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Musings from Nanyang

So, the 10pm meeting with our European partners came and went. I dashed back from dinner with friends, settled myself to look suitably business like in front of Skype when a text message popped up saying that the people I was to present to had changed their minds and didn’t think that skype was the best way to proceed. They would much rather meet in person!!!

I’m recovered from that now but while I’m on the topic of our European bid it’s a good opportunity to ask for your help. The project is called,’Up Straw’ and the purpose of it is to increase the percentage of public buildings built out of straw in Europe. Thereby decreasing emissions, saving fuel and increasing health. We’re getting to the stage of the final submission, due in December, and I’m looking for matching funding. If you know of any funders who would be interested in joining us please email me eileen@strawworks.co.uk  Thanks.

Another request -the School of Natural Building is putting together a calendar of beautiful strawbale builds for Christmas. Ideally we’re looking for pictures of finished or almost finished houses that our students have worked on. Students, you know who you are and if you have any suitable photos I’d be very grateful if you’d email them to the address above.

Back here in Nanyang I’ve found a yoga class. It takes place every lunchtime so that the lecturers from the university can take part. I’ve exchanged a few business cards in the changing room (never miss an opportunity) and yesterday one of the young biology professors approached me to say that she really didn’t think that straw was strong enough to use as a construction material. She knew of a local company that used straw as a fermentation aid for producing alcohol but certainly not for building. I said that I would bring her a copy of Barb’s book http://strawworks.co.uk/buy-the-book/ then we could discuss it further. She looked pleased but bemused. I’ll keep you informed. I’ve put a pic of the yoga studio below, see the scary fabric and handcuff things? Apparently they are for use during ‘air yoga.’ Happily so far the air yoga teacher has been away in Beijing so we haven’t been introduced to the delights of this yet. I’m hoping she has a long hol.

I’ve been spending a bit of time increasing my Linkedin profile. Does anyone know how to use Linkedin to its full potential ? I’ve started looking to join more groups: green architecture, strawbale building, straw etc. Again (this post is full of requests!) if anyone has any tips, please email them to me.

Barb (my business partner) and I are fellows of the RSA https://www.thersa.org/ and although it’s nice to have the kudos and permission to use the John Adam St headquarters in London as an occasional meeting place we haven’t found much to connect with in the organisation. However, last night my friend Jan Portillo got elected to the board of Trustees, which is great news and we look forward to working more closely with her and the RSA from now on particularly in the area of affordable housing.

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Finally, our Bristol courses are full this weekend but the Cambridge ones due at the end of November still have some places http://strawworks.co.uk/cambridge-preparing-to-build-with-bales/

Just to bring you back to the Chinese theme of this blog I’ll leave you with a picture of the Medical Sage of Nanyang and his mate.

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Final, final stuff…here are my top 10 things I love about straw: smell, texture, insulative properties, the look, the fact that you can shape it, flexibity, strength, the fact that it’s a waste product and is so useful, it’s empowering to work with and it’s natural.

Let me know your top 10 and I’ll list and rank them.

Categories: bike, blog traffic, books, bookshops, China, Clare Balding, Golden Week, haiku, insulation, low cost housing, Nanyang, natural house building, natural plasters, pioneering building, RSA, Shanghai, Time differences, Top 10 things I love about straw, training for strawbale building, Travel, travel writing, Uncategorized, Working abroad, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Things are getting sweet ‘n sticky in the North East!

My friend Joanna Rimmer and I met on a writing course run by the poet Gillian Allnutt in Newcastle in 2004 and now Jo is a playwright!

With the help of Peter Mortimer and his Cloud Nine Theatre Company she has produced her first play, ‘Sweet ‘n Sticky.’

Sweet ‘n Sticky will be performed 10 times in North Shields, Tynemouth and Whitley Bay where it will open the Dome Festival.

For more info see  www.cloudninetheatre.co.uk/  and plan yourselves a wonderful, summer evening outing at the theatre.

