The Bike Shed

We have successfully wedged our worldly possessions into Cow Poo Manor. There's no garage this time so I'm not quite sure how this pantry/bike shed hybrid is going to work out.


I've had Valentino the Bike for three years now and I reckon I still have enough fingers and toes to count the amount of times we've been out together. The cost per ride is still about Β£20! Whoops.

I really want to love cycling, so Gareth and I have something in common… but I never think yay, cycling! the way I instantly thought yay, kickboxing! I'm going to have to work a little harder at this one. I did enjoy the ride from the old house to the new, and didn't run out of gears coming up the little hill… so that's a good start, isn't it?

Meanwhile BT stuffed up yesterday so we're not getting the phone on until next week, and I can't sort out the internet until that's installed. We're stuck in the Dark Ages but it gives me more time to enjoy the view from the window. Aside from the Pile o' Poo there are pheasants, robins and sparrows galore… even a freakin' deer lopes past now and then. It is impossible to hold on to gloom with nature poncing around in your face like that. Life is good.


38 thoughts on “The Bike Shed

  1. Congrats on getting everything all moved in! I’m sure the pantry/bike combo will work out (my bike lives in my room, between the end of my bed and the wall… we have a 2nd floor flat…)

    Is there any way you could cycle-commute to work? (Not sure how far away work is for you!) I used to get the best part of an hour’s cycling in each day when I worked in the 9-5 world. (It was quite enjoyable, even though South London is the nicest place to cycle during the rush hour. I could sometimes beat the bus, too…)

    I’m not a huge enthusiast for recreational cycling (gimme a walk or a gym session any day), but as a very convenient and free method to get from A-B, it rocks!

  2. Congrats on the move. I would take a big pile of poo just to live near all that beautiful green!

    I love cycling and I will tell you, my enjoyment was really created when I switched from a big heavy mountain/hybrid bike to a road bike. They are lighter, faster, and much easier on the hills. Mine makes me feel like a kid, whereas the hybrid makes me feel out of shape.

  3. I have two bikes in the hope that someday I will suddenly become a cyclist & be able to spend more quality time with my architect. So far, it is not working so well. I bought him a pair of running shoes so that he would run with me. ha ha ha ha.

    Love your view! And congrats getting all moved in.

  4. Chances are that the side of the pile o’poo facing you will be the last bit the farmer uses up. Have you considered rushing over to the big pile under cover of darkness and throwing a great pile of wildflower seeds all over the side facing your window, so you’ll have a wonderful flowery view for a short time over the summer?

    The slopey green field looks beautiful!

  5. You weren’t kidding about the pile of cow poo! Maybe a nice row of tall sunflowers or chrysanthemums to sweeten that otherwise pleasant view?

  6. “with nature poncing around in your face” cracked me up!

    My hubby is also a keen cyclist – I like to cycle too, but only in car-free zones – so he has accepted that any joint trips are limited to canal paths, off-road tracks and rides around the Center Parcs near us. One day I will learn how to lift one hand off the handlebars to signal I’m turning left or right without wobbling into a hedge…

  7. Congrats on getting everything moved.

    Maybe you can get those hooks and hang the bikes on the wall or from the ceiling so you don’t have to trip over them to get to the food in the pantry.

    Hopefully the farmer will eventually move that big pile of poo to fertilize his fields so you don’t have to look beyond the poo to the beautiful fields.

    I’m hoping to dust my bike off and get on it this summer. I can’t remember the last time I thought Yay, cycling!

  8. Crikey that is a monster pile o’shite! Not your pantry, in the paddock.
    Since recommending Barbara Sher to you I’ve been getting stuck into her books myself again. How easy it is to lose track of what REALLY gives you joy. I * heart* Barbara

  9. is the pile of poo a regular feature in your landscape or temporary? If it is there all the time – you might consider sprinkling wildflower seeds – they would grow very quickly with the poo.

  10. I’ve been put off bike riding ever since I ran into a parked car and completely dominated the rearview mirror when I was twelve. True story.

  11. Haha, so if you want a bottle of wine you have to climb over a bike? Genius, lol!

    Your view looks so fantastic, I must say I am very, very jealous.

  12. Seriously, that view is simply amazing- a postcard shot, even with the biggest pile of poo I have ever seen.

    Cycling / Running, two of my husbands passions – and the least of my favourite things to do. Must be a boy girl thing huh?

