Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Visit to Haughton Green

This is Haughton Green Methodist Church. It is two hundred years old this month and today we went to a service that was part of a series to celebrate that venerable age. Unfortunately it is showing real signs of age, and this winter, which was one of the hardest winters I can remember, has played its part in damaging the fabric of the church. If I understood what I was told, the congregation will soon have to leave this old building and move their church across the road into what is currently the Church Hall. That will be a huge wrench for a lot of them, and many of the congregation are getting older. 

We were there because one of our friends, John, was taking the service and preaching there today. John is Australian and lives in Adelaide, normally, but he, and his wife Janette, are over here on a twelve week holiday. Back in 1998, when Pat and I were still both teaching we both ended up having surgery within a week of each other. So we were both off work for an extended period of time. While we were off work, the School had to find people to do our jobs. Pat's replacement was Janette who was living in England while her husband, John, was over here as a Missionary. I always loved the idea of this Australian minister coming back to the Mother Country to bring the word of God to the savage Brits.

John is a minister in the Uniting Church of Australia. I believe that the Uniting Church was formed in the 1970's by the amalgamation of the Presbyterian, Congregational and Methodist Churches in Australia. So when he came to Britain, he took a post as a Minister in the Methodist Church. Pat and I are Anglicans, Members of the Church of England. So we actually attend a Parish Church in Mottram. But the two churches are really quite close, the Methodist Church broke away from the Church of England in the 1800's. So I don't think that we will get kicked out of our Church for heretical actions.

The Church at Haughton Green was having a Flower Festival this weekend. I think that they have them every four years or so, though I must admit that I'm far from certain. There were lots of very substantial flower arrangements there today and I admire the work that has gone into creating them. I'll put a photograph of one of the arrangements at the bottom of this post, which is coming up rapidly because I'm running out of things to say. well, no, I've got lots to say but not enough energy for tonight. I think that part of it is my taking anti-histamine to stave off the hay fever that I often suffer at this time of year. I take pills that are advertised as being non-drowsy, but every year, when I take them, I feel really tired compared to most times.

So anyway, we parted from John and Janette and we probably won't see them again for another two years, but it's always nice to know that on the day that we meet up with them again, it will be as if we had never been apart. They are really good people. I just wish that I was anything like as good.

Ah well, another day, another taler. See you again quite soon, if we are spared. Sleep well.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

28 days later

The phrase, "Hoist by his own petard" springs to my mind. I have always thought that phrase had something to do with a small naval flag. I must admit that I never really saw why being hung up by your own flag was such a bad thing, but I've always thought that "hoist by your own petard" meant that you had got caught out doing something you were ashamed of.

Like going on about how good you had been putting a post on the blog every day. And look at this. I think that it is actually more than 28 days later, but that was the name of a film, it seems appropriate, though I think it was a film about "zombies" taking over the earth, so it is not at all appropriate really. Oh, to damnation with it!

Anyway, getting back to being "hoist by my own petard", I discover that it means something else entirely. It appears that a petard was "an explosive charge or grenade that was used to blow a hole in a door or wall or even a fortification". Being a French word, Danielle will be sitting there saying "I knew that, it is a french word". I also discovered that it is related to the French word peter which means "to break wind". So finally, after many, many years I understand something that a young Frenchman called Jean-Francois who was staying at my parent's house when I was about 13, apologised for saying, when my Dad thought he had simply been calling out his name. (My Dad was called Peter.) Aha!

So anyway, to be hoist with your own petard means to be the victim of your own attempt to hurt someone else, and I was not trying to do that, so it was an inappropriate thing to say. Neh mind, eh!

I've discovered two other things that I want to share with you all, (all two or three of you readers). The first is about today. I was messing about with Wikipedia. I read an article the other day that told how to use Wikipedia to create PDF books which can be read off-line. About a week ago I happened to be surfing through some of the hundreds of TV channels that you can receive on SKY, when I came across a TV station that was rebroadcasting "Babylon 5" from the beginning. Babylon 5 was one of my favourite series when it first came out and I watched it from beginning to end, quite religiously. By chance I came upon this channel just as it was showing the first episode of Series 2 when Sheridan first arrives on Babylon 5. It really took me back. I am quite a fan of Bruce Boxleitner and I rather think that he is a much under rated actor, but that is just my opinion. So I was looking up details of the characters and I found quite a lot of information on Wikipedia, which, as you will know, treats the characters in some TV and novel series as if they were real people. Daft but fun. Then I found this thing about making books in PDF format using Wikipedia. So I was just having a play when my eye fell on the "THIS DAY IN HISTORY" tab. I am a history freak, only right and proper when you have been a History Teacher for so many years.

So what caused my attention to be caught, I hear you bellow in exasperation. On this day, 350 years ago, Old Rowley came home from his holiday in Holland. That makes sense doesn't it. Old Rowley is the familiar nickname that was used to speak of our most illustrious King Charles, the second of happy memory to bear that name. Charles Stuart, King Charles I was executed by order of the Commonwealth Government in January of 1649. For Eleven years and a few weeks England was a Republic. No King or Queen. No President either, the idea being far too new. Instead we had the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell (who happens to be a bit of a hero of mine, but more of that another day.) Cromwell died in 1658 and there was a bit of a mess for the next two years while various people tried to sort things out. Then in 1660 General George Monk marched his Regiment of the New Model Army towards London. The rest of the New Model Army just sort of faded away, leaving Monk's Regiment, a Guards Regiment, raised in the village of Coldstream on the Scottish border, as the first Regiment to be formed in the Modern British Army. Once he signed the Declaration of Breda, the dead King Charles I's son, Charles, became King and England was restored to a Monarchy. And this happened on 29th May, 1660. There you jolly well go.

Here is a picture of Charley:

One of my favourite Kings of England. I have always believed that he had a good sense of fun, and he was very fond of Oranges!

The other thing that I have discovered today, and this is a lot smaller and more significant in many ways, is that the translation engine in Microsoft Bing appears to be a damned site better than the translation engine in Google that I have always used up to now. I was looking at Danielle's Blog, and noting that she has obviously given up on me because everything is in French, and I was getting to really enjoy her Paris Travelogues which were usually in English. Anyway, I started using Google Chrome the other week as my main Browser, just to give it a good trial. And I have been using Bing as my main Search Engine. I'm reading Danielle's Blog when I see a little message at the top of the screen. It says "This Page is in French. Would you like to translate it into English Yes / No". So I clicked on YES. Well you would, wouldn't you. And it really didn't seem to bad. It did seem better than the last time that I used Google Translate when the result appeared to be in Serbo Croat. So I'm quite happy really.

So not at all a bad day. I've written in my blog for the first time in a month. I had a really nice walk with my dog, Jasper. (We went out at 6.10 am and got home at 8.15, he had two good runs off his lead and we walked around the woods above Gamesley.) Had a lovely meal accompanied by a delightful glass of Rioja. (Now you know why I have written such a load of old drivel tonight.) Watched Doctor Who. and I have avoided the Eurovision Cheating Contest by dint of writing my Blog.

