Wednesday, 31 March 2010
I used to be quite interested in politics, especially when it concerns matters that might affect me and my life, but these days the politicians just want to score points off each other rather than run the country. Some of the interviews end up as slanging matches, I get so annoyed I just want to bang their heads together.
What really makes me blow a gasket is to listen to them discussing the financial deficit, and how they are going to get us out of this mess. It sounds to me like the UK is bankrupt, but that's hardly surprising, their business acumen is appalling. They pay people who have no intention of looking for work, they pay women to have lots of kids, they let anyone into the country and give them anything they want, and they prop up businesses that are about to collapse, then allow the directors to carry on paying themselves massive bonuses.
And then they have the gall to say there is not enough money to look after our older generation, and they want us all to pay into an insurance so we can have care in the home. Excuse me Government, what happened to all the income tax and national insurance contributions I have paid for the last fortyfive years? Mr Brown, what have you done with my money? I didn't have a choice, you took it from my wages. I thought that was my insurance, that it was going to be used to look after me. And now you want more, because you have squandered all the money I have already given you.
I'm going to have to stop listening to the news.
I started some small talk with a woman waiting at the bus stop, as I picked a sweet wrapper up from near her left foot. She asked why I was doing the job. I thought that was a strange question. I muttered something about the kids buying sweets from the shop and discarding the wrappers as they walk along. She immediately replied, 'It's not kids from round here that are doing it'. I said, 'I don't care where the kids come from, I am fed up of seeing it lying around so I am doing something about it.'
I see we are entered in the Best Kept Village competition, there is a poster on the notice board outside the Post Office. I will try and find out when the judges are expected to come and look round the place, then I can put a bit of extra effort into it the week before. It would be nice if we could win, we have been very close in past years.
Talking of rubbish, we have just had the new Thompson Local Directory delivered. I can't see the point in this publication when we have two perfectly acceptable directories called Yellow Pages and The Phone Book, both from BT. Why do we need another one? Well I don't want it cluttering my office up, it is going straight into the recycle bin, along with all the other junk mail.
I'm off out now to take Ben dog a walk. You can bet your life that if I don't take my pickstick I am bound to see some litter lurking, so I had better take it, just in case. We shall go a walk up to the smallholding so I can get some free range eggs, I have run out. Toodle pip.
Tuesday, 30 March 2010
I decided to leave them on the shelf and think of something else I could have as a treat that doesn't cost as much. I noticed they had a special offer of 70p on the 500g size of Low Fat Natural Yogurt, so I bought one.
When I got home, I opened a tin of Morrisons own brand peaches in light syrup, and was impressed that the tin was packed full of fruit, not half full of juice like you would expect of a cheap 24p tin. I chopped the peaches and put some in a dish and covered it with the yogurt. It's lovely.
So for 94p I have got a lot more fruit yogurt than I would have had out of six little pots, and it keeps for almost two weeks in the fridge. The moral is, if you find prices have gone up more than you are willing to pay, look for something cheaper that is just as good. Be prepared to change your normal eating habits and try something else.
Monday, 29 March 2010
It made a nice change not to have to find my own way, although I still carried a map because I like to keep a record of where I have been. Forgive me if this post is lacking in detail, but I rather let my concentration slip a bit as I was enjoying the company and looked on it more as a day off.
There are quite a lot of unusual shaped rocks in this area.
Everyone rushes to be the first one to the top.
And finally a pretty little cottage next to the River Lathkill in Alport. It looks a lovely place to live, but I'm not sure I could stand the noise of the water rushing past my front door every minute of every day.
We met in Youlgreave, Derbyshire, had a lovely walk, then I stopped in a Youth Hostel at Hathersage, and did some more walking this morning. I cut it short because of the rain so I am back a bit earlier than planned. I'll post again later with some pics when I get them sorted out.
Saturday, 27 March 2010
I set off from Nettleton , a village a mile and a half south of the market town of Caistor. The time on the clock church is 10.30am.
My route for a good part of this walk was the Viking Way. I have walked the northern parts of this long distance path around Barton upon Humber before, so I wanted to see how it develops further down. The only problem I can see with walking the Lincolnshire Wolds is the lack of footpaths. Not a problem with shorter walks, but to do a longer circular walk, without doing a lot of road walking means going a bit out of your way to get back to the start. Which is what happened to me.
I came over the brow of a hill and came across this beastie chewing the cud. Not knowing if it was a he or a she, I kept my eyes on it as I gave it a wide berth. It glanced at me and carried on chewing. On closer inspection I decided I was safe, it looked as if it was ready for the knackers yard and wouldn't have the energy to haul itself onto it's feet. Phew, I'm always cautious where cows are concerned.
