Thursday, 21 September 2017

Time to stop spending

Hello. I've been doing some quick calculations of what the latest holiday cost me. Yes, walking is free, put one foot in front of the other, so apart from the cost of sturdy boots there isn't any other equipment needed. You don't have to buy special walking clothes, as long as you dress according to the weather. It doesn't matter if you don't have designer labels.

Six nights accommodation cost me £317. These ranged from a Youth Hostel at £33, and a hotel at £62. No expensive Radisson on this trip, ha ha. I budget £3.50 a day for picnic food that I can eat in my room, snacky things from small shops. Then there was the cost of the petrol to get to Bradford and on to Cleveleys, and back home again. And the train fair from Blackpool to Carlisle. Tot all this up and it comes to about £418. So not really a cheap holiday.

When I first started doing these long walks I looked for the cheapest B & B I could find, because I didn't have much money. It was not easy to keep walking past a hotel, in the hope of finding a cheaper place further on. All I wanted to do at the end of a days trekking was sit down. However, things are not so financially dire now, I save enough money to be able to pay for a bed wherever I choose. I can stop more or less wherever I like now, within reason.

People ask me if I camp. The answer is no, not on a long walk. I don't want to carry the gear, I want a real bed to sleep in, I want a real bathroom, and I want a good breakfast. Having to put a tent up after a long days walking does not appeal, and definitely not on a day when it's raining and windy. No thank you.

Looking at my recent expenditure I seem to have got through a fair chunk of money in the last few weeks. Chair £100, specs £200, and camera £100. I have no regrets for these purchases, I have saved and there is money in my emergency fund to cover for them. All I have to do is to continue my frugal lifestyle and I will have money to spend on needs and a few wants. I've just had my credit card statement, £564, this includes petrol, food, vet, mobile phone top up, one hotel, specs and chair. This will be paid in full when I am next in town in a few days.

So now the focus now will be on saving money to recover some of this spending, and top up my emergency fund. So what will I be doing in the next few weeks? For a start I will not be putting on the heating just yet, it isn't cold enough. I will not go mad spending on food, I will get a few fresh things, fruit and veg mainly, and eat what I have already got in the cupboard and freezer. I want to cut down on my dairy, mainly cheese, and experiment more with plant based food. Not going completely vegan, but I think there is a middle ground to be achieved.

I need to drink more water, I don't drink enough. I will continue to rinse my pots and pans under a trickle of tap water as soon as I have finished with them, no mounds of washing up for me. I will assess the state of my clothes before I do a wash, making sure I have a full load each time, and only wash when it's a good line drying day. I will continue to scour the shops in town for the best prices on cat food. I will keep my food cupboard tidy so I know exactly what's in there. I will cook two or three portions of food at the same time so some of it can be heated in the microwave the following days. Now it is raining more often I will keep a large bucket in the downstairs toilet and use rainwater for flushing. The nights are getting longer so I will be more mindful about switching lights on. Switch them off when leaving a room.

So, I will step up the money saving tactics I have learnt over the years, and hopefully not slip back into 'stuff it who cares', mode. We all need a treat now and again, but it's so easy to comfort spend and go a bit mad. Self control and self discipline is the order of the day. It is for me anyway.

Are you re jigging your budget in readiness for the larger winter fuel bills? Don't be caught out, start your plan now. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Life is back to normal

Hello. So it's back to normal, tidying garden, dog walking, and library today. There is housework to be done, but I will do that in dribs and drabs when I feel like it. The fridge is empty but I can manage a bit longer on what I have in before I go shopping. 
I am walking Bailey poodle again, Joyce is finding it a bit too much, she is a bit unsteady on her feet. The hedge next to the path through the Village Green is overgrown forcing people to walk over the grass. It's also difficult for those with mobility scooters, and now it's becoming quite muddy. Someone asked me if I knew anyone from the Council to report it to. It has been like this for a few weeks, the Council should have sent someone to cut it back by now. There's one way to solve the problem. I took my loppers, a pair of shears, and a brush to chop it all down and clear the path. If you want something doing, do it yourself, that's what I say. 
After lunch I went to see Stan on the mobile library, and changed my books.
Look how well my herb planter is doing. It's about time I used some of it in my cooking. I have no idea how much to use, so I picked a handful.
And chopped them up into small pieces.

And added them to this. Quorn chunks, Quorn mince, frozen beans and peas, and a tin of chick peas. I added turmeric, vegetable granules, splash of orange juice, Danish Blue Cheese, and some porridge oats to thicken it. It's bloomin lovely, two more portions for the next two days.

