Anyway, thankfully my crap back isn't being too crap lately, as I've really needed to escape the house and get amongst the countryside, as stresses and anxieties have been ramped up again in recent days.
If I can do it, getting out on a bike with the cameras can push my reset buttons and restore some level of equanimity. If those stresses become too much, or my back too bad, to go for a ride, well then things really do become a bit of a strain shall we say.
Writing this blog can help at times too, writing is a good way to divert the mind away from all the guff spinning around in my head.
It takes some care and forethought too, going for a ride, given the IBS side of things. Dinner the night before is a no-no for a start. If I'm planning a ride, or have to go out the next day, then something like a sandwich or toast is all I get. This at least lessens the gripes, bloating and erm... turbulence, as well as the chances of needing to dash to the loo at alarmingly short notice. Immodium also have a part to play too.
All of which is possibly too much information, but that's the way things are at the moment, and despite the lack of proper dinners and suppers and what have you, I actually managed rides on consecutive days this week. A case of having to really, as mentioned earlier, I needed to get out, and anyway, when I'm stressed, eating falls by the wayside anyway.
All this limits how far I can ride of course, as my tanks are running on empty a lot of the time, but hey ho, any ride is better than no ride at all.
Ok, enough of all that, back on topic, and my two rides this week.
Oh, by the way... has anyone seen our weather? While folk elsewhere around the country have been sheltering from rain, shivering from cold, basking in the sun or bracing against the wind, we've had... erm... nothing really. When the Met Office was dishing out the weather this week they overlooked us down here in the south west obviously, as we've had no weather to speak of at all. It's been outstandingly dull for several days. Utterly still, with not a breath of wind, and everywhere just drab greyness. The sun has peeked through the gloom a couple of times, looked around a bit, and thought, 'nah, as you were,' and gone back in again.
It has been warm though, and all this non weather can only be a good thing right? Well yes actually, I suppose it can, apart from when taking photos though, as it all means blown out highlights a go-go through having exceedingly dreary, featureless skies. It's at times like this a proper photographerist would reach into his or her bag and pull out a selection of graduated tint filters, or head instead for Photoshop and patch in a fake sky (some folk are really clever at doing that, others leave a mess of bright blue skies with lovely fluffy clouds while all on the ground is lacking in contrast, saturation and most importantly, shadows).
But I'm too lazy for all that, and haven't got the equipment to filter the shots I take with the compact anyway.
Thankfully though, it's the yellow time of year again already, and there are Daffodils a plenty lining the verges and hedges to bring some colour and life to otherwise dull days.
The first ride was on Wednesday, and I opted to give the gig to the Voodoo as the computer was showing it to be a few miles short of hitting the thousand mile mark. So I might as well use that as another reason to get out then, lets hit the big numbers! I got the bike in December 2014, so it's taken a while to reach this particular milestone, but then again I've also been riding the other bikes, so the miles get shared around a bit. The old snotter Carrera is still the bike I've ridden most, with just short of 1,100 miles done in my hands, but the others, including late comer Fatso, aren't far behind now.
Blimey, too much wordery, time for some photos, at last... Oh and flaming heck, the first one is a blurry one... Great.
Taking the Probus direction at Four Turnings junction. This is at the top of a gert big hill and thus very exposed, when there is weather to be exposed to that is. On this day all that could be heard was the birds nattering away, which is rather nice it must be said.
Look closer and you'll see those Daffs are wrapped in some very productive cobwebs.
This emotionless weather isn't bad for riding in of course, or for just 'being', enjoying the moment, and just absorbing the surroundings, however dull the light might be. The fields on the hill top around Four Turnings junction were as still as a post but alive with birdsong, Chaffinches and I think (I'm not up on my birds and their respective tweeteries - although I'm good with Sea Gulls, yep, I can identify them alright...) Skylarks. With no wind to buffet the ears, their happy sounding chatter is all the more sharp and clear.
I like Daffodils a lot. They're bright, they're free and all over the pace like poops in a cow field, only much better smelling. They're also a sign of better things around the corner, hopefully.
