The Mad Old Baggage

The Mad Old Baggage

More ramblings.....

9 notes


September 30th - Once you get used to the idea (and it does take me a good while to do so), Autumn is beautifully enjoyable. The colours are astounding. Everything from fallen conkers, to bright orange berries, to golden leaves and dew-collecting spiderwebs makes it beautiful to be riding right now.

All on one short section of road on an industrial estate.

9 notes


September 28th - Up on the Chase on a balmy, sunny afternoon that apart from the colour, could have been May rather than September.

I came up through Heath Hayes and over Hednesford, over the site of the RAF base. I loved the new RAF Trail markers with the roundel.

Birches Valley was rammed, and not a hugely enjoyable ride - it’s hard to let rip when around every corner there are kids, or loose dogs… So I headed for Abrahams Valley via Penkridge Bank, and was relieved to see not just a deer fawn, but clear space with few people over there.

The pines are beginning to turn - another week or so and they’ll be gorgeous.

I hopped from Seven Springs to Stepping Stones, over Milford Common and Shugborough, where from the zigzag bridge I watched two horse riders cautiously fording the trent. 

Racing back through Longdon, a familiar patch of cyclamen I forget every year until they flower, and they take me by surprise. Such delicate, lovely flowers.

It’s good to be back on decent weekend rides after so long waiting for the foot to sort itself out.

3 notes

Cycling has taken a back seat these last few weeks, I’ve been too busy and Aiden has been floored by a lung infection, so today was our first ride together for a month. I’ve been out on my own but I prefer riding with Aiden now, never thought I would say that!

My new bike rode like a dream on the roads. Looking forward to Norfolk in a couple of weeks.

We did a little under 20 miles on an easy route up and around Chasewater. What a stunning day! Sunny and unseasonably warm at 21C. My lovely new Whyte Pimlico lost her virginity and we both rode smiling, smiling.

There were a lot of people up at Chasewater, something was happening power boat wise but more, there were so many people walking and cycling. We spotted a fair number of birds including the buzzard above (cropped and cropped again) and a couple of playful jays.

A good day to be alive

Filed under chasewater Cycling Whyte Pimlico Buzzard

86 notes


A group of young mothers from the Focus E15 Mothers campaign group have squatted a block of a boarded-up council estate in Newham, London.

The women were evicted from the Focus E15 hostel last year after the government and Newham borough council slashed the money that paid for their support.  They were initially threatened with being housed up to 200 miles away in parts of the country that they had no links in, but after a campaign, the council helped them to find affordable private accommodation.  With their rental contracts only being for 12 months though, and rents rising, many of the women and their children face the possibility of being homeless again.

The Carpenter’s estate, where they are occupying a block, has been partially empty and boarded up for several years, a disgusting state of affairs when so many people in London are homeless and vulnerably housed.

All photos from Focus E15 Mothers facebook except second to last one last one from Demotix (by Peter Marshall).


(via vegetablearian)

16 notes


Total silence, apart from the birdsong. This isn’t a bad view, is it - considering I’m in the industrial heart of England …… (at Park Lime Pits)


Total silence, apart from the birdsong. This isn’t a bad view, is it - considering I’m in the industrial heart of England …… (at Park Lime Pits)

7 notes

Saturday was spent at RSPB Coombes Valley. This reserve is a beautiful, hilly, woodland, full of surprises around every twist of the pathways throughout. Since our last visit a new walk called the Woodcock Trail has been opened up and it’s worth taking the time to walk it. There are some stunning vistas over the treetops. Lots of fungi about at present and even the odd lizard sunbathing. A very peaceful and relaxing day.

Filed under rspb coombes valley woodcock trail staffordshire fungus common lizard

1 note

Rudyard Lake, Staffordshire. We took the opportunity to take a couple of nights away and stayed near The Roaches. After setting up we took the short drive to Rudyard Lake, the straightest lake outside the Lake District, apparently and originally built as a feeder for the Caldon Canal and the place after which Rudyard Kipling was named. It was a sunny afternoon and was so peaceful and relaxing to be there. A little later we made our way to other end of the lake where there the mud attracts various waders and were rewarded with sightings of scaup, snipe, lapwing and woodpeckers in the woods. It’s difficult to  access that end of the lake but the effort was worth it.

Filed under rudyard lake staffordshire