Posted by: brendaintheboro | April 16, 2014

Beating the train.

Today , my son took his bike on the train to Newcastle upon Tyne to attend an outdoor first aid course run by Sustrans. After it was over at 5.00pm , he cycled down to Heworth to get the train home after cycling down the Keelman Way. The train conductor refused him access to the train as it was 5.30pm and busy. DS asked if he beat the train to Sunderland could he get on there. The conductor agreed, not thinking my 20st son would be able to do it.
So , off he went along route 14, as fast as his legs would go, and as luck would have it, the train was delayed. So there he was, standing on the platform, sweat pouring off him. The train conductor opened the door and said ” Get on.”
Good for you son.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | April 7, 2014

Disaster, but we keep calm and carry on.

Last Sunday, DH had his Koga Randonneur stolen by 3 hooded youths who climbed over 7 feet locked gates and manhandled 2 bicycles from under the window , he and his friend were sitting in and over the gates. 2 young girls had gone to tell there father, but by the time he came, they had got off with them. They just do not know the distress, they have caused. The insurance assessor has been but we are not sure what will happen. This may well affect our plans for our summer holiday.

Now on to this weekend. I had to be in Lincoln on Sunday for a work related meeting to keep updated on current  medical education so suggested a weekend away. I phoned and booked a Band B at the Bardney Heritage centre a couple of weeks ago and  sent them a cheque to secure the booking. With the upset of the bike thefts , we may not have done but for that. Early on Saturday morning, we put the mountain bikes into the back of our car drove down to Bardney on the edge  of Lincolnshires fenland.

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We had a local route map but did a bit of an extension to it.
We started off by using the winter NCN1 route. I have to say that the summer route has been surfaced using reclaimed road surface that has a lot of glass in it. I remarked on this last year and cannot believe anyone would think of using this on a cycle way ,never mind  people walking dogs. What were they thinking Sustrans?
Anyway, down at Southrey  we were on the river and although it was over cast it wasn’t cold and we cycled along to Stixwold where we came off the river and headed along to Woodhall Spa. We stopped to have lunch in a sheltered spot before heading back to the river.
We past the Dam Busters memorial and another to those killed in the service of freedom of our country.

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On the way back along the river I said to DH, there are the sheep that DS1 and I saw last year. He thought they were real.

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Actually, they are made of scrap iron but look so real especially the way they are sited across the path.  We also saw 2 chaps walking along litter picking and they were Sustrans rangers too.

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Once back at Stixwold, we came off the river again and headed north east towards Minting. The wind was increasing in strength and the sun disappeared so it became much cooler so we headed back to Bardney just short of 29 miles.

The Bardney Heritage centre suits us fine, sleeping in a converted railway truck. We were in Stixwold and here is DH relaxing on the bed.

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Barry the owner  made our breakfast on Sunday morning and they are very accommodating, making what we wanted. A lovely weekend and we will go back, as there is a lot more to discover.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 29, 2014

Wild flower workday

We had an early start leaving home just before 8.00am and as Allyson got a puncture and got up late she decided not to go. So we were in Saltburn by 9.15am and were  the first ones there, but it wasn’t surprising as the meeting time was 10.00am. DH was pulling the trailer and he used an old water tank to take a bigger load of tools and wellies.

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How’s that for recycling. The white tray was picked up from a back alley and the trailer itself is about 37 years old.
The site has been  cleared of most of the toxic rubbish but we needed to go to pick it over again. There was broken glass all over the place. Ggggrrrrrr!

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Here’s me starting to pick up the glass.
There was a lot still to pick out when the others arrived and DH had started raking it to make it easier to get it up.

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It looked so much better when we finished. We’d been given some bluebell bulb things so planted them around the base of the tree.

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Here is the crew standing shoulder to shoulder.

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Many thanks to Sustrans for treating us at the coffee shop at the end of the tiering morning.
There had been a  family morning ride in Redcar supported by Sustrans.

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It’s great to see so many children and parents. It was very cold and damp with an easterly wind blowing off the sea along the coast. On the ride home we met Alison who had been on this ride and cycled back to Normanby with her. Another lovely worthwhile day with 28 miles cycled.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 29, 2014

My latest quilt.

Here is my latest quilt. It was started after Christmas and is a scrap quilt. It is for me this time and is king size. Taking photos on the tablet doesn’t show the colours as well as they iPhone. I took it over to church tonight and had it held up so I could get a better photo.

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It makes me happy to see it finished. Now I need to make another using the black and white circles I cut out to piece in the coloured circles.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 23, 2014

Doing something again.

