For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Compliments of the season

All the best to my readers, commenters and fellow bloggers.


Perhaps the most remote bothy in Scotland - OS grid NH 052 360.
 I stayed there - 17th June 2008 on my Land's End John 'o Groats walk

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Latest "round-up"

“There was a shepherd the other day up at Findon Fair who had come from the east by Lewes with sheep, and who had in his eyes that reminiscence of horizons which makes the eyes of shepherds and of mountaineers different from the eyes of other men.” 
― Hilaire Belloc

Nobody has ever commented on that kind of look in my eyes, but I live in hope.

On my birthday yesterday,  I received an unusual present from son W:  a shepherd's crook. W's thinking was that I would soon progress from crutches to walking stick, but knowing me suspected I would not want to be perceived as a feeble old man needing aid. The crook would provide a clever subterfuge.

Going along with Hilaire I should now have double reason for that look in my eyes, and watch out, any of you lot organising multi-person walks (Martin?); I now have the means to round you up and keep you in check, that is when Knee 2 is back on form after being replaced a few days ago.

I had a look to see if Findon coincided with any of my walks, but sadly not, but for any of you randonneurs marching on the Monarch's Way watch out for shepherds as you sneak through that town.

Exercises are going well, but I am feeling a bit woozy in the mornings, I am still taking pills for another couple of days. I did a nuclear stockpile of food prior to hospital, and installed a new freezer under the stairs to reduce tedious trips to the garage, and that has all worked well, but my stock of tea is diminishing rapidly. I had the dressing changed on Tuesday by the practice nurse and all looks  ok there, and I have an appointment next Tuesday to have the clips removed.

Back to the crook. My Thursday walks with Pete traditionally end up in Café Ambio which is attached to the livestock mart and well frequented by our local farmers. I don't think I would have the bottle to walk in there with my shiny new crook, but it may well get its chance when I am recovered enough to make my trillionth ascent of Arnside Knott.



Fine prose from Hilaire - it flows with a rhythm of delight.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Lord dismiss us with thy blessing...All who here shall meet no more

Sunday 3rd December 2017

Lines from the most joyous hymn which we sang as a prelude to the summer holidays at Bradford Grammar School - well I was dismissed (discharged ) from hospital yesterday equipped with boxes of pills, an ice pack thing to put in the fridge, and most useful of all, a lasso with two loops. One goes round my foot and then, to get into bed, I sit on the edge, haul Poorly Leg up, then swing the good leg up afterwards, and when getting up the good leg can go down first. This is still pretty painful, but I don't think there is any better method. I have found that in hospital we were using the wrong side of the bed, and now, at home I got son W. to shift my bed to make more room to get in from the other side, good leg first - a huge step forward.

I am walking on elbow crutches which means I can't carry much from room to room especially a tray of food from the kitchen. I have ordered a tea trolley from Amazon which should arrive tomorrow.

I have exercises to do and don't feel much like doing anything else at the moment. There is stuff scattered all over house making things untidy, and whilst I don't think I suffer from OCD I do like to keep things fairly straight and in their place,  and that all bugs me when I look round, but having a quick tidy is out of the question. Any walking about must be reserved for the priorities of eating, and toileting.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Oliver Sacks

I recently Read Oliver Sacks autobiography: On the Move. I recommend it

Sacks was British neurologist who only died a short time ago. He had a very eventful life rising to become one the most respected in his milieu, all well documented in this book .

Sacks spent most of his life in America. He found a rest home occupied by patients stricken with a Sleeping Sickness that had swept America between the two World wards. These patients were mainly in a catatonic and hopeless situation. He administered a drug called L-Dopa with amazing results bringing patients back to almost normal, but unfortunately for most only for a limited period. All this is outlined in the autobiography which was written much later.. He wrote a much more detailed account of individual case histories called: Awkakenings which I have now nearly finished here in hospital. Awakenings is as near as anything to an academic text book, but written with so much empathy and human understanding that I always wanted to read on. There are huge numbers of lengthy footnotes most of which I skipped.

