Driving Home – 16 September 2021

It always comes to this.

In the morning, Jamie and Sim took Vixen for a walk up Cautley Spout. We went to Kirkby Stephen. We took some photos of the church with that great green lawn in front of it. Then we went for the last walk this year, around the cricket pitch and up on to the viewpoint. It was a beautiful morning with a clear blue sky. A decent day to be driving home. We got some stuff at the Coop and went back to the house to pack up and stuff everything in the car.

When Jamie and Sim returned with a boisterous Vixen, we all had lunch together, said our cheerios and drove off, travelling back the way we’d come last Friday. It was a fairly good run north and we were back home and parked in the late afternoon.

PoD was the church at Kirkby Stephen.

It was an early night for us, because I was really tired. So tired I didn’t hear Jamie and Sim’s text to say they were home safe, just before midnight.

Hopefully,tomorrow we’ll, all four of us, wake up in our own beds.

New boots need New socks – 14 September 2021

Today we headed to Kirkby Stephen to buy a new pair of socks for Scamp’s new boots. Not surprisingly we didn’t go to Mad about Mountains, mainly because we wanted a PAIR of socks, not just one. Also the socks were for walking boots, not for running shoes. We went straight to Eden Outdoors and got two pairs of socks one pair wool and one pair cotton.

Jamie, Simonne and Vixen had left by the time we got back, heading for more hills to climb, so we had the house to ourselves. There is a long paved patio at the back of the house. Just the ideal place to dance on. We managed to get a full run at the Foxtrot and the Waltz. Of course we couldn’t do the fancy spin turns on the paving stones, but the rest of it worked well. Probably the first time we’d managed the full length of the Foxtrot.
So what did you do on your holiday?
Well, we danced the Foxtrot on the patio of the house!

Just at the end of the alfresco dance class a helicopter flew low over and apparently landed not far away, behind the house. Next a BAE Systems Hawk trainer flew over almost as low as the helicopter. It banked sharply and appeared to circle the house. Were they intent on getting a closer view of our Foxtrot? Well, it was an impressive routine, but we came to the conclusion that the helicopter had been carrying soldiers from nearby Warcop base and the jet was there to add a bit of spice to their war-games.

The airshow went on for quite a while, but eventually they all calmed down and JS&V returned from their walk. We went out for another test walk with the new boots and socks. The socks were an improvement on the old ones and made the boots more comfortable. So said Scamp and she should know.

We made quiche for dinner. Instead of a baked pastry base, we used tortillas we’d bought in the morning. Scamp made Quiche Lorraine and I made Jackie’s Smoked Salmon and Broccoli Quiche. Both turned out fine and we’d made enough for all of us with some to spare for tomorrow.

PoD was an old barn we saw on our late afternoon walk. For once I didn’t photograph the jet or the helicopter!

Tomorrow we may go climbing a mountain.

The boot’s on the other foot – 13 September 2021

Scamp needed better shod and today was the day to look for new boots.

We drove to Kirkby Stephen and went to Mad About Mountains, an outdoor clothing shop which came recommended by Sim. It certainly held a lot of stuff in a small space. Scamp tried on a few boots and liked one of them, although she did think it was a bit tight. With that in mind, she asked for the other boot of the pair to try, and that’s when the trouble started. The bloke who was serving us couldn’t find it, however he told us his boss was due in soon and he would know where the missing boot was. He also recommended two different running shoes. They weren’t boots, but what the hell! He told us to go for a coffee and his boss would have found the rogue boot by the time we came back.

Since MaM had a café at the back of the shop, we went there. Scamp had a latte and I had an americano, but neither of them were coffee. I’m almost certain they had a fair amount of Chicory in them. Almost undrinkable, but we waited a while before we went back, hopefully, to try on a PAIR of boots. Same bloke was waiting at the till doing Facebook updates by the look of things. Eventually he noticed we were there and told us that he hadn’t been able to find the boot. When I asked him if his boss had managed to find what had happened to it, he looked confused and after gathering his brain cells (both of them) together said his boss hadn’t a clue either. He had told us he only worked there two days a week. If his excuses don’t get better soon, that will reduce to zero.

Feeling a bit disappointed and disillusioned we walked along the street where we found a wee walkers shop. Two blokes were sitting outside having a smoke and a natter. One of them said we didn’t need masks because there was nobody in, and to ask him if there was anything he could help with. Scamp told him what she was looking for and long story short, ten minutes later she was walking out with a pair of leather walking boots. Remember the name Mad About Mountains and give it wide berth. Head for Eden Outdoors instead. They sell their boots in pairs!

