Scones and Honey

The Scone Run. For the past several weeks, I have cycled to Ballaugh and met up with Tina, and we have sped our hearts out to keep up with the peleton. The sun was out again, as it has been here on the Isle of Man for the past 4 weekends. How lucky is that!

Recently, I purchased a second hand Dolan road bike. The roads here on the Island have been salted when it has been icy, and the rotting leaf litter is adding to the road debris on a daily basis. FAR too mucky for my beloved Hetchins. The difference between a bestoke bicycle and one bought second hand has been huge, the Dolan, although my size has a top tube that is a tad too long for me and I struggle to reach the brakes. (gettng a new stem to try to address this problem). It is a good bike, but the Hetchins (understandably) is by far superior and I miss riding her each day. She has been cleaned and wiped over with a special oil reserved for expensive aeroplanes and wrapped up in a clean carpet for the winter months. (I still have to strike a deal with my husband to bring her indoors – currently she resides in our new shed, but I want her dry for the dank days ahead). Whereas his classic motor bike is tucked up behind me as I type this, nestled as it is behind our sofa! Hummmmm some quiet nagging required me thinks!

So for now, I ride this Dolan bike, and hope I don't need to snatch the brakes that often as they are really spongy unlike the life savers on the Hetchins. Wet weather, they are even worse if that could be possible. I now find my older tourer bike too heavy and next spring, I am seriously considering selling her.

The Scone Run in the mean time is my weekly goal as frequently as possible. The ride out on the Scone is a short run of up to 30 miles, but when I ride it, I end up scoring up 70 or so miles with the cycling to an fro the ride. But the average speed on the run is hard graft for me to keep up with, I am at the very outside of my comfort zone, but its good for the exercise! :) or so I tell my self. The Hetchin's manages this ride much easier than the Dolan does, and this week I was consistently bringing up the rear of the ride. I am partly deaf, and this is where I am happiest to be honest. As someone with a hearing impediment tying to be sociable while riding in a group is hard work, and soon everyone gets fed up with me saying 'Pardon, What, could you please repeat that!' One reason why I cycle alone so much. YOu dont have to talk to anyone when you are on your own.

Eventually, we all end up at the Sulby Glen pub where grand jugs of hot coffee, tea and milky coffee are served together with a fantastic and better than home made scones and homemade jams. LOVELY it all is and much looked forward to and appreciated for the cycling effort.

This past weekend saw a disaster though for my cycling pal Tina.

When we cycled the End to End MTB Challenge, Tina complained ever since of a pain behind her knee. Some times it improved, others it got worse, but it was always there for a while. Then on Saturday last week, she was simply walking (in road shoes) across the road, and something in her calf twanged. From that point onewards she was unable to place her leg to the floor, she was in agony poor thing. I felt a totally useless female at this point, despite my First Aid certificate, there was nothing I could do.

Thankfully Paula offered Tina a lift into Ramsey for her hubby to transport her to the A&E department, where upon later it was discovered that she had ruptured or tore (not scanned at this point) her gastrocnemius calf muscle. She was in a lot of pain and could not put any pressure what so ever onto her leg.

TIna's injury has of course it has destroyed poor Tina's cycling days out. For the time being at least She has been told to rest her leg and not to cycle for 8 weeks. I can tell you this, keeping Tina off her bike is like asking a goldfish to keep out of water! If any thing positive has come out of this, is that its winter, and not the best cycling time of the year, but poor Tina is feeling horrible and is already missing her cycling. We have a bit of a 'do' to go to tomorrow night as its the Cycle Club annual dinner – we both have heels and posh frocks to wear, but no cycling planned. :(

My other agenda for Saturday, was a brief dip backwards in time, the time before I cycled.

I took up cycling as the real love of my life was to be cut short. Due to financial commitments, I had to sell my beloved horses. I was into horses for years and years. As a child I begged rides from local farmers. And when I was a mum myself, I purchased a yearling as a project. Her name was Mhenna and she was a Highland pony, ie not too big, and could live out doors. Here is her pic....

Mhenna003

It broke my heart selling Mhenna, I still cannot contact the new owner, even though years have now passed, as it is too upsetting for me.

She was my life.

All my spare time was with her, or doing stuff for her. When Mhenna was 12 years old I purchased another pony to keep her company that pony is Honey (Honeybee). Due to a sudden change in personal circumstances, I had to sell Mhenna when she was 14 years old and she now has a fine home here on the Isle of Man in Peel, infact she has become a local Celebrately, starring in an advertising film for the Island and featuring on a local stamp. But Honey was too elderly to sell, and I wanted to be on control of her last days, so I found her a loan home and she couldn't be better cared for.

Another Mhenna pic... couldnt help myself... Here she is, when she was just 2 years old.

Mhenna001

My trip on Saturday, was to take a visit to see Honey in her home with Shaun and Caroline who are her loaners now. Here are the pictures of Honey. She is in her late 20's which for a native is a fine grand old age. Her face is graying out with age – like mine is. :) Honey is a fell pony, native of the Yorkshire Dales. She is a Townend pony. She has had a busy life, but now is settled very well into retirement, being pampered, fed carrots and getting regular massage is far better than being ridden it seems :) . I hope I get as well cared for in my old age as Honey is now. So I left my visit with Honey, complete with carrot slobber on my sleeve and the nice warm feeling of knowing she is fine, well and in the best possible care with another winter looming.

