Bits and bobs

August in Edinburgh is an odd month if you are a resident – the festivals are in full swing, there might be something worth seeing and you don’t really want to be away when there’s so many folk about. Early on I went to visit the Royal and the Western; hospital orientation visits for the research with one of my supervisors. It was all fine except the tricks the memory plays – we were to meet at the front entrance to the Royal but I waited for 20 minutes at the wrong front entrance. Supervisor in full uniform kept waiting in a draughty doorway while muggins is by the shops … I blame poor signage and trying to design a major teaching hospital to be something else at a later date. Fortunately no harm done and supervisor was as forgiving as ever.

Festival highlights were confined to the Peter Doig exhibition (not really my thing) and an excellent Japanese production of Kafka’s Metamorphosis – excellent but not to the taste of the Guardian. Margaret came to stay for the weekend and while she visited a friend in Dalkeith, I went to a conference in Glasgow; go figure.

When I was in France I had attempted to ride one of the old bicycles that I don’t think had been ridden since Jane and I last visited in 2008; the tyres were borderline as were the brakes and forget comfort or gears. And since roof racks are thing to far (or high) I decided I needed a bike that both fit in the car and have full size wheels for a better ride. We’d had folders before and they were good but had wee wheels and felt a bit flimsy. It seems there are now a number of full size folders and although a bit of a compromise in performance better than no bike or an ancient affair many years short of a service. The prices range from the modest hundreds to over a thousand for the slick American models. Modest functionality is fine with me and so Joe Tern was duly purchased and kitted out with a proper rack, better pedals and a woman’s anatomical seat (it’s all in the width and padding for the sit bones).

Now all I needed was an outing that justified a folding bicycle. Perhaps the visiting Margaret would care for an excursion to Loch Katrine. And so it was we drove to the Trossachs, boarded the Lady of the Lake, me with bicycle, M with picnic basket. We had a lovely cruise and lunch up the loch, I then hopped off at Stronachlachar while M sailed back. I pedalled like mad and managed to get around the loch in just over an hour to a very surprised M who felt sure I would be much longer. Very pleased with the bicycle – slightly stiff to ride but comfortable, good gears and disc brakes – and it was a lovely day out.


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