Near Miss

why did you rush across
the road so close
to my bicycle wheel?

Silly creature;
but for a few seconds
it could have spelt disaster
for both you and me!

Out on a Limb

Young pigeon
out on a limb
away from the nest,
pruning his feathers,
flexing his wings.
Will today
be the day he takes flight?
Who can say!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The on-going saga of the pigeons nesting in my cherry tree. The surviving young one is fully fledged and almost as big as the parent birds. He is taking his first steps along the branch out of the nest. Surly he will fly soon. The leaves are gradually falling from the tree and it doesn’t offer much shelter now. If he doesn’t learn to fend for himself soon there’s a risk he won’t survive the winter.



We are cautiously optimistic that we have at last sold our boat. We have agreed a price with our purchaser, but no money has changed hands yet. However we have agreed to go down to the boat tomorrow to do a hand-over on Wednesday.

We will then take advantage of a few more days away in the motorhome for a change of scenery. We always intended to sail to Southwold on the east coast but never did, so we thought we would visit and have booked into a camp-site near there. The big problem is which bikes to take – so many to choose from! We will not be cycling off-road trails this time, probably just country lanes and maybe as far as the beach (but we won’t stop there if it is crowded) so will probably take our modern road bikes.

I will be off-line while we are away but should be back here next week. See you then.

Oh No, Never

Oh never tell a Brit what to do,
he’ll think that he knows better than you.
Tell him to stay at home
and he’s duty bound to roam.
Oh never tell a Brit what to do.

Oh never give a Brit good advice,
he’ll totally ignore it in a trice.
Tell him to stay inside?
To comply he can’t abide.
Oh never, never, never,
not ever, no, not ever
even try to give a Brit good advice!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A touch of sarcasm in view of the stupidity of my fellow countrymen (and women) over the weekend bearing in mind the severity of the Coronavirus pandemic!

Last Rosebud

Rain-soaked rosebud

Perhaps the last
rosebud of summer,
suffering in the rain.
I can’t help but wonder;
will it ever open fully?

Wild Flower Meadow

I had a busy day yesterday hence no time to post here. What was I doing? Well further to last week’s post, which you can read here, about the bee hive arriving at our field and my plans to create a wildflower meadow for their benefit and that of other species too, I ordered some wildflower meadow mix online which arrived on Saturday. Although sewing is best in the spring or autumn with the infilling method I am using sewing at any time is possible, so yesterday was spent preparing the site and sewing the seeds.

You will recall that I mentioned I would start with just the bare area where a shipping container used for storage had stood. Our soil at the field is clay and the removal of the container had left a hard packed, dry and cracked surface:


Field Bare Patch

This patch is next to another container which is still in situ and likely to be for some time yet. When that is also removed we will also be reseeding this area with the same mix. It was quite hard work breaking up all the clay clumps and we were glad of the volunteered help from a friend. Once we had a reasonable surface broken down, with the help of a little strategic dampening of the ground, I was able to broadcast the seed.

Perpared patch

I had only got some of the seed sewn when I ran out. I had obviously underestimated the amount needed. When I say ran out I mean of the seed we had taken up there – I had left half of it at home, so it was back home for lunch and then I went up to the field to finish the job on my own. Unfortunately when I got there I found that I had forgotten to pick up the seed so had to return the home yet again for the seed! By then it had turned into a hot day and so by the time I had finished I was really sweating.

While I was at it I took the opportunity to also sew some of the seed on a second small bare patch beside the fence where an old railway sleeper (now on top of the stack pictured) had lain for some time. Then I gently watered them all in. I was rather pleased that we also had some gentle rain during the night.

As I was packing up to go home the bee keeper turned up to check his bees and to start the process of slow transition into the permanent hive by inserting the first proper layer underneath the nook hive. I left him to it as I wanted to get home to watch Johanna Konta, the last British tennis player standing at Wimbledon, progress to the quarter finals.

It is going to be next spring before we can hope to see the results of our labours but I can’t wait. I shall be monitoring the sight carefully, especially during dry periods in order to prevent the clay from drying and cracking up again, so that the seeds have a good chance to get hold. Once I am sure this project is going to be successful I will see about creating patches a bit at a time in the existing grassland to reseed with wildflower mix and gradually transform the fenced off area of the field into a wildflower meadow – at least that’s the plan!


bought in for Christmas,
found at the back of the cupboard,
finally being eaten!


I don’t actually do New Year Resolutions, mostly because I soon forget what they were and so end up not keeping them. Despite that I do usually have ideas about how I see the new year progressing, think about things that I might like to do or how I might do things differently but nothing gets set in stone, so to speak.

