Official Book Launch

Book Launch notification

My new illustrated children’s story book ‘The Thirsty Flowers’ for 3-6 year-olds, which I made available shortly before Christmas, has now been officially registered and I have released the ISBN – you can find this on my website at Silverburn Publishing together with more information about the book.

There will be a ‘Virtual Launch’ on my Facebook Author’s page so do drop in on the day when there will various treats lined up for you! You will find the page here.

I am also hoping to arrange a local book signing session but this has still to be confirmed.

Please feel free to share and re-blog this post.

La Pedals de Clip

That’s it, I’m committed now, signed up and paid my entry for La Pedals de Clip, a classic road racing bike rally in Spain on 20th/21st May this year. I have my matching outfit ready. This is what all my recent pre-occupation with cycling has been about.

Pushing Dad at Pedals de Clip

Pushing Dad! (picture from Pedals de Clip website)

Last year my husband did the event with our daughter (see photos) who you may remember lives in Spain. He had two classic road race bikes, a Freddie Grubb and a James Fothergill for those in the know. Both were in need of some renovation which he did in time for the event and we took them over, giving the James Fothergill to our daughter. At the time I had asked if I could do it too but was told that we hadn’t another bike of the correct era, so I had to be content to watch, wait and take photos!

After the event our daughter suggested that as they had the bikes they should do it again this year and I insisted that in that case I was going to do it too. Hence, when we returned to the UK, we began to search for a bike for me. I had hoped to find an English ‘special’ like the other two but to buy one of these was way above budget, so we settled for my Motobecane (French bike) which I have called Captain Beaky and which I have written about before. This was in excellent condition for its age, having had one previous owner, and although on the top end of what was a reasonable size for me was relatively easily modified to a better fit.

The requirements for the Pedals De Clip are that the bike should be pre-1987, should have toe-clips not modern clip-in pedals, all cabling exposed not hidden in the tubing and gear shifters on the down-tube not modern flipper-type. In other words nothing modern on the bike. Captain Beaky is circa 1980 so just squeezes in, the Grubb and the Fothergill are mid to late 1950’s so the advantage to me is that I do have slightly better gearing capacity – this should help me on the hills which are my bug-bear!

Talking bikes at the finish

Talking bikes at the finish

There is a choice of two routes for the rally. The long route is 72km, but we have opted for the short route of 47km. For our daughter this is an easy day out to spin the legs between her usual endurance races but for me this is a major excursion. My usual regular rides are only about 10-12 miles with the odd 13-16 mile ride thrown in every now and then. Over this winter I have hardly done much at all as the roads and weather have not been very inviting and now I am slightly worried that I have set myself too big a challenge, after all I’m still on the border-line between bike rider and cyclist (see my previous post on this topic here). I am assured though that plenty of participants got off and pushed up many of the hills. The route finishes with a very steep climb up to a castle and, yes, plenty of people walked much of it then mounted up to ride through the finish, but that option does not appeal to my competitive nature (though I’m sure I will probably end up doing some pushing).

As you may have read here before I did buy a winter bike, which I recently replaced with one that is a better fit, hubby having taken over the first, and I have been out as much as my ‘fair-weather cyclist’ attitude will allow but fitness has inevitably fallen off. However I am now managing to get out a bit more often again and fitness is picking up at last. The winter bike has more gear options than Captain Beaky so I will soon have to start some more serious training using the classic bike if I am to be ready for the event.

As part of our preparation we are planning to do a local charity fund-raising ride at the end of April. This  will be a 45 mile route so quite a bit longer and if I manage that hopefully I should manage the 47 km Pedals de Clip (which will no doubt have more and steeper hills). We had thought to do the 20 mile option for the charity ride but that is off-road and for MTBs and we want the road riding practice. Hubby fancies doing it on the tandem though, but I’m not 100% sure about that as part of the route is along the canal tow-path and this, I think, will be slightly challenging on the tandem – there is a risk we may end up in the canal! On the plus side the route will take us almost past our house and we have the option to make the slight detour for a quick cuppa before re-joining for the rest of the ride.

To find out more about La Pedals de Clip check out the website at www.lapedalsdeclip.cat

Knocked Aside

I refill the bird feeders
casually knocked aside
as careless Storm Doris
bulldozed her way through.

Downhill

Downhill
at speed
on my bicycle,
the wind behind me.
Elation.

Cockney Alphabet

Last month I wrote a post about Cockney Rhyming Slang (you can read it here ). You wouldn’t Adam and Eve (believe) how many more expressions I remembered once I had published it, but I’m not going to add any more to that now.

