Posted by: brendaintheboro | April 24, 2016

Summer- came and went

Well this has been a bit of a warmer week and indeed we thought summer had arrived – for one day- then that was that.

We have had a good week cycling as the weather was mild and   not rainy as a contrast to the previous week.  We mainly rode the usual river circuit and so by Thursday morning , my mileage was over 40.  I am pleased to report that the swans have built another nest , next to the old one, and there is an egg in there that the  pen is sitting with the cob being next to her most of the time.

Due to circumstances in my work changing on Thursday morning, I was able to take advantage of the warmest day of the year. By 11.00am , we were off. By chance I had asked a blogging friend if she would like an old magazine I was disposing of- after about 25 or more years. She said yes , so we knew the direction of travel – Darlington. The lack of precipitation during the week meant we could use the route through The Whinnys nature area. The water levels in the ponds were still very high, so it must have been impassable earlier in the year.

We also met a group who I know from the CTC sat under the trees in Long Newton having cycled over from Great Ayton.

It was a  delight to cycle in my sandals with bare arms and shorts as we entered Darlington. I couldn’t resist a trip to the fabric shop and bought a couple of meters of jersey fabric before finding my way to the address.

My phone has a sat nav facility but I can never hear it. DS1 got me a wrist worn speaker at Li*l for the princely sum of £4.99 and it works a treat. I can see me using it in future.

As we returned I stopped to take a couple of photos as the fields are now full of sheep and lambs – so lovely to see them bouncing around playing together.

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On our return journey , the cold north easterly wind started blowing and we had to stop and pull on our jerseys for warmth .

By Friday morning the temperature had dropped by 10C from 18Cto 8C and never got any warmer and there was a grass frost for the morning ride.

Saturday dawned sunny but chilly . Undeterred, off we set and cycled up around Hemlington lake following Sustrans route 65 at first then into Stokesley.

Next weekend will see the 2nd Tour de Yorkshire cycle race and on Sunday 1st May it will lave from our town and go up through Great Ayton and Stokesley, so everywhere is being decked out in blue and yellow for the occasion. I think every old bike that could be used has been painted  for decoration. Schools have been involved and I saw 5 being wheeled along into position.

Even private houses are getting into the spirit of the event.

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In Great Ayton, I took a wrong turn and ended up seeing a small weir I have not seen before, so it was a nice detour.

As was getting much colder, we decided to ride straight home , going down through old Nunthorpe and Marton and arrived home by noon. In total this week I have cycled 131.25miles but DH topped that riding 148 miles. I just hope bad weather doesn’t scupper plans for next week.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | April 23, 2016

I like to ride my bicycle shirt

Well, this past week, as well as getting the miles in , I have been sewing myself a shirt. When I was up at the Quilt Exhibition in Edinburgh a couple of months back, I got  a couple of fat quarters  (18″x20″) of fabric. Now that’s not enough to make a shirt but a couple of weeks back , I saw some sale fabric at Empress Mills website. It was a good match and I also bought a metre of their Klona cotton.

So I set to, with a pattern I have used before, I started by cutting the yoke and collar and cuffs. I didn’t have quite enough , so pieced bits together and this is the result.

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Now then, I had pieced the back and cut the pattern out. Then I discovered that there was a bit missing . Be creative girl. Its not the end of the world. So I came up with a solution with the small left over bits.

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I cut out some of the hills fabric and appliqued it over the missing upside down Vshaped bit.  I also cut out some of the complete bicycle circles and appliqued those for balance .

If you notice some of the fabric has tents on it. So using my Janome  8200, I programmed in some words.

I think this sums it up. Its a bit of fun to wear, especially at the Cycle touring Festival which will be held in Clitheroe  at the end of May.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | April 17, 2016

Sunshine and Showers

The week started with beautiful sunshine on Sunday and I didn’t have to cook a meal as we had a “munch and mingle” after church,  where everyone brings food to share. In fact our stake president who happened to turn up said it was more like a feast!! We were having a special one as a beloved senior missionary couple were finishing their mission and returning home after 18 months of service in our LDS ward. So that gave us time to have a ride.

So we just decided, as we rode , which way to turn and we cycled past Hemlington lake and up though Stainton, Thornton and up to Newby. From Newby we booled down the hill , crossing the main Stokesley road and took the little gated road, through the ford, emerging near old Nunthorpe village. I was talking to a farmer acquaintance and he told me that on his land  adjacent to the village, archaeologists had just found some Anglo-Saxon remains. This area has been settled for millennia.

From here we took the cycle path back down through Marton ( Capt James Cook’s birthplace ) and home. That started the week with a nice 15 miles ride.

