Posted by: brendaintheboro | February 6, 2016

Horrid Henry (Atlantic storm) hinders but doesn’t stop me.

Storm Henry followed hot on the heels of last week’s storm Gertrude but came with more ferocity and as winds gusted up to 70mph , I really didn’t want to cycle in it. What to do? I don’t have an exercise bike or  training rollers and the wind still didn’t abate as the sun went down. DH came up with a suggestion. He has a few things he could do at the chapel we attend, so he suggested that I take my folder and ride around the cultural hall. So that is just what I did and rode in circles for 3 miles.

Tuesday was still stormy but  in the later afternoon the wind dropped below 20mph so I got out and rode over to the Middlesbrough cycle circuit and used the 1 km track to clock up the miles.

Wednesday dawned with the most unusual clouds I have ever seen.IMG_1971 IMG_1972

These colours were actually in the sky and are called nacreous or mother of pearl clouds. Apparently the clouds form very high in the sky and  ice crystals are responsible for the light being refracted by a very low sun rising in the sky. These clouds only lasted a few minutes but were beautiful to see.

IMG_1973 Most days I was out in the early hours and it is now very noticeable how the days are lengthening. Hooray!

Today, DH and I tried to get in a bit longer ride but we knew that the forecast was for rain. We cycled up to Coulby Newham and then used the main road to get up to Newby. I was passed by a few “roadies” flashing past on swish road bikes but I am pleased with how I am managing to climb the small local hills.

IMG_1974  From Newby we took the gated road that has a ford about half way along and then road towards Great Ayton with a good view of Roseberry Topping. When we got into the village, the rain came along a few minutes before its predicted time so it was time to don the waterproofs for our return journey through old Nunthorpe Village and down through Marton.

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In the photo on the left is a view of the old Poole Hall which was a hospital at one time and I worked there occasionally in the 1970’s. Just look at the daffodils blooming- much earlier than is normal.

We called and got some shopping in our pannier bags which we nearly always carry.

So this week , I still managed to cycle each day and clocked up 60 miles. Considering just how stormy it has been I am pleased with the result.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | January 31, 2016

January Cycled


Well, I challenged myself to cycle everyday throughout January and I have managed to do it despite storms, hail, snow and rain. I have to say there was one  day when I only completed 2 miles but did manage 47 miles on another occasion.  I even cycled  at the local cycle centre one day when storm Gertrude was battering  away  and it was a relief going around a circuit so that the wind wasn’t head on all the time.

I would like to think that February , will also see me on the road – or the pavement- on most if not all days, but we shall see. Storm Henry is due to hit tomorrow so I will have to be careful , as I was almost blown off on Friday by Gertrude, the naughty girl.

The days are lengthening so that will give more time to get out in the light but as it is a slightly shorter month, I may not complete the same mileage as this month  which was 338.5 miles. Woohoo.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | January 24, 2016

Applique Mastery


I have been very fortunate this past week to attend a whole day workshop by the renowned quilter Philippa Naylor on applique techniques. She is a very gifted teacher and her attentions to detail is incredible but more than that she is willing to pass on all her little tips and tricks.

To be honest, I haven’t been too keen on applique work viewing it as tedious , however, I decided to use the opportunity to see if my views could be changed. All I can say is WOW. I have taken a couple of day workshops with Philippa in the past and have never been disappointed which is why I decided to take the chance. She brought along one of her quilts that she uses different techniques in and it is stunning. In addition she told us a story about a little quilt that she entered in to the Festival of Quilts last year. I thought at first it was appliqued but on closer inspection , it was all free machine quilted in different coloured threads with the most tiny stitches imaginable. She told me see uses 100wt silk thread and microtex needles size 60 to achieve this look. The competition called for quilts 30cms square. So in her mind that equated to 12 inches and that is what she made. Imagine her great disappointment to discover she had been disqualified as it was a few millimetres too large. She is going to enter it in some US shows where I am sure it will be a winner in a miniature category.

Philippa has written a book called Applique Mastery and in it she details different methods and explained that the look she is after will dictate which technique she uses.  I am delighted to have purchased the book and in the second part of the book she gives monthly tasks which will take you through each step to achieve your own quilt. However, she suggests that you don’t  have to stick rigidly to her pattern but can take elements and  create your own quilt making it bigger or smaller depending on your needs.

I have had a short time to read some of the book and can say that she covered  a lot but there is more in the book and I have  had a bit of play time. I have used 3 methods and her bird pattern to try them out. The satin stitch on my Janome 8200 works very well using rayon 40 wt thread.


So now will I follow her patterns on divert on to my own work of art. I really don’t know.


I found out yesterday , that the journal quilts I entered into the Spring Quilt show run by Grosvenor has been awarded a runner up rosette so I am quite pleased.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | January 23, 2016

Winter Picnic – sort of


Well today has been the best day of the week. I have cycled in wind , rain, freezing fog and frost but today the forecast was for cloudy with a bit of sun. So as I had only managed 41 miles for the week , DH and I decided to ride across to Northallerton. I even had to take off one layer and wear sunglasses as the temperature rose to 9C which for January is more like spring.

