Saturday 31 August 2019

Project 365 Week 35

Been a nice peaceful week with friend being away so no stress of arguments over fitting him into my time schedule.
Been a medical week again.


The wall that supports are driveway,was rebuilt last year as it had crumbled, but the budget was not there to do the top rend coat. This was leading to the undercoat getting damp and falling off the wall as it was not designed to be left exposed, so finally got round to getting it done before this winter.
Spent quite a bit of the day at work coughing, and this is the first time I have ever needed to use my blue inhaler at work.


Joined in with the organised ebike ride, these are running until end of November. Found I was doing a lot of coughing and needed my inhaler twice during the ride, but apart from that it was a fun 7 miles. Not the longest ride but it is a learning curve for some of the people as there tends to be a new face or two most weeks and it is about confidence building and how to handle an ebike not the distance we cover. We cannot go much further without crossing a very busy main road that is on a steep hill and a sharp bend and involves walking the bikes across and not everybody is comfortable with that.
Took a picture on one of the other cyclists phones for them of her and her hubby with Greenan Castle in the background. This was their first time on ebikes and they loved them as well.
The view from up near the castle where we stopped for a few minutes.


Phoned this morning for a GP appointment as have a horrible rattling when I breath. It hurts to breath so something is going on. Love how they generally always have appointments available at such short notice.  Have rattling in my left lung again, same place as the last time. A course of antibiotics and steroids to hopefully stop it in its tracks.

A baby set for the SCBU and two hats for Angel babies.


The joy of steroids on the system, went to bed just after midnight and got back up at 2am, as no way was I going to get to sleep between the coughing and the affect they have on the body. Sat and knitted and found Chicago Med to watch on Sky Box Sets.Not exciting but watchable while half brain dead.

In to get bloods taken first thing to see if there is anything underlying causing the cramps. I go for months without going anywhere near the GP and then all at once three visits on 7 days.
Cancelled the ebike ride for tonight as no way I could have coped with it, but booked in for next weeks.
Did manage an hours sleep this afternoon.

In keeping with a health theme the dog got her monthly flea and tick drops.


Managed to get 6 hrs sleep overnight, much more than I expected, just up once at 2am.  Up just before 6am and doing a mass blog comment session. Starting coughing to much when I tried to go back to bed so did not bother.
Went and did a small food shop and a few new t shirts and a light weight jacket for hubby. Walked the dog round the beach park in Irvine, it was dry but very very windy.
Made a turkey mince meatloaf for tea and cooked the rest up for Saturday night.
Spotted this and love the colours.


Bob is back at gymnastics now the schools are back. So took the three wee ones their jumpers down while I was going. Lots of giggles and cuddles while I was there. The two girls moved seats at the table as they both wanted to sit next to Grandma while they ate their tea.
Think it may be a while before they grow into them. Will knit the next ones one size smaller for them. They liked them so that was the main thing.

Results of the blood tests this afternoon. Slight decrease in potassium level but nothing else showed. To redo that in case it was a blip. Asked about my lifestyle and suggested I cut back on some of my activity as it will not be helping. Then tells me my cholesterol levels are slightly raised, not enough to need medication but suggests more exercise, guess I can't win on this one,  and a Mediterranean diet will help.......sadly when you cannot eat raw fruit and veg and some nuts then this is not an alternative for me. My HDL ( good cholesterol) is better than last years tests as are my triglycerides so something is going right.   Going to refer me to see the dietitian see if she can advise me.
Going to give me quinine to see if it will help the cramps. 


Just my shift at work, came home and decided to knit and listen to an audio book for a couple of hours and let hubby make tea, well he would if I was at work and most of it was just reheating.

Decided after getting soaked last week I needed to invest in a good quality lightweight jacket suitable for cycling. So this one fits the bill, nice and fluorescent yellow to be seen easily and the silver colour is reflective so will stick out well on the road.

The top pic is without a flash, the bottom one with so you can see the difference.

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Saturday 24 August 2019

Project 365 week 34

Well Fifi went back to school on Tuesday, last year at school for her,  and the gruesome twosome on Wednesday, they went into P2. The twins were very excited to go back their big sister not so much so.


