29.8.09

I like to ride my Bicycle...

Our village green this morning


My x-rays are clear. I am disgustingly, bouncingly, 100% fit and healthy. If I were a cat, my nose would be wet. But still, I am compelled to lose some poundage. My weight gain has not been accumulated by gluttony or unwholesome foods; I am the annoying kind of person who can (and does) keep a Lindt chocolate bar in their desk drawer and eat a couple of squares a week. I
enjoy oatcakes and unsweetened muesli and feel no temptation towards cakes or snacks. No, my pounds have built up from the unbelievable hardship of having my studio next door to the bedroom, which I enter first thing in the morning and (previously) did not leave except to do the odd walk or pop-to-the-shop. Thankfully, being 6ft tall, it doesn't really show, but the scales do not lie. So, for the first time since I was fifteen, I am taking daily exercise. I have lost half a stone and am feeling bizarrely fit - my skin is almost glowing and my cheek bones are cautiously emerging. Even Andy has noticed, and when your long term partner notices change, it must be change.



One of my favourite lanes


At eight am in the morning there are few places I would rather be than on one of my regular circulars; a seven mile round trip to buy the Saturday 'Times'. It's downhill and uphill and gets my cardio-vascular thing-a-me-jigs going nicely. The roads are fairly quiet, as most people are indulging in a weekend lie-in, so I cycle in blissful solitude.





We are enjoying a golden end to summer and the fields glow warmly with browns and golds. The occasional leaf drifts through the sunlight and through gaps in the hedgerow I glimpse church spires poking up from the landscape, the countryman's map markers.





I take a detour to one of the prettiest villages in our area, and visit the little shop. As well as my paper, I pick up burgers from Foxbury Farm, cottage rolls from a Gloucestershire bakery and cheese. The cheese - Crudges - is new to me and is one of the few to be produced in Oxfordshire from locally sourced Jersey milk. If you weren't tempted by it's provenance, then the blurb on the label would utterly win you over;


"Now made with raw milk for a fuller flavour, Haddon Gold is smooth and has a buttery taste derived from the rolling organic meadows of Hutton Grange Farm, Great Rollright. Meadow Fescue, Cocksfoot, Timothy, buttercups and dandelions, all gently swaying in the breeze, amidst the dappled shade of Horse Chestnut trees and the gentle sound of rumination from these beautiful Jersey cows."


Mr Crudge - for, unlike our favourite cake-baker, Mr Kipling, he really does exist - is a locally born farmer. For those of you who take an interest in such things, he rents his premises from ex-Blur member and newly-turned country boy Alex James. And if you are thinking that cheese is an odd thing for someone losing weight to be putting in their shopping basket - all things in moderation.





My aching knees have lost their stiffness and I almost whizz back along the narrow, straight lane and through the side of the woods, calling out a cheery hello to the drowsy herd of Dexter cattle. The sun is getting up and crickets are chirping in the dried grasses. People begin to emerge in their cars and it is time for me to be home.





There are, after worse ways to shed a few pounds.


36 comments:

janet said...

Longing to be riding alongside you in that gorgeous countryside you call home!!! Look...I think I spotted Henry VIII out in the field with his hunting party ;-)

PG said...

:) Funny you should say that, as most of this part of the county was once covered by forest owned by various kings of the day, they were hunting forests kept exclusively for Royal use (and woe betide any poor peasant caught poaching!). There are only a couple of authentic parts of this ancient woodland left, and the largest part is only a mile down the road - 'my' woods that I am always going on about.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Much worse ways, I'd say. Such a lovely lane to cycle along.

Very happy your tests were clear. That's always a refreshing feeling. I rather envy you your height. Not only can you get things from the top shelf without assistance, but how very skinny I would be if only I were taller!!

Kari L√łnning said...

OMG what a lovely morning ride! I feel invigorated and healthier just reading your post. 6 foot tall, huh, and you make such wonderful little characters!

Reading this post is the best reason in the world to get distracted by Twitter. ... I think I'll go off and so something wonderful!

Over the Garden Wall said...

So pleased that all is wellfor you,
and,quite selfishly for myself. I do so look forward to your blogs.

rossichka said...

What a good news! It's so nice that there's nothing to worry about! I suppose you feel relieved and full of energy to make some changes in your everyday life... I like very much your countryside. It looks so calm and picturesque. Maybe, despite the physical efforts, the cycling gives you some kind of pleasure and the sense of freedom...
Thank you so much for publishing the name of my blog in "Sites of the week" - it's so kind of you, Gretel!

Jane Moxey said...

Good news on the health front and hooray for you for doing your exercise regime. That's what I need to be doing too! Oh that English countryside is so lovely and as for the description of the cheese -- words fail!

tlawwife said...

I always enjoy bicycling along with you. Someday I hope to see it in person. We received harvest pictures from our English friends so Terry has the I want to go back to England bug again. (It never really goes away.) A goal to work for.

the casbah kitten said...

What lovely countryside! If I had such a picturesque spot to cycle in I think I'd weigh about 80 lbs! Although those lanes look awfully narrow.....

Frances Tyrrell said...

What a beautiful corner of the world, from here it looks like a perfect place to be.
The cheese sounds absolutely delicious,the real thing compared to the mass-produced varieties in our supermarkets. Raw milk is a touchy issue here, a health and food safety debate, with individual farmers trying to find their way around the regulations. Their customers say the taste is beyond compare.
Glad you are well, who needs health scares!
Blessings,
F

Frances said...

Oh PG, where to begin. Well, of course, congrats on your having got some good test results.

(I'm a lot older than you, and know what a shock it was to me when my metabolism began to slow down ... slow way down. This was just before I took four years off from being someone's employee, prefering to stay at home and paint and draw every day. Bliss!)

