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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Day 3. Macclesfield to Monsal Head

Hello, I'm a bit late with this tonight, as I was late finding a bed. I can't tell you how far I've walked today, bikehike is playing up, but it's a flippin long way. I got to Buxton mid afternoon, far too early to stop, so I carried on, in the hope I would make it to Bakewell. A bit of a long shot, but I had to try, as there are hardly any places in between that have a B & B. I didn't reach Bakewell, but found a small hotel at Monsal Head.
I noticed that Anon left a comment asking why I didn't do the research on the internet first, to find cheap accommodation. The answer is that I don't know how far I am going to walk each day. I don't know what time I am going to set off each morning, I don't know how many hills I'm going to climb which slows me up. I don't know how long my feet are going to hold out. I don't know if I'm going to get lost and lose time finding the way. I don't know how long I'm going to walk for each day. I don't want to prebook and then have to walk to a timetable. The idea is to have complete freedom in where I go, and which route I'm going to take. Besides all that, the reason I am frugal in my day to day living, is to give me money to do trips like this. 
So, this morning I set off from Macclesfield just after 9am. I am heading for Buxton, but I am not going to turn right here, I'm going to follow the B5470, and turn off on a narrow road called Cliff Lane.  
I passed a small holding, they had hens, ducks, and goats. 
This was an unusual gate, the artist calls it an artwork, it certainly looked arty. It wasn't an entrance to anything, just a small patch of grass. Nearby was a plaque with the artists details on it, if anyone passing would like to buy one they can contact him. A novel way of advertising his wares.
Jam and chutney for sale here, all proceeds to go to keeping the walled garden tidy. Put your money in the honesty box, and don't steal anything.  
I've climbed a bit further out now, looking back over Macclesfield. 
The track on the right has been badly eroded over many years, lots of loose stones makes it very difficult to walk comfortably. They are building a new track alongside it and have cut down a lot of trees on the edge of the forest, and put some fencing up. The ground is much softer there. 
Yes it's been a sunny day, and yes I've had my shorts on all day. This is the A6, close to the Cat and Fiddle pub.
And this is the Cat and Fiddle, a famous landmark in Derbyshire.
Just as I was coming into Buxton, I saw some red lambs, down there in the distance. I don't know if they had jackets on or the farmer has painted them red. I have heard that farmers are resorting to painting their stock bright colours due the the increase of rustling. 
This is Buxton Pavilion. I called in here, to ask at Tourist Information if they could find me some accommodation half way between there and Bakewell, they couldn't. That's why I carried on walking, it was too early to pack up, and besides, I know from past experience that it is very costly to stay in Buxton. 

Lovely gardens surround the Pavillion.

So, out of Buxton on the A515, I did a left turn to get onto the Gritstone Way to Cowdale. I went underneath the right hand arch of this viaduct. 
I picked up the route that I previously used in September, a bit boring but I didn't have time to get lost. I slogged it along the Monsal Trail, my little legs going faster and faster as I tried my hardest to get to Bakewell. It got to 7pm and I knew I was beat, and came off the trail at Cressbrook, to take the road, just in case I came across a B & B sign anywhere. I took this pic as I came into Cresswell. 
I rang Tracey, a lady I know from Walking Forum. She suggested Monsal Head pub, or a small hotel opposite. It was a steep climb up to the top of the Head, I should have stayed on the Trail a bit longer, then I wouldn't have had to do that climb. Here is the view, the Trail goes over the viaduct. The light wasn't very good as the sun had gone down at this point. I will take another one tomorrow morning. 
I was glad to get this room tonight, my feet are a bit sore, and I've had to put some padding underneath my shoulder straps to stop the rucksack digging in. The two blisters on my left foot are almost gone, only to be replaced by two more on my right foot. Breakfast is at 8.30, so I'll be off about 9,30. When I get to Bakewell that will be where I stopped last time, so it will be unknown territory from then on, so who knows where I will be tomorrow night.
Toodle pip.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Day 2 Winsford to Macclesfield

