Sunday, 24 June 2012

A TRIP ALONG THE SOLAR SYSTEM AND ALMOST BLOWN AWAY

Well it was worse than expected. I arrived at York after a terribly wet, spray ridden journey, parked the car on the road approaching the racecourse and had a little trip into the city on the bus. That would be the only opportunity to do so this weekend. Had a nice sandwich at a very reasonable cafe and got the next bus back.

The entrance to the site was chaotic. Part of the racecourse was under water and so all vehicular traffic was going through one entrance, and oh boy was it muddy. There was a Manitou tractor pulling people out of places they had got stuck in.What had made it worse was the heavy plant delivering the large marquees and equipment used on the show had churned the ground up before everyone else wanted to go in. I believe the Rally was almost cancelled but it was really too late, people were on their way and so it went on.

I eventually found my plot, not bad and not really wet. My tent played a merry game with me when I tried to work out which way round I should pitch it. Then I moved the car umpteen times to place it in front of the tent to keep some of the wind off.

The whole night the wind howled around my little tent. I knew it wouldn't blow away with me in it! I would have been like the Wicked Witch of the East or West if it had. Halfway through the night I had to put my lovely merino blanket inside my lightweight sleeping bag as it wasn't quite warm enough because of the cold wind chill. After that I was cosy but stiff. My new from ASDA camping stove spluttered a lot despite being surrounded by things to protect it from the wind. I will not use a stove anywhere near a tent.

The next day we went for a pleasant if windy ride to Riccal passing along the way the planets! See my photos. The ladies of the Church in Riccal make a special effort for the cyclists and bake yummy cakes and scones and sandwiches for us. We always do them proud and we would have braved a thunderstorm to support those lovely ladies and the odd couple of gents.

The show was less well patronised than usual owing to the weather and there were fewer exhibitors in the marquees. We sat in my friend's camper van that night after going out for an Indian meal. It rained all night.

We woke up to rain, then suddenly it disappeared, and the sun shone, still windy though. I was going to stay another night but was quite a way from my friends so decided to call it a day and go home. I bought some useful items from the saddlebag sale, a very good quality cycle rack pack, a pair of climbing trousers and a cycle jersey, very unusual design, oh a pair of cycle mitts, half price.

Do you like my crochet saddle and tube covers? I made them for a bit of a joke really, TH thinks they are a bit twee.

I hope you enjoy the photos. If you want to know any more about them let me know.













This is the York/Selby Cycle Way which is a lovely route through meadows with a couple of cafes and a garden centre on the way. It is quite an undemanding route and very suitable for families as well as more aspiring athletes.

On the way we passed a bridge with sculpture above, near the Marina at Naburn, just before the old railway station building, now a cafe and B & B.




The next photo is I believe a coal cutter.

Just look at the spread the ladies of the church in Riccall put on for us. I think the tea was 60p and the cakes were £1. You have just got to eat at least two, or even take some back for later.




Do you like my crochet saddle cover and tube protector, which I made for a bit of a joke, for my Brompton. I don't have room in my boot to take my normal bike so the Brompton comes in handy. Not so good for cycling over the campsite though with the muddy grass and small wheels. Still quite a fast run out on it on the cycle track.


I just thought I'd grab a picture of my tent before attempting to fold it up. My poor old 21 year old car looks very scruffy, covered in mud, I'm glad I didn't bother cleaning it before going. It will need a good hose down. I did fold the tent but not so tidily as I did the first time. I somehow thought that after folding it, both outside edges should have been the same colour. It came together though, and I can have a look at the You Tube video and have another go. Just look at the mud tracks behind. Don't be deceived, large vans needed to be towed by a tractor to get from the show ground to the entrance.


Right, see you next time then.

It would be really nice if you commented, even just to say hi, otherwise I'm not sure if I'm writing a load of rubbish!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

FORECAST - RAIN!

Well, another York Cycle Rally with lots of rain forecast. What's new? I'm getting my things ready and don't know what to take, clothes-wise. I know I've got the car but I hate to over-pack. It could be wet, cold, wet and cold and there could also be hot spells.

I hate getting onto an already wet bike and then having to get my wet self into a tent. I hate to say this but I'm very envious of my friend who has a camper van. I can't stay in it with her as she is there with her husband. When we had our old van I used to sleep in it when wet, rather than put the tent up. It's also difficult to even brew a cuppa as I would be afraid to light a stove in the tent.

