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Half way through 2018 - how did that happen?

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We are already in the month of June and operation summer is in full swing. The weather lately has been very favourable with blue skies and gentle breezes interspersed with the the occasional few days of rain and dreichness 😀 That is basically Scottish weather but of course nobody comes to Scotland for the weather! I have been doing a bit of work on my back garden and the pond is bursting with tadpoles, some of which have made the transition to froglets and I now have erected the wooden pergola with clematis and ivy growing around it to create a spiritual archway into my 'haven of tranquillity in an urban environment.' 🙏 Funnily enough I never used to like gardening much but when you get your own garden I think you appreciate having the private outside space and it almost becomes an extra room. Especially if you have a small flat like I do. Also I find pottering around the back garden to be quite therapeutic and sitting in my shed drinking coffee has become a form of meditati…

New business, New future!

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Well 2018 is shaping up to be an interesting year so far! There have been a few changes in that I left my previous job in a bike shop in order to go to another job in a bike shop in February. Alas that job didn't work out but I had been thinking about starting a new cycling related business anyway. I mentioned in a previous blog post First (of many) cycles in 2018 that I had started an historical tour business in 2011 with a partner called Real Roman Tours that provided guided tours to the Antonine Wall in Scotland and Hadrian's Wall in England. My role was Tour Director and I managed the logistical aspects of the tours, did the driving and updated the website and did various marketing activities. The business was very much part time and seasonal but it did find a niche market of Roman history enthusiasts from America. I handed Real Roman Tours over to my friend in 2016 and he mainly does school visits dressed as a Roman soldier but hasn't given up his day job as yet. 

In 2…

Cycling in Scottish weather - it can be challenging!

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The picture above was taken in late February on my first mini-cycling adventure of the year to the Trossachs in the West of Scotland. My friend and I spent two glorious days cycling on some gravel paths near Glen Finglas. Then we did a nice wee circular loop on NCN Route 7 from Callendar to Balquidder. There was some snow on the top of the mountains and some ice on the lochs but the sun was shining and it definitely felt like Spring was in the air! 



Then roll forward a week to the beginning of March and the whole of the UK gets hit by the 'Beast from the East' and Storm Emma causing widespread chaos and travel disruption. For the past eight years we have been experiencing quite mild winters and the last memory of heavy snow was in 2010. In Edinburgh city centre the snow wasn't particularly deep but the temperature took a dramatic drop and we had a Red Alert warning of severe weather with blizzard conditions so a lot of schools and offices were closed in order to let people …

Belles on Bikes - Inspiring women to ride their bikes!

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It was in June 2014 that I first came across Belles on Bikes Edinburgh. It was a suggestion on Facebook that I should like the group so I did! It had been a couple of years since my CFS/ME diagnosis and I was slowly building up my fitness and confidence on the bike again and I also missed being part of a cycling group. So I signed up to one of their rides, a short 10 mile loop called 'Tramspotting in Edinburgh' that utilised some new cycle paths that I hadn't been on before and ended with a lunch stop at a nice cafe in Fountainbridge. I was on such a high after the ride as I had really missed the social aspect of cycling, especially cycling with a group of women, as it just felt like such a supportive environment. After the ride I chatted with the group's founder, Claire, and expressed an interest in becoming a volunteer ride leader. Fast forward four years and according to the stats I have led and attended 57 rides so far!

For those of you who haven't heard of Bell…

First (of many) cycles in 2018!

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Ok it has taken me until 3rd January to get out on the bike but to be fair the weather hasn't been great in Edinburgh and I felt like I might be coming down with a cold. Having a cold when you have CFS/ME really sucks as it takes my body twice as long to recover and I usually feel really wiped out. However, this time the early symptoms didn't seem to develop into a full blown cold which was good and I can maybe attribute that to taking high strength Vitamin D tablets. I had already been taking Cod Liver Oil tablets with Vitamin A to ease the pain I get in my muscles and joints sometimes as well as a daily multi-vitamin tablet. Ideally we should be getting all our vitamins from our diet but sometimes that might not always be possible which is why I take the multi-vitamin as well. 

Anyway, back to the cycle! It was so good to get out on the bike today and I did one of my favourite routes: Portobello to Cramond Loop which is about 21 miles. It utilises many of the NCN (National Cy…

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018!

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As another year on this planet draws to a close I always find myself in a reflective frame of mind. When I think back to this time last year, I just wanted 2016 to come to an end as it hadn't been a great year. My mother and my uncle passed away within months of each other and it was a difficult blow to take. Still I went forward into 2017 feeling that I would learn a lot about myself and that I was venturing on a journey of self discovery. 

So let's roll on 12 months and what have I discovered on this journey? Well mainly I have done a lot of reading about Buddhism and mindfulness meditation and that has helped to calm my constant brain chatter and my monkey mind. I have also learned to accept the past, live in the present and show compassion towards myself and others! Sounds great doesn't it? Well I haven't quite mastered it yet as you can't reprogramme a lifetime of negative thought patterns in a year. It is a work-in-progress as each day presents new challenges …

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - The diagnosis

It was in Autumn 2012 that I received my diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome more commonly know as myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME for short. It is a diagnosis that you receive once all other options are ruled out like Vitamin B12 deficiency, anaemia, hyperthyroidism and it can leave you feeling somewhat confused. At that point in time all I knew was that I had no energy and even doing small things like walking from one room in my small flat to another just completely wiped me out. 

My life prior to my diagnosis had been one of frequent activity. I had done a lot of hillwalking and been on walking holidays in Germany and Italy. I had dabbled in running and completed my last half marathon earlier in the year. However, cycling had always been my passion and I started competing in road racing and time trials in my early 20's but gave that up when I was pregnant with my son. After my son was born I was back on the bike within a few weeks and focussed more on leading group rides and e…