39269797.fcaef04.099b7f1eb6da48629b97b72b9f09919c
Rambling through Portugal

I was excited and happy to be crossing the Northern border into Portugal. I was to spend a total of twenty six days travelling through the country and although I was to find the first two weeks hard riding in the mountains, I was happy to deviate from my original intention to cycle down the Coast of Portugal. Northern Spain had confirmed for me that I was much happier away from the towns and in the quieter altitudes even at the cost of forgoing the cooler coastal breezes and less frequent campsites.

Traditional farming:
One of the things which is often said about cycle touring is that you are not often shocked by changes in landscape as compared to stepping off an aeroplane after several hours above the clouds; the gentle pace of cycling enforced by having all your worldly goods packed in panniers makes you travel at a pace where the landscape changes slowly from grass to bushes, grapevines and olive trees. I was however taken by surprise at the surroundings I found myself in on leaving the Montesinho National Park as it suddenly felt very different. This was rural Portugal at its best and a long way from intensive farming, everywhere I looked hand tools were being used on the land and horse drawn ploughs and carts were the norm. Myself sat on a shiney bike with matching panniers stood out against this backdrop and I am sure the locals were starring at me with equal curiosity.

Hospitality:
The mountains of the Serra da Estrela National Park were high, the roads were quiet and I started to think that the people I met considered me to be a bit of a seasoned cyclist rather than a bloke who left his house without any training. The number of people who stopped to talk to me, honked their horns in support or simply smiled at the lone cyclist melting in the mid day sun is something I will always remember. On arriving at a roadside bar or cafe I was bought a beer on three separate occasions, told to help myself to bread from the back of a bakers van, given a tube of mosquito bite cream and even offered a bed for the night from a stranger.

Mans best friend:
The reception I received from the dogs in Portugal was not however as welcoming. I had three incidents of dog chases from strays but more alarming was a chase from a pack of dogs miles from civilisation. I am not used to seeing strays and consider myself to be dog friendly which is why I struggled with the number of them falling victim to road kill along the verges that I grimly seemed to discover. On my last day leaving Portugal I sadly came across a mountain dog in the roadside which was so big that on my approach to its lonely and sad remains I thought it only possible to be a calf or a foal.

Love blossoms:
Halfway down Portugal I headed West as my girlfriend who I had not seen since I left England was able to fly out unexpectedly to Lisbon. This is when I realised that all those days of cycling in the hills had paid off as I managed to cycle the 160 miles to the capital pretty much non stop with the exception of a few hours wildcamp in a bush by the side of the road.

I had a fantastic break in Lisbon and pretty much forgot about my tour for five days opting for romantic strolls and sangria rather than hours on end sat on my bike. 

Southern discomfort:
I was off again and had a great day ferry hopping down the inlets of the West coast below Lisbon. Before I headed inland again I experienced what started off as one of the most beautiful wild camps I had ever had. After a moonlit swim and watching a beautiful sunset on a deserted beach my tranquility was turned into a night of torment by mosquitos which pretty much ate me alive (explaining the gift of the bite cream). I then had five days of cycling where I realised just how hot the temperature can get in July and how the mid day sun simply sapped what energy I had. I can remember stopping for a rest in some shade only to get back on my bike to find that until I got cycling again and created a breeze, my bike was simply too hot to touch.

Summary:
This was my first time in Portugal, I did not race through, rather taking my time and enjoying the landscape. Sometimes it was harsh cycling but a day never when past when I didn’t have a grin on my face at some point. Portugal has a lot of contrasts and it was a pleasure to be on the receiving end of your hospitality.

Rambling through Portugal

I was excited and happy to be crossing the Northern border into Portugal. I was to spend a total of twenty six days travelling through the country and although I was to find the first two weeks hard riding in the mountains, I was happy to deviate from my original intention to cycle down the Coast of Portugal. Northern Spain had confirmed for me that I was much happier away from the towns and in the quieter altitudes even at the cost of forgoing the cooler coastal breezes and less frequent campsites.

Traditional farming:
One of the things which is often said about cycle touring is that you are not often shocked by changes in landscape as compared to stepping off an aeroplane after several hours above the clouds; the gentle pace of cycling enforced by having all your worldly goods packed in panniers makes you travel at a pace where the landscape changes slowly from grass to bushes, grapevines and olive trees. I was however taken by surprise at the surroundings I found myself in on leaving the Montesinho National Park as it suddenly felt very different. This was rural Portugal at its best and a long way from intensive farming, everywhere I looked hand tools were being used on the land and horse drawn ploughs and carts were the norm. Myself sat on a shiney bike with matching panniers stood out against this backdrop and I am sure the locals were starring at me with equal curiosity.

