Not as Funny as I was in 2005*

December 31, 2014

Be that as it may, what did 2014 bring? (And yes, I am recycling material because I’ve nothing much new to say, why do you ask? All the papers are doing it…)

yard flooded

In January I got the very latest in rain protection which was fortunate, and took up banging my head against a brick wall, aka the council, repeatedly – luckily I also took up yoga so things more or less balanced out

ford almost at 2 feet

In February I found a use for a tomato, took delivery of some contraband (which came up trumps, or at least beans With the rain continuing, we did wonder if it might be time to invest in a pedalo, although at least I remembered the simple pleasures of dry socks

big digger

In March, the month I turned 45, I decided to embrace my middle-agedness with a festival weekend, broke all the errandoneering rules and shared some exciting drainage news (no, really ) although despite all the practice I discovered I was still a complete novice at cycling in the rain and lost my glasses to a passing tractor

Brompton in the rain

In April we pedalled on parliament again, which is becoming something of a habit and I turned down the chance of doubling my garden size (although I did later manage to acquire a greenhouse The Brompton and I survived cycling in London (and not for the first time

cake remnants

In May I discovered an entirely new word for hills which came in handy when we decided to eat all the pies, but I still managed to get lost in the middle of a mass bike ride My gardening style received the Chelsea imprimateur which helped the hens convert our food yards into food inches

Bromptons on the beach

In June, the Brompton and I continued to gad about – at least once I’d managed to leave the house Nature turned bad with the return of ASBO Buzzard and the discovery of the ermine moth, while the council did everything it could to make the papershop run more hazardous and we discovered that the puncture fairy’s remit also runs in the Netherlands

little grey cat

In July we were briefly reunited with the cat In a summer that after all the rain turned out to be good enough for snakes (and sandals) and going the long way round we went to the beach under the only cloud in the United Kingdom and I took on the bank (the bank won)

monstrous potato

In August I discovered the delights of cycling with children The garden got out of hand, as is traditional but I only failed to win big at the village show through my own stupid fault

tree in the sunshine

In September, along with the rest of Scotland, I tried very hard to make up my mind (without much help from the politicians while the summer seemed like it would never end I got assaulted by a man with a knife and discovered that the most painful part was not being able to ride my bike

A to Z and Mr Tom bar

In October the exciting drainage news just kept on coming and I made an exhibition of myself in London I was forced to learn how the other half live and finally ended up flouting doctors’ orders a week early

Balcary Bay in sunshine

In November, despite my best efforts the rain returned and I decided someone was wrong on the internet The Tarmac Fairy also put in an appearance despite a politician’s promise

sun breaking through

And in December I started another possibly doomed garden project but did at least discover my own little slice of Mediterranean climate The Brompton and I continued to battle the coonsil – but at least, together, we survived Christmas

And how was your year?

*The other half’s verdict on my blog every year since I first started, almost (eek) a decade ago


Rising Above

December 29, 2014

frost and fog

The ride to the papershop did not look a particularly inviting prospect this morning. It wasn’t just the fog, or the ice on the road, but the sheer biting coldness of it all. But the paper wasn’t going to fetch itself, and besides, what is the point of having magical ice tyres if you’re going to be frightened of a bit of a chill? So, having taken the precaution of leaving a jumper warming on the Rayburn for my return, I set off.

sun breaking through

By the time I’d got through the village I was pretty glad I’d opted for the lobster gloves because the fog and the cold were unrelenting. At least I more or less had the roads to myself. In fact, I seemed to have the whole countryside to myself.

above the fog

As the road wound upwards, though, I started to climb out into the sunshine. There’s something about seeing the blue sky and the sun breaking through the last thinning veil of mist that leaves everything extra saturated and bright.

Ready to descend back into the murk once more.

back into the fog

I was glad of that jumper when I got home, I can tell you.


December 26, 2014

No Boxing Day ride for me (except reminiscently in the Herald bike blog) but my sister and I did stage a daring escape to the coast while the children were distracted by a DVD, so we could blow away some cobwebs of our own.*

The sea views were spectacular

foggy coast



This was my second visit to St. Abbs this week. The last time we were rather taken by its tiny harbour, and the way the houses were jumbled into the slopes above it, each shed with a sea view (not to mention the nice little cafe selling generously proportioned fresh local crab baguettes).

St Abbs Harbour

It all looked and felt a bit more … elemental in the haar and the north wind today.

St Abbs from St Abbs head

Home tomorrow.

* we did leave some responsible adults in charge. And a few irresponsible ones as well

We’ll Weather the Weather

December 24, 2014

Let’s go for a walk, I said.

It’s a glorious day, I said.

It would be criminal to waste an afternoon like this, I said.

We need to get out and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts, I said.

I had forgotten to adjust for this being Duns, home of freak weather.

raincloud over Duns

In fairness to me, it did brighten up a bit later, and we were almost dry by the time we got back in.

afternoon sunshine

Born Free

December 23, 2014

Take four children.

Stick them in a cottage in the woods with NO WIFI and hence no Minecraft.

Send them out to amuse themselves in the surrounding forest

What could possibly go wrong?

feral kids

For the record, we got four kids (and sixteen limbs) back all present and correct.

Escape Committee

December 19, 2014

I’m not the only one in the family for whom sanity is bicycle shaped… For my mum, getting out on her bike, even if just for a little while two or three times a week, is a lifeline.

Mum on Paperbike

We managed to slip out today for half an hour before the sun set.

mum on paperbike

We didn’t get very far and even if we’d had time, the mud in the grounds of Duns Castle was a bit trying (the Paper Bicycle offroads surprisingly well but I thought the Brompton would disappear in places. It’s only little…)

Paperbike on mud

And we were back in time for tea. Just as we promised we would. Sometimes the temptation must be just to keep on pedalling though…

pedalling off

101 Uses for a Brompton: Surviving Christmas

December 18, 2014

Let’s get this straight: I love my family dearly, even when there’s 11 of us crammed into one house for a week, I love the fact that our sibling rivalry has remained intact even though we’re all in our forties (this may not be 100% what people mean by ‘staying in touch with your inner child’ but, you know, rough with the smooth and all that), and I’m ecstatic about the fact that my immune system is about to be assaulted by the combined germs of four school-aged children from two different countries.

But, as there’s only so much sitting around in one room waiting for your turn to charge up your electronic gadget of choice that one person can do, I made sure that one thing got packed before anything else:

Brompton packed in boot

This way we might actually all survive.