Tag Archives: rain

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.

Day Off

Well, this is vexing. I wrote this post and pressed the buttons and sat back as it loaded. I had added (Part 1) to the title, but when I switched on to write Part 2 I tried to link it to Part 1 and found it wasn’t there. This means that, for the first time in 72 days I have failed to post.

I am not happy. Ah well…

It was a day off today, and instead of making me drive to a distant tourist spot Julia allowed me to relax with a short trip to the Mencap garden.

We managed to fit in a Harvester Unlimited Breakfast on the way – so it wasn’t an entirely bad start.

At the garden, instead of making me walk round and look at things, and probably enjoy myself, she allowed me to do a number of jobs including refilling bug boxes (using hollow stems from the scabious we’d cut back a couple of months ago) and putting some bird boxes together.

I fear I may have seemed a little ungrateful for the opportunity to spend our day off working for an organisation that won’t allow me to volunteer officially. (For those of you new to the story I’m not allowed to volunteer to work with my wife, as I’ve been doing for the last five years, because of “conflict of interests”.)

We had a fig each after that, and I took some photos of the vine leaves.

It wasn’t one of my better days, though building nest boxes is always a good thing to do. So is eating fresh figs.

After that, we returned home for a cup of tea. I downloaded photos and, whilst snoozing happily in my chair, dreamed of Derbyshire.

At that point Julia demonstrated the depths of depravity to which a wife can stoop, waking me up to remind me I’d said I’d give her a lift to Wilkos to buy paint for nest boxes. Obviously I’d meant I’d give her a lift if I wasn’t asleep and it wasn’t too close to Pointless. I don’t ask much from life and a snooze and a TV quiz seem quite modest requirements. So does freedom from being woken up to go shopping.

We went to Arnold, and I took some photos from the rooftop car parks at Wilkos and ASDA (who are currently renovating their car park). They aren’t great photos, but they didn’t offer much in the way of scenery. The main theme is Rain, with a secondary motif of More Rain.

 

 

I went to Leeds today. It rained. And to make things more depressing I trusted the satnav, which never ends well. If I ever enter Mastermind my specialist subject could well be “Being lost on the Ring Road in Leeds”.

I’m home now and watching The Apprentice. It gives me no hope for the future. If I was the producer I would rewrite it as a horror movie and  kill one every week in a horrible, ironic manner. The one selected from tonight’s show, to make and sell burgers, would be in serious trouble if I had access to an industrial-sized mincer.

To be honest, if I was in charge I’d feed the lot of them through it, including Lord Sugar and Baroness Brady. I give them their full titles because I know, from reading his book, that he considers it important, even if most of us find the current honours system a bit of an embarrassment.

Fair play to him though, if you excel in your field you deserve an honour. Not quite sure what field the Amstrad email phone was a leader in, but the principle is sound.

I like Claude Littner, I’d let him have his own series. Well, with my plan for the rest of the cast you’d have quite a few weeks to fill in.

After leaving Leeds we went to Skipton and visited a farm shop. We bought rhubarb coulis, samphire, marmalade with orange and chilli and a big steak pie. I will try to take pictures tomorrow if I have time after eating. It’s a big pie and will take some shifting.

Today’s photos were snatched during a dry few minutes. Sorry there are no better ones.

It could have gone better…

We went down to the Mencap garden tonight to drop off a donation of plants from one of the neighbours. We have Japanese anemone, Michaelmas daisies, buddleia and raspberries. I’ve also donated my tea plants as they can make a better job of looking after them than I will.

The Magpies were waiting.

There were two on the roof of the shed, two perching on the fence and two standing on top of a lamp post. One was perching in a tree and one was pottering around in the grass. He’s the one that we think acts like a stroppy teenager. We assume it’s a “he” because girls don’t act like stroppy teenagers. If Magpies wore baseball caps his would be on backwards.

We’ve never seen eight at one time at the gardens before.

The first part of the afternoon was less interesting.

It involved eating soup (which went well) but then deteriorated as I took two bags of books to the charity shop. It started to rain as I parked the car. I grabbed a lightweight rain jacket from the back seat and managed to empty one of the bags of books onto the floor.

As slapstick goes it was a polished and faultless move.

After parting with the books, which still hurts as I talk about it, I decided to use the available light to photograph some bits and pieces. (I find the light in the car better than the interior of the house at this time of year). I hadn’t locked the door of the battery compartment last time I opened it.

They fell out.

I put them back.

And at that point I realised I hadn’t put the card in.

I was so wet I steamed up the inside of the car. This took a while to clear and gave me time to brood on the unfairness of life.

Then I went home, where Julia told me she had a job for me. That brings us back to the top of the page…

Being British, and Spending a Penny

It rained all night, drying up in time to drive to work. I then returned home to collect a parcel for delivery in Newark and arrived at Newark Market just as the thunder claps started. After that rain stopped it became quite hot, I took my coat off, and the sky clouded over again. I left before the dark grey sky could fulfil its threat. On the way home the weather was remarkably pleasant, actually being sunny and hot.

Weather talk is typically British, I admit. I will therefore move onto something typically middle-aged.

I needed the toilet when I arrived in Newark. The one nearest the car park has been closed for some years now, as part of the “improvements” to the town centre. However, I knew there were toilets in the Town Hall (which is also home to the museum and a half-derelict shopping centre). Problem solved, you would think. But no, those are closed too – only one “Accessible” toilet remains, and that wasn’t accessible because you need a RADAR key.

Now, I’m not disabled, but I’m not very mobile either. That means that although I’m not ready to admit to needing a RADAR key, it’s not very easy to climb the stairs in the pub next door. Anyway, I have a conscience about using pub toilets if I’m not using the pub.