Hospitality:
The mountains of the Serra da Estrela National Park were high, the roads were quiet and I started to think that the people I met considered me to be a bit of a seasoned cyclist rather than a bloke who left his house without any training. The number of people who stopped to talk to me, honked their horns in support or simply smiled at the lone cyclist melting in the mid day sun is something I will always remember. On arriving at a roadside bar or cafe I was bought a beer on three separate occasions, told to help myself to bread from the back of a bakers van, given a tube of mosquito bite cream and even offered a bed for the night from a stranger.

Mans best friend:
The reception I received from the dogs in Portugal was not however as welcoming. I had three incidents of dog chases from strays but more alarming was a chase from a pack of dogs miles from civilisation. I am not used to seeing strays and consider myself to be dog friendly which is why I struggled with the number of them falling victim to road kill along the verges that I grimly seemed to discover. On my last day leaving Portugal I sadly came across a mountain dog in the roadside which was so big that on my approach to its lonely and sad remains I thought it only possible to be a calf or a foal.

Love blossoms:
Halfway down Portugal I headed West as my girlfriend who I had not seen since I left England was able to fly out unexpectedly to Lisbon. This is when I realised that all those days of cycling in the hills had paid off as I managed to cycle the 160 miles to the capital pretty much non stop with the exception of a few hours wildcamp in a bush by the side of the road.

I had a fantastic break in Lisbon and pretty much forgot about my tour for five days opting for romantic strolls and sangria rather than hours on end sat on my bike.

Southern discomfort:
I was off again and had a great day ferry hopping down the inlets of the West coast below Lisbon. Before I headed inland again I experienced what started off as one of the most beautiful wild camps I had ever had. After a moonlit swim and watching a beautiful sunset on a deserted beach my tranquility was turned into a night of torment by mosquitos which pretty much ate me alive (explaining the gift of the bite cream). I then had five days of cycling where I realised just how hot the temperature can get in July and how the mid day sun simply sapped what energy I had. I can remember stopping for a rest in some shade only to get back on my bike to find that until I got cycling again and created a breeze, my bike was simply too hot to touch.

Summary:
This was my first time in Portugal, I did not race through, rather taking my time and enjoying the landscape. Sometimes it was harsh cycling but a day never when past when I didn’t have a grin on my face at some point. Portugal has a lot of contrasts and it was a pleasure to be on the receiving end of your hospitality.

5 days of creaking

Guess who was a little bit too tight with the grease when fitting his eccentric bottom bracket?

Not only have I been trying to find a bike shop for five days to buy a bottom bracket spanner to fix the problem; but it has just dawned on me why every dog in Portugal seems to bark at me and take chase.

Lesson 1 from the road. Don’t be stingy with yer lube or the dogs will have you!

Day 36 (a typical day)

Due to a lack of available campsites I found myself awakening in a picnic spot just off the roadside in Central Portugal. It was just after 6am and as I do every morning I lifted my arm above my head and pulled the stopper out of my air mattress to force me out of my bed. As the mattress deflates and the hard ground cradles my middle aged body I have found myself smiling to myself as this ritual always makes me think that I have invented a crap Wallace and Gromit wake up machine.

To simplify packing up in the mornings I have got into the habit of leaving all but the essentials on my bike so I am soon packed up and on the road. I have gone from being a hibernating grizzly bear in the morning to being a bleary eyed grizzly bear on a bike in the morning. It amazes me that I seem to be the first one up and look at any cycling before 11am as being the prime time before the sun gets too hot and the roads host their traffic.

I am straight into hills as today I am cycling up Portugal’s highest mountain pass and so after just 5 miles I stop to remove my jacket as it is already getting too hot. This is when a car pulls I front of me, reverses right up to me and I think here we go. My negative gut reaction is soon dispelled as it was a local man called Tony who stopped to see if I was alright, thinking I had a puncture. We talk for sometime and I tell him that I am going up into the Serra da Estrala today. Tony is talking about the mountain and tells me what to look out for and the dangers of the water trucks which drive up and down the narrow roads to the bottling plant halfway up the mountain. After many handshakes and a photo we part and I carry on. The road gets very steep at the foot of the hill and I am already in my lowest gear but fortunately after another couple of miles the road settles a bit and I stop in a quiet lay-by for coffee and calories to get me though the day. This morning it is some leftover pasta with pesto and some noodles thrown in for good measure. 