 

 

Categories: books, bookshops, Clare Balding, Cloud Nine Theatre Company, Donuts, Newcastle on Tyne, North Tyneside, plays, Playwrighting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Travel Writing @ Cranleigh Arts Centre

I’m running a travel writing workshop as part of Daisy White’s pop up shop initiative. Here’s the details:

Travel Writing Workshop

Join me Eileen Sutherland on Friday 7th Feb at Cranleigh Arts Centre from 1-2.30pm.

I’m running a travel writing workshop.

It’s bound to be wet and miserable outside so come into the warm and spend a bit of time writing about places in the sun.

£5  pay on the day but email daisy@daisywhiteauthor.co.uk

or call 07973864612  to book a place.

 Looking forward to seeing you there.

Best wishes

Eileen Sutherland

Author of Changing Gear: A Bike Ride from Britain to Bulgaria.

This workshop is part of a bigger initiative called Daisy White’s Booktique – a pop up shop for authors and artists –see other leaflet and website http://www.daisywhitesbooktique.co.uk

 

 

Categories: bike safety, books, bookshops, cycling, loss, love, pop up indie bookshops, Travel, travel writing, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pop up Indie bookshop in Horsham, West Sussex

I’ve got a ‘slot’ at Daisy White’s pop up indie bookshop from 11.30-12.30 on Saturday 28th September. I’ll be reading from my book, ‘Changing Gear: a bike ride from Britain to Bulgaria’ and running a haiku workshop. You’ll be surprised to hear that the haiku topic will be cycling.

Horsham is a lovely market town with a great Saturday market, interesting little shops. and lovely cafes.

Why not take some time out on an autumnal morning and join me?

Hope to see you there.

popflyer_horsham_130927_29_Fbk Sept 2013

Categories: bike safety, blog traffic, books, bookshops, Bulgaria, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, haiku, middle aged women getting fit, pop up indie bookshops, Travel, West Sussex, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prudential Ride London

This ride took place last Saturday. It was wonderful to ride alongside the Embankment and past Big Ben on roads which were free of cars. Approx 50,000 people took part. There were 3 stopping off points – Tower Hill, St Paul’s and Green Park where kids could play bike polo, cycle like mad to generate enough power to make themselves a smoothie and/or lie in the  sun and listen to some music.

A child dressed as a crocodile cycling to make a smoothie

A child dressed as a crocodile cycling to make a smoothie

For the first time Al and I got to grips with the Boris Bikes which were great until the end of the day when the booking machines began to break down – I suspect due to overuse.

I almost got a picture of Laura Trott dressed in the Wiggle Honda team strip waiting for her race, but she turned her head at the crucial moment!

A great event and perhaps shades of things to come. I hope so.

St Paul's stop off point

St Paul’s stop off point

Categories: bike safety, blog traffic, books, cool stuff in London, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, London, middle aged women getting fit, Prudential Ride London, Travel, Uncategorized, womens cycling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cycling and pop up indie bookshops

Picked up the Easy Way Cyling map for Crawley the other day. It’s a really good, handy sized map of the town centre cycle paths. I called Kay Wagland, one of the people at the council responsible for promoting cycling in Crawley and as a result found myself invited along to a trial ride with one of the councillors. She’s the glam looking one in the pic.

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Also had a great ride last Saturday to Horsham – about 8 miles each way. Left Crawley through Ifield, passing The Gate pub  (where incidentally the Boom Town Rats played just recently), rode through Rusper- which is a bit hilly but manageable and down into Horsham.  The purpose of the ride was to take part in Daisy White’s Pop Up Indie Bookshop

It was a really fun day, I ran a haiku competition, met people from the Crawley and Horsham Writers Circles and I (or should I say Daisy) sold 6 of my books – result!!

 

Categories: bike safety, books, Bulgaria, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, fitness, haiku, loss, love, middle aged women getting fit, pop up indie bookshops, Travel, West Sussex, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Al’s Sprint Triathlon

My husband Allan is doing the London Sprint Triathlon on 27th July.