In part of Sack's research and study he makes great importance of doctor and patient having a COMBINED mental approach and I found it fascinating that an academic of his standing was prepared to publish these almost metaphysical ideas - he ponders where this power for helping with neurological diseases can come from and how it can square up with the most up to date research in brain function. He also discusses the use of music (another very interesting section of suppositions and conjectures.)

 I was also impressed with the amount of knowledge sharing between OS and his many fellow scientific and academic friends and acquaintances.

My immediate reaction to things medical makes me squeamish, and often, in my own case, I think the less I know the better, so reading this was against the grain, but I know these two books and Sacks contribution to humanity will be stashed in my mental list of memorable books.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Knee operation 2

Operation went well yesterday. Mr P saw me afterwards, said he was pleased with the way it went. I am writing this after breakfast the day after, and so far I have no pain - i am dosed up with various pills and IV drips.

I am in a private room and all is comfortable with friendly and attentive staff.

Will be out of bed today and looking forward to bending my leg which at present is heavily bandaged

Breakfast today, note the posh serviette ring.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Early start tomorrow

I'm going to:
"Hit the road Jack......

...I'll have to pack my things and go...

...'cause i'll be back on my feet some day"

Tenuous use of pure nostalgia; watch the video.

Off for the op, to arrive tomorrow (Wednesday) 7:30am - subject to Mr. Patel being satisfied with the state of the wound on my ankle. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Plan B?

Last Thursday I caught the car door on my ankle causing a skin wound, yes, on the same leg as my proposed knee replacement a week tomorrow, Wednesday 29th November.

The nurse at my GPs yesterday described this as "a superficial skin flap." She has dressed it with a special concoction and told me to leave it alone until next Friday, and meanwhile told me to let the hospital know. There is a strong chance they may decline to operate. I have phoned them this morning and they are referring to the surgeon, so I am now awaiting their pronouncement.


Research now identifies the little hill I mentioned in my last post as Tarn Hill and not Hollow Stones. If you look at the map below you will see why I was mistaken.

There are two main sites that show the many lists of hills in the UK.
There are now over 60 different hill lists in the UK would you believe, with league tables of those who have made ascents and much other statistical information.

I was so excited to find that my little Tarn Hill is a TUMP (Thirty and Upward Metre Prominence)
It was even more exciting to find there are around 17,000 TUMPS. If you want to get a taste of how nerdy all this can become read about TUMPS from the extract in Hill Bagging below.

On the Harold Street site I have ticked off my Marilyns and my Munros and because most of these also qualify as TUMPS it seems that I have done 604 TUMPS putting me at 76th in the list. Top of the list is "rhw" with 11,323 ascents and the next nearest is miles away: Colin Crawford - 6489 ascents.

The Tumps (Thirty & Upward Metre Prominences) comprise all British hills with 30m or more of drop, with no minimum height. Thus it incorporates a number of other hill lists, and naturally owes its existence to many contributors over several years. With Alan Dawson - Simms, Michael Dewey - Deweys, David Purchase - Donald Deweys and Clem Clements/Tony Payne/Rob Woodall - Highland Fives comprising the portion of Tumps above 500 metres. Those Tumps below 500 metres comprise data originated independently by two people; Myrddyn Phillips - Y Pedwarau, The Fours and Y Trichant (400m Welsh, 400m English and 300m Welsh hills respectively) and Clem Clements - hills between 300 - 500 metres. The above listings paved the way for a complete listing of Tumps to be released by Mark Jackson in 2009, upon finishing three years of on and off research into the c.8,000 hills below 300 metres. This on and off research also duplicated parts of Myrddyn Phillips' Welsh P30 lists on the website, and the original list of Tumps was subsequently revised using data from the sub hills incorporated in these same lists.

The Tumps comprise nearly 17,000 hills and have been greeted by a mixture of enthusiastic bagging and the feeling that this is all a bit much. Andrew Tibbetts maintained and improved the list and in December 2011 released an Excel file containing the 10,000-odd hills not present in the DoBIH. This file became the P30 Appendix to the DoBIH in May 2013. It went through two revisions before being brought into the DoBIH in version 14.


My proposed route in blue.
 The pub by the church is the Punchbowl at Crosthwaite, one of the best eating pubs in our area.

