Safe Mode

December 4, 2018

Hmm, what was that I was saying about December sunshine? Things were looking a bit less inviting for cycling this morning, especially for someone who hasn’t yet put her magical ice tyres on the bike …

frosty start

I’d hoped the overnight frost would have been burned off by the forecast sunshine by the time I needed to set off for Bigtown, but instead we got fog, which was barely thinning by mid morning – and once down in the valley, it was thicker than ever.

foggy road

As cyclists we get lots of safety advice, much of it unhelpful, but there’s one thing I don’t see repeated anything like enough – for cyclists and drivers alike – and that’s to allow enough time, especially when conditions are challenging.

fog and sunshine

I know myself that when I’m in a hurry, that’s when I’m going to take those little extra chances which are normally fine, but occasionally end up with an altercation (or worse) with an equally impatient driver. Being in a rush also makes us less likely to be empathetic (there’s even some ingenious research I read with trainee priests that showed they were less likely to stop and help someone if they were in a hurry to get somewhere, even if the thing they were in a hurry to go and do was to preach a sermon on the Good Samaritan) which doesn’t help on the roads much either.

river and fog

So today, I made sure I’d left myself loads of time – to get off and walk if I needed to if the back roads were icy. Not perhaps as satisfying as steel spikes on your tyres … but just as important when it comes to keeping safe.

frost and trees

And if it turns out the roads weren’t too bad after all? Then there’s all the more time to stop and take photos …

temperature inversion

A Tale of Two Climates

February 7, 2015

This afternoon I headed up to the greenhouse for a little pottering in my own pet Mediterranean climate (my random perennial experiment is still going strong, amazingly), trying not to let time’s winged chariot breathe too heavily down my my neck, whatever other gardeners in the village might say.


And then I walked down the road where a nice temperature inversion was keeping everything in the depth of winter, in the fog. Normally it’s us who gets the fog while everywhere else basks in the sunshine, so it was nice to be able to walk back up the hill and into the sunshine again.





In other news, the gardening neighbours are moving out (I don’t think it’s anything I’m doing, but who knows). We’re hoping the next set of tenants will be a little more slapdash in their gardening approach, although the current lot have given them something of a head start…


Must get my seed order in.

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

You’ve got to love…

January 13, 2014

… a good temperature inversion

fog in the valley


temperature_inversion_2Not much else to add today  – except that people who put their towels on the Rayburn to warm up in the morning should be careful to remember to get the towel OFF the Rayburn and into the bathroom before getting into the shower. Think of it as a top tip…


When I Said…

November 24, 2012

… ‘enjoy the scenery while stocks last

foggy start

I was only joking – I didn’t mean for it to get taken away…

winter trees

Winter cycling starts here

High Visibility

February 6, 2012

The world beyond the wall was simply missing when we got up this morning. And even though the sun had put in an appearance by the time I set off for the paper the fog was, if anything, thicker and the scary yellow jacket got a rare daytime outing because I thought I’d better set a good example to those drivers of silver cars who like to drive around with no lights on misty roads being invisible. I didn’t think it would last, to be honest, but it was foggy all the way down to Papershop Village. It made for the wierdest ride: the sky was mostly china blue overhead, the sun was even vaguely warm, the birds were singing, the insects were out – but our hills were just … gone

If I were a really dedicated blogger – or photographer – I’d have nipped up the 1 in 5 hill (assuming it was still there) to take photos of the nice temperature inversion and maybe even a Brocken Spectre or two but I’m afraid I’m not. I’m not sure if the pictures I did take really captured it either, partly because all I could see in the screen of my camera was reflection of the damn hi-vis jacket, glowing away. There’s such a thing as too visible, it turns out.

And then the fog lifted, the sun burned through and it was almost springlike. Don’t tell the weather Gods, eh?