in the end what happened was I was busy replying to emails until almost the last minute and then I made a last minute decision to swap my jumper for a shirt (no jumper!) and then another last minute decision to take my jacket after all, just to be safe, and then I remembered that the meeting was at the top of a biggish hill so I arrived in my usual glowing (as in ‘glowing like a horse’) condition, not aided by the fact that I only realised when I was almost there that I’d been gardening in the shirt and it showed. So that’s cycle chic as in ‘wear what you’d normally wear’ not cycle chic as in ‘actually looking chic’ – unless the gardening look is now in & the models have been stalking down the catwalk in cords with muddy knees and carefully applied dirt under their fingernails. Still, at least my jacket wasn’t on inside out, not of course that that ever happens.

But all this is by the by to what I wanted to say which was that although the swallows haven’t yet arrived (and I wish they’d hurry up because the bugs are getting out of hand already), I did at least have time to hear – and savour – the first mad twittering of a lark, invisibly high in the blue, blue sky. And if that’s a sound that doesn’t make your morning, then nothing will.

Because you Asked…

March 14, 2012

(oh all right, because one person asked) here are my spoils from Potato Day, ready to sprout:

They are:

4 Charlotte (was meant to be 5, never mind!)
15 Pixie
7 Rocket
7 Rale’s Emerald
5 Harmony
5 Golden Wonder

Apart from Pixie and Rocket, which I’ve grown before and Golden Wonder, which I know was purely based on the name, I now have absolutely no recollection why I selected the varieties I did. Oh well. One day grown-up methodical gardening will be in my grasp… Also, counting.

It now feels like the season is properly under way. Which means a three-line whip on eating up the last of the parsnips and leeks (and leeks, and leeks) to make room for this year’s veg …

Unmistakable Signs…

March 13, 2012

… that spring is well underway:

ickle lambs …

… the first blossom …

… a flush of astoundingly badly mended potholes along the road …
… and, in a field gate beside their badly mended potholes, two council workers parked up in their council truck, all tuckered out from the year-end-spend roadmending frenzy, both sleeping like babies

(I considered taking a photo of that too, but as they were probably on their lunch break, I decided it was a little unfair)

Here’s how my Life Works…

March 12, 2012

PEDAL on PARLIAMENT!Just when I’m thinking I might have a bit of time to devote to my garden, or earning some money, or writing, or just getting out on my bike for a nice ride in the beginnings of spring, someone has a bright idea and I foolishly suggest that I could help out. And the next thing I know I’m simultaneously trying to deal with all of the above (except the nice bike rides) while helping set up a website, writing a manifesto and organising a mass bike ride on the Scottish parliament…

Now that the first mad dash to get something launched is over, I’m hoping things will return to something like normal, whatever normal is, and the blog will return to its usual mix of weather, gardening, stray livestock, photos and reports on the level of the ford*.

Meanwhile can I ask those of you anywhere near Scotland to consider signing up for this, following this or just going and having a look at this.

I think that’s all the social media options covered… we’ve even got a hashtag, and everything

* Just three inches this afternoon, and thanks for asking

Slow Down, you Move too Fast

March 9, 2012

Alert readers may have noticed blogging becoming rather thin on the ground recently (some of you may even care) but the truth is I’ve simply been going flat out. Spring always seems to bring an upsurge in activity as everyone comes out of hibernation and things which had been ticking over in a manageable way suddenly explode into life, usually all at once. Which is one way of saying I’ve managed to massively over commit myself. It turns out getting involved in not one, or two but three simultaneous cycling campaigns may just be one cycle campaign too far. And not only have I been barely able to find time to blog, I’ve not really had time to do much bloggable stuff. Well, maybe a couple of things but you’ll have to just wait for those.

Meanwhile spring has been springing away in a way that’s been increasingly difficult to ignore. Oystercatchers returning, daffodils blooming, days lengthening … and the garden just sitting there making me feel guilty. I was so stressed yesterday the other half even went out and did a bit of digging for me, until it started raining. Other than that I’ve been mostly burying my head in the sand about it but today, cycling down for the paper (and it’s been the first time I’ve managed to do that for over a week) I heard the unmistakeable sound of baa-ing lambs and came across a field full of them, with their mums, all at the adorable pipe-cleaner legs and wobbly cuteness stage. If the lambs are here then spring is here, there’s no getting away from it. I’m going to have to get my act together, and soon because my garden isn’t going to wait for me to be ready for it.

Typically, I didn’t have my camera with me – and I didn’t have time to go back for it either, so you’ll just have to hang on for lamby-cuteness for a while, and with any luck I’ll manage to photograph them before they’re practically mutton.

By way of compensation, I leave you with what happens when I leave the other half, the cat, and my camera together unsupervised. Cuteness of a different order.

I don’t think cats even know what ‘busy’ means…