It has been a good day. See you all soon. Keep the faith!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sun day. Ha, that was a misnomer if ever there was one!

Okay then, I failed miserably. I was intent on putting in a blog every day, but I missed Saturday out. Shame, but there you go. On Saturday I don't think that I even sat down at the computer. I had a very enjoyable Friday Evening out, visiting a Chapter in Manchester. An exceptional meal to celebrate St George's Day but a late night return to my home and fireside.

So I got up late on saturday and took Jasper for a good run on the local school field, before the local youth took over the field in the afternoon. Then we had a pleasant shopping trip to one of the Supermarkets in Hyde, including lunch after which I snoozed away the rest of the afternoon.

Patricia cooked me a wonderful meal of steak and salad and I enjoyed a couple of glasses of the most wonderful crisp, light Sancerre. OK, you should not drink a beautiful white wine with beefsteak, but I don't care, it was lovely.

Then Jasper and I went for a second walk, including another run on the field, and I returned to watch various low and uncultured episodes of TV, such as Dr Who. I do like the new Doctor, Matt Smith, there really is something "alien" about him. And so to bed.

Today the whole of the morning was spent at Church. It was our Annual Church Meeting after a truncated morning service. I'm Secretary of our Parish Church Council so I had to take minutes. Then home for a bacon sandwich. Then we settled down and watched an episode of "The Good Wife". I don't know what it is about that series, but I really do enjoy it. Julianna Margulies, who we used to watch in the early days of "ER" is really very good. So an enjoyable hour spent lounging around.

Then doggie walking time including another good free run on the local field followed by one of our usual shortish walks along the paths in Dinting Vale. But there wasn't anything really that I found interesting to photograph today, so I will go without a photo rather than using a photo that doesn't belong to today.

Then Dinner and the monthly ritual of paying Bills over the Internet Banking system. And here we are.

The weather has not been good today, though. After some two or three weeks of glorious sunshine, today the rain returned with a vengeance. So jasper and I both had a shower this afternoon. The weather girl says it will be drier again tomorrow. I'll be sure to let you know!

Sweet dreams!

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Calico Printer's Clerk

I think that under normal circumstances I would have left the blog today. I have a great deal to do and I have been invited to a meeting in Manchester this evening. I'm looking forward to it a great deal but, since it is in Manchester it will take organising. Parking alone can be a nightmare in Manchester and the place I'm going to was built in 1900 and so does not have any parking of its own. So I will park in the carpark of what used to be called Kendal Milne. Funny that, they changed the store name to House of Fraser ten years ago, but everyone still salls it Kendals. Ho hum.

I thought that I'd share two pictures with you today. The first is a stile. I like stiles as they usually let you have access to places that they don't really want you to go. So they let you walk through farmers fields where vehicles cannot go, and where they don't want the animals to go to either. The funny thing with this stile is that it is at the bottom of the path down the back of Oakfield Road. It stands to one side of the path and you don't need to use the stile because there is no fence alongside it. You just walk down the path. So I think that this stile must be a hangover from those days when the whole of the Green lane Estate, which Oakfield Road is a part of, was farmers fields. I don't think that was too long ago. My friend Alan, who lives in a lovely little cul-de-sac called "The Rushes" tells me that he can remember when the space behind hadfield Roadm which is where the Green lane estate is, was just farmer's fields. I guess the estate was built in the 60's & 70's, but that was a long time before we moved here in '83.

Anyway, I like stiles, so you can enjoy it with me. The second picture is of something much older, but how old I have no idea. Down at the bottom of Dinting Arches, just before we turn off to walk along Triffid Alley to the back of Carpenter's Foam Factory. The land dips towards the river. This very old piece of wood stands there. There are various bits and pieces of things around that suggest that there might have been an industrial past to this bit of river bank, but nothing really substantial. To me, this looks rather like an old gate post, but there is no sign at all of its partner and it would be a very strange gate if it only had one post. But I cannot think of anything else it might have been. To see what remains, it is too substantial to be a fence post, but I really do not know.

I like Industrial Archaeology. In this part of the world, the North West of England, one of the cradles of the Industrial Revolution, there are all sorts of remains of a very different past. Not far from this piece of wood is the building that, until about 1900, was a Calico Printing Factory. There were never very many of them, I think.

Which brings me to something else. We haven't had a poem for ages, so I thought that I'd include not exactly a poem, but the words of a Broadside Ballad. I heard this folk song for the first time sung by Mike Harding many years ago now. I rather think that it was this song and one or two others that set me on my love of folk music and Industrial Heritage. Anyway, to tie in with the Calico Print Works, here are the words of 

The Calico Printer's Clerk

In Manchester, that city of cotton twist and twills,
There lived the subject of my song, the cause of all my ills.
She was handsome, young and twenty, her eyes were azure blue
Admirers she had plenty and her name was Dorothy Drew.
Chorus (after each verse):
She was very fond of dancing, but allow me to remark That one fine day she danced away with the calico printer's clerk.
At a private ball I met her in eighteen sixty-three;
I never will forget her, though she was unkind to me.
I was dressed in the pink of fashion, my lavender gloves were new,
And I danced the Valse Circassian, with the charming Dorothy Drew.

We schottisched and we polkaed to the strains the band did play;
We waltzed and we mazurkaed and she waltzed my heart away.
I whispered in this manner, as around the room we flew
Doing the Varsovianna, "Oh I love you Dorothy Drew.”

For months and months attention, unto her I did pay
Till, with her condescension, she led me quite astray.
The money I expended, I'm ashamed to tell to you
I'll inform you how it ended with myself and Dorothy Drew.

I received an intimation she a visit meant to pay
Unto some dear relations who lived some miles away.
In a month she'd be returning, I must bid a short adieu
But her love for me was burning, oh deceitful Dorothy Drew.

At nine o'clock next morning to breakfast I sat down
The smile my face adorning it soon changed into a frown.
For in the morning papers, a paragraph met my view
That Jones, the calico printer's clerk, had married Dorothy Drew.

She was very fond of dancing, but allow me to remark
That one fine day she danced away with the calico printer's clerk.

The notes in the book where I find these words say, " The Calico Printer's Clerk is a broadside ballad unearthed by a group in the Preston reference library and set to a tune by [Dave] Moran. It tells the tale of a twee young gentleman, a cruel but beautiful young lady, and the eponymous clerk, who quite literally waltzes off with the girl in the end. It is full of rich, period detail from the 1860s, including lines like the gentleman's remark: “I was dressed in the pink of fashion; my lavender gloves were new.” It also details the trendy dances of the time, mentioning schottisches, varsoviennes, polkas, mazurkas, waltzes, and circassians as it relates its sadly comical tale."