In fact I came across a lot of cows, didn't always have to walk through them but they add a bit of interest to the photo's. I think we should all stop eating them and just keep a few as decoration, but that's another subject for another time.
Gentle rolling hills were the order of the day.
On the map it said disused pit, I came across several of these tunnel entrances which have been bricked up. It looks as though they went into the hillside and came out at the quarry at the other end. Probably a way of transporting the chalk away from the area.
I was lucky with the weather, blue skies and fluffy clouds for most of the day, with the ocassional dark cloud passing by.
I spotted this golf ball from a distance,
and made a short detour to get a close up picture. It's a Radar Station.
I passed through the pretty little village of Normanby le Wold, and came to Walesby. The church is worth a good luck round here, as it is called The Ramblers Church. It sits high on a hill outside of the village, and is lovingly cared for by local volunteers.
A notice on the board says they had some lead stolen from the roof, and it has now been replaced with a substitute material which has no value at all, and is security marked. We have had that same problem, as I suspect a lot of churches have, twice our lead has been stolen. It is now going to be repaired with stainless steel.
This is the view from the church looking out over the Wolds. The wooden bench gives walkers a welcome rest place. Looking across the horizon I can see Lincoln Cathedral, a good 25 - 30 miles away.
As I left the church I looked back to take this photo.
A lot of the footpaths were well defined bridleways and easy to follow. If you look on the horizon of this photo you can see where I entered the bridleway from the road, the path followed the gentle curves along the edges of the fields.
I arrived back at my car at 6.55pm, just in time for the Archers. Thank goodness it isn't far for me to drive back home after my epic journey. You can click on the pictures to make them bigger.
Thursday, 25 March 2010
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
I was in the library today and chose three books, pressed the 'borrow books' button on the screen, and inserted my card underneath the scanner, bar code uppermost. The message came up, 'error, seek assistance from a member of staff'. I looked round, where was the member of staff, now they have all been dispensed with. I spotted her sitting at a little table in the corner, tapping away on a keyboard. She put my details into her computer, and handed the card back to me. She said, 'That's ok now, you've been updated for another three years'.
The nice smiley chatty member of staff approached the robot to show me how it works. Scan the card, put the books onto the shelf below the screen, press 'print ticket', and there you go, job done. It even knows how many books, and their titles, I have out already. Apparently if you put 20 books on the shelf it will read twenty titles, and list them all on the ticket. Amazing. All very well when the system is working, but what happens when it crashes, will they go back to the old fashioned way of rubberstamping the date inside the cover?
I don't like all this automating things. I remember when I was at the Job Centre (Labour Exchange) searching for a job by pressing buttons on a screen, then printing a ticket out. The one I really hate is the serve yourself checkouts at the supermarket, what a pain that is. Whizz an item over the scanner six or seven times, and it still won't blasted well scan. I gave up with that one and would rather wait for a real person to serve me.
I can cope with the hole in the wall to withdraw cash, but I still like paying my bills the old fashioned way by writing a cheque. They say it won't be long before cheques will be phased out, I think we should all be fighting against that happening, and writing as many cheques as we can to let the powers that be know we want to keep them. Don't suppose it would make any difference though, we are all doomed to a world run by robots. That's a thought, maybe they will make a better job of it than the present lot we have in power.
Monday, 22 March 2010
The size is 13" tall, 11" wide, and 7" deep. I cut the cat shapes out of the vinyl from the Scrapstore and stitched them on by hand. I did try machining them on but it wouldn't feed the fabric through smoothly and the stitches kept getting smaller. I used blue embroidery thread to match the bag so it looks acceptable, in fact it gives it a home made look. Can't wait to give it to her, I am as excited about it as she hopefully will be.
Sunday, 21 March 2010
When we got to the finishing line Irene was given her goody bag and a medal, then I was handed one as well. I said I wasn't taking part, but they insisted I had one because I did the walk. So we both have a medal. I think Irene might get hooked on this walking lark, maybe I have found a walking buddy.
I called in Tesco on the way home and found a few bargains. I spent £4.45 on reduced price, bread, crumpets, hot cross buns, mushrooms, potatoes, and cauliflower. That is all I need, I still have lots left from my big shop last week.
I did a bit of work in the garden this afternoon. Normally at this time of year I have got my seeds in trays on the window sill, but I haven't done anything yet. I will have to pull my finger out or I will have no veg to eat in the summer. I am going to keep it simple this year, only grow stuff that doesn't need pampering, I will get it started then it will have to look after itself.
I found some seed potatoes for £1 a bag at Poundland. They were well chitted so I put them straight into the raised beds. I have sown runner beans, tomatoes, and cucumber seeds, in plastic drinks cups. I didn't buy any new compost, but used the old compost from last year out of the raised beds. I don't know if the seeds will germinate, we shall see.