Oh dear, it's starting to get dark earlier now. I am layering up with extra clothes. Not looking forward to winter. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Monday, 18 September 2017

Pub lunch at Knott End

Hello. Fully recovered now, Crafty Club this morning, feeling chipper. Yesterday Carol and I went to Fleetwood to go across the water on the ferry to Knott End. You may remember that I walked there last time I visited her, but didn't go on the ferry. This time we drove, and went across. 
On this map you can see the last part of my route, Pilling was where I decided to press on to the end. No point in going the shorter route for the ferry because the tide was out, and there was nowhere to get a bed for the night. So I walked past Hambleton and crossed over the River Wyre on the Shard Bridge. 
It was a nice day, sunny with a gentle breeze. The little boat behind the ferry is getting ready for a fishing trip.

Time to get on, pay the man on board, £2 each way.

Off we go, you can see the other side.

Heading towards Knott End. There were some jet skiers about.

Nearly there, it only takes five minutes.

We had a stroll down the Promenade while we waited for the pub to open at 12 o clock. Carol had fish and chips, I had veggie lasagne and chips. It's a small quiet place people come for a couple of hours to look around, bikers meet at the cafe on the sea front. We headed back to the ferry and just missed one, didn't have to wait long for it to come back.

The tide had gone out a bit and left the ramp muddy so the skipper got the hose out to clean it off before he let anyone get off.

On our way back and we can see the lifeboat parked in it's berth.

We went back to the car and decided to have a look at the Marina. You can't see it behind the shopping centre. Plenty of parking at the Freeport Outlet. It's one of those places where all the top names have stores, but because it's called a Freeport everyone assumes everything is going to be super cheap. We are not taken in by this and didn't step into any shops on our way through to the Marina. The place was busy as you can expect on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Not a very big Marina, only saw a few people pottering about, more like a boat parking lot.

The houses you can see behind it are a large new build estate, we went to have a nosy to see what they were like. We weren't impressed. They were too close together, small gardens, not enough parking spaces which were too small anyway.

Back at the house I had a drink and left to come home. It was a nice afternoon out with my best friend Carol. Steady drive back home, couldn't be bothered to rush.

Thanks for popping in, and thanks for all your comments, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Day 6. Morecambe to Cleveleys.

Hello, I'm back at home now so I'll just write this up for the last day of the walk yesterday. There aren't many photo's because I was concentrating on walking as fast as I could. 
The Travelodge at Morecambe didn't serve breakfast, they sell a breakfast box with a few items of breakfasty kind of stuff. Not worth the £5 something so I gave it a miss. Instead I ate what I had left from my picnic in the room the night before. Cheese and biscuits and half a tub of pasta and sweetcorn salad. It was a Weightwatchers salad, and flippin awful. It nearly made me sick so I couldn't finish it. Lucky I had some choccy biscuits as well. 
I was determined to give it my all because I could see it might be difficult to get a bed along the way. I did have details of a farm at Pilling and thought that might be the answer, but it was only 3pm when I arrived there, far too early to pack up. I carried on walking. 
I took the cycle track out of Morecambe alongside the railway line. I was dead impressed with how tidy it was, and easy walking on the tarmac. I was able to get up a good fast pace. All well sign posted as well. It was well used by dog walkers and people taking their kids to school.
Three and a half miles to Lancaster, I was there in an hour. This is the Millenium footbridge over the river. My maps didn't cover Lancaster so I had to ask a couple of people for directions.

 A quick snap as I was passing through the town.

At this stage I wasn't sure how much there was left to do, I knew it would be more than twenty miles if I wanted to do the whole lot in one go. I chose to take the most direct route along the roads instead of meandering along footpaths.

On and on I went. I was hoping to find a shop where I could buy some supplies. None at Conder Green, or Cockerham, and I was getting hungry. At 3pm I went in a pub at Pilling and had egg, chips and beans. Feeling suitable refreshed, I carried on. 
To Hambleton, then over the river at Shard Bridge. It was then I knew I had to give it one extra push and go for it.

It was 7.30pm when I arrived at Carols house, she came out to meet me. I had been on the road for more than ten hours. My trudging became slower and slower. I was whacked. 
Oh it's great to put my feet up.

Total miles are 110, in six days. I'm chuffed.

Now I am home. Me and Carol went out today, I'll tell you about that tomorrow. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Yipeee, I've done it.

