Monday, 25 June 2018

Another weekend

It's been a terrible weekend with the sun burning down. Thanks goodness the skies were a little milky on Saturday by the time we went out. Peter had stuff to do in the morning so we didn't set off until (even) late(r than usual). In the morning we checked the scores on the doors for the WHW race and were please to see that Nick W had set off steady and survived the first night. As the day wore on he moved decisively through the field.

We took a trip down to Gullane. Yep that's right. Peter was full of talk about butterflies. He was going on a special butterfly trip on Sunday and was ever so excited. I half listened. Sometimes.

There are gull chicks on the roof across the way.


Every week there is something new going on down at Gullane and this week it was swifts, and kites.
Swifts are pretty hard to take  a photo of. They're um...swift. Some of these might be swallows too. I don't care.

Oh yeah, swifts and kites and long grasses. There were some very long grasses and the pollen count is "very high". I'm not sure I've ever seen that on the weather forecast before. Sure enough, neither of us really suffers with Hay Fever, but we were both sneezing a bit.

Peter found the trap door down to the underworld but managed to resist going down.






It was good to get down to the beach again. Because we'd set off so late it was super-late by the time we finished and we still had to do a food shop at Tescos. Tempers might have been testy, but we survived.

When we got home Nick had worked his way forwards from 31st place to 15th place and was on the final leg of the journey. Shortly after that he finished - now in 13th place! Hurray! That was easy!! Well done Nick.

The next day PB was up and off early to go to his butterfly convention in Berwick. I took my bike out with a 50 mile route in mind. The sea at Portobello was sparkling and the day unfolded nicely from there.



Solo cycles on the road are pretty hypnotic and I don't have much to say about it. I had some excellent cake back at the Lanterne Rouge - this time the chocolate and Guinness cake. A bit further along the road, Mr Badger, who we'd seen 2 weeks previously and at the time was protesting his untimely death by giving off a mind-blowingly terrible smell, had calmed it down to just a bit of a whiff. There was much less of him than there was before, too. I guess if you cycle the roads regularly you get to know the road-kill. There was a deer in the ditch half way up the road from Aberlady to Haddington, but something had been eating it so you could see its ribs.

To change things up a bit, instead of heading home via Cousland I headed onwards to Dalkeith and back into town that way. 

PB arrived home quite soon after I did. He hadn't worn any sun tan lotion so his head was bright red.
Dragonflies had been the thing. Butterflies not so much.

Has anyone ever watched Bojack Horseman? We're addicted to Bojack Horseman on Netflix. At first it seems too preposterous a premise to bother with. An insecure and depressive ex-actor who is also a horse? Don't be absurd. Watch it a few episodes and you'll be hooked.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Not the Hoy Half and not the 7 hills, but 2 cycles and 2 runs.

On Saturday it was peeing with rain. Peter was resting up with the 7 hills race ahead of him on Sunday. We didn't enter the Hoy Half Marathon this year - we were going to and then I was so injured back in March there seemed no point. So that would have been on Sunday. Peter had entered the 7 Hills instead. I thought about it - thought it would probably be a waste of money and then remembered it didn't cost very much so went back to enter but by then had missed the boat. It was probably just as well. I went out and ran 10 miles in the rain on Saturday and had no real problems from my legs - there's no more stopping and stretching any more and downhill is no longer problematic. It was the furthest I'd run in a while and I was surprisingly tired afterwards. I had a nice snooze with a book on my face in the afternoon.

Sunday, Peter was up for the race. I wanted to go a cycle and had planned a new route round East Lothian but there was a west wind blowing and I didn't want to cycle too far east only to turn around and have the 2nd half all into a head-wind. Cycling west isn't so inspiring. I guess it gets more and more built up the further inland you get. One of these days I'll follow the "cycle route 76" around the Forth right round to Alloa and back but I didn't want a cycle of that magnitude and if the route from Blackness back to South Queensferry is anything to go by I'd say I'd need to do it on my mountain bike, which is harder work. 

So anyway, I headed out to South Queensferry up the cycle path for shelter from the west wind - went out the road way and came back through the Roseberry estate.
I was a bit grumpy. I don't know why. The people in South Queensferry were wandering around in the road in a fact everyone was wandering around in a daze and getting in my way. I chastised them with my bike bell which sounds like an old fashioned telephone. Ha, ha, take that! "Brrring, Brrring!!!" I think maybe I was grumpy because I wanted to be doing the 7 hills race. It plays to my strengths.

Peter had a good race and came back pretty chipper (and smelling of drink!!!). He'd come in well under the 2 hours which had pleased him.
 Yesterday I was meeting a friend at lunch time so I went for a quick burl (running) round Arthur's Seat again and again had no problem on the hills.

Today I didn't have work because I'd booked the day off way back in the year when I still thought we'd be going to Hoy. I have to book time off a long, long way ahead - it's to do with waiting lists. I was just as glad not to be working anyway. Once again I wanted to go out a cycle and once again the west wind was blowing. Then I remembered a plan to cycle up to Flotterstone, go to the cafe there then cycle the path through the hills and pop out the other side at Balerno. So that's what I did.

The stretch on the A702 out of town to the Flotterstone road end is fairly terrifying. It's a shame there's no real alternative. Happily nobody killed me so I got to have an excellent Americano and a scone the size of a gorilla's fist at the Pentland Hill's cafe. The owner and his girlfriend were friendly and cheery as ever. They were playing 80s rock anthems which were terrible but also catchy so I rawked out of there and up the road.

Damn it's been a while since I've been in the Pentlands. It was ever so nice. The air was really lovely and fresh. I didn't even mind the wind in my face because it had been filtered through lovely green mosses and heather. I must go back soon on my legs.