Ah dear, unrequited love, it gets me every time. It would have been me, you know, spending all of my money on the flighty flibbertigibbet, only to see her ride off into the sunset with the callow, unfeeling Calico Printer's Clerk. By gad sir!
See you tomorrow, if we're spared!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

An Adventure

Jasper and I had a real adventure today, a complete first. We started off by walking to Broadbottom, which is nice because if we go along Hague Lane it is really quite an easy walk, but there is almost no traffic at all, so Jasper gets to walk loose on his 7 metre lead. The sun was shining and it was another absolutely glorious day.

This is a view along part of Hague Lane, getting on towards Broadbottom. We did this walk at the end of January. Then it was a beautiful, but cold day. Today I was in shirt sleeves and it was glorious.

When we got into Broadbottom we turned up the Hill and had a quick look at Gibble Gabble. This picture is just to prove it is there. As far as I can tell it is a real street, but it looks more like a small lane. It's called Gibble Gabble because it twists and turns as it rises up the hill. Where I come from we would call it a "Ginnel", which is also a path or lane. I love the old dialect words that are dying out.

Then we walked up to the Railway Station and bought our tickets. I went to the ticket window and asked for one and a dog to Dinting, and Jasper jumped up alongside me as if to say, "I'm the Dog", but I didn't get a picture of that. The picture above shows Jasper waiting for his train. Isn't he sweet.

Jasper seemed quite impressed by his first Train Adventure. He thought that it was Magic that when he had walked to Broadbottom, he jumped into a magic box that made some strange noises, but didn't bother him at all. Then when the doors opened, he jumped out and he was in Dinting. It was definitely magic, getting from Broadbottom to Dintting without walking.

Then we walked home. Nice adventure. Also, it opens up the door for other adventures, because now we can take the train to lots of exciting places and then do our walk from there, or take the train to somewhere and then walk home. There are some lovely walks in and around Broadbottom that I have never done so far, but now I can, and all for a couple of pounds.

I'll finish off with a picture of one of our Orchids. I'm really proud of this. We bought it 18 months ago in Tesco for 10 pounds, a cheap one left over that didn't even have a posh base. It had three flowers and they stayed for about five months, then it died. Both of its stems dried out and went brown and there was nothing left but three green leaves. I was going to throw it in the compost heap, but a friend told me to keep it and keep watering it. All through last Summer, Autumn and Winter it was just three green leaves. Then just after Christmas, a new stem began to form, buds formed on it and about two weeks ago it started to burst into flower. It now has more flowers on than when it was new. 

I think it is gorgeous and I'm dead proud of it. So here it is, the Pink and White Orchid.

Love you and leave you, then! Till Tomorrow! By the way, Pat had a fall yesterday and has grazed her face quite badly. Her left eye is turning purple and she has large red patches over her eye, but she won't let me put a picture on the blog in case it gets an X certificate. Poor lamb!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Nab

Bit late in the day for blogging really, at least at my age, but I want to try and put something on every day for now, even if it is just a trial.

I didn't get out with Jasper until quite late this afternoon, just other things to do in the morning.

I walk along this path almost every day at some point, this is the point when you come out of the back lane that runs up behind the school, and head across to the path that goes down to Dinting. Maybe not everyday, but very often. I've taken photographs of this on several occasions, but today, the sky was so blue and so clear that I just had to take a picture.

The hill in the distance is, I think, The Nab. I'm not terribly good at the names of hills and such like, there are, after all, a lot of them about, but as a name The Nab will do for now.  It isn't a brilliant photograph, but I think it is rather nice. On a day like today, I think that I am a very lucky boy.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Day of the Triffids

Just a brief one today, I've got a lot on, but I'm trying to put something on the blog each day. It won't last but if you don't try.

Walking down by the pool at the back of Carpenters, alongside the Brookfield Brook, these things are growing fast, all over the place.

I am convinced that they are Triffids. If you don't know what a Triffid is then I'm ashamed. The killer plants out of John Wyndham's classic SciFi novel. But this is certainly them.

There are millions of them. Soon I will not be able to walk along this path, until Autumn, and that is a real shame because the alternative is walking along the main road, or finding another short walk.

Seriously, I assume that they are just weeds. They aren't Japanese Knotweed or anything more perfidious are they. I shall stick with Triffids. Does anyone know what they really are? Daniele, you are a gardener?

Hopefully, If I'm not eaten by the Triffids whilst sleepwalking, I shall see you tomorrow.


Monday, April 19, 2010

A Passionate Woman

Okay, my taste in television runs to Science Fiction and Adventure. So I like things like 24 and Battlestar Galactica and the like. It takes a lot to get me to write about Romantic Drama, but here goes.


I've been rivetted to the BBC on Sunday Evening watching this wonderful drama. Written by the inestimable Kay Mellor this was the story of Betty who, when she was a young bride in the 50's, fell in love with, and had a brief "affair" with the young Polish man who lived downstairs from her.

The program showed over two, 90 minute episodes. In the first episode Betty was played by Billie Piper and her husband Donald by Joe Armstrong. The Polish love interest Crais was played brilliantly by the smouldering Theo James. At one time Billie Piper was a bit of a teeny pop star, but since her acting career took off I've been more and more impressed by her.


In the second programme, Sue Johnstone took over the role of Betty and Alun Armstrong that of Donald.

The story takes up something like 30 years after the events of the first programme and one of the remarkable things is the similarity of the appearance of the different actors who take the parts. In the case of Alun and Joe Armstrong, that's because they are father and son, but the women and some of the minor parts have a strong familial look as well.

An excellent play, based on real life, brilliantly written by Kay Mellor. You might like to read her thoughts on the story on the BBC Blog at but whatever you do, if you get a chance to watch this superb play, take the opportunity. You will not regret it.

To the Woods, To the Woods

I have no idea what happened to the blue skies today. I got up this morning and the rain was falling quite heavily. Breakfast TV said that it was another warm dry day, shows just how little the Meteorological Service knows about the weather. It's now tea time, or it will be soon, and it is still heavily overcast. So today, I thought that Jasper and I would walk to Glossop over Castle Hill. Castle Hill sort of looms up in a fairly quiet way as I look out of the window of the Pig Sty. (I need to explain that in case you think I'm some sort of Pork Farmer. Our little bedroom at the front of the house is my "study", but since I'm one of the untidiest of God's creatures, I call it the Pig Sty. It's also because I sort of collect Piggy Banks, but not as many as I used to do. That makes sense, doesn't it. Doesn't it?)

So we set off at about 11 am and walked up the hill to Bankswood Park. Our park is not a pretty park with flower beds such as they have in Glossop. It's more of a green field or two on a slope. At the back of the park is a wood. So you walk up a footpath at the side of the park, then walk up another footpath at the top of the wood. It's nice when it has been dry, which it has, when it has rained a lot the footpaths turn back into streams. Today it was nice, but it will be nicer still when the trees get their leaves on them. The picture at the top of the blog is taken from the top of the park looking down the slope into the body of the wood.