Well that's a surprise, I didn't think I had walked as far today, but bikehike.co.uk says it's 22.55 miles. I've got a couple of blisters on my left foot, which has slowed me down a bit, but not to worry, I'll just ignore them and carry on. So, this morning it was goodbye Winsford Lodge. It's a good place to stay, clean, comfortable, and a good breakfast.   
This looks a nice pub, it's on the way out of Winsford on the A54 near to the railway station. I didn't try it, far too early, took a pic cause it looks nice.
I took some minor roads and arrived in Middlewich. Time to sit down and take my boots off for ten minutes while I ate a scone. The flowers in front of the church are lovely. 
There is a shorter route across to Holmes Chapel, but I didn't feel like dodging the traffic on the A54, so went in a roundabout fashion along some quiet roads. 
On the road out of Holmes Chapel is this long viaduct which runs parallel to the A 536.
At Twemlow Green is this lovely building, The Yellow Broom Restaurant. No time to stop for lunch. 
Next door is this impressive house, and it's for sale. 
Don't think I am spending all my time plodding along on tarmac, I have been off road today, through woods and fields, and a canal tow path, 
The sign at the end of the road said car's shouldn't attempt to drive through this deep ford. Thank goodness there is a dry footpath over it. 
Look at this fabulous church. It's at a place called Marton. A perfect place to sit on the bench and change my socks. Oooh, that's better. Now I can carry on.
On the way in to Macclesfield is a Premier Inn, I was ready to stop, so went in and asked for a room. Yes, they have one, it's £68 for room only. I said no thanks and walked out, I still had a little bit left in my legs, enough to get me to the town centre to look for a cheaper bed. After getting some supplies from Morrisons, I asked a man if he knew of a B & B. He gave me some directions and I found it. When I rang the bell, a man came to the door, and yes, he has a room. I had a choice, £38 for a basic room, not en suite, bathroom next door, or a twin en suite for £49. I decided to rough it with the cheaper room. A lot less than the sodding rip off Premier Inn. Heading off into Derbyshire tomorrow, not sure where I will end up. See you later. Toodle pip.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Day 1. Ellesmere Port to Winsford

I'm feeling well chuffed tonight, I am at Winsford in Cheshire, 22.8 miles from the start at Ellesmere Port. 
This is the room decorated for the party last night. It looked very nice. There was a sweetie bar for the youngsters, and me of course, I did partake of a few treats. The caterers brought the food in and filled the table along one wall at the bottom end. There was hot and cold food to choose from, it was a lovely buffet. The man who played the music was excellent, he went around the room taking photo's of everyone, then projected them onto the wall in a slide show. He also played a video of the wedding ceremony which was held on board a cruise ship. 

My good friend Linda, and her gorgeous daughter Ellen, and her new husband, Ollie.
I left this morning just after 9am. Today was all about getting the miles in. There was no need to bimble around Chester because I took all the photo's there last time, so this time I bypassed it altogether. Not many photo's taken today because I wanted to press on. Crossing the M56. I did a lot of road walking so I could keep up a good pace.  
Some of the villages I passed through if you want to check the map. Picton, Mickle Trafford, Guilden Sutton, Great Barrow. Tarvin, Oscroft, Weetwood Common, Willington Corner, Utkinton, Cotebrook, Little Budworth, and Winsford Town. 
This is Great Barrow church
Don't run me over, I'm round the bend, ha ha. I was too hot so I had to take my jacket off, I was in two minds whether to put my shorts on, I think I could have done, I hate it when my trousers stick to my sweaty legs. Maybe I will tomorrow.  
I went into Tarvin to buy a few supplies, as I didn't think I would find another shop open if I left it any later. Most close early on a Sunday. There was a small Co op supermarket, my goodness, the prices were astronomical. Took me ages to find something without having to take out a mortgage on it. This black and white house was much nicer than the church next door. 
Onward through the villages mentioned above, this large pool was near Cotebrook, right next to the road. The black and white building is a tea room and restaurant.  
Just after that I passed close by Oulton Park, I could hear the cars racing around the track, I walked into the entrance hoping to snatch a few pics, but there was tall fences up so I couldn't see them. This flower pot man was sitting on a garden wall at Little Budworth. Someone has a sense of humour. 
As I was leaving the village it started drizzling, never mind, put the brolly up. Ten minutes later the rain came down really hard so it was time to put the jacket back on, and cover the rucksack. Next I had a long slog over four fields full of cows, thank goodness they weren't really bothered about me. At last I reached the outskirts of Winsford, it was still raining. I thought it would be dead easy to find a B & B, decent size town, must be somewhere. I asked a young girl, she said there isn't anywhere, but there are places at Middlewich.   It didn't look very promising, but I couldn't face walking another two miles. Then I saw a sign for Police Station, aha, I'll ask them. Nope, it was unmanned, no one there. Then I went to the ambulance station just round the corner, surely there will be someone on duty there. A very nice paramedic gave me directions to The Winsford Lodge. When I got there, there was a sign up saying No Vacancies, but I rang the bell anyway. Bingo, success. They had a room. Breakfast is at eight, so I should get away by nine tomorrow. Rubbish tele tonight, by the way.
Toodle pip.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

