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Friday, 30 April 2010

Chester, Mr Beasley, Lucifer, and Ben

Mystery solved. The pregnant pussy cat has been claimed, it isn't female and it definately isn't pregnant, it's just a fat old boy who likes hiding in the coal shed. His name is Chester. Oh well, he had a good old feed while he was there. It's always difficult to know if a cat is genuinely lost, or if it's just used to roaming about but popping back home occasionally. I'm glad we didn't take him in, we could have been accused of cat napping.

Update on Mr Beasley. He seems happy at Sue's for the time being till we can find him a home he likes, and will hopefully stay there. He has a new friend called Lucifer and they are happy to share a pen. Sadly Lucifer is poorly, he has had a scan and is found to have tumours on his kidneys. He came to Sue when his elderly owner had to go into a care home. Now he will be on medication for as long as he is comfortable, but he will be going to stay with another friend Janet, (my cat sitter) and her nine cats, untill the end of his life. Poor Lucifer, but he will be well looked after.

Now I have got Ben dog here with me for two weeks, the old boy keeps plodding on. We strolled up to the smallholding this morning to get some eggs. As long as he can sniff about, and get his treats and cuddles from me he is happy.

Tea time, Ben, Lilly, and Bugsy.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Where has the pussy gone?

I've been skip diving again. This morning I went out collecting scrap for the Scrapstore. I called in at several companies, but was too late for the vinyl, the lorry beat me to it and the bin was empty, bother. I am going to have to start picking it up on a Wednesday instead.

Then I struck lucky. I found a firm that makes fitted carpets for cars and caravans, and the very nice production manager said I could rummage in his skip anytime and take what I wanted. I was thrilled when I opened the lid, it was full of carpet offcuts, not tiny scraps but quite substantial pieces. I was in my element as I filled my car to the roof. They are very busy and their skip is emptied twice a day so there is plenty more when we want it.

Today I had a haircut, when it gets to a certain length it starts getting on my nerves. I had already trimmed it myself a few weeks ago, but now it needed a proper cut. I popped into a hairdresser I have used before, straight in the chair no waiting, and asked for a trim. The thing is when I take my specs off I can't see very much. I knew she was chopping away, which was a good sign. Remember the last haircut I had when the girl did more talking than cutting?

Ten minutes later I was done, blimey, it looks as if I have been scalped, it's a bit short. Never mind, at least it will last a bit longer this time, maybe six months before it needs cutting again.

There was a bit of a panic tonight, someone I know who lives down the hill rang me and said there is a pregnant cat who is close to giving birth, camped out in his mothers garden shed. He has asked around the neighbours to see if anyone knows who it belongs to and no one has claimed it. He was afraid that the dirty old shed was not a warm and suitable place for it to have it's babies.

I rang my cat friend Sue, and she rang me back to say she had found a place for it at a cat shelter about ten miles away, so we went to pick it up. When we got there the cat had done a runner, it was nowhere to be seen. We were looking up and down the road in the pouring rain, we caught sight of several cats, even crawled on our hands and knees trying to get one to come out from under a car. Unfortunately it didn't fit the description, we were looking for a black and white cat, not easy when it is getting dark.

So the best we could do was to leave the cat box and some food inside the shed with the door slightly open, hoping it would come back. I will go and check on it in the morning, and see if there is any sign of it. Here, pussy pussy pussy :0)

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Slave or control freak ?

Although I always imagined I was a free spirit, and in control of my own destiny, it is only now that I realise that couldn't have been further from the truth. I went to school for ten years from age five to fifteen, because we had to or mum would have got into trouble. I started work at the age of fifteen because mum couldn't afford to send me to further education, and I wasn't bright enough. Mum also needed my contribution to the family finances so I had to earn some money.

At the age of eighteen I left home and got a flat because I wanted my freedom and independance. But I didn't really have my freedom because I had to work to pay my rent and feed and cloth myself. I met a man and nearly got married but turned him down because I didn't want to be tied down, so I suppose I was trying to cling on to what bit of freedom I had.