When you get to the end of the wood you can follow a footpath that leads along to the cemetry, but it is still too muddy to go along that path as yet, so we turned up the path and ascended to the top of Castle Hill. Here is a picture of the turning point.

It may not be pretty, but it has a rugged charm all of its own. You follow this path up for maybe ten minutes, and remember that I'm still not walking that well, but it really isn't too steep. Anyone who is a good walker will regard todays walk as a gentle stroll to get the morning paper. Castle Hill is reputed to be an Iron Age Hill Fort and it is marked on the O S Map, but not as an antiquity. It is certainly the highest place around us and you do get a lovely view from the top. I didn't take a picture of the view today as it was bleak, cold and quite miserable. However, on the top is what I think may have been a bit of a quarry at some time in the past, so I took a photo of that. I'll stick that at the bottom of the post.

Then it is up and over the summit, past the repeater mast for our Television Broadcasts and then a steady descent down Ashes Lane. At the bottom of the lane you come out onto Dinting Road so I returned home by way of one of my usual shorter walks through the fields below Dinting Road.

A very pleasant walk taking about 2 hours. Back home just in time for a lunch of Pitta Bread with salad and Caramelised Onion Houmous. Very nice indeed.

I think that my Digital Photography Class resumes at Evening School this evening, so I am looking forward to that. Here is the picture I promised you, and I'll sign out until we meet again.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Down By The Riverside

I've got 30 minutes before "A Passionate Woman part 2" is shown on the BBC and I don't want to miss it, so I'll try to be quick.

After what I said in my previous post, the photographs in todays post were taken on Thursday. I spent Friday and Saturday working on the computer but on Thursday, Jasper and I had a good walk. We set off towards Broadbottom again, following Hague Road, as we have done before. Today, though, I didn't want to go all the way to Broadbottom because it seemed like a long way, I didn't want to struggle back home along a different and quite difficult path and I didn't have any money with me. If I had I would have walked to Broadbottom and taken the train home.

So we went halfway and I saw a Public Footpath sign to Woolley Bridge, which is a mile from home. A new path, a new adventure. So I took it. About a third of a mile along I was pointed over a stile and into a wood with a tributary of the River Etherow running through it. At first it was easy going, but it got steadily worse. Lots of little bits of water running down the steep hillside had turned stretches of path into almost liquid mud. Ground that looked flat and solid under a coating of last Autumn's leaves turned out to be soft and clingy mud under a thick coating of last Autumn's leaves. At times I was quite worried because my left knee is still not terribly strong and I was worried about slipping and hurting myself. Still, I had my walking pole with me, and my mobile phone (though God alone knows how anyone would have got to me if I had really hurt myself.

Still, we persevered, Jasper and me. Some of the mud must have had some rusty iron in it because he scrambled through one patch of mud and came out of it the colour of saffron. Eventually, we got out of that marsh bit. I had to climb a wall to get back onto solid footing, then lift Jasper up and over the wall as it was just a bit too high for him to jump. But he enjoyed it very much, as did I. It was very, very quiet, with just bird song for company. Lots of farm fields, but no animals despite the lovely weather. Don't seem to be many farm animals about anywhere in the valley this year. That is probably a telling statement. We were back home by 1 pm, Jasper had a shower in the garden with the hose pipe, which he hated, and I took my boots off and put my feet up for an hour.

Here are some photographs of things I saw along the way.

This picture shows the stream through the woodland. You can see the carpet of Autumn leaves. The ground along the river bank looks solid, but it was deceiving and very muddy.

A bit further on there was a rather nice bridge over the Etherow and I just thought that this view down the stream was pretty neat. Look at the sunshine on the branches and the blue sky reflected in the water.

I saw these huge fungii growing off one of the branches of an old tree. Maybe the tree was dead, but I don't know. The fungii looked like plates, or flying saucers, growing out of the side of the tree. Fascinating.

And right in the middle of the wood we found a rather strange little stone build box with two windows looking totally unused. Just outside was a small bridge (on the right of the picture) and a strange iron pipe. Inside the building (the picture didn't work) was some more iron work. maybe at one time this was part of some sort of pump. Who knows.

Anyway, it was a hard but enjoyable walk on a beautiful day. Let us just hope that we have many more such days this year.

Until we meet again, sweet dreams. Jasper says "woof" and I'll leave you to work out what he means, but he had two very good runs today so he is probably dreaming of rabbits that run fast, just fast enough to chase.

M67 on a Rainy Day - A critique

I'll start with a bit of a moan, which will get me nowhere at all but it will make me feel that I've said what I believe. About a week ago I came across a blogsite called "Paris Daily Photo". This led me to a site called "City Daily Photos" and thus to a network of blogsites which provide a Daily Photo from cities round the world. I've bookmarked a few to keep an eye on, and put myself in as a follower on one or two. At first I was really interested by the idea of chronicling my town by taking a photograph everyday, and I might still do so, even though Glossopdale does not meet with my concept of a "city". After all, the thing that takes me so long is typing all of these words. If all that I did was take a photo and bung it onto a blog, perhaps with a few sentences of explanation (but not even that most of the time) it would be quite easy. Certainly easier than writing a small essay every few days.

But one thing has rather spoiled that for me. About four days ago the website for the "Hyde Daily Photo" featured a picture of the M67 Motorway on rainy day. Now I won't criticise the photography, after all I don't claim to be a good photographer myself, but I do question the subject matter. You see, on the day that photo was published it was one of the nicest days of the year so far. It was a blue sky day, it was warm and the day was clear and bright, and on this day the daily photo for Hyde shows a miserable rain drenched stretch of the M67 Motorway. But Hyde is just over the hill from Glossop. I can drive to that point on the motorway in ten minutes and the motorway was not rain drenched on that day. And hadn't been for at least a week. I'm afraid that I regard that as a cop out. What is the point in having a Daily Photo Blog if your photo is not taken on that day. To me it is cheating. If you ever read this Gerald, please don't do this. I don't care if you have been running your photo blog for four years or forty. If you cannot show photos of that day, why bother at all. Mind you, I don't think that you will ever read this anyway.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Picking Up The Pieces

If you have come along and looked at the blog in the last 24 hors or so, you'll have found a blank line here under the date, and nothing else. So I am going to try to put that right and pick up the missing pieces.

It started out from reading an article somewhere that explained how putting photographs in blogger uses up some sort of user space and said that eventually it would mean that the blog would eventually run out of space. It went on to explain that putting the photographs into Flickr first, then putting a link to the photograph into Blogger saved this space. It went on to explain how to do it. However, there was one snag, it didn't work. I tried every single method suggested in the article but none of them worked. And I ended up with a single line on the blog.

I'm up a bit earlier this morning so I decided to get the blog back into working order, but I'm using Pat's laptop in the Living Room, instead of the computer upstairs and my photographs are stored on the other computer. I thought that I could grab the photograph that I wanted from Flickr, but I guess that I cannot even do that.

