Local Adventure 5

I’ve been doing a fair bit of cycling recently – last week I did a 22 mile circuit in the pouring rain up to the Entwistle Reservoir (absolutely soaked to the skin but utterly invigorated), and today I went up to the top road to Edenfield to have a look at Scout Moor wind farm. I didn’t actually get right up close to the turbines, I’m saving that challenge for a future occasion. The weather for today’s trip was beautiful, so I took a few photos unlike last week.

Cycling is an amazing experience – you notice all sorts of things you don’t in the car. Smells are one thing – in the rain last week, all the lovely wet smells of the countryside came through, and I could smell coal or wood burning as I passed through villages, which seemed to vary with the level of affluence (more wood in wealthier areas, more coal in working class areas).

Today, so many people had a smile for me – from other cyclist to walkers and dog walkers. There seems to be something about cycling which means you can have a friendly interaction with others in a way that car travel precludes.

It was really hard work, both last week and today, but reaching the foothills of the wind farm today was really exhilarating – just the knowledge that I had made it under my own steam, and that the electricity from the turbines was very likely supplying a bit of my house somewhere in the mix. The 4×4 occupants cruising past in their hermetically sealed isolation could never know these thoughts and feelings. And the exercise and fresh air itself gave me a real high, as well as landscapes which, despite being so close to home, I had never seen before. I’m really enjoying these local adventures, they give a real sense of achievement. I’m going to run out of possibilities at some stage though, as bikes are not allowed on the Greater Manchester tram system, so I am limited to places within reach of home. Still, all part of the challenge I suppose!!

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On the Buses

Just seen one of the new hybrid electric buses in Manchester!

Home Made Cider

Well I’ve got my new Vigo press into action and started off a couple of what should turn out to be very interesting brews!!

I decided to press the grapes from my vine this year instead of boiling them up with other stuff to make wine – in the end around 2kg or so of grapes made just a fifth of a gallon of juice. I had frozen a couple of punits of home grown raspberries and strawberries so I defrosted those and chucked those in too. Finally I topped up the gallon demijohn with pressed apple juice from the apples off our tree. So that should give me a gallon or so of a kind of fruit wine-cider hybrid.

I also managed to fill a big cardboard box with apples I’d scrumped from various different trees around the place – there must have been at least half a dozen different varieties in there. I spent last night juicing those and got about 3 gallons of pure apple juice which I’ve put in a bigger fermentation vessel.

With both brews I added crushed campden tablets to sterilise the juice, leaving it for a couple of days before adding some wine yeast and yeast nutrient for a stronger brew.

Apparently this year is a tasty year for apples, so I’m really looking forward to the result!! It’s going to be difficult to resist drinking the stuff for another 12 months!!

http://m.guardian.co.uk/?id=102202&story=http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/sep/08/apples-growers-hail-tastiest-crop

Stone Free

Had a great day yesterday at Transition Stone’s “Festival of Possibilities” – the location was the very beautiful Hayes at Stone, a big old house in acres of picturesque grounds which is home to a small community of Transitioners giving a whole range of workshops, everything from bread-making, bicycle maintenance and diesel engine vegetable oil conversions to micro-hydro and woodworking using a home made pole lathe. I gave my Green Cottage presentation as a contribution.

I don’t know if it was a combination of the venue, lovely weather and kindred spirits or the home made cake, soup and crusty rolls, but the whole day was really heartwarming and gave me a real lift. It’s not that often I find people who are really on my wavelength but this was one occasion. Thankyou Transition Stone for a great day and a big success, all power to you!!

Love the home made geodome πŸ˜‰

Step Up to the Plate

The old concrete board register plate which sealed off the bottom of the chimney six years ago was falling to bits, so on Saturday I had a new steel one installed which cost me Β£250, pretty good value I reckon.

Local Adventure 4

I finally made it all the way to Bolton along the canal, and discovered Moses Gate Park, coming back along Bury Bolton Road. A 17-miler!!

It’s a good circuit with some nice surroundings, I might do it a few times before figuring out what my next challenge will be.

Muse

Not green in the slightest, but pretty amazing!! Went to see Muse tonight at Old Trafford.