Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 1, 2015

Spring is coming soon.

The days are becoming noticeably longer and we have started our early morning rides when its not icy or heavy rain. We set out about 6.00am when it is first light and mainly have been riding our usual river ride but between 10-12 miles on average. We arrive home about 7.00am ready to start the day.

It is noticeable that nature is waking up. The snowdrops are still blooming but they have been joined by crocuses and just yesterday I saw my first daffodils. Trees are also budding and it won’t be  long before the catkins are out. I love this time of year. It has been quite windy at times but at least I am blessed with the health to be able to get out in the fresh air.


Yesterday, I took the opportunity to ride to Redcar with my friend A. She and I met up and I have to say she set a cracking pace along through Eston, Lazeby and Kirkleatham before we took a cycle track down into Redcar to the official opening of a new cycle friendly café called Route 1. It is just near the Clock tower in the town centre.LAPTOP - Facebook-20150301-082751

This is a private enterprise and well worth supporting. They provide employment for some young people with learning difficulties and autism. The food is good and there is indoor cycle parking so you can see your bike at all times. Because of budget cuts, Sustrans employees will be having their contracts terminated at the end of March. its very sad because they have some such good work in supporting local cyclists.

Then   at 11.00am  we went on a 6mls ride with the local ride leader. There were only a few of us and the wind was blowing quite hard as we ploughed into it along the prom. Coming back , it wasn’t so bad but the sky was really darkening and rain threatened.LAPTOP - redcarprom

On our return journey home, we were joined by Y and C who had ridden over from Yarm. There was a bit of mizzle (very light rain) in the air but it didn’t amount to much but the wind was head on all the way blowing from the west mainly.

So during the last week I have cycled a little over 100 miles so feeling good .

Posted by: brendaintheboro | February 4, 2015

snow day


Yesterday, we awoke to a white world and by 9.00am there was a beautiful blue sky. As I had a free morning , we decided to have a snow ride . So the largely unused mountain bikes , with wider knobbly tyres , were got out to ride.
After the tyre pressure was inflated to 45 psi , we set off up to Devil’s bridge which is the start of our volunteer looking after the paths route.
I have to say I was a little nervous to begin but the tyres gripped well and confidence returned and we enjoyed the crisp morning air.

We rode along the linear park and on though Albert Park


Here we saw that the lake was frozen with snow lying on the ice. Ducks were sitting on the ice so I suppose they have well insulated bottoms!

Workmen were clearing the outlet of the beck as it was full of debris ranging from branches to balls.


Then it was down through town and onto the river path. We were very surprised to see virtually no snow and Portrack Marshes were clear.


The 2 little blogs on the horizon are the towers of Newport Bridge . We rode along the north bank of the river and crossed this bridge before retuning home. Only 14 miles but it’s great to be able to make the most of a sunny if cold day.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | January 31, 2015

short ride.

We had hoped for a decent ride today after heavy rain over night. We thought it would wash away the remains of the snow which has lingered on the cycle paths. No such luck.

We attempted to go out about 10.00am but then it rained heavily. A neighbour came and offered me some fabric she had bought but wouldn’t now use so that took up another hour or so. By this time it had faired up, a bit , so as we had our cycling attire on we set off up the good cycle track on NCN 65. There was slush and ice in unpredictable patches so we had to take great care. Once at Ladgate Lane, we turned left and rode along to Easterside estate and came down on the road. The Linear park has a place for a stream and its usually almost empty. Not today.IMG_1268

The rain and snow melt had water rushing through . Indeed DH remarked we could have gone kayaking on it today. We just home from here having only completed 6 miles. The windchill was also a factor in a swift return. So looking forward to spring.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | January 25, 2015

First long ride of 2015

The weather in the early part of the moth was not too good with very high, gusting winds and we had rain and snow too.  This curtailed my rides to shorter trips but the weather forecast for 24th looked fine.

We had an objective for the day and that was to reccy a field belonging to our friend Carole, to see if it might make a suitable overnight camp venue.  DS1 checked over the Optimus multifuel stove , while I assembled cheese sandwiches in toaster bags to take with us. At this time of the year, when temperatures are low, we find that the petrol stove gives the best performance. Even a mix of butane and propane doesn’t seem to burn too well.  The cold tends to inhibit the mixture gassing off to burn.

So about 10.30am , we rode from home, crossed the A19 on the footbridge and after passing Teesside Park, gained the river.  The footbridge was icy and so I took care not to slip on black ice. We decided to cross the river at the Barrage and ride along in to Stockton on the north side of the river. Unfortunately, there is still work going on and there were some walkers milling round because of a diversion sign. We rode along to check if it really was closed and it is completely fenced off temporarily. So back up the track  and we could report back to the walkers that they would have to cross at the barrage.