So this morning you get a blog with no picture at all. Never mind, as my pictures are not that good that you'll miss one. I'll have to pause in a minute because Jasper, who has got up with me, is now mooching around looking for his breakfast. I can put him off with threats and promises for the moment, but I'll have to go and feed him soon. I think that may mark the end of this Saturday Blog that is actually being written on Sunday.

Haven't written anything on the blog for a couple of days because I've been doing a project for my friend. Before I took up being retired as a career move last September, I used to enjoy teaching in a Girl's School, worked there for 36 years and mostly enjoyed it every day. My friend asked me to put together a presentation on "The American West". Since this was one of my favourite courses for the Year 10 & 11 GCSE History Course, I gave it a stab. I just hope that what I produced after 3 days was good enough and will help her achieve what she set out to do. That is for her to decide, but I did my best. It certainly forced me to revisit using pieces of software that I haven't used for a year. Not a lot, but enough for the moment. It will have to keep you going, because I've stopped.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Me and Jasper, Down by the Waterside.

Hello and Good Morning World. I had a bit of a shock yesterday evening, a blog related shock at that. I've often wondered at the fact that my friend Daniele can tell me when I've looked at her Blog, or indeed when I haven't. I've had a page counter for a while now, just so I could actually see that there was more than me reading what I write. Yesterday evening my beloved was busy watching her soap opera of choice, Coronation Street, and I was feeling a little bored, so I filled in some time by looking at the page that you get when you log into the page counter. It's called StatCounter by the way, and it's the little red number at the bottom of the left hand column. I had not realised that the 174 visitors it shows were actually unique visitors, I had it in mind that this 174 was Me, Daniele, Ann and sometimes Pat, but that nobody else ever had a look. On the StatCounter webpage for my "Project" you can see a map and it tells you where the people who have visited your site come from, and they are all over the world. Utterly Amazing. So I found Daniele, and I found Ann, and I even found me, though I have no idea why the thing thinks that Hadfield is a suburb of Leeds. But the strangest one was a visitor whose ISP was shown as "APO Military Forces USA" and appeared to come from the sea bed about 200 miles off the coast of West Africa. I mean, they don't think that I'm a threat to World Democracy do they. Mind you, British Prime Ministers often seem to get scared by teachers, we must be a truly scary lot.

I have to say that most of these putative visitors only ever appear to come back here once, so I assume that my rambling style bores the pants off them big time. Ho Hum. Nor do I seem to get any visitors at all from South America. I guess it would be the writing in English that does that. Not a lot of Russians read it either, though I appear to have had one hit from someone in Kiev, but they didn't come back for more. Well, all I can say is that if you are reading this from somewhere a long long way away from Glossopdale, WELCOME!

Yesterday was a funny old day. I got up at about 7 am as usual and the sky was the deep grey lead colour of imminent rain, except it didn't rain. But the weather girl on the BBC said that the sun was cracking the pavement flags. Ah well, she was in London, not Glossop and we always seem to get strange weather in our little valley. Jasper and I went out walking anyway, but I put my fleece back on as it was cold.

Yesterday, as we do so often, we walked along the Longdendale Trail, the once upon a time route of the railway from Manchester to Sheffield. But this time we dropped down from the Trail at Padfield and followed the side of Bottoms Reservoir to the dam, then on and up until I rejoined the Trail some 2 miles from home. Then returned along the trail. It made for a nice walk and it reminded me that the things we see, and are used to seeing, often look very different when seen from the opposite direction. Anyway, I've bought myself an Ordnance Survey map of the Dark Peak, so maybe I will start to look for different walks.

I often walk along roads and wonder where Public Footpaths might take me. I'm not enormously adventurous and the last time I took such a path I ended up walking about half a mile through ankle deep mud and ended up no more than 50 yards from where I had started. So the map is supposed to give me an idea as to where these footpaths go. However, the last time that I used an O S map in anger I was in the 6th Form at school, some 40 years ago, and I was not terribly adept at reading the damned things then. After all, the representation of the ground you are walking on, as deduced by a cartographer and drawn as if seen straight down, often looks nothing at all like the bit of field that you are walking through.

I tried using Google Maps because you can always switch on the overhead photographs, but the problem is that it does not go off the road, so when the road stops, so does Google Maps. I found out not long ago that just because Google Maps said that there was no way through, didn't mean that there was not. Following the road to Broadbottom from Brookfield you are not supposed to be able to get through, according to Google. However, in reality, there is a perfectly good footpath, it's just that you would never get through in your 4x4, or SUV as I believe these monstrosities are called in America. They may be wonderful vehicles in the open parts of Middle America but there is nothing more awkward than a Dodge Pickup on Church Brow in Mottram where the road is actually narrower than the vehicle. Some things should be preserved from the onward march of monstrous technology.

Anyway, just to finish off, here is another photograph of Jasper the Spaniel enjoying the walk yesterday. He didn't mind the cold and the overcast, but then he doesn't mind what the weather is, he just likes going a walk. Here he was on the path running alongside Rhodeswood Reservoir yesterday. Funnily enough, by the time we got home the sun was shining and the rest of the day was beautiful. I planted two new rose bushes in our front garden, I just hope that they thrive. Today, the sun is shining and all is looking pretty right with the world. I don't know where we will go our walk today. We will just have to see.

See you all soon, wherever you are. Have a good day!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

April come she will, When streams are ripe and swelled with rain!

I realised this morning that I have been quite remiss with the writing of my blog. It was in church, after an excellent service with a really good sermon, and Tony commented on my blog. I must admit that I hadn't realised that he had read it. It made me very happy to realise that there are people out there who read this blog. I know that Daniele reads it, and Ann, because they both comment on it from time to time, but three people. Gosh, that's an audience!

I haven't written much of late because it seemed quite uniformly drab in the valley. Each day it seemed to be raining, or it had just finished raining or ..... you know what I mean. I seemed to be walking through mud a lot of the time and Spring just never seemed to be getting any nearer. But then we have had a couple of days of glorious sunshine and suddenly things seem to be happening. So I went for a really enjoyable walk with Jasper, on Saturday. I took my camera and it was just great. 

I just bought Panorama X4 from those very nice people at Serif. They make really good software at very reasonable prices. Panorama stitches photographs together to make scenes and the day was so nice that I thought I'd give it a try. The photographs are a bit on the small size but if you double click on them then you'll get a bigger version in your browser window. The photo at the top of the this blog is taken looking over Shire Hill from the junction of Woodhead Road and Cemetry Road at the back of Glossop. The one that I will put at the bottom of the blog is a panorama looking over Padfield and on up the Longdendale Valley.

You know, I actually feel really blessed to live here. We live in an industrial village on the very edge of the Peak District. I can be in the centre of Manchester in three quarters of an hour, so we really have all of the amenities of the city should we want them, but I can walk to the places where I took these two photographs, from my house, in ten minutes. It is truly a wonderful place to live.