That’s 750m swim followed by a 20k bike ride and finishing with a 5k run. Al’s a pretty fit guy but he’s also 60 this month, so he’s been training hard for this event.  This is what he says about it:

‘I’m doing the London Triathlon in memory of my son Matt and to raise funds for The Compassionate Friends.

It’s 10 years since Matt died and we miss him every day. I think he would have approved of me doing something crazy like this, so please give a donation.

Alreet son! ‘

If you’d like to donate please go to  justgiving.com/allantriathlon

Thanks

Categories: bike safety, books, Clare Balding, cycle rides, cycling, fitness, London, loss, love, Northumberland, running, triathlon, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Melt Yourself Down

Yet again this is not about cycling but it is something you should know about. So here goes.

The tickets were a Fathers day present and I was included.  So last Tuesday evening we went to a gig in Islington. I write the word ‘gig’ advisedly! The band playing were called, Melt Yourself Down. I can’t describe the type of music they play, best to watch this clip to get a flavour.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p019dqxl

Despite being an older person I have to say I loved it! The venue admittedly was a bit claustrophobic and I wondered if I’d be able to stay the course. But the music was so engaging and the lead singer, Kushal Gaya so absolutely mesmerising that my worries about not being able to breathe, about where  the fire exits were, about being able to leave when I wanted all paled into insignificance. If you get a chance to go & see Melt Yourself Down I’d advise you to take it.

I have to say however I was so tired yesterday that I couldn’t even be bothered to write this blog…

Categories: blog traffic, books, cool stuff in London, jazz, London, Melt Yourself Down, middle aged women & music, music, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free book on Kindle for Bike Week

My book, ‘Changing Gear: A Bike Ride from Britain to Bulgaria’ is free on Kindle from tomorrow 15th June to 19th inclusive. UK Bike Week starts tomorrow. Click here for a copy http://tinyurl.com/co5b6ee

This next bit is unrelated but I have to include it in my blog. You would too if you had the opportunity…the other evening I attended the First Woman awards and had my photo taken with Clare Balding!! She’s a very nice woman and she did a great job at the event. Also I seem to remember she did a TV programme about a bike ride in the UK, so mentioning her is not entirely out of place here.  Re the photo below, I must learn from Clare how to look at the camera!!

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Categories: bike safety, books, Bulgaria, Clare Balding, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, fitness, Kindle, loss, love, middle aged women getting fit, Top 20 travel books on Kindle, Travel, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bike Week coming up in the UK 15-23 June

Bike Week starts a week on Saturday. See   http://www.bikeweek.org.uk/for details of events all over the country. I have to confess that I haven’t been on my blinking bike for ages now but I did manage a dip in the North Sea last week (wearing a wetsuit – I’m not entirely stupid) so all is not lost.

I was going to cycle from Warkworth to Howick in Northumberland today but I’ve been saved by visitors. Seriously though, it’s a lovely bike ride, skirting picturesque Alnmouth and riding alongside crashing waves on the rocky shore of Boulmer.

Howick was the home of Earl Grey (you can have a cup of his tea in the beautiful high ceilinged tea room) and his wife and 15 children. The children all survived, no mean achievement in those days, they called their parents by their christian names and had to undergo a right of passage when they got to their teens. The rite of passage comprised walking at night for one & a half miles through Howick gardens to the bathing house down by the shore. Quite scary stuff. The bathing house is another delight. Situated right on the shore with a natural bathing pool alongside, hollowed out by the sea.

You’d think I worked for the Northumberland Tourist Board but I can’t help waxing lyrical on a day like this in Warkworth when the sun is shining, the sea is the bluest of blue and there’s no wind – perfect!

Categories: bike safety, books, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, fitness, Howick Hall, middle aged women getting fit, Northumberland, Uncategorized, womens cycling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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