The Open Road …

… it has been a quiet week in Beaufront Woodhead.  Spring appeared to be on the horizon so I was spurred into action, replacing the battery on the Scrambler and taxing it from 1st February.  It was 4th February before I was tempted out, making the most of a brief spell of sunshine and some relatively dry, clean roads.  So, feel free to join me as I take the Triumph out to Haltwhistle via the Military Road (which runs parallel to Hadrian’s Wall) and back along the A69 before branching off at Haydon Bridge.

Since then, the weather has been the worse this winter – gales, lots of rain and sleet – storm Ciara.  The Scrambler is once again confined to the garage 😦

The battery in place and the Scrambler minus the seat

A dual terminal Motobatt – the extra side being used here for accessories

 

Like a Pitcher of Water …

Troubled waters – Hexham Bridge

Anyone familiar with Golf in the Wild will know the book frequently leaves golf behind and explores a range of diverse subjects which include local history, the tyrant known as ‘my Mother’ (stolen from Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit) and motor racing of the 1960s and 1970s.  It is a journey into my past played out across golf courses in wild places to the distant sound of racing engines.

The sequel, Golf in the Wild – Going Home, will be no different although racing engines have been largely replaced by the sound of mono speakers and Dansette record players.  This is an extract from Chapter 10 of the new book – I am driving south on the A9, approaching the Forth bridges:

I bought Bridge over Troubled Water on the day it was released – 26th January 1970. I must have ducked out of college, caught the train to Oxford Road, Manchester and walked down to Rare Records, 26 John Dalton Street, the shop where Ian Curtis was employed in the early seventies – the first step in his musical career.

Bridge over Troubled Water is a fine album but not the defining work of art that is Bookends. Significantly, I had reservations about the title track. The first two verses work beautifully but the third is over-produced, too dramatic and the voice of the narrator changes from gentle reassurance to brash optimism. It is not the same person. There is a reason – it is not the song Paul Simon intended. It was Roy Halee, the record producer, and Art Garfunkel who insisted on a third verse – “the first two verses could be runway material for a take-off that is waiting” – Art Garfunkel.  Reluctantly, Simon wrote the additional material, too quickly and in the studio, something he never usually did.

So, here’s the thing – from the northern side, drive over the Queensferry Crossing when there is a high wind. Keep to the 40 mph speed restriction and turn on Bridge over Troubled Water at the first exit to the old Bridge. Turn up the volume and listen intently as you cross the troubled waters. When you reach the first gantry sign on the South Queensferry side at 3 minutes 4 seconds, start fading the track out and you will hear the song as Paul Simon originally intended – a small hymn, a small masterpiece.

And the title of the post?  When the orchestral string section came back from the arranger, Ernie Freeman, for over-dubbing in the studio, this was the title assigned to the arrangement – well, that’s how much attention he was paying to the demo! – Paul Simon.

The bridge from the western side

Horsing …

… it has been a quiet week in Beaufront Woodhead.  If people on bicycles go cycling, those who drive go driving, those who golf go golfing, why do those who ride horses, not go horsing.  This astute philosophical observation is not mine but my eldest’s.  I was reminded of it at the weekend as I was briefly horsing about with the camera above Allendale – where is the logic in that!

This is a handsome beast but I confess I am not that keen on these over-sized quadrupeds.  They are delightful to look at but, anything this big and this powerful which lacks handlebars/steering, accelerator and, most importantly, brakes, is not for me.  My Ducati Monster has 147 horses but none of them have a mind of their own.

Have a grand week everyone and enjoy the horsing …

… can a horse/pony be doe-eyed

… there was another but he/she wasn’t getting a look-in

… above Allendale on a dull January afternoon.

… you know you are in tough company when he uses barbed-wire to scratch

 

Time it was …

… and what a time it was …

… a time of innocence

It has been a tough week, saying a last goodbye to my big sister.  The service was held in the small church at The Lee, near Great Missenden.  A lovely place but, it came as some relief to return to the peace and quiet of deepest Northumberland.  There is always hope to be found in the wild places.

And so, the night falls …

Another quiet week …

… in Beaufront Woodhead.  The weather has alternated between dire and freezing, neither any good for getting out and about, especially on two wheels.  A couple of storms have passed through and trees have been lost.  We have had a couple of regular visitors to our garden and then, yesterday, they took the liberty of inviting all their friends.  The image from our rear bedroom window shows a handful but, just around the corner, there were twenty or so more – they have kindly, liberally, fertilised the lawn.

One bright spot, I have replaced the levers on my Triumph Scrambler – I get a disproportionate amount of pleasure out of such fettling – verb (used with object), fet·tled, fet·tling – Ceramics to remove mold marks from (a cast piece).  That may be the official definition but, in Manchester and probably elsewhere, it means to fiddle about with machinery – ideally in a relaxed and time-wasting fashion.  An alternative would be ‘ferkle’.

“Goodnight, thank you, and may your God go with you”  –  Dave Allen 1936-2005

… all are welcome, apparently.

… before and after

… super-wide – the 8mm Samyang on the X-Pro2

… winter moon over Beaufront Woodhead

… and Hard Rain along the Tyne.

… another tree down along the Tyne

… afternoon light, Beaufront Woodhead

A Resolution …

… and one I might struggle to keep – to post on WordPress at least once per week.  Not that I will necessarily have anything illuminating to say but, as I post on Blipfoto everyday, there should be no shortage of images.

It has been a quiet week in Beaufront Woodhead.  The hard frosts have disappeared, to be replaced by a gloomy light, plenty of rain and high winds.  Occasionally the sun has slid through a gap in the clouds and then it is a few short paces from the front door to grab the light.  This is a series of local images from the last few days rounded off by my middle son eyeing up his inheritance – we took the Elise 117 miles into the Borders because we could and because driving that machine is always a joy.  Thanks to the bikes I am very familiar with all the routes heading north from Carter Bar, to Newcastleton and south via Keilder:

The sun going down across the Tyne Valley

Taken before the sun disappeared for the day

The view from the trees back to Beaufront Woodhead Farm

A brief moment in time, the sun shining on Keith’s house – earlier today, 7th January.

Those trees again – again, 7th January

Matt, eyeing up his inheritance

Last sunrise …

… of the decade.  Yesterday I journeyed 94 miles on the F850 GS, riding into the sullen Scottish Borders – drizzle and heavy mist over the hills, having left the Tyne Valley in bright sunshine.  This morning brought a heavy frost and removed any temptation of venturing out again.  Ice and two wheels don’t mix.

… last sunrise.

… and a heavy frost.

… just north of Kielder

Riding the bike into distant empty roads focuses the mind, clears the head and banishes dark thoughts about the year gone by – it has not been a good one.  A new decade begins, turn, turn, turn

My big sister: 1944-2019