Yesterday, when I took these photographs, the sun was shining and it was so warm that I decided to forego my fleece jacket and went walking in a T shirt. We were out for just under two and a half hours, but I'm still not walking so very fast so I have no ideas how far we walked, probably no more than 3 or 4 miles I guess. We went along the back of the School and down to Dinting Arches, then turned left and followed footpaths along to Surrey Street and rejoined "civilised" society. Then up Spire Hollin and up through Howard Park, then cut across another footpath and out onto Woodhead Road near the junction with Cemetry Road. Then back along Cemetry Road and down through Bankswood Park and home. That bit is for me really, if you live in Middle America then you won't get a lot out of these street names, but it helps me to remember.

And now, at last, there are real signs of spring. Huge, bulbous, sticky buds are just about to burst open at the tip of the tree branches. The plum tree outside Les' garden on our close has come out in it's pink livery in the last day. Interestingly, our plum tree, and our neighbours plum tree are still devoid of all blossom and yet they are no more than 30 metres away from Les' blooming one. I had a look at our feathery Acer this morning and it's leaves are just about to pop into view. I think that by Friday many of our bushes will look radically different from the way that they have looked for months.

There is a sad note though. We were out in the garden doing a bit of tidying up yesterday. Pat was mowing the lawn for the first time this year and I was trying to convince one of our Honeysuckle bushes that it would look and feel better standing up against the fence rather than lying on the ground. I had just about succeeded when Pat pointed out that our Californian Lemon Tree was not looking its best. I don't know what the proper, Latin name for the Lemon Tree is, and it has never looked even vaguely as if it might grow lemons, but I really loved that tree. We've had it maybe 4 or 5 years at most and it has grown really well. When we planted it, it was maybe 18 inches high and last year it was at least 6 feet high and that much across as well. I thought it was well established. But when we looked at it yesterday, it did not look so good at all. All of it's leaves from last year were still in place and had gone totally dry. So dry that you could hold a bunch of them in your hand and just crush them to powder. I cut off a couple of branches, about as thick as my thumb, just to see if there was any life in there at all, but to me they looked totally dead, no sign of green at all.

It always seemed so healthy. I just cannot imagine what could kill a healthy tree like that. Nor, we think, is it alone. An Acer bush also looks as if it has succumbed to the winter. I won't do anything drastic just for the moment because Andy the gardner must be coming any day now, he hasn't been around the garden for months, but he must be due this week. I'll let him decide if the poor tree has shuffled off this mortal coil. I shall have to resurrect the incinerator bin from behind the Summer House, then, if we must say goodbye to the Lemon Tree, we can cremate it decently.

It seems such a shame. With all this new life about to burst forth, there are some of the plants that just won't burst. That, I suppose, is life.

But it has been a beautiful day. We had a marvellous salad at lunch time and Pat cooked up a stew that was so very tasty for Dinner. With a nice glass of Sancerre, crisp and cold from the fridge. An enjoyable walk with a little dog who doesn't care where he goes but enjoys going anywhere.

Life doesn't get much better. Here comes the other photograph I promised you. God Bless!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Summer Time

Don't worry, I haven't entirely lost it. I know that it isn't Summer yet, but last night we moved the clocks on an hour and so went from Greenwich Mean Time to the wonderfully named British Summer Time. Six days ago we passed the equinox and so now we are moving steadily towards the Summer. Certainly the days are longer now and, from today, it will still be daylight at 7.30 in the evening. I do like this time of year! Now, if the cold winds would calm down, maybe we would start seeing a few more spring flowers. I have noticed that the buds on the trees are beginning to grow, so we'll soon have the trees back dressed in their green plumage.

I don't have time to write much for now, but I thought that if I missed this chance I'd probably not end up writing for ages, so I'll write something, even if it ends up being brief. Pat, my wife, has had a very full week this week, I hardly seem to have seen her and today she isn't doing anything. We have even skived off Church. We are going out for lunch to one of our favourite restaurants, even though it is called a Tea Room. We had Christmas Dinner there this year and it was wonderful. However, I only rang them up on Friday so I should be very grateful that they could fit us in at all. However, I'm off out for lunch in less than an hour, so be brief Kevin, be brief.

I've just had a very enjoyable walk with Jasper the Spaniel. We dropped down into the valley by walking down the path to Dinting, but when we reached the bottom dip in the path we cut off along a path that leads back up towards the old railway track. I've mentioned before, I think, that our little local railway used to be one of the arterial routes out of Manchester. The railway used to run from Manchester to Sheffield through the Woodhead Tunnel. The Woodhead was opened in the early 60's, I think, and closed again not long before we moved to Glossopdale. there was a huge fie in the centre of the Woodhead Tunnel that I think must have destroyed it's integrity. Anyway, the railway closed down because it no longer went anywhere.

When we first moved here the railway lines were still in place and the old line was just fenced off, you could not get near it at all. Then, in the early 90's, I think, they decided to lift the rails and turn it into a long distance walking route. It means that it is now the Longdendale Trail and is the main part of my favourite walks. But I've put pictures of the trail on here before.
Today, though, I was well away from the Longdendale Trail. When we came out of the path that led up from Dinting Arches we came out of a little gap in the fence and onto what I took to be another pathway. I turned left, back towards home, but I was bothered because I was on the wrong side of the railway lines and I couldn't think of anywhere that this path recrossed the railway. Here is a view of that path at this place.

There is something in the distance, but I wasn't sure what. Anyway, it was worth a walk. This is what I found, over to one side of the path was this building.

Now, I'm not a railway spotter or anything, but I think that this must have been an engine repair shed from the days when the railway was much bigger and important. Down the middle of the building is a long pit where I suppose workmen used to be able to get underneath the engines. It is very dilapidated, but completely open. There are no fences to keep the unwary or witless out of the place or out of danger. When you look inside the place, the pit is full of drink bottles and other worrying things.

I walked on a bit and found the remains of the old station house. The curious thing here is that this building looks Ok from the other side. You see it from the train when you pass this place. So they have kept the far side of the building in some sort of repair, but left the roof off this side. It just isn't going to last, is it.

Anyway, we turned round at that point and made our way back out of this old, industrial archaeology site. (I wish it was.) I really don't like it when I find places where our heritage is being allowed to crumble. Anyway, one last picture, so you know that I am still taking bad photographs despite my evening class. Here we are, back on the original pathway, looking up the lane called Little Dinting. Back up this lane puts you back on Dinting Road. Today, though, we carried on along the path to Glossop. Nothing eventful happened and about a hour later we were home. Tired but full of a sense of having had a bit of an adventure, my doggy pal and me.

See you soon.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday Evening at 9 o'clock.

