Bluebells

When I was golfing last weekend I noticed some bluebells growing in the woodland adjacent to the course. As it was not very considerate to start taking photographs during a round of golf, I decided to go back at a later time to capture these lovely woodland flowers.

Bluebells are an indication of ancient woodland and are commonly found in many areas of the UK. They are protected in the UK under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

Below are some photographs of these lovely flowers. More images can be seen here.

White bluebell
Close-up of a bluebell
Wild Garlic
Bluebells
Bluebells

Some bluebells lack the blue pigment and are white in colour as can be seen above. There only a few of the white ones in the wood.

The white flowers above are Wild garlic. This has a strong odour but is a lovely flower and it can also be used in cooking. I have not tried it but some of my friends who love cooking tell me it adds flavour to many dishes.

Unexpected Visitors on the Golf Course

On my way back I walked through the golf course and was surprised to meet two women dressed all in black with niqab headwear walking on the fairway. I got a bit of a shock as it was quite an unexpected occurrence to see Muslim women on a golf course. 

They told me they were looking for the River Clyde and Strathclyde Park. I had to escort them off the course as they were in danger of being hit by golf balls and take them to the path which led to the river. They were very friendly and told me they had recently moved from Bangladesh.

I gave then some information about the area and pointed out some areas of interest before leaving them to enjoy the River Clyde and Strathclyde Park. 

It had been an eventful day! 

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Rowing

On my way home from a cycle run I saw some rowers from Heriot Watt University wearing some fancy tights. I had to take a photo as the tights were so different from the ones the other teams were wearing.

Heriot Watt University 

 I think the tights look very nice.

Oars

 Some rowers had laid their oars neatly at the water’s edge while they were getting their boats ready.

Rowers in the water

The ladies above were getting ready to go to the start of their race.

There are always plenty of activities going on in the park and I am so fortunate to live near it.

Cycling Round Strathclyde Park, Motherwell

Recently my employer participated in Cyclescheme which is a Government initiative to enable employees to purchase cycles tax free. As a result I ordered a ‘Pinnacle’ hybrid bicycle from Evans Cycles in Bath Street, Glasgow along with a waterproof jacket, gloves, overshoes and a set of expensive super-bright CatEye lights. 

After taking delivery of my new wheels, I tried it out in Strathclyde Park in Motherwell. It has been a nice, warm Autumn and the sun was shining when I went for a spin. I was trying the gears and getting a feel for them.

Hybrid bicycle

The bike is a nice light blue, which is quite striking. It has disk brakes which are nice and smooth. The 38mm Kenda KWest tyres are an ideal choice for the winter months. In the Spring I will replace them 28mm Continental GP4000 tyres.

Greylag Geese

As I started on my ride, I nearly fell off as I cycled along the path when a number of Greylag geese suddenly appeared in front of me – they had been hidden by a large rock! I had to pull my feet from the pedals and make an emergency stop.

Greylag Geese
‘Snow Goose’

The birds were looking for food and surrounded me but I could not offer them anything. One of the Geese was very unusual – it was completely white. However, in the park it should be reasonably safe from predators given its bright colour and similarity to the Mute swans who also frequent the park.
White Greylag Goose
The autumn colours were still on show and I managed to get some photographs of the trees with their golden leaves. When I see Autumn leaves I always recall my school days when the English teacher, Miss Thomson, (spelt the Scottish way without the letter ‘P’ which is in the English version of the name) had the class studying ‘To Autumn’ by John Keats (line by line).
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shellsWith a sweet kernel;
to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Autumn Colours
On the north side of Strathclyde Loch is an amusement park, a hotel and a cafe. Outside the hotel was this beautiful tree displaying Autumn colours. In the car park of the hotel is a fountain displaying a lady’s face which is very nice addition.
Fountain outside Alona Hotel

Further on some more trees caught my eye.
More Autumn colours
In July 2014 the competitors in the Commonwealth Games Triathlon cycled up this stretch of road during their events. 
After this, I turned towards the beach to see if there were any unusual birds, but there were none. The sand was quite damp and I did not want to get my shoe plates clogged up in case they jammed in the pedals, so I had to view the birds from a distance.
Beach at Strathclyde Park
Beach at Strathclyde Park
Preparing the Bike for Winter

My bicycles are always well maintained. One of the first things I did with my new one was to get it protected from the salt which is put on the roads to the melt ice in the winter. I coated the frame with Turtlewax and sprayed silicon on the gears. To protect the nuts and bolts I used petroleum jelly to fill in the allen key slots with a cotton ear bud to prevent water sitting in them and causing rust.

My transmission chain is lubricated with ‘wet’ lube which is heavier than the dry lube I use in summer. I’ll degrease it regularly and add more lubricant. One thing to bear in mind is not to use dish washing liquid as it often contains salt – use car shampoo instead.
Locks

It is important to use a good lock to secure bike when leaving it unattended. I use a Squire Eiger Compact D lock which has the highest security rating of 15 (gold). I also use a Kryptonite extender cable to wrap around the wheels and lock it through the D lock. This should make the bike secure when leaving it in the street. 

With all these precautions I should survive my winter cycling.