I am then left all alone for the next ten miles cycling uphill and being completely awe inspired by the beauty of the mountain yet eagerly willing my mind to wander to help trick my mind into thinking things other than the relentless uphill gradient. Today’s wandering thoughts include:

- What can I do to earn money when I get home.
- I would like to have a really really really good bottle of red wine in my lifetime to see if it is worth it.
- I wish I could be a voiceover man.
- I wonder what mint tea put through a coffee machine would taste like.
- Will my girlfriend like my new tan lines and wide array of insect bites.

As lunchtime approaches I then do my ritual of make another roadside coffee at one of the many mountain springs and I do what I have been doing far too much this tour. I open a small can of processed vegetables (today it is sweet corn, peas and carrot) and I drink the salty brine straight from the can and happily eat the tins contents with my fork. I was forced to do this several weeks ago as it was all I had in my panniers when miles from anywhere and now it is my guilty pleasure. I put it down to my body wanting the salt and only hope it is a habit I kick before I return home.

It has been a long morning but to be honest I am at the top and before I know it it am into the eight miles of downhill to the town of Mantiegas where I am staying tonight. It is in the bottom of a valley and to get out of the valley is another day of hills so I look for a hostel as there is no campsite and I am in need of a wash and a good sleep. 

I would love to tell you that I booked into a hostel, washed and then looked around the town. But I didn’t. Instead I wash all my clothes in the bath, sat on the bed and marvelled at the novel experience of being indoors until what I predict will be the morning when my clothes will hopefully be dry and I continue cycling South. Camping is the norm, wild camping and hostels are necessity and a once in a while treat.

I guess I am saying that a typical day for me is cycling, eating and sleeping. Mix in with that random moments of sheer joy, desperation, hardship, beauty, loneliness, kindness, vertigo and hours upon hours to think really random thoughts. This, along with the growing realisation that we can all do much more than we think is possible with our lives is why I am loving my cycle tour so far.

Day 36 (a typical day)

Due to a lack of available campsites I found myself awakening in a picnic spot just off the roadside in Central Portugal. It was just after 6am and as I do every morning I lifted my arm above my head and pulled the stopper out of my air mattress to force me out of my bed. As the mattress deflates and the hard ground cradles my middle aged body I have found myself smiling to myself as this ritual always makes me think that I have invented a crap Wallace and Gromit wake up machine.

To simplify packing up in the mornings I have got into the habit of leaving all but the essentials on my bike so I am soon packed up and on the road. I have gone from being a hibernating grizzly bear in the morning to being a bleary eyed grizzly bear on a bike in the morning. It amazes me that I seem to be the first one up and look at any cycling before 11am as being the prime time before the sun gets too hot and the roads host their traffic.

I am straight into hills as today I am cycling up Portugal’s highest mountain pass and so after just 5 miles I stop to remove my jacket as it is already getting too hot. This is when a car pulls I front of me, reverses right up to me and I think here we go. My negative gut reaction is soon dispelled as it was a local man called Tony who stopped to see if I was alright, thinking I had a puncture. We talk for sometime and I tell him that I am going up into the Serra da Estrala today. Tony is talking about the mountain and tells me what to look out for and the dangers of the water trucks which drive up and down the narrow roads to the bottling plant halfway up the mountain. After many handshakes and a photo we part and I carry on. The road gets very steep at the foot of the hill and I am already in my lowest gear but fortunately after another couple of miles the road settles a bit and I stop in a quiet lay-by for coffee and calories to get me though the day. This morning it is some leftover pasta with pesto and some noodles thrown in for good measure.

I am then left all alone for the next ten miles cycling uphill and being completely awe inspired by the beauty of the mountain yet eagerly willing my mind to wander to help trick my mind into thinking things other than the relentless uphill gradient. Today’s wandering thoughts include:

- What can I do to earn money when I get home.
- I would like to have a really really really good bottle of red wine in my lifetime to see if it is worth it.
- I wish I could be a voiceover man.
- I wonder what mint tea put through a coffee machine would taste like.
- Will my girlfriend like my new tan lines and wide array of insect bites.

As lunchtime approaches I then do my ritual of make another roadside coffee at one of the many mountain springs and I do what I have been doing far too much this tour. I open a small can of processed vegetables (today it is sweet corn, peas and carrot) and I drink the salty brine straight from the can and happily eat the tins contents with my fork. I was forced to do this several weeks ago as it was all I had in my panniers when miles from anywhere and now it is my guilty pleasure. I put it down to my body wanting the salt and only hope it is a habit I kick before I return home.