I moved around a bit living in different places, I had a little bit of freedom then but still had to find work to pay my way. I was tied to my sense of responsibility for providing for myself. There was no choice, I had to work.

Then I became a lorry driver and my freedom went right out of the window. I was a total slave to the job, working all hours, staying out overnight, never knowing when I would be going home. By this time I had bought my first house, the thought of being tied to a mortgage terrified me, I couldn't just up sticks and go, I had more responsibilities. Now I was a slave to my bank balance, bills started coming through the door, all these people were after my money, now I was also a slave to the utility companies. I felt totally bogged down, where had my freedom gone? When would I ever get off this treadmill?

Several years later I met a man who promised me the earth. He said he wanted to be with me forever, we would be a couple. I moved house to be nearer to him and was waiting for him to make a move so we could live together. Three years later we were no further on, and no wonder, he was a control freak and I was his slave. People said I had changed, my personality had shrunk to nothing, I didn't have one it was gone and I became quiet and withdrawn. He was a bully, he wanted total control over me and I let him. It was three years of hell, but I didn't see it at the time, love is blind.

Eventually I saw sense and ended the relationship, but he had destroyed my confidence. Slowly I got over it, well you have to don't you, it's either sink or swim, and I swam right to the other end of the pool and got out. I picked up the pieces of my broken heart and put it back together again.

So I made a new life with my pussy cat Bugsybaby. But guess what? Now the tables have turned, the slave I am no longer, now I am the control freak. At last my destiny is in my own hands, never again will anyone tell me what to do. Yes I have a small mortgage, it's easily manageable and I could get rid of it. I have a house that I could sell if I wanted to spend the money, and my pensions are enough to pay for my simple life.

Every morning I wake up and decide what to do. Never again will I be a slave to work, money, or men. Now I am the control freak ;o)

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

A purrfect day out

Whoopsadaisy, I have been so busy today, I forgot to blog, must put it on my 'To Do' list, ha ha. I've been out to visit my friends Janet and Alan at their cattery near Selby. I love going there, they have seven of their own cats as well as lots of happy boarders.

Janet had to go to the dentist in Ripon so I went with her for the ride, it was an opportunity to browse some charity shops, while I was waiting for her. I found a few oddments, a couple of small gifts and some ornaments I can use for crafting purposes. It made a nice change to be driven somewhere.

I am feeling quite tired now, probably due to the fact that Alan did us a big meal when we got back. I was falling asleep after we had eaten, and now I am home I can't stop yawning. So goodnight, I'll catch you tomorrow. :-O

Monday, 26 April 2010

Making a list

I am going to have to stop reading other people's blogs, why? Because you are all making me feel so guilty. Everyone seems so organised with their cooking, cleaning, and general orderliness of their lives. I used to be so efficient at organising my time, but what has happened? Now I gaze out of the window and feel no sense of urgency to do anything.

I make mental notes of little jobs that need to be done, and promptly forget them. Sideboard looks a bit dusty, I must get the duster out. Car looks a bit grimey, must give it a wash. Running out of clean pants, must do a wash. Can't see out of the windows, must clean them. Oh bother, the grass is growing far too fast for me, must mow the lawn. And so it goes on, I am turning into a slob.

Whoever wrote the saying, 'Don't put off untill tomorrow what you can do today,' probably didn't get out much, because if you continue to keep on top of things you wouldn't have much time left to do naff all. And doing naff all can be quite enjoyable, even though you might be in danger of turning into a slob, like me.

Anyway, I've started a 'To Do' list, because I need some help to turn my chaos around. I have a 'going on holiday' deadline looming, and if I don't get organised things won't get done. It will cost me more because I wont have planned the food I need to take with me (self catering). My car will let me down because I wont have taken it in for a check, it's developed a strange knocking noise somewhere under the back end. My cat sitters will think I live in a tip if I haven't cleaned up, and even worse there wont be any food to feed the cats if I don't go and buy some. I must fine tune my holiday itinerary or I will be driving round willy nilly wasting time and money, and I must get some maps from the library so I can find the places I want to see.

