Friday, 21 August 2015

Bring on the Bubbles.

Well I never thought I would be writing a blog post about becoming engaged but here it is!

Having being burned once before with the whole marriage business, I was, for a long time, a firm believer in the fact that I would never do that again, but it's funny how things turn out.

Having met Alistair almost a year ago, we have been fairly inseparable from the word go and quite quickly found ourselves living together and making future plans.

Now I suppose it is only when you meet the right person that your "never again" attitude might begin to change and for both of us this was definitely the case. I think the conversations started as a testing the water type thing over some wine one night and we both agreed that yes maybe marriage would be on the cards again. We both felt that making that commitment to each other was something that we wanted to do.

I have often spouted over the years that marriage is going out of fashion or doesn't really stand for anything these days as it's so easy to get divorced and many people enter into it without any foresight, but this time 22 years on from the last time I did it, it feels so much more special.

The actual proposal was made many weeks before the ring appeared and was in the kitchen and I was given a gorgeous bunch of carnations. This however we kept secret until we had gotten ourselves more organised.

After some searching around on the old internet we found a jeweller on Etsy who had a fabulous range of rings and so ordered one. This was a slight gamble, but when the ring arrived a week later we were relieved to find that it not only fitted but was as lovely as it looked on the website.

Our original plans were to leave it until October time when we have some days off planned and to go up North and do something to mark the occasion, but we were way too excited so changed our minds to "lets go do it now!"

We trundled off to the Co-op and bought a bottle of Moet (£10 off special deal) and headed up to the top of the local hill Lee Pen.

Thankfully it was a truly gorgeous Summer evening and so could sit out in our shorts and tee shirt and drink our bubbly and just soak up the moment. Even Bodhi chilled out when he realised that this was the end of his walk for a few minutes.

A phone call to my Mum from the top of the hill was made and to hear the surprise and delight in her voice was enough to get me tearing up again. It was a very happy moment for us all.

After consuming half a bottle each we thought we had better go get some dinner as lightweight Harvey was getting kind of drunk. Descending sober,without a dog, I can fall and break my wrist so was getting slightly nervous of getting down intact, but we did thankfully.

We popped Bdog back in the house then hurried round to the Traquair Arms for some food and more drink to celebrate.

It's been a hell of a quick year since I moved house but without a shadow of a doubt it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Who'd have thought I would find my soul mate living just a few doors down. It's a funny old world.

Bdog and the bubbles.

Family photo.


Bored now Mum.


Happy shadows.


All photos by Caroline Harvey.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Haughcross Cyclocross Race.

Yesterday saw me race in my first official cyclocross event at Silversands, Aberdour. It is a Summer event and not part of the Scottish Cyclocross Series. It is organised by James McCallum and sponsored by Ronde Bicycle Outfitters. The format for the day also differs from the Winter races. Yesterday saw 2 heats of mixed age categories then the top 50% from each of those races rode again in Final A and the bottom 50% in Final B.

Even the weather held, mostly.

We got up and away quite early so as to get a good parking spot so Bodhi wasn't ever too far away from us when he had to be left in the car, but it also gave us plenty of time to walk round the course and see exactly what I had let myself in for.

Alistair, being a seasoned pro at all this stuff, helped keep me calm as I seemed to be more anxious about this than I was of the marathon the previous week. Thankfully he has more confidence in my skills than I do and assured me that the course was not too technical.

I rode in the first heat at noon along with Alistair and Elisa. The race was for 40 mins plus a lap and I think was just under a mile per lap.

As we gathered at the start my stomach was churning and Elisa and I tried to reassure each other that it would all be ok, it was her very first race too.

The cyclocross ladies.

Two blows of the whistle and off we went, a mad dash for the first corner, I was doing ok but as I went round the corner I swear I heard what sounded like my tire blowing, so stopped to check it was ok. Rookie error! Don't stop, just keep going until something feels wrong or falls off as the masses quickly disappeared and I had a bit of catching up to do. I just started to pedal as fast as I could till I got back in amongst it and then settled in for the long haul.

After the first lap I seemed to get into a rhythm and tried to stick with that pace as best I could. I loved the top half of the course with the ramp and and a couple of sweeping corners. The bottom half was slightly trickier as there were tree slaloms, planks, and uphill and one hell of a head wind to contend with.

When I heard the commentator announce that 12 minutes had past I thought that I was never going to see the 40 mins through, but just dug in and tried to race as hard as I could. I and no idea where I was placed in the field but there was another female rider behind me and I just tried my best to stay in front of her as long as I could.

The final lap bell was a sweet sound to hear and was glad to cross the finish line having only been lapped by Alistair the once.

All we had to do after that was cheer on friends in the second heat and then wait around until 5pm and 6pm for our respective finals. It was a long wait but was needed as my legs felt rather tired with my efforts.

Even Bdog needed some rest on such a long day.

In the final I tried to get a better start so as not to have to work so hard to catch up. It was better and my confidence from the first race helped too. For most of the race I could not see any of the other few woman and the only people around or passing me were men, until at a section down near the trees you could see who was behind and I saw the girl that I had a good race previous with. Again not knowing where I was positioned in the field, my only goal was to try and stay in front for as long as I could. Alistair was being a great coach and shouting at me from the sidelines urging me to keep pedalling as hard as I could. My legs were on fire, my back ached but managed beyond even my expectations to stay ahead and cross the line before the lady in orange. I was well chuffed.

It was then time to watch Alistair's super fast final and Bodhi and I did our best to try and take photos and cheer him on.

In the end I managed to get 3rd place and was completely surprised.

Alistair has always said "It's only 40 minutes of pain but you'll enjoy it!" and I often thought "I'm sure I won't" but low and behold I did. The day was great and even if I had come further down the field I would have enjoyed it all the same, because although I was trying to stay ahead the competitive challenge was mostly with myself.

If you are at all looking for a new sport/challenge I recommend cyclocross as you not only get a great workout but you get to hang out with lots of really nice people too. Many riders ride for teams but I am not part of a team, so we made my own team name. Go team Rainbow Cloud!

Start line.

Up and over.


Go Ali D!

I see him coming.

Faster, faster.

3rd, yeah.


Peace x

All photographs by Caroline Harvey and Alistair Dow.