Monday, 20 November 2017

A bit of fresh air

Although I have walked with Pete on Thursdays whenever possible whilst recovering from the broken arm, and then the failure of my other knee on 20th August I have not had a walk on my own. I enjoy walking with others for the company and conversation and general companionship, but when I am solo I have no worries about the other person or persons. Most of us are reluctant to express our true feelings or inclinations all the time, so fellow walkers may have preferred a different route, starting time, or distance, etc., and may also be irritated by diversions, loosing the way, inclement weather or other perceived downsides that may crop up, but they are reluctant to say so, and there I am worrying about those possibilities, whereas on my own I generally welcome (up to a point) challenges that crop up, and if not I can just be cross with myself, so there are no disguised feelings.

Yesterday, in a mood of frustration, despite the knee I looked on the map for a bit of flat, previously un-walked terrain near home, and off I went to the Lythe valley, a drive of twenty minutes.

The map below shows the land as flat and striated with drainage dikes and white (most likely unsurfaced) straight line roads. I parked on the yellow road, but on foot I was soon off onto the unsurfaced stuff, albeit still vehicle negotiable, not that any vehicles appeared. Dismal and chilly weather prevailed. I passed a ramshackle farm with many wooden outbuildings in a state of disintegration, and two long abandoned caravans coated with green mold - there was an atmosphere of hillbilly and Deliverance. I pretended I hadn't seen a decrepit sign saying "no access, no public right of way" and pressed on. The track was strewn with puddles from heavy overnight rain, and I was dodging from one to another, and then frequently switching between the twin tracks, always trying to decide which would give the better walking surface. There was a lone horse in the middle of a field with a blanket; he was looking so sorry for himself.

At the furthest north there was a three-way division of tracks. A middle aged couple were approaching from the most northerly and we met and chatted - he was a fellow knee replacement recipient, and by coincidence with an appointment next week to get his other one sorted. They appeared to be seasoned walkers, and like me they had been looking for territory near home that they had not covered before. They told me that they had been challenged at some time in the past by a farmer on the route I was on. They headed off to the west back down to the main road.

I turned to the east on a muddier lane for a while before heading south on better tracks to complete my circle. Although the sign had said "private" there was a public footpath across the middle of my circuit leading up from the A 5074 but strangely finishing at a dead end a little to the east of my lane. I looked out for the normal "public footpath" signs at both points where this path crossed my route but there were none. Half a dozen pheasants burst up from nowhere at one point. I had seen along the way a number of those blue plastic barrels that I think have something to do with feeding these doomed birds. A lone heron was flying away low over the field to my right.

Although this was a bit of a gloomy walk I felt refreshed and energised back at the car.

The stats: 2.39miles - 1.32 hours - 1.81mph.

At the furthest north I had spied Hollow Stones, 188m, a pleasant little hill a couple of kilometres further north, and I went by car to research the viability of a lane giving access. That looks like a pleasant little summer's evening stroll, whenever?

Monday, 13 November 2017

Waiting for opo.

On Sunday we went treasure hunting.

That was welcome therapy to detract from my painful knee, hip, and shoulder.

Daughter, High Horse (school teacher)  has a new project underway - as her brother W would say “she’s on one.” Granddaughter Katie, and I have been co-opted.

I am not sure what all this is about, but earlier in the week I was consulted on how to drill holes in glass. Within the family I have a modest reputation for DIY, but I think that is only because they have less aptitude than me. I recognised this as a challenge that High Horse knew I would be unable to resist. Normally I rebel when somebody poses the leading question “What are you doing on Wednesday?” If you reply “nothing” you are then doomed into an unwelcome  commitment, but on this occasion I decided to play chicken and asked no more about her need for holes in glass. There is some parallel here with my current reading, a bio-novel based on the life of Shostakovich* who refers to Stalin and subsequent communist tyrants as POWER and the author delves into Shostakovich's  guilt and feelings of cowardice at his repeated capitulation to POWER.  I was researching on You Tube pronto, then ordering the appropriate drilling bits on the Internet.