Other jobs on my 'To Do' list. . . Collect more scrap for the Scrapstore. Get my hair cut, and buy a colour, I fancy going red. Put some credit on the mobi, just changed service provider so I need to work out how to do that. Buy a new pink sun visor for my head, or make one if I can't find one in the shops. Work out a 13 mile route that me and my friend can walk, we want to do our own sponsored walk for charity. Sow some more veg seeds in the raised beds, nothing seems to be happening at the moment with the seeds I have already sown.

Oh dear this is all rather overwhelming, my list is growing by the minute, I think I'll stop now. I shouldn't be sitting here, there are blue skies and sun shine outside, think I'll go and take Ben for a walk :o)

Sunday, 25 April 2010

My latest friend

This is my latest friend, Lady.


She has been here with me today because her owner, Graham, went on a coach trip and was away for ten hours. I was glad to help out as Graham although retired, does a wonderful job of keeping our graveyard neat and tidy. He lives only a five minute walk away so it was no trouble to collect her.

Another excuse for more walking. We went out twice for an hour each time, and she had a great time playing with Karen's two dogs when we met them on the hills. It was the first time Lady had been in my house, and she was fine with the cats, and they didn't mind her sniffing them.

When I took her back I did a bit of litter picking. I saw some people dressed up on their way to the pub, they must have thought what a strange thing to do on a Sunday evening. In fact it was quite pleasant, the weather is nice and warm, and now the place looks tidy.

We have no time

I was listening to a report on the radio this morning about the people who have been stranded because of the no flying rule, and the long overland treks they have had to make to get home. From the reports in the press it appears that a lot of people have suffered horrendously complicated journeys taking much longer than the quick flight they had originally intended. Stories of running out of money, with nowhere to sleep, stranded miles from home, seem like the stuff of nightmares.

But now it emerges that some people have found the experience of travelling great distances overland, a very enlightening and exciting adventure. Their epic journey will be a talking point down at their local pub for quite some time, long after the rest of their holiday will be forgotten. This has planted the seed that they may be missing out on many more adventures if they install themselves into a metal bird, and sleep all the way to their destination.

The report mentioned that some people had returned to the UK on a container ship, and went on to interview a couple who discovered this mode of transport many years ago. They have taken many holidays on these huge floating warehouses, and the excitement for them was never being certain that the boat was actually going to reach it's scheduled destination. They said the crews were usually made up of all nationalities, and because there were so few passengers they were treated like VIP's. Even being allowed access to the bridge at any time, a treat they enjoyed at night. Their enthusiasm for their particular choice of transport meant that they had lots of time to explore places that they would have otherwise never seen if they had been flying.

Years ago when I was working, getting from A to B by the quickest route was paramount. Places were measured in 'how long to get there' rather than 'how far away is it'. I lived life in the fast lane, literally. Foot flat to the floor and go like stink. My concentration on the road ahead was finely tuned, so much so that I didn't notice things along the way that might be interesting. I had no time.

Now I do have time. I recognised a few years ago that I was spending too much time earning a living. Too much time worrying about money, it had to stop. I wanted to get off that fast jet plane and take the meandering cruise ship. Now I can stop off and see places that I never had time for before. This poem is very true. . . . . .

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?

No time to stand beneath the bows,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night,

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance,

No time to wait till her mouth can,
Enrich that smile her eyes began,

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

W.H. Davies

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Cruelty that makes you cry

What an amazing coincidence that I should post a picture of a lovely healthy horse I saw yesterday, and today in the post I received a copy of Bransby Life, the newslettter of Bransby Rest Home for Horses. This is a charity I have supported for the last five years. I have visited them several times, met the dedicated staff and volunteers, and have seen first hand the work they do.