Hello my lovely Bloggerettes. Guess where I am tonight. Yes, I am back at base, sitting with my feet up at Carols house. Oh the relief to stop walking. Trouble is that now my legs will seize up, I've already had Carol laughing her head off as I cling on to the furniture when I move about. She said I look like an old woman of ninety.

I've just checked the mileage, 26 miles covered today. WOWEEE. Not the most I have ever covered in a day. I remember walking 30 miles on the last day of my first ever walk from Blackpool to the Humber Bridge.

It's getting late, I will be in bed soon, so I'll sign off now. Thanks for popping in, I'll put the last report  of day 6 on here tomorrow night.
Toodle pip.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Day 5. Milnthorpe to Morecambe

Hello. The landlady at The Bull makes a very nice breakfast, and charged me only £35. The en suite was ultra modern and the room was comfortable. Couldn't ask for more. 
Another nice day today, except for a couple of odd showers which lasted all of a few minutes late afternoon. There was still a lot of water lying about in the fields so I marched at a brisk pace along minor roads. At least on tarmac I don't have to be forever looking down at what my feet are doing, and I can gaze at the scenery. 
I left Milnthorpe and went over the bridge on the River Bela, and into the deer park. I only saw two deer, the rest must be hiding. It was a beautiful morning. 
This is Dallam Tower.

I soon came into the village of Beetham. Pretty cottages, and they still have a Post Office.

The pub on the corner.

This mirror assists people emerging out of the driveway opposite

This is the church at Warton.

Ha ha, the gadget for lazy people, a robot that cuts the grass.

After Beetham I had a lovely walk through some woods, and went through Yelland Storrs, Yelland Redmayne, and Yelland Conyers, very pretty villages. I was going to pick up the Lancashire Coastal Path, but I thought there might be a problem with it being possibly flooded, I went on the canal instead. There were quite a lot of people about, dog walkers and cyclists.

Someone having fun on their canal side patio.

At last after a long trek I got on the Coastal Path and came into Morecambe. Blue skies and hot sunshine greeted me.

Eric is still there. I can still hear him singing 'Bring me sunshine', and he did.

And to top it all a rainbow came out over Morecambe Bay.

Tonight I'm in the Travelodge, it was the easy option. Too tired to go knocking on doors. Another 16 miles done. I don't think this walk will be as long as I thought it would be.

I'm going to sign off now as I am struggling to stay awake. Tomorrow I'm going to be heading for Lancaster and beyond, I think there is a day and a half walking left to do. It's a pity I can't do it in a day but I think it's going to be too much. I need to check out the times of the Knott End to Fleetwood Ferry to make sure I can get across the water.

Thanks for popping in, have a good weekend, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Day 4. Bowness to Milnthorpe

Hello, from The Bull in Milnthorpe. Guess what, NO RAIN TODAY. The sun was shining on me for most of the day, with a little bit of cloud drifting over. It makes such a difference to my spirits, and now I feel cock a hoop.

I turned left out of the B & B this morning to go up the hill to the start of the Dales Way long distance path. After a mile or so it dropped down onto the road, which I then followed all the way to Kendal. I was determined to keep off the mud and keep my boots dry.

Luckily I had a Kendal Street map with me which made the camera shop that Alison mentioned, easy to find. The man in the shop tested the batteries and the charger, but he couldn't be sure which was failing, and he didn't have any of those type of batteries in stock. I could see that this was going to be a problem, so I made the decision to buy a new camera. It's a Cannon 1XUS. I will take my old camera into my local shop and get a battery ordered, then that can be a spare.
I've had the battery on charge and here are two test pictures. So, we are back in business. Thank you Alison for finding this shop.

Out of Kendal I followed the River Kent, south. I have walked this before so I recognized it. It was a lovely walk, through fields of cows and sheep. Then I left the river to continue on the road to Milnthorpe. It was about 5.30pm and I was ready for stopping. I went into a hotel and they were full, but the pub across the road had a room.

Now I will study the maps to work out where I am going tomorrow. The legs are still aching, and the feet are a bit sore, with another blister on my big toe. After a rest I will be ready for the next part in the morning.

16 miles done today. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Day 3. Patterdale to Bowness.

Hello. I'm afraid it's a post without photographs again. I haven't found a camera shop.

