to Beverley and (almost) back

I know we said we’d go to the flatlands of Holderness yesterday, but as the Beverley Festival was on, we thought we’d ride over there and take a look. National Cycling Route 66 goes through Hull and Beverley, so it seemed a sensible way to go. Round here might be flat, but my word, the wind blows, and coming out of Cottingham was like being in top gear (no, not Top Gear).

Hmmm … the cycle track crosses a railway line. Behind barred gates. Barred locked gates. We’d already gone a couple of miles out of our way by missing signposts, so “I’ll climb over it”, I said to Pete. He looked a little taken aback, as this time last year, I had difficulty climbing a footpath stile, but I did it, and we lifted the bikes over. Twice (once each side of the line). After that the route became very rough, which did my knee in a bit, and a bit further on, almost at Beverley, the road was so narrow that I didn’t feel comfortable riding at all, so I pushed the bike for a mile or so. By the time we arrived in Bev, we’d done 11.7 miles, and I was bushed.

There wasn’t a lot going on in the town, or if there was we missed it. We saw some Morris Dancers, followed by Appalachian ones, and there was an open mike in the Sun (where we stopped for a (half pint of) beer and a sandwich), then we set off for home again. This time, we used the main roads most of the way, and that was a bit scary too, as I’m not used to traffic, so I rode on the pavement.

By the time we got back to the city I was absolutely knackered, and my knee was hurting, and somehow I actually fell off the bloody bike – still don’t know how. I didn’t do any harm to myself apart from some bruises, and the bike is fine apart from a bit of plastic trim from the front gears, which Pete has glued back on. I was pretty shaken though, and we were only a mile or so from home, so he pedalled off and fetched the car and bike rack, and picked me up.

I decanted myself into a hot bath, then had a lazy evening in my dressing gown, with tea and toast and Marmite. Bit battered this morning, but not too bad – glad I was wearing jeans and cycling gloves, though!

it's summer!

I had a parcel waiting for me at the sorting office, so I planned to go for a ride on the silver machine – collect the parcel, and come home via a scenic route. I dragged it out of the cycle tent, fitted the old lady’s wicker basket on the front, opened the gates, locked the doors (it’s a tedious business), set the GPS … and down came the rain.

It was bloody freezing – cold wind blowing, rain, etc. I pedalled womanfully round to Harpings Road, collected the parcel (Terra Plana shoes of fabulosity!), and came home via the Avenues; 3 miles rather than the 8-10 I had planned. My route was a little longer due to the arse in a big white van who had decided he really couldn’t be bothered to pull into the NHS car park in the tenfoot* by the Westbourne Health Centre, and instead would completely block the way; you could have got past him, carefully, on foot, but a bike wouldn’t fit. Given people use that tenfoot for access to their drives, he was being really quite selfish.

Pete made us some drop scones for breakfast, and then we went off into the city. On the bikes again! Called round to the bike shop and swapped the now redundant mudguards for a pair of fingerless cycling gloves, and went and looked at locks in the locksmiths, but I felt £28 was a little steep – I’ll carry the rigid lock for now.

Parked up in Victoria Square, then had a mooch round the shops. Pete wanted to try on some Docs, as they have stopped doing half sizes, and I wanted a couple of bits for the gym. Then we went down to Queens Gardens to see the Gig in the Gardens – sadly a very poor turnout, due to the weather, but we wandered round the stalls, talked to a load of people, got an “End Racism” wristband, and had a really nice lunch from the Anatolian stall at £4.50 for the two of us.

It was too cold to hang around for long, so we took ourselves round the Ferens Art Gallery. One floor was enough – I was over arted by the time we got to the maritime pictures, so we’ll do those another day. We treated ourselves to a cup of tea and a slice of cake in the cafe, then rode home again. The blue beast was collected, someone came round to try the purple bike, roast asparagus and pasta was consumed, and Doctor Who was watched.

Today we vaguely plan to take the bikes to the flatlands round the coast, but Pete has a very nasty cough so we’ll have to see how he feels when he surfaces. And I have Stuff to do a big chicken and chickpea tagine in the slow cooker.

*tenfoot is the name given locally to the alleys between the backs of the big terraced houses here – they’re ten feet wide (you could guess this, really), and were used originally for carriages, I think. These houses have huge gardens, and most people have garages at the end, so they use the alley for access. Unless a sodding great van is in the way, of course.