I settled down to read my newsletter as I ate my breakfast. I wasn't very far into it, page three in fact, the News page, when I had to stop eating and wipe the tears from my eyes. There are pictures of two horses which were removed from their owner and taken into care at Bransby, both of which were severely mal nourished. The rescuers gave them the names Carrot and Spud. Carrot looked terrible, I have never seen a horse looking so skinny with all it's bones protruding from it's skin. How anyone can be so cruel is beyond me.

All charities are struggling for donations at the moment, it can't be easy raising funds. I shall continue to do my bit for the horses, I wish I could do more. If you want to see Carrot and Spud here is the link to their page on the web site, but I warn you, you will cry. They are making good progress on the road to recovery.

www.bransbyhorses.co.uk/news/articles/62/carrot_and_spud_secure_a_safe_future_at_bransby_home_of_rest_for_horses.html

Friday, 23 April 2010

What is the world coming to!

I nipped into town this morning on my way to the Lincolnshire Wolds, I needed to pay a bill at the bank. The shopping centre was busy. I'm not sure if it qualifies as a shopping centre though, it's more like a covered over mall, just one walkway through it, with some temporary stands down the middle. There's a florist who seems to be taking up more and more space, and a bloke selling Sky TV, who's always chatting on the phone and never seems to have any customers.

I see there's a new stand today. Two young girls are manning it who are dressed up to the nines, with makeup so thick it might crack if they smile, and hair that is laquered so much it looks like a helmet you can take off. They stand there pouting, with their chesticles popping out, hoping to catch a few punters off guard.

What are they selling? A poster asks two questions, Do you smoke? Do you want to save money? If the answer is yes to both, they then urge you to buy a packet of amazing electronic cigarettes. They look like the real thing apparently, and no one can tell the difference. Do people really buy these things? Have they gone totally bonkers? They buy the substitutes, but still have to go outside into the smoking shelters. They want to save money but they still spend it on this hairbrained idea.

I think I must be missing something here, surely the best way to save money is not to smoke at all. And why would anyone want to be seen 'pretend' smoking, when everyone knows smoking is bad for your health, makes you stink, and will probably kill you. People who want to give up, and save money, can get help from the doctors surgery, they don't have to fall for this ridiculous gimmick. I am totally bewildered by this.

Just up the High Street I spotted another advertising board outside a new mobile phone shop. It was like an old fashioned blackboard, the words were written in chalk, 'New Kids Tariff'. Buy a new phone and get zillions of free texts, and hours of free calls. Blimey, I can just see our tiny tots with a mobile phone strapped to their heads walking around talking to themselves, while they try and use up all their free calls.

Think of all the money they can save by signing up for the Kids Tariff, they can spend it on 'pretend cigarettes', they'll look really grown up then, won't they. What is the world coming to! I can't keep up with all these modern ideas, I am beginning to sound like my mother.

Oh, I nearly forgot, I went a walk today, it was a lovely sunny day. Didn't take many photo's though, here is one of a horse. I did 15.16 miles, and not a cough or a phone call in sight ;o)


Thursday, 22 April 2010

Entertaining Henry

Up at the crack of dawn today, well not quite, 7am to be exact, Henry wasn't going to let me lie in bed any longer. After a swift cup of coffee we were out by half past, and onto the hills . I took my litter picker stick and a bag with me because I noticed that the wood was looking a bit raggedy the other day, with lots of cans, bottles and fast food cartons lying about. I felt much better knowing I have beaten the litter louts, they chuck it and I will clear it up. I will not tolerate such a mess in our lovely village.

Back home for breakfast, then an attempt to do some craft work. Henry was having none of it and pestered me for a game with his ball. Then I went upstairs and put the computer on. Five minutes later I heard a lot of barking and went to see what was going on. Henry wanted to go into the living room but Bugsy cat was sprawled out in the hall, having come out of the window because he was too hot in the sun. Poor Henry dare not try and get past him, and Bugsy was enjoying being top cat. It's funny to see such a big dog scared of a fat old pussy cat. They have never come to blows yet, but I think Henry knows his place.