We went up and along past the caravan park and the supermarket to pass through the  industrial estate to Stockton. Crossing the market place, which is still being renovated , we followed NCN14 up and through the underpass towards Hartburn.

Here the traffic was busy and care needs to be taken crossing as the cars accessing the A66 take little regard to cyclists. However , once safely across we rode along through Elton and Long Newton before riding the A167 until the sign directs you into what appears to be a wood. In fact , this is the old road to Long Newton which was cut off when the newer road was constructed.  It was here we came across the remains of snow and ice, it being shaded from the sunlight.

We decided to avoid cycling through the Whinneys nature reserve because from past experience , we knew it would be very wet  even if not icy. So we diverted off NCN14 and followed the road down towards Middleton One Row instead of going to Middleton St George. I was a bit concerned , as at the best of times , hills and I  aren’t the best of friends!! As its been a while , I wondered if I would be off walking. I need not have worried. I managed to climb them all. Slow and steady wins the race.  Well it gets me up them, dropping into a lower gear and keeping my eye on something regularly spaced such as cats eyes in the road , I count the number of peddle strokes as I go from one to the next. its not for raod racers but it works for this mature woman ( old biddy.)

We had the OS reference and found the field but the gate was locked and we didn’t feel like hopping over the gate. We have since been given instructions on how to access it , so next time. I am so looking forward to camping but I do get that feeling at this time of year.

So another descent and climb had us into the outskirts of Yarm and decided to have our toasties in Preston Park.  It was fairly blowy but we were able to shelter near the bandstand.IMG_1267

It wasn’t actually too cold as we sat having a hot drink and the sandwich.  I love being out especially in the sunshine.  Soon we were on our way home and completed 27 miles getting home about 2.30pm.  I know its not far for some people but its a nice start for me.


Posted by: brendaintheboro | January 3, 2015

A hike and then bike day

Well the 1st and 2nd of January did not see us out on the roads, partly due to high winds but also DH was continuing on home improvements. Today, there was a hike scheduled up to Captain Cooks monument near Gribdale. The meeting time was 10.00am and we thought we might cycle up but it was still dark at 8.00am with a dense cloud cover, so we chickened out of cycling.  We went up there by car and met with friends from our extended church group.

The walk up to the monument is relatively easy but was muddy so I walked in wellington boots.IMG_1245

Captain James Cook was born in a suburb of the Boro and went to school in the village of Great Ayton before becoming apprenticed and then becoming a sailor. He is a local hero because of his exploration of our beautiful planet is nothing more than a wind powered sailing ship.

The views from the hill are stunning on a clear day. Today was a bit misty but even so I took a few photos.IMG_1243 IMG_1252 IMG_1247

This is Roseberry Topping another local hill.  Although the wind was blowing , it was remarkably temperate for the time of year. I have noticed a number of gorse bushes in flower, which is most unusual,

After having a prayer together we returned down the hill and where home by lunchtime.

Just about 2.00pm , the sun showed its face and by 2.30 pm it was shining brightly so I decided to have my first ride of 2015. I knew it wouldn’t be a long ride as the days are still so short. So DH left his tidying of his workshop and we went for a short ride passing through and around Albert Park.


The lake was iced over a few days ago but as the temperature has risen the ducks are swimming around instead of sliding on the ice. As you can see the sun was dropping and so was the temperature. We returned home and my odometer read 7 miles. Not far , but good to get out on the bike.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | January 1, 2015