Managed to get on some early morning cycle rides this week but only 14 or 15 miles and unfortunately, not every day but its better than not going out cycling at all.
The forecast for Saturday wasn’t the best but we had promised to help with the clean up over Stockton/Thornaby way. AndyE called for us just after 9.00 and the 4 of us rode across to the House field lane area together. DH pulled the trailer with some tools so we could get started if we were early.
When we arrived, the place didn’t look too bad. Appearances can be deceptive. We knew that the area had been fly tipped at one time but nature was taking over and growing through and over it all. Still our little group of  9 set too and in 3 hours we collected over 30 sacks of rubbish, numerous bits of old truck and house guttering. Unfortunately, we also found dumped asbestos and so had to leave that alone. The council will be contacted on Monday so that it can be safely removed.

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Here is the pile of sacks awaiting collection . We are making a difference, albeit, small but if everyone took a bit more care, it could be a huge difference. Recycle plastic bags, bottles, cans and cartons please. Don’t dump rubbish.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 15, 2014

Can’t do everything but you can do something

March will be a month when we do a lot of voluntary clean up of cycle routes in our area and today  was the first one.
As this was in the Marsh Road area of Middlesbrough, our merry band met near the railway station before riding or walking to the cleanup site. Carol and  Yvonne used the train to get in and Chris braved a strong nor’wester to cycle in from Saltburn. We didn’t have as many as last time but still enough to make a difference.
We went along to January’s pick up site and although it wasn’t as bad it had still had stuff dumped and litter. Why does anyone throw  away half filled  4 pint milk cartons? There were lots of those to empty and bag up. Again, we had a 2 hour window of time to get it picked up so we set too with a will picking and bagging.

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Here is one of the piles we collected.

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There were 3 lots altogether amounting to 65 sacks of rubbish, numerous bits of old cars and tyres and lumps of  wood. We did what we could in the time and it looked better when we left but there is still more to do.

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Here is the council wagon driving away with mornings haul.

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And here is the merry band. Well done my friends, every little helps. See you in Stockton next week

Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 9, 2014

March winds doth blow

The Beeb’s (BBC) weather forecast is fairly accurate and so we looked to see what it was likely to be for Saturday. Cloudy and wind. Oh well, we are committed to Sustrans’ cleanup days for all the other Saturdays in March, so if we want a longish ride, this has to be it.
We were sorted and left home just after 8.00am and headed down to the river and along through Stockton Market, where we had to negotiate the redevelopment work, before getting on to route 14. This wends its way up through Hardwick, crosses the A66 approach roads and after that its into the village of Elton. There were road works in Long Newton but as it was early in the day, the temporary lights changed on our approach so no need to stop. Then its through the cycleway onto the main road for about .75miles before the route crosses carriageways and disappears onto an old farm road . Its easy to miss the signage here. We were overtaken by 3 lads on roadbikes and I remember thinking that the poor state of the roads with potholes must play havock with such slender rims.
So , the way through the Whinneys is out of the question at present due to water logging , so round through Middleton St George and along to Neasham. There’s a steep hill and its surface is awful. A roadie passed us at speed, and stopped at the bottom. He had buckled his wheel on the descent.
We had decided on going through Barton so rode through Hurworth and Croft before turning right onto the minor road to Barton village which is just off the A1. We took a right turning up past the church and over the bridge to meet the B6275. We turned left for Melsonby and then along to East Layton and West Layton before heading north to Caldwell about 1.5miles to Eppleby.

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This is a photo of me acting silly as I came out of the shop after buying crisps and home made cheese scones. The shop and tearooms opened last year and we try to support these little places. It’s a very pretty village but sadly we were too early for their daffodils on the green. They will be in full flower by next weekend and look magnificent.
We parked ourselves in the bus shelter and I got to work on my stove.

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Smoked cheddar cheese toasties and crisps and then the cheese scones which heated up nicely in the pan.

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Those toastie bags get well used.
By now we had completed 35 miles so we had to decide which route to take home. Well,we opted for riding toward Mansfield but turned onto the B6275 down to Piecebridge, a short distance on the A67 before turning left onto the raid that leads up towards Walworth. We did have a short ‘detour’ as I took us a wrong way. I’ve done it before!!! So why did I do it again. Anyway, we were soon on the way back through Ulnaby and onto the B6279 down through Cockerton and into Darlington. DH asked if I wanted to go the long way home? No thanks , we were nearly on 50 miles.
So back over the bridge, along the muddy track into Middleton St George and then retraced our route to Stockton. It was home via the river and the park and we clocked up 65 miles.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | February 22, 2014

