Reasons to be Cheerful

April 7, 2019

With everything – globally and nationally – apparently collapsing around our ears, may I note a small measure of progress, albeit locally?

One year ago, our local Farmers’ Market moved from a site by the bypass, inaccessible by bike, to Bigtown Station’s short-term car park – thereby driving a coach and horses through Bigtown’s Parking Strategy (and, indeed, iron law) that no parking space may be lost without the creation of an equal and opposite parking space, even temporarily, lest a rip occur in the fabric of space time or the Hellmouth open.*

This should have doomed it to instant failure, and yet, as we cycled down on a grey and cold and frankly not all that springy morning we discovered that the place was, as it always is, hopping. Not only were people quite capable of parking a little further away and walking over the railway bridge for their cheese, pies, other kinds of pies, four different brands of local confectionary, and haggis samosas** (but not, to the other half’s disgust, ice cream) – but they were also able to cycling there.

Compare and contrast:

bike parking

Bike parking at the Farmers’ market a year ago

market parking

Bike parking today (including a couple of tiny bikes tucked away in the middle)

Not only that, but half those bikes, I don’t even recognise

As I took a photo for Bigtown Cycle Campaign’s various social media platforms, the lady who was doing a stint as market greeter turned to me and smiled.

“Aren’t they great all these bikes? I just love seeing everyone coming in and parking their bikes. Isn’t it wonderful that people can cycle to the market now?”

Isn’t it just?

This put me in such a good mood, I didn’t have the heart to tweet this particular example of Bigtown parking at its finest (although, to be fair, I think it was probably more a case of ignoring the four-hour parking time limit yesterday, than someone wanting to be in pole position for the queue for the pies).

market parking

* actually, now I come to think of it, that might explain everything …

** don’t mock until you’ve tried them. Bigtown streetfood at its finest.

To Market, to Market

September 2, 2018

The good thing about having Bigtown farmers’ market move to the train station, where it is easily accessible by bike (instead of out on the bypass where it was only accessible by bike if you were completely fearless) is that on a pleasant Sunday morning it’s a real joy to pootle down to fill your boots (and your panniers) with good things.

The downside is that when the weather decides it’s going to be one of those days when the forecast says it won’t rain, and the rain radar says it isn’t raining, and yet wet stuff is unmistakably coming out of the sky and continues to do so all day – you* still feel obliged to go down there by bike.

Dreich September

Looking on the bright side (if you squint a bit, anyway) I do at least now know that the raingear I reproofed on Friday in an unusually far-sighted move, is still Waterproof in Scotland. Plus, of course, the small matter of coming home with a bike pannier full of pies.

However, I really hope that September is not starting as it means to go on, because in the course of the month, I seem to have planned two epic rides for cake, one accessible bike open day and a bike breakfast. Here’s hoping the raingear won’t be too severely tested over the coming weeks…

* And by ‘you’ obviously I mean ‘I’ because the other half sensibly felt absolutely no compunction at spending the morning on a nice dry sofa.

Virtue Rewarded

April 1, 2018

cheese for sale at the market

Ever since we moved up to rural Scotland, I’ve suffered vague jealousy of all the people posting their Sunday afternoon trips to their local farmers’ market. Strange as it may seem, living in the middle of farmland isn’t really all that conducive to going and buying local produce. Yes, we can go to Notso Bigtown to buy local meat from one of the three butchers there, which is very nice, and we can even spend £3 on a loaf of sourdough if we want that lovely-but-feeling-faintly-ripped-off feeling, except for the fact that I am now baking my own. But the chance to wander virtuously between apple-cheeked stall holders, quizzing farmers on their pig-rearing practices and buying directly from the farm – that’s been difficult.

It’s not that Bigtown doesn’t have a farmers’ market. It’s just that, until this weekend, it’s been held out at the edge of the bypass, reachable only by bike for those who enjoy a white-knuckle ride. Driving to the farmers’ market just doesn’t give me that same smug thrill so we’ve only been once since we moved here.

Today, finally, all that changed as the market has moved to the station, which is reachable by not one, but two cycle paths.* Bigtown being Bigtown, this has been the cue for much anxiety about the lack of parking because even though the local industrial estate has given market goers use of its substantial carpark (not to mention the fact that Bigtown is full of people who could easily, you know, walk to it) this was on the other side of the train tracks and hence effectively on the other side of the moon as far as some people were concerned.

dramatic clouds

None of this mattered to me, of course, as I was happily and smugly swooping down the hill into town by bike, undeterred by the slightly baltic weather and somewhat threatening, if dramatic, clouds.

bike parking

And besides, there was masses of parking.

It turns out novelty value trumps ever-so-slightly inconvenient parking when it comes to farmers’ markets, by the size of the crowds – or maybe, just maybe, the people of Bigtown are quite happy to stroll down to a conveniently located market after all… who knew?

dramatic crowds

Then it was just a matter of cycling my goodies home into the is-that-snow-you-cannot-be-serious-this-is-April, to undo all the good work with bacon sandwiches for lunch and an enormous brownie.

bridge on way home

* Anyone saying ‘and by train’ hasn’t factored in the Sunday train schedule round here, which decrees that no train shall move until After Kirk.