Monday, 14 July 2008

A post with no craft content at all

Yesterday we went for our longest cycle ride so far, a 15 mile round trip on the Hillend Loch Cycle Path. We set out late so we didn't do the whole thing. Review from The Guardian here. I really hope we get good weather this weekend so we can do the Bathgate to Caldercruix (and back) ride. It's too bad this path will be closing next month for the reconstruction of the railway.

Sculpture Trail part 1

Clicky for bigger versions...

Bzz bzz Bee on a creeping thistle:


Through the keyhole...

This is one of the sculptures on the NCN route 75 Hillend Loch Cycle Path, and is by Jeremy Cunningham. It's representative of the gateway between the urban and rural areas.

Tower by Paul Matosic

Another sculpture on NCN 75. It's based on the Fibionacci Sequence.

Marsh thistle
Marsh thistle

This was very spiky!

Glacial deposits
Glacial boulders

There were lots of these along one section. We suspect they'd been found nearby and moved out of the fields so they formed 'scenery'

Glacial foxgloves?
Boulders and foxglove

We saw this huge foxglove growing around these glacial boulders.

And close up:
Foxglove More foxglove


This was a surprise. Rampant bamboo, or bamboo-like woody grass. Bamboo, a well-known native plant of West Lothian.

Common spotted orchids:

and closer
Common Spotted Orchid Common Spotted Orchid

Bog cotton:
Bog cotton



This was next to a former colliery. It's a coal bing covered in new growth. West Lothian has a lot of dead mining industry, and there are coal and oil shale bings everywhere. The oil shale bings tend to remain stubbornly bright red and vegetation-free, but the only obvious evidence that this was no random hillock were the worn bits with coal remains.

Bothie by Stefanie Bourne

Oh dear, this sculpture hasn't aged well, in fact there's not much left of it.

Bay Willowherb
Rosebay willowherb

This is close to where we live. Can you guess what it is yet...?

Does this help?

Still not got it?
The Bathgate Face

It's the Bathgate Face by Lumir Soukup and lots of local schoolchildren. The measurements of the faces of over a thousand local schoolchildren were taken and the averages used. Apparently it's the largest communal portait in Europe. You can read about the project here.

We also saw lots of butterflies. The path was really busy with cyclists, walkers and dog-walkers. It's just unfortunate that some of the dog walkers think it's okay to let their dogs runs around uncontrolled on a cycle path and then look confused when cyclists try to get past, giving the dog(s) a wide berth. On the way out it was mostly flat with a very gentle uphill, so on the way back we had lots of easy cycling and frewheeling. OH got to test out the very high gears on his bike, and has thanked me for making him get a bike as he's really enjoying it now. Hopefully we'll get to do the rest of the Sculpture trail next weekend or the weekend after, before it's all torn up for the railway.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Where has summer gone...

It's been so gloomy the last day or two I can hardly stay awake. If it's like this tomorrow I'll need to plug in my light box. I hope it's nice at the weekend as I really want to get out on my bike.

I've been carding the fleece I bought at Woolfest:


I'm going very slowly - I had to look up videos on Youtube before I properly 'got it' but Susan MacNiven's video was excellent:

Carding's definitely not a TV watching activity; the gentle brushing noise is too distracting.

I have also been designing, and made a cafetiere cosy out of Pencil Roving from The Yarn Yard:

That's a standard 8-cup/1 litre Bodum, and the cosy used a bit less than one 100g skein of pencil roving (I had enough left over for a matching mug mat). I'll post the pattern once I've got it figured out properly. I'm having a bit of a problem with the wording of how to attach the buttons and button loops. A diagram might be better.

I have been continuing my decluttering of life efforts. On Saturday I will be taking about 60 books and 15 CDs to the Help the Aged shop. I've had most of the books on Green Metropolis but some of them had been on there for over a year without selling, so it's time for them to go. I'm almost but not quite past the keeping certain books because they make me look well-read problem, and only keeping the enjoyable/useful books. Unfortunately, deep in my brain is a thought process that tells me that decluttering isn't simplifying or downsizing, it's just making room for more stuff and therefore it's okay to go straight onto Green Metropolis or Amazon Marketplace (or trawl the charity shops for that matter). In my head I'm also constantly mentally rearranging the furniture to see how we could fit more bookcases in, and yarn stash storage.