    Everytime I do a spin class I make the same comment “I would never ride that far/hard if I weren’t in that class – I don’t know how you do it”…

    Look forward to having you back online…

  13. Life is good and sometimes the dark ages is as well!

    I never think YAY CARDIO in any form.


  14. OH, gorgeous! I’ve been reading PQ’s run-away to Europe enviously. I was laid off and am financially solvent and have work-related-learning to do, so I’m not bored or having tons o fun, but I’m half thinking of putting my stuff in storage, paying my lease breakage fee, and looking for a month rental in another country for taking my 10 mile daily walks. If you feel like swapping homes for a week, let me know…

  15. I loved cycling when I still lived in Holland, to work, shopping, even going out at night into town. Now, here I am in Edinburgh, I just bought a bike and it doesn’t appeal as much. It seems so much effort! Me and my husband will most likely be moving over the bridge soon so hopefully some better cycle routes there. Your new place looks great, is it a farm or something?

  16. Maybe you should consider renaming the place to “Cow Manure.” Kind of like manor but stretch the last syllable into manure. …Although “Cow Poo Manor” does have a superior ring to it.

    Also, I don’t know if it snows where you are, but that hill looks like it would be AMAZING covered in snow. The ski/sled/snowboarding possibilities…!

  17. Congrats on the move – that view is worth it, even with the poo. After all, shit happens, right? πŸ™‚

    I would love to love biking myself, but I am definitely without a death wish at this point so I’m going to hold off until I live somewhere that is not NYC!

  18. Congrats on being moved – I love the view! Before we bought our house a year and a half ago, I moved about 10 times in 10 years. I am very happy to be at a permanent place!

    I didn’t think I’d like my bike as much as I do, but riding with my fiance has been way fun. One of my favorite rides is somewhere new to grab lunch and a beer, and then home. But somewhere far enough that it’s fun!

  19. what a gorgeous view – and I like your bikes in the pantry – wish I had a pantry big enough for bikes!

    I do think yay cycling and am missing it after about a year not cycling (after my baby) but just need to service my bike (did you know how fit it makes you feel to get the tyres pumped up properly and the more you cycle the more the tyres keep pumped up?) Although Melbourne is so much flatter than Edinburgh so I don’t need to negotiate so many hills but it is such a lovely feeling to cycle somewhere

  20. Perhaps you could call your new place “Dungroamin” lol
    Hope you have many years of happiness in your new pad, glad you’ve spotted some robins DrG must be pleased Sounds like a winner all round! :o)

  21. Hello Shauna, and thanks for your delightful book as well as your blog! Congratulations. And let me tell you that you are an extraordinarily beautiful woman – I think you were beautiful even in your before-photos with your extra kilos.

    Now that I’ve read your book with great sympathy I just have to comment on two things.

    First. Did you get acquainted with LCHF, or, low-carb-high-fat diet? According to what you tell in your book, a diet called SuperSlim was very effective for you, much more effective than WeightWatchers’ diet. I get the impression that the SuperSlim diet is a sort of LCLF diet, low-carb-low-fat. Obviously you cannot live your life on such a diet – but LCHF diet can be a way of life.

    According to many, many people in Sweden and in Finland, LCHF makes it easier to overcome carb addiction. That means that LCHF as a way of life makes life much easier for you, if overweight and carb gorge is your problem. You don’t live continuously on the edge, when on LCHF.

    Second (this one is not an issue for you anymore, but I’ll say it anyway in case somebody else benefits). You tell in your book that your thighs got chafed. I and all overweight women I know have the same problem. There is a merciful solution to that, if a thong is not a must: silk underpants with legs. A prettier alternative is an underskirt for pants – I don’t know what that would be in English. It is a petticoat with legs just to the knees. Just pants is no good, because pants are never so tight that they don’t move at all, and since they are not made of smooth, slippery silk-like material, they chafe. Tights are no good because they are not smooth enough.

    I wish you and Gareth all happiness in the world!

    Anna-Liisa, a granny from Finland

  22. I would have to agree that the more you cycle, the more you love it. Every time I’ve had a break from it, it seems totally unappealing for the first little while, especially while my legs (and other bits) are getting used to the effort. When we moved to our house, I used to moan a lot about having to go up the big long hill whenever we went into town.