I've still got some sprouts left to eat from last year, as soon as they have gone I can use the bed again for something else. I am not going to do brassicas again, it is just too much trouble to keep them covered. You get them going in the spring, the butterflies somehow manage to get under the net curtains and lay their eggs, and the slugs attack them from the bottom. I just can't be bothered.
I will just grow the things that I know will do well, like the courgettes, cucumber, salad leaves, runner beans, a few tomatoes, carrots, and of course spuds. They will have to look after themselves while I go gallivanting about.
Saturday, 20 March 2010
4.3.1918 - 20.3.1982
Friday, 19 March 2010
I finally decided that my walk was going to be a one day walk, so I asked my mate Tony if he would like to come along. He wasn't needed at work so he he said he would. Tony isn't an experienced walker, in fact never tackled anything like this before. He was happy to leave the route to me, saying that ten miles was about right. He also warned me that he was a fast walker, I didn't mind because I wanted to get more miles under my belt anyway.
We got to Pateley Bridge, a pretty stone cottagey type small town a few miles north of Harrogate in North Yorkshire, at 9.50am and got on our way at 10am. We left the car in a long stay car park, I was certain that we would be back before they closed the gates at 6pm.
We set off along the Nidderdale Way, this is a circular 53 mile long distance footpath around the valley of the River Nidd. It wasn't long before we reached Gouthwaite Reservoir. Quite often you can walk along the top of a dam, but this one had locked gates across. I was only able to get this photo of the impressive structure as it was partially screened by trees and bushes.
The path follows the edge of the reservoir along the whole of it's length, I looked back and took another shot, you can just see the top of the dam on the left.
And another view forward. By now we were striding along, the well walked path was easy to follow. We arrived at Bouthwaite at the other end of the reservoir, and continued on to Lofthouse.
Tony was beginning to flag a bit so I suggested we take refreshment, there is a hotel marked on the map. His pace quickened when we saw the sign for The Crown, 500 yards. Amazingly a real log fire was ablaze in the grate as we walked in, very hot and thirsty. A pint and a half of cider was ordered and we went out to the garden to sit in the sun. It was turning into a glorious day. The view beyond the lovingly maintained gardens, of the hills reaching up to a perfect blue sky, made me think, you can't get better than this.
It didn't seem to matter that we ate our own sandwiches, in fact I think it was positively encouraged. The elderly rather portly dog which eyed us up in the bar, rose slowly to it's feet and walked ahead of us towards the door. I realised later that he has probably gone through this ritual many times before. We sat down, and so did the dog. He seemed to have a fixation towards Tony, and more importantly to what he was eating. I'm sure he sensed that Tony had the meat and I didn't. It was so funny, his stare never wavered, pleading with his eyes untill Tony caved in. Clever dog.
Leaving The Crown we went up Trapping Hill, a minor road which climbed steeply towards Lofthouse Moor. Nearing the top we took a footpath on the left which took us along the edge of the moor past Thrope Edge. It was very high up here and gave spectacular views.
We were striding along without our jackets on and hadn't noticed the cloud coming over. The wind started buffeting us from across the moors, but we didn't care, we joked as we went along. Two walkers coming towards us were well wrapped up with all the gear, they looked frozen with drips from their noses, and I could swear that one of them had tears running down his face. Anyone seeing us would have wondered what we were on, all I can say is that we had taken copious amounts of our glorious countryside. Surely better than any drug you can get from a dodgy guy on a street corner, and virtually free as well.
I didn't take many photo's because Tony seemed keen to stride on. I'm not sure whether he wanted to get to the end more quickly, but I did say that if he was uncomfortable or he was in pain, I could modify the walk and cut it short and head back. He said his feet were hurting and his back was aching a bit, but he was alright to carry on.
Coming down off the moors we did a u-turn and rejoined the Nidderdale Way to head back. By now jackets were needed, as it looked as if we were in for some rain. I hate walking over the same ground twice so I picked out a route which made a slight detour bypassing Lofthouse, and through a small village called Middlesmoor. We checked the time every so often and I reckoned it would get us back to the car just within the 6pm deadline, although it would be cutting it a bit fine.
So no time to waste, we quickened the pace. We planned to come back down the other side of the reservoir, using mainly footpaths but a little bit of road walking. I'm pleased we took the detour because we came across How Stean Gorge. The road goes along side it and you can look down into a deep ravine, and see the caves and massive rocks below. Pity we haven't time to stop and explore.
All was going well, we were making good time....untill we came across a stream that we had to cross. I'm sure there should have been a footbridge, or some stepping stones to get across. Maybe the fast flowing water had washed the stones away. We could see the stile on the other side that we had to climb over, but how can we get across the water. Tony found a spot with two or three large stones which were above the level of the water, and decided he could stride across. I didn't have the confidence to try it as my stride is not as long as his, and one of the stones was partly submerged and was no doubt slippery.