A double shift at work, watch the last of Deep Waters in my break while doing some of my latch hook kit. Hubby took this photo of Roo teething on a carrot but I did not take any pics all day so cheating using this one but she is very cute.
DD2 and the girls went home just after lunch.


Hubby and dog came into town with me and they went for a walk and visited friend while I did what I needed to do. Friend is away up north for ten days so we have a reprieve.
Still getting my bike fix by joining in with an electric bike ride, this one is handy as runs while I am in the town. Was rather a windy cycle along the sea front. Why is it when on the sea front no matter which way you are walking/cycling the wind appears to be in your face both there and back? There was only four members of the public and the two ride leaders. These rides are running until the end of November so a few weeks yet to enjoy it while I can.
Going to meet up with the new female member of staff with a view to starting the ladies cycle rides back up again with me working as a ride leader now I am qualified to do so.
We are watching our way through Designated Survivor at the moment on Netflix.


We had spotted an item on Facebook Market Place so went to pick it up and walked the dog while we were there. I am thinking this might have been done by the school as there were ribbons all over the trees as well.


Another bike ride, back with the Kilmarnock group today. living in between the two places that run them is dead handy. Tonight's ride was VERY wet. I had on waterproof trousers and jacket, which did not bad I got marginally wet where the straps of my rucksack sat. Need my rucksack for my epi-pens as they are a bit long for a pocket. But my packets of tissues needing wringing out as did my feet. Spongy trainers and waterproof trousers are not a good combination. No regrets over going though.

Come payday I will look at getting a waterproof reflective jacket as it will not be long until this ride will be happening in the dark, Seen a couple for about the £75 mark, does not need to be thick as got plenty to layer under it.

It is interesting to see how the two groups work differently when out on rides. We had stopped off here waiting on the rest of the group catching up.

We were taking a run into the town to buy some K Rend for the walls, the supplier supposedly shut at 5 but their shutters were down at 10 to, apparently this is to allow them to cash up.


My night cramps and restless legs are getting beyond a joke. Not sure if the bike rides are making things worse but they must help in so many other ways that I am not giving up on them just yet. Barely get an hours sleep in between bouts of cramp, both thighs and left leg is shin, calf and foot. Here was my toes during one bout this morning. Could not make my toe do that if I tried. Also an issue in an evening at a weekend when I sit down after work.
I have a lot of aches and pains in my joints but can put all that down to either knitting with my wrists, cycling with my knees and shoulders etc. I also have a bad habit of falling asleep if I sit down in an afternoon, but that could be my age.

We  took two runs back into Kilmarmock, one to walk the dog and pick up some bags of the K Rend and then home for some lunch  before I went back myself to pick up the rest, I replaced hubby with three bags of the stuff to save either overloading the car or making a third run.

Six miles on the exercise bike after tea.


Ziggy turned 3 today, so Facetimed her to say happy birthday and see what she got. She was rather excited about her party in the afternoon.

Managed to get a GP appointment for this morning to see about the cramps. He says  it could be caused by many things so full blood tests next week before he decides on a course of action. So booked in for Wednesday morning. To phone for blood results Thursday afternoon and take it from there.

Took dog along the old railway line and did a bit of shopping while in the town.
Spent the afternoon making cakes for the weekend and macaroni cheese for tomorrow nights tea while I had the oven on for roast chicken and tatties for tonight.


Yeeehhh got Minky's jumper finished. Taken a while between one thing and another, but looks great of I do say so myself. DD1 reckons my creations will be great if they get lost in the snow.
It is a chunky knit with the orange side being the front, and the back, rib and sleeves achieved with one ball of double knit in two different colours, just needs two buttons now.

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Wednesday 21 August 2019

My thoughts and feelings on cycling electric bikes.

This week my word of the week #WoTW is cycling, my new hobby.

The government are trying to get more people out of their cars for short journeys and encouraging us to cycle to work or down to the shops. A lot of employers including mine offer the cycle to work scheme which allows you to borrow money to buy a bike and accessories and then pay it back, tax and interest free, out of your wages over a year. While this may benefit full time workers as a part time worker I do not pay tax and therefore would not benefit from this. Plenty of information on this if you are interested you can google it. It use to be you could only borrow £1000 but now they are encouraging people onto electric bikes to make the ride easier then you can borrow more than that but it still needs to be paid back over a year, so an electric bike through this scheme would require rather large payments every month.

