Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Shiny shiny bike

It seems like I've been doing this for ages! Back near the beginning of the year, I had my annual bonus (a small one) and decided to put it towards a new bike. I haven't bought a bike since 2009 so it was about time. My plan was to build something that could be used for commuting on road and off (with a plan to cycle home over the Clwyds, which might be a little ambitious), playing off road, and light cycle touring.

So what I really needed was a cyclo-cross frame with rack and mud guard mounts, made from steel (obviously) and in a size small enough to fit me!

Eventually I decided on a Surly Cross check - it fit all the criteria and when I saw one in Alf Jones' I fell in love with the colour!  There was lots of discussion in the shop about what size I should buy - I'm not that small (5'5'')!  Involving taking the Trek in for them to measure seat tubes and top tubes, and consultation with the Surly dudes in the US. After all that we decided I needed the smallest one, as the top tube was closest in length to the Trek.

Then I started collecting bits..... The groupset was a bargain Shimano 105 from Merlin, 3x10 with 30/39/50 on the front and 11-28 on the back - should give me enough to get up the hills with loaded panniers.  After advice from the CCM collective I went for Tektro Mini-V brakes.  Second hand wheels - Shimano XT on Mavic A719 rims courtesy of Russ from CCM, and even a second hand Brooks saddle from STW.

On the whole I think it looks absolutely lovely and I can't wait to get out and ride it!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Bag v2.0

I can post this up now as it's been delivered! Mum saw my small messenger bag that I made around the end of last year and decided she'd like one.  Not much advice was given on the type of fabric as long as it "wasn't flowery"!

So I had my first ever trip to Calico Laine fabric shop/warehouse near Neston.....Mmmmm fabric.  So much nice stuff and great to see it instead of trying to work out what it would really look like from website pictures.

I went for a lovely purple/indigo/violet/pink/blue swirly pattern fabric in the end, and decided on pale blue as a complimentary colour. I thought going for purple solid colour as the second fabric might be a bit much and hard to match the colour against the pattern.

I didn't alter the design at all from the original one I did. On the whole I'm really happy with the way it turned out..... I'm getting better at using the machine to sew around corners. There were a few places where the fabric gathered or tucked a bit - I'm not sure if that's down to my inexperience or the fact that the machine struggles a bit with the amount of fabric I'm getting it to punch through!

A definite NEHITD weekend

It's been absolutely mad this weekend, firstly on Friday the polytunnel arrived (see previous blog) so Mal was at home to supervise the construction and provide cups of tea!  Then friday evening saw us in Ruthin for the last instalment of the Bee-keeping course with South Clwyd Beekeepers. This time we were covering honey extraction and sale.

The following day we were back in Ruthin again for the final session - more on honey extraction and a recap on the previous weeks subjects, particularly treatments for varroa.  The weather was so bad (cold and wet) that we decided against opening the hives so had a brief look at the Associations kit for honey extraction.  It's very impressive with a fully lined wipe clean room, stainless steel worksurfaces and extraction equipment.

The following morning it was up early to head off to Gardener's World Live at the NEC, Birmingham.

Friday, 15 June 2012

It's here!

Well the site is finally ready to go, it's been a lot of work (mostly from Mal) to clear it and level it but the end is in site and it's going to look amazing when its in!

As promised the guys from Haygrove were here by 8am, and I could get to see them before leaving for work.  As usual the ground to site was sodden but the actual tunnel area was fortunately not too bad.  And it was actually not raining when they arrived, which was a bit of a bonus.

No messing around - the construction guys were straight in to unloading the van and starting to put up the frame. Unfortunately I had to go to work, but Mal was under strict instructions to take lots of pictures.....


The finished article!!