Hull to Hornsea

17 miles on the flat – how hard can it be?

Well, given that it’s only my third bike ride in about 20 years, it turned out to be pretty hard. Not the cycling itself – the route is nearly all cycle path, mostly built over an old railway track, and although the surface is hard going in one or two places (die, shale!), it’s all quite manageable. Although my tailbone hurts 🙂

About 4 miles out of Hornsea, I really was worrying about getting back, but Pete pointed out that we could get a bus home, and go and collect the bikes in the car, which made me feel a lot better. The problem with that route is that there is virtually nowhere you could be collected, due to it all being miles away from roads.

We had lunch in Hornsea (steak and kidney pie for me; with chips! – I felt I’d earned them), and after a walk around the town and along the prom, I felt I could tackle the ride home.

What was difficult, for me, was the endless getting on and off the bike for the endless cycle gates – I find that difficult to manage, and on the way home, I was actually walking part of the way where I knew it was a short blast between gates to avoid this. By the time we got back to the outskirts of Hull I was in bits, really, and when we came through the big underpass, where I had to get off and push, Pete was nowhere to be seen. I don’t know that part of the city, and was completely lost and got quite panicky – hardly any battery in the phone, so couldn’t check on Google maps. I had to phone him and ask the route.

It’s clear now that the specialist bike shop in Bristol sold me The Wrong Bike – it’s too big for me, and too heavy, and we’re going to have to sell it and get me another if I want to do more of this (which I do, I do!). Also, despite [cough] an extensive shoe collection, I seem to have nothing suitable for cycling.

With hindsight, it was a bit too ambitious – I did want to take the the car to at least the edge of the city (with the bikes on the rack), but Pete is ridiculously reluctant to do this, $deity knows why. Next time, I shall put my foot down, or he can go on his own 🙂

Anyway, made it home, and collapsed into a nice hot bath, followed by Pete-made wholemeal scones and pigs in blankets, a pack of which had been lurking in the freezer since the festive season. Then Doctor Who, an episode of Outnumbered, and a very early night.

Don’t feel too bad this morning, apart from the graze on my foot – wrong footwear error (see above). Bit achey, but not nearly a bad as expected.

Today holds examining bicycle and readying for sale, someone coming round to collect a trampoline via Freecycle (given to me when I bought the exercise bike, and definitely not my thing), a couple of errands in the city, followed by a visit to the LibDem “thank you” party, then chicken stuffed with blue cheese, accompanied by asparagus and new potatoes.


Bridlington beach

Pete and I had the sense to get married on a bank holiday – 29 May 1999, to be precise. The weather then was biblical, with a huge thunderclap as we left the register office in Weston-super-Mare, and rain that sent the wedding guests hunting for gopher wood. No matter, as it was a joyous day.

We planned a day out to Bridlington to celebrate this year’s anniversary; the forecast was not encouraging, but a little rain never deterred us, and we sallied forth, armed with various layers of windproof and waterproof clothing, and a flask of warming tea.

We started with a walk along the beach for a couple of miles, which was almost deserted. The tide was on its way out, leaving loads of streams running down towards the North Sea, some of which were too wide to leap across, and too deep to ford, even in sturdy walking shoes, but it was lovely all the same.

Then lunch (liver for me, something I never have at home, and fish pie for Pete), and a mooch round Brid’s charity shops, which turned up two pairs of size 14 trousers for me, and English asparagus and strawberries from the market. Then we went to see Flamborough South Landing, and then for a couple of miles trek around Bempton Cliffs, the RSPB sanctuary.

Then home to Doctor Who – a grand day out, Grommit, and it hardly rained at all.

On Sunday, I went into Hull to do some necessary shopping, while Pete finally mended the wing mirror on the car, went to get a headlamp bulb, tested the bike rack we bought before we moved and never even opened, and fettled the bikes.

And yesterday, we loaded said bikes onto said bike rack, popped into Asda for bulk cat fud, nipped into the motor factors for the *right* headlamp bulb and a number plate for the bike rack, then went to Humber Bridge country park, where we took the bikes for a 5 mile ride along the Hessel foreshore (Runkeeper map here). It was a beautiful spring afternoon, and I could have gone further, but that’s how far the path runs, and I don’t feel confident in traffic yet.