On Sunday it was suggested that I should join HH and Katie for an expedition to Half Moon Bay south of Heysham. There I was instructed to become a beachcomber and slowly scour sand and pebbles for pieces of washed up sea-glass. The glass is opaque as was my grasp at that time, and still, of the planned purpose. So there I was on a glorious sunny day, but with  perishing cold wind direct from Greenland with my Paramo jacket zipped up above my chin, hunchbacked, head down, and the cold starting to penetrate my several layers of clothing, limping slowly, and appearing as some eccentric to the abundant dog-walkers and family groups who were sensibly walking more quickly in the interests of keeping warm and self preservation. 

Katie joined in enthusiastically, perhaps she knew more than I did. I think others had been on that beach looking for our treasure - it was not all that abundant, but between us we collected what HH reckoned was sufficient and then we had  pure joy and fun with Katie flying her kite.

I am now waiting to be summoned to drill holes in glass, the reason for which is still unknown, perhaps it's on a need-to-know basis?

I think I'll go and listen to a bit of Shostakovich, or what about some  suitably abstruse Philip Glass?

* The Noise of Time, Julian Barnes

I have just received a call bringing forward the date for my knee operation to Wednesday 29th November.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Knee op 1

I have been offered a replacement knee operation at BMI private hospital in Lancaster under NHS with my surgeon Mr Patel.

Pre-op appointment - Wednesday 15th November.

Operation -                Wednesday 13th December.

They have also said the op could be sooner if they have any cancellations etc.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Arnside Fireworks 2017

Last night the tradition of fireworks on the prom at Arnside was continued, but building on the success of last year, and a splendid community effort, it was bigger and better than ever. A couple of stalls with burgers and drinks were added and the crowds were huge. The show is funded by voluntary contributions on the night and organised by our local community. This year money raised has, I think, doubled to something int he region of £6,600, so the omens are good for next year.

Here is a link to my little slideshow:

Click on the first thumbnail, then on "fullscreen" at the bottom.

Two Trips - addendum

Below are three maps to support my reply to RR's comments on the previous post: Two Trips:

The location of my car on Google Maps

Car was parked at southern end of the green route opposite Middle Low Wood

RR intimated that Ordnance Survey had blanked Sellafield, but here it is in great detail on the OS 1:25000 map

Friday, 3 November 2017

Two trips

Thursday 2nd November 2017 - Thursday walk with Pete

Eight o' clock, breakfast time; I go out to the garage to get bread for toast from freezer. Coming back I trip on the only step, it's not serious, but I skin a couple of fingers.

The cause: Crocs!

Not long ago I had a bad fall caused by wearing Crocs, slipping on wet tiles outside Aldi documented here:

Crocs are going in the bin.

I have worn them for years, but enough is enough. They are lethal in the wet, and because they are bulky and floppy they lead to slight misjudgements. I have read that they are banned for staff in some hospitals, especially in operating theatres.

This was Thursday walk day with Pete, but walking for me is not so good, and Pete is struggling with age and arthritis. I had thought we would go to Ambleside on a shopping trip, but the day was glorious and that was aborted and we managed to walk about three miles (there and back) north of Witherslack on a minor, grass-in-the-middle road with views down to the river Winster, and more distantly of the Lake District hills. I particularly enjoy these areas on the fringe of the Lake District with little ups and downs, rich green fields with rocky outcrops and largely unspoilt 17th/18th century cottages and farms. In those days they seemed to have a proficiency for nestling these buildings, oh so cosily into carefully selected havens in sympathy with the landscape, something that is not always achieved these days.

Returning to the car, which I had parked on the grass only two feet off the unfenced road we found we we were bogged down and all attempts to get back on the road just dug us in deeper. "Never fear" I thought, I'm a paid up member of Green Flag. Out with the iPhone - no signal with EE - a remote location with no passing traffic, and the cottages across the road unoccupied - doomy! BUT, Pete had two bars on Vodafone.

We got a guy at Green Flag with a strong Scottish accent who seemed unable to assimilate anything I said, but in the end we were fairly sure that we had been able to appraise him of our location, but then he would need to pass that on to another risking dilution - fingers crossed.