It has been a long morning but to be honest I am at the top and before I know it it am into the eight miles of downhill to the town of Mantiegas where I am staying tonight. It is in the bottom of a valley and to get out of the valley is another day of hills so I look for a hostel as there is no campsite and I am in need of a wash and a good sleep.

I would love to tell you that I booked into a hostel, washed and then looked around the town. But I didn’t. Instead I wash all my clothes in the bath, sat on the bed and marvelled at the novel experience of being indoors until what I predict will be the morning when my clothes will hopefully be dry and I continue cycling South. Camping is the norm, wild camping and hostels are necessity and a once in a while treat.

I guess I am saying that a typical day for me is cycling, eating and sleeping. Mix in with that random moments of sheer joy, desperation, hardship, beauty, loneliness, kindness, vertigo and hours upon hours to think really random thoughts. This, along with the growing realisation that we can all do much more than we think is possible with our lives is why I am loving my cycle tour so far.

What direction South is

How to navigate on my little bike ride was a worry to me in the weeks leading up to my departure and I looked at a multitude of aids. It has been three weeks now, two to cycle down to Portsmouth and a week in Spain. 

So I thought that I would share with you what I find works for me:

1. A compass strapped to my handlebar has proved to be amazing. I have an adventure racing silva compass which does not have all the degrees around its edge like a traditional compass but uses a simple colour and dot system to navigate by and it has a really big ‘float point’ so the needle never gets stuck if it is at a funny angle on my bike. I have been stunned just how many times it has stopped me from going the wrong way and there have been several times when I am convinced it is wrong but the earths magnetic field does not lie whereas my inbuilt sense of direction does.

My final reason why this is my favourite navigational aid is because I am primarily travelling South. It is good to look at the North pointer and know in what direction my girlfriend is in. Even though she is 765 miles away (thanks to iOS ’find my friends’) it is nice to know what way I should point my thoughts too.

2. I know most people love paper maps but I truly do prefer digital mapping only using paper maps to give me a broad overview of an area. Given that I have no strict route I only have about 7 maps with me compared to a lot of people who will fill a bike pannier up. I strap my current one onto my handlebars and it is good to know it is there if I need it.

3. Digital. I love a digital map and in particular I use my iPhone with digital maps. For years I have used www.viewranger.co.uk maps for the UK and the ability to hold the full UK maps on one devise is fantastic. Looking at the European and world mapping available it is either too costly or does not exist. Hence a recent discovery of an iOS app called MapsWithMe (comes in a free version or a pro version for a few pounds which let’s you store maps offline). 

The MapsWithMe app (search for it on iOS) has been simply stunning. I have the whole of the world stored offline on my phone, with street name detail and it has millions of points of interest which are searchable offline. Every campsite I have stayed at so far has been found using the app and it will even list points of interest in distance order, displaying their direction on a compass from me. Please note that this is primarily road mapping and cannot be used to navigate off-road.

Finally if I am really tired and want to know how many miles are left or if I am in a built up City and I am looking for a particular street. Then I use a satnav on my phone with an earpiece in to give me voice directions. I use Navigon and love it. I only use this in short bursts because it will drain your battery and as with all satnav’s, I never learn where I am going if I am just following voice commands.


In conclusion I know lots of people will say that an iPhone runs out of power and is not as reliable as a paper map but given that I normally have my phone switched off in my pocket and only use it when I am lost or confused. When used in conjunction with an overview paper map and a compass I have yet to go wrong, yet…

What direction South is

How to navigate on my little bike ride was a worry to me in the weeks leading up to my departure and I looked at a multitude of aids. It has been three weeks now, two to cycle down to Portsmouth and a week in Spain.

So I thought that I would share with you what I find works for me:

1. A compass strapped to my handlebar has proved to be amazing. I have an adventure racing silva compass which does not have all the degrees around its edge like a traditional compass but uses a simple colour and dot system to navigate by and it has a really big ‘float point’ so the needle never gets stuck if it is at a funny angle on my bike. I have been stunned just how many times it has stopped me from going the wrong way and there have been several times when I am convinced it is wrong but the earths magnetic field does not lie whereas my inbuilt sense of direction does.