 Last year I had borrowed a folding electric bike. I had this one for two weeks. I had opted for a folding bike rather than a full size one to use out and about in the town but at the time I had it I had an issue with my boot lock and the garage locked it shut for me until they could sort it so for over a week of my two weeks it was not possible to transport the bike in my boot. Time I was getting home in November it was just about dark and as I live rural on 60mph roads taking it out locally did not appeal to me.

This bike was comfortable to cycle, the battery came on and off easy enough for charging and the bike itself adjusted easily to suit different heights of rider. I had tried it on various different types of surface from cycle paths to park paths  to rough gravelly paths. It did not fair well on the gravel type paths but then it was not designed for that.

I found the folding bike was more convenient to put in the boot rather than having to use a bike rack but I found it very heavy to lift into the boot. It did not stand while you were folding it so it was a juggling act and you have to re-assemble it to wheel it anywhere. It cycled smoothly and despite the small wheels it did not require huge amounts of effort to cycle it though I have to admit to most of what I cycled on was relatively flat. I was not keen on the fact when you went to pull away on the bike it would shoot forward with quite a lurch which made me uncomfortable when pulling away from junctions on the roads. I am sure with enough use you would get use to it.

It was easy to use the gears and settings. From eco which just helps out a bit to turbo which helps boost up hills and into a head wind. The bike came with mudguards and a rear rack that could be used for panniers. The battery is in the middle of the bike so helps to balance it better.

For security, every handy in today's climate it comes with a lock that prevents the back wheel from turning or being removed and I also got an extra chain with it. You can also remove the battery as well if you felt like it. 

This scheme run by the Energy Saving trust  is a lot more flexible and you have up to four years to pay back your loan. 
If you are considering purchasing an ebike there is a new, exciting funding opportunity available in Scotland through Energy Saving Trust. We offer an interest-free loan to buy an ebike. This scheme is funded by Transport Scotland (an agency of the Scottish Government). 
The eBike loan is for up to £6,000 with a repayment period of 4 years and covers the following (per household):
  • 2 x ebikes capped at £3,000 each
  • 1 x family ecargo bike capped at £6,000
  • 1 x adaptive ebike capped at £6,000
Anybody can apply to trial a bike through this agency and is a great way to try before you buy.

Please note the bike was clean when I got it, and I cleaned it before I took it back.

Last month I borrowed another bike, a none folding one this time. I was fortunate to get the chance to do this  through The Active Travel hub in Kilmarnock. The offer is currently open to employees of either East Ayrshire council or NHS Ayrshire and Arran, and as I fall into this category I decided to apply for one and see how I got on. The bike I had this time was a Raleigh Motus H model, no longer available but others in the range our.

Before we went I emptied the boot of my hatchback car with the intention of taking the bike locally off road to try it first. But the first hitch we hit was it did not fit. Had it been 26 inch wheels it would have done but being a 28 inch there was no way. So this gave me the dilemma of the only way to get it home was to cycle it. Was not comfortable with the idea of taking an unknown bike onto a main road in the middle of town, my pick up point was the train station, fed by three very busy roads. We drove up the bypass between home and picking it up and I did not fancy cycling back down a bypass.

Phoned DD1 to see if she could pick it up on her mini bus but she was not available for about five days at a time that fitted in with the hub's opening hours so she suggested I went back through Hurlford, and so I did. Made it home in one piece and despite being out of my comfort zone I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

A friend of ours was nice enough to lend us a bike carrier, luckily we have a tow bar on the back so it was ideal. The first time we had it on the bike carrier we headed up some 60 mph roads as well as single track roads with passing places. The bike was not any wider than the car mirrors so if the car fitted through the bike would be ok. We went up to Loch Doon, and I did 13.5 miles while hubby and friend fished. I then locked the bike up to a metal fence and walked the dog. I some how managed to drop the key to the bike chain and had to double back to find it, luckily it was on a fluorescent orange key ring and I only had to double back a half mile.

