June 28, 2017

So it seems I’m not the only one with an ASBO buzzard, although I like to think mine is the original and best

While I don’t really miss ASBO buzzard, I do regret not taking the opportunity to try and film it in mid-attack, partly because I sense a certain scepticism when I tell people about it that a) it actually happens and b) it is genuinely scary. Plus the whole 15 minutes of fame thing, obviously.

These days, the main wildlife-related hazard I encounter on the road is an increasingly ripe badger carcase which has ended up right by a passing place on one of the narrower back roads. I always dread some well-meaning driver pausing at just that point on the road as they see me coming – leaving me unable to give it as wide a berth as I normally aim for. Squeezing past cars on a disintegrating road edge is one thing, squelching over disintegrating badgers is quite another. Sorry, were you eating?

Other road hazards are potentially a bit more fun

caution ramps ahead

Although the 14-year-old me is rather disappointed that the 48-year-old she’s trapped inside declined to even try to get some air.


Moving On

July 11, 2016

I’d thought I’d have a few more chances to savour the papershop run on the bike, but with the house being in entirely the wrong direction, and with many more days worth of stripping, scraping, sanding, priming, painting, deciding the colour was wrong, and repainting in the offing before we move in, I can no longer afford to be spending an hour cycling down for the paper and back, and then another half hour on to the house. So with some reluctance, I have cancelled my paper order at Papershop Village, said my farewells to Papershop Woman and Papershop Bloke and the woman I sometimes chat to when I see her out walking as I pass her on the bike, and remembered to savour something of the ride as I barrelled home on a tailwind.

view from the papershop run

Last chance to enjoy the view at the top of the hill

It’s hard to appreciate a route you do two or three times a week for several years, but now that I won’t be doing it much any more, I’ve realised I’ve been somewhat taking the ride for the paper for granted. After all, there are cyclists who actually have to seek out a scenic 11-mile round trip on rolling and almost deserted country roads, whereas I tend to just ride through it on autopilot, when I’m not actually being divebombed by enraged raptors.

Speaking of which, I did wonder whether ASBO buzzard wouldn’t take the opportunity to put in one last appearance but it has been conspicuous by its absence this year – whether because it’s chilled out somewhat or gone to the great telegraph pole in the sky. I’d say I was disappointed that I didn’t hear the maddened onrush of wings as it made a final attack. But that would be a lie.

I wonder what adventures await me on my new cycling routes …

Waiting for the Second Shoe…

June 13, 2016

Two things I am not, repeat not, complaining about:

1. It is well into June and ASBO buzzard hasn’t attacked yet. Not so much as a swoop. Which is cool. It’s fine. I’d much rather *not* be attacked by a buzzard than be attacked by a buzzard. But the anticipation is getting something fierce.

2. In the past week we have been caught in a sudden rainstorm driving back from the train station on Wednesday, I got fairly heavily rained on riding to the train station in Edinburgh on Sunday and I got mildly rained on going down for the paper today. But has there been any appreciable rain on the actual garden? There has not. Or at least not enough to replenish the water butts. There are four full-size ones up by the walled garden and we’re down to half way through number four…

Small Mercies

November 6, 2015
walk cycle vote flag

My Walk, Cycle, Vote flag looking like I feel…

Help, how has it got to be Friday? I know blogging has been light of late, but this is getting ridiculous. In my defence, there’s only so many posts I can spin out of days spent desperately trying to get a load of urgent work done in the week after I told the other half that I wasn’t going to accept any more jobs in November, having spend our holiday in Northern Ireland working, and then promptly accepted one.

Oh, and cycling in the rain

socks and gloves drying on the Rayburn

What more is there to say about that either, except that the best thing about it is when you get home and get to stop and dry off and watch the rain lashing against the window from the correct side of the glass?

rainy afternoon

Yesterday I got a drenching, and today I got another with bonus headwind plus the fact that I’d been lured out by a break in the weather (‘they were just gathering themselves to have a proper go’ as Papershop Woman put it) so I didn’t bother with my brand new waterproof-albeit-not-entirely-in-Scotland trousers.

On the plus side, on the way back, I spotted what must surely have been ASBO Buzzard being mobbed by crows.

I can’t tell you how that brightened my day.

The Only Forecast Worse…

July 20, 2015

…than the one which stubbornly refuses not only to correctly forecast the rain, but even to acknowledge that it is raining at all, is the one which correctly forecasts the fact that it will be hosing it down just as you are at the furthest point from home, and which you decide to ignore because, well, I’m not entirely sure why I ignored it, now I come to think of it. Probably because it’s been so wrong and so variable in the past that the one time it decides to be bob on, I no longer believe it.

Oh and ASBO buzzard decided to have a go at me again as well. As if I needed anything else coming at me out of the sky.

Having got home and got dry I was still pretty chilled and we ended up lighting the fire this evening. Summer, eh? Remind me why I moved to Scotland …

I suppose that’s what I get for attempting to enjoy what the weather gods throw at me.

Equal Opportunity Buzzard

July 3, 2015

‘I should probably just wait for you here,’ said the other half as we approached the entrance to Buzzard Alley

‘Oh don’t worry about that,’ I said. ‘It’s stopped attacking me now.’

And in fairness, it didn’t attack me, it attacked him, although it only swooped on him once, and that not a very close attempt – in fact if I hadn’t shouted as it passed about eight feet over his head he wouldn’t actually have noticed. But it was quite something to see it happen to somebody else. And at least I know it isn’t personal to me …

I’ve really got to get that headcam though

Reign of Terror

June 8, 2015

I had a gentle gardening post lined up for you this evening, but ASBO Buzzard intervened by stepping up its War on Cyclists somewhat and proving that the only thing more scary than being hit by a buzzard completely unawares, is looking over your shoulder to discover ASBO Buzzard right behind you coming in for the strike. That did quite a lot for my acceleration up the final climb, I can tell you. And the only thing scarier than that is when you’re cycling home again and thinking that at least ASBO Buzzard doesn’t attack so much in this direction, for some reason, when you hear its querulous calling and look over to your left to see it streaking towards you across the field at more or less head height. The last impression I got – before I put my head down and pedalled like the hounds, or raptors, of Hell were after me – was of a pair of mad yellow eyes boring into me, and two giant yellow sets of talons dangling down ready to carry me off to its nest.

The other half is home tomorrow, thank goodness. Quite apart from the fact that it’s depressing and tedious to cook for yourself (beans on toast tonight, thanks for asking) and that I’m so starved of conversation I’m a threat to people innocently biding their time in bus stops, it means he’ll be heading into Notso Bigtown on Wednesday and can pick up the paper in the nice safe car, while I marshal my anti-buzzard defences for the next installment.