Monday , while not as warm, was equally pleasant as we got in a 15 miles river ride, early in the morning. As so often happens here in the UK, we were disappointed that although flowers show it is Spring, the weather doesn’t.

In the local park , cowslips are blooming in perfusion despite the rain.

The weather then became much colder and wetter, so rides were shortened a little  and DH has begun to use the Berghaus ultralight Gortex overtrousers that I got for him. I did so because I have been pleased with the ones I bought a couple of years ago.

So by Saturday morning , my cycle computer registered 81 miles and we were hoping to get in a longer ride. The sun was shining in contradiction to the weather forecast supplied by the met office, and so off to set, all ready to ride across to Cozy Coffee in Brafferton. I have to say, we don’t drink coffee but Rosie makes very tempting cakes and scones and I do like to support one woman businesses. However, by the time we had ridden along the river to Newport bridge it was raining hard. Once on the bridge, sleet started blowing in our faces and DH said to me ” I won’t think you are a wooz (wimp) if you want to go home now.”  The weather reminded me of crossing the polders in the Netherlands last year, so on we ploughed up into Norton. However, by he time we reached our turning to Bishopton, I decided that I would have my goal 100 miles in for the week , so we made for home  .

The water table is very high and even today there is a lot of flooding on the cycle tracks.

This is to show one section of the track down into Stockton on Tees. When we actually got down to the river, I needed 7 miles  but DH  needed 13 miles  to complete our targets so DH told me to head for home while he did a few more miles.  So my total for the week  has actually ended up at 103 miles so not bad .


Posted by: brendaintheboro | April 10, 2016

Love the lengthening days


With the change to British summer time, we now have longer , lighter evenings but consequently we are back to the darker mornings. Still , I prefer to get my cycling in early so I have been going out lit up like a Christmas tree  with flashing lights on my helmet as well as the bike.

The days have mostly been grey and damp but it hasn’t deterred me and I have cycled every day. One morning, as we were crossing the bridge at the Tees  barrage  , we came across a raised bridge.

In about 10 years of riding over here , we have never seen the bridge raised to allow boats to pass through the lock. so it was a first for us to be stopped. It didn’t take long though but another cyclist was a bit miffed at having to wait.

On Saturday, I was invited to go on a Billy Flemming Memorial ride. She was a lady who in the 1930’s rode every day and rode nearly 30,000 miles in the year. She died aged 100 in 2014 and this is to commemorate her world record which hasn’t been broken as yet.  I went on a similar ride last year but as we had friends coming I wasn’t able to do the whole ride with the Cycle Sisters.

I can really tell that cycling every day is paying dividends and I cycled over to the meeting point in Yarm , 9 miles away , in less than an hour and  managed the climb up the bank in a higher gear than I usually do.

I was early having allowed myself nearly 1 1/2 hours but C was there. She bought some anti-inflammatory gel as her knees were a bit sore. The joys of getting older!!

We set off through the estate from the Aldi carpark and then rode up past the prison and along to Weary bank. The road surface is worse than ever here and I was getting on fairly well up the climb. C’s gears wouldn’t drop  so she got off to walk. Well, I couldn’t let her walk on her own , as she was riding back marker, so hopped off and pushed the bike up the hill. I always say, there is no shame  walking.

I wish I could say it was lovely weather – but it wasn’t . It rained intermittently and we regrouped at the top of the bank. Dilemma? put on the waterproof jacket and feel like a boil in the bag fish or just get wet in the rain?

I carried on without donning the jacket up through Seamer and then down to Tanton before climbing up from the beck to ride along to Great Ayton. We crossed the little foot bridge over the 3 - Copy (2)

C taking a photo as we cross the bridge  before splitting to 2 groups to go to a café for a break. However, this was where I was leaving them and it had begun to rain in earnest and I had about 8 miles to ride home , I did put on my jacket and over trousers. Doing that usually stops the rain but not today and it rained nearly all the way home.

On 1st May, the Tour de Yorkshire will depart from the Boro and pass through  Great Ayton so the whole village is decked out in blue and yellow bicycles in readiness for the influx of spectators.

On Friday I got in another 3 miles of riding on my Dahon Speed TR as I went to collect my car from having its  service and road worthiness test (MOT) . It meant that I could use  cycle paths to get there and thus avoid a lot of home time traffic. I wish it had been as easy to get home in the car. It took much longer and I had to detour because of an accident.

So in total this week I cycled another 99 miles. I know I should have done and extra mile to round it up  but I didn’t.




