Well Done Colin – 15 September 2021

We woke to mist, or was it fog. Whatever it was, it was taking a while to clear. While it was clearing, Went out to take some photos of the sheep in the field across the road. I meant to shoot the sheep, but I got photobombed by the Shetland Pony stallion and I thought “Why not?” The resulting image worked for me.

Just after the sheep and photobombing stallion photo shoot, the mist started clearing quite rapidly and we were off to conquer the Nine Standards. The Nine Standards are nine (strangely enough), mostly conical cairns on top of Nine Standards Rigg which is over 620m above sea level. We weren’t climbing all 620m because Jamie was driving up to a parking place below the start of the main climb. Actually we’d walked the first part of it from Kirkby Stephen to the parking place last year.

The climb, or walk, started off well with Vixen leading the way and at a blistering rate. Scamp and I were bringing up the rear and I will admit that I was feeling the strain after about 20mins, even at Jamie’s relaxed pace. After a while we encouraged Jamie to go on ahead and keep Simonne company. Eventually at about two thirds distance I had to tell Scamp to leave me and walk up to meet the other two. I was almost totally exhausted. However, after about fifteen minutes rest sitting on some sheep droppings, watching the clouds form and reform over the distant hills I felt better, hoisted myself to my feet and plodded on up the never ending hill. Two more stops were needed to catch my breath and a couple of phone calls where I lied to Scamp that I was still sitting comfortably where she’d left me. No way was I going to tell her I was heading for the top. I think the others were almost ready to start the descent when I finally reached the cairns. A chocolate energy bar from Jamie and half a bottle of water sitting at one of the cairns gave me enough or a rest to start the walk down, which Jamie had repeatedly told us was much easier than the climb up.

He was right. The descent was much easier than I though it would be and best of all, instead of an ever present hill in front of us, we had a panorama of hills, blue sky and clouds to keep us interested. On the way down we met a group of three Auld Guys on their way up. We spoke a while to them. The lead walker was 76, the next was 86 and the final member was nearly 90. We were instructed to make sure to say “Well done, Colin” when we met him, and that’s what we did. He just laughed and said “Somebody must be broadcasting it!”

After Jamie drove us home we were treated to another, even more spectacular air show with a low flying helicopter another BAE Hawk. I wonder how much that operation cost. No idea where the helicopter came from, but the jet came all the way from Anglesey.

Scamp an I went for another walk along the road later in the afternoon to loosen our legs. Jamie and Simonne were making Parmigiano Chicken tonight.

The PoD wasn’t the cairns, or the view from the top, but the tree. It’s been in and out of Lightroom a few times since it was taken, but I like the look of it now.

Tomorrow is the day we all know must come. We all go home, but today was mighty!

Driving home – 23 July 2021

It always comes to this day.

We had packed last night. Really all that had to be done was to load the car and tidy up the house. That work took about an hour and a half with all four of us doing our bit. Then the hugs and goodbyes with the promise that we’d do it again soon. I hope we do.

Drove in convoy with Hazy and Neil D until they branched off to go past Broughton in Furness and we headed for the northbound M6. A fair few holdups on the road, but once we were on the motorway it was plain sailing. Stopped at Gretna to stretch our legs and window shop, although I did buy a new kitchen knife. Then it was back on the road and home.

All the plants needed a drink, it looked like they had not had any real rain either

I’d taken some shots of the mist covered Duddon Valley with sheep coming across the field for their morning drink. That was easily the PoD.

Tomorrow we may go dancing … in a hall … with a wooden floor … wearing dance shoes … and … WITH OTHER PEOPLE IN THE ROOM!!!

A lady visitor – 7 January 2021

We woke to more snow today. Not a lot of the white stuff, but enough to send us back to bed to read to the end of the next chapter.

Actually we got a nice morning phone call from a bloke from Microsoft to say he could help me with a problem on my computer. He sounded quite plausible, but I wondered why these people always have an Indian accent yet have British sounding names. Anyway I told him to “Bugger Off” because I couldn’t be bothered playing games with him today. Scamp said I should have asked him if it was snowing where he was. She’s so much more friendly than me.

Our snow looked fairly soft and not very thick. So, with no real reason to go out and of course nowhere to go, we took it easy for the morning. I got another phone call, this time from Barbara to say that she was running a bit late and how were the roads where we were. I told her I hadn’t been out to check, but traffic seemed to be flowing freely. She didn’t tell me she was from Microsoft and could fix my computer, so I guessed she was genuine.

When she arrived, she gave us both a form to fill in and a bag with a thing to stuff up our nose and down our throat. Up the nose is fine, but a bit painful. Down the throat really does produce the gag response. Apparently if you don’t get the gag response you’re not doing it right. We were both doing it right, believe me. Next we dropped the cotton bud thing into a test tube, sealed the test tube, dropped it into a bag and sealed the bag then left it on the mat for her to pick up.
Yes, we were doing a Covid test on the doorstep. The person administering the test isn’t allowed into the house and she isn’t allowed to hand you anything. She leaves it on the doormat and steps back. Then you are allowed to pick it up, and vice versa. We both felt really sorry for her standing there in the cold asking us questions and logging the answers on her phone. It’s part of a Covid survey for HM Gov and Oxford Uni. We get one test a week for a month. If we decide to extend the survey we get an additional test every month for a year. For taking part in the first month’s tests we get vouchers for £50. Then more vouchers for a reduced sum if we continue. That’s the first one done. We’ll see how we feel after that if we want to continue.

After she left I put my wellies on and went over to Condorrat to post the calendars. I quite enjoyed making them although the photos are all from the UK this year. In fact when I came home Scamp was saying that she was looking for a small calendar to go into the downstairs toilet. It brightens up that wee space and gives you something to look at when … well you know what I mean. That was tonight’s work. We’re going to fill it with photos from recent holidays. Something to brighten our day.

While I was out anyway, I went for a walk in St Mo’s. Like yesterday, a bank of freezing fog was descending, blanketing everything. Actually it made the park look quite different and quite scenic in a strange way. It seemed to smooth out all the rough edges. I got some photos and the PoD was the one I liked the best.

Tomorrow we may go out if the weather improves. I know we both need the exercise and the mental stimulation of looking at something other than our four walls.