Enquiries revealed that there are toilets round the back  of the shopping centre, not far from where I started. If I’d looked to my right instead of walking straight on as I left the car park I may have seen the grey-coloured sign suspended high on a wall. Even when you are close you can’t see it very well.

You then have to insert 20p, in 5,10 or 20p coins. I only had a 50p so had to ask a passer-by for change because they have a sign telling you they don’t give change. Twenty pence – that’s 48 times what it used to cost when I was a lad and “spending a penny” was a term you used to hear.

Two attendents were chatting in a cubbyhole, though one had gone by the time I emerged – some evidence that the rate-payer’s cash isn’t being totally wasted. Neither looked like this was the job of their dreams.

Newark markets itself as a tourist destination – based on today’s experience they have some way to go, which is sad as they’ve been doing it longer than I can remember (by which I mean around 30 years) and show no evidence of even getting the basics right.

In typical British fashion I made my feelings known be emitting a low-pitched but definite “humph!” as I left.

I am seriously thinking of writing a stiff letter to the council.

Raindrops Keep Falling

I was wakened around 5am by the sound of rain, at which point my bladder became rather more active than I was and forced me reluctantly from my bed. A little later, around 6am, I was roused by a small, sharp elbow and the question: “What time do you think it is?”

The answer did not seem to meet with her approval.

“There’s no need to use language like that. If I could see the clock I wouldn’t need to ask you.”

I really don’t think she needed to ask me anyway. That’s why I set the alarm on the phone. If it isn’t sounding, you don’t need to know.

At 6.45 it was much the same again, a huge sigh followed by: “I might as well get up now, I can’t get back to sleep because of the rain.”

I indicated that I too was suffering from a broken sleep, though I had no intention of showing myself to a grey, wet morning before the alarm went off.

By 7.45 we were in a queue on the ring road (there are always queues when it rains – I’ve never quite worked out why) , and shortly after 8.00 we were at the garden. Julia had not been able to clear up the glass on Thursday as the Scenes of Crime Officer had not finished until it was time for her to go to her evening shift at the Leisure Centre.

We hadn’t been able to get access on Friday before she had to go to the other site and she has been busy since then. Nobody, not even the Monday Group, who were there all day yesterday (as the name suggests), has bothered to offer a hand with the cleaning up.

While she went to find the caretaker for the keys (he has fitted a new set of door handles for her) I was sent to ASDA for cleaning equipment. They have a special offer on – dustpan, brush, squeegee, washing up brush, scrubbing brush and sponge for £4, compared to £3 just for the dustpan and brush. The fact that I feel the need to report this indicates that I am turning into my father, who often came back from shopping with a “bargain” whether he needed it or not.

I did a bit more shopping on the way round (there were some good offers on) and rolled up to the cash register to find that my debit card wouldn’t work. I only had £10 in my pocket so stuck to the cleaning equipment and stationery. (It worked fine when I used the ATM on leaving the shop, so despite the implications of the lady on the till, I did have enough funds to cover a £17 bill).

We had to break the remaining glass, which was more difficult than it sounds. Glass never breaks when you want it to. I gave it a sharp tap with the edge of a hand gardening fork, because I just wanted to break the remaining half pane in two. It was a good plan, but glass rarely cooperates. Instead,  it bounced the fork back at me, coming perilously close to hitting me in the face.

So I tried again. Harder. With predictably perilous results.

Obviously I’m not going to be bested by half a pane of glass, so I tried a trowel next.  A good hard tap from the trowel, which wasn’t as springy as the fork, produced a result. Well it did if you define result as “explosion of glass splinters”.

With hindsight I should have allowed for the extra rigidity and not hit it so hard. Or had Julia standing there with a bag to catch the bits. In my own defence I would point out that I had asked for tape to put on the glass to hold it together, like the blast tape on WW2 windows. Unfortunately we didn’t have any tape.

Anyway, all the broken glass is cleared and swept away. This is fortunate because it’s still raining and they will be wanting the container today.

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Acanthus, or Bear’s Breeches.  No, I don’t know why.

 

It’s still raining now.

However, as a Dyno-Rod van is working down the street I can confidently say that someone is having a worse day than me.

 

 

A Tale of Two Cyclists

Second post of the day!

I’ve already written about the Ospreys, in an effort to catch up from last week, and now I’m going to write about bad weather and bicycles because that was the story of the morning.

On the way into town we came to the junction where a bus lane and two lanes of traffic squeeze into two lanes. It’s where I lost my mirror to a badly driven bus a few months ago. It’s also near where the town gallows used to stand and conveniently close to a cemetery. A couple of years ago I was caught on camera there and fined £30 for transferring to a bus lane five car lengths too early. All in all it’s a junction of ill-omen.

On the approach to the junction we had to stop when a cyclist pressed the button to stop traffic at a pedestrian crossing before riding across.

Highway Code Rule 79:  Do not ride across a pelican, puffin or zebra crossing.

Once across the road he proceeded to ride on the pavement, forcing several pedestrians out of his way.

Highway Code Rule 64: You MUST NOT cycle on a pavement.  (Their bold capitals, not mine).

Fortunately, just when this was in danger of becoming a discussion about the lawless ways of two-wheeled reprobates, we spotted a second cyclist.

He was struggling in the rain and traffic and just missed being clipped by a bus mirror as he pulled out of the bus lane in front of me. After stopping he failed to get his shoe clipped back on the pedal and lurched in front of a second bus. As an encore he then repeated the manoeuvre and lurched the other way. Fortunately I was far enough back for it not to be an issue.

I have seldom seen such fortitude displayed in the face of  adversity. In the old days he would have been leading a bayonet charge or discovering the source of an exotic river. Modern life is short on bayonets and undiscovered rivers, so it’s nice to see an area of everyday life where fortitude can still be displayed.