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A Day in the Lake District

As part of Julia’s birthday celebrations I planned a long weekend away in the Lake District. The plan did not go well, and was shortened by both her cold and a visit from Number One son. So, on Sunday we headed off for our Plan B break – a day in the Lakes.

After dropping Number One son off in Leeds we headed off for Skipton and the Travelodge. We passed the night there in relative luxury, with a quiet heating system, water that was, if anything, too hot, and nice fluffy towels. We were even able to complain about it being too hot.

It started to rain shortly after we arrived, continued through the night and was still going when we woke up.

At least we were able have a decent breakfast, provided by the Little Chef in the car park. Soon, I suppose, it will be something else. At least one I know has already been turned into a Starbucks and another is going to be converted. You can tell something is going to happen to them because very little has been spent on maintenance recently and a lot of them seem to be closing early.  They really have had a troubled history after the glory days when they virtually owned the roadside. According to the above link, they will all be closed next year.

The days of wine and roses are not long, as the poem says.

There aren’t many pictures, I’m afraid, as the combination of rain and low light meant you’d need to be a magician to get a result, rather than a mere photographer. Grey mist, leaden skies, slate grey water and, at best, light black hills, don’t make for easy photography. And that was when we weren’t troubled by low cloud.

When there was light and a view we couldn’t park. Julia did take some video clips as we drove along, but I can’t get any of them to load.

Later on we did get a few photos, and some meat pies, but that will be another post. Hopefully I’ll get caught up tomorrow.

Lazy Sunday

 

I woke up at six this morning and instantly panicked, as we’re supposed to be at work for 6am. Then I remembered that she’s having a day off. It’s just a shame my body clock didn’t remember.

The plan was to go away for the weekend, but Julia came home from work with a stinking cold on Friday, which put paid to that. Despite a regular supply of hot lemon she’s sitting in a corner of the living room coughing, sneezing and sniffing.

It’s the constant sniffing that’s most irritating.

However, part of the deal when we got married was “for better for worse” so I don’t really have any option. At least when I was in and out of hospital earlier this year I (mainly) suffered in silence and didn’t interfere with her TV viewing.

As part of our 30th wedding anniversary celebrations I’m thinking we should renew our vows. This time I think we should include “obey”,  which was somehow omitted from the last lot, and give some serious thought to the “worse”.

 

 

 

Some Birds at Clumber Park

I wrote this last night, with the intention of posting it in the morning. That way, I thought, I’d come home to a selection of comments and I wouldn’t have to rush to write a post tonight.

As you’ve probably guessed from the opening paragraph, things didn’t work out.

I’m not exactly clear what I did, but the absence of post tends to suggest that I shut down without saving. Yes, it’s thirty years since I first laid hands on a computer and I now know less than I did in 1987.

So here it is again.

It’s a big lake, and there are plenty of birds about, but they aren’t the most interesting selection of birds. Swans, Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Mallards, Tufted Duck…

As you can see from the photos there were Shovellers, Gadwall, Cormorants, Goosanders and Black=headed Gulls.

At Arnot Hill Park, or even at Rufford, the scale is more manageable, and you are generally closer to the birds. There’s a little more excitement at Arnot Hill, because you are never quite sure what is going to be there, and at Rufford there are plenty of woodland birds as well as the waterfowl.

To be fair to Clumber, I only ever scratch the surface – it’s so big. The main thing I go for is the end of the lake with the dead trees and Cormorants. In the 1980s and again at the start of this century, mine workings subsided near the end of the lake and the resulting low ground filled with water, drowning the trees.

When I first visited Clumber in the 90s there were more dead trees in the water and they were full of Cormorants. Now when I visit there are just a few trees and a handful of Cormorants, but there is still a possibility of interesting photos. Sadly there were no good Cormorant/tree photos to be had, but I did get a heron on a tree.

 

I also saw a family of Long-tailed Tits, a Goldcrest and a dozen squirrels, but couldn’t get decent photos of any of them. The only in-focus Long-tailed Tit was so badly framed all I pictured was feet and belly.

 

A Grey Day

It’s a drizzly grey morning and the traffic is slow. That sentence reminds me of something, though there are no jumping fish and a distinct lack of cotton.

As usual, the drizzle seemed to bring out more traffic and the journey became more of a trial than usual.

I can’t help thinking the whole blues thing would have developed differently in a colder climate, or if the musicians were often clogged up in traffic following a cement mixer and a skip lorry.

That’s what happened to me this morning. There was also a woman on a Moulton bicycle, and an idiot on a moped.

The site of the incident was, as usual, the three lanes of traffic leading up from the Goose Fair roundabout to the site of the old gallows. It always seems so appropriate when you see how people behave there.

First the Moulton mounted woman had to skip up onto the pavement to avoid being killed by a bus. Then, as she returned to the road and stopped at the pedestrian crossing, the mentally challenged moped rider swept through and nearly hit a pedestrian on the crossing. There’s something about a bus lane that seems to suspend the normal rules of traffic. And there’s something about this stretch of road that, one way and another, that brings out the worst in a number of drivers.

The rest of the day is likely to be similarly grey in aspect as I have a list of domestic tasks to get through, some paperwork to do for Julia and more internet research to do for the jerk seasoning.  It’s not a thrilling list, but it needs doing.

