Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Fabulous tea and cake at Hawarden Farm shop

'Did you get my message asking if you could lead the Ladies ride on 10 September? I'm walking the Sandstone Trail that weekend and it would be great if you could help out !' said the voice over the phone.

Coming back from holiday to 522 work and about 260 private emails, it was no wonder that I missed Sue's desperate request.
'Of course I would help' I said. 

Privately panicking as I haven't been cycling for about 7 weeks which included my 4 weeks on holiday.
It is always a challenge to plot a ride. Plotting or mapping a ride for yourself is obviously easy as you are always forgiven when you make a mistake, but when I have to plot a route for an unknown number of ladies, it is a bit ( hugely!!) more daunting.
Sue agreed that we haven't been out towards the south for a while. Rides tend to go more East Cheshire way so I'm always keen to do a south stint which is territory that I'm more familiar with. So quick thoughts settled on taking the girls to Hawarden Farm shop. The weather also didn't look great so a quick flat ride was what was needed.

I convinced a good friend of mine to come out with us for the first time so she and I set off at 9am to meet up with everyone else at 10am at the Community Cafe. We arrived first as planned and were just sitting down when the girls began to arrive one by one. At the end we were 10 which was great! The group were girls that were cycling regularly so they could keep up with the pace.

We posed for the compulsory starting picture (without Jane who vanished into the pharmacy buying anti-histamine!) and set off on the ride.

The weather was looking threatening but held off the whole way to my obvious delight! The route took us down the bike path towards Connah's Quay until Deva Link where we zig-zagged through Sealand to join the bike path along the river, heading for Higher Ferry. Walking and part cycling over the bridge took us past the Airbus factory - pity the wings weren't transported then as I think it would've been a good spectacle to watch! The last part of the Hawarden Farm Shop approach was winging our way up a hill past the most glorious Blackberries, Rosehips and Elderberries! I've recently been converted to foraging so my eyes are now catching all these delicacies in the hedges. The cake and tea at the shop didn't disappoint. A number of the girls haven't been to the shop before so they were very pleased to be cycling there.
The weather were almost threatening - we were feeling a few drops when we sat down with our tea but rain only started on our way back towards Higher Ferry.

Some girls went their own way after the Farm Shop and others were happy to peel off as we went along. Jo lead the rest of the group back along towards the river. Thanks Jo !!

The route went well and I was very happy that all my mapping happened as it was supposed to.

Thanks everyone; it was a really great day out  :)

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Autumn time

I have a lot of catching up to do. This usually happens when you are away on holiday and come back to a house full of dust, garden overgrown and email inbox full to the brim!

Finding time to fit things in is always an issue especially if you struggle to prioritise. And then there is time for yourself that is needed as well as time for all the other issues you are engaged in.

I went away to sunny South Africa for a whopping four weeks. I spent some time with family out there and also toured the whole of the southern coast (Port Elizabeth to Cape Town). The tour then extended from Cape Town to Bloemfontein which was all done by car through the lovely Karoo. As it is winter time now, the days were between 15C and 25C but the nights were cold. As the houses aren't centrally heated, you need a heater and an electric blanket especially in the remote high altitude parts like Sutherland and Britstown.
I've seen some cycling whilst I was out there but didn't get any opportunities to do it myself. The cyclists that I've seen were mostly on roadbikes and one group was even cycling on the motorway! Not really something that I would do but I guess the roads that were available weren't as direct as the motorway.

The time just before my holiday was packed with things to complete for work and also some other exciting events like attending The Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on 19 July. I was one of the fortunate recipients at my work's draw and enjoyed the experience very much. So many people and so many cups of tea and little dainty pastries!!

A week has gone past since I've arrived back from holiday and I'm still struggling to catch up but am slowly getting there. Ironing pile has gone down, email inbox has been won and house is cleaner than it was. I do however still see places to clean but I guess that will be an ongoing thing and that the battle of house clean is never won.
The one thing that I haven't done so far is doing a bike ride. I was itching last week to get on my bike and when an opportunity arose last Friday, I hopped without delay on my bike to do an 8  mile return ride just to be caught in one of the heaviest rain deluges ever. I had to seek shelter 3 times and was soaked to my toes.

I'm itching to get on my bike and go somewhere. Just forget about work, house and everyting else occupying my thoughts and cycle. Maybe just go for a short ride somewhere, have a cup of tea and cycle back.

After all, that is such a soul cleanser and it needs to be done to stay sane. Make time for yourself to have time for others.