It was chucking it down this morning so I delayed my start until it had eased off. Mind you, there were plenty more showers during the day. At one stage I wondered whether to give up, but I soldiered on. Patterdale is on the A592 to Windermere. I thought it would be a busy road, and after all the rain it might be the easier option. However I did find a path to take me away from the road to start the day, so I took that. I was so far along it and found parts of it waterlogged, my feet were going to get wet again. The swollen waterfalls came cascading down, and at one point the path was impassible. A long legged person might have been able to stride across the stream, but I couldn't without danger of falling in, so I turned back and found another route.

I ended up back on the road and decided to take my chances with the traffic. Surprisingly it wasn't very busy. I noticed that some footpaths ran alongside the road, and gave one a try. Alas I didn't get very far as it was alongside a small lake on the other side, which was heavily swollen and the path was under water. So at this point I realized it was pointless to try footpaths and decided to stick with the road. At least I could stride on at a decent speed.

It rained on and off, so the brolly went up and down quite a few times. I had my jacket on but going uphill makes me hot so I took it off, then put it back on again later. The weather was so unpredictable. It went dark, it rained, the sun came out it stopped, then it started again while the sun was still shining. Some of the downfalls were quite heavy but only lasted a few minutes.

On and on I went along the road. Kirkstone Pass was up ahead, this is notoriously steep, I wondered if I could manage it. The traffic was still light, no lorries use this route because of the gradient. The Pass is a very long incline, getting steeper near the top. I adjusted my pace, slowed down and concentrated hard on my breathing. It seemed to take ages to get to the top. What magnificent views along the way, car drivers miss all that when they whiz along. Water was flowing freely downhill, gathering speed as it went.

Eventually I came into Windermere, I asked if there was a camera shop, but there wasn't. I walked on to Bowness, still no camera shop, sorry.

I really made my legs work hard today, and tonight they are a bit achey. I am in a B & B in Bowness, today's miles are slightly less at 15, due to that long hard haul up the steep hill. Only two blisters which have been popped and smothered in Germoline. I have been wearing a skirt, much more comfortable, even in the rain.

That's three days done, I hope the rain eases off, I'm getting a bit fed up of it. Breakfast is 8.30am then I'll be off again, will reach Kendal, and hoping for a few more miles past there.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Day 2. Mosedale to Patterdale

This morning I peeped out of the window to a lovely sunrise, and saw the farmer dashing about on his quad bike with his two collie dogs following. They were in and out of the fields with food for the sheep, who came running when they caught sight of him. In one field the dogs had to round the sheep up and herd them towards their breakfast because they hadn't noticed where he put it. When that job had been done he went into the chicken field and let them out of their house, and dropped food for them as well. Two dozen chickens rushed out of the little door and started pecking the ground.

Breakfast was good, hot and freshly cooked, with home baked bread. I was a bit apprehensive about today, not sure how it was going to turn out because I couldn't see any footpaths going in the direction I wanted to go. I knew there was going to have to be some off road walking. Now I am normally used to this, but here in the Lake District I am not very confident at venturing onto the fells where the path is not marked. To be honest, all those big hills look the same to me. But I had to bite the bullet and try my best to find the way.

I wanted to get to Patterdale and identified a path across the other side of the A66, but it did mean a trek across Threlkeld Common. The only other way would have been to go miles out of my way on minor roads.

I set off in trepidation, and found that the ground was very boggy, clumps of long grass, heathers which sank under my weight, and reeds waist high. I plodded on and aimed for the corner of a wood, hoping that the exit over the brow of the hill would be obvious. This was supposed to be a bridle way. There was a sign at the gate saying when wet it wasn't suitable for horses. It should have said it wasn't suitable for humans either. I really needed to go south to pick up a cycle track, but after an hour or so, there was no sign of it. I was completely disorientated. Going in a straight line without a compass and no landmarks to focus on I find quite difficult.

After stumbling for what seemed ages, I decided to get the hell off there and go back to the road I came from. I was up to my ankles in water, so it was a bit uncomfortable with squelchy boots, but there was nothing I could do about it but keep walking.

So after some backtracking I decided to take to the road. I picked up some supplies from Gleridding, and made it to Patterdale at 6pm, thoroughly tired out. I am in the Youth Hostel tonight, £33 for B & B, a private room. My boots are in the drying room, they should be alright for the morning, and my socks are on the radiator. I have spares for tomorrow.

I have a bit of bad news. I charged all three batteries last night, but alas I tried them in the camera and each one was flat. I don't know if they have come to the end of their life, or the charger is not charging properly. If I find a camera shop I will see if they can help me, but I won't hold my breath, they are not the run of the mill round batteries that are quite common, they are flat and square.

