Herefordshire Week 215: Tuesday 06 – Monday 12 February 2024

Grosmont walk and a weekend in the Lake District. Very wet.

Late afternoon light and Lake District views, Bassenthwaite
Late afternoon light and Lake District views, Bassenthwaite

PT as usual first thing Tuesday, then over to Grosmont (and into Wales) to meet up with JB for a wet 6 mile walk over the Graig and along part of the Three Castles Walk. Thankfully not as wet or windy as forecast a day or so ago. Lots of lovely chat. Obviously I forgot to take my phone, so no Strava map or stats. Or photos.

Back home to make the most of the rain, catching up on computer stuff.

Caught up with LW on Wednesday morning (after gym) and spent the afternoon making a start on my Nepal photos and notes for Nepal, October/November 2023: Kangchenjunga & Lumba Sumba (without Val Pitkethly – injured!).

Thursday was wet, rain poured down overnight and we had a river flowing down the road at breakfast. Admin, Gym, Lunch, Hereford to see dad and Jean, Asda, home – rain lashing down – VWW.

Aerobics only at the gym on Friday morning then home to pack the car and to start the drive up to the Lake District, visiting Val (and NB) for the weekend.

A bit of a marathon drive up, taking around 7 hours with just two stops (emergency al fresco wee, and a tea and late lunch at Lancaster Services) all in driving rain. Very tense on the M6 with all the big wagons wanting to go faster than my relatively sedate Panda speed, and arrived in the dark. Good directions for the drive from Keswick were a godsend.

Arrived to find MS at the kitchen table together with Val and NB – lovely catching up and relaxing, then dining out on tasty Indian Street Food at Barua in Keswick.

Saturday began with bed tea (!) followed by breakfast and a visit to the Castle Inn Hotel’s  gym, sauna and steam room. £15 for a day pass proved a bit steep given the quality of the experience. The facilities are all fine but I wasn’t provided with a swipe card or a towel.

Lunch then out in Val’s car for a stroll around the boardwalks of Dubwath Silver Meadows Nature Reserve and then coffee and cake (sticky toffee ginger cake is highly recommended!) at Bassenthwaite Lake Station cafe followed by a scenic drive home. Snow still hanging onto the high hills.

Skiddaw from Bassenthwaite
Skiddaw from Bassenthwaite

Dinner and early to bed – fighting off a tension headache which I put down to yesterday’s long drive up.

A similar start on Sunday, then out for a stroll with NB through the woods we can see out of Val’s kitchen window and across fields (navigating past a bunch of loudly mooing, hungry bullocks loitering by the gate out of the last one) to the Lake District Wildlife Park then on the lane back to Val’s.

We said our farewells a little before midday then I drove home in 5 ½ hours, including a petrol stop in Keswick and a food and loo stop at the start of the A5 section just south of Chirk. Lovely weather for the most part and no big lorries.

Listened to A Lot of Podcasts on the drives, and 250 miles each way meant the milometer ticked over the 70,000 mark.

Monday was gloriously sunny. I headed out to walk Cockyard backwards complete with neighbour-ish-ly chats on the way down and on the way back. Hadn’t slept well and the blue skies and fresh air cleared my head. Took the opportunity to check out the scalped verges on Stone Street – blimey.

Home for a quick mulch of the Coffin planter and to plant out one of the healthy holly seedlings in the thin bit of the hedge between the orchard and the front lawn. Lunch in the conservatory then a bit of LRB reading (and snoozing) in the sofa in there until dad and Jean’s arrived for a stroll around the snowdrops – and Camellia and Daffs – plus a spot of goldfish spotting.

The earliest snowdrops are just starting to fade, but more are still pushing up in garden, plus we’ve more flowers on the camellia and more daffodils have come out down by the old garden railway route.

With all the rain, the garden squelches underfoot, and driving the Panda (to get through flooded lanes) means I’ve churned up a deep rut in the patch of grass between the paved drive and the gravel drive.

Squirrels still trying their luck on the older bird feeder. But a young (?) jay usually gets a feed in first.

Jay on the peanut bird feeder
Jay on the peanut bird feeder

Lots more lovely bird song on the sunny days.

Flickr turned 20 on 10 February 2024. It’s the platform I’ve used to share / store my (curated) photos since September 2005, and this is the first picture:

Beach between Walton and Frinton
Beach between Walton and Frinton

I’d been using Fotopic since July 2001, but that became increasingly unreliable and ultimately went bust in 2011. Plus some of the London Crowd sort of knew the Flickr folks, so I started using Flickr and never looked back (except to download zip files of all my Fotopic photos, which I then uploaded to Flickr in February 2012 #fotopicfail).

TV:  Bodies, This Farming Life, Our Flag Means Death (started season 2), The Newsreader (started season 1), The Greatest Night in Pop (a better title would have been The We Are The World Documentary).

Podcasts: Books and AuthorsThe History of England, Food for Life by Tim Spector, The Today Podcast, In Our Time, The Rest is EntertainmentDesert Island DiscsMythical Creatures.

Photos: Herefordshire week 215 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2024-02-11.