The ride across to Northallerton was our usual route through Yarm  and then up to Kirklevington and along Forest lane towards Worsall tollbar where we turn left and follow the road through Appleton Wiske,  Deighton and Brompton before riding into our destination. The fields still show signs of flooding and standing water and the roads are potholed and water logged in places and so we had to take care often riding in the centre of the road. We noticed that many of the hedge bottoms had been cleared to try to have somewhere for the water to drain away to.  The wind was blowing from the SW and it was a slog in to a headwind the whole way. Usually the ride takes us about 2 hrs but today it was more like 3. Still not to worry, the roadies buzzed past us , whizzing along on their lightweight road bikes. We were on our solidly built Koga Randonneurs. Not fast but are bomb proof.

I called in to a shop and bought myself some meg pegs for my quilting. They are sold for clipping large items like duvets on to lines so I will use in a different way.IMG_1959

I also called into Boyes and got some cotton to back a quilt I am working on.  So onto the return journey and we decided to just retrace out route. We stopped in the bus shelter in Brompton  and unfolded out wonderful Helinox chairs and I had intended to make cheese toasties but discovered I had forgotten the frying pan, duh!  So it was cheese sandwiches  and hot oxo – very frugal and  its lovely to chat to local people.  So it wasn’t much of a picnic but we almost flew back with the wind behind us and we had fun.

So my mileage for the week was 88.6 miles and I am pleased with that .


Posted by: brendaintheboro | January 16, 2016

Snow, wind , rain , sunshine all in one week

Well, I have kept to my intention of cycling every day but it has been hard. I start measuring the mileage on a Sunday and early on that morning it was  dark,with icy rain and very strong winds. DH ” advised ” that I didn’t go out so I waited until after church. DS1 was left to cook the afternoon meal while I went out and cycled all of 5 miles in the rain and bitingly cold wind. Still I had done it and we had a lovely meal too.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday all entailed early morning rides  often in the rain and strong winds but come Thursday , the temperatures plummeted and frost formed   just before dawn. So I was sensible and went on a late afternoon ride. Again only a 5 miler and as I  near the linear park , the beck was swollen and rushing along. It was obvious ,at some stage , it must have overflowed the top onto the cycle path.

I was lucky enough to have a free day , with no work on Friday  and it was lovely to see blue skies and sunshine although it was very cold. DH and I decided a trip out was the order of the day. It was very icy and because of all the previous rain , there were large frozen puddles.  Care was needed so we headed across to Stockton and rode some of the cycle tracks there . I am sad to report that the cycle tracks we had cleaned in the late autumn , are littered once again. So sad. The hills had some snow covering and we got a lovely view of Roseberry topping across in the 3 - Copy

So Friday’s tally was 22 miles. I later learned that other rides for the day had been cancelled although some other  brave or otherwise souls had cycled up to Great Ayton.

Saturday also dawned bright and brrrr cold with lots of icy puddles and frost. Still, as it was sunshine , we didn’t want to waste a moment. I needed to do an errand in town , so that is where we headed first, then down to the river and across to Saltholme. I was chilly so note I , called in to the café and had a hot chocolate and home made scone. DH stayed outside and looked after the bikes.  He is a true Yorkshireman – pockets sewn up teehee!

On the way down to the river we came across this forlorn horse, chained up with no sign of a water source and it had been there yesterday 4

It didn’t want to move so we lifted the chain and got through. However, on the way back, it was still there and seemed to be  holding one hoof , off the ground. Should we called the RSPCA? Well , coming back through the town, we saw a lot of policemen and so stopped to ask advice . They were going back to HQ and so they said they would deal with the matter as they have links with the RSPCA.  I didn’t like to see it being just left in such a condition.

Returning home, we had clocked up another 22 miles and so that made a total of 80 miles for the week. Am I mad? I rode up the street a short way until I saw the odometer turn to 80.

Later in the day , we drove up to Peterlee to attend a farewell for a young friend who is going off to serve a mission for the church for 18 months . The gathering of family and friends   was being held  in the school she used to attend as a child. He father got permission to hold it there. I was impressed by this  sign.


.photo 3

I hope you can read it. if you can’t , please let me know.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | January 9, 2016

Rain, rain go away

Well , the first full week of the new year has seen rain every day. In other parts of the north of England and in Scotland , there has been extensive flooding causing devastation to home , businesses and cycle tracks. There have been landslips affecting roads and rail services and I count myself lucky to have managed to cycle everyday.


I have to say, I have had to push myself and keep telling myself I wont melt in the rain. It is still unseasonably warm at about 7-9C but apparently that is going to change . Mostly, I went out in the early morning , cycling in the dark the whole time. I have lights on my helmet and on my cycle as well as the dynamo lighting on my Koga Randonneur, It has been either too dark or too rainy to take any photos so I will just report that I have completed 58.5 miles during the week.

I also attended my quilt group meeting and took along the quilt I finished just before Christmas to Show and Tell and as a result I have been asked to give a demonstration at the next meeting. I am only too happy to show others how it can extended your free machining capabilities.


