Long Nights, Short Days

It strikes me that just about the one thing that is “normal” about this crazy world just at the moment is the seasons.

I’m very glad about that.

To me one of life’s simple and indeed greatest pleasures is watching the seasons change. Not that I sit wishing my life to run away like grains of sand in an egg timer, no it’s just the way each season ticks over bringing fresh, yet reassuringly constant, vistas, smells and colours.

I’ve said before that the Autumn and Winter are probably my favourite times of year, which is probably linked to me being born in deepest Autumn. OK I could do without so much rain and wind, but a starkly freezing day with gin clear skies and iron hard ground takes some beating!

Then there’s that low lazy sun that can hardly be bothered to climb much above the horizon, the long shadows that it casts and the gaunt starkly bare leafless trees. I love to watch the last light of day disappear on the Western sky and the stars appear through those naked branches.
It’s all magical stuff to me.

Living in Cornwall, and sticking out into the North East Atlantic, we are never far from the influence of the sea. Dookes H.Q. is now only five miles from the coast and when there is a big storm blowing you can taste the salt in the air.

The sea, it is often said, defines Cornwall and standing near the shore facing a force nine gale, it’s hard to argue with that!.

Catch you soon,

Springing Forward and Coast Update.

Hello everyone!

OK, apologies first…

It’s been nearly a month since I last posted on the blog; that old problem of life just getting in the way of everything again I’m afraid! I’m sorry I have been “Off Air” for a bit, but I’m back now and have some lost ground to make up.

So what have I been up to?

Well, the seasons are marching on and here in the South West corner of England Spring is setting in with a gentle vengeance. We have lambs joyfully leaping around in the field behind Dookes H.Q. celebrating their new care-free lives; the trees are bursting into leaf and the early cherry and crab-apple blossom is beginning to show from dormant buds. Birds are busy squabbling over the best nesting sites and I have even had to cut the not inconsiderable acreage of grass at Dookes H.Q. a couple of times too. The last of the post-winter garden tidy up is nearly finished and best of all, the sound of my Harley Davidson’s engine has been singing it’s “Milwaukee Music” around the country roads that I love!

Yep, it’s always good to ride… but sometimes in the Spring is best of all!

A couple of weeks ago I took a long, meandering, ride over Dartmoor. Instead of heading for my normal haunts of the high ground, I thought I’d take in some of the valley scenery before the hoards of tourists arrived!
This is Holne Bridge over the River Dart near Ashburton, taken just before the trees started to really green up.P1030487

I have certainly been clocking up a few miles and not just aboard the ride-on mower either. The world, for me, certainly looks better from behind a set of handle bars. It gives me time to get my head clear of all those things that we often think are important, but in reality are not. Time to concentrate on staying alive and living this one life in the way that I choose.

The longer days bring the bonus of light evenings and the opportunity to watch the sun take it’s daily dip into the Atlantic Ocean in often glorious golden hues. Last Tuesday we popped over to Bude on the North Cornwall coast about twenty minutes from Dookes H.Q. by Harley and were treated to a delightful sunset.

The remaining section of the old Bude Canal enters the ocean by a sea lock and provides interest to the scene.P1030510
Whilst in the bay boats rest on their moorings as the sun disappears into the sea; if you listen carefully you can sometimes hear the hiss!

To the left and noticeably lower than the canal, the River Neet runs it course, whilst the old rails of the narrow gauge hay tramway glint in the last rays of the sun.P1030508
All that was left to do then was to mount up and enjoy the ride home, life can be tough sometimes!

“See me ride out of the sunset, on your coloured TV screen.”

Catch you all soon.


Autumn Sunshine

What a cracking weekend we just enjoyed here in the sunny southwest.

Gotta admit that Saturday was largely spent tidying some of the expanse that forms the grounds at Dookes H.Q… There always seems so much to catch up on at this time of year. The raised vegetable beds were focus of quite a lot of attention, cleared three and planted out more leeks in another; you can never have too many leeks you know! Then came the grass cutting and…yeah OK,  I know, enough about all this “Good Life” stuff…what about the biking!!!!!

Quite so; lets get down to business.

Harley and I slipped out on the road late Sunday morning, just as the early mists were burning off and the sun’s warmth was getting going. Our excuse was to pop out for some top-up shopping, well you can’t carry much on a bike, even a Harley, so better get good stuff to make it worthwhile; off to Okehampton then. Not many minutes later and about 25 miles away eastwards on the A30 we parked up and dutifully grabbed the shopping from a well know supermarket that is part of the John Lewis group (other supermarkets are available!).

Time for some twisty bits now, head for Hatherleigh then hang a left towards Holsworthy. West Devon was certainly looking good, the air was gin clear and bright sunshine bathed the landscape along our way. It occurred to me that not many of the trees have started to turn colour yet in this part of the world. Everything seems very green for the moment, which kinda disappointed me, but hey that’s something else to look forward to, I love those golden trees and the sweet smell of autumn leaves! Anyway, we had a super blast and at Holsworthy turned north, crossed back into Cornwall and aimed for Bude, which is quite a nice place, in a seasidey sort of way, but best avoided in the peak tourist season.

I couldn’t resist a visit to Widemouth Bay to see what the waves were like, cos it’s one of my favourite surfing beaches and I haven’t been out with the board for ages. Just as well I didn’t fancy a surf, flat as a mill pond and the tide out almost to Wales!!! Image

Even worse, the ice-cream kiosk was closed!

Lovely run west along the A39 Atlantic Highway, enjoying the gentle sea breeze, virtually no traffic and the purr of twin cylinder Milwaukee Music, before cutting across Davidstow Moor and back to Dookes H.Q. In all about 100 miles, just enough to keep the old head sane and earn a cup of tea!

Hey, Happy Birthday Vifferman!

It’s all I’ve got to keep myself sane baby, so I just ride, I just ride…