My final reason why this is my favourite navigational aid is because I am primarily travelling South. It is good to look at the North pointer and know in what direction my girlfriend is in. Even though she is 765 miles away (thanks to iOS ’find my friends’) it is nice to know what way I should point my thoughts too.

2. I know most people love paper maps but I truly do prefer digital mapping only using paper maps to give me a broad overview of an area. Given that I have no strict route I only have about 7 maps with me compared to a lot of people who will fill a bike pannier up. I strap my current one onto my handlebars and it is good to know it is there if I need it.

3. Digital. I love a digital map and in particular I use my iPhone with digital maps. For years I have used www.viewranger.co.uk maps for the UK and the ability to hold the full UK maps on one devise is fantastic. Looking at the European and world mapping available it is either too costly or does not exist. Hence a recent discovery of an iOS app called MapsWithMe (comes in a free version or a pro version for a few pounds which let’s you store maps offline).

The MapsWithMe app (search for it on iOS) has been simply stunning. I have the whole of the world stored offline on my phone, with street name detail and it has millions of points of interest which are searchable offline. Every campsite I have stayed at so far has been found using the app and it will even list points of interest in distance order, displaying their direction on a compass from me. Please note that this is primarily road mapping and cannot be used to navigate off-road.

Finally if I am really tired and want to know how many miles are left or if I am in a built up City and I am looking for a particular street. Then I use a satnav on my phone with an earpiece in to give me voice directions. I use Navigon and love it. I only use this in short bursts because it will drain your battery and as with all satnav’s, I never learn where I am going if I am just following voice commands.


In conclusion I know lots of people will say that an iPhone runs out of power and is not as reliable as a paper map but given that I normally have my phone switched off in my pocket and only use it when I am lost or confused. When used in conjunction with an overview paper map and a compass I have yet to go wrong, yet…

Cardiff photomarathon

12 photos to be taken over 12 hours with the topics for which the photos must represent being released throughout the day. This is how a photomarathon works, add in great company, some lovely cameras and plenty of cafe stops and you are set for a fantastic day out.

I completed the 2014 Cardiff Photomarathon last weekend and I have to say that it is a fantastic way to both get to know a city but also to take photos which you would not normally take. Above are a few of the photos I took under the topics of (clockwise) the dying of the light, join the dots, stacked up, street level.

Cardiff photomarathon

12 photos to be taken over 12 hours with the topics for which the photos must represent being released throughout the day. This is how a photomarathon works, add in great company, some lovely cameras and plenty of cafe stops and you are set for a fantastic day out.

I completed the 2014 Cardiff Photomarathon last weekend and I have to say that it is a fantastic way to both get to know a city but also to take photos which you would not normally take. Above are a few of the photos I took under the topics of (clockwise) the dying of the light, join the dots, stacked up, street level.

and I shall call him Boog
I have finally finished building the bike that I am to spend the rest of 2014 on and it is now ready for me undertake my cycle tour of a lifetime.
The last piece in the build and at the heart of the bike are two very special wheels built by the very helpful Jonathan and Ben at Strada wheels. I have been building the bike right until the last minute, the wheels were delivered, fitted and then taken for a quick spin around the block. 
The bike was then brought back indoors and fitted with mudguards, rear rack and a bike packing bar bag.
I will talk more about the bike in the future, but for now I just wanted to introduce hopefully the last bike I will ever buy. A 29er mountain bike, fitted with drop bars, an internally geared hub and a dynamo system.
Oh and I have called him Boog…

and I shall call him Boog

I have finally finished building the bike that I am to spend the rest of 2014 on and it is now ready for me undertake my cycle tour of a lifetime.

The last piece in the build and at the heart of the bike are two very special wheels built by the very helpful Jonathan and Ben at Strada wheels. I have been building the bike right until the last minute, the wheels were delivered, fitted and then taken for a quick spin around the block. 

The bike was then brought back indoors and fitted with mudguards, rear rack and a bike packing bar bag.

I will talk more about the bike in the future, but for now I just wanted to introduce hopefully the last bike I will ever buy. A 29er mountain bike, fitted with drop bars, an internally geared hub and a dynamo system.

Oh and I have called him Boog…

Something big on a bike

Yesterday I signed the final document to seal my fate for the future. I have been in my current job for 12 years but I will be leaving my employer at the end of April to take my life in a new direction. 

Since the age of 17 when I bought a bike with my wages I became hooked and for the past 24 years this has not faded. Cycling has given me so much. To name a few: 

Freedom to get out of the city and to search out some truly stunning parts of the UK countryside. There is something about being in the middle of nowhere, miles from home, knowing that you got there under your own steam.