So here is to another week of hopefully cycling every day  ,photo 2 - Copy just to show there is still a lot of standing water, although I took this last week.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | January 3, 2016

New year cycling and stitching

Well the 2nd January arrived wet but not hammering down so I decided to ride. DH was sorting out a problem on his dynamo system so I went off on my own. Kept it local and rode 7 miles before coming home. By then DH had taken off on his own, so I didn’t bother taking off my cycling clothes, thinking he wouldn’t be too long before he arrived back. We could go out again, I hoped.

Well , I decided to change my shoes and go up into the loft to sew a bit. I decided my work diary , about A4 size , needed a protective cover. I rummaged in the stash and found some darkish blue cotton fabric and a 1990’s Laura Ashley remnant for a lining. Yes, I am a hoarder of fabric.  I used ruler work and free machine quilting to make a different design on back and front. I was really pleased with it.cover2 cover4

By the time DH returned, it was hammering down and so I didn’t cycle gain on Saturday but DH had completed 40 miles going over to Hartlepool, up the old rail track to Haswell and returning via Hurworth Burn. He puts me to shame.

This morning, Sunday,  I got up and cycled 3 miles just as the sky was lightening and the birds were starting to chirrup . I don’t usually cycle on Sunday , but it was dry, so why not.

I really should make a wall hanging saying  You won’t  melt in the rain – to try to motivate myself. teehee.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015 – Happy New Year 2016

I decided to look at my cycle computers and  mileage for the year adds up to 3583.33 miles but there are a few uncounted miles on my mountain bike so it will be above 3600 miles. Not as may as last year but the very inclement weather of the past few months has limited my riding.

I turned 65 this month so I am just happy to have achieved as much and am aiming for 4000miles in 2016.

Looking back we got in a few cycle camping trips in Yorkshire – presently in the midst of various floods, a long trip to Holland and Germany and I was so pleased to be able to make a 3 day solo bike and OAP bus pass trip. It was great to use the Dahon  Speed Tr for that one.

We also enjoyed the Cycle touring Festival at Clitheroe in May and I hope there will be another in 2016 to attend.

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WP_20150801_10_53_28_Pro IMG_1716IMG_1723

St Mary's Lighthouse, Whitley Bay

St Mary’s Lighthouse, Whitley Bay

We were also able to go out on a number of occasions and help with cleaning up cycle tracks both here in the Boro and with Sustrans volunteers in Stockton and Thornaby.

I also got a  quite a few quilts made and learned some new sewing techniques especially on which I can well recommend.

Here’s to a very happy new year. May God bless  us all.


Posted by: brendaintheboro | December 29, 2015

A sunny day – woohoo

After all the rain between Christmas and now, the sun came out so having some time I decided to have a ride and see how much water was still about.  York, about 50 miles south of us , has been very badly flooded and I saw on the news that in Tadcaster the ancient bridge has collapsed. Tadcaster is the home of my favourite cycle shop, Cyclesense , so I expect they will have some flood damage to clear up.  Hoping its not too bad for them.

Anyway, I cycled across to Thornaby and down to the river.

photo 1

Most of the trees are bare of leaves now after all the gales.

photo 1 - Copy photo 2 - Copy

If you look closely  you can see it was 11.6C , very warm for the time of the year and there is lots of standing water at the side of the track. I was talking to some dog walkers who said that it was impossible to get through two days ago as the stream was thundering through over the top of the footbridge.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the stretch of cycle track near Bowsfield Road has been replaced very recently and is nice and smooth.  This is part of the track we cleared in the Autumn.

photo 1 - Copy (2)

On the road into Stockton, there was a lot of standing water on the road so I kept up on the pavement.

photo 2 - Copy (2)

It was deep and its a bit tricky to keep out of it. I cycled back along the river and home. Only 15 miles but I can tell I haven’t been out much lately. Still I did turn 65 last week so I am not complaining.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

We have had very poor weather recently and storm after storm has been rolling in. Indeed , the west of the country has been very badly hit and there has been repeated flooding in some places in Cumbria. My heart goes out to them and I heard on the news this morning that the army has been called in to build more flood defences.
I have been sewing quilts and using a new technique using rulers on a domestic sewing machine. I am pleased with the results but still need more practice. DS1 was so pleased to receive this quilt as a Christmas gift.


Here are some of the details of the quilting.

WIN_20151220_101832 WIN_20151220_101812

I have really enjoyed learning these skills on a class with Amy Johnson . These classes are really good and you can learn in your own time an ask questions of the instructor. Well worth using .

This morning, looking at the weather forecast we could see that going out just after it got light would be the best time. It has been unseasonably warm of late but this morning was much cooler at about 4C. The sky was clear so the full moon was visible in the early hours and when we rode along the river , low tide was very low.

We went up into Stockton and took a few photos in the market place, I have to say that the Christmas lights in Stockton were much nicer than in Middlesbrough.


This is the poem on the plinth behind me.


Sorry I couldn’t get the whole of this lighted Rudolf and calf on but it was such a pretty sight.


I just loved this  bright blue bauble.


And a lovely tree.


I wont leave out my lovely DH who is such a help in all I do.

Happy Christmas everyone

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