On track for a great time

Hiya, not much time to post last night, so rather than just make something up, I thought I would give it a miss and get myself to bed. So here I am, in Ellesmere Port, I was picked up at the station by my friends new hubby, they got married on a cruise liner you know, very posh, about four weeks ago. Linda is at the hairdressers getting tarted up, ready for tonights party. This is for all their friends who didn't get to go to the wedding, obviously I can't afford to go cruising, ha ha.
I am looking forward to the knees up tonight, the bride and groom and bridesmaids will be wearing their wedding attire, so I am quite excited. I will post some piccies tomorrow.
The first bit of my journey this morning was on a bus, and guess what, it was raining. We have had some showers, hopefully it will not be continuous rain like before when I attempted this walk in September.  
Heading off down the M18 to Doncaster.
Arriving in Doncaster, still raining.
Waiting at Doncaster for a train to Sheffield.
Then Sheffield to Liverpool, and  change stations for the last leg.

Got to go now. The girls are back from the hairdressers, looking lovely, and we've got to go to the club and get the room ready. Party here we come. Toodle pip.

See Ya :o)

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Keeping things simple.

I've been thinking about the PayPal thing, after some of you suggested that I register and get signed up so I can receive £30 for my money saving tips. Something was bugging me, if I do this, how do I get my £30 from them. Everything is done electronically now, so they would need my bank or card details to transfer the money across. Hmmm, I'm not too keen on that idea. To me that sounds like it could lead to a lot of complications, things do go wrong, people do lose money and get ripped off through fraud, so to lessen the chances of that happening I prefer not to give my details out willynilly.

I had a look at the PayPal web site, read everything on it, and still was not happy. I haven't needed it up to now, have managed perfectly well without it, so why bother joining now? Ok, I forfeit the £30, but to me that's a small price to pay for peace of mind.

A simple life to me means cutting down on complications, not adding to them. I don't buy online because that puts more temptation in my way, and I can live without that. I don't need to trawl the internet for stuff to buy, I can think of better ways to spend my time. I admit it can be a good tool to do research, but even then I get sick of going from site to site getting totally confused. When I bought the pans, I read up about what was available, but at the end of the day, I went with my gut instinct, went in a shop, and decided in ten minutes what I was going to buy, job done, forget about it and move on. No worrying about whether the parcel would arrive, would I be in to take delivery, will the contents be damaged and will I have to send them back. I went to town and brought the pans home with me.

For me buying at the right price, and getting a bargain, has to be balanced with how much time and effort I am willing to give up to achieve those aims. Yes it's important to get the best for my money, but it's also important that I organise my time efficiently. I will not spend hours on the computer tapping away, going round in circles, just to shave a couple of quid off a purchase.

The only contradiction to this is I will spend a couple of hours in Tesco late at night, to get the cheapest food. That's because I can save mega pounds over a period of a year. I go there, hand over the cash, and come away with the goods. I don't order food shopping on line because that would give me a complication I don't need. I don't want to pay online, I don't want to sort out a delivery time and be at home when it arrives, I don't want to bother with substitutions if they haven't got what I ordered, and I don't want to bother with complaing when they make a mistake. Give me a shelf full to peruse, and I'm happy. Simple, pick up what you want, pay and leave the store.      

I suppose in a way, I am still a little bit old fashioned regarding personal finance, and the way I pay for things. For instance, utilities. I will not go onto a monthly direct debit for water, gas, and electricity, because these involve the companies calculating how much you are expected to use at any given time. People say, oh, it's easy, the money leaves your account monthly and you don't have to think about it. Well, I personally like to get a bill quarterly, or half yearly in the case of water, and pay that bill. Pay for how much I have used, after I have used it. To me, that is simple, not having to contact the company to complain that my direct debit is too high.

I think of my house as a pile of bricks and mortar, somewhere to sit down and eat my food, to lay my head, do my washing, and keep myself clean. It's my private bit of space where I can just be me. I can do without the disruption of decorating, and the cost and mess of upgrading. That's simple living, it doesn't have to be fashionable.

Another thing I don't bother with is the sites where you can get stuff free. Freecycle and Freegle come to mind. I've had a look at them, there is never anything which takes my fancy, never anything I need, and I don't have anything to give away. I give my unwanted stuff to charity shops, it's much easier to bag it up and drop it off, than register on the site, advertise something, then get pestered by people who may or may not turn up to collect it. Besides, I don't want people coming to my house. It's all too complicated to me. I had a shovel once that I no longer needed, I left it at the gate with a note on saying free to good home. It went in a couple of hours. Simple.

