Meant to be

Up until 2pm on Saturday nothing had really grabbed my attention in terms of what I might write about this week for my blog.

I’m feeling a bit better than I did last week but it’s been a slow improvement this time away from ‘the fog’.

I did though pick up my new ‘toy’ which is my Orange Crush mountain bike last Sunday. I’m not one for fads but I had to admit to myself that buying a fancy new mountain bike after having only been mountain biking seriously once was a bit extreme but I know in my bones I’m going to get use out of it.

I was quite nervous getting on it! I know they say ‘it’s like riding a bike’ but if you haven’t ridden a bike for a while it’s well – like riding a bike when you haven’t ridden one for years!! Wobbly!

I bought some cycling trousers from Aldi and kept trying to move the padded bit to the side when I then discovered there were two padded bits, one for each cheek!!! I put my new pink and black helmet (matched my jacket!) on and off we we went towards the canal on what was luckily a beautiful autumnal warm gorgeous day.

I do love getting to know a different part of where I live. Having lived in this area all my life I had never taken the whole path down to the aqueduct via the canal. It was absolutely stunning. We had to stop at one point to take in the view and that says something living in Wales! A blue and cream canal boat bobbed at the side of a bench where someone had planted roses all around it, the bench looked over a vast panoramic skyline, slightly hazy but with strong emerald and rusty colours of trees swinging quietly in the wind. Below the trees, the river Dee was quite spectacular due to the recent rain and with beautiful force went on its journey as far as the eye could see.

We continued onwards, passing a few people and a few dogs, but not many. We were heading towards a cafe that we’d discovered, it was actually a cafe inside a boat and as I cycled I mulled over, what would it be? Almond slice or a scone with cream and jam!

We eventually got to the cafe, the October sun by now was pressing down on our skin and when we stopped I had to loosen my jacket to cool down. We queued and I finally decided on the scone, I wasn’t disappointed.

We’d stopped next to an elderly woman and her dog. I am addicted to dogs. I can’t pass a dog without comment or a pat on their head. We asked if the woman minded us sitting next to her on the long wooden bench. No, she said.

It wasn’t long before we made friends with the beautiful golden Labrador who reminded me of a lovely dog in my life years previously. He had the most handsome face and he looked hopefully at us for a crumb of the scone but his owner rightly wasn’t keen on him developing that habit. He sat with his head on my blue and white trainers, a trick that many dogs like to do, if you move – then they’ll know it!

We got talking to the fair haired, slight woman and I noticed she had a thick gold wedding ring on her tiny hand, for some reason I knew already that she had been widowed and that this dog had come into her life because of that. In the fifteen minutes or so we spoke it transpired that after saving all their life for their future her husband had died suddenly over 3 months, before he retired and 5 months after she had retired. They had been together for 50 years. This had happened 8 years ago. Her dog was 8 years old.

As we were leaving, the woman who was now in her 70s looked at us. Really looked at us. Don’t save for the future, she said. Don’t put your money in ISAs or banks. Live your life now, she said. You really need to live your life now, she said.

I left her, feeling a little sorry – not in a patronising way – just that she had made all these plans and in the matter of months they were taken away from her. I also left her feeling that sometimes, you bump into people for a reason. I felt like I was supposed to meet her this day. I was meant to hear what she said. It was meant to be.

I hope I get to meet her again some day.

Have a lovely Sunday x

Less saying NO..

Summer holidays equals a lot of parents trying to think every day of some way to entertain the kids over those long six weeks. I’m not in that boat anymore but a visit by a 9 year old got me scratching my head about what we could do. We eventually settled on mountain biking.

Now…. for some reaaon I had thought this was going to be a leisurely ride around the woods in Llandegla but just on a mountain bike I haven’t ever been ‘proper’ mountain biking before. This didn’t fully dawn on me until a lot later.

Even the slow incline that continued to climb… for some reason gave me no clue about what I was going to face. We assured the 9 year old… just around this corner it’ll be a flat. It wasn’t to be though for at least 25 more corners.

Doesn’t sound much fun so far? The thing is it was. The bikes we had hired were fantastic and we cycled up fairly easily. The view of the trees standing proudly 80 ft above us wavering under the partly blue sky took our minds off any concerns of not being able to make it.

Then finally the promise of the flat became a reality and the climb stopped. At this point I STILL had no idea what lay ahead. The track narrowed slightly and we came to a sign that advised us this was the beginning of the ‘blue descent’.

I was still quite naive thinking it’d just be a nice easy hill back to the car park.

I was last to go.

The screeches coming from the two that went ahead as I let my bike begin to free wheel did start to raise some alarm bells. The squeals echoed all the way around me as my bike caught speed. What happened next was probably the most exhilarating 30 minutes of my life for a very long time!!!

The track narrowed and the descent increased, as I cycled over the first small jump I joined in with the involuntary squeals, partly terrified. The bike manoeuvred through the track approaching the corners with an occasional screech of the tyres turning to the next obstacle. I continued the cycle down through dirt and puddles. My face splattered with mud as I got more confident and increased speed. The trees became more of a blur as I felt overwhelmed by this sense of freedom and risk taking and FUN that I hadn’t felt for a long time. The sound of the wheels brushed fiercely against the soil and I felt exhilarated and ever so slightly out of control as the bike increased its speed again . At one point i found myself momentarily (and I do mean a split second!) off the ground and as my heart found it’s way back from my mouth I gripped the handlebars tighter, smiling from ear to ear!

As the track began to ease and a reservoir appeared to my left we found ourselves back at the car park. The three of us couldn’t stop giggling we laughed at our muddy legs and faces.

It’s never too late to get our there and try something new!! Even when you don’t exactly know what you’re getting into to!

Less saying No and more saying YES!

Happy Sunday xxx