Sunday, 14 November 2010

On Me Bike is busy...

Lots of good things happening this Autumn - lots of interesting work in Loughborough and Nottingham, a new allotment and other things (...) keeping me busy. So blogging has been very neglected. On Me Bike is going to take a break, but I'm hoping to use my gardening blog to support my freelance work as well as keep in contact with people. You can also keep up with me on Flickr or even on Facebook if you're a chum.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Somerset Cycle Tour 2

One of the pleasures in cycle touring is coming across village churches, and stopping to have a look. For an atheist I've visited a huge number of churches - I love the history, the architecture, and even the feeling that people have worshipped and met here for possibly hundreds of years. I'm not completely soulless!

So here are just a few of the churches I visited back in July.

St. Hugh's Charterhouse, high up on the Mendips. Very distinctive, I haven't seen a church like this before.

St. Mary the Virgin, Cannington, north-west of Bridgewater. This 15th Century church has some powerful carvings on the outside. Is the face below depicting leprosy?

A similar church, Halberton St Andrew, but way over the Quantocks, near Tiverton.

Lovely carvings!

St Mary's Ilminster, a fine church in a delightful town, not only because there were four cafes to choose from!

Finally, Wedmore church, back on the Levels, and another dedication to St. Mary. This was propbably the most interesting on the whole trip, with many carved bosses and corbels. Most of these were inside and the photos aren't good enough for publication (!) but the external carving of a little devil below rather took my fancy, he's a bit like the Lincoln Imp.

I also looked at and photographed churches at Stogursey, Stringston, Bicknoller, Bishop's Hull, Hillfarrance, Brushfield, Kingsbury Episcopi and Compton Bishop.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

My new best friend!

After hankering after one for years, I've finally got a Brompton! With my new job it's going to be really useful as I'll be able to pop it onto the X9 after cycling into the city, then I'll be able to bike round Loughborough to meetings, etc. And if the weather is as lovely as it was last Friday night, I can just think "I'll cycle home!" and off we go.

It's a second-hand bike, and it was a sheer fluke I got it as they are like hens teeth - or nicked. I just happened to pop into the Framework Bike Club on the right day and got chatting about Bromptons within earshot of the right person...

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Somerset Cycle Tour 1

At last some photos from my cycle trip in July! I had a super time visiting friends and relations (you know who you are - thanks for everything!) and I also had time to look at flowers, butterflies and the wonderful views.

The bike (Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative Revolution Trailfinder) on the train to Birmingham. One of the huge varieties of cycle accomodation I encountered this summer... though I've a suspicion that this may actually be designed for wheelchairs.

The view from the road above Wookey Hole, where there is a lovely campsite.

This road takes you up onto the Mendips, where I had a great time identifying flowers and galls, and met this character, a Marbled White:

Later on, in Ebbor Gorge, I was excited to see two Silver-washed Fritillaries dancing about above the brambles. This is one of them.

I also came across this!

More animals which aren't what they seem at RSPB Westhay on the Somerset Levels - it's an otter carved out of a log.

Over on the Blackdown Hills (and actually in Devon) is Culmstock Beacon, with great views over to Exmoor across the Vale of Taunton Dean.

I came across this odd creature - it's a female Scorpion Fly.

And this is just one of many Gatekeeper butterflies which were fluttering about the gorse and hedgerows.

Similar but definitely different, a Speckled Wood.

Back on the Mendips, this is the viw from Crook Peak.

This was a great place for wildlife, with limestone flora including some real rarities (which I was unlikely to find on a short walk onto one of the most well-used areas). However it was nice to get this shot of a Common Blue.

And this of a Common Hawker dragonfly. Coming down the hill later, I saw a group of 10 or so dragonflies, all hawking together. What a wonderful sight.

That was just a few of the sights which made this such an interesting trip. Next post will have some photos of churches and the wildlife they harbour!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

On Me Bike has been on her bike...

...which is why I've not been posting. First 10 days in Somerset and Devon visiting friends and relations (super to see you all!) and then 10 days doing my version of the Cumbria Cycleway. I'll post some photos and comments at the weekend.
First though I'll be starting my new job!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Getting on me bike again...

It's been too long! A busy few weeks is all it takes to completely get out of this blogging habit.

It seems like a good time to take stock. 'On Me Bike' has been going for over a year and a half now, and while I've done some super cycle tours, and put lots of stuff about gardening in, I've not gone into much depth about the jobs side of the theme. Since the election it seems less amusing to recollect Tebbit's phrase. However, work-wise I've been on my bike all over Nottingham - Bulwell, Hucknall, Snape Wood, Aspley, and the Meadows, teaching gardening. Now I'm going 'on my bike' to Loughborough - mainly involving the train too as it's 20 miles! I'm starting a job-share in mid-August as an Access to Nature Officer with Charnwood Borough Council. It'll be good to be doing more nature conservation, and I'll be able to do gardening education the rest of the week.

Before though, I'm back off to the South West with my bike and tent again...

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Sunny Staffordshire

The first cycle trip away this year! A little too early for camping, and also the long-running saga of my bikes' hub cones and bearings mean that neither are quite up to carrying a full load. Quite possibly my knees would agree. So, another go at Youth Hostelling, and hit lucky with Sheen Bunkhouse, just north of the Manifold Valley in Staffordshire. It turns out to not actually be a youth hostel, though it's on their website. It's a farm diversification venture, but I hope they normally do better than this week - I was the only visitor! A very comfy place, a cross between a country cottage and an old-style hostel, but without the warden.

Sheen is a small agricultural hamlet, with just a pub. There's a Victorian church with some much older gargoyles outside, howling at the moon. (Or sun, in this case).

Just down the road a small field has some strange weights and pulleys attached to the trees and a hefty post. Took me a while to deduce that it was a tug-of-war practicing field, and later I saw the girls from the Young Farmers practicing, very seriously.

Opposite the hostel is what appears to be a tin tabernacle.

So, a pleasant few days photographing specialist lead- and copper-mine-spoil-loving plants, enjoying the scenery and the cafes, and discovering some very nice tracks.