Sunday, 22 April 2012

Biking it not running it

As the hoards pounded the streets of London in one of the biggest sports events of the calendar, I was in preparation to do my own marathon distance - only I chose wheels as my means of getting from A to B.

On the 13 May, I'll be cycling 40km (actually just under marathon length approximating to 25 miles) around Woburn Abbey in the women only Cycletta event. No great surprise that I'm raising sponsorship for Macmillan Cancer Support, which happens to be the main charity partner for Cycletta, and I am doing it as part of my year of fundraising for this cause.

I've been getting out on the bike most weekends and today was no exception. Last weekend and this I've been upping the distance and today B's iPhone informed me I covered 33.4km in a little over two hours. The longest cycle since I was in my early 20s. It makes me wistful to think how long ago that was!

Anyway, pretty good don't you think? I was pleased. Only 7km more and I've done the distance!

Today's cycle took in Milton Keynes Millennium Cycle route. One of the good things about Milton Keynes (yes, there are some good things you cynics out there), is the network of cycle paths and the amount of green space. OK, that's two things. The Millennium Cycle is almost all off road, and even the bits on the road are pretty quiet. It takes you around lakes, through parkland and beside the canal; past some lovely old houses as well as skirting the inevitable rather less attractive estates. There is plenty of wildlife if you're keeping your eyes open (which you need to do of course - not least because of all the dog walking that goes on!).  Last week on the same route I was fairly sure I saw an Egret (white, heron-like bird). Can anyone confirm if these are found in this neck of the woods?

Today I was also incredibly lucky to avoid the rain. The heavens opened two minutes after getting home.

We had rhubarb crumble for pudding. A good day all round then.

[To sponsor this effort: www.justgiving.com/year-for-macmillan]

This was a publicity shot taken the other day. Pippa thinks it's very silly because I'm wearing lipstick and clearly I shouldn't be wearing make up for a bike ride!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Double birthday weekend

When I was a teenager I was not much of a cook. My repertoire consisted of macaroni cheese and not much else. I famously (infamously?) managed to cook a pizza on its polystyrene base when my pals were round.

So it is a little surprising that I've turned into a baker. OK, I've still got plenty to learn but I managed to make oodles of tasty cake for our double birthday weekend over Easter. It was Dad's 70th followed hot on the heels by P's 7th. And I made an accordion. Get me!



The weekend passed in a blur of butter cream, chocolate and catching up with extended family, including the much adored younger cousin for a day visit on the Sunday. It was lovely to have everyone visit. The girls miss their grandparents and it had seemed a long time since, as they might put it, they'd seen their 'silly, funny old granddad'.

Now she is seven, P is really growing up. No party! Instead this weekend it is a birthday treat and we (the four of us and P's best friend from school) are going to the theatre for Northern Ballet Theatre's Beauty and the Beast followed by a meal out somewhere. How nice not to be preparing sandwiches that would end up in the bin, cooking cocktail sausages, wrapping pass-the-parcel, buying tat for party bags and getting stressed about who moved or didn't in musical statues. We're going to have a lovely day.

The birthday cake is long gone, so there'll be none congealing in a fancy serviette for our guest tomorrow.   I'll probably be taking a rest from baking for a couple more weeks, as it has not done the waistline any favours, but it was very satisfying at the time. We have a family get together in June to celebrate this 70th birthday again joint with Martin's 40th of earlier this year. Now what cake can I make for that party I wonder... a musical note perhaps? All suggestions welcome!