I just don't know what the problem is. After all, I'm no longer working. I do nothing much all day. I get up at 6 am and watch TV programmes that I've recorded during the week for about two hours beforee breakfast. I go out for a walk with Jasper every morning, for about an hour and a half, then have lunch and afterwards, fall asleep in my chair. Then when I come to switching on the computer I haven't got the energy, or the interest, to write in my blog. I find my eyes drooping. What is happening to me. Is it old age, dementia or just laziness. When I was working I did a full days work and then still had time to write something in the blog.

If you don't read Daniele's blog, then you ought to do. There is a link in the margin, but if you cannot see it here is another . The only problem with Daniele's blog is that she will insist on writing a lot of it in French. I know the secret you know. I understand that the French really speak English all the time when they think we aren't watching, then start talking in this strange language when they think we are. Anyway, I often struggle with Daniele's cinema and art reviews, after all, it's one thing to speak six or seven words of French and another thing entirely to read it properly. I wonder if the local Adult Education Centre do Advanced Conversation. I bet they don't.

Anyway, back to the point. Without doubt, my favourite bit of Daniele's Blog is her little visits to some of the streets of Paris, and she has started to write them in English. I love reading about all the different places and Daniele sprinkles them with little photographs. Excellent stuff. My favourite just recently was this little bit, "A courtisan of the 19th century, famous and rich. She left this square and had a bigger place built on the Champs Elysees when it became fashionable, under Napoleon the Third.. Now her last home is the Virgin Megastore..." I shall not tell you where to look, go and find it for yourself. It just tickles me that this famous courtesan, (now what would we call her today??) building herself a posh place on the Champs Elysees, and what has become of it.

I think Daniele is a little wicked, because when she sees a locked gate into a yard, she tries the latch and when it is open she goes in to have a look. So she visits some stunning squares and yards and the buildings that are tucked away from view. If it was me I'd walk past, bemoaning the fact that the door was locked and unwilling to try it. I think that may just be a fundamental difference between me and Daniele, or is it between the Brits and the French. I know that I would assume that somewhere was private, while others assume that a place is public unless it is locked.

There haven't been many photos of late because since my fall in February and my second operation on my knee I have been restricting my walks with Jasper. I tend to do the same walks again and again and there is little change at the moment to photograph. There are still very few flowers growing and the trees are still only in the early stages of budding. It has been a hard winter. Still, we've had some nice days of late. Anyway, on the walk from Padfield to Hadfield there is a small, new wood by the side of the road. It has been grown quite deliberately and it is rather nice. It is fenced in, but the other day I noticed that while the gate is bolted, it is not locked. One of these days I shall take my courage in both hands and go into this little wood. Soon.

For now, here is a small picture of an open area that runs alongside Dinting Road. It is unfenced and open and I think that someone has suggested that it become a village green. This is despite the fact that the nearest village is Dinting and that is down on the main road. I always think of village greens as compact, maybe with a duck pond. Not this...........

You can see what I mean, can't you. It's more like a bit of grass surrounded by the industrial zone. I mean it's not like it was the middle of Manchester. we've got plenty of grass around. Yesterday I walked all the way from Glossop back to Hadfield without walking on the main road for more than 5 yards. But still, a bit more public access green land won't go amiss.

See you all again, quite soon, if we're spared. Night, night.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Musings on a Wednesday Morning

It isn't laziness I can assure you, though I don't appear to be doing very much at the moment. A combination of things have quite overcome me at the moment, and I wish that I could see my way out of them. Oh, nothing very bothersome, nothing nasty, just minor irritants to be honest.

Pat's Sister had a hip replacement about a week and a day ago. It's the nature of the thing that she had the job done in one of these new NHS facilities that seem to pop up now and again, small, ultra-modern and usually run by Canadian, Australian or American Health Companies. They look like private hospitals but are actually part of the NHS and you don't have to pay to use them. But what is wrong with us doing it for ourselves and under the NHS. What is it with our government in recent years, it seems that the attitude these days is that if it's British then it's not to be trusted, but if it's an American idea then it is the best thing since sliced bread. I realise from watching the news over recent months that our American cousins are not enamoured of our NHS system. I think it's regarded as Socialist or even Communist, but I think I'd rather be middle class and poorly in Britain than America. I always get the impression that going into hospital in America requires an explosively large amount of money. Yes, I realise that they have Insurance to pay for medical treatment, but my experience of Medical Insurance came when I applied to BUPA for Health Insurance a few years ago and they finally said that they would be prepared to accept me as a customer as long as I agreed to pay them a vast amount of money every month and I agreed that the only part of my body they would treat would be my left big toe. That's an exaggeration of course, but not a huge exagerration. Sorry, rant over!

No it's not. the other thing that I find fascinating is that these super clinics get set up in leafy Cheshire. I know of two of these places and they both serve Cheshire. Why don't they build one in Gorton, or Ancoats or some other less well off part of Manchester. Cheshire! To them that have shall more be given! I've always thought that they should relocate Cheshire somewhere south of Surrey.

So anyway. All of that has absolutely nothing to do with my lack of blogging. Being on my own in the house with Jasper the manic spaniel has not prevented me from blogging or anything else. Not that I've done anything else. When Pat went away I said that I'd clean the house while she was away. So far I've cleaned nothing at all and it's Wednesday morning. She'll be back home on friday. Added to that, barbara is coming round to visit this afternoon and the house looks like it's been hit by a dust bomb. I must go for my constitutional with Jasper, then get a bit of cleaning done. At least the lounge and the kitchen, or I will be in deep doodoo.

In the last three weeks the computer has died on me twice. About three weeks ago everything started to go wrong. Programs would not load and then it simply refused to start up at all. I decided that it was me loading a piece of wonky software and it was my own fault. So I rebuilt the computer from scratch, software rebuild, nothing at all to do with screwdrivers etc. Then about ten days ago it did the same again, so I've had to rebuild it all from scratch again. This takes time because every piece of software has got to be reinstalled. This time I've taken more time over it, put each piece of software on one at a time, rebooted the computer every time and then done a system backup to make sure. So far, so good, but it all takes a lot of time.

But you don't expect this from a brand new computer do you, well a four month old computer anyway. It was my retirement treat to me from me and I spent too much money on it. Now I'm beginning to wonder how big a mistake it was. And no, Daniele, I have not treated myself to several new computers recently, just this one, and the last new computer I bought was eight years ago. That is a very old computer.

But I shall get to the bottom of this, even if I have to ring up Hewlett Packard in the USA and moan at them. I wonder if they sell Health Insurance as well?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Preston Wigmaker

Today's post nearly didn't happen. You would think, wouldn't you, that a new computer would be reliable for a good while. I got my new PC just before Christmas and, on the whole, I've been happy with it. However, over the last couple of weeks, strange things have been happening with it. I found that I couldn't load programs that I had been able to use before and one new program kept crashing. I would have thought it was a virus, but I run Norton 360 and I've never had a problem with it in the past. The obvious thing to blame was the new program, the one that kept crashing, so i tried to remove it using System Restore, and it failed. It claimed to have moved the computer back by 10 days, but all the software was still the way it had been that morning. So I bit the bullet and this morning I wiped the Hard Disc and reinstalled Windows. At the moment the only thing running is Office, but Pat neded to do something that only needed Word and the Printer, so I picked up the laptop that is Pat's and here I am.

