Despite being a very overcast day weather-wise, I had a sunny day!
This was because my friend Janie came over on the train from Manchester with her bike and I took her down the West side of the Ouse, over the Racecourse and to the start of The Solar System.
Janie is not an experienced cyclist, and was already tired by the time we reached the Sun, the start of the ride, so we took it slowly to Mercury, Venus, Earth and Moon, Mars, and then a stop at Brunswick Organic Nursery, where I bought 3 lovely squashes for about £2 each, plus a tub of bean salad and a bag of crisps. I was also accosted by Clare, who used to live near us in the Groves. I'm surprised she recognised me, as it's the best part of a decade since we last met, I think!
Janie and I cycled on to Jupiter, over the River Ouse and to Saturn, and at Neptune, we had a break and I had some bean salad and crisps, Janie had some cracker things, plus a few beans. I wasn't expecting her to get this far, and the wind was against us, but she said let's keep going all the way to Pluto.
So we cycled another mile, and I was glad that the old path, which used to be a whitish compacted stone surface, quite rough, with puddles and more of an 'off road' feel, has been covered with tarmac and is a really smooth ride, all the way to Pluto. So, we did it... and on the way back, the wind was behind us and it was considerably easier. We didn't need to stop, although Janie got off and walked a few times, but only for a few minutes at a time. I stopped in one place to pick up a trailer full of logs from the tree management at the side of the path. When we got to Naburn Station, I suggested that we go on the road to Fulford and then through Heslington and back to Hull Road.
When we got back, my family were relaxed and happy, and Gill pleased to see Janie and to hear about the cycle ride. Over a coffee, I worked out the distance we cycled, using an Ordnance Survey map and a piece of paper and a pencil, which allows the twists and turns to be straightened out, and the accurate distance then measured against the map scale.... and from the station to Pluto and back to our house was 19.4 miles. Wow, I wonder if that's the furthest that Janie has ever cycled in one go? For me, that would be a gentle 2 hour trip, but with Janie and the wind, and our stops, it took us from 11.45am til 4.30pm. A really good day. Good to be able to have some nice conversations with my friend, and see pheasants and lovely autumn-coloured trees, and to show her the amazing Solar System and Brunswick.
I had some use-it-up tea... pasta shapes, spaghetti, seconds asparagus and cheese sauce, after which I cycled with Janie back to the station so she could catch the 8.10 train back home to her husband and children.
I came back and collected 3 sacks of leaves to start restocking the leafmould cage. Gill made a loaf of bread. I watched the interesting Channel 4 programme about the green movement, which was good, as it echoed some of my views about genetically modified plants; I'm happy for this technology to be carefully explored and used, if it is deemed safe and beneficial. I'm referring to crops like golden rice, for instance.