Sunday, November 20

Coffeeneuring #7 - at White Horse Hill

Today's was another Coffee without Walls trip. It almost felt like cheating to squeeze 5, 6 and 7 in on the last 3 days (it wasn't though!) but I knew that to feel I'd really met the Coffeeneuring challenge there was only one place to cycle for #7, and that was White Horse Hill, near Uffington. The weather forecast was rather grim and there was a conversation in my head between me and my weaker side which basically went

"Do I really need to cycle all the way up there?"


"But surely there's somewhere else I could cycle which would be equally valid but which wouldn't involve all that climbing?"

"Don't be such a woos - on yer bike to White Horse Hill!"

So I did. I've never actually cycled up there before. I took a route which meant less of the very windy and narrow B road that passes by the hill, but which meant more elevation.

Once up there (and I confess to having had to push up the final steep road to the Hill) I sat in the car park and ate my provisions and drank tea from a flask.

More of the soda bread muffins, peanut butter on the left and apple jam on the right

Not much demand for the one picnic bench today
 When I make tea at home, though I say it myself, it is excellent (Yorkshire Hard Water loose leaf) but poured into a flask and drunk an hour or so later it is yuck! However it was hot and vaguely tea-like so I drank most of it.

The weather was indeed grim but at least the rain had cleared off to the east by then. It was grey, cold and quite windy.  

You can just make out the Horse in the distance if you squint....

This pic is looking north to Faringdon Folly. 

I got somebody to take this pic later when I cycled from the car park up onto the actual hill.

After cycling back down I was going to just pootle off home but by then I felt up for a bit more of a ride, so I headed off towards Shrivenham, and ended up doing about 21 miles. It was very tough going and I was very glad to get home, but these last three rides have made me realize that cycling can be very enjoyable even in this sort of weather! Better than being in a tin box on wheels!

And now, I shall submit my 7 rides to the appropriate person and get my badge, shown here, which I shall proudly stitch to my jacket!


Saturday, November 19

Coffeeneuring #6

The end date of the Coffeeneuring Challenge 2016 is midnight tomorrow, Sunday 20th November. It was creeping up on me and I had almost given up, thinking I hadn't got time to complete the 7 rides necessary. However, when I  thought about it I realized I could just do it, even though it meant doing 3 in a row - allowed by the rules, as it would be 5 and 6 this week and then the 7th tomorrow i.e. next week!

Yesterday's, #5, was at the Vale and Downland Museum in Wantage. Today's was again in Wantage but different, as this was "Coffee without Walls" i.e. not in a cafe. There's a bit of a temptation when out cycling to indulge in something full of calories and sugar, but today I thought - time to make something equally delicious but not so sugary, to take with me, so in the morning I made these (dead easy) spelt flour soda bread muffins, from a recipe that I originally got from Woman's Hour.

Then I thought - Youngest Son and girlfriend might like some of these so I did my long route into Wantage, met him outside the pub where he'd gone to watch football to hand some over, then cycled off to do some shopping. 

Soda Bread Muffins

Recently there has been a lot of talk about take away cups not being recyclable, which is awful given how many millions get used once and then thrown away, and so I bought one of the re-usable ones that Waitrose sell for £3 and can now enjoy, guilt-free, their free drinks. I just have to remember to take it with me.....

After shopping, I got my free coffee, wedged it in my rack bag and then walked slowly across the market place to the parish church, hoping the contents wouldn't spill...... which they did a bit but nothing disastrous.

Surely they could make the cups so that you can close off the top completely - like babies' ones do?

I sat on the bench eating my cheese filled soda bread muffin (yes it is in the middle of the muffin even though it looks as if the muffin is just sitting on top!) and drinking my coffee.

This is the view from the bench. It's a great place to people watch as lots of people walk past on this path.

I took this pic of the cobbles and stuck my booted foot in as well, which was a good job as I later realized I hadn't taken the pic of my bike as proof that I'd cycled. Would I go around with those home made green things round my ankles if I wasn't cycling? (I think my children might say - "yes Mother, you would......")

This is on my route home, looking back the way I've come, where the old road is forded by Letcombe Brook.

And there's my bike!!

I want to try and keep up the cycling this winter and this Coffeeneuring Challenge has definitely helped to make me get out on my bike. I admit I won't cycle when there's ice on the roads, but any other kind of bad weather is bearable and even enjoyable as long as you've got the right clothing. You know what they say - there's no such thing as the wrong weather, only the wrong clothing.

A round trip of just over 14 miles.

Tomorrow, and #7 - awful weather is forecast! Will I eat my words.....


Thursday, November 3

Coffeeneuring 2016 #4

Just a short post, partly to give a shout out to Corner Coffee at Childrey, near Wantage here in Oxfordshire. I have been meaning to try this cafe ever since it opened not long ago, but when I'm going past I'm usually either on my way to go shopping, or on my way home afterwards and can't stop.

So today, it being a lovely sunny though very chilly morning, and despite having the remains of my first cold in about 6 years, I rode off with my pockets stuffed full of tissues to buy some eggs (forgot them while shopping yesterday, slap on wrist from Husband....) at a local farm. There was a good hill en route; I did struggle up it (my excuse is not being up to full strength after the worst of my cold) but flew down it at 25.9 mph.

And then I had coffee and the most delicious triple choc buckwheat (gluten free as it happened) cookie at Corner Coffee. It's a really lovely little cafe with plenty of outdoor space - blankets provided for cold weather! - even if not a lot indoors. They do home made soup as well. It's not on Facebook but is on Instagram here.

Gill the owner does some hand made local goods too. AND - the really good news is, that she is taking over the village shop next year and the cafe will be there, and it sounds like she has a lot of good ideas for the place. It was quite a large shop back in the 1980s, but then got chopped in half, and later lost its Post Office too. So this is excellent news -  new life for a village shop!

A tiddler of a trip today - only 5.9 miles.