Voodoo in the lanes. But you can see that for yourselves.
Remains of more erm... animated recent weather in the form of the flooded ditches on the road to St Allen.
These riders who set about covering record breaking mileages have my full respect I can tell you. Nutters they may be, but I still respect 'em. A mere 12 miles have never taken so much doing. I kept looking down at the computer, and like a watched pot, it was in no hurry to boil. So I extended the ride a bit to take in the St Allen loop, stopping on the way for a poke about the churchyard. That'll sort it, I thought, I'll probably hit the big one thousand about a mile before home.
This sign outside St Allen church is new, and refers to just one grave. According to the War Graves Commission web site, John Henry Tremain of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry is buried here, after dying on the 28th of May 1916, aged 31. All I saw was the war memorial, so now I know who I'm looking for I'll have a better look next time I'm passing.
St Allen Church has a second potting area across the road where new arrivals go, yet the grounds immediately around the church are nicely 'low density.' Most churchyards see the dead peeps packed in shoulder to shoulder, but here the headstones seem to have plenty of room around them and it's all rather pleasant and relaxing, not a bad place to rest up for eternity at all.
Hayup, I can see a bit of blue sky, and the sun is almost peeking through...
I don't know how many folk rock up of a Sunday morning, but the church has a hoofing great car park. Flaming fuzzy uploads... grrrr...
St Allen church. The devoted certainly had some trek to church as apart from one house hidden away behind the place, it is miles from anywhere, and anyone.
Lanner Mill, with Idless Woods behind.
From there it was head homewards via Lanners Barton and Mill, but the blasted miles were still seemingly getting longer, and I fetched up in my home port still one mile short of glory. After not eating much the night before I could've eaten a horse between two bread vans, I was busting for some lunch and could practically taste my fave Chicken Noodle soup, but no, it was only a mile required, so must press on. Round the village I went before finally, on a little access road that divides the coffin dodger's bungalows, the Voodoo hit the thousand mark. Hooflippin'ray. Time to go home!
Hmmmmphhhh... back in my 'hood and still not quite there...
Finally, after much pottering and poking about parts of the village I seldom see, the Voodoo hit one thousand miles.
A nice ride though, and some welcome respite was had, if only for a short while.
Bit of an out of proportion figure of eight, and all the messing about to knock out a final mile isn't shown, but it gives an idea of Wednesday's ride.
I still made plans for the possibility of another ride the following day though, and so it was that I pushed Fatso out into the gloom on Thursday morning, as the weather still wasn't up for any fun. Only a quick spin around my usual local loop though, and boy was I feeling the lack of food and energy when it came to tackling the Col De Tregassow, a hill that I normally ride up without drama, albeit rather slowly and making noises any overworked heavy breather would recognise. But on this occasion, I was struggling for torque in my legs despite Fatso's up the side of a house low gearing, and bailed out some way short of the summit.
Fatso in Tregassow Lane. Just noticed the vertical/horizontal is slightly off... damn.
Just chooching along enjoying the stillness of the countryside. Gloves cleaned up well after getting blathered in blood and oil recently.
But being on a bike just feels good, and in particular on board Fatso, which makes slow pottering so easy and relaxing with its planted ride and general comfort. So once I'd struggled up the hill, my pain face looking particularly animated no doubt, I got back on and enjoyed some easy wheeling around the rest of the loop. Just a few short miles on this ride, and no landmarks reached, although Fatso, at a year newer than the Voodoo, and on 887 miles, isn't far off already.
Atop the bank on the roadside, Tregassow lane hill. I was pushing at this point after suffering a motive power deficiency - I was feeling knackered.
I go a bit daft for Daffodils at this time of year I must admit.
A less uplifting sight on the verge near home.
So that was two rides in the bag and they certainly helped lighten the prevailing moods, even if only briefly.
So now I just need to write to the Met Office and ask them where our weather has gone, and to demand something a bit more exciting, as even as I write this, outside it is once again exceedingly average out, bereft of colour and life and generally blanketed in melancholy and apathy. Blimey, even the weather is depressed.