Friday, 27 April 2012

Three weeks to Bergen

I'm looking out of the window at the incredibly heavy rain and counting off the 21 days till I head off to Bergen, Norway on the first leg of my cycle trip around the North Sea Cycle Route. Twenty-one days may sound like a fair amount of time, but I know from my experience last year that the evil fairy of cock ups makes sure you only  just scrape together the necessary plans in time. (When I went to New Zealand last year, I arranged my proxy vote for the election at the airport.) I managed to defeat the evil fairy by making extensive lists - which, as I have mentioned in an earlier blog, is the way to save the world. It was touch and go last time but I made it. The main problem was that the bike I was taking was not up to the job. Hang on a minute, I'm taking the same bike with me this time... but I'm sure it is okay this year... gulp. The problem was the handle bars wouldn't come off, but that's sorted this time and you may have seen my beautiful new butterfly handlebars (on my blog)  which are designed to make my life easy as I cycle around the 3000 miles of the trail, haha. Whether I make the whole distance back to Scotland, is down to where I have got to by the end of July. I have decided that I must be home by then to welcome my daughter Zoe and grandson Soli who will be here from Melbourne for a month. So, if I happen to be in Holland or wherever, I will hop on a train and do the  rest of the route another time.
I'm guessing that the hardest bit of the route will be the first bit. Bergen is near the fjiords and no doubt the coast line will be hilly. By the time I get to Holland it will be nice and flat. It might sound like I don't know much about where I am going, but I have been reading up bit on the very good web-site called NSCR North Sea Cycle Route, it's well worth a look . By the way, my bike is getting new tyres and a cycle computer fitted. Those together in new front panniers and my brand new Smartphone (to put travel reports on my blog) and 'I'm good to go.' Although, I'd better not get to cocky or the evil cock up fairies will get me.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Running weather

The only thing that has been dependable in my activities over the last week or so has been the sunny and cold weather. I'm pleased about this because it suits my outdoor activity pursuits, in particular it's just right for running. Now, I have to admit that I am enjoying running again, not least because my runs have been quite varied. The Dunbar 10km a week  Saturday confirmed for me that I am feeling much stronger and not running out of stamina so quickly. I started near the back of the field and gradually picked my way forward and came home at a good lick. Since then I have been getting out every couple of days. I did my second set of hills reps in living memory last Friday, up Trainers Brae, near the Leisure Centre in North Berwick. This session really does blow out the cob webs and I'm sure it helps improve your form. On Sunday, I went for a long run. I have been building these up over the last month, with a view to surviving in one piece during the Edinburgh to North Berwick run on 5 May. I have gone from 1.15, 1.30, 1.45 to 1.55. On Sunday I wanted to go over 2 hours and a variation on the Sunday routes I have been doing came to me. Started from the house as usual and ran down the railway walk, but this time instead of cutting off at Cottyburn, I carried on to Longniddry. Then I took to the road and headed towards North Berwick. Just past the ruined castle I turned right and headed up to Huntington and Coats farms. After that it was up the Bangley quarry hill and left at the top instead of straight on. On down towards the A1 but detoured through some fields to the roundabout outside Haddy. After that it was onto the old A1, and a left past Dodds seed merchants, and along to the wood track back to the Pencaitland road and on to the river track and back home via Nungate. The result was an interesting and varied run, which I bowled along well in a time of 2.08. I knew I had a good run because I had that hollow feeling after it that tells you there is no glycogen left.
On Monday, my friends Margit and Pete arrived from Munich for a holiday. Today we went along to   Coldingham beach and the coffee and cakes at St. Abbs.

 The waves at Coldingham were the biggest I have seen in Scotland. Harvey had a great time running after the ball into the sea and scored one tremendous wipe-out as he rescued his ball from the surf. When we got back I ran my old favourite along the Tyne and up Seggarsdean farm and home via Nunsgate. The run was done in a respectable time and showed I had recovered well from Sunday's efforts.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Art, Love and Life: North Berwick and Bass Rock

Art, Love and Life: North Berwick and Bass Rock: Here are a couple of different views of North Berwick. I've been going to the Art Group there for a couple of months and getting to like the...

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

North Berwick and Bass Rock

Here are a couple of different views of North Berwick. I've been going to the Art Group there for a couple of months and getting to like the place more than ever. There's such a variety of things to look at. This water colour takes in the harbour and North Berwick Law. The boat in the fore ground is called 'The Girl Pat.' I was told by someone in the Art Group that the owner named it after his daughter. There are some sail boats outside the harbour, no doubt associated with the local yacht club.

 My daughter, Sally is well into surfing. That's her on the left with one of her Joxy club  friends and a big Bass Rock in the background.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Paintings for sale at Longniddry Library, East Lothian

'The Garden'   Yes, this is the water colour painting I use on my blog (at the top!) It can be yours if you pop along to Longniddry Library.

Easdale and Ellenbeich, Argyll. This is a watercolour painting of the old jetty at the quarry. It is the second of my two paintings for sale at Longniddry Library, East Lothian.

These two paintings are part of a display produced by the students of Sheena Phillips.