We bought these bicycles at least 2 years ago, and probably longer, but I’ve only been on mine 2 or 3 times – I was so desperately unfit, and Long Ashton was quite hillish. But I’ve been using the exercise bike, and more importantly, it’s *flat* here.  The time was not spectactular, but it involved several on and offs at cycle gates, which are too narrow to ride through, even if my cycle steering was up to it. The bike felt very big and heavy, and the back brake needs adjusting, or possibly a new cable, but it was really nice.  Next stop: Spurn Point, I think, but not this weekend, as we are sallying forth to that Lunnon for a wedding (hurrah! – see lots of you there!).

So that was our bank holiday weekend – hope you had a good ‘un too.

weekend 22-23 May 2010

eagle owl

Both Pete and I have a great fondness for birds of prey, so when we saw there was a falconry display on today at Burnby Hall Gardens, in Pocklington, we decided to visit; it’s a pleasant drive of about 25 miles from here.

It’s a really nice place – two ponds chock full of water lilles (although they’re not out yet) and some of the fattest koi carp I’ve ever seen, together with an occasional duck. The place was packed out with families, and yet had a really nice tranquil feel to it; lots of people had chairs, blankets, picnics, the Sunday papers etc, and were clearly set in for the long haul. We’ll be visiting again, I think.

The falconry display wasn’t great – it’s just too hot for the birds to want to work, and the gyr falcon really didn’t want to play and kept flying away – and who could blame him? Still, an enjoyable afternoon sitting in the (too hot) sun – we took a small picnic, and indulged ourselves in an ice cream too – I couldn’t decide on flavours, and so was Bad, and had a double of ginger and cherry; delicious.

Tonight there will be feta stuffed chicken breast, Yorkshire asparagus and Jersey Royals, although I’m dreading actually cooking, as it is Far Too Hot.

Yesterday afternoon was spent in the Zacharia Pearson pub with a subset of Hull twitterers for the #hullmeetup, and most enjoyable it was too. We may have made some business contacts as well. However, too much wine (in my case) and beer (in Pete’s) was consumed.

weekend 1-3 May 2010

For various reasons, we couldn’t attend the wedding of Kate and Tony – so sorry to have missed it, it sounds as though it was a cracking do, with all sorts of folk we’d have love to see …

Instead, we threw ourselves into leafleting for the LibDems; Hull North is a marginal, despite Diana Johnson having been parachuted in for Labour in 2005, and gaining a 7000 odd majority; the bookies all have her and Denis Healy, our LibDem PPC, running neck and neck, and there’s a real feeling that he might just do it this time.

I don’t know how many leaflets and envelopes we delivered – not as many as some, I know, but Lots. Pete and I tried last night to work out where we’d been, and we can’t even remember that, to be honest – Scully Lane and round about, the Avenues, the endless Murrayfield, Fairfax Ave, round the Dukeries, two deliveries on our own street. Pete did even more than I did, and I’m knackered. I don’t think I’ll have time to do much more before the day, but I shall be telling at our local polling station at 7 a.m. on Thursday, before disappearing off to York for the afternoon and evening, for another Show of Hands gig, and then sitting up for as much of the night as I can manage; we have no television or aerial point in the bedroom, so we might just pull out the sofa bed!

Who you vote for is your business, but please – DO VOTE.  Even if you think your vote is wasted, turn out and put your cross in the box, because if you’re not recorded, then how can anyone know what people actually want, rather than what we get?

And ask yourself this: if David Cameron is so keen on giving people control of schools and so on, why isn’t he in favour of giving us electoral reform so we have control of our electoral process?

Oh, and the aforementioned Diana Johnson has been leafleting the constituency telling people that Denis Healey supports her. Now, to many of you, that would imply (correctly) that she means the former Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer, but here in Hull North, Denis Healy (note different spelling) is our local LibDem chap – underhand sort of trick, really.  I thought her Denis was dead, and looking at the photograph she’s used, I might well be right.

