Loveliest of Trees the Cherry Now

April 23, 2015

I had a last minute Guardian Bike Blog piece to write yesterday for Pedal on Parliament and was finding it difficult to get started, so there was nothing for it but to get myself onto my bike and hope that the words would come. I do all my best thinking on a bike, or at least that’s how it seems at the time. And besides, it was just too nice to be anywhere but outdoors.

spring trees

I even inveigled the other half along. He’s the tiny red dot, providing a bit of contrast to the first spring leaves of the trees. He’s not much one for riding at the speed of chat.

Blackthorn blossom

No cherries here (I spotted a glorious one in the middle of a wood from a train window this weekend though and have had an AE Houseman earworm ever since), so blackthorn will have to do. But frankly, all trees have a special loveliness when they first flush into leaf. I can’t get enough of that tender green.

And did I find inspiration? Well, it’s not exactly Houseman, but you can judge for yourself here.

More tree-and-cycling related shenanigans tomorrow, if I’m spared.


August 4, 2014

Preparing to head out for the papershop with the other half (he wasn’t daunted by last week’s front page news story about ASBO buzzard’s near neighbour and fellow cyclist harasser – and please note everyone suggesting a cycle helmet that if anything wearing one seems to send them into even more of a fury), I remarked casually about how I hadn’t wanted to take my pump out of my bag because the mere act of removing it would undoubtedly cause me to get a puncture. I then wondered briefly whether that would be enough to bring down the wrath of the puncture fairy, but I remembered we didn’t believe in her, so set off happily, and we were not harassed by any buzzards, although we were delighted by the sight of a bird of prey, probably a kestrel, swooping along the road ahead of us.

It was only on the way back that the other half noticed a splinter of wood had lodged itself in his tyre in a way that suggested removing it would not be a good idea four miles from home. And it was only as I waved cheerily to the hedgecutting tractor man that I remembered that Marathon Plus tyres are proof against many things, from broken glass to undoubtedly buzzard attacks, but they are not proof against blackthorn. No doubt having the not one but two pumps in my bag meant that we both got home before the air was entirely out of our tyres, but it was a close run thing. And it ‘only’ took me an hour to fix my puncture (including having to extract the blackthorn out of my tyre with my teeth) although I would like it noted that I did it All By Myself. And the other half hasn’t even started fixing his yet.

That said, nothing is fixed until it’s tested and fixed (as I used to say ad nauseum to my staff) so we’ll only know later whether I got my wheel on properly or not. Given my 100% record of not doing the bolts up tightly enough, I’m guessing ‘not’.


April 8, 2014

Less than a week ago, I noticed the blackthorn buds were just about to burst into life

blackthorn buds

Coming home from a brief stay in Glasgow I noticed they had burst.

blackthorn in flower


Spring is the thing that happens when your back is turned, if you’re not careful. See also life.