This was where I realised the benefits of cycling, normally I drive the roads we don't use regularly and on single track roads there is no opportunity to admire the scenery as I drive by but have plenty of time to enjoy the views with cycling. I live in such a beautiful part of the world between coast line and countryside and seems a shame not to enjoy it at a leisurely pace. I decided slow and steady was better than fast and furious.

wandered off where we normally drive when at Loch Doon 

Loch Doon

the sun was going down as I cycled the back roads

In the time I had this bike I took it out locally quite a bit and just went with no idea of what route I was going to be going, followed a lot of the back roads and turned anywhere that looked interesting and ended up lost misplaced more than once but also ended up with 25 mile rides. Made the rides much more fun. The 28 inch wheels ate up the miles .This is where for me the electric bike came into it's own, having used map my walk on the cycle ride setting when I was out, there was no way back into the village without cycling a category 5 hill, the steepest of the categories, and have to admit to finding some of them a struggle even with the assistance the bike gave and I admitted defeat coming back in from the Stair direction just before the railway bridge the long steep climb was just to much and the bike got pushed for the last bit to the top. I would never have cycled any of these roads on a manual bike and 25 miles on an electric bike is healthier than sitting on the couch knitting.

I have also had the bike out on cycle paths and again wandered these willy nilly and ended up cycling for miles. This worked really well by taking husband and dog with me and leaving him with the car keys and getting him to pick me up miles away.
A lot of the cycle paths are not well marked and online tells you things like The Sir Chris Hoy cycle way runs from Hurlford to Galston, but does not tell you where you access it.
When cycling Eglington Park the other week I could not see signs for a cycle path, I know there is a way but having cycled all the way round the perimeter of the park I could not see a single sign pointing to a path so just went out onto the main road. Main roads are not everybody's cup of tea and certain people would not have left the safe comfort of the park and that seems such a shame. From Irvine I headed through Troon to Prestwick and back to Ayr and got hubby to pick me up in Ayr. He was going that was anyway as we had a friend who lives in Ayr with us. 25.5 miles done. Just took my time and stopped and started when I felt like it.

this sign made me smile 

tractor trails in a field 

the sun going down in Stair 

The castle in Eglington Park 

a pond at Shewalton woods 

the tide is well out over looking Ayr from Prestwick 

a reservoir at Loch Doon 

I had a weekend off work during the time I had the bike and DD3 and I set off for a trip to Cumbrae to cycle round the island. We met at Ayr train station and took the train. I had my panniers as I had found during the week that a back pack makes you sweat uncomfortably in the heat. The disadvantage of the panniers was when we left the bikes I had to take my valuables out of them. We actually went twice round the island, the first time none stop the second time we went the other way round as all the scenery was then on our side, making it much easier to stop at interesting bits or really pretty views. I also picked up a few geocaches while I was there. One half of the island is only single track roads and was full of walkers and cyclists but no traffic. From Millport back to the ferry port it was double track roads as this is the route the buses and traffic seem to use. It amazed us how much patience the bus drivers had, there seem to be no hassling or intimidating of either the cyclists or walkers as they sat behind them until they had a good gap to get past, shame all drivers can't be that considerate on the main land.

the view from the ferry 

hunt out the posts was fun 

we did not find all 5 of them 

DD3 stayed with the bikes while I hunted unsuccessfully  for a cache 

Lion Rock on Cumbrae

a heart on the beach made from leaves,the sky was getting more overcast. 

the cache from here was missing

crocodile rock at Millport

yarn bombing where I tied the bike up

yarn bombing all over Millport 

I loved having the bike. The freedom, great for clearing the head, benefits the cardio, and nice to do something for and by myself. The bike itself was a smooth easy ride and by week two of having it I was using the 7 gears much more than I did in the first week when I had been boosting up and down the electric settings. No juddering or delay on changing gears or up and down the electric settings. The bike was a low step so dead easy to get on and off for us older people with stiff joints. There was no noise from the battery or motor either. I have done organised bike rides with different styles of electric bikes and some of them are quite noisy when the electric setting is being used and the higher the setting the noisier it became, almost makes you think there is a vehicle behind you.