Friendships born through being out on a bike all day, sharing the highs experienced through fast descents, the in-betweens of hours chatting in the saddle and the lows of enduring hard weather and terrain.

It is for the love of cycling and due to a lifelong dream of going on a big tour that I plan to spend the remainder of 2014 sat on a bike.

I am not saying that I want to cycle round the world. I am not saying that I intend to cycle hard for 10 hours a day everyday. I want to simply travel by bike. I plan to leave my house in May, cycle down to a ferry port and cross the channel and see what happens. No big plans. No end destination. Travel by bike for the love of it.

I hope you will follow my exploits over the rest of 2014 at www.manwithbag.com , I will try to not be too annoying, I know how lucky I am to have family, friends and the worlds most understanding girlfriend behind me. 

I just wanted to give it a go.


*Picture taken from the fantastic We and the Bean

Something big on a bike

Yesterday I signed the final document to seal my fate for the future. I have been in my current job for 12 years but I will be leaving my employer at the end of April to take my life in a new direction. 

Since the age of 17 when I bought a bike with my wages I became hooked and for the past 24 years this has not faded. Cycling has given me so much. To name a few: 

Freedom to get out of the city and to search out some truly stunning parts of the UK countryside. There is something about being in the middle of nowhere, miles from home, knowing that you got there under your own steam.

Friendships born through being out on a bike all day, sharing the highs experienced through fast descents, the in-betweens of hours chatting in the saddle and the lows of enduring hard weather and terrain.

It is for the love of cycling and due to a lifelong dream of going on a big tour that I plan to spend the remainder of 2014 sat on a bike.

I am not saying that I want to cycle round the world. I am not saying that I intend to cycle hard for 10 hours a day everyday. I want to simply travel by bike. I plan to leave my house in May, cycle down to a ferry port and cross the channel and see what happens. No big plans. No end destination. Travel by bike for the love of it.

I hope you will follow my exploits over the rest of 2014 at www.manwithbag.com , I will try to not be too annoying, I know how lucky I am to have family, friends and the worlds most understanding girlfriend behind me. 

I just wanted to give it a go.

*Picture taken from the fantastic We and the Bean

Fallen wood floor standing lamp
A reading lamp was required for the lounge. Lamps range from £5.99 for a B&Q lamp which is simply sad to look at to a £650 reconditioned stage light which was simply stunning but far too big an investment.

The compromise was something with emotional attachment which didn’t cost too much. 

This was achieved by having a very enjoyable afternoon in the local woods looking at pieces of fallen wood. Bringing the wood home and working out how to make a lamp. Buying the appropriate electrical parts and a lampshade and then making a lamp which provides light but also memories of a lovely afternoon in the woods.

Fallen wood floor standing lamp

A reading lamp was required for the lounge. Lamps range from £5.99 for a B&Q lamp which is simply sad to look at to a £650 reconditioned stage light which was simply stunning but far too big an investment.

The compromise was something with emotional attachment which didn’t cost too much. 

This was achieved by having a very enjoyable afternoon in the local woods looking at pieces of fallen wood. Bringing the wood home and working out how to make a lamp. Buying the appropriate electrical parts and a lampshade and then making a lamp which provides light but also memories of a lovely afternoon in the woods.

My first wooden spoon
During last weeks storms I watched as a limb from a tree outside the house broke off and fell into the road. I can’t remember ever seeing a limb fall from a tree in such close proximity so the bit of wood felt a little bit special to me.
So i got thinking and I bought an axe. I took my axe and chopped a small part of the limb off and made something which was desperately missing from the kitchen.
Tonight’s tea of squash risotto will not be stirred with a very noisy metal spoon. Rather it will be made with a very bespoke risotto stirrer. Given the price of the axe this is a very expensive risotto stirrer but who said every story has to have a positive moral.

My first wooden spoon

During last weeks storms I watched as a limb from a tree outside the house broke off and fell into the road. I can’t remember ever seeing a limb fall from a tree in such close proximity so the bit of wood felt a little bit special to me.

So i got thinking and I bought an axe. I took my axe and chopped a small part of the limb off and made something which was desperately missing from the kitchen.

Tonight’s tea of squash risotto will not be stirred with a very noisy metal spoon. Rather it will be made with a very bespoke risotto stirrer. Given the price of the axe this is a very expensive risotto stirrer but who said every story has to have a positive moral.

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