Gotta add some Honey pics now..... First when the old gal was still an old gal but younger:
Mhenna004

And during a particularly snowy winter:
Horses008

The ride home my mind was filled with past horsie memories.

BIcycles though, they might not be so warm and cosy as a bristly muzzle, a steamy breath, and a greasy mane, but they don't eat much, don't poo at all, and pushing the Dolan (Dolly) into the shed and locking it behind her reminded me on just how many hours I can be out and about not worrying about traffic (riding horses on the roads, you ALWAYS worry about traffic, and a whole lot more than you do when cycling!), not worrying about worms, Vets, lost shoes and 'am I ready for that Show next weekend?', plus you don't smell of poo quite as much!

I miss my horses, but not as much as I would without my bicycle!

13 comments on “Scones and Honey”

  1. Kern wrote:

    Mary, this is a lovely post, but a pity about Tina's calf muscle. It is surprising that it gave out while simply walking. One would expect an injury that severe to be triggered in a high-stress situation. And that first phot of Mhenna is truly classic.

  2. Mary wrote:

    Thank you Kern.

    Poor Tina. She is in a lot of pain, but more than that, she is frustrated about not being able to cycle. She is still on crutches. No idea why her leg gave out the way it did. I did wonder if the road shoes (the type that make you waddle with your toes in the air) were the reason, as dodged a passing car as she passed across the road, and then she felt something 'go' in her calf.

    Seeing her later today. Christmas shopping then popping by to see how she is. We are both out tonight too so will see how she is farin'.

    That first pic is one of my favourites of Mhenna. She looks fab. :)

  3. Chris wrote:

    Mary wrote: I did wonder if the road shoes... were the reason

    Me too. I never felt comfortable with cycling shoes – mine were the old-school cleated sort that with deep grooves in before SPD-type clipless shoes came along. I wonder if the calf muscles are overstretched when walking. Doctor Lee?

    Best wishes to Tina.

  4. Patrick wrote:

    Yes, best wishes to Tina. Sandra hasn't cycled since mid-September when we got back from Holland and she's highly fed up, but at least she can walk.

    She owned an Arab mare for 35 years – called Matilda. Poor Matilda had to be put to sleep forever in April 2009 because she could no longer stand up. As the Vet was doing the injections I burst into tears for the first time since childhood. I think it's the innocence of animals that makes these events so poignant. This lovely old horse was outdoors all year round, probably why she lived so long. Your horses look lovely too.

    I hadn't heard of Dolan bikes (from Ormskirk not far from here). I wonder why yours is slow, as they seem to make upmarket racing bikes.

  5. Chris wrote:

    Yes, I was surprised to read that the Dolan bike was slow. They were the jazzy race bikes – hopelessly overgeared, incidentally – that were used on David Walliams' Sport Relief John O'Groats to Lands End charity bike ride.

    I had heard about Dolan bikes before the TV programme, but I noticed them mainly because someone was riding a bike of a different make and their decals were pixellated – or obscured by that fuzzy technique used to protect the faces of the innocent on TV documentaries.

  6. Hilary wrote:

    My best wishes to Tina too. I had calf muscle problems when I used to do a lot of running. That strange toes up in the air position does put stress on the calf, my troubles started with slipping off a tussock with my foot in a similar position.

  7. Alan wrote:

    The "Hospital Seven" curse strikes again. All the best to Tina. Tell her the first week on crutches off the bike is the worst. Then the second week is pretty awful, the third is terrible, the fourth is wall-climbing time, ...

  8. Garry wrote:

    If the tear is at the lower end of the gastrocnemius then it's what is called a tennis tear (common in tennis players due to sudden stop/start) . Very sore at the time, but usually fine in 2-4 weeks. I had one myself once years ago. She'll be grand, as my wife would say.

  9. Tina wrote:

    My leg is so much better already! Consultant appointment yesterday confirmed that it is recovering at a very pleasing rate and I'll be fit to cycle in one more week (as if I haven't been out for sneaky rides already :)
    The reason it tore was because I ran across the road, infront of a car! Not the best thing to do in cycling shoes. When I asked the Doctor advice about how to avoid it happening again, his reply was, follow the green cross code!
    His other advice was to wear high heeled shoes – great! Now to get those cleats screwed onto my stilettos......

  10. Mary wrote:

    Sadly Honeybee was put down this morning. Aged 28 years old. She was unable to get up, and the Vets advice was taken :(

    Run Free HoneyBee, may your legs run with the wind. X X

  11. Patrick wrote:

    ... retirement, being pampered, fed carrots and getting regular massage ...

    She had a grand retirement, Mary, but even so, I know how upsetting it can be. Sandra's 35 year old horse was put down for the same reason a couple of years ago. You want to explain to the innocent creature why it has to be but you can't.

  12. Mary wrote:

    Thank you for this Patrick. Sandra's old chap, and Honey were lucky indeed, how many of us manage to have such long and lovely retirements.

    Horses are such loving creatures, Honey still had buckets of unconditional love to give. If only people could hold such qualities the world would be a much better place.

    Honey was my final link to a previous world I used to live in. It was a tough weekend.

  13. Chris wrote:

    I know it's not quite the same thing, but in the absence of Kate's parents – who were in Australia at the time – we had to make the decision to end the suffering of their elderly dog. It wasn't that long after their other dog had to be put to sleep. Unless you are an animal lover I don't imagine people understand how upsetting these decisions are. Sleep tight, Honey.

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