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Monday, 27 May 2013

"Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?"

Thursday 23rd May 2013

Thursday walks with Pete finish at a café, and we have favourites within our familiar territory.

For some time we favoured Number 17 at Milnthorpe; it is close to home, coffee is 10 out of 10, and  leather armchairs provide comfort. Towards the end of our Lancaster Canal project I indulged in a piece of Rocky Road, a confection I had watched Nigella Lawson make. I was taken unawares when I nearly broke my multi-hundred-pound dental bridgework on a solid chunk which turned out to be a whole hard boiled sweet - I was told this was part of Number 17's recipe - it certainly wasn't part of Nigella's. I was not impressed. At the next visit "background music" was not background but loud pop, damaging to the ears, and impeding conversation. With consideration for my hopefully continued good health we haven 't been to Number 17 since.

Another port of call is Café Ambio at the Lakeland Motor Museum near Newby Bridge at the southern end of Windermere. Ambio also have a branch at Chorley, and puzzlingly they set up at the Le Mans 24 hour race (I must research the reason behind that). More relevant to Pete and myself, Kendal Livestock Auction Mart  recently relocated to palatial new premises close to Jct. 36 on the M6 only a few miles from Arnside, and Café Ambio are part of the deal. Coffee is again tops. There is background music but barely audible. Free wi-fi and leather settees also feature, and they make a flapjack with oats, treacle and fruit that is sticky, wholesome and to die for, and that is where we ended up last Thursday after a six mile walk in Kentmere.  

Down the Kentmere valley

An enlargement of the River Kent which provides good trout fishing available on day tickets

To the head of Kentmere.  Kentmere Pike on right. Ideal walking surface
This business of background music is tiresome in eating and drinking venues, but for sometime now it has become more prevalent and intrusive in television documentaries. I have read and heard from many varying sources about this irritation which leads me to believe that this is a majority objection, yet still these egotistic documentary makers persist. I have seen some excellent productions where this has  been the only fault, but unfortunately almost making them unwatchable.


welshpaddler said...

If musak has to be played they should supply headphones for those who wish to listen!

I feel for the shop assistants at Christmas, it must surely put them off Christianity!

i hope you have researched good coffee shops for your upcoming walk.

Anonymous said...

Curiously, I find that 'popular' classical music is the most annoying of such backgounds - apart from heavy metal and mindless thumping beat of course.
Possibly because those types of proprietors are often trying to say something about their precious selves and who/what their customers should be - it's quite natural in the Cafe Sacher or that divine little trat down the Veneto, but not that often in England, I find. A good guide would be - if the taxi drivers sing Mozart or Verdi, OK; if not, stick to musak: better than endless Vivaldi.

Roderick Robinson said...

You go into a museum and you're delighted it has Wi-Fi - in effect, the means to shout out the museum.

Roderick Robinson said...

That's "shut".

Sir Hugh said...

Welshpaddler - A few weeks ago I went to Lakeland Great Outdoors at Staveley. Radio 1 was playing so loud I couldn't even think. The music is bad enough, but the inane mindless chatter of the disc jockeys is even worse. I was in there less than two minutes - I just had to get out, and my thoughts were like yours wondering how the staff could spend a full working day there.


gimmer - I agree, except I'm not sure about singing taxi drivers.

Back in the sixties there was a pub somewhere in The Lakes, can't remember now where, but they played well considered posh music on a very good hi-fi system and we found that acceptable.


RR - Im not sure what you are inferring. You may use the Wi-Fi to research further about an artefact you were looking at, and sat in a quiet corner somewhere you would not be causing offence to others. If you were using the Wi-Fi to read and send e-mails, or to stream the current test match, or having it produce sound in any way, I agree, that may be considered crass.

With Pete at Café Ambio we used it to look at some rare and expensive plants being sold by a specialist on-line nursery that Pete was telling me about.

Anonymous said...

With reference to your comment about the 'noise' in LGO Stavely I remember a rare trip into Preston to buy a shirt. Whichever shop I was in at the time, I had the same experience, and had to retreat quickly to preserve my sanity. My sons couldn't understand how a head ache could come on so quickly! Think I've been scarred for life.

Sir Hugh said...

BC - Reminds me of our old friend Tony who went to buy shoes in a shop in Preston. They didn't have his size and suggested he may try their outlet in The Trafford Centre - Tony said, "I'd rather go to the top of this building and jump off".

There must be something about we outdoor types that causes the opposite of therapy from retail excursions, except when we are buying a new Paramo jacket or our umpteenth rucksack.

Anonymous said...

a bit off the beam but related to your last comment - I am trying to buy a large 'political' globe (to feed my long-harboured desire for world domination, in case you should ask) and thought that an Oxford Comprehensive Atlas of the World would do as a stop-gap: available in New York but not the OUP shop in 'The High' (IP rights restrictions) - but they suggested I get Amazon to import it for me . . . . .

(ps I think I have solved the comment post problem - it seems to work with Safari but not reliably with Opera - be afraid, very afraid!

Sir Hugh said...

gimmer - The OU atlas is available through ABE Books - just Google them and you'll find it. It looks as though they have agents in USA who will send it . Cost is £92 I think.

Good luck with your world domination.

Good to hear the posting problem is solved.

Sir Hugh said...

Gimmer - follow up from your recent email to me:

A book I read recently, On the Map by Simon Garfield, had a lot about globes in it including details of a guy in England who makes very expensive bespoke ones. It is all a fascinating anecdotal history of mapping and worth a read. I have looked at globes myself and even modest ones seem to be disproportionately expensive.

I think you need to get a shed in the garden and set up something like Churchill's War Room, preferably with a bevy of WRAF type young ladies pushing your world domination units around on a world map with long sticks - it was much more fun before computers came.