By 11.30 I could see Henry was getting bored and the easiest thing to do to entertain him is go for another walk. The sun is lovely again with a slight breeze. We went through the woods on the other side of the village, and along the edges of the fields. Henry stopped to nibble on some lush grass so I lay down next to him. I just love lying on the ground looking up at the sky, I am so attracted to mother earth. I lie down with the cats in my garden sometimes. It was an opportunity to get close to Henry and take a few snaps.



This is what Henry likes doing best. He runs around frantically to find any drop of water he can, then dives into it. You just can't stop him.

On the way back we met a man with a young German Shepherd called Ziva, and we walked together for a while. The two dogs were having great fun. I like to see dogs getting on with each other, it is vital to get them to socialise from a very young age, then there are less problems later on.
Yesterday we met a man with a snappy spaniel type dog, who didn't like Henry very much at all. The man grabbed it by the collar and shouted at it, saying 'stupid dog'. I didn't say anything but I wanted to, I can't always think quick enough. It was the man who was stupid not the dog, for not having trained it properly.
I've just had a phone call from Helen, she will be here in an hour to pick Henry up. He's snoozing on the bed right now, but you can be sure as soon as the door opens he will be leaping about all over the place with excitement. I'd better get his bag packed.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

He is such a sweetie

It's a beautiful sunny day here, and I'm full of the joys of spring. I have Henry choc lab here for a sleepover, so plenty of walks needed for him. I love it when the trees and hedges come into blossom, what glorious colours decorate our countryside and gardens. Everywhere is so pretty. I took my camera out this morning, and took a few snaps.








Someone is telling me he wants to go out again, I can't ignore the pleading look on his face so I'm going to have to get off my bum and go. He is such a sweetie.

Monday, 19 April 2010

A bit of carefull planning

Oh how I hate washing up. Here is my pile of pots from the last three days, I suppose it's about time I washed them :o(


There is no hot water coming out of my taps because I don't switch it on untill I want a bath, and the central heating hasn't been used for a few weeks now, I can manage without it, it's not cold any more.

So it's down to boiling a kettle to wash the pots, and if I do it once every three days that's quite a saving on the cost of heating the water if you work it out over a period of time. The pile is a bit unsightly but I can live with it. I will use the smallest amount of washup liquid and the only thing I dry is the cutlery, everything else will stay on the drainer till it is dry. That cuts down on how often I have to wash the tea towel, which eventually reduces the amount of times I use the washing machine.

I've just had the statement from my credit card company, now I have to pay for my next holiday, so the relentless money saving excercises continue. I must always stay on top of things, don't ever become complacent. Just because I have the money put by for this one, doesn't mean I can relax and take my eye off the ball. No, with a bit of carefull planning, I should be able to afford some more holidays.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

In the Lakes, day 3 & 4

Day three. I struggled to get out of bed this morning, my leg muscles were still sore, never the less I was determined to do another day. There is a lane close to the hostel which goes up the side of Ullswater, with a choice of two paths. You can stay close to the water or you can take the higher route which gives some good views over the lake. I took the high path. I'm on my own today so it's up to me to find the way.

The weather today is much better, lots of clear blue sky, no sign of fog like we had yesterday. Today would have been the better day to go up Helvellyn, but when you organise walks several weeks in advance you have to take whatever weather comes along. You have to go come rain or shine, or fog. This photo is looking across at the hills we were climbing yesterday. If you click on the photo's they will come bigger, then click the back button to come back and carry on reading.

Once you have climbed the first bit, most of this path is fairly level which I was pleased about. Any downward steps I had to make were so very painfull, I felt like an old lady hobbling along. I thought it might get a bit easier the more I kept walking. One view of looking back, the water is on the right.

