Monday, May 16

Punctures and pictures

Now that the weather is improving and the days are so much longer, I have been cycling more - no big trips yet this year, just mainly to go shopping, although I often go a long way round. I'm not, frankly, the type to go cycling just for the sake of it, or for "training" purposes. I just like cycling because it gets me places and keeps me fit in a cheap, environmentally friendly and highly enjoyable fashion.

I had a puncture a while ago and had to do the call of shame to my husband, who fortunately was on his way home from work (by car) and would be almost passing where I was. Last year I had watched Husband mend a puncture for me, as I knew I ought to learn how to do it, so now was the moment to do it myself. I did it outside on a sunny day, with help from said Husband. Then lo and behold the same tyre went flat after the next journey. This time the day was not sunny so I got the bike into the kitchen. Kitchens are not just for cooking! They are most definitely for sewing as well (see the fabric slung over the chair) and fixing bikes.

I though that maybe my previous puncture repair would prove to be the reason for the flat i.e. the patch had come unstuck, but it had remained perfectly in place - on the left, and by the way it was a self-adhesive job from Wilkinson's (shall buy some more when I am near a Wilkinson's again) that I had bought Husband for his birthday. But in fact there was a massive split, and it wasn't even on a seam. There is a slight right angle at the left hand end. So I put a new tube in, and did it all by myself.  I didn't get the tyre back on quite properly so Husband re-did it (I'm learning from my mistakes). I have since bought two new inner tubes, which necessitated a small crisis of conscience regarding where to buy them. Buy Bontrager brand from local bike shop at a cost (last time) of £10 for two (£5.50 each) or send off to, in this case Wiggle, and get two, delivered, for just under £6? I don't think, but can't be certain, not being an expert, that there's much difference in quality. I really really like to support local shops, but when money is tight sometimes financial considerations have to come first.

I recently booked my bike in for a service locally, but then discovered that  this chap is doing a bike workshop locally, 6 hours for the princely sum of £10! So I have cancelled the service and booked myself in for the workshop. I think that with doing stuff to bikes I don't quite trust myself to do it properly and safely, but I know that the more I do it the more able and confident I'll get, just like I have done over recent years with sewing machines. (I can't believe how I treated my sewing machine in the past........hardly ever changed the needle, never oiled it......).

I got this wonderful bell for my birthday recently! My son (the one who has the pfaffing problem!! Read all about that here) got it in Germany. It is much louder than the last one I had, which definitely pinged rather than dinged, and sounds rather like a shop bell and now when I go out I look forward to dinging it at pedestrians.

Talking of sewing machines, as I was a minute ago, I found this in a charity shop, going for a song, so I snapped it up. It was in very good condition, and all I needed to do was clean it, oil it, check that all the stitches were working, and then sell it at a vast profit...... Well it wasn't vast but I did indeed sell it at a profit a few days later. It was a really good machine and like new. I'm not sure of the exact date as it seems you can't find the dates of manufacture of New Home machines except the really old ones, but from the style of it (and the manual) I'm guessing it must be 1970s or early 1980s. The model is a 641. 

And now for some sewing.

I am taking part in Stitch Wantage, which you can read about here. I didn't manage to get to the first meeting so I think the fact that I got lumbered with probably the most boring building in Wantage - the Leisure Centre - is due to the fact that everyone else had already picked out the nice old interesting ones! But I didn't actually mind as in a way it's presented more of a challenge.

Most of the other ladies are doing their buildings in traditional embroidery, but I am using applique and machine stitching, which perhaps is appropriate given that it's a modern building). In the pictures above and below I have appliqued the roof on (right hand side and small bit on left hand side, brown),  and in the picture below I have appliqued the wall on the left. However, I just wasn't happy with the wall, so I unpicked it - hand and machine stitching.......took ages - but I'm glad I did.

 This is the completed picture, although I have still got to add the title and my name.