Oh well, we shall see what transpires. There is a hostel/B&B on the York/Selby cycle path at what used to be Naburn station. The lady running it knows my friend, she was involved in some sort of social work training with her. I've met her a couple of times so if it's really terrible I shall see if she can fit me in. It's very cheap.

I feel very sorry for the people organising these events when the weather is bad. Fewer people turn up and they lose out on the daily attendance fee for non-campers.

So, I will be back next week and hopefully not bore you with some photos.


Wednesday, 13 June 2012

NOW THE BIKE PART (DECORATED VARIETY)

In a couple of weeks I shall be going over to York for the CTC Cycle Show. I've been going there for more years than I can remember and seen such changes in the content. Previously it was full of earnest CTC old timers who struggled there on their bikes with full panniers and saddlebags, carrying their camping gear. Usually the tent was coffin shaped and everything was very well organised.

Well, you think I did that? Did I heck! When I was a child I used to cycle tour with my parents, in fact all our holidays were cycle touring. We stayed in B & B, which were cheap in those days. Often my Dad refused to stay in a place after being shown a room, as the first thing he did was turn the bedclothes back. In a couple of places the beds were either mothridden, or had never been changed from the last occupants. That was in the 50s. Things far different nowadays.

So, I drive over to York, with my non-lightweight tent in my car. I used to drive in our van and if it rained, slept in it. Since TH sold the van, I am unable to do that, which restricts my bicycle companions to one small folding bike, or if I can be bothered, taking the wheels off my MTB.

It's usually partly hot, partly cold, and partly rainy, accompanied by a strong wind, as we camp on the racecourse, which has got to be the flattest part of York.

Let's hope this year that the weather is warm, dry and with a slight wind only, that means putting up a tent is not so traumatic on one's one.

Here's a little idea of some of the fun bikes you will see at York. I'll post some up to date photos if I find anything interesting. These were by a historic bike  group and I absolutely loved the decorations on them. The last two were such a coincidence, I was parked exactly opposite to the yellow Citroen van, mine was the Maestro van, with my recumbent trike alongside. For those observant ones, note the 'half a caravan' in the background. The owner of that visits every year and he built that. I was camped next to him one year so he always comes and talks to me. Last year, he told me that the van had become unhitched and was damaged beyond repair.

Double click on the pictures, they come up quite large and the flowers/beads look good when the picture is enlarged.







Monday, 11 June 2012

ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY - BY BIKE!

Well, I wish it was really escape but have to make the most of a fine day and have got out of going to a car show with TH at Garstang. I do get a bit bored 'sitting in a field' as I call it and like to be off and away not static.

I was going to just collect some eggs and come back as I've not done much cycling recently because of the weather. However, when I got past one point it didn't seem worth turning round so I kept going, to a little circuit I do when I want a 'ride' locally.

Birchwood Business Park has been made very attractive over the last few years and the buildings which used to be The Atomic Energy Authority and its canteen have been re-faced, and a lovely pond and grass area constructed in front. The main building is now let out to all different businesses. I used to work in one of the buildings, called Y block when we were dealing with the building of Hinckley Point Power Station, which has now been dismantled and de-commissioned. That is also let out to various businesses.






The building next to the lake is the Restaurant. Members of the public can go there and eat and I keep forgetting to meet up with friends there. At the rear is a new gym. This is about a mile from where I live, across the park.

Next, over to Croft and the church, and I called in the graveyard to take a look at the grave of a friend who sadly lost her life walking in Scotland when she slipped on the ice on a ridge and fell to her death. I haven't been for a while but was thinking she and my Dad got on very well, so just went to look. Her grave looked very sad and neglected and so I think I will go in the car soon with some soil and some nice plants that will last a few months. I think the relatives who lived close by have moved as the soil in the containers is so full of grass roots, it needs to be replaced. I put primula on for a while which lasted but there is no sign of them now. It is in a lovely country churchyard, with wide open spaces, but very flat countryside.



The lovely orange flowers were along the side of the main road, when I reached it, I would love a cutting as I am not sure what the flowers are. I went to look next at the garden centre but couldn't see any like it.

At the garden centre were some point of lay hens for sale and hen houses, with a run and a house for them to sleep in. I am not sure how free the birds would be but the hut was around 6' wide by 10' long and taller than me. They were selling them for over £400 pounds although I think a joiner/carpenter would be able to put one together for half that price. There were some little birds in a smaller run and maybe someone could tell me what they are. I think they might be Quail.