2014 roundup

Well that’s another year gone by. We had a lovely time riding and cycle camping in Yorkshire and on our long summer tour to the four home countries. As Christmas approached , I realised that the odometer on my cycle computer was over 9,900 miles and that completing just under another 100 miles would result in a mileage of 10,000 miles in  2 and a bit years since I last changed the battery. So over the holidays , we got ourselves out cycling. Fortunately, the weather has been relatively mild and afforded a few trips out despite the really short days at this time of the year.  The first was on Boxing day, when it was a bit frosty , but we were careful and stuck mainly to roads that had been gritted and cycled across to Billingham and Stockton on Tees and back along the river to the Boro. That put another 20 miles on to the clock. The next day,  Saturday, we cycled up to Saltburn  in gentle  but cold sunshine.IMG_1236 We cycled back along into Redcar and stopped in one of the modern shelters that have replaced the old ones. It was cold so the stop for refreshments was brief and then it was back up through Cotham and Kirkleatham before returning home to the Boro.  That was another 32 miles clocked up. On Tuesday,  we got out for a ride along the river and again it was frosty so great care was taken. 15 miles. By Wednesday morning, I knew that I needed 5 more miles to reach the 10,000 miles mark. So I was determined to do it.  I suggested a ride over to the bird reserve at Saltholme and DS1 said he would accompany me. The café there is a pull for him!! So we rode down through the park and the town and as we didn’t leave until nearly 11.00am , the frost had lifted as the temperature rose and the wind increased. As we rode along the river, I kept a check on the odometer , as I wanted to photograph the 10,000. At 9999.9, a little voice said take your photo. I ignored it and woosh, it went to zero!!! I was gutted.IMG_1238 Still, that was it , I had done it. So onwards to Saltholme crossing Newport bridge and along through Haverton Hill . It was very pleasant sitting in the café and watching the birds on the lake, which had some ice on it. You can look across and see the Transporter bridge.IMG_1241 IMG_1239 We returned the same way as the wind increased and we had a push into the wind a lot of the way back. The total was 10,012 miles. I have changed the battery , so its a new year to ride. As soon as the new year storm passes.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | December 10, 2014

Companion quilts

kr As some of you know , one of my keen interests is making quilts and other textiles. This year I’ve completed two large quilts, both on a domestic sewing machine. That means piecing the fabrics together, then layering up top , wadding and backing and then quilting , all the while  coping with the size. I decided to try quilt as you go, meaning I didn’t have so much weight to push and pull about as the quilt is divided into smaller sections, quilted and then those pieces joined together.  The quilt shown above was made in blocks , quilted and then the backing , wadding and sashing all joined by machine.   TABLET - WIN_20141207_100921 (3) This one, is a companion to the first. If you look closely, you will see that the centre of the circles , was cut out , when the circles were cut out to fit the coloured circles into the centre of those blocks. These blocks are larger and this time I joined them by machine on the front. Then the backing had to be joined by hand before finishing the machine quilting and binding. TABLET - WIN_20141207_101043 TABLET - WIN_20141207_101030 this is to try to let you see the quilting more closely. Hope you like them.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | November 25, 2014

Saltholme Round

LAPTOP - photo 4 (3)

Yesterday evening, we knew we had a free day and looking at the weather forecast , we thought it would be great to get out riding. With the much shorter days, and  a couple of nasty head colds , I haven’t been able to get out much, so it was  “where shall we ride?” By chance , Allyson from Blue Bell Riders had posted they were having a ride to Saltholme Bird reserve next Sunday. So that was it, our destination would be the bird reserve.

We’ve been there before and knew it wasn’t going to be a long ride which suited me and DS1 , so it was a 10am start down through Albert park  and the town which was buzzing with graduates in cap and gown for their graduation ceremonies. When we got down to the river, we could here sirens blaring. I was a bit concerned there was a problem at the chemical works but we could hear a tanoy message to say it was a test . We thought we would have to ride to the barrage to cross the river but the ramp up to the Newport bridge has been reopened. However, it was very slippery with moss so we walked for safety.

It’s not the most beautiful ride , and  passes a lot of industrial stuff until the village/ estate of Port Clarence . There’s a cycle track most of the way and then at Holly Terrace you can assess the reserve.  There are often travellers camped here and we ran the gauntlet of a small barking , snarling dog, fortunately tied up on a longish lead. It’s  very pleasant in the reserve and there were a number of people walking with binoculars watching the birds.

We stopped in the café/ visitor centre and had a warming hot chocolate  while looking out of the panoramic windows overlooking the lake area. We decided to return the way we had come, to the large roundabout and then travel through to Stockton along the river.   So this is just what we did , riding up Portrack lane and accessing the river further up.

We crossed the river at the Castlegate centre and then returned along on the south side. We turned off so we could check out the Marsh Road area which we’ve cleaned up a couple of times. Its become littered again!! What can I say?

The weather was pleasant but cold at 4C most of the day. There was high hazy cloud and  you can see it in the photo which also shows the Transporter bridge and the little blip on the horizon is Roseberry Topping.. 23 miles ridden

Posted by: brendaintheboro | October 31, 2014

All Hallows Eve Ride.