It was worth making a short climb up to get this view, here I am on a rock, ha ha. At this point I took two paracetamols, my aching muscles was making every downward step so painfull. Unfortunately the painkillers didn't reach my legs so I just tried to ignore it.

Dont look too closely at this one, dont know why I put it in really, shows all my wrinkles ;o(

There was lots of streams and waterfalls, so relaxing to sit and contemplate the meaning of life.


I walked along the waters edge passing the boathouse at Howtown, the halfway point where the steamer sets sail. I thought I might take a ride on it but the timetable in the unmanned shed was a bit complicated and the boats were few and far between. I had already come across lots of walkers going in the opposite direction to me, apparently most people get on the boat first thing in the morning, take a one way ride, then walk back. I had chosen to walk first and maybe get a boat ride later, it was not to be so I carried on walking.
A mile after the pier I did a u turn and set off towards Fusedale and followed the beck, the picture below is where I am heading towards.


The next photo is halfway along the dale, looking back at Ullswater.

And another shot from further on and a bit higher up. The views are stunning. I enjoy walking in the valleys as much as on the tops.

At the top of the valley I did a u turn and came back on a parallel path along the tops, over Brownthwaite Cragg and Steel Knotts. I followed the ups and downs, looking down along the route I had just walked. I didn't have to climb this, but you have to while you are there, don't you!
At the top and a fabulous place for a picnic. Not another soul for miles around, so peacefull and lovely.

I didn't take any more photo's as time was getting on and I needed to crack on. Back into Howton I took a winding narrow tarmac road alongside Boredale Beck. Eventually it fizzled out to a rough track strewn with loose rocks. A clamber up to the top and I was on Boredale Hause, a peak where several footpaths come together. I spent a few minutes wandering around not sure of the way off, looking for the Cairn, when I came across a group of youngsters rough camping. Was I glad to see seven or eight tents and a lot of chattering teenagers. A friendly young girl pointed the way, and half an hour of scrambling down a steep path with my legs about to crumble underneath me, I was back in Patterdale.
It was now 7pm so I have been out for ten hours. Trudging towards the hostel, hardly able to put one foot in front of the other, the sight of the pub 200 yards the other way was impossible to ignore. Stuff the cooking tonight, I thought. I ordered a pint of cider and a jacket potato with all the trimmings, and lowered my aching body into a soft and comfy chair. Bliss. Getting out of the chair was another matter. I staggered out of the pub, anyone seeing me would have thought I was intoxicated, an elderly woman wobbling down the road without her zimmer frame, ha ha. Todays mileage 14.64, about the same as yesterday. Brilliant!

Day four. This is my last day and I have the option of packing up and going home. I checked out of the hostel at 9am, and decided to do a short walk before I went home, can't give up now, surely my legs will hold out a bit longer. Down the little lane again, but this time turning right towards Hartsop. It's a wide level track that passes through a couple of farms. At one place I was greeted by a spotty dalmation who rolled over for some tummy rubs, then a black cat entwined itself around my ankles asking me for some fuss, then I saw these black lambs and watched their amusing antics. What a lovely morning for a walk.

In the pretty village of Hartsop I stopped to chat to a man with his three dogs, in his garden. He had a lovely stone cottage, and proudly showed me his vegetable plot. Everyone is so very friendly here, fellow walkers and local people alike. At the end of the village the road goes into a track as it follows Pasture Beck along Pasture Bottom.

I took a few photo's along here because the scenery kept changing. Walking alongside the Beck. I must say that you don't get as many walkers along the valleys as you do on the tops, it makes for some very pleasant tranquil rambling along.

At this point there must have been a lot of rock fall as I had to look very carefully for the path. The clues are worn grass and smooth rocks where many hundreds if not thousands of pairs of boots have passed that way. Now which way is it!

That's better, found this path on the other side. This photo is looking back at where I have come from, you can't really get a sense of height and distance from a photograph.

