Monday, 26 April 2010

the week that was

the plan - t wants to go away with her mother for the weekend. fitting that into my complicated work schedule was getting problematic so why not, i suggested, hire a cottage for a week and do that. t's only been to the tweed valley a couple of times and her mum hadn't been at all. so i hired a place that was only five minutes away from glentress. as you would!

in fact it was even better than that. the trail literally started from our front door so i refused to take the van anywhere for the entire week. t and her mum went off to all manner of places while i lolled on the couch reading and deciding which bike i'd take that day.

i'd taken four bikes. hardtail and suspension mtb, tho sadly and a bit lazily i thought, i didn't use the hardtail at all, and i took the bmc and the trek for the road. i only used the bmc once, discovered the headset wasn't right, got further irritated by the clever but not very adjustable seat and punctured on a stone (on a stone!) with my vapourishly thin race tyres. just as it started to rain. just as i discovered my spare inner had a hole in it. just as my pump broke. ah yes, that was a moment. fortunately there was a signal and it was early morning so t could come out on a rescue mission. the trek on the other hand. the trek was all manner of road bike loveliness. more upright and less aggressive than the bmc, sportive rather than race, it was like riding a pair of slippers. i liked it so much i think i'll buy another one.

anyway, despite my proximity to glentress the road conquered the mtb with the discovery of the ettrick valley. what an amazing road! no cars, no nothing, hills that go on for miles, it was sublime. my head was all full of james hogg ( i only bored t and her mum the once with an extended monologue on the undiscovered joys of confessions of a justified sinner). given that i lived not so far up the road for years i'm astonished i've never cycled around here before. i took the time to take my time, look around, i covered a lot of miles but at a human scale, not enclosed, out on my own.

not that the mountian bike was neglected, i rediscovered the joys of the gypsy glen and was up and down that and around the surrounds as much as my legs would bear. doing gypsy glen followed by glentress after the road rides tho, that was most likely a step too far! glentress i only did the once. even since last year it seems to have been furthered sanitised and despite lack of practice i still found it difficult to push the red descent to a point where i had to engage some skills, let alone brakes. while it's a brilliant resource and just a laugh to go to once in a while, it's not for me. i described latterly as a sort of mountain bike tescos. i'm astonished that the glentress carpark is constantly full while the likes of innerleithen etc still have plenty of space. that said once you're on the hill you see very few people. i think i saw about half a dozen at gt. everywhere i saw no-one. it was wonderful

all good things come to an end tho and by the end of the week i was comprehensively broken. i knew the weeks off with my knee would have an effect but not quite so much. my legs were empty and a couple of rest days were most certainly required. and off we came back to sunny, or not so sunny, home. there were no ba strikes, no volcanic disruption. if we'd been able we'd have booked another place and gone straight back down. tweed valley wins!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010


finally, in a month that's seen me doing nothing much except work i get a rare couple of days off together. i leave t at the felt mine and head off to see geo, who still hadn't got it together to sort the bike out he'd bought with me the other month. this and frustration with my non-working knee which, it turns out, may have been down to badly adjusted cleats but that's a whole other saga.

as it turned out we'd be cycling about in the sunniest weekend of the year. plus the tourist season really hasn't kicked off yet so we had all the tiny back roads entirely to ourselves, aside from a few cows. even the midgies aren't out yet. i return to work recharged and relaxed (as well as i'm straight into violence/police/court action)

geo loves his new bike and plans are made for another outing. i have only a couple of days left to work before annual leave and a cunningly engineered 'family' outing that'll see me getting a weeks action on the bike. nice.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

the poetry bus, this is the allocation of seats....

today we have the allocation of seats. yesterday
we had the writing. and tomorrow morning we
shall have all the departures. but today.
today we have the allocation of seats. grey clouds
glower over the neighbouring gardens.
and today we have the allocation of seats.....

i could go on but i think it would be cheeky to henry reed. anyway, time to say goodbye to that lovely flower (check out more here)

first up the short and sublime folded letters

and then it was like the summer when shaista arrived

next, the revolutionary jeanne

then, rachel who wants not one, but two seats, which is her prerogative

and peter who left his bag jacket and the shopping, just because he could!

titus arrives, flowerily (and i feel i have to coin a new adjective!)

me, i'm doing other things so i'm using the poetry diesel sparingly

dominic arrived quietly, thoughtfully, sucking on honey

tfe, not early, not late, chacking to see if i've damaged the paintwork

and emerging writer, in at the back

then, just as i'm getting awake, a swirl of arrivals

niamh, a manifesto of flowers

watercats drops out of orbit

poetikat making joy out of calculation

and making a dash at the last

it's argent in romantic mood

crazy field mouse, who i must have driven right by at some point, for which i do apologise

weaver, who likes her greys

the wordly pure fiction

and at last heather with the watch looking thing

and with that, while there's still space for any stragglers, i shall hand over the keys and alloow the bus to return to its native country where niamh will be setting the next challenge. seatbelts on!

what's that you're saying? you wanted to know what these things were? oh well.

the first one is an xray of an iris by nick veasey

the watch/shell thing is a detail of an exhibit at an exhibition i was in last year

the ecg is an ecg. those with an interest in such things should easily be able to spot what's in the process of happening in v1 and v2

lastly, but definitely not leastly, is that circular thing. i'm sorely tempted not to tell anyone what it is but i fear there would be complaining so if you don't want to know look away now.

a few weeks back we were out fiddling about with our spotting scope and i decided i'd have a go at taking an image thru it. what you can see is the water's edge, some bits of reed, and now that you've got some context you'll be able to just about spot a teal. honest.