Would I buy one? Yes if I had the money I would. I would choose this one with the battery pack central to the bike rather than built into the carrier rack at the back. A nice low step bike with hydraulic disk brakes and a good long battery life. I did find the one I had back heavy with panniers on going up hills especially on an uneven surface.The rear battery also made it quite difficult to get my own pannier bags onto the bike, found I needed to take the battery out, fit them, and then fit the battery back in, not a major problem as the battery was on charge so off the bike anyway.  Have to say if I was buying one I would not scrimp on the bike lock on it as at one point I had locked my bike up with the lock provided with it, a number code one, as I thought it would save the hassle of losing the key a second time, but the one I had was faulty and would not come back off so it had to be cut off, and took less than 3 minutes to do that, rather worrying when your bike costs so much.

I would also buy a bike carrier that fits on lower to the tow bar as the bikes are rather heavy and was difficult to get onto the style I had, especially as the bike had no cross bar. I ended up with a row of bruises up both my arms from lifting it on and off. I would also make sure it had built in lights rather than a separate light board.

Borrowing this bike was a great way of finding what worked for me and what didn't which means if I ever get round to buying one it will be one I will be happy with for years. These bikes will keep getting both cheaper and better as more are sold and more of these issues are discovered and ironed out. I see both the Kilmarnock and Ayr travel hubs now both have electric bikes with the central battery. Hopefully The Active Travel Hub in Ayr will get on board with the same scheme and I can borrow a bike for another four weeks through them.

If you fancy a go why not look into what is local to you through similar sort sorts of schemes

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Saturday 17 August 2019

Project 365 week 33


It rained and rained and rained and rained.......heavily all night. Getting to work was dodgy and then approx 100 yds from the entrance the road was flooded. There was one car stuck in the "puddle" and a few people trying to push the car out, they were thigh high in the flood. A few people drove round gingerly across the pavement slowly through it but myself and many others decided to divert round approx 3 miles to get to the the other side of the puddle and into work. The diversion route was not exactly a picnic to drive with a lot of lying water and a lot of oncoming traffic from the night shift trying to avoid the flood and get home. Many roads locally were flooded affecting public transport. worst I have seen it here in years.
Only a single shift and work so home to do some knitting and ride the exercise bike.
Typical we got a garden tap fitted a few weeks back save having to use next doors, not that they mind but a pain getting through the gate, and have not needed to water the garden since.


Dropped hubby and dog off for their walk to friends house and picked them up later on.
Another ride on the bike and walk the dog round the park.
Picked up a few bits on the way home including a new door mat, spotted one at an all right price. There were nicer designs but they were more expensive. my shoes do not care what design is on it.


Dropped hubby and dog again for their walk to friends house. I went back to friends after wards while him and friend went to cut aunties grass for her. Took my knitting and my kindle to keep me amused while they were away.
Home and cooked one pot mince and tatties for tea with enough to do Thursday and froze some for another night.Love mince and tatties and this is such an easy way to do it for when needing to be reheat.
A cycle and a walk with the dog after tea.


Picked friend up on the way back out the town as he was going to walk the dog later on when I went to join in with an organised bike ride.
Enjoyed the bike ride, approx 8 miles some on roads and some on cycle paths. Dropped friend back at home and went for a Chinese. Chicken chow mein for me and sweet and sour chicken and chips for hubby. But we mixed and matched some of each. First Chinese in a long time.


DD2 is down with the two girls for a few days. Ziggy had fallen asleep in the car so  we went for a run around the park to help tire her out then home for some tea before bed time.
Granddad took Bob fishing and they both had a fun afternoon.


Not had much chance to do anything with the twins over the holidays between one thing and another so had seen an event advertised when we were at Whitelee last week so arranged to get the three wee ones and take them. DD2 decided to come with us. Sadly when we got there the event had been cancelled due to the weather forecast. Nothing on their website to say that but plenty other things to do there. So we had some indoor fun while Roo was getting a feed and then headed out doors to run and play and find things.


Ziggy will be three next week and so her present is wrapped ready for mum to take away with her. A few hand made bits and pieces, one that I won over a year ago that will be handy for nursery and one I bought while in Millport that I know she will love.

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