Where to start… its been a busy few weeks again which has seen me travelling to Blackpool (by train), Norfolk (by car) and locally around Wiltshire (by electric bicycle!). I’ve also had a go at mountain biking at a local-ish mountain bike (MTB) trail! Lots of fun and lots of blog catching up to do!
First off, I’ll cover Blackpool and Crochet together. Regular readers might remember my Blackpool crochet trip back in April, for those who don’t, its simply a lovely B&B that almost exclusively offers knitting and crochet holidays with workshops, trips to local yarn shops, amazing food and great company. All at VERY reasonable prices. My latest trip was a couple of weeks ago now, a 3 day break with my Mum and my Aunt for ‘Crochet – Following a Pattern’. It was great fun as before, the workshop tutor was lovely and so patient with some of the less experienced crocheters and I got my teachers pet ‘star’ by teaching her something she didn’t know, haha!! I’m booked again for November’s workshop of ‘Fun Felted Bags’ which will involve me knitting… agh! Must practice at some point, then…! I really love Blackpool, even though we didn’t see much of it this time, the atmosphere is always that of fun and cheeriness. On the final day of our stay we were treated to a trip out to one of the many, lovely local yarn shops which was crammed full of yummy, gorgeousness. I might have made a purchase or two 🙂 Whilst there, I managed to finish a few projects, namely my delicious Noro Cassandra Shawl (finally, a Cassandra for me!) and a pair of socks from BabyLongLegs yarn. Yum 🙂
Back home again, I made the trip to Norfolk a few days later to collect my new-to-me, electric bicycle from a lovely friend who had upgraded to a newer, lighter model. A spot of homemade courgette soup (mmm!) and then it was back to Wiltshire, with the bike safely secured on the roof rack and the seriously heavy battery in the boot. Oh my, what fun it is! I am totally sold on electric bikes having ridden mine around since getting it home. Yes, I do indeed love my beautiful 6-month-old MTB and this in no way replaces it, let me be clear! But what it does do, is allow me to make further trips, without wearing myself out, without using expensive-to-run car and reasonably quickly too! Its fantastic. And perfect for helping me to pull my 4 and 5 year old children in the Shetland trailer, which is a bit of a chore on the MTB, if I’m honest. The Powabyke makes it all so effortless. Top speed is 15mph, coverage with pedal assist is approximately 30 miles apparently, although I have yet to test it this far. So far the furthest I have taken it is 6 miles to the next town, and back again. More adventures on the Powabyke, to come in future blog entries!
Next to mention is my Hot Air Balloon flight, which was simply incredible. This was a gift from me to my dear ‘friend’ (my male companion, in other words) for his 40th birthday which was earlier this year. After a few disappointing weather cancellations, we finally took off at the beginning of August from the beautiful Royal Victoria Park, Bath, in a fantastic red Virgin balloon. Before we knew it we were taking off and heading north. It was simply breathtaking! I had a mild panic mid ascent, once I realised that I’d been filming and viewing take-off exclusively through the iPhone screen, so casually stopped filming and took a cautionary glance overboard… oooh, that didn’t feel so good for a moment! But it passed quickly and the rest of the journey was great. Our pilot Mark, landed the balloon expertly at the end and then it was all hands to pack the balloon away before heading back to the car at Bath. I whole-heartedly recommend the experience, it really is one of those things you must do.
Lastly, my adventure at the Swindon Croft MTB Trail yesterday was the first time I had attempted an actual mountain bike course. I’ve done a little bit of ‘off-roading’ before, at Centre Parcs (Longleat) and some other local, rougher byways. The course itself is fantastic, very well kept and signposted, with dedicated parking nearby and plenty of places to sit and get your breath back. It consists of a ‘blue’ route and a ‘red’ route. The blue route is an easier, shorter route (approximately half a mile) and the red route is tricker and longer at approximately 1.5 miles and incorporates parts of the blue route. It was fairly quiet while I was there yesterday, with just three other riders other than myself and my friend Paula. They were much faster than us but were very kind and considerate and didn’t seem to mind that we were (a lot!) slower, encouraging us to carry on and not mind them. Much of the course is single rider width, with not many spaces for overtaking. It was immense fun, though concentration is key if you want to tackle the course with any sort of speed. My friend Paula and I took one run at the blue route and two runs at the red route, it was incredible fun! The blue run really gives you a taste of what to expect from the red route. There is only a slight slope to climb on the blue route, as opposed to quite a few slopes and inclines on the red. And of course, there are ‘opt-out’ routes around some of the larger and tricker rocks and steps so that beginners can avoid the bits they’re not comfortable with. All in all, we spent a very enjoyable hour riding the trails yesterday and I’d love to go back again soon 🙂 No pics I’m afraid, I was far too busy concentrating on the course to stop for pics!
Speak soon! X