I’m in Nanyang in Henan province in China. Allan & I are here for the next 10 months or so. We’re here because Al is teaching at the uni for this academic year.
‘Why are you there?’ I hear you ask? ‘Well, because he is and because we thought we’d like to experience another culture before it got too late and because we wanted to travel a bit.’
It’s a good question though and the answer above is a bit glib and lacks depth. Yesterday, I was moaning a bit to Clair in the Straw Works office (via skype obviously) saying I that I didn’t think I had the best personality to get the most out of this experience. Clair’s response was to suggest I wrote a blog while I was here. I think that was a ploy to stop me going on and on but I’ve decided to take her advice at face value and pick up my existing blog and give it a go.
The name of this blog is ‘Sixty on a Bike’ and it’s still relevant in that I’m still in my 60’s and the uni has given Al and I bikes to get around the campus, which is vast.
With this blog I’m hoping to give you a perspective on working for a UK company from China. Before leaving the UK I wasn’t sure what parts of my job with Straw Works & SNaB I’d be able to do from here. It turns out I can do almost everything. The only thing I can’t do is join Barb in delivering Preparing to Build with Bales one of the theoretical courses we run in the autumn & winter and I’m sad about that because it was fun to do together.
However, to kick off this first blog entry I’ll leave you with a pic of a 17 meter high Buddha – just to set the tone.
Cave carving in Louyang.
Categories: blog traffic, haiku, middle aged women getting fit, natural house building, natural plasters, pioneering building, strawbale building, strawbale building courses, Tiny houses, training for strawbale building, Travel, travel writing, Uncategorized
Tags: adventure, building with bales, empowerment, Lifestyle, natural house building, natural plasters, strawbale building, travel, women
We’ve decided to sell our house, apartment and our strawbale studio in Bulgaria. This is the link to the info about the sale
It’s a lovely place and we’ve had a great 11 years there but now it’s time to do something different. If anyone would like more info, give me a call or email: email@example.com
Categories: Bulgaria, Houses for sale abroad, houses for sale in Bulagria, houses for sale in Bulgaria, Living in Bulgaria, natural house building, natural plasters, pioneering building, RSA, strawbale building, strawbale building courses, strawbale houses for sale, studios, Tiny houses, Travel
Tags: adventure, building with bales, Bulgaria, fitness in middle age, Hackney City Farm, Lifestyle, natural house building, strawbale building, travel, women & building
I have voted for Jan Portillo to be one of the trustees at the RSA because I think she’ll do a really good job. If there are any Fellows out there who have not had the opportunity to vote, then please do so as time is getting short. Voting ends next Sunday.
Categories: blog traffic, Clare Balding, cool stuff in London, cycling, London, RSA
Tags: Hackney City Farm, Lifestyle, travel, women & buiding, writing groups, writing societies
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 07973864612 to book a place.
Looking forward to seeing you there.
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: adventure, bikes, books, empowerment, fitness in middle age, Lifestyle, travel, women & cycling, writing, writing groups, writing societies
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.
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: adventure, bikes, books, Bulgaria, Cycling, empowerment, exercise, fitness in middle age, healthy 2013, hobbies, Lifestyle, travel, women & cycling, writing, writing groups, writing societies
Just bought two Dahon Vitesse folding bikes. They’re really nifty. The 20 inch wheels make them easier to cycle and the 8 gears are a great help on hills. The blurb says it takes 15 seconds to fold them – not for us! Current time is about 3 mins and the first try took 15 mins on platform 5 at Gatwick but we’re getting slicker.
Folding bike on hols
Went to St Ives by train and bike which was successful if a bit stressful in Reading station which seems to be under reconstruction at the moment. Used the same travel method to get to the Eden Project which also worked fine. The most tricky trip however was one evening from Totnes to the Steiner school just outside Dartington. I tell a lie, the ride from Totnes to Dartington on the lovely, countrified cycle paths was absolutely fine it was the ride back which was tricky.
We’d gone to an evening of anecdotes about a 3,500 mile cycle ride across Europe combined with a piano recital of Beethoven’s greatest hits – unusual I know! Jenni Quick – the pianist and cyclist delivered the goods in a very entertaining way so much so that by the end of the performance we were surprised to find it was pitch black outside.
Running true to form we didn’t have any bike lights so it was a bit tricky finding the cycle path. Fortunately a woman who had attended the same event was going our way and she allowed us to follow her. A simple solution you would think. However the chosen route was through the woods on a narrow concrete path and our leader had a motor attached to her bike. Consequently I kept slipping off the path and had difficulty keeping up with her. Soon she disappeared into the night and Al and I were left in inky darkness pushing our bikes. Happily our guide soon realised she’d lost us, turned around and came back and maintained a steady pace all the way back to Totnes. I don’t know what we’d have done without her.
By the way, Cornwall is the hilliest county in the world. I thought Northumberland was bad but it’s not a patch on the crags and climbs in Cornwall.
Categories: bike safety, Cornwall, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, Devon, fitness, Folding bikes, Hoildays, middle aged women getting fit, Northumberland, Train stations, Uncategorized, womens cycling
Tags: bikes, Cycling, empowerment, exercise, fitness, fitness in middle age, folding bikes, Lifestyle, travel, women & cycling
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!!
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: adventure, bikes, blogs, books, Bulgaria, Cycling, empowerment, exercise, fitness, fitness in middle age, Lifestyle, loss, love, middle-age, travel, vacation, women & cycling, writing, writing groups, writing societies
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: adventure, bikes, books, Cycling, empowerment, exercise, fitness in middle age, Lifestyle, London cycle routes, travel, women & cycling
In case you have a minute between now and 12 noon GMT today, here’s where you can place a vote for Straw Works to help them get through to the last 4 businesses who will have the opportunity to ‘pitch to Rich’ (Branson that is).
Just visit http://www.virginmediapioneers.com/2013/04/vote-for-pitch-to-rich-competition-finalists/ click on Fill out my form, and vote!
Categories: casitas, Ecobuild, Hoildays, low cost housing, middle aged women getting fit, natural house building, natural plasters, pioneering building, strawbale building, strawbale building courses
Tags: adventure, empowerment, fitness in middle age, Hackney City Farm, Lifestyle, natural house building, natural plasters, travel, vacation, women, women & buiding
I looked at the Kindle rankings this morning and saw my book was number 14 in the Kindle travel section. There are 31,445 books in that section! How cool is that?
But then, to use a ‘Pointless’ phrase, things got even more exciting, when I checked the Kindle non-fiction rankings. There are 1,090,000 books in this section and Changing gear is number 179!!!!
This is probably too many numbers for this time in the morning, so I’m going to stop now and go to the V&A and get inspired.
Thanks to everyone who has bought/downloaded a copy of Changing Gear.
Categories: books, Bulgaria, cycling, Cycling holidays, downloading, Kindle, London, loss, love, middle aged women getting fit, Top 20 travel books on Kindle, Top 200 non-fiction books on Kindle, Travel, womens cycling, Writing
Tags: adventure, bike maintenance, Bulgaria, Cycling, fitness in middle age, hobbies, kindle bestsellers, Lifestyle, loss, love, middle-age, travel, women, women & cycling, writing, writing groups, writing societies