The Land Rover Owners Wife


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Down hill, up hill and the wind tunnel effect!

Lincolnshire is NOT flat …. trust me, I know!

On a nice day (or rather the night before a nice day has been forecast), I will sometimes decide to cycle to work rather than use the car or take the bus. It’s only 8 miles or so. The route I take is slightly longer than any of the alternatives but it is the safest, as it by-passes all of the major roads. I did travel one of the other routes a couple of times but pretty soon realised that even wearing my fluorescent yellow cycle jacket and with my bike lights on, I miraculously metamorphose into the invisible woman, as soon as my foot touches the pedal and I start to move.

That said, the first obstacle I have to overcome on my cycling commute is the hill out of the village! It is very steep (approximately 1:14) and almost a mile long. I usually get about one third of the way up (the steepest bit) when the ‘Ohhhh my goodness!!! What am I doing?” thought (or something very similar but not quite so publishable) crosses my mind. There have been times ……. okay if I’m being truthful, every single time ….. when I reach this point and seriously consider turning around and heading back home for the car or bus. I never have though, pushing on through the pain of breathlessness, the gasping, the jelly legs – I obviously walk not ride up the hill – until I reach the final corner which is the start of a much kinder incline.

We live in a beautiful corner of England.

Once I’ve reached the top of the hill, the rest of the journey is much gentler, being mainly downhill with only the occasional gentle incline and I get my second wind pretty quickly. I can usually get to work in just under 50 minutes.

But of course the flip side is that each long, gentle slope that I cycle down in a morning becomes a thigh burning, breathlessness creating incline for the trip back. To be fair, some of them are barely there and I don’t have too much of an issue heading back on those but there are some humdingers, not so much for the steepness of them but the fact that they go on for a mile or more, some bits more inclined than others and it becomes a veritable battle of wills to keep on cycling on the best of days ….. but throw in a strong wind and boy, that’s a whole different ball game.

It’s much MUCH easier going down hill!

I cycled to work one day last week, in lovely sunny weather with just a hint of a chill in the air and it took around 48 minutes. But when I left work to come home that was a completely different story. From the first pedal stroke, I was battling the wind. The whole journey home felt a lot like I was trying to cycle in treacle and there were occasions when I was almost literally cycling on the spot, making next to no progress at all. My legs had gone way beyond jelly and fire and it took some serious will power not to give up – although, how I thought I was getting home if I wasn’t prepared to cycle, helped me stay focussed on the journey in hand.

Thanks to the undulating wind tunnels lanes of Lincolnshire, what would normally take me about 50 minutes took approximately 80 minutes, not that the residents of Mudville seemed to notice my non/late appearance. Trying to dismount outside the house was an event in itself, as my legs suddenly seemed to be devoid of bone and my poor muscles were in no fit state to support a feather, never mind the weight of an adult woman. I allowed myself a couple of minutes composure time before attempting to swing my leg up and over, to let the pins and needles in my hand fade away, to regain my breath. Getting my bike up the 9 inch deep front door step and through the ‘built in the days when people were hobbit sized’ internal doorways, was a work out in its’ own right and by the time I’d parked my bike in its’ usual spot, I was about ready to collapse and was uttering phrases along the lines of ‘Never again!!!’

I certainly slept well that night and was pleasantly surprised by just how little I was aching the following morning. Whenever possible and weather permitting, I intend to try and cycle a couple of times each week during the spring and summer months, maybe even as much as three times per week.

I did stop and take some pictures during that nightmare journey because wind and inclines aside, I do live in a particularly beautiful part of England.

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Knitting in a Land Rover

Keeping dry(ish): knitting in the Land Rover.

Keeping dry(ish): knitting in the Land Rover.

August Bank Holiday Monday dawned and, what a surprise (not), it was raining. To be fair we weren’t in much of a position to complain because for most of the previous week, the weather had worked in our favour, with sunshine during the day and what rain we got, occurring, for the most part, overnight. Mud had been able to get a whole raft of jobs on our Series 3 Land Rover done and I had been spared hours of watering duties. Continue reading


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Chickens by proxy again

A des res for the chickens

A des res for the chickens

The Mudlets and I have been chicken sitting again but this time for much longer. Having looked after a friends three chickens for long weekends, several times over the last few months, we were more than happy to take on the responsibility for two weeks whilst our friends disappeared off for a well earned camping holiday. Popping over a few days before they were due to depart for a recap on feeding etc, we discovered that the chicken coop/run had received somewhat of a makeover and they now had more than twice as much space in which to strut their stuff. Continue reading


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After the storm

Sunshine, rain and lightning, make for happy plants.

Sunshine, rain and lightning, make for happy plants.

In the wee small hours of this morning, I found myself cuddling my terrified little girls, as a fierce and unusual storm, raged around us. Little Mudlet was literally shaking like a blancmange, whilst her older sister was curled up with her eyes squeezed tightly shut and fingers wedged firmly in her ears. I could hear torrential rain pummeling my garden, aided and abetted by the wind, and I wondered what I would find in the cold light of day. Continue reading


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Raindrops keep falling on my head …….

The view from my summer kitchen 'window'

The view from my summer kitchen ‘window’

Cooking at Mudville has always proved somewhat of challenge. For nine months of the year, late autumn to early spring, meals are cooked on the solid fuel, very temperamental Rayburn and it can often take several hours to boil a pan of water for the vegetables, with a further half a day to bring the water back to the boil once the vegetables have been added. Well okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little but it isn’t unheard of for an entire meal to be delayed by an hour or more because the vegetables aren’t ready yet!

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How green is my garden?

Well it wouldn't have been polite to turn down a free gift ....

Well it wouldn’t have been polite to turn down a free gift ….

Rain is a magical thing when it comes to gardens. In my experience, hours of work with a hose pipe or watering can will keep your plants healthy and growing but you can’t replicate the response you get following a good downpour. Plants obviously play favourites and there is something about rain that causes the most startling transformation from a green garden to a GREEN garden. Oh and let’s not ignore the inches of growth they seem to put on following a lengthy bout of rain, growth not even the most effective of plant foods can generate.

Rain is definitely magical when it comes to gardens! Continue reading


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A brrrrracing walk

The view from the path behind the Cleethorpes Leisure Centre

The view from the path behind the Cleethorpes Leisure Center

That’s what Mud said we all needed, as we relaxed in front of the toasty warm log burner on Saturday evening. A horrified glance passed between Eldest Mudlet and I as the younger Mudlets, with all the enthusiasm of youth and no thought for windchill factors or the fact that it is the end of November, gleefully agreed to daddys’ plan of a breakfast out followed by a bracing walk along Cleethorpes sea front on Sunday morning.

Eldest Mudlet had come home for some much needed mummy time following a split with her boyfriend of three years and had been happily contemplating a night out with friends when Mud had made his announcement and she certainly hadn’t come prepared for an excursion along Cleethorpes sea front which, trust me, this late on in the year is akin to an arctic exhibition. Continue reading


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It’s raining, it’s pouring

The mangetout, leeks and strawberry plants look happy in the sunshine

The mangetout, leeks and strawberry plants look happy in the sunshine

“I don’t believe it,” was Muds’ exasperated out cry this morning as, sounding more like Victor Meldrew than ever before, he surveyed the garden this morning!!! “It was glorious sunshine when I got up this morning and now it’s flipping raining! Again!”

Actually, ‘raining’ isn’t quite the right word to use to describe the torrential downpours that seem to be happening every 20 minutes or so but it is definitely raining on Muds’ parade , well his truck cab refurb’ to be exact, and he isn’t happy. Continue reading