In the evening we went for a walk, going left after leaving the house, just to try out the new boots. Apparently the boots are fine for space, not cramping Scamp’s dainty toesies, but the collar at the ankle is pressing a bit tight. Not enough to be a problem, just an inconvenience. “They’re fine!” was her comment. Tonight Jamie and Sim were cooking Naked Fish and Carrot Chips, one of their specialities. We were agreed that this was the best version yet.

PoD was a shot of an old tractor Murdo would have been proud of.

Watched the first part of a Silent Witness. It seemed a bit more interesting than the last one we saw.

Tomorrow we may go for a longer walk and try out these new boots.

 

Walking on the railroad – 12 September 2021

Today we went for a walk along the old railway from Kirkby Stephen to somewhere else.  A place called Nateby, where the railway path stops and a real steam railway takes over.

Parked at the school in Kirkby Stephen and walked through a closed town.  Nothing open. Well, it was Sunday.

We walked along a path we’d taken last year and using muscle memory as our guide, found our way up on to the path of the railway and along two of the three viaducts and on until we found the third viaduct which our path ran parallel to. We should probably have walked under it to complete the trilogy and take a look at the steam railway, but instead we followed the river downstream through two fields. The second field had disinterested sheep in it. They looked, saw us and went back to eating the grass. At the end of the track we found a totally unintelligible  sign written in legalese which seemed to say that we had to go back. We did what I always do in a situation like this. We followed the path and ignored the sign. If you can’t write English in England then don’t write this gibberish. Found our way back to Kirkby Stephen and from there back to the car.

Back at the house we arrived before the other two and grabbed the garage again.

I was chef for the night and I made the worst paella I’ve made in a long time. Really difficult to make a meal to serve 4 when you’re used to making it for 2. It’s not simply a case of doubling the ingredients. Also, trying to use someone else’s cooker didn’t help. Those are excuses, not reasons. As my dad would have said, Covered Lies. I will make something better next time.

Watched more Spitting Image tonight. Some episodes funnier than others.

PoD was a symphony of greens taken on the walk along the old railway.

Scamp may go looking for a pair of boots tomorrow as hers are hurting her feet.

Brough Castle revisited – 11 September 2021

First day walk about.

We drove into Kirkby Stephen which is the nearest town and parked at the main carpark beside the auction mart. Carpark was really busy, even for a Saturday, but we found a space. The church bells were ringing and we assumed it was a wedding. Lots of well dressed people heading for the church and that’s what initially gave Scamp the inkling that it wasn’t a wedding. They weren’t dressed for a wedding apparently. It turned out it was it was a memorial for a woman called Joan Johnstone who was an important local Councillor.

We walked over Frank’s Bridge. Not a clue who Frank was, then around the cricket pitch looking for the path to take us up to the viewpoint on the hill which sort of overlooks the town. Eventually found that I’d led us the wrong way. How strange! 😏. We walked back, but couldn’t find any place to have lunch. Everywhere was full or closed. Presumably so the owners could get to the memorial service. Scamp got ten allium bulbs from the same shop we bought last year’s bulbs from and they turned out so well. With that done we chose to drive to Brough to see if it was open today.

Brough wasn’t nearly as big as Kirkby Stephen. It seemed to comprise of two streets at right angles to each other and a whole host of scarecrows. Lots of the houses had these, sometimes creepy, statues outside. We didn’t stop, but we did find a sign pointing to Brough Castle which we’d visited many years ago. When we stopped there on the way home from a visit down south we had lunch at the tea shop there and today we were happy to see it was still there. There were loads of scarecrows in the surrounding streets too, but not as creepy as the ones in Brough. After coffee and a warm, but not hot, panini each we went for a walk round the castle. The views from it were excellent and all under a blue sky with bubbly clouds too. I took lots of photos and so did Scamp. We walked round the village next and took in the Scarecrow Festival, because that’s what it was.

PoD was a view of Brough Castle with a few sheep and a horse to fill up that empty green space.

Jamie and Simonne were cooking tonight. Beetroot falafels with a green salad – we must try that.

Watched the strange new qualifying for F1 tonight understood it a bit more than last time.  Then we watched a few episodes of Spitting Image which was repeats on Britbox and therefore slightly out of sync with life in 2021, but still funny.

