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!