In this country we have Ordnance Survey mapping, the best in the world, which includes the OS Grid Reference system which positions a point on the map to within a few yards, but organisations seem reluctant to use it. I did try but I think the guy had no idea what I was referring to. The cottages opposite the car were named on the 1:50000 OS map which would have identified our position with no further detail required, but I suspect the guy was looking at Google Maps or some other inferior system. Why oh why?

We waited for an hour and three-quarters. That annulled our usual visit to Café Ambio, but I was back home in time for tea.


The car was parked just two feet off the road near here

Here and next - distant Lake District hills

There and back - south to north

Saturday, 28 October 2017

A knee to kneel on

On Tuesday 17th October I saw Mr. Patel, the surgeon who did my Knee-One replacement in May 2012.

With the various checkups and a proposed operation on Knee-Two last year which I aborted I have had quite a few meetings with Mr. P. and he is now like an old friend. He agreed straightaway that a replacement would be available for Knee-Two, but it would mean 3 to 6 months on the waiting list.

Then on Thursday this week I had a call from the waiting list people saying Mr. P. had needed to reschedule his list and would have a number of NHS slots at the BMI private hospital in Lancaster during November, and would I be interested. Would I!

I am now awaiting a call for a date for the pre-op examination and hopefully a date for the op. in November.

Fingers crossed.

My main worry now is the possibility of being stranded on the deck when  I get down there. When I stand up from lying on the floor (or getting out of the bath et al) I use one knee to aid that manoeuvre, and except for one occasion I have never kneeled on the operated knee, even though I have been told I could if I wanted, but I am very apprehensive about that. So with two dodgy knees I will have to work out a strategy.

I have had a few scrapes in my time when serious injury or worse could have been the outcome, but my nearest death event was the one time I used Knee-One to kneel on in September last year on the ascent of Lord's Seat in the Lake District - here is an extract from my post at the time - if you want to read the whole post got to:

"Then I saw a rock band ahead blocking the way, fortunately with a rake going diagonally left, but even that had a small rock outcrop halfway up, but I had no option. I had two attempts at that rock pitch, and got into a desperate situation and came very close to coming off. After instructing myself to suppress the fear I managed by kneeling on my replacement knee which is something I do not do, but now that really was the difference between achievement and what would have been a potentially fatal fall, and it had to be done. That was  serious."

Saturday, 21 October 2017


Yesterday I was sandbagged into a trip to Ikea but at least it was a chance to give my new car a good run. I swapped the Kia Soul (35 mpg only) for a Kia Ceed 1.6 CDi Sportage GT Line Automatic - how's that for a mouthful? The car was registered in January this year with only 3000 plus miles. It is very lively and so far doing about 50mpg against its claims for circa 60mpg, but whatever, that is a huge improvement on its predecessor and it is early days yet.

It seems granddaughter Katie is in need of a new bunk bed and various related accessories, so off we went along with daughter High Horse.

I have always pretended to hate Ikea, but in truth it is not a bad experience, and Katie was in her element. She was in and out and up and down amongst all the room layouts, and sampling all the cuddly toys with glee, but not demanding purchases, and not a single strop all the jolly day; Ikea is better than one of those new soft-play attractions designed for children.


Just to finish there is a short video - click the YouTube link below. 

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Internet reviews (follow-up)

This morning I received the following which at least demonstrates some motivation to sort things.

I have always said it is easy to provide good service - I think I used to do it as manager of three different branches of Yorkshire Bank Finance Ltd. BUT, the test comes when there is a problem. Any good manager should welcome such as an opportunity to demonstrate to the customer how good they can be WHEN IT MATTERS, rather than aggravating the customer's problem, and at worst humiliating them.

Dear Mr Robinson
Thank you for your email regarding your recent parcel.
I am sorry that your parcel was not delivered on the expected day, we work hard to provide our customer with high standard services. We appreciate the feedback you have provided us, this will help us to improve where we need to improve. 
I have checked your account and i see that the item was returned and refunded back to your account. Once again please accept my sincere apologies for the inconvenience that has been caused to you and your son.
If there will be anything you wish to be assisted with, please feel free to contact me.
Yours sincerely
Sammy Kamulo
Customer Service Team

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

What value Internet reviews?