Some applique, and a little hand embroidery, on the bits above the wall, with machine stitching over it.  There are bike racks at the front of the building, so I used a bit of artistic licence and put my own bike in! I hadn't got any suitable fabric (others used organza) for the glass in the doors so I put some glue on the sections to make them shiny and it worked quite well.

I appliqued the white wall, the roof, and the doors, and machine stitched over. There's also a bit of hand stitching on the grey grill thing.

I've never done this sort of thing before, but really enjoyed doing it. Two of the other ladies both cycle and sew! What is it with cycling and sewing??!! The panels are going to be exhibited between 1st June and 16th July in the Vale and Downland museum in Wantage. 

A bit more cycling

On both days this last weekend I cycled to some of the studios opening for Oxfordshire Art Weeks. The weather was very good for it, nice and warm, windy but not too bad. On Saturday I went to Shrivenham and then on to Bourton (the latter a very picturesque village but I wouldn't want to live there - probably one of those villages that's dead during the week when everybody's at work). Then home, and was pleased to find I could still get up a local steep hill. 

On approaching Shrivenham I got talking to a young German cyclist, who had come over to Harwich, and was making her way down to Cornwall, hoping to find work for the summer. I could see she was looking for somewhere, and it turned out that she had a noise on her bike and someone had told her about the chap I mentioned earlier who is doing the bike workshop, so she was trying to find his house. Good job I'd looked up where he lived as I was able to direct her. I also gave her one of my sewing fliers and said - if you get into difficulties and need somewhere to stay then ring me.

About 22 miles. 

On Sunday I went to Great Coxwell, via Little Coxwell as I was hoping to find that going this way would take me to an easier place to get across the horrible A420, which indeed it did. I have previously crossed it nearer to Faringdon, and that can be a nightmare particularly during rush hour. The only other safe place to cross it locally is further east at Buckland, where there is an island in the middle of the road. I hate the fact that this major road chops up the countryside making it very difficult to get from south of it to north of it in anything but a car! Great Coxwell had several artists exhibiting. Again a very pretty village but I wouldn't want to live there! 

I then cycled on and and called on some friends who have recently moved to Faringdon (don't get me started on the terrible state of the "cycle path" at the side of the road.....) and later attempted to get to Littleworth where there was another studio open, but I gave up in the end as it meant too much travel on the A420. The only way to get to this village without going on the A420 (though I'd still have to cross it) would be a much longer route going further north from Faringdon and then east and south - I might try it if I get time. Then unfortunately I had to cycle back along the A420 to get to my turning off. Boy was I glad to turn off!!! 

About 20 miles. 

I got home to be told that our younger son (25) had had a motocross accident near Aylesbury, and was in hospital with both wrists broken......I am thanking God that it was no worse. He is being operated on this morning and we shall visit later today.

And now back to some earning-me-money-sewing (a dress alteration), so bye for now.



  1. I think I noticed the leisure centre the other day and didn't inspect it close enough (not nosy enough) to realise what it was, looks good!

    1. Ta Son! "NosEy". Back to school.....

  2. Lizzie, what a lovely bell- lucky girl. I love what you have done with the stitched panel. The roof section is very well done. Sorry to hear about your son and hope he gets to recover well. Happy cycling and sewing

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  4. I've been back on my bike recently but haven't got anywhere near your mileage...and I don't do steep hills, they're for walking! Love the groovy bell and the bike workshop sounds brilliant.
    Super applique.

  5. Thank you for the comment! The more miles I do the easier they get. Heavy rain forecast for travelling to the workshop tomorrow.....

  6. Hi, gosh you have been a busy bee. Well done on the bike repairing, my bike is in the shed with a puncture, got a brand new repair kit so have no good reason not to attempt a repair apart from I've never fixed one before! Will give it a go, utube to the rescue.

    Your textile picture is great. Its good to here that another vintage machine has been rescued, New homes are nice machines, when I was a kid I made my pony a rug on my mum's made from a wool blanket and jute, it sewed through the thick layers just! She was in hospital oblivious that I was attempting to wreck her machine! X

    1. Ha ha! did your mum find out?? And yes, have go at the bike!


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