Today , is All Hallows Eve , otherwise known as Halloween, and it was more like a late summers day  except for the daylight hours. The weather has been incredibly mild and as I had a day off and the forecast was favourable, I was determined to make the most of it.
So up at 6.00am , I did some sewing on a quilt I am working on. Later, it was off to the supermarket to get shopping for the week ahead. I popped a meatloaf in the slow cooker, to cook as I was out. This receive is courtesy of Frugal Queen so just google her blog , if you want to try it.
Then I cast a sprat to catch a mackerel. DS1 hasn’t been out in weeks , so I said I was off and was going to call to Roots cafe while I was out. He bit and so we set off, followed by DH as he had a couple of housekeeping things to attend to.

He caught us up over in Thornaby and we cycled up through Preston Park, which was being cordoned off for tonight’s Halloween commercial celebration. The traffic into Yarm was very busy which is a complete contrast to our usual early morning ride over here because by now it was after 11.00am.
The wind was blowing from the south so most of the way to Appleton Wiske was a slog into about a 15mph headwind. Once on the outskirts of the village,  we turned left and wound our way to East Rounton with some wind on our backs and then we were at Roots cafe.
It was very busy as it is school half term holiday but we were able to sit outside.


We enjoyed the cheese scones and also had a fruit one with jam too. The Fentimans dandelion and burdock drink was just how I remember it from my childhood. Delicious. There was an old sink planted up with some flowers and looked so pretty, especially the lovely colours of the ornamental cabbage.


After the lunch break, it was off again, crossing the bridge that safely crosses the increasingly busy A19 and blissfully , we were pushed along by the wind. Soon , into Hutton Rudby, we had a 17% climb fortunately not long , before a general descent to Stokesley.
The Cleveland Hills were visible but there was a lot of mist because of the hazy sky.


By 3.00pm, it was time to make sure our lights were on, as we were in traffic and light levels were were dimming. We came down to the outskirts of the Boro and picked up a cycle track to take us home. We met a chap slogging up into the wind but having problems with his brakes. DS1 was able to help by adjusting them for him.
We completed 35 miles today. Not a huge mileage but with a feeling of satisfaction.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | October 26, 2014

We are into the dark days of winter.

Where has this year gone. The clocks changed last night and I realised I hadn’t posted in a while so here is a little catch up.
In September, while DS2 was away with Autism Matters, a charity group to give autistic young adults social activities, we took the chance to get away.
We didn’t want to go to far and as the days were getting shorter, we used our car to take our cycles and camping gear to the Camping and Caravanning club site at Mablethorpe. This is a lovely quiet site, on the outskirts of the town but about 10 mins cycle to Li*l supermarket. The area around is flat so makes for easy cycling unless you want to go up into the Lincolnshire Wolds. DS1 and I used this site last year on our August Bank holiday tour.
So DH and I left home on Sunday afternoon after church and had a pleasant drive down in dry but overcast weather. We pitched the tent just as dusk fell so it was an early bed.

Monday dawned bright and dry and so we decided to cycle to Alford, a flat ride on a reasonably quiet road. Alford has a 5 sail windmill which I was keen to visit so here are some photos.




Its a restored working mill that grinds wheat and sells the flour.


here is DH looking after the cycles while I climbed the stairs.

Setting off again, we cycled out of the town but followed very minor roads across through Claythorpe and Withern and then down to Trusthorpe where we picnicked in the lovely little community garden that is looked after by volunteers. Then we cycled back to the campsite and enjoyed the time resting in the blazing hot sunshine.

In early September, I sewed an awning to go on either of the tents I’ve made and we still use. It was lovely to have the shade it offered but also the space to sit with table and chairs.



And in addition , it gave a space to sit before going to sleep


The temperature had plummeted so DH was glad to don’t his pertex pants and insulated pertex jacket, also home made.
He had forgotten his medication, so DS1 posted it for next day delivery so we knew Tuesday was going  to be an interrupted day , as we would have to await the postman.

Tuesday dawned with gentle rain falling on and off. So not to be put off, we ventured out through Mablethorpe and onto the promenade. A 7 mile cycle track follows the coast all the way to Anderby creek. The visibility was poor as the haar rolled in from the North Sea. The haar is thar very fine moisture that hangs in the air and soaks you. So reaching Anderby Creek, we left the prom and picked up the A52 back through Sutton on Sea and Trusthope and back to the site.
We waited for the postman who didn’t show up and found he had walked on to the site and as the manager wasn’t there had taken it away. So out into the rain again and up north of Mablethorpe this time.
By Wednesday morning, the rain was falling in torrents , so after a drive to Alford for his medication, we decided to make for home. We had only cycled 60 miles in the course of the 2 days but we enjoyed the break.
Since then, we’ve only been riding our river route and I’ve been stitching both clothing and quilts. Hopefully, now we are nearing  the very short, colder days, we will still get out and about.

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