Tomorrow we may go for a longer walk along the viaduct path.

 

Driving – 10 September 2021

Feeling a lot better this morning. No sign of yesterday’s Lurgi.

We got in the car and drove to the petrol station to buy some extremely expensive petrol that only had 5% of Ethanol in it. Better the devil you know when you’re on a fairly long journey, carrying half a tonne of stuff.

Drove out of the petrol station, still smarting from the expense and joined the M80 heading in the general direction of Glasgow. Merged on to the M73 which in turn merged on to the M74. Drove sedately past the roadworks at Hamilton that are due to finish in October (year not stated), watching the train of cars, vans and lorries on the other carriageway, a train that went on and on and on. Made a mental note to exit the motorway at Canderside on our return journey and not be caught in a stramash like this.

After a hundred miles or so, Scotland became England and the M74 became the M6. Exited at Penrith and then it was on to the smaller A66. Just before the exit, the Start/Stop app in the car signalled a System Failure. This had happened before and I reported it to Nissan at the service a week ago. I was told then that the Start/Stop “… Checks a lot of parameters …” Which was technospeak for “It just does that, we can’t fix it”. Another Nissan failure on an otherwise great car.

Not long after we left the outskirts of Penrith, we were on a stretch of road which should have been dual carriageway, but was under repair, so it became a slow moving single carriageway. Just after what seemed like an hour, but was probably a lot less, we took the turn off that eventually led through narrower and narrower roads to the house. Actually overshot it, but Scamp noticed and we arrived. First to arrive again!

Cup of tea on the patio and a quick Foxtrot along the paving stones. I’ll bet that’s the first time anyone had danced a Foxtrot along that patio! Jamie and Sim weren’t far behind us, having left home long before us. Their’s a six hour journey and ours only about two. The world is ill divided.

PoD was to confirm that roses, even in England, have the same beasties we have up north. Honest, we didn’t bring them with us.
Scamp made Chicken Cacciatore for dinner and we all sat round the table, talked and ate.

Tomorrow we’re going exploring.

Out for a walk – 22 August 2021

Or two, in my case.

It was a warm sunny morning, but we didn’t really get going until the afternoon. We finally decided to walk round Broadwood again, but the opposite way round, just to be different. There wasn’t a lot to see, but when we came out at the wee pond near the Irn Bru factory, I did see a dragonfly sunning itself on the top of one of the NLC signs telling you what to look for. It could have been a living advert for the woodland walk, but it got its photo taken anyway. A few steps further on, there was another dragonfly, also sunning itself on a wooden fence. I tried for its photo, but couldn’t get through the grass that was shielding it. I gave up and eventually it did too and flew away. Still, I had one in the bag.

Back home I had a look through the afternoon’s shots and, yes, there was at least one shot of the dragonfly that would pass muster. However, there were more things out there, I was sure. So I left Scamp to read and went for a short walk in St Mo’s. Found more small dragonflies sitting on the upstand of the boardwalk and included them in my photos. Even better I found a Leaf-hopper, a bright green leaf-hopper (Cicadella viridis) and took its picture too. I tried a Wolf spider, but couldn’t get it all in focus. There was a Garden Cross spider but it was too far away and there was no way I was wading into the murky waters of St Mo’s pond. It’s bad enough when you don’t know what you’re walking in, but it’s worse if you do!  The leaf-hopper got PoD, just beating the posing dragonfly from earlier in the day.

Decided that I had enough and came home to make dinner which tonight was Naked Fish and Carrot Chips. I thought we had everything to make the dish, but then found we had no garlic. I added garlic granules but they didn’t quite cut it. Also, the carrot chips weren’t very chip-like. Discussion later with the chef himself, disclosed that he thinks there should be more cornflour than the recipe says. I agree with Jamie, that would probably work. We were discussing this when he phoned after the dinner was made and eaten. We also found out about how things are down Cambridge way. You forget that England has different rules and timings than up here. Schools are still on holiday there while they are back at work here. House buying seems to work on mystery and black magic there whereas it might be archaic here, but it’s much more clear cut.

Scamp had been working hard trying to learn some of the figures and their link steps form the second half of the Foxtrot routine. My versions were different, but between us we managed to get everything sorted out and it now looks doable again. It just needs a few more practise sessions and we’ll have a full foxtrot.

Tomorrow seems to be even better than today and today was good. Not too bright and sunny, but warm. Tomorrow we are governed by high pressure, so we should be dry at least. No plans.