weekend 17/18 April 2010

Saturday was quite lazy really; Pete manfully cycled firstly into town, to fetch more oats and ingredients to make muesli, and then with his trusty bike trailer to Pets at Home, to purchase cat litter and bikkit, thus dealing nicely with both ends, as it were. I caught up with some Desperate Housewives, tried some low GI-ish sort of baking, and went for a walk through the cemetery, which is full of lovely spring flowers. And dead people.  This brought me out at the end of Princes Avenue on the side of the road I never go – dangerous.  I found two nice shops selling bits – and bought some lovely red beads in the form of a necklace and a bracelet, and some nice greetings cards. Oops.  I was going to go home via the park, but I stopped in the local Sainsburys for some stuff, and the incredible string bag was a bit heavy, so I only did a couple of miles. That was my activity for the day, as far as I recall. Watched the rubbish Doctor Who, cooked a prawn and fennel risotto (with 20% less rice than usual), and a rhubarb crumble (with wholemeal flour and oats), which will do us three days instead of the usual two.

river near DriffieldOn Sunday, we ventured forth to Driffield, a market town in the Yorkshire Wolds. Had a mooch around the town, then set out along the canal for a bit – about 5 miles all told, I’d say. There’s a set of photographs on Flickr if you’d like to see more – a lovely walk, and we shall go there again.

We stopped in Beverley on the way back, as I wanted to pop into Lakeland (it’s quite dangerous living within spitting distance of a Lakeland shop). We bought a new pair of oven gloves (planned), and some small plastic boxes for the freezer, but woe – they have discontinued the range I love, and replaced it with horrible ones with rounded corners, and taller lids, and they won’t stack like the old ones 🙁 I shall write and complain.

Then into Julian Graves for supplies of ground almonds (low carb),  dried cranberries, some yellow raisins, and some chocolate ginger (which ought to be for Pete, but they’re hard to resist …)

Supper was lasagne (with half the amount of pasta I usually use) followed by teeny portions of the rhubarb crumble), but that’s OK because breakfast was three crispbread with marmite and a boiled egg, and lunch was a cereal bar in the car (felt a bit odd after the walk) and half a wholemeal banana muffin. We watched The Dark Knight – at least, Pete did. Far too noisy and splody for my liking, and a bit violent for its 12 rating, I thought, so I gave up about 40 minutes in.  He loved it though, so I’m probably a philistine.

And today, my scales tell me I am no longer officially overweight.  And I don’t care what anyone else’s say.

we didn't get to Scarborough …

scavengerBut only because I realised that once we reached Scarborough, we were only 20 miles from Whitby; it was a gorgeous spring day, so we decided to press on.

We stopped first at Robin Hood’s Bay – I’d only been there once, nigh on twenty years ago, I reckon, on a holiday with Clare and her dad (in those days, we did occasionally take holidays all together, even though he and I were divorced – so civilised :). I remembered it being a charming place, and for once my memory didn’t let me down; lovely village set on a steep hillside with the North Sea at the bottom, full of little lanes and alleys, and flights of well worn stone steps leading who knows where.  We had a good wander about after a sustaining cup of tea (and fruit slice to share) – it was busy, but not horribly so.  I bought some beautiful red glass earrings, some purple fishnet tights (!), and a pair of crocs – so ugly, but so comfortable, and I still have hardly any nail on my left big toe, after the wheelie bin Incident at the beginning of December, so I don’t want to wearing my normal warm weather foot uniform of FitFlops just yet.

After RHB, we carried on to Scarborough, parking up by the Abbey. I don’t remember there being a charge last time I went all those years ago, but they wanted £5.80 each to go and see the ruin, so we decided against it. We climbed down the 199 steps to the town, which was very busy .. almost, but not quite, too busy to be enjoyable.

Good mooch around, up to the marina, down to the harbour wall, fish and chips eaten in the sun sitting by the latter. Then we climbed back up the 199 steps, and that was a real pointed to how much fitter I am; I doubt I could have got up there without a couple of good breaks 4 weeks ago, but I went straight up!  I was out of breath at the top, but so was Pete, and I recovered quickly, so go me 🙂 We rewarded ourselves with an almond Magnum (a severe disappointment – wish they’d had the dark chocolate ones), a wander round the bit of the Abbey you don’t have to pay for, through the cemetary and back to the car.

The iPhone battery couldn’t cope with such extended strolling being tracked in Runkeeper, even with an emergency charge from the external battery pack, so I’ll have to estimate it, but we must have done about 5 miles.

Home to Dr Who on the Tivo (boo to the BBC for starting late, so we missed the end), several mugs of reviving tea, and a couple of crumpets.  So much for the diet yesterday … And Scarborough will be there another day.

