Sunday, 10 September 2017

Lord of the Flies

My daughter has just posted the message below on Facebook.

I teach English at a local high school. I am about to start Lord of the Flies, but find that my stock of the text has mysteriously reduced. In these times of austerity, my budget is next to nothing and so I am on the scrounge! Do you have any copies of Lord of the Flies that you do not want and would donate to my class? I need about 14 copies in total. Many thanks!

If anybody can help please contact me at and I will let you have an address to send to.


Friday, 8 September 2017

The end of a disappointing summer

Note for newcomer blog readers:
I recently found that a regular reader had never noticed the 'comments" feature which is often more interesting than the blog-post itself. Click on "comments" at the bottom of each post, and feel free to make comments; you will not be intruding.

Thursday "walk" with Pete - 7th September

I have been walking with Pete for years now on Thursdays whenever our schedules have allowed. I can hardly remember the very few days when weather has stopped us but today was one of those rare occasions.

So, we had a trip to Marks and Spencer for me to buy some new trousers, and then to the indoor market to buy a new camera case, then back to my house for a bit of nostalgia looking at photos on the computer.

Yes, I did replace the camera. I decided that I just didn't want the bulk and weight of a bridge camera and have gone for  the Panasonic TZ100 which as far as I know is the only compact at the moment that has a one inch sensor. Wilkinson's Cameras gave me £65 allowance on the TZ60 and there is a £50 cash-back from  Panasonic which I will be able to claim in October. Walking past Wilkinson's window this morning my camera was up for £120, but I suppose they've got to make a living and I didn't want all the hassle of trying to sell it privately.

I have taken quite a lot of photos mostly of subjects that I have reasons for not posting on the Internet (no clever comments please), but there are a few examples below, and I am pleased so far with the results. Especially I have noticed a big improvement in rendition of colour. There will be more to come, but maybe not from walking for a while.

The knee is well and truly playing up and making walking a painful and troublesome activity. Today I saw my GP and he has referred me to the knee surgeon and sent me to Kendal hospital for an x-ray, so I am now waiting for an appointment  - the start of a long road to pre-op appointments, surgery, physio, and hopefully, in the fullness of time, gradual incremental walking. Ah well, I have had a bonus for the last two years being fortunate to be able to do a lot of walking on a knee that the surgeon had condemned all that time ago. I'm sure Gayle will be recommending that I take up crocheting.

It is 4:00pm as I type and the end of the summer is apparent as I see the school kids walking back home again after their long break.

Flowers were moving with the wind

Zoom from about thirty yards

Thursday, 31 August 2017

A "testing" walk

Note for newcomer blog readers:
I recently found that a regular reader had never noticed the 'comments" feature which is often more interesting than the blog-post itself. Click on "comments" at the bottom of each post, and feel free to make comments; you will not be intruding.

Thursday 31st August 2017 - Thursday walk with Pete

Since aborting my backpacking a week ago last Sunday I have not been for what one would call a walk except for strolling limping round Lowther Castle and spending this last weekend helping Gimmer lay screed at his house project.

The leg is stiff and weak feeling, but not giving much pain in the day, but in bed at night it is very painful and I have had little sleep. The leg/knee is not functioning naturally and I just know it's not going to get better this time.

I have an appointment with my GP next Friday 8th September which I know will result in a formal referral to the hospital, and as my surgeon told me two years ago the knee x-ray showed surgery was advisable then, so everything I have done for the last two years has been a bonus, so I suppose I can't complain. But, the prospect of the best part of a year getting this sorted including waiting for appointments, surgery, and the long exercise programme required afterwards is not a pleasant prospect.

Recently I have written here about my lack of satisfaction with the Panasonic TZ60 camera. That is probably partly due to my lack of expertise not using it to its full potential but from research I can see it does have its limitations. I have no deep knowledge of photography, but if I am to be partly immobilised I would like to take more time and patience out and about to try and get some better results and to that end I will likely be upgrading to a better camera shortly. I have been reading reviews, looking at websites, dithering, changing my mind, seeking advice and generally going through a sort of guilty process familiar to me when deciding to spend a fair amount of money on something that is not really essential.

Just to satisfy myself completely I went for the routine Thursday walk with Pete today - we walked about three miles on quiet roads around Gressingham, and except for the company there was no pleasure in the walking for me, and I now have no doubts about the need to submit.

I took a few macro photos, and I reckon the TZ60 must have overheard my deliberations and smartened itself up to produce one or two quite good results - these have not been doctored in Photoshop Elements. One difficulty with flora is that it blows about in the wind.