Posted by: brendaintheboro | April 3, 2016

1st Quarter Ends

How fast the first 3 months of this year has flown. Last weekend Storm Katie blew in and while it wasn’t so bad that it caused damage, it was still wild enough that cycling was curtailed a bit. Then I succumbed to a head cold so this weeks mileage was down at 76.26 miles but I can record that by the month end I was at 1,150 miles and the weekend was 1,176.26 miles.  Makes me feel good that I am slightly over target  for my goal of 4000 miles in 2016.

On my rides, it has mostly been along the river and around Albert Park.I was very surprised to see a swan nesting so close to the track.

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Sometimes I se it sitting on the nest and then other times it is gone, and I cannot see any eggs. I don’t know if there will be any cygnets or not but a fence with notice has been put up.

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I do hope it is safe here. I know swans can be aggressive when sitting a nest from earlier experiences kayaking on canals and rivers at this time of the year. The swans usually nest on the islands in the lake so why here I am not sure.

Anyway friends, sorry not much  to report this week.


Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 27, 2016

Easter Week

Well, Easter didn’t turn out as I hoped due to inclement weather but I still managed to cycle 165.5 ( don’t forget the .5) miles.

The beginning of the week was relatively mild and we mainly managed to get along the river each day so by Wednesday evening , we had cycled 53 miles.

We kept checking the weather forecast, flitting about from forecast to forecast to see if we could get a better one. Anyway, Wednesday evening found  us getting our gear out from under the eaves. The sleeping bags and mats are kept in my loft sewing room  eaves to be kept nice and dry and unfolded. So they were pushed into their respective stuff sacks ready to pack in the panniers. As we knew it was going to be cold, we took sleeping bags and our quilt as well.  A few years ago, we bought Exped down mats and I have to say they were a really good buy for us as the extra comfort is great.  We also use Exped pillows which roll up small enough to fit in he palm of my small hand.

Due to the forecast for strong winds , I wanted to take our small Vaude tent. I think it’s a Hogan but cant be sure. DH really wanted to take our home made much taller tent but went along with me. We did take a small home made tarp that has been in use for about 15 years and is still going strong.

We packed our other essentials of stove, pans, cutlery and food as well as warm clothes for off the bike. OK maybe a bit much for an overnight stay but its a bit of a “shaky down” for later trips this year.

Thursday dawned dry but it was 9.30am before we set off and typically it started to rain but undeterred off we went in waterproofs. Once through Yarm , it did ease off  but we had a head wind all day. We had a brief stop in Northallerton and set off again. Isn’t it strange , how we think we know a road and where things are. I know there are good bus shelters near Allenbrooke but had totally got mixed up and thought they were much closer to Northallerton. They are in fact not far from Topcliffe. Still , that is where we stopped for a lunch break  and glad we were of the shelter from wind and light rain. Its a good place to put on your small stove and make cheese toasties.

I was using my Radical design trailer and lost my flag between Cundall and Norton le Clay. I really didn’t want to go back for it but lovely DH cycled an extra 3 miles to retrieve it for me. Considering he would just as well have stayed at home, it shows his love and care for me, even after almost 45 years of marriage.

Boroughbridge campsite was flooded earlier this year and we discovered that the old manager has retired.  He was on TV  in January and it has happened a number of times. I am sad to see he has gone as he always found a pitch for us even when the site was busy. We did get our favourite place near the river and it was dry to get the tent and tarp up.

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It was a beautiful sunset over the river and the wind dropped 2 - Copy (5) We cooked pasta and chicken and as my friend H calls it “tarts tea” because it is all from tins and packets.   We were snuggled down by 8.30pm and slept warm and cosy .

DH woke about 3.30am and thought it must be later as it was just starting to get light. When he found out it was still early , he rested again until 6.30 am but then there was no stopping him. He is an early riser.

I got the stove on to heat water for a drink and to fill a flask and warmed home made teacakes ( a type of spiced bread bun)  to have with jam that my friend H made.

So by 8.30 am we were all packed and it was a beautiful morning, little wind and a bright blue sky. We decided to follow the Way of the Roses route up to Ripon through Bishop Monkton and Littlethorpe up to Ripon. We were there last year and I met a friend I hadn’t seen in years and was hoping she might be around. There was an open air ecumenical service last year but I think we might have been too early.

Small clouds were starting to bubble  , so instead of hanging about , we set off down the road past the clock tower and off up to Sharow and then along under the A1  and turning left to Rainton.  We soon passed through the village and along to Topcliffe and we had the rising wind on our backs as we rode in to Northallerton. A short stop to feed the inner woman and man and off home as cloud rolled in. We managed over 100 miles in the 2 days.

