Green Shoots

Walking around the garden
what do I see?
The trees may still be bare but:
green shoots of daffodils appear
and snowdrops show their first white tips.
Hope of Spring is near.

Made for Two

On a bicycle made for two
cycling along in the cold,
hunkering down behind you,
isn't much fun, truth be told.

On a bicycle made for two
with fingers and toes turning numb,
not able to take in the view
as all I can see is your b_ _!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Naughty, naughty, slap my hand! Although we were out on one of our tandems this morning, which was a bit on the chilly side, this silly verse actually refers to our first Tandem Club ride of the year last weekend when it was bitterly cold.

To start from the beginning, our first tandem was a Gitane, which we bought quite cheaply on e-bay to see if we would like it. We then bought our George Longstaff tandem, which is the one we mostly use and to which we had added an electric assist. We had taken our Gitane out to Spain for our daughter and her fella but they hadn't ridden it very much and there were a few issues with it. So when we went out to Spain last autumn we brought the Gitane back with us and the boss spent much of the Christmas holiday period repairing and refurbishing it. We had taken it out for a short 'shake down' ride early in January after which he made a few tweaks. Then he decided that we would use it for the club ride, a bit over 22 miles on this occasion, which we would have to manage without electric assist.

The Longstaff has a fairly upright cycling position and I can usually crane my neck to see a bit over the boss's shoulders, (although more often I'm looking to one side or the other resulting in a crick in my neck!). The Gitane had me leaning forward over uncomfortable handlebars in a posture a bit like a racing cyclist and I couldn't see much of anything over his shoulders. I also kept sliding forwards on the saddle and bumping my knees on the handlebars. Although it was cold and uncomfortable I did actually enjoy the ride, out in the fresh air, with good company, although I didn't see as much of the scenery as I would have liked! We didn't really miss the electric assist as there weren't too many hills and the bike is quite a bit lighter in weight than the Longstaff.

So more tweaks were clearly in order followed by this morning's ride on it for a another test run. I now have different handlebars - much more comfortable and the saddle behaved. I still can't see very much out front but it was better and we actually had quite a nice 13 and a bit miles ride. Nothing, though, can change the fact that on the back of a tandem the most likely view is the back of the person in front - get used to it!

Charity Shop

Down at the charity shop;
one person's junk,
someone else's treasure.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

When I have a bit of time to spare while out shopping I often go for a browse in a charity shop, picking up yarn or other items I think will be useful for my craft work.

One of the things I do from time to time is make my own cards – not all the time but now and again for birthdays or a few ‘special’ Christmas cards. Today I popped into my local shop and it seems someone has been clearing out quite a few craft bits and bobs, maybe the stash of a deceased relative.

I picked up, among a few other bits and pieces, a small punch for making flower shapes (I have several others but not a flower one), four pairs of scissors for cutting out four different fancy edgings and, prize among prizes, a compact guillotine. I have a simple paper cutter, which is getting a bit worn out but this will cut several thicknesses at once with greater accuracy and ease of measurement. How much I will use these things remains to be seen but I am determined to make even more of my own cards this year. When I took my prizes to the counter the volunteer on duty was sorting out a box full of other crafting stuff; I may be dropping in there several times over the next few days.


Patterns of perfect leaf shapes
stuck to the pavement
as if inlaid.
Natural art.


Ghostly silhouettes;
shrouded in the mist, bare trees
look otherworldly.


and crunchy
beneath my feet,
grass white-coated, icy.


and red,
beautiful little birds
come to the feeders;

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


New Year,
both now gone.
Not so all the 


My new bird feeder
causes some confusion;
small birds quick to adapt,
pigeons still thoroughly foxed
but squirrels undefeated!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

My youngest son gave me a new bird feeder for Christmas as the old one was beginning to look somewhat weary. We put up the new one on New Year’s Day. At first the birds were a wary of it but bit by bit the small and medium sized birds began to feed there and now they flit in and out regularly. The pigeons seemed quite confused about how to access it but they have discovered that they can hop over from the old tree stump to the tray seed feeder, however they can no longer reach the hanging feeder with the sunflower seeds which they adore and used to gobble up like there was no tomorrow. On the old feeder the sunflower seeds used to be within reach of the tree stump but alas no more (although I do put some in the tray feeder with mixed seeds and some nuts). After a few puzzled looks the squirrels soon sussed out how to access the food again. The old feeder is in the workshop being overhauled and will be put to use in another part of the garden once it is fully repaired. Maybe the pigeons will find the sunflower seeds again then.

No Stress

create no stress.

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