Saturday, 26 August 2017

Lowther Castle

In July 2011 I went with my friend "Gimmer" who is a frequent commenter here to Lowther Castle. Gimmer's business produces specialised stone and wood sealing products and Lowther were starting a huge project to make their asset into a major visitor attraction and were seeking advice relevant to Gimmer's expertise. The place was a building site in its early stages.

The histories of the Lowther family and the now roofless castle are more interesting than many of these aristocratic venues and can be studied on various websites.

Work in progress - 2011

Yesterday, six years later I made a return visit to Lowther with daughter Jill and two of her friends and respective offspring, and granddaughter Katie along with her great friend Lily. Lily has come through traumatic medical treatment including  NHS sponsored treatment in the USA and is now a delightful, impish little girl full of character - her and Katie are inseparable.

The transformation at Lowther has been massive. The roofless castle has been restored and made safe and the surrounding areas landscaped, and there is a good informative museum with interesting family artefacts. There is also a café whic we did not visit. A ten minute walk on good paths through attractive landscape brings you to a newly constructed monster wooden castle in the woods with slides, several different levels and all kinds of nooks and crannies and walkways etc. for the children. Develpment is on-goung, and that encourages future visits to observe and benefit from progress. All in all this was an excellent day out.

Lily and Barney

Lily and Katie

Another of my entries for Photographer of the Year
Baby Sailor - he was a star

Katie and Barney

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Berwick Part 2 - slideshow

Here is a Dropbox link to a slideshow with captions of my walk from Weardale to Hellifield.

I have been disappointed with the Panasonic TZ 60. All my photos seem to lack sharpness. On this walk the weather was often dull, and damp and wet which will have some bearing. Most of these photos have been enhanced using Photoshop Elements.

At £200 the Panasonic was not cheap, but how much more do you have to pay to get better results?

CLICK HERE.        click on first thumbnail then go to "Full Screen" at bottom

Monday, 21 August 2017

Changing times

The first ascent of Everest combined with the Queen's coronation heralded hope of regeneration and a new start after WW2. What does the silencing of Big Ben herald?

Berwick 2, summary

Monday 21st August. - Arnside

In general I have to agree with various commenters about my daily distances over the last five days from Weardale to Hellifield. But, those distances are similar to the mileage I was doing during the seven days from Berwick to Weardale before I had the accident, and I had coped with that without marring enjoyment.

The section I have just walked, down, up and over the various dales was not easy to plan for accommodation, but the distances, as I said above, seemed doable. There were two differences though. Firstly there was a lot of road walking, and secondly a number of serious long ascents. Contrary to many fellow walkers I don't mind road walking, especially on quiet lanes, but on this section there was just too much, and with my preference for wearing trail shoes my feet suffered. Apart from my "other" knee becoming painful on the walk into Hellifield I had a large painful blister under my right foot, and various other painful and sore toes, partly from soreness, and partly from arthritis, but I reckon the excessive road walking was a major factor - I have not had those kind of problems for years, 0k old age is creeping up on me, but if you don't try you don't know.

Another factor is recovery time, and with the less arduous walking on the Berwick to Weardale section recovery was fine by next day after a lengthy previous day's walk, but on this new section the increased amount of strenuous ascent prevented such quick recovery and I think by that last day tiredness had compounded  and from the start I had no energy and on top of the painful ailments I was weary as I hobbled into Hellifield.

I am considering  some lightweight boots combined with Sorbothane insoles and keeping mileages down in future to more ameanable distances. I have no definite plans yet for further walking. As I write, only the day after, the knee is much better, but painful feet still persist.

Back in 2014  the knee surgeon suggested me having my "other" knee done which I eventually agreed to but backed out at the last minute. Apart from many many day walks since then I have walked:

3 days         Completing the Cheshire Ring canal walk with BowlandClimber
10 days      North-east coast of Scotland climbing Marilyns
20 days      Macmillan Way 1     Boston to Abbotsbury
10 days      Canal du Midi           Toulouse to Beziers
18.5 days   Macmillan Way 2     Boston to Barmouth

 Jan to April       Outlying Fells some with Bowland Climber, a dozen or more day
March                 Marilyns with caravan from Ledbury - five days
June                    Witches walk - over several days walks with BowlandClimber
July                     SW Coast - Land’s End to Exmouth, 10 days
September          Torridon, caravan - 5 Marilyns

... and some I may have forgotten about. I shall continue to do whatever I can before signing up for the "other" knee.

Lost control of formatting on that second table.