 

 

I can’t think of a title – it’s that sort of day

We just had an interesting problem. Julia is working with an old notepad, or whatever we used to call small computers before we had all the stuff you can get now. You know the one – it looks like a small laptop instead of the current ones, which look like large phones. Having said that, a lot of phones also look like large phones compared to the old-fashioned phones. Life, and fashion, can be strange.

After charging and setting it going she found the screen was upside down. It took ages to sort out, particularly as she can’t read upside down. I can, as it’s a useful skill to have when visiting offices and trying to sell things to people. She was adopting a female approach – logic and trying all the buttons in an orderly fashion. I tried route one – went on my laptop and typed in “upside down screen”. Thirty seconds later the problem was solved. Sometimes a direct approach is best.

I’m now basking in self-congratulation. Julia is, it seems, unmoved by my brilliance.

To be fair, she’s probably still confused that I didn’t try hitting it,which always used to be my preferred option. Over the years I’ve discovered that hitting computers hardly ever works. That’s a feature I’d like to see on modern technology – a special reset switch that activates when you hit the malfunctioning item.

The answer, in case you ever need it, is – Control + Alt + the Up arrow.

I’ve finished my list of local Farmers’ Markets, though it’s likely to be of limited use to most of my readers. If anyone wants a copy (covering approximately a 40 miles radius round Nottingham) let me know and I’ll send you a copy.  There are 26 of them.

The poppy photo? Well, I always like to have a photo if I can, and it seemed seasonal.

The Best Laid Plans…

I didn’t quite get the Armistice Day post done as I suggested in the last post.  After writing two part posts – probably a thousand words or so in total -I decided to give it a miss because it wasn’t working.

At that point I switched over to cookery. Belly pork and roasted veg for tea, chicken and ham pie for tomorrow and vegetable curry for Wednesday. Tuesday, which you may have noticed was missing, will be fishcakes. I cheated by buying fishcakes last night, so I didn’t need to make any.

With the associated washing up, and moving of red cabbage, this took a surprisingly long time. Finding the tarragon took the best part of ten minutes because it’s a small packet in a chaotic kitchen. Julia had unpacked it last night and as she had neither left it in the bag or put it in the fridge I was left slightly clueless.

That left me with the choice of breathing life into a moribund post on Armistice Day or transcribing the list of Farmers’ Markets.

If you consider that the transcribing was more fun than the blogging you will see how badly things were going. It kept turning into a rant on the use of the poppy and the Great War centenary as a way of making money.

Things took a significant downturn when we had to do a Health and Safety assessment and fill out a wad of monitoring and personal development forms. It went badly.

Not as badly as the search for a birthday present though, that is really going badly and Julia isn’t helping by refusing to tell me what she wants.

Hopefully she wants a brightly-coloured paper bag containing supermarket chocolates, flowers and face cream, because it looks like that’s what she’ll be getting.

 

A Weekend of …er…nothing much

Got home just after 6am (after dropping Julia off at work, not after a night on the tiles!) and after a few Amazon reviews, a trawl of the internet for birthday presents (I have no idea, she won’t give me a clue and the day is looming), looking at the blogs of a couple of my new followers and a diversion into Avro Lancasters, I now find it’s 9am. Where does the time go?

Yesterday started with breakfast, dropping Julia off at work, taking stuff to the charity shop and going to a meeting. I’m helping someone launch a range of Jamaican seasoning, and this involved having another breakfast to test the recipe for his new omlette. It includes chilli, and has a definite wake-you-up quality.

Home for lunch. This was a cup of tea and a mournful look at the fridge as I decided that two breakfasts meant no lunch. I am dieting, and not enjoying the experience.

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Nice cup of tea

In the afternoon I compiled a list of Farmers’Markets in a 40 mile radius and may, possibly, have drifted off for a few minutes due to the sheer thrill of listing. The defining features of Farmers’ Markets seem to be that the website must be out of date and the contact details unavailable.

Then I picked Julia up from work, shopped, moaned about the price of things, fitted a cover to the car windscreen to ward off frost, made tea and toasted crumpets. It’s autumn after all, and you need to keep yourself warm and cheerful.

We re-heated a beef casserole I’d prepared earlier in the week and served it with red cabbage and kalettes. I like kalettes, they don’t take much cooking. they taste good and they are bursting with goodness, or so the website claims.

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Picture of kalettes from last year. I do have a beef casserole photo but it shows brussels, not kalettes, and potatoes, which I’m no longer eating.

After that I blogged, watched poor quality TV (including Strictly Come Dancing), suggested that we should go to tango lessons (I’ve always fancied myself as a smouldering Latin tango dancer, despite all the evidence to the contrary – lack of rhythm, two left feet and suspiciously Anglo-Saxon colouring),  made more tea, ate a supermarket panna cotta that was crammed with sugar and additives, downloaded Kindle books and, finally, went to bed.

There was, as you can probably guess from my anti-frost precautions, no frost.

I hate it when that happens.

And that brings us back to the top of the post. It’s 10 am now and an hour has gone into writing, and re-writing, a post about where my time goes.

After looking for a couple of stock photos to illustrate this post I’ve decided to do another post about my favourite photos, but first I’ll probably do one about Armistice day.

After that I’ll heat up the beef casserole for lunch and cook most of the food for next week.

Then I’ll wash up.

I do hope all this excitement doesn’t wear me out.