In a recent post I mentioned my son losing his best friend. 

Cookie was found with head injuries having come off his bike, but it turned out cause of death was a heart attack. My son had elected to speak at the funeral and he needed a dark jacket, and as he is much oversize we sourced one at Jacamo on the Internet who specialise in o/s garments and boast of their next day delivery.

The order did not come next day despite confirmation email saying it would,  and a telephone call was met with complete intransigence and unwillingness to help in any way. The jacket eventually arrived too late and has been sent back, and the only thing I can say about Jacamo is that they made the refund promptly.

I then received an invitation to write a review. The exact wording has now vanished in the ether but was very similar to my account above. Here is their reply. You will note I had not mentioned the price or their competitors, only their poor service. 

Thanks Robinson,

We appreciate you writing a review for Flintoff By Jacamo Tweed Blazer.

Unfortunately your review did not meet our guidelines. We cannot accept reviews that mention the specific price you paid for the product, that refer to competitors or talk about customer service including delivery of the product. If you have a specific query about your order or Jacamo account, contact Customer Service drectly.

Please will you re-write your review?

Kind regards


J D Williams & Company Limited trading as Jacamo
Registered office: Griffin House, 40 Lever Street, Manchester, M60 6ES. Registered in England.
Registered in England Number: 00178367 
VAT registration number: 148 8796 03 

Monday, 16 October 2017

How many miles on a new knee?

Tomorrow I have my appointment with the surgeon who did my left knee replacement in 2012 with a view to now doing the same with my right knee.

I thought he may be interested to know how much his first effort has stood up to the rigours of walking. I don't keep very accurate records of mileages walked so the summary below is based more on days walking, and the mileage calculation at the bottom is an estimate. The table only includes continuous backpacking walks, daily walks from the caravan and completion of long distance paths on separate day walks. In addition to that I must have walked many hundreds of other miles on day walks from home. 

4th May       2012 - Knee operation

April            2013 -    10 days climbing hills in south of England (Marilyns)

June             2013 -    8 days walking -Lowestoft to Clacton, south east coast

June             2013 -    8 days walking - Cheshire Ring Canal and Sandstone Trail  
July             2013 -     6 days walking - Kennet and Avon Canal

July             2013 -     12 days walking - Severn Way and Brecon Canal
2013 -  50  days
February      2014 -    7 days with caravan climbing hills in Wales (Marilyns)

April            2014 -    6 days walking - Arnside to Wetherby

Jun/July       2014 -    15 days walking - Wetherby to Rutland.                                                     

July/Aug.    2014 -    12 days caravan climbing hills in Northumberland

Sept.            2014 -    17 days walking - SW Coast Path and Two Moors Way
2014 - 57 days
January.      2015  -     3 days walking - Cheshire Ring Canal

April           2015  -   11 days climbing hills in northumberland - caravan

May/June    2015 -    20 days walking - Macmillan Way - Boston/Abbotsbury.                                     

August        2015 -    14 days walking - Canal du Midi, FRANCE

Sept.           2015 -     20 days walking - Macmillan Way - Boston/Barmouth
2015 - 58 days. 
Jan/April    2016 -     Many day walks climbing all Wainwrith’s Outyling Fells in Lake District

March         2016  -   7 days walking - climbing hills near Ledbury - caravan - (Marilyns)

June            2016    -  5 x day walks Lancashire Witches Walk - 51 miles

July            2016 -    21 days walking - South West Coast Path

August.      2016 -    10 days walking climbing hills in Torridon - SCOTLAND - caravan.         

Sept.           2016 -   7 days walking - Northumberland Coast Path

Nov/Dec.    2016 -   7 day walks -Wyre Way

Jan/F/M.     2016 -    7 day walks - Cumbria coastal Way
2016 - 64 days
April           2017 -   7 days walking - Berwick to Weardale (broken arm 12th April)

August        2017 -     6 days walking - Weardale to Hellifield (right knee packed up).                 

2017 - 13 days
Total 242 days @ say 15 miles = 3630 miles

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Katie update

Granddaughter Katie will be 6 years old later this month - wow!

A couple of days ago I am driving with daughter, High Horse, and Katie in my car.