Easter weekend 2010

We had no plans, because the weather forecast was so horrible, but actually it wasn’t too bad, at least in the mornings.  On Thursday, we decided to walk to the appropriate Post Office to tax the car – this involved a round trip of  6.7 miles (on top of the 2 miles + swim I’d already done that morning).

We had a “down day” on Friday, just pottered about the house, and on Saturday we did another short walk of  7.3 miles over to Ennerdale Leisure Centre to book a gym induction, as they have “lost the coach” at the local council gym (how careless).  They could do it there and then – £12 each to be shown how to use a stack of machines that a) we know how to use, and b) are not the same at the machines at Beverley Road was, we thought, something of a ripoff, but hey ho.  We walked there along the river bank, and on the way home decided to walk on the other side of the river; this was fine, until we ran out of path, and in getting back to civilisation, had to cross some very damp terrain, and I got water in my trainers; this was officially Not Enjoyable, and I had a grump.  Rest of the day was slumpage.

Hessle foreshore />On Sunday we actually got the car out (shock horror!) and went over to the Humber Bridge Farmers’ Market. It seems you need to get there a lot earlier than 11 a.m. if you want any bread; it looked as though a plague of locusts had descended, but we picked up some locally milled wholemeal flour and oats, which I’m pleased about.  Then we strolled along the Hessle foreshore for about 3 miles (can’t be sure, as the GPS/Runkeeper ran amok, and thought we’d actually crossed the bridge). Came home and cooked a roast chicken with roast veg and new potatoes.

Sunday evening brought a bit of a panic, as one of the web servers had threw a wobbly, and we couldn’t log into it to make it stop (it had a load average of 453 when my log window gave up!).  In the end we had to ask Merula to reboot it, which they did at 23:30 – above and beyond the call of duty, really!  We got up at 6 on Monday morning, and upgraded some server components in the hope of putting a stop to such nonsense, then had a slumpage in the afternoon, although I did do 8.3 miles on the exercise bike while finishing episode 1 of Cranford.

We also managed to watch the two movies from Lovefilm that had been sitting on the coffee table for about a month: Wall-e and In Bruges. Very different, of course, but both utterly excellent.

weekend 27/28 March 2010

Saturday involved a short walk (5.68 miles!); we followed the old railway path, and then carried on mooching.  It was a lovely morning, and we just sort of kept going!  Came home and constructed a salad of chickpeas and tuna and stuff, and fell asleep on the sofa.  Badgers.

Sunday we were due in Thornton Le Dale, near Pickering, at 11 a.m. to collect the exercise bike I bought on eBay.  Again, a lovely day, so we decided to pack a picnic and explore the area a bit. So I heated up the oven bit of the microwave, and bunged in a couple of part-baked baguettes to bake, while I went and had a bath.  charredImagine my horror to come down to find a smell of burning in the kitchen, no control lights on the microwave, but the element still glowing red hot, and the baguettes in a somewhat charred state. I still can’t quite get over just how lucky we were – it’s not unknown for me to shove stuff in that little oven and go out, and the house could have burned down.

We bought the microwave from eBay on 16 December, and I have sent a Polite e-mail to the (business) vendor.  No response yet.

Pete hurtled up to Jacksons^H^H Sainsburys and purchased some wholemeal rolls, and preparations continued apace.  We took the rolls, a couple of apples, two Jordans cereal bars, and a rather elderly home made banana muffin, and a flask of tea.

Exercise bike duly collected, along with trampoline and gym ball, and we had a wander round Thornton – pretty little place, with a tiny market where I bought a pair of memory foam heel inserts for my shoes, as my left foot had a nasty stabbity pain – they were only a quid and seemed to work rather well.

From there, we went to Pickering – wandered all round the hilly town, climbed up to the Castle, which was closed (of course), and ate our picnic in the Co-Op car park.  Then home via Old Malton, where we had another wander about – must have done 3 miles or so in those trips.

On our return to Hull, we sallied forth to attempt to buy a new combi microwave – I use ours so much I didn’t want to be without it.  We found one in Currys; not something to get excited about, but Iggy does like to sit on the big silver box, so it was important that it was dealt with promptly.

We had a friend over for supper, and dined on moussaka, garlic ciabatta and salad, followed by plums with an almond sponge topping.  Lovely weekend, apart from the burning martyr element of it.  And now it appears to be going to rain for the foreseeable future, so it’s a good job we made the most of it, really.

p.s. the bicycle is really quite hard work.