Well, I then had to go back to work and that's how I hooked up with the fashion retail world. In six weeks of being on my feet and up and down stairs 8 hours/day, five days/week, I lost 15 pounds in about six weeks. For me that was a big drop, and at first I was quite alarmed. Then the old metabolism set its new course, and I was back to keeping my original weight.

That was seven years ago, and I have been pretty much at that same reduced weight ever since. Has my painting continued? No, not at all. Would I trade the pounds for the paintings. Still wrestling with that one.

Before this gets too long, I do want to say that ... I would love to try that cheese! xo

Meliors Simms said...

yay!

Jackie said...

We were in Norfolk last week and I sadi over and over again how I would love to be cycling. Unfortunately we live on the side of a steep hill and there are other steep hills nearby so cycling is a very unattractive pursuit hereabouts.(http://www.flickr.com/photos/dogdaisy92/3068673686/in/set-72157605067564810/)
I was once able to cycle from bottom to top without stopping..about 10 years ago.
My weight must be shed by walks and restraint.
I'm delighted to hear you are feeling so robustly healthy.
No felters lung then?
(Oh the verification word is 'unsad'. How appropriate)

Chrissie said...

I like the sound of Mr. Crudge! What a great bike ride - I'm a bit nervous of getting mine out at the moment - too many munching combines moving from field to field along the lanes!

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Congrats on your health pass, and 10 large size solid gold stars for your bicycling. What lovely country and I presume you have nice clean air too! I'm hoping to get out this morning, now that smoke from the fires seems to have cleared.

littlesliceoflife said...

Hmmm, you're almost tempting me to rescue my somewhat rusty, cobweb-covered bike from the shed..... almost. :)
x

Libby Buttons said...

Poundage is an ugly word. I too have excess. Your beautiful post has inspired me to walk more often. I love coming over to visit and view your photos. A bit of escape from the norm here in my land.
smiLes
DarLie

Yarrow said...

Glad you've had the all clear and very well done with the cycling. I think I should be going much further than I am to make a difference! Your countryside is so beautiful, it is a good way to get fit and no mistake. Can't stand stuffy gym's, bleurgh!

x

Merisi said...

That was an absolutely gorgeous ride, Gretel - thank you! Do you think that riding along virtually will do me good too, fitnesswise? ;-)

Sue said...

I'm carrying too much around the tum for the same reasons as you. I too, don't snack, I quite like muesli and salads, it's just lack of activity. Now the dog's not allowed to go on so many long walks, I'm not getting my daily walkies! I must try and cycle every day. We live in a village, it's easy to get to quieter lanes. No excuses for me!

Syren said...

Good news about the x-ray. I would love to find somewhere of equivalent beauty to encourage me to get out and cycle - my waistline would certainly benefit, not to mention the rest of me.

BumbleVee said...

wow.... what a beautiful ride.....

Elizabeth said...

I imagine I, too, could lose some weight if I lived in a place like you do. Wow, is that ever beautiful. It seems like a fantasy world, actually. A stereotype! Thank you so much for sharing it.

Debbies-English-Treasures said...

You live in such a wonderful place... Thanks for sharing!
I truly enjoyed looking at your handmade farm animals, also!
You sure are very T.A.L.E.N.T.E.D!

ENJOY LIFE`S SIMPLE TREASURES,
DEBBIE MOSS

Carol said...

Such wonderful scenery - a truly beautiful and peaceful post. Always a joy to read. So pleased your x-rays were clear, so impressed with all that cycling...

Suze said...

I'm glad to hear you're all fit and healthy...that's great news. And what a beautiful place to take your daily prescription...total bliss.

Six foot!! My, my...I'd have to stand on a stool! ;)

OldBagNewTricks said...

If only I had such lovely surroundings for a bikeride: a castle to by pass, a lovely lane to wander. I too would lose half a stone (whatever that is.) But there is no such luck here, stuck in the disgruntled twighlight between city slum and ticky-tacky suburbia. Your lovely blog posts somehow urge me to gather up for myself more... and less.

And how glad I am to hear that you are fit, as it should be.

Soozcat said...

Oh, now that is lovely. And that cheese description defies anyone not to snap it up immediately.

ewix said...

I thought at first that you were going to WALK the seven miles.......
so glad that you are biking -- and such glorious countryside to bike through.
Such glorious ate summer colors
I walk and walk and walk with the dog and am still fat... because I eat things with sugar and butter in.
In Morocco I was thin because of all the fresh fruit and veggies......

liZZie said...

Lovely post Gretel and very good to know you're well. Tell me please - how is it possible to have a bar of chocolate in close proximity and eat two (two!) squares at a time? xXx

Rowan said...

This looks like a pretty good way to spend Saturday morning especially if it has the added bonus of reducing your weight. I am not among those who can have bars of chocolate in a drawer and just eat two pieces - I am in total awe of people who can do this! I have to do without the chocolate altogether - at 5'2" I can't hide the extra pounds as successfully as you:)

Menopausal musing said...

"Five foot two, eyes of blue".... I'm the same height as Rowan.... only....... I cant do without the chocolate.... x

Caroline B said...

Glad you got the all clear,that must be a relief. I'm with 'ewix' - I walk my dogs for miles and yet the weight goes up instead of down...nothing to do with the big slice of cake I have upon my return though.... Well done for your determination in losing the pounds.

tlc illustration said...

Ah... so lovely on many levels. (I would be way more motivated to walk/bike if I had your scenery as well. Those patchwork fields... the rounds of cut hay dotting the gold squares... am feeling a new desktop background coming on...)

Peter Breese said...

Fantastic ride, I am so very jealous ;). Absolutely beautiful.

CashmereLibrarian said...

My heavens. You are lucky to live in such a beautiful, walkable place!