Katie is looking out of the window from her rear seat chattering away and giggling at her own jokes, but then quite seriosly she excalimes "those pylons look like the Awful Tower."

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The news

Big Brother (RR, who comments, usually critically, here) abhors Huw Edwards the presenter of BBC News at Ten. Whilst I am no fan of Huw I do find his manner boring, BBC superior, and a touch pompous, but that does not put me in RR’s camp of almost obsessional denigration. I have asked RR on several occasions to explain his dislike, a technique he invariably inflicts on others when they just say something is “good” or “bad.” He then demands that they should give detailed reasons. My questioning has resulted in uncharacteristic vagueness from RR that has not encouraged any empathy from me. 

Well, I invariably watch BBC News at Six usually avoiding HW, and often with the bonus of Fiona Bruce. For a long time I have also habitually tuned into BBC News at Ten, albeit spasmodically .

I was only about ten when TV first arrived in our house, then only with BBC. Being brought up in an intellectual family I remember personalities like Bronowski, Huw Wheldon,  A.J. Ayer, and Malcolm Muggeridge, and then I remember the kerfuffle when ITV and adverts were introduced. I inherited the impression that ITV was intellectually inferior, especially tainted with those adverts, and on the whole something to be avoided, and like the acute, and now irrational parsimony instilled in me during and after the War it is something I have never properly shaken off.

A few months ago I wandered over onto ITV News at Ten and found the news presented by Tom Bradby - what a revelation. This guy talks to you on a comfortable sort of one to one basis with little asides and personal hints of amusement and no condescension, and with a varied vocabulary uncluttered with stock phrases, but he also handles grave news with genuine feeling. The news coverage generally is more wide ranging than BBC and more inclined to report on a bit of speculation or rumour. For example, when some criminal has been apprehended the BBC will stick to the format of “a twenty four year old man was arrested” and nothing else, but ITV often seems to have unearthed more detail - some may say that could be undermining  prosecution or a fair trial, but what the hell!.

I now never watch BBC News at Ten, and have the advantage of comparing BBC’s News at Six with ITV’s presentation at ten.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Walking (sort of), NHS, reading, DIY

Pete was away in Anglesey this Thursday gone. We did walk the Thursday before down the prom at Grange-over-Sands on a blustery but sunny day.

For newcomers I am awaiting an appointment for replacement knee surgery ( the other one was done in May 2012.) I am making a note of progress towards that event.

8.9.17.   Appointment with GP who said he would refer me to consultant (Mr. Patel who did the last one), and sent me to Kendal hospital so that an x-ray is on the record.

15.9.17.  Phoned hospital to check if referral received. NO! Phoned GP's surgery and discovered it was only sent on 14.9.17.

22.9.17.  Phoned hospital. Referral received. Appointment with consultant predicted for 8 to 10 weeks (i.e approx. end of November.) I asked if there were any cancellations could I be considered. They were friendly but said they were rare but I was welcome to ring, say weekly to see.

27.9.17    Phoned hospital again and, joy of joys, was given an appointment to see Mr. Patel on 17.10.17. so I am now a month and a half ahead of schedule.

As I have learned over the years a bit of polite making your voice heard with the NHS can work wonders.

In the meantime my knee is giving serious pain, but mainly at night in bed and I have been seeing every hour on the clock through the night. I can walk reasonably well with a stiff leg but there is no pleasure in it and I have been confining myself to DIY projects at home and reading. I have ripped out a 30 foot dying hedge in my front garden and erected a paling fence in its place which I hope to camouflage with rambling roses. I am no gardener and am always amused with the tv programmes when they get excited at the end of a garden makeover with the cliché phrase "the planting is the best part." Well for me none of gardening is the best part, but on this occasion, after all the hard work the planting may well be.