We were glad to be home before the storms hit but I still rode on Saturday morning in very blustery wind  arriving home from Stockton market just before the rain arrived. Another lovely week of cycling.


Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 19, 2016

Contrasting Weather

Well, it has been a week of every kind of weather being thrown at us. I haven’t let it stop me though. I kept singing “Don’t stop me now” over and over, driving myself mad – if I wasn’t already. One day after I had ridden in cold rain on my own, DH said that he is seriously beginning to question my sanity – teehee!

Monday was very foggy in the early hours and we cycled along the river getting very damp but by 9.30am , the sun came out and it was a beautiful day. However, I wasn’t able to enjoy it due to work commitments. Tuesday afternoon did see more sunshine so I was

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You can see that the wind wasn’t too bad  by looking at the smoke coming out of the works chimneys.

Unfortunately, that was almost the last of the sunshine but it didn’t put me off and I have managed 100 miles this week.

Today, we cycled in much stronger NE winds with a bit of mizzle in the air and went across to the RSPB reserve at Saltholme. I wanted to take some more of the signage they use, so here they 1 - Copy (3) photo 2 - Copy (3)

Just love the humour in these.

Thanks for reading if you have been.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 6, 2016

This is Really Spring?


The 1st March is the meteorological start of spring but to be honest, its been worse than earlier in the year when it was winter. Fortunately, for us, it hasn’t been as bad as further south in Leeds and the Peak district. Those areas had a lot of snow and we had ice earlier in the week but  that turned mainly to wind and rain. Still, I wasn’t deterred and got out on the bike. I had a lot of work on so I haven’t been able to get a full day cycling in, so mileages were between 6 and 16 miles. This has resulted in a weeks mileage at 76 and a total mileage of 707.5 miles for the year . I feel quite pleased at that.

I have plans to attend the Cycle Touring festival at Clitheroe during the late May bank holiday. I am hoping to use my Dahon Speed TR with my Radical Designs trailer and was intending to do a bike and OAP bus pass trip. Unfortunately , I have found the council have withdrawn funding support for the buses I would want to use, I have also been enquiring about the tow path conditions on the Leeds Liverpool canal because this could also be used. Unfortunately, the section from Skipton to Barnoldswick is reputed to be very poor, rutted and muddy, so that isnt an option.  Well only if you ride a mountain bike which the Dahon isn’t.

Still there is time to sort out a suitable route as I will be doing this one solo. I can really tell that the daily riding is  paying off and my fitness level has risen so much that my DH has commented on it,

My lovely friend C, gave me a necklace with a bike charm on it yesterday. She knows what I like.


Posted by: brendaintheboro | February 28, 2016

Lengthening days

This past week has been one of the driest so far this year and with lengthening days , I have been able to get out a little more. On 3 early mornings, I cycled along the river route resulting in 45 miles on the clock. On Thursday, I had a very early start with work, so I was out on my bike just after 5.45am in order to add a few more miles, but it was very cold and icy so I was careful.

On Friday, I had kept the day free of work and with a reasonable weather forecast, DH and I set off a longer ride. We weren’t too worried about wind direction, because it was only going to be 6-8 mph, which after the last few weeks is a very welcome change.

So we headed off northward through Norton and up to the Castle Eden walk way. It is a bit of a misnomer as it is also a cycle route NCN1 routed up that way. We saw a couple of very tame robins and I was able to get a couple of photos. Not great ones but I was happy to get them.IMG_2007 IMG_2008

We continued on and when we came to the junction with the Hart to Haswell  cycleway, we turned and cycled along towards  Hartlepool. Now , we had expected the paths to be relatively dry but it wasn’t so and there was a lot of muck thrown up. We had to stop a couple of  times to clear mud and gunk from DH’s rear wheel/ mudguard  area as it built up and made a noise that was irritating to me. His bike was filthy but mine was reasonably clean. Now can anyone tell me how that happens when we cycled the same route?

We turned up and rode around the Headland and stopped near the Battery. Here is a picture of DH near an old gun.IMG_2015

Hartlepool has the distinction of being the first, maybe only British town that was bombarded at the start of WWI. We stopped near the war memorial and I toasted cheese sandwiches and we had hot chocolate  as well. It was quite sheltered here but we still needed to don our warm jackets and I put on my windproof pertex pants as well.

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This is the beach and an old coal stave in the distance and the scars ( rocks) on the beach.

Continuing on into Hartlepool, we visited Bobby Davison’s wool shop and I picked up some more sock wool which will keep me going through the summer. I often take my wool and needles on cycle camping trips, so I will have plenty to keep me going.