There was only one thing for it. I took my boots and socks off, rolled my trousers up to the knee, and gingerly stepped into the freezing water. I was in danger of losing my balance not knowing how deep it was, and how slippery the stones were, so halfway across I hurled my boots towards Tony so I could use my hands to steady myself. I reached the big boulders on the other side, my feet were so painfull with the cold, I thought I was going to lose my toes to frostbite. After half an hour of walking they were just about getting back to normal.
Further on we came across this non stream. It looked a bit strange, dry rocks, I've no idea where the water went. This one was a lot easier to cross, ha ha.
Passing Ramsgill we still had a long way to go, but I was still optimistic we would make it and get the car out before 6pm. Although we were covering a lot of ground quite quickly I must admit I was becoming a bit anxious as I checked the map, and the time, every few minutes. I hate deadlines. By now Tony was almost on his knees with his painfull feet, but he put a brave face on it. At 5.15pm our chances of getting there on time were becoming slim. We had decided to stay on the road for the last few miles as it seemed the most direct, and made quicker easier walking.
We passed a bus stop and eagerly studied the time table, was there a bus coming, no. Only one thing left to do, try and get a lift. When we heard a vehicle approaching we turned to face it, put our thumbs up in good old hitch hiking fashion, and prayed for someone to stop. It's a long time since I have done that. Eventually a guy in a Range Rover took pity on us and pulled up. We couldn't thank him enough. I was surprised at how much further we travelled in the car, getting the lift was the right thing to do. We would never have walked that distance in the time we had left.
I have checked the distance we walked, and it was 16 miles. If we hadn't had a time restriction I am sure I could have walked the last three miles. Not bad for a Fit Old Bird.
Thursday, 18 March 2010
Take this weekend for example, I wanted a long weekend away, but where shall I go? I have spent most of this week searching through my maps, checking hostels on the internet, checking routes, distances, where is the best place to start a walk from......and it goes on. I couldn't find a hostel within a reasonable distance that can accommodate me for two nights, most are getting booked up on Saturday nights now. So I picked the area around Pateley Bridge north of Harrogate to walk, then looked for somewhere I might stay. Sorry fully booked, I'm too late. Missed my chance.
So then I thought never mind it is warm enough for camping, I got the tent out to check it over. I haven't used it for about five years, all is ok. Then I found a campsite exactly where I wanted to stay, and checked their web site. Not open till Easter. It's also £12 a pitch which I thought is a bit much, it's only a little tent.
I thought I'd better check the weather forecast, light rain on Saturday, chucking it down on Saturday night, showers on Sunday. Don't fancy that, maybe I'll camp when the weather improves, wonder how long I'll have to wait.
I have changed my mind yet again. I am now only going for the day, tomorrow. I had to ring my friend Janet to say she doesn't need to come and feed the cats after all, as my three day trip has turned into one day. So now I must pack my rucksack, now what do I need to take, oh heck, I've got a headache now. There is a walking forum meet up on Sunday in Derbyshire, I wonder if I should go on that one. I can't cope with all these decisions. Will somebody please give me a kick up the backside.
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
Helen and I took him for a walk, and I just happened to have my pick stick and bag with me, wasn't that convenient, so I did a bit of tidying up as well.
Then I had a phone call from Flora, can I call in and see Ben and give him his lunch, there is some chicken for him. Poor old Ben has been poorly for a couple of days and after not eating anything for 24 hours, he is allowed chicken and rice to settle his stomach. Flora thinks he might have eaten something nasty. He seemed ok so I took him out for a gentle stroll. Luckily I had my pick stick and bag with me, a bit more tidying, ha ha.
I went back later at about 4.30pm and took him for another short walk, no litter picking this time. On the way back we were passing the surgery, and I noticed Sue cat lady had arrived to start work, so I stopped for a natter. Guess who should turn up, yes that's right, Mr Beasley.
I took Ben home, came back for Mr Beasley, picked him up and took him home. He scoffed two pouches of Felix, he was ravenous. I thought I might let him stay the night and take him back in the morning, but when my Bugsy came down the stairs and saw him there was a big hissy fit and a lot of growling. Oh dear, I don't think this is going to work very well. Sorry, Mr B, you'll have to go home.
He has a lovely home, I stopped for a few minutes to talk to his owner, she is such a nice young lady, both her and her son adore the cat, but she now thinks he might have to be rehomed. The thing is would he stay in a new home. We both agreed he is the equivelant of a stroppy teenager, wants to be top cat, and wants his freedom. He is very vocal and if he wants something he jolly well lets you know about it. I eventually ate my dinner at 8.30pm. What a busy cat and dog day it's been.