Another complication I can do without is earning money. I could get a job, make a few bob here and there by selling my crafts, selling on ebay, or selling on here, but I don't want or need to. Up until last year I was paying income tax on my pension, now that the personal threshold has been increased I no longer have to pay. I have had a couple of small business in the past, and all the accounting that entails, I don't want to go back to that situation where I have to start filling out tax returns again. No, I want a simple life. The ladies group last night donated £20 to our cat rescue, that's fine by me.

While I'm on about simple living, I'll sing the praises of being single. There are no complications to making your own decisions and doing exactly what you like. I've been in stressful relationships, I don't want to go there again. Compatability is very difficult to achieve, I've had plenty of goes at it, and it hasn't worked.

I'm off on another walkabout soon, with my rucksack on my back. I shall be tramping the highways and byeways, and all I will have to think about is putting one foot in front of the other, and where I'm going to find a bed. Simple, just ask someone, ha ha.

Just a quick note about the home made ice cream mularky. The rice pud and peaches one was also frozen solid like a brick. It tasted fine, but would have benefitted from useing all of the peaches, it needed a bit more fruity flavour. While eating them both, they were more like a sorbet than ice cream because of the shards of ice in them.  I think when I make my next batch I will transfer it into a big bowl and stir several times while the freezing process takes place. There will be more experiments.
Toodle pip.           

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Ooooops, no post.

Oh dear, not very organised today, and getting a bit befuddled in my old age, ha ha. It's late and I've just got back from doing a trucking talk for a group of local ladies in the next village. It's been ages since I last did one, probably a couple of years, I think, can't remember exactly. I got off to a bit of a slow start as the cogs in my brain trundled round and round, and I couldn't spit the right words out. Eventually I perked up a bit and moved up a gear or two, but my concentration was all over the place. Trouble is my brain is full of other stuff at the moment, I seem to have a milion and one things to do. It all turned out right in the end though, I think they liked it. 

Sorry, brain has packed up completely now.
Toodle pip.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The proof of the pudding is ..................

Thank you for your comments about ice cream, some good tips there. Yes I should have possibly whipped it up a bit more, it turned out quite hard, frozen actually. Mind you I expected it to be hard, like the ice cream you have on a stick, rather than the fluffy stuff you get in a tub.
It tasted nice, but there was probably no need to put nuts in it, all that did was to make it gritty. It took a bit of stabbing with a spoon, but as I was sat outside in the sun eating it, it soon broke up and melted in my mouth. I would make it again but without the nuts, I'm not going to get into the habit of buying chocolate too often though.  
Next experiment, make some ice cream out of rice pudding and peach slices.
I used a whole tin of rice pud, and three quarters of a tin of peaches, with a little juice.
It has made five pots. It's taking a bit longer to freeze, so it won't be ready for tasting till tomorrow.
As nuts are quite expensive, I was curious as to whether it would be cheaper to buy fruit and nuts, and separate them. I wondered how the mix was divided. This bag cost 80p for 250 grms.  
About 50/50, and if I read the back of the packet first it would have told me that, ha ha. 40% peanuts, 10% almonds, 40% dark raisins, and 10% green raisins. So, 125 grms of nuts cost 40p. I also bought a 200grm packet of chopped mixed nuts for 89p. In it was peanuts, almonds, and walnuts. Oh dear, now I can't work out which is the cheapest way to buy nuts based on this finding. I need to go back to school :o) Maths was never my strong point.
I'll give you the low down on tonights dinner. I had a couple of organic swedes, reduced to 4p and 5p, so I chopped them into chunks and steamed them.
This is a made up recipe, by the way. The rest of the ingredients are, two raw mushrooms chopped, five spring onions chopped. Half a tin of chick peas mashed with a fork, a veg stock cube, a desertspoon of chopped nuts, garlic, grainy mustard, mixed herbs, and one egg. Was going to use two but it didn't need it. Mash the swede, add everything else, and mix together.
Make some round flatish cakes and put under a low grill, for ten minutes each side. They flip over easily with a spatula.
I have lettuce and potato salad in the fridge, and I added pickled onions and beetroot for a bit of variety and colour. The Value range are very good, and reasonably priced.
They were a bit like the frozen veggie burgers you can buy, only mine were very tasty and much better, and they didn't fall apart. I have enough mix for about eight more in the fridge. I could freeze them but I won't bother, I want to eat them tomorrow.
My experimental food day has kept me occupied today, as well as the other jobs I have done. Putting a net curtain up at the back door, washing all the cat litter boxes, taking Ollie and Alfie a walk, washing my hair, washing the car, paying the council tax at the post office, and doing the Dysoning. Busy little bee today.
Toodle pip.