I often have a pot of tea and a biscuit (only an inexpensive one) but today I hadn't intended calling in so didn't have much money and I also wanted to buy some eggs from the farm, so just drank my water and bought a chocolate covered Kendal Mint Cake for 65P. I was amazed that the cakes were 2.50 at least which I think is extortionate.

On the way back I called at St Oswalds Church, Winwick, which is a grade 1 listed building, currently having lots of work done to it. It is a very ancient church and nearby, there is a St Oswald well, which I have yet to see. There is a bit on the internet about the church, which I will not go into here, as it would take all night.



On the way back I will call at the farm/smallholding where I buy my eggs and potatoes from. Today they only had eggs, all the potatoes had gone, fortunate I didn't need any. Look at all the old ads on the walls. There is an honesty box in the building and if you don't have any money you can pay it next time, leave a note in the book. There is a nice little dog which makes a fuss of you when you go. I often take it a tin of sardines. It is actually a pedigree but I can't remember what breed it is.



She wouldn't sit still for me when I pointed the camera, she just wanted to come up to me for petting.

Home is about 3 or 4 miles away, I don't have a bike computer. So I hope you enjoyed my little ride with me. It is in total around 16 miles but I really wouldn't want to go around in the car to check it, seems a bit pointless.

Next time I will probably show you some pictures of some decorated bikes taken at York Cycle Rally a few years ago. They are so pretty. I shall be going there in a couple of weeks time camping on the racecourse, we shall be doing some minimal cycling, getting together with some friends. I'll post some pics of it if there is anything of interest.

Till next time.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

A TRIP AROUND CARNFORTH AND A BRIEF ENCOUNTER

A few weeks ago I went up to Carnforth area to visit TH's aunt. My sister in law was staying with her and as I don't see her very often I decided to get the train up there. Travelling from my station via Manchester meant I didn't have to cross my local town to get from one station to another. Simples! The same price too.


It was bank holiday so the trains were packed but I spent the journey talking to a young lady who worked for the Students Union in Macclesfield. She was something to do with Environmental issues and was travelling with a fully loaded Brompton bike, and bits kept falling out of her bags. I helped her and we just sat on the floor the whole way chatting.


It's so nice being in the house I am staying in, makes you feel like being in a very large, comfortable armchair. All the stresses and strains of everyday just flow away. Helped also I might add by playing around with Ukelele, guitar and a goodish quantity of wine.


I'll just show you a few pictures of the stay.




The Famous Clock and the slope up to the Station






Once the prices can be seen, it is clearly 2012!










The first two are a local Monastery (with Nuns) and the public are allowed to walk through the grounds and visit the chapel. The grounds are beautiful and the house varies in periods as it seems to have been added to over the years.


Of course, readers may recognise the pictures of Carnforth Railway Station, where the railway scenes in Brief Encounter were filmed. I have transferred them into black and white to be more atmospheric. The two at the counter are supposed to be as close to the film set as possible. A museum has been set up in the other parts of the station.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

RETURN FROM HALE VILLAGE

Just in case anyone wants to see the rest of the photos, here they are. It's a little bit late in the day but I do hate unfinished business.

From Hale village, I had to cycle about a couple of miles on a road before getting back onto the trail. Pickerings Pasture has been very well done and looks as if it has been like that for years. Probably it was just fields and some of it industrial land. On the way back there are views of the Mersey with the Industrial area in the background, a contrast to the pretty meadows. The steps getting over Ditton Brook are shown better in the photo coming back. Quite steep.

Pickerings Pasture

The Bridge over Ditton Brook, showing the steps in the background

An information board about the Pasture

Industrial Widnes, sorry missed the one with Widnes Bridge on.

Spike Island at Widnes

Some of the artwork along the trail. The Mersey is showing through the gaps



I look a bit uneasy here, I always forget how to set the camera on self portrait 

This is Fiddlers Ferry Power Station from the canal bank. This picture, or one like it was in the local paper



Well after that I cycled home along the trail and was really hungry. I think cycling on trails is always harder than on the road because of the rougher surface. Much nicer than roads though.

I hope you enjoyed this trip with me. Until the next time. Please leave comments, I'd like to know that someone is reading.