It was fun being on the bike. I was quite glad Peter was not there to witness some of my less heroic moments on the chunky gravel path. I can hear him anyway, telling me not to be a pussy. I'm sure it's probably illegal to call your girlfriend a pussy. I might get him arrested. I should.

Anyway, it was all good. I need to win the lottery. I've wanted the Howe forever and it's up for sale. I could just dot about doing wee runs and cycles and eating scones forever. But I need some finance. If I won the lottery and could buy the Howe and didn't have to work I would be kind to people in some way. I definitely would.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Slow doon June!

It's happening again. All the adventures and photos are mounting up. Well you know it's been sunny and we've been cycling and running...that's the summary anyway. But going into greater detail; last Saturday we went for a run round Gullane. There weren't a whole lot of butterflies but there were splendid poppies and a plethora of dragonflies at the Marl Loch, which saw Peter giving in to temptation and wading into the murky, weedy water to get a good shot of them. I wasn't for getting eaten alive so I ran on. It was a very still day and it seemed like an ideal day for a swim, so we went in when we were finished. The sea was still, but it was also surprisingly cold. I had worn my shorty wetsuit because it had seemed more than adequate a week or two before, but I got pretty chilled pretty quickly so came out again after less than half a mile of swimming.

The next day we had to plan another cycle. I was afraid we'd run out of ideas but actually they seem to be coming thicker and faster. Peter was now tuned into this dragonfly thing and he had heard there were some excellent ponds at Saltoun Big Wood. "Saltoun" is one of the names on the signs we've started to see regularly as we've been cycling around East Lothian, so it seemed a good enough idea to cycle to the Big Wood and then (my idea) onward to The Lanterne Rouge at Gifford. Every good cycling day out requires a good cafe stop and I'd been hearing very good things about this particular cafe. I'm not complaining but we'd set off kind of late - so just usual for us - and we spent an awful lot of time in the woods. It was a big wood. There were excellent ponds and although we didn't see much in the way of dragonflies we did see many tadpoles and a whole lot of newts. You could live on a house on stilts in the woods fairly easily I reckon.

Nearly 3 already - chances of getting to the cafe getting slimmer.

Eventually we emerged out of the woods and set off for Gifford but it was well after 4pm  and we realised there was little chance the LR would still be open, so we took another road for Haddington in hopes of catching Falkos. We arrived there just 3 minutes after it had closed for the night. So we went to a pub and had a pot of tea and a bag of crisps each - so the 2nd cycle in a row where we'd ended up eating crisps instead of goodies. Humph. I like goodies.

Then a week went by and it was Saturday again. We both slept in big time. Peter had been back to the Big Wood and this time had his fill of Dragonflies, arriving home triumphant and filthy well after 8pm.

So the next day we set off to Gullane again. Well what's the point of going to lots of different places if the same place throws up something new and good every week? Peter was kind of planning to do Traprain Law Hill race, but he'd fallen on the steps at Waverley station the night before and now his knee was all stiff. Plan A. was that we were going to go a run and then I'd drop him off at East Linton, but his knee was still kind of sore, especially on the downhills, so we just took our time. We headed east instead of west for a change and ran down through Archerfields to the beach. In the van on the way there, amongst all the chatter about the Big Woods and the Dragonflies, Peter was predicting what we'd see. "What d'ya think we'll see today? Cinnabar moths?"
I resisted this push to see the future. Experience tells me these predictions lead to expectation in very little time, and then hot on the heels of expectation comes disappointment. Why not just relax and see what's there?

Well there were more poppies.

And there was a spider with a green 'hing.

and a boat

and a lighthouse and...

A Cinnabar Moth!!!! 

Dressed all elegant like Dracula.

And after that we went to the Jimmy Saville Woods to see if there were any Speckled Woods and...
There were!!!

Then we had a little paddle and bathed the remains of my injury and Peter's sore knee.

Damn I'm tiring now. Bet you are too. Just one more to go. 

Another Sunday. This time I'm going to get to the Lanterne Rouge if it kills me. We're going there FIRST mister, no arguments. We went directly there - and it was still 3pm by the time we got there. We're just not an early morning team unless we have to be. This cycling thing is getting easier though. It takes very little effort to get organised to go. Inside the Lanterne Rouge there are delicious sweet lemony flap-jack things on the counter. I WANT THAT!!! says me, Little Britain style. I think I'm a bit low blood sugar. And a delicious mug of coffee. I think Peter opts for rhubarb cake and coffee too. In the corner sits Robin, husband or partner of Anna Henly. I've met him once but Peter knows him much better. Peter chats to Robin and I eat sweet lemony biscuity flap-jack as if my life depended on it. The coffee is delicious too, but it's quite late in the day so I turn down a refill. Oh my God, Peter is accepting a refill. Holy Shit. Pretty soon he is in full voice, and then for quite some time afterwards. We set off for Butterdean woods which Peter has skirted through on his adventure to the Big Wood the other day. He wanted to return for a closer look. He sort of marches me around all the paths very fast and talking a lot. He's disappointed because there are no ponds and therefore no dragonflies. "I can't help thinking there should be ponds!" he tells me. It is well-late by the time we emerge from the woods, it's 6.30pm and we're both starving. 3 miles into our journey home Peter complains the saddle on his bike is shoogly - I suggest he see if he can tighten it and as he tries this our it comes off in his hands; sheared off at the nut. So he has to stand in his pedals the whole way home. Lucky he'd had that extra coffee. I did offer to take a turn but he turned me down, declaring my bike "stinky".

Poor wee sausage. Unbearably cute fox cub.

It was 10pm before we had our tea. I'm a bit tired today.