If you look very closely at the next photo, you can see a person wearing a red jacket. A couple passed me while I was sat on a rock having a bite to eat, so I decided to keep them in my view. I was now in a big bowl, surrounded by steep sides in every direction. It seems like a dead end with no way out, but if you keep going you find the way, going up and up and up.

At the top there was a junction of several paths coming together, I looked up to my left, the path I had already chosen to follow, and was horrified by the sheer steepness of it, and the loose rocks. There didn't seem to be anything to grab hold of for stability, unlike Striding Edge where you used all of your limbs to haul yourself up and down. For once I was glad there were other people about, just in case I got into trouble. I haven't actually got any photo's of this climb because I dare not take my camera out of my pocket. Any distraction and I am likely to lose my balance. So, onward and upward, was I relieved to get to the top.

And this is what I found when I got up there, the beacon at Thornthwaite Crag, which is on an old Roman Road called High Street. A good time to take a break, it was very windy so I took shelter behind a wall.

The other side of the beacon, there is still some snow about.

The path along High Street is fairly obvious as it is a popular route. This is looking down at Hayeswater on the left, I am doing an anticlockwise route around it.

You skirt round a peak called The Knott, and descend the hill heading towards the corner of the water where the dam is.


By now my legs are jelly again, and I am wishing I was on my way home. But as usual I have over stretched myself, and still have about two hours left to do back to the car. I followed the most direct route along Hayeswater Gill back to Hartsop, and retraced my steps back.
I sank into my car seat with great relief, had a bite to eat, and set off at 6.30pm. As there was still a bit of daylight left I chose another route back. Down the A592 through Kirkstone Pass to Windermere, across to Kendal, the A590 south to cross the motorway and the A65 towards Settle and Skipton. I suddenly remembered a fantastic chippy in Wetherby so I took the A59 to Harrogate and called in for my fish and chip supper at 9.30pm.
My entertainment for this journey was Radio 4 and the Party Leaders Debate, maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but I found it interesting. In fact it may be the only political programme I listen to before the election because I have already heard enough spin to last me a life time.
At 11pm I was home, tired but happy. My short walk for today came in at 13.05 miles, making a grand total of 46.40 miles over the four days. Would I do it all again? You bet I would, ha ha.

If you don't ask......

I called in at Poundstretcher today just to see if they had any reduced price food. Didn't bother to look round the shop, didn't need anything else. In the past I have found out of date stuff which has been dead cheap. They had a few items in a basket. Packs of four tins of Branston spaghetti reduced from 99p to 49p, so I bought the four packs which were there. Sixteen tins of spaghetti for £1.96, and only just out of date.

Then I had a nosey on the biscuit shelves checking the sell by dates, and found some flapjacks dated 31st March. There was eight bars at 39p each. I took them to the checkout and said if you reduce these I will buy them. He said 19p each, I said done.

The moral of this story is check the dates in case the staff have missed some, and if you find any out of date ask them to reduce the price for you. If you don't ask you dont get. It pays to be vigilant and not miss an opportunity. I also noticed that the checkout lad gave me a foreign coin instead of a penny. I gave it him back.

Friday, 16 April 2010

In the Lakes, day 1 & 2

What an amazing four days I've had in The Lakes, I stayed at Patterdale Youth Hostel near to Ulleswater. I had a steady drive there on Monday, after taking two dogs for a walk before I left. With the price of fuel at the moment I didn't go more that 60 mph, preferring to trundle along at 55mph with the lorries, much better fuel consumption. The hostel cost me £47.85 for three nights self catering, so I took my coolbox with enough supplies to last.

I arrived about at about 3pm and had a walkabout to check out the area and to find the meeting place where I was to meet up with the walking forum members the following morning. I was immediately in awe of the scale of the mountains, they seemed to be towering up in every direction, hard to imagine what it would be like on the top looking down. I was soon to find out.

It was a gloriously sunny day and I had my shorts and teeshirt on. This is a couple of views of Glenridding looking across Ullswater. It is a very popular area for campers and walkers because there is direct access to Helvellyn, where I am going tomorrow. Patterdale is just 20mins walk away so I could leave my car there for the four days.

