I can't believe it's 2 weeks again since I last wrote. How did that happen? Maybe it was the shock of the MOT. It only cost £200. I was stunned.
I doubt you're any more interested in what we did 2 weeks ago than I am, but now my blog's become a scrap-book, and the summer pictures get me through the long Siberian winters. So I'll blog it all anyway.
2 Saturdays ago we went to the Lammermuirs. I've been cautiously increasing the amount of hilly running I've been doing, and then backing off if I have any problems. It seemed like a plan to go to the Lanterne Rouge for a coffee and then head up to the car park near the Hopes Reservoir. From there we could run to the top of Lammerlaw and back down again. Simples. Peter had to do stuff with his mum in the morning though, so we were late setting off. I hoped we would only have coffee at the Lanterne Rouge, but when it came down to it we felt we needed cake. What was it Marie Antoinette said again? Go on, stuff your face fatty. Something like that. Anyway, we did. We decided to share in some of the world's burden of obesity, which was kind of us.
It was damn hard setting off from the car though. It's all uphill and the wind was blowing quite stiffly in our faces. My legs were moving quite stiffly too, and very slowly, and I felt puffed. Too puffed to argue with Peter for long when he wanted to go up the near-side of the reservoir and round in the hope of finding adders. Needless to say we didn't find any adders. My legs slowly unfurled and I started to run a bit better.
At the very top there was a welcome breeze and quite a number of beasties; wasps on the cap stone of the cairn and then 2 types of butterfly - I'm tempted to say there was a chocolate and orange one and the other one was lemon and ginger. Just to annoy someone. I can't be bothered going around naming things. It's only the names we've given them, it's not their real names after all. Oh never mind.
The next day Peter went off and did some race. I was going to go a cycle, but hadn't got out the house by the time Mr Jubilant was phoning to say he'd only gone and WON the bloody thing. So I waited for him and then we took the bikes up to the Pentlands for a pedal around. Controversially, I had ordered a new mountain bike off Wiggle. Peter hates that. He thinks you should try things on first in the shop. My mind was on mountain-biking so I took my old mtb and we went round some of the trails. I can be a bit crap, but also, I realise now, my bike has been a bit crap for some time.
Coming down the track towards the ranger's station we again met Kathy and Graeme (as we had 2 weeks ago, on our cyclo swim). Kathy was showing me her super-swish mountain bike - light as a feather and with a dropper seat. I hoped I wasn't going to feel disappointed with my new bike after seeing hers. I knew it was going to be a bit heavy and it didn't have a dropper seat. Maybe I could put the seat off my typing chair on it?
Back round the other side, just past the Howe, I saw what looked like insects on the road, but looking closer it was a migration of tiny toads. These are just two of them. Sadly some of them had already been squished by passer-bys. The light was getting low so it wasn't so easy to photograph them.
Then another week passed. On Saturday Peter somehow tricked me into giving him a lift to the paint-shop in the van and then dropping off a bunch of equipment in Morningside, ready for starting a job on Monday. Since we were up that end of town anyway I suggested we go to the Pentlands for a change. I'm not saying I'm doing the Skyline but I have been thinking I might just see how my legs are as I really enjoyed the training for it last year, if not the race.
At Flotterstone we thought it would be rude not to have coffee and maybe even a bit of cake from the Pentlands Cafe before setting off. I sent Peter to get it and he arrived back with delicious coffee and blueberry and some kind of cheese cake. He said the guy said it reminded him of his grandmother as she used to make this cake for him when he was a little boy. We'd never found out where the new cafe owner is from. Peter was guessing Turkey but I thought that he had been in some forested mountains with bears and wolves, judging by the taste of the cake. It transpired that he is in fact Romanian and my cake-tasting intuition is uncannily accurate.
After coffee and cake we ventured out the van, only to be greeted by Fergus Johnston who had slept long and was only just setting off, and also the wood wasp pictured below. Peter and Fergus were having a good long chat and it seemed to me like we should get going so I suggested that they start off and I would "catch them up". Actually they both needed to go for a pee so I got a head start and they could catch me up. I hoped to hold them off for a while but even as I was just starting up Turnhouse I could hear them behind me and pretty soon we were side-by-side. I'm tired of trying to explain it, because it always falls on deaf ears, but there is nothing quite as dispiriting as running at full-pelt while the people beside you jog along at the same speed chatting. Thankfully they went ahead and I was left back in a more peaceful place. Conditions underfoot were very good but it was hot. I made it to the top in 24 and a half minutes, and I'm always quite happy if I can make it under 25, so I was pleased, if you can call that pleased. I nearly lost grandmother's cake at the cairn at the top. At this point Fergus ran on and he galloped off like a horse into the distance.
Seconds after leaving us we spotted Fergus disappearing towards the horizon. But I beat that other bloke (at Peter's hip) to the top of Scald Law - and he wasn't happy. Haha.
The run back down the road on hill shoes was painful but I'd had enough hills for one day for this trip.
Then yesterday I wanted to go out on my new bike. I had actually quite fancied going back to the Pentlands but Peter wanted to go to Dalmeny. I didn't really want to go to Dalmeny, but the wind was blowing from the west so it made sense to go that way. I must be going soft.
My new bike has big 29 inch wheels and good suspension, not like the headshok on my old Cannondale, which despite it being sent back to the Netherlands to be fixed at quite an expense, hasn't worked well for years. The big wheels make you feel like you can just bulldoze your way over anything. It was all working beautifully and I really enjoyed it. Despite it being a little heavy you can get a good speed up on it.
We went to South Queensferry by the road and as we arrived there Peter announced that he could now do with tea and cake. "You people" I hear you say, "and your endless cake". I know.
I have been in several SQ cafes recently and they suffer a bit from the booming elderly tourist trade. The town centre is full of bewildered people who have just arrived on coaches enjoying the full 3 bridge experience. I should be happy for them but it makes me want to run around shouting "Wake up! Hurry up!".
I'd seen the creative cafe on the edge of town looking just a bit less well-frequented, so we headed there. I liked it but Peter got a bit tetchy. The service was inexplicably slow.
Och I think he was just tired. After the cafe we went to a shell-beach adjacent to some scrubland. I thought maybe we would find a dead body, it was that kind of place, but to Peter's delight we found "Small coppers, small coppers". The variant with blue spots apparently. Amazeballs!
I liked the orange bugs best. And I liked the big housey-castle. I wish it was mine.
So I guess I better go and do something that will help prepare me for the week ahead. I might actually just read a book though. I bought a stack of memoirs recently, on a whim. I went out a run today and wore a rucksack because I had a package to pick up from Telferton. It was unbearably hot and I still have a big red face hours later.
Have a happy week.