We continued down to the coast again and cycled down through Seaton Carew and through the Saltholme Bird reserve. This cuts off a corner but the coast road still needs vigilance to ride. So back home we added another 47 miles. I had to take this sign.IMG_2017  It leaves you in no doubt about your route. If only we always had signs telling us when we go the wrong way  – ie. make a “detour”

Saturday wasn’t supposed to be a great day, so we decided not to do too much. DH spent some time cleaning his bike and had to use and implement to remove compacted mud. I would have said ” houk it out”  but many of you wouldn’t have understood north county language. teehee.

A cycling friend had contacted me about a book she had read and wanted to pass on – Life in Tandem by Jackie Winter- which I have started to read. Its quite good but a little inaccurate in places. Let me assure you Captain James Cook was born in Marton, now a suburb of the Boro, not Whitby.

We continued along to Stockton and back home along the river. I saw this bird , I think a cormorant but and probably wrong.

IMG_2019  It was spreading it’s wings to dry in the sun. There are also lots of back headed gulls and maturing juvenile swans on the river at present.IMG_2022 IMG_2021

Back along the river between the barrage and Newport bridge, there are many overgrown willows which are putting out there furry buds which we call pussy willow.

So this week I have managed to ride a total of 115 miles. I am so pleased with this but know because of work commitments I am highly unlikely to manage that distance next week.

I was hoping we would get our first  cycle camping trip in at Easter but the forecasters are predicting snow – Nooooo!!

Posted by: brendaintheboro | February 21, 2016

not so much cycling but lots more textiles

The start of the week was dire , with snow and ice, so Sunday’s ride was curtailed to 3 miles as the snow blizzard made my face freeze. As I cycled along , I made myself endure, thinking that it wasn’t so bad – it could have been June when we cycled across the polders in the Netherlands, in sleet.
Monday wasn’t much better, and as I couldn’t borrow an exercise bike, I resorted to cycling another 3 miles around the cultural hall of our chapel.
Tuesday was a better day , no snow just a brisk northerly wind and ice first thing. So in order to get in a ride , I visited my patients by bicycle and that got another 8.5 miles in.
Wednesday saw me with a streaming cold – itchy eyes and a runny nose – so no cycling as I needed to recover as I was going away. I missed a talk at our local CTC meeting to which I had been invited but was surprised to hear my doorbell ring. The lovely C had brought me a present. She made me a pair of bicycle earrings but I wont tell you the secret ingredient. heehee!

So Thursday dawned and I took a bus ride – well more than one to get up to Berwick upon Tweed. It was a beautiful day and my friend H and husband M picked me up from the bus station. I thought another day with no ride. Well, that wasn’t strictly true as they have bought e bikes and I tried H’s for a few hundred yards. They live right at the top of a hill , so the electric motor is fantastic for them.Brenda ebiking 2 Brenda ebiking 3

M had to hide behind the bus stop to take the view of me returning and unfortunately it doesn’t show Hume castle on top of the hill. They live in a stunning upside down house  – bedrooms on the ground floor- and they can see for miles on a good day , in very point of the compass. Because it is higher  and further north, you can see there was still snow about. Here is a picture I found of the castle.

I took up some of my sewing stuff – rulers and ruler feet to try on H’s Bernina 404 – while not a great fit on her adapter , it did well enough to do some on a quilt she is making and since I came home she has emailed to say she has ordered a foot and templates.

Friday morning saw us driven up to Edinburgh , to the show ground at Ingelston , to the Scottish Spring quilt fare. You may remember I showed some of my little light house quilts. Well I entered them to the show and got a runner up rosette  for my troubles. Not bad me thinks.TABLET - WIN_20160219_114913 TABLET - WIN_20160219_114857

I travelled both ways to Berwick by bus using my OAP bus pass , so it made travelling all that way extremely cheap – only 30p as one journey started before 9.30am on a weekday. While awaiting the bus home , a young Chinese man had alighted the train at Berwick, instead of North Berwick and he had a job interview. Explaining his plight to M, they immediately offered to drive him up there. Such kindness to a stranger . That’s just the sort of people Hand M are.

I bought a few things at the show including some circles for longarm quilting. Well , I am using them on a domestic machine with reasonable results. Still need more practice  but you can see the idea here.TABLET - WIN_20160221_094304 TABLET - WIN_20160221_094333 TABLET - WIN_20160221_094424 TABLET - WIN_20160221_094428

Now I am home again, I have started as I mean to go on , and got in a short ride this morning. Last week’s measly  15 miles , will need to be well exceeded this week

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