Reading has included A Kind of Blue - Ken Clarke's autobigraphy - a bit boring, and curently halfway through Structures by J E Gordon. This is a serious, but half entertainingly written account of the surprisingly fairly recent application of science to  stresses and strains and the like in materials including biological as well as man made constructions. The sub-title reads "...or why things don't fall down."
Walking down the prom at Grange-over-Sands with Morecambe Bay on the left and a huge variety of shrubs and flowers in beds on the right - these stretch for a good kilometre making an attractive and colourful display at all times of the year
Despite blustery wind causing flora to sway and twitch I managed some reasonably sharp photos

Back across Morecambe Bay to Arnside. My house is behind the fold of hill indicated by the red arrow

Harvest Moon
 I took this on Thursday night, hand held, sitting in my armchair, through the window and was astonished at the result. If you click to enlarge you can see several shooting stars and millions of other stars I could not see normally - it is on ten times zoom

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Two Thursday walks and an update

Well I'm still here. Two weeks without a post!

Unfortunately going back about ten days I received news of three deaths on three successive days. My old friend from the Bradford climbing days in the late fifties and early sixties Mike Dickson who some readers here would have known died suddenly, but I only heard about that a couple of weeks after the event. The next day Pete, another member of that  group now living in Arnside and with whom I walk on Thursdays rang me. Pete, along with another neighbour, have been looking after an aged gent across the road called Oswald and doing his weekly shop for the last couple of years or so. Pete had gone across as usual the day he rang me to find Oswald had died sitting in his chair, so Pete was involved with all the formalities that followed. The day after my son William rang me in tears to say his best friend Cookie had been found dead in Preston after coming off his mountain bike - it later transpired he had suffered a heart attack.

Also during this two week period my iPhone had stopped connecting to WiFi - it is out of guarantee and I had bought it outright. I made an appointment with the Apple shop in Manchester's Trafford Centre. They replaced the phone, like for like, free of charge, and also happily transferred the contents from old phone to new. Their contactabilty and service has hugely improved.

Back home I found my Memory Map maps (all of Great Britain OS 1:25000 and OS 1:50000) had not come across. After a short exchange with Memory Map by email I got the 1:25000 re-downloaded - Memory Map responded to my emails within an hour - another huge improvement in help and service. I had more trouble with the 1:50000 because the files were on my computer and needed transferring via iTunes, one of the most un-user-friendly software packages known to me. In order to get to the  page to show Apps and "device" i.e. the iPhone you have to click on a tiny, oblong unidentifiable icon about an eighth of an inch by a sixteenth. There is no  mention of the word Apps in any of the dropdown menus or elsewhere that I could find - it is like having a car manual that that doesn't mention oil or brakes. Somewhat to my humiliation I was pointed in the right direction by Memory Map.

Then, my oven ceased to work and on one of two Thursday walks with Pete I ordered a new one at Appliance Direct in Morecambe. I hesitated at deciding to pay £69 for it to be installed on delivery but it turned out to be the best money I've spent for a long time. The oven was supposed to slide in on rails which needed to be screwed to the insides of the units, but my space was not suitable. The fitting guy ingeniously took the legs off the old oven and fixed them on the new - it would have taken me all day to sort, if at all. We then discovered that the gap between units and an inward opening kitchen door prevented removal of the old oven. As the guy was pondering this problem I went back to some work in my garage and then shortly after I came back and he had managed to extricate the oven - how I have no idea.

I have had two short Thursday walks with Pete, about three miles each, partly due to poor weather and my on-going knee affliction which is getting worse. I have now confirmed the hospital have received my gp's referral and the appointment with the surgeon will be eight to ten weeks away. I can ring periodically to see if they have had any cancellations.

The first of the two two walks was down the prom from Morecambe to Heysham, and the second  walking north up the prom from the Battery. Here are a few photos.


A number of water fountains spurt spasmodically - these dogs were frolicking and having a ball 

North to Morecambe and across the bay to the Lakes

Stone graves at St Peter's church, Heysham

On the second walk - across the bay to the Lakes. Grange-over-Sands prominent when you click to enlarge

Zoom to Ingleborough from my living room window - I liked the mélange of colours in the clouds

The ash tree at the top of my drive. It was only a dwarf when I came here sventeen years ago.
Now it sheds sticky seedy things onto my car and dead branches onto the grass, and interferes with my incoming telephone line, but despite all that I am sort of imprsseed with it - I just wonder how much bigger it is going to grow. The wind was blowing hard so definition suffered.

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