    Now I still prefer going downhill, but I don’t really find the uphills daunting, even in Edinburgh. Practice also helps a lot with learning to use the gears and to get the best out of the downhills so you can coast up the next bit!

  23. I only get excited about it if I’m cycling somewhere pretty and can stop a lot and take pictures. This doesn’t fit in terribly well with my boyfriend’s idea of a cycle though!

    Let me know if you’re ever up my way with your bike (Inverness) and I’ll take you on my kind of ride. πŸ™‚

  24. My hubby & I both love cycling. We have my tandem bike in the entry hallway, two of my bikes in the living room, one of my husband three bikes in the dining room, another in the den, and two more bikes in the guest bedroom. I encourage him to enjoy the experience of being on the bike. He encourages me to ride faster and climb better. We can usually ride together without too much conflict. K is right, it gets better the more you ride.

    Excepting the pile of poo, that’s a lovely view.

  25. Good luck in the new space! Unrelated to this topic… but had to let you know. I was at the new giant brite and shiny Barnes & Noble last week and on the shelf entitled “Our Staff Recommends”… was your book and a lovely handwritten note by aforementioned staffer about how fabulous it is! Congrats.

  26. Hey,

    I just wanted to let you know that you completely inspired me. I haven’t bought your book, but after reading the review in people, I found your blog. It encouraged, motivated and inspired me. I just completed my 2nd full week at WW and am 10 pounds down. Thank you!

  27. Hey for your bike shed there in the picture, I have one a little like it and I use wall mounted, purpose built bike racks to get them up off the floor and save space. Might be worth a thought πŸ™‚

  28. How beautiful and green is your view. I’m so envious. I too am unenthusiastic with the cycle. It only gets a look in when I need to go to the bottleo down the road. Then I read Tina’s comment and realised that I really need a road bike! (another purchase for the quest). I was saving my Rudd money until I could think of something special. Once again your site is an inspiration. A new fast bike called Kevin!

  29. @Lisa – Excellent, well done you!

    @MB & Ben – A bike hook is a great idea but the cupboard isn’t tall enough coz of the shelves, plus we’re renting and not allowed to go drilling πŸ™‚

    @Sarah J – that is the most brilliant news, i always aspired to be one of those recommendation thingos… thank you for letting me know.

    @Rosemary – currently observing the birds, the sparrows seem quite gluttonous!

    @alihale – i admire you for cycling in london! a cycle commute would be fab except for lack of place to tether bike once i get to work, but it’s definitely walkable! have been walking home from kickboxing class and planning on doing it more often to save on bus fare!

    @Anna-Liisa – thank you for reading the book! always love to hear from the Finns πŸ™‚

    As for the diet question, SureSlim was lower carb but not really high fat. in my experience I reckon you can use any kind of diet to blast off the blubber in the short term. you could say sureslim was more successful than ww because it was lower carb… or perhaps it was more successful for the fact it barely added up to 1200 calories a day!

    (not that i stuck to the low carb rules, it made me weak as hell for exercise so i added more low GI carbs in)

    anyway, in the long term i reckon you just have to do what works for you. i’m not anti carb at all and don’t consider myself any sort of addict. all i know is that when i’m looking after myself, taking time to relax and exercise and do things i enjoy, i find it easy to eat a balanced diet and don’t go crazy for carbs or cheese or whatnot. it’s so much more about my state of mind than anything else.

    @Marieke – ooh cool! there are lots of good cycle routes indeed, you should check out the Sustrans website πŸ™‚

    @wendy – that sounds like my kind of ride. maybe we could throw in a scones and tea stop too?

    @Janelle – I bet kevin would love that!

    oh crap better do some work… have a good weekend comrades!

  30. Just sayin’ hi there! I need a bike pantry! My son and daughter’s bikes are in the family room because we had 2 bikes stolen out of our fenced back yard! One dumb neighbor can ruin a neighborhood…

    Anyway, hope you have a lovely week πŸ™‚

  31. Wow green pastures… haven’t seen any of those in a long time! Glad you’re all settled in too.

    Just wanted to say I can’t believe I left reading your blog long enough to completely miss your trip to Australia, and more importantly Canberra.

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