Thursday, January 28, 2010


I started my current phase of watching my weight some five weeks ago now. Joyce, one of the nurses at our Doctor's Surgery, told me it was time that I lost weight. Well, I am very, very, very heavy at the moment. I won't tell you how heavy, but it is scary. Maybe not in the league of the World's Fattest Man, but pretty scary. Anyway, I decided that I really needed to do something about it, but for the first four weeks, despite trying half heartedly, nothing happened. Then I decided that I needed to get walking. So for the last ten days I have been taking Jasper the Lunatic Spaniel for extended walks around our valley. So far I manage to average between 90 and 120 minutes each day.

I live in a village called Hadfield. Don't get gooey eyed at that, it isn't your typical English village with dancing round the maypole, it's very much an Industrial Village which may well date back several hundred years but really owes it's growth to the Mill working days of the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Hadfield is at one end, and quite high on the side of the Glossopdale valley. Glossop is what, maybe two miles down the valley. There are lots and lots of Public Footpaths around, so I have started to investigate them.

Above is a photo of Glossop Brook which runs along the floor of the valley. I went along a path from our house that drops down into the floor of the valley, meeting the main road from Manchester to Sheffield at Dinting. As I took this picture the huge viaduct that carries the railway over the valley is right above my head. A huge brick structure that dates back to the days when the railway carried on along the Woodhead line into Yorkshire. Those days ended in the late 60's and most of the old railway line is now the Longdendale Trail. More about that another day. But just at this point the brook caught my eye. I rather like this picture. It's gloomy, but then the day was rather gloomy too.

I came out of the path at Dinting and turned left to walk along the road into Glossop. I have probably only walked along this road a couple of time in the 25 years we have lived here. Isn't it amazing what you see when you are walking that you don't see when you are in the car. I hadn't been on the road more than 10 minutes when I saw these two buildings.

Neither of them really seems to be inhabited at the moment, but it's the building on the left that intrigue me. It might even have been a shop once upon a time, but I cannot see it ever having been welcoming. Still, that's two intriguing buildings in a week. Walking is paying dividends it seems.

Now this is a very different house but it shows a feature that I find very interesting. Bear in mind that I'm not an architect, or indeed anyone who knows anything about buildings, but I just like certain things. This house is further up the valley than my village, in another village called Padfield. Not a misspelling, I assure you. This house is on the corner of Post Street which is a really steep hill going up to the top of the village. But look at the corner of the house, which is, by the way, very much lived in and obviously well loved. The corner of the house is curved and this is a feature that is very common in Padfield, Hadfield and Glossop as well. I have no earthly idea why they built these buildings like this, but they did. You may notice that the windows of this corner house are a lot bigger than those of the terraced house next door. One reason for this may be that it housed the "overlooker" from the Mill that was built further down the street. That was quite common in the 19th Century, to put the overlooker, or "foreman" on the corner of the street so that he could be incharge of the workers at home as well as at work. Some of the owners of 19th Century Mills liked to think of themselves as guardians of the public morals. Ho hum. The other reason for the big windows could bve that it was a corner shop, but I don't really think so, the windows don't have the look of shop windows somehow.

A little further along the road I went up a side road and discovered a public footpath that runs alongside the old railway line heading into Glossop. You'll notice that I've started taking my little pocket camera with me every day. I've got a very nice program that stitches individual pictures together to make panoramas, so I tried it out. Here is the view from the footpath down towards the main road into Glossop. You can see it was a horrible day by this time, drizzling away. I was quite thoroughly soaked to the skin by this point, but both Jasper and I were enjoying ourselves. I don't know how much you can see in this picture, but I think it looks quite good.

By the way I ought to say that when I went to see Joyce on Tuesday, to be weighed, I had lost 4 kilos or 8 pounds in the previous week. So I guess that all this walking is not doing me any harm at all. Certainly I plan to keep it up. So I'll keep walking, with Jasper, my camera and my walking pole and this weekend we will walk out of January and into February. Already it's getting lighter in the evenings, it's now light till just after 5 pm. Already I'm just beginning to see the first signs of the bulbs springing up from the ground. Before you know it , it will be spring! Now isn't that something to be looking forward to!

That reminds me. I haven't quoted my absolutely favourite poet for ages. Here is the first verse of the poem "in just" by e.e.cummings. If you have never read any of cummings poems (the non capitalisation of his name is not an error by the way) then I urge you to try him. He may be an acquired taste, but I love some of his imagery. Anyway, here's the first verse of the poem. The second and third verses go in a different direction, so I'll just ignore them for the nonce. In the meantime, I think that tomorrow I shall take my Spaniel along the Longdendale Trail and maybe, weather permitting, I'll get some nice pictures of the countryside. See you soon.

in Just-
spring       when the world is mud-
luscious the little lame baloonman 

whistles       far       and wee 

and eddyandbill come 
running from marbles and 
piracies and it's 

when the world is puddle-wonderful 

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