Trees, trees and, oh, some bikes and birdies as well.

A good week for the most part this week. My first Monday slot at Lochwinnoch went extremely well – I did some outside tasks and also spent time being nice to the public. It’s amazing just how much you can learn about a topic in a relatively short space of time if you just listen in to an expert talking. On this occasion it was about ospreys, and it was so interesting I might just volunteer to spend a week up on the Boat of Garten reserve which is probably the osprey site in Scotland. We’ll see. The other birdie highlight this week is the return of a wren to the garden. Everyone say “ahhhhhhhh!”

A welcome returnee

Bicycle-wise I reached 830 miles this week and am on course for hitting my first thousand by the end of February. Tthis of course might be stymied if I dont get decent weather when I’m at Willowbog next weekend as I don’t think I could set up the Tacx in Peter and Jean’s kitchen. In anticipation of a heat wave I have planned out my routes: there’s the 17 mile one I did there in November but by going on a bigger loop I can double that. I’d like to do at least 50miles over the weekend but it’ll depend on the amount of ice of the roads, so maybe I’ll need to settle for sets of shorter loops. Additionally, I had somewhat of a pedal epiphany on Friday night as a snippet of conversation had several months ago with my Cycle Sensei came back to me and I spent a couple of hours googling scraping mud off one’s shoe. Don’t worry, it’s not some new compulsive obsessive disorder manifestation – merely a pedalling technique. And so far it has worked – my speed and cadence have increased and my knee is no longer sore after a ride. It works indoors anyway – still a major acid test obviously.

But by far the biggest excitement was a veritable orgy of bonsai activity this week. I had Senseless Sensei Steve here on Thursday and got through a remarkable bit of work despite the near permafrost in the bonsai pots. We worked on my Joy of Bonsai buxus, my Shohin Juniper which may be ready for the show next weekend, and The Beefie juniper (tell you about that another time.) We also did some development planning on my other trees and I have dutifully written it all down for future reference. It was a very good day, and I managed to follow it up with a visit to Wattston on Saturday to meet up again with Steve and the other guys and gals at the workshop. And of course I got the chance to see Dougie’s new imports from Japan. And equally of course I came away empty-handed! Pause to extinguish flames from underwear. Sunday saw a workshop hosted by the Ayrshire group with Corin Tomlinson as workshop leader. I have never met Corin or experienced his way of working, and I have to say I was favourably impressed. He took the time to explain fully what he was doing in his demos and his manner and approach during the hands-on workshop was excellent. In fact my only criticism is that the day was way too short. I took the opportunity to work on a semi-cascade white pine which is a long-term project tree and is really just for fun. It’ll never make a serious bonsai (not for about 25 years that is) but it’s a good learning experience.

Steve working on the Joy of Bonsai Buxus

Buddy offers vital tools and equipment to help restyle The Beefie

Working with Corin on my white pine

So, as already stated, all in all a good week, marred slightly by the latest development in my ongoing battle with former employers. Nuff said – it’s probably sub judice or something as ridiculous as the saga itself. Onwards and upwards for what should be another good week – hitting the 1K bike miles and the BSA show at the weekend. Bring it on!

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