Also at risk of being forgotten these days is the Cockney Alphabet. Now, as I said before, I am not a Cockney. I was introduced to the slang and to the alphabet by my Dad, but he was not a Cockney either. I’m guessing that he picked these up from his fellow merchant seamen during WWII, some of whom probably were Cockneys.

I can’t remember all the alphabet, maybe my Dad didn’t know it all, but again it can be found with a google search and as with the slang there are many alternatives for the same thing. I have listed here those I do remember but had to look up suggestions for some of memory gaps and some that I do remember are not quite the same as those I have found on the internet but here goes:

A for ‘orses (speaks for itself!)
B for mutton (beef or mutton)
C for fishes (again obvious)

Then I had to look up: D for Kate (defecate)
and E for brick (heave a brick) or Eve for Adam

F for vescence (effervescence)

Again I looked up: G for Police (chief of police apparently!)
and H for bless you (Aitsshfa! A sneeze) of H for retirement (age for retirement)

I for lutin’ (highfalutin) or I for an eye
J for organge (Jaffa orange or even Jaffa Cakes)
K for restaurant (cafe  or restaurant)
L for leather
M for size (emphasise)
N for lope (envelope)
O for ture (overture or ‘O for the wings of a dove,’ ‘Over the rainbow’ etc.)
P for a penny (you know – spend a penny!)
Q for busses (queue – obvious again!)
R for mo (‘arf a mo’ – half a moment, ie wait a moment)

Had to look up: S for you (as for you)

T for two (tea for two)
U for mism (euphemism)
V for La France (vive La France or even viva Espana)
W for quits (‘Double you for quits’ or ‘double your money’  amongst others!)
X for size (exercise) or X for breakfast (eggs for breakfast)
Y for husband/mistress (wife or husband/mistress)

and finally I had to look up: Z for wind (zephyr wind!)

I have no idea what use you will find for this information but you must agree it is rather fun and it would be a shame for it to just become a distant, long-forgotten memory.

Broken Glass

Broken glass
beside the road
sparkles like diamonds
in the mid-morning sun.

An Elfje Valentine

Heart
of mine
beats so fast,
hoping you’ll be my
Valentine.

_____________________________

OK — it’s a day late, sorry but I don’t post on Tuesdays!

Meet Lola

Bike 'Lola'A couple of week s ago I posted about the number of bikes we have between us (you can read the post here) and I mentioned that I had a Raleigh Capri One bike, with only a few miles on the clock, belonging to our son’s girlfriend as she had no room to store it at home, having borrowed a mountain bike from our son. She gave me permission to ride it while it was here, which I did, but only the once since it was almost brand new and I didn’t want to spoil it.

The bike (pictured) fitted me as if it had been made for me, the only adjustment needed was the saddle height. The frame is actually XS size! I found it very comfortable and easy to ride and I said at the time that I would be reluctant to give it back. It is specifically designed for endurance/sportive riding with a more comfortable riding position than an outright race bike so is well suited to my needs. Well, now my son’s girlfriend has decided it is not the bike for her and offered to sell it to me if I wanted it. Did I want it? You bet I did.

To be fair I love my Forme bike, ‘Fifi’, which I only bought last autumn as a winter bike to save going out on my Motobecane classic road racing bike ‘Captain Beaky’ when the roads are wet and muddy, but it is on the top end of the correct size for me and we did have to make quite a few changes for it to fit me anywhere near correctly. It too is a lovely ride but having bought the Raleigh I didn’t really need it anymore. So to cut a long story short, my husband has decided to take it over as it fits him well and will make a good winter bike for him.

The interesting thing is that I asked my son if the Capri One had a name and it turns out his girlfriend had called it ‘Lola’ which, as it happens, is the name I had seriously considered for the Forme instead of ‘Fifi’, so ‘Lola’ it still is.

Ready to Ride.The day I handed over the money was a cold day, but fine and reasonably dry, so we decided to celebrate by going out for a ride, me on Lola and my husband on his newly commandeered Forme bike, Fifi. Here we are, all ready to ride and rugged up against the cold – except hubby forgot his gloves and had to go back indoors for them!

Now however, this has upset the balance – instead of five-and-a-half bikes apiece (the half being the shared tandem) I now have only four-and-a-half while he has six-and-a-half. Then again, he is thinking of parting with his most recent acquisition, the full-suspension mountain bike. He has offered it to our daughter-in-law, but it fits me quite well and if she doesn’t want it I may commandeer it for myself – it’s good to keep these things in the family!

Old Photographs

Looking at old photographs,
bringing back memories,
and tales told of times
before I was born.

Beech Tree

The staunch old beech tree
grown too big, too near the house.
Sad to see it go.

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