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?