So, I've checked the mileage, I've walked 18 miles today. Everyone has gone to bed, I am the only one left in the dining room, so I will sign off now because they will want to put the lights out.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring. I have to check the maps yet, but once I get out of the Lake District I should have a lot more choice of routes.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Day 1 Carlisle to Mosedale

Hello. Apologies for not posting last night, I was in a farmhouse B & B with no WIFI. I had a lazy night watching tele. 
So let's catch up. Yesterday was day one. I left the hotel in Carlisle at 8.30am, and made my way to the river. I had already sussed out where it was the day before, I had time for a walkabout after I checked into the hotel. The plan was to take the Cumbria Way path, following the river. I wanted a good start and a fast walk, easy to follow the river, or so I thought. I did the first couple of hours without a map, another reason to follow the river, I didn't want to buy another map. 
All was going well when I stopped to chat to two walkers going in the opposite direction to me. We discussed where we had come from and where we were going. Then they dropped the bombshell. Further along there was a bridge over the river missing, it had been swept away eighteen months ago, and they were only just building a new one. That meant a diversion had to be taken, they pointed it out to me on the map. They also said it was not very well signed, and the ground was very boggy.
I carried on and came to the construction site. 

 I decided to modify my route and chose a different route, by walking on the road. I came off the Cumbria Way and did a combination of road and path, which took me to Hesket Newmarket. Originally I thought I might head for Caldbeck as that seemed like the favourite stopover point for walkers, but it was too early, so I carried on further.

This is the village shop/tea room, and Post Office at Hesket Newmarket. I picked up some supplies here. It's a smashing village, they have a B & B, but again it was too early for me to stop. I had some phone numbers with me of possible places where I might find a bed, so I rang a farm which was five miles further on. Yes, she said, they can accommodate me.

So off I set at 3pm. The easiest and most straight forward route was along a very quiet minor road. Plenty of sheep about, and hardly any cars. I was able to walk at a fast pace along the tarmac. My first close sighting of the Lake District.

It's beautiful, love the streams rushing down hill. The weather was ok, a few light showers but they lasted only a matter of minutes.

The B & B was a busy working farm. I was shown to my room which was accessed through a separate door to the rest of the house. The furnishings were rustic and farm like, it had real character. Sadly no WIFI.

That's what happened yesterday. 19 miles walked. There aren't many pictures because my batteries for the camera are either not holding their charge, or the charger is not charging them as it should.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Art at Saltaire

Hello. I hope you had a good weekend, I've had a brilliant weekend. I arrived in Bradford on Saturday at about 1pm, at SimpleSista's house, that's not her real name by the way. She has been reading my blog for some time, and we have met twice before. After a coffee, we went to Saltaire to have a look at the Festival. I love it there. It was raining when we arrived so we sat in the car and ate our packed lunch which SS had made for us. Then it was a walk around Salts Mill, I wanted to see the Hockney exhibition which I missed last time I was here because it was closed. I just love his work, here are a few of them. Have a look and see what you think. Are you a fan as well?

Trying to figure out which is my favourite, I love them all.

 Afterwards we wandered the cobbled streets between the cottages which used to house the mill workers. We came across some street entertainers. A large group of singers, and an energetic group of dancers. Then we went into a craft fair but we didn't have long there because they were closing.

On the way back we stopped off for a walk around Lister Park. It's a huge park with trees, a lake, and beautiful gardens.

I just love this magnificent life size sculpture of a stag, next to the house.

The park is very well kept, perfectly mowed grass and beautiful laid out flower beds.

Back to the house for dinner and an evening of watching television, which is a novelty for me.

This morning we went to Peel Park, another lovely park. It was nice to have my own personal guide to show me around. Then it was time for me to leave, SS very kindly made me a pack up to take with me. I drove across to Cleveleys, dumped the car, just missed a bus to Blackpool so had to wait for the next one, and was ten minutes late at the station and missed the 3pm train. Luckily there was another one waiting, it was about to leave. That meant I was late at Preston for my connection so I had to leg it over the bridge from one platform to the other, and just managed to catch the Carlisle train with one minute to spare. Phew, that was close.

So here I am, in a Travelodge, ready to set off walking back in the morning. House/cat sitter is installed, she has reported in twice today, and I expect there will be more updates. So, let the adventure begin. There is rain forecast, I might get wet.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip