Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bit of a theme here?

Books; always lots of books at Xmas. I love it; I'd struggle to live without books and often have three or four on the go simultaneously. This year's haul included:

by the wonderfully-named Twigs Way. She has a refreshingly different take on allotments, majoring more on their place in social history than "plant yer carrots here, sunshine". She is also strong on allotments in Eastern Europe, as are the Eastern Europeans of course. Our Polish friends, before they moved to their current house, had a huge allotment with a two-storey summerhouse on it. Imagine getting away with that here. But it's a good read and I commend it to you.

But that's only one of this year's Xmas themes, and there isn't much going on at the allotment so I'll ramble off down a scenic byway for a moment. Also included in Santa's goody bag was:

I realise this may seem a tad odd, bordering more on pain than pleasure, (and nothing to do with allotments so you'll just have to indulge me in this) but I've always been keen on cycling UP hills, ideally long, hard & difficult hills. And there are some crackers in this book:
  • Fleet Moss - the highest road in Yorkshire
  • Kirkstone, Wrynose & Hardknott passes in the Lake District,
  • Crawleyside - out of Weardale
  • Winnatts Pass & Curbar Edge - in the Peak District
  • The Stang - out of Teesdale

Done them all, he said modestly. And a few more. But I was younger then; much younger. I think I may have had more legs to call on; I certainly had bigger legs, with bulges in places where nowadays I don't even have places.

And I've never done the Big Daddy of the British Isles - Bealach-na-Ba or Pass of the Cattle, in Wester Ross. I do recall standing at the bottom of it in 1968, aged 18, thinking Oh Lordy, No, that's just way too long & steep. But of the 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, I find I've already done 17 of them, albeit none of them recently.

So that's the intention for 2011, to get out and up some big hills, from the list and some others. It's a challenge from my younger self to my older self, to get out & do the job properly. What's that you say? Middle-aged fool, trying to relive his lost youth? Fie, be gone ye doubters; I can do enough of that myself.

Before this whole thing gets under way of course I first need to re-instruct the cycling legs in their true function, for they have been lamentably under-used of late. I may even be tempted to do a separate cycling blog to relay progress. In the meantime, here's a pic of times past.
This is my bike on top of the Snake Pass, sometime in the early 1980s. You'll have to take my word for it that's it's my bike, because I'm taking the picture aren't I? Doh! So why didn't I just get some passer by to take the photo with me in it? Because there weren't any passers-by, is the reason; the road was officially closed to all traffic because of the snow. Except bicycles, self-evidently. It seemed like a good idea at the time; actually, it still seems like a good idea even now!!

I hope you've had a great Xmas and are likewise looking forward to 2011.


RobD said...

I may need to start putting up more shelves here too ;>) Love the allotment book, I'm far more interested in the social history than someone telling me how and where to plant stuff (not that I haven't got plenty of them too!).

Bike book makes me feel guilty. It's been some years now since mine was used 'in anger' was never a great one for the really big hills but I do remember the days when I used to do a swift(ish) 25 miles into the Peak District before I went to work. You should start off on Hagg Hill, you can stop half way up to say hello ;>)

Green Lane Allotments said...

I'd read that some eastern Europeans have allotments where they can go and stay over the summer months. People on our site have threatened staying overnight in their shed after a spate of vandalism but that's bout it!

Woody Wilbury said...

Thanks Rob; Hmm, Hagg Hill, now that's a thought.

Mind you, if I stopped halfway up to say hello I might not actually be capable of speech.

Woody Wilbury said...

Hi GLA. I confess I am tempted by the notion of having a sleepover at the allotment, but should probably have built the shed a bit longer!

mc55 said...

well my bikes haven't been used by me since I got my allotment.

I'm rubbish going up even the slightest incline, although one of my bikes is a heavy beastie - it's a Cove G Spot - full on downhill bike from Vancouver ... had lots of fun with it in Chamonix & Morzine :)

RobD said...

I'm sure I read/heard somewhere that people used to go on 'holiday' to their allotments down Rivelin (and presumably other sites?) during shutdown weeks. Guess they had the river and/or paddling pools to clean up in ;>)

Nutty Gnome said...

I was on Curbar Edge yesterday - it was flippin cold and heaving with other people!

I've done 'em all (on foot) except Crawleyside and The Stang so I'll take my hat off to you if you do 'em all on yer bike! :)