Click on the photo's to make them bigger, then click again to make them gigantic

If you look across to the other side of the water, that's where I walked on the Wednesday, more of that later.

You meet all kinds of people in a hostel, that's what I like about them. You can be on your own all day and there is someone to talk to at night. My first night in the ten bedded room and there was only three of us in it, so we all had our little corner to disappear into. After my makeshift dinner, something simple I don't spend ages faffing about as you know, I sat in the lounge reading magazines. I was having trouble staying awake to be honest. Two couples sat in the corner chatting, one of the women came over to me and said they would like to sing and hoped it wouldn't disturb me. She asked if I would like to come over and join them. I told her to carry on, but declined their invitation. For the next hour I was treated to 'Uncle Tom Cobbly and All', over and over again, with great in depth discussions about the words and their meanings. I lost the will to live and went to bed, ha ha.

Next morning I was up early becoming increasingly excited about my day on the mountain. What would I need to take, will it be warm or cool? I was rather hoping the weather would be kind to us so optimistically I didn't take great bundles of clothes. In the first few photo's you can see why I wish I had.

I met up with seven guys from the forum :0) Hey, I was the only woman, and they were all younger than me, can't get much better than that. As you can see there was a lot of mist and fog and wind, which hung around for a good part of the day. There were some clear patches where we had to whip out the cameras pretty sharpishly to take a few snaps, before it was all lost in the swirling mist.

Half the time I didn't know where we were, but I had a feeling we were on Striding Edge, that was one of the most difficult routes across to Helvellyn, but the mist was all around us so thankfully I couldn't see the bottom. If you imagine a letter 'V' upside down, /\ like that, with a scramble up massive rocks at the beginning, and a scary scramble down at the other end. It was probably just as well I couldn't see the bottom.

You would think people had better things to do, but no, when we got to the top of Helvellyn it was like a mororway service area, and Striding Edge was the M1. Amazing how many people were there, all very jolly of course. Me eating my sandwich.

Yes, that's my feet in the snow, it was freezing cold, one of our group kindly lent me a pair of gloves because I hadn't taken any, I didn't think I would need them.

Hey, wait for me guys . . . . .

Aha, the sun has tried to make a break for it, this weather is so unpredictable. A few moments to whip out the camera and capture a nice view before it disappears again. This lake is called Red Tarn, on one side is Striding Edge and the other Swirral Edge, we went all the way round it.

If you look very closely at the photo below you can just about make out three or four dots walking along the path at the bottom, they are a long way down from here.
This is Swirral Edge, I think ;o)

We have completed the circle and this is Red Tarn from another angle. The thing about walking up high is that the scenery changes every few steps, you have to keep getting your camera out

I'm not sure where I am on this photo, we went up and down that many times. I think the guys wanted to get in as many peaks as they could, and I was happy to follow. In fact I felt like I was being dragged a few times, but that is exactly what I wanted. I like to push myself that bit further, out of my comfort zone. If you carry on doing the same things day in day out, month after month, life can get a bit boring.

Off we go again, I'll follow you.

Here are the team, two of them split earlier, for a different route.

We're on our way back now, my legs were beginning to buckle a little bit under me. The pain in the muscles in my upper legs was agony, especially on the downhills. I have never done so much climbing in one day before. No point in moaning though, just get on with the job.

When these are the views you are rewarded with it is worth every step.

There's only one way to experience the height and that is to be there, the photo's don't do it justice. When you look down you wonder how on earth you are going to get back down to ground level, it seems such a steep drop. But the hills are covered in paths that you cant see untill you are up there. There is a way down from here.

Only one thing left to do, a pint in the pub, boy was I gasping for that! I am a happy bunny, and the verdict is that we have walked, or should I say scrambled, stumbled, slithered on bums, nearly fifteen miles in ten hours. Now what will my legs be like tomorrow, because I want to do it all again, on another route.