Yesterday, 12th Night, I went for a bike ride, just an amble around the local lanes, in the morning. In the afternoon I packed away all the Christmas decorations (apart from the one I missed!) and they are all back up in the loft (apart from the one I missed!) so having had a busy day yesterday I am just coasting along in neutral today, continuing to tidy up and get the house back in order.

However, I found myself getting a bit stressed because I usually write a post here on Mondays and I have not been able to think of anything worth writing about, I couldn’t even come up with a ‘Small Stone’ instead, brain is just not working.

So then I found myself a resolution for the coming year – I am not going to write a post on my blog simply for the sake of writing a post, if I have nothing to say then I won’t say anything. I fully expect to keep up my usual regime of posts but am not going to stress myself out if I miss the odd one now and then because I can’t think of anything to write or am too busy with other things. I generally blog on Mondays, with ‘Small Stones’ on Wednesdays and Fridays, but from now on I might just miss the odd one now and then; no stress!


Sorry, no post today or on Wednesday. I am away on unexpected family business. Back Friday.

Mixte Upgrades

As I mentioned when we first obtained our Mixte bikes hubby’s one had a somewhat higher spec than mine. It had been built with better components and had 6 gears at the back with a triple front chain ring, thus providing potentially 18 gears. Mine, in contrast had only 5 at the back and just a double chain ring so giving me just 10 gear options. Mine had also come originally with drop handle-bars and the gear shifters on the down tube, the brakes were also a little stiff. A while ago I reported that we had experimented with various options for the handle-bars (see here) and had eventually settled on changing the drops for straight bars with upright bar-ends to match hubby’s and everything settled down nicely for a while.

Updated handle-bars and gear shifters

Updated handle-bars and gear shifters

The gearing however was still an issue as I did not have as low a gear option as my husband and this was a noticeable problem while we were away on our recent holiday trail riding in the West Country and I constantly found myself struggling up hills. So on our return my husband decided to upgrade my bike. First he oiled the brake cables and replaced the outers making them considerably less stiff. He then obtained a Biopace triple chain ring from our local bike charity Back2Bikes. This is the same as the one on his bike and now gives me 15 gear options – still short of his 18 but considerably better than the original 10 and, he tells me, my lowest gear is now lower than his!

The Biopace chain ring is different from the norm in that it is elliptical and is a design that I believe has been favoured by Chris Froome, though I don’t know if he still uses it. I am no engineer or physicist but as I understand it the elliptical shape, with its larger radius on the downstroke, enables you to put more power down. I’m sure it’s more complex than that – maybe someone out there can explain it better. Suffice it to say that the jury is out about its benefits as far as I am concerned. The variation from circular is barely perceptible and it doesn’t feel any different so I’m actually not that bothered.

He then, from the same source, managed to find a pair of Shimano indexed gear shifters to match his own and which fit on the handle-bars (see photo above), so no more reaching down to the down tube and gentling the lever until you feel the gear shift. I had a short ride out with this new set-up just before we went away for a few days last week and I found the changes to the bike a real improvement

Horseshoe Church Gate, Cotswolds

Horseshoe Church Gate, Cotswolds

This most recent break away was to stay with a group of friends in a rented cottage in Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds from Monday to Friday. This was hubby’s fairly regular ‘old pals’ reunion (five couples and a widow), which has a different venue each time we gather. During the day we often do our own thing, together if it is something we all want to do and separately if so we choose. We then join up for sociable evenings in restaurants and at the house. Several of the pals are keen walkers and since hubby doesn’t walk well due to his knees (though he is fine on a bike) and I am still temporarily unable to walk very far we decided to take the Mixte bikes with us. We took ourselves off on the Tuesday and did a 17.5 mile tour around the countryside and through some lovely Cotswold villages with their mellow yellow Cotswold stone cottages. We encountered this fascinating gate, made from horseshoes at one village church. The area is quite hilly and although I did struggle a bit at times it really tested the new set-up and I found it a great improvement.

Birdland Penguins

Birdland Penguins

We also used the bikes on Wednesday around Bourton, visiting the ‘modal village’ in the morning and the Cotswold Motor Museum in the afternoon. On Thursday we went by car to ‘Birdland’, again in Bourton and occupying a nine acre site. This is an amazing place, with so much to see and we were even in time to watch the penguins being fed. We both managed to walk around the site, with plenty of rests on strategically sited benches, although we were both suffering from overdoing it afterwards. I have to say I am now mostly walking fairly easily although I am still aware of a few aches and pains and have to be careful how much I do without resting but I hope to be fully recovered before too long and can finally put it all behind me.

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