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Daphne’s Star – blog

On this page, Daphne Loads shares with us her trike adventures in making a star of East Lothian as part of #Borders22

5th May – voting and cup of tea (Gladsmuir to Letham Mains)

I’ve been busy with other things lately, and the promised star map of East Lothian (in which I am making journeys from my home out to the sea and land boundaries of the county) has been sadly neglected. I’ve made a list of enticing places in in the borderlands that I have yet to visit, including the wonderfully-named Pishwanton Wood. Today I decided on Tantallon, by the sea, but just as I was about to set out, I was offered a lift to the polling station, so I took the opportunity to cast my vote(s).

Then I forgot my water bottle, and a short way down the road I had a minor problem with Jo-Jo, my fabby new trike (pictured above), so I decided to exchange her for Lily, my faithful old steed. When I set off again, for some reason I forgot where I was going and headed inland. By the time I realised my mistake, the weather had taken a turn for the worse. It was cold, grey and threatening rain. So I settled for a short trip to Letham Mains, an attractive village a few miles away, with an agreeably challenging hill. Although I take great pleasure in achieving goals and really admire stickability, still, sometimes it’s good to know when to give in. I’m now comfortably ensconced with a cup of tea, watching the clouds roll in.🤓

25th April: If you see a rook it’s a crow (Gladsmuir to Longniddry)

Today on my trike trip I saw a kestrel, some French partridges, and a grumpy black bird that I think was a rook but could well have been a crow. My Dad always used to say, “If you see a rook it’s a crow, and if you see some crows, they’re rooks.” It was meant to remind me that crows are solitary and rooks are social. It didn’t really work as a mnemonic, but it reminds me of Dad and his sense of humour, which is probably more important.

Crow image from Wikipedia/commons

20th April: Eupraxia (Gladsmuir to Ormiston)

My beloved etrike

I was well into middle-age before I got my diagnosis. During a university staff training session on ‘students with dyspraxia’ we were presented with a list of signs and symptoms. It seems that children described as dyspraxic often encounter difficulties with crawling, tying shoelaces, telling the time, riding a bike and hitting a ball with a racket. As my eyes moved down the list, I gradually realised: I was dyspraxic. As a child I never crawled, but instead shuffled on my backside; my big sister was frustrated that I could read fluently before I went to school, but seemed unable to carry out simple tasks; my poor Dad patiently tried to teach me how to ride a bicycle, but I just couldn’t do it; P.E. lessons were a humiliating experience. Over the years I’ve found ways of managing, mostly by avoidance. I don’t drive, I don’t dance, I don’t play any sport at all and I still can’t ride a bike. Recently I’ve come up with a more positive self-diagnosis. If dyspraxia refers to difficulty in carrying out co-ordinated movement, then when I’m on my trike I definitely experience eupraxia: goodness, well-being and pleasure as those pedals go up and down and propel me along the road. I feel great.

16th April: Coming home (Gladsmuir to Humbie and back)

Is there anything better than coming home from a b/trike ride? A bit tired, a bit sweaty and ready to appreciate home comforts. Even the flowers in the garden seem to nod ‘hello.’ Today there was something else going on – a spooky booming/buzzing sound that reminded me of the Tardis landing. I wondered if it was a wood pigeon because it seemed too loud for an insect. Finally I found a large bee whose buzz was amplified by the ceramic pot it was stuck in. I set it free.

Postscript: Turns out the bee likes being in the the ceramic pot. It seems to live in there. And I thought I was rescuing it, when in fact, like me it was just enjoying its snug little home.

10th April – Gladsmuir to AberladyT

he roadsides are bright with celandines today. I love them but my friends Fiona and Phil can’t abide them because they wreak havoc in their garden every year. In my plot I have a choice celandine – Randall’s White. ‘Choice’ what a great word. That gardener’s adjective that’s supposed to suggest rarity and/or desirability but too often ends up meaning difficult, expensive or just not very robust. Wild celandines are by no means choice – but welcome anyway in their unchosen loveliness (except in Fiona and Phil’s garden).

Primroses and violets

For Borders22 I plan to tricycle to several points along the land and sea borders of East Lothian so that my journeys take the form of a star. I missed the launch at the beginning of the month because I was in Majorca. The citrus and palm trees were magnificent, but it was lovely to come home to primroses and violets. As a child in Norfolk I used to collect armfuls of these little beauties in the spring. My university friend, Sonia, disapproved of picking wild flowers and felt we should leave them for everyone to enjoy. At the time I thought her views were rather eccentric. “Never trust anyone…” she said, “…who cuts off the sexual organs of plants and displays them in their home.” Nowadays I agree with her. Today as I trundled along the old railway track to Longniddry I enjoyed the primroses and violets, but left them where they belong.

Daphne tells us what she is doing for #Borders22