The day after my walk in Manor Park that is described below, we set off for a weekend at Willersley Castle near Cromford in Derbyshire. Here is the view out of our bedroom window on Saturday Morning.

It wasn't the best weather in the world that weekend, but I still wouldn't mind waking up to that view every day. I won't bother describing our weekend much for we went for a Parish weekend with people from our Church. Had a really good time, listened to some interesting talks, ate some very good food and had a good, quiet and interesting time.

The point of the blog, though, is not to talk about our weekend, but about Cromford Mill. The mill is about a half mile from the Castle and I think it is really special. Here is a picture:


So why would I think that this scruffy little pile of bricks is in any way important. Well, in 1732 in Preston, Lancashire, a young man was born who, to my mind, was going to change the world. He is no hero of mine, I actually think he was an unprincipled rogue, but at least he was no Adolf Hitler, just a rogue. His name was Richard Arkwright and he grew up to be a wig maker. I always thought that being a wig maker was an odd sort of occupation to be a world changer. But around about 1765 Richard Arkwright invented an ingenious Cotton Spinning Engine called "The Water Frame". Up until that point all the machines that had been invented to speed up the process of making cloth had been operated by human power or animal power. Machines like the Spinning Jenny were small enough to be used in the home. The water Frame was not. It was a big machine and it needed an external power supply, running water (hence its name). So it made more economic sense to have a lot of them, all together in one place, and use one water source to power them all. So Arkwright borrowed money and set up the very first "manufactory" in the history of the world.

This is him, Richard Arkwright, the Preston Wigmaker who changed the world. The reason that I don't particularly like him is not because he became rich and famous, good luck to him. Not because he built his mill at Cromford in Derbyshire, that he became Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire (I think) or that he built, and lived in Willersley Castle. But I rather think that his Waterframe was actually built by someone else, a man called Lewis Paul, whose name does not feature in the History books at all. So it goes, I suppose.

I have one other gripe really, and this is not about Arkwright. The mill he built at Cromford is in a pretty dire state. It just strikes me that in this country we want to preserve our heritage, but we are quite selective about the heritage we want to preserve. Go to Styal Mill and it is well preserved and draws in crowds like nobody's business in summer. It's a pretty mill you see, and Cromford is not.

And that is just about that, for this evening. Jasper, by the way, spent his weekend in a doggy hotel in Denton, Manchester. Poor dear, he was loved to bits. Jasper's fan club extends to Denton as well. See you soon!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Da spring is sprung

Okay then, here we go again, I hope. This post harks back to the 11th February, a Thursday. I remember it well. That night I knew that we were holding a PCC Meeting at Church and, for my sins, I'm Secretary of the PCC as well as the other things that I do. So I really fancied a walk. I knew that the PCC Meeting would be a long one and I also knew that it was going to be cold. Our Church is about 800 years old and it gets cold on a cold winter's night. So the thought of a walk was great. However, I was still suffering with the twisted knee and twisted ankle that I had done the other week.

Then there was my doggie, Jasper. I mean, look at this little face, how can you say "NO" to a walk with him.

By the way, this picture arises from the teacher at my Evening School class in Digital Imaging suggesting that I get in closer to my subject. I think this is a lovely picture of a very wayward dog, but then I'm biased.

So, anyway,  I needed a fairly short walk, and a fairly level walk. It was my lovely wife who suggested Manor Park. That was a good idea. Manor Park is in our local town, Glossop, a couple of miles away from where I live. Actually, it's not in Glossop, but rather in Old Glossop which is just outside the modern town of Glossop itself.  I'm not going to pretend to know the history of the park really well, because I don't. However,  up until the early part of the 20th Century the park that now is formed a part of the manorial holdings of the Howard Family, who are the Dukes of Norfolk. The Norfolk family are the ones who feature throughout British History as one of the central families. To this day the Duke of Norfolk is the Hereditary Lord Marshall of England. I think that means that he organises state events like Royal Weddings, Funerals and such, but anyway that is getting away from the story.

In the early part of the 20th Century the, then, Duke must have given up on Glossop and left. I must look it up in a local history book. However, in leaving, he gave away parts of his estate to the people of Glossop, and part of his gardens became Manor Park. Interestingly, (well it's interesting to me, you can still see bits of stonework, arches and lintels and that sort of thing in the garden walls of quite ordinary houses.) There is no Manor House, though, or at least none that I can see, and I have no idea what happened to it. Maybe what happened to the House is why he left. Or maybe he just gave up on killing grouse.

So Jasper and I were dropped off near the entrance to the park and enjoyed a very pleasant hour wandering about among the frozen puddles and frozen plant beds. But it was a lovely day, the sun was shining, there was no wind, it was very pleasant indeed. And here is the first herald of Spring that I have seen in Glossopdale. We were just walking up a path almost smothered in bushes when there, almost at my feet, we saw some snowdrops.


I don't doubt that this is nothing special to anybody else who reads this, you've probably had snowdrops out since December and are now into the full bloom of roses, but we are quite high up here in Glossopdale and we often realise that our plants and flowers are weeks behind other places. This was a real fillip to me. makes me think that Spring is really only a little way away. Despite the fact that it snowed quite heavily the day before yesterday, it didn't stick.
We wandered on, don't worry, Jasper avoided trampling the snowdrops into the ground by dint of the fact that I kept him on a short lead until we got away from them. He was very much more interested in the ducks and geese that were having fun on the duck pond. Here is one who kept on having great fun splashing water all over every other duck.

Jasper wanted to chase, Oh how he wanted to chase, but I am a right meanie.

Then we walked up the back of the park. The ground rises quite steeply at the back of the park, and I got a picture of a rather grand set of steps that come from nowhere and go nowhere either, but clearly, once upon a time things were different.

Then we walked home. Looking back on it, though, it was a lovely walk that we both enjoyed. Jasper and I have long conversations on these walks of ours. I must admit that they do tend to be rather one sided and I think this may be the reason why I am shunned by all the right thinking people of Glossopdale, but who cares. I am fed up of winter. I've had winter up to the back teeth and now I want Spring and the promise of better days to come.

We have booked our holiday, we are off to Ireland in June. Life is good, I hope.

By the way, I must just add my thanks to Ann for the lovely comment that you left. It is really nice to know that anyone but me reads this. Not that it really matters as I write this for the fun of it, not because of who may, but probably won't, read it. My knee is feeling better and better every day following last week's surgery. I have a follow up appointment to remove the stitches or whatever, next week, then I can get back to the regimen of walking. Just in time for spring.