June 30th – At Hints Ford, the water was cool and the air shady and still, and I spent a good 30 minutes just enjoying the relaxed, verdant scene and listening to water.
Sometimes, after a long ride, that’s all you really need.
I’ve been coming here since I was 12. It’s not really changed much, thankfully. This place is in my heart.
June 30th – A recovery day, with a surprisingly tough, enervating recovery ride which saw my energy levels very low indeed.
Whilst I’d been careful to look after my fluids and nutrition on the big ride of the previous day, I hadn’t had anything much to eat today, and it caused me real problems I think.
Even still, it was a decent ride out to Hopwas and Hints on a sunny, warm afternoon, and this puss at Stockfields was so comfy he wasn’t going to be disturbed by anyone….
May 28th – A lovely day, far removed from he storms the day before, so I took time out to visit Staunton Harold Reservoir, a few miles east of Foremark where I went last week.
It was a great ride at 74 miles, and travelling out via Weeford, Hints, Syerscote, Donisthorpe, Moira and Boundary, I called in at the great teashop at Hints and had great iced coffee and cake.
This nonchalant puss was spotted hunting in Weeford, but quickly adopted the relaxed, sleepy pose when it saw us. Confident and relaxed, a lovely looking cat I think I’ve met before.
April 1st – A ride out to Hints and Hopwas for cake on a warm, but generally overcast but thankfully dry afternoon, that was much better than expected. Spring inches on in the reluctant winter gloom, with primroses showing well in Hopes Cemetery where the daffodils were also gorgeous, and a swan couple nesting near the social club up in the village.
The Tame at Hopwas was flowing well, and spreading into the flood margins. People downstream at Elford will be worried. Let’s hope the rain holds off.
An unexpectedly good ride.
February 25th – There’s cold weather coming in, and on this splendid day, there was a razor-sharp edge to the harsh east wind that made the journey to the cake stop at Hints hard work, made worse by the fact they mithered about serving me 40 minutes before closing time.
Customers are such a pain in the arse.
The cake and day however, were beautiful, as was the countryside. I saw my first full size daffodils of the year on the old A5 at Hints, and lots of plants are clearly waiting for the warmth to come and spring will be on her throne.
February 11th – Finally, a decent ride out. But not without challenges – I’d set out of a day with a punishing Westerly to visit a farmer’s market at Buzzards Valley near Middleton. The day was bright, skies blue and my back was warmed by the sun.
I enjoyed the market, then called at Middleton Hall to photograph the birds on the feeding station, and caught an unexpected rat on cleanup duties.
The day was steadily getting colder, and snow started to fall. Very small showers, but it was happening.
I battled up a muddy canal to Fazeley, then returned up the old A5 over Hints – where I scoffed at the GPS app’s forecast for almost continual snow. Then it started.
The ride home – against a bastard wind forged on Satan’s back step and with periodically heavy, driving snow – was a real challenge. But I was glad to be out and in my favourite countryside again, which really is showing signs of spring, as the wallflowers at Bodymoor Heath were keen to point out.
I’m really not into Wyatt’s Old School House painted terracotta pink though. Preferred it white.
A great, but exhausting ride. Real four seasons in one day stuff.
December 28th – A ride out in ice, after overnight light snow. I was still nursing a shoulder strain which made the ride slow and plodding, but it was very enjoyable in the clear light and snow-dusted countryside.
I went to Chasewater to practice ice skills in safety, and even had a go at the boardwalk on the north heath, which was enjoyable once I got over the fear.
Staffordshire looked wonderful and the run out via Shenstone, Wall, Canwell, Hints and Weeford was a joy.
Just hope this shoulder improves soon.