Bike and an unexpected hike

Last night, DH asked if I had checked the forecast for today. I had and knew there was to me 16-20 mph SW wind but that it would be dry. He suggested heading west into the wind so that we had the hardest bit early in the day.
So just before 9.00am we hit the road across to Thornaby, through Preston Park and on into Yarm. Usually, we would have turned off for Worsall but we decided to keep on up to the village of  Kirklevington before heading across to Worsall toll bar. We wanted to check out this road, to see if they surface is better than Worsall bank. It is in better condition , so we may use this way at Easter. At the corner, we turned left and rode down into Appleton Wiske. I had been told that there is a bus stop in the village as they have one bus on a Wednesday. Bingo, there it is opposite the only shop. However, its not equipped with seats so if we want to use it, we will either have to sit on the ground or bring our own seats.
At the end of the village, where we would usually turn right to go to Northallerton, we turned left and rode along to Welbury. It was the first time, we had a tail wind and our speed doubled!! From Welbury we turned left and then right to East Rounton,across the bridge over the A19 and on to Hutton Rudby.
Unfortunately, there is a 17% hill with a bad surface so I hopped off and walked up it as there was a headwind again. There’s no shame in walking , especially at my age!  The second part of the bank was rideable  and as it turned again, the wind was behind and the descent through Skutterskelfe and Tame Bridge was brilliant riding in my highest gear. By now, it was !lunchtime with 27 miles completed so we stopped and picnicked near the little ford . Here is DH dressed for the wind and sitting  on a metal bench.

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You can see the ford in this one. There was a little girl and her father playing in the stream. DH suggested we did a bit longer ride, going along through Kikdale and up to Gibdale.  I knew there would be a bit of a climb but was agreeable so off we set again along the minor road to Easby and then on to Kildale. DH thought the turning was a bit past the village near a row of cottages. That was when the adventure began. We didn’t have a map , so I wasn’t sure but off we went, turning left up to New Row.  Let me tell you, DH was wrong but undeterred we pressed  after talking to 4 ladies out walking. I don’t really think they knew the area too well, as they thought we could get to Gribdale. Here is DH pushing on up a very poor surface that just got worse.

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The upshot was that we got to a metalled road, turned left thinking we were going in the right direction. It was only when we got to the end of the road , we recognised where we were. Percy Cross Rigg on the NCN168. If we continued on , we would have had to cross the moor on a poor surface, through Guisbrough woods and this was not what we wanted. The wind was really gusting up there and a couple of times I was blown across the road. Scarry.
So we turned back, riding down into Kildale  and back to Great Ayton. Good job its predominantly downhill as we were straight into a strengthening head wind. So we decided to take the shortest way home down through Nunthorpe village, on the cycle track alongside Dixon’s bank and so home to Linthorpe. We completed 52 miles being out for 6.5 hours. A great day out.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | February 20, 2014

Twice in a week to Seaton Carew

Got another opportunity to cycle out again this week with Blue Bell Riders. We took a slightly different route avoid the quagmire of earlier this week. It wasn’t quite so bright today and it was certainly windier but hayho just get on with it.
We had lunch sitting in the bus shelter. We took smoked cheese sandwiches and homemade chocolate cake, along with drinks from our flask. Others bought fish and chip lunches from The Almighty Cod.

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Here we are just before setting off on the return journey.

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On the way back we passed through the village of Cowpen Bewley which is reputed to have a village green that is more than 1000 years old. We also got a good view of the Transporter bridge and Roseberry Topping, a local well known hill.

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I’m not sure if you can see them so well but they are both in this photo. Another lovely day.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | February 18, 2014

Spring is coming

Well, we had a sunny morning so decided to make the most of it and last night decided we would head north of the Tees. We agreed to ride together for part of the way and then DH would go off on his own as I had work to return for.
So , 9.00am saw us leaving the house to brave crossing the road works on Newport road and across the river. We rode along and through the nature reserve at Saltholme on the way shown to us by Blue Bell riders.
Then we hit the main road, the A178 and it wasn’t too bad but there were quite a few lorries. A couple of weeks ago it was closed and there are restrictions on it still but nothing too daunting.
Seaton Carew has some repairs to the foreshore being made but we were still able to ride along the prom next to the sea. Its half term holiday, so there seemed to be lots of grandparents with children and dogs. Once along into Hartlepool , DH and I parted company, him to ride route 14 Hart to Haswell and me to go to Bobby’s woolshop   http://www.worldwidewools.com
I needed a new circular needle in a particular size. I didn’t want to leave the bike outside so Bobby came to the door and served me. That’s what I call service. Its a wonderful Aladdin’s cave of all things haberdashery.
Then I needed to head for home so climbed the hill to get onto Catcote road and through the estate and over the main road into Greatham. I decided to go right into the village and look at the local church.

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It was here I noticed definite signs of spring. Daffodils budding.

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And over the wall a crowd of snowdrops.

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I had a quick bite of DH’s homemade ginger cake before heading off across the field path. I was suprised to see horses so near the river as we had to call the rescue services last year when one got stuck in the water.
Back in Billingham, the route crosses a football pitch and it is like a quagmire. I got off and walked as the wheels would have sunk into the grass. Then it was the final 5 miles home.
The sun was warm on my face, but the wind was increasing and I could see  cloud building. I am greatful to be alive.
I completed 28 miles and DH’s ride was 50 miles. He was home about an hour after me.

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