Fri/Sat 13th/14th May
Link to Julia’s photos on Flickr:
Fri/Sat 13th/14th May
Link to Julia’s photos on Flickr:
Saturday 19th September
I arrived at Cefn Cae campsite in Rowen at 6.50, it only took 2 hours and 20 mins to get there. I had just enough time and light to get the tent up and my dinner cooked. I had a Look What We Found meal with rice cooked up in my Jetboil. The campsite cost £13 for the night and was a newly certificated Caravan and Camping Club site, it was very clean and well looked after. They operate an honesty system for buying quite an extensive range of supplies and I didn’t have to pay extra for a shower.
After dark, I read my book for a while. The stars were amazing and I could see the Milky Way.
Sunday 20th September
I’ve never really managed to sleep properly in a tent but this wasn’t too bad. I was warm enough especially with my little blanket. It was cold in the night and there was a heavy dew when I gave up sleep about 5.30. I had a cup of tea and then 2 cups of coffee and my breakfast of granola and yoghurt. I got to see the red dawn on Tal y Fan which was wonderful.
I packed up and drove up to Caer Rhun Roman fort (Canovium). There’s not a right lot to see, don’t be misled by the photo on the website, but the church is nice although it wasn’t open.
Then I met up with the group in the lay-by down the road. Jane Kenney is a senior archaeologist from the Gwynedd Archaeological Trust. The workshop is part of the CPD made available to members of the Mountain Training Association. The requirement is for 5 CPD points over 5 years and this is my second point since gaining the ML.
10 of us in the group. We got into 3 cars and drove up to a small car park some way above Rowen. We set off and the first thing to look at was the Roman road.
We then looked at long huts (rectangular), cairns with cists, hut circles, standing stones, a burnt mound and then a very good stone circle where we stopped for lunch. Jane was very good at getting us to look more closely at the structures and how to interpret them. She also didn’t try to give us all the answers as there is a lot that is not known and subjective but she clearly has a great breadth of knowledge. We then moved on past a reservoir and up to a slate quarry which is hidden away. Then it was time to head back passing 2 very prominent burial chambers, back onto the Roman road again and another stone circle just near the car park.
Fabulous, informative day with an expert. And a bargain to boot!
We got back to lay-by around 5.15 and I got home at 7.45.
I forgot to make myself coffee. My biggest mistake of the day!
Cath and B and I met up at Hebden Bridge station with our cars at 7.40. Cath drove us to Marsden and we set off at 9.00 at a brisk pace to ascend Pule Hill and see the first of the Stanza Stones. Our walk was a reccy for a walk Cath is leading for the Walk and Ride Festival so we needed to check the projected timings and keep up the pace.
We headed north to the Pennine Way and the A640. Across White Hill and then to the rubbish dump on the A672. Cath was very incensed by this and took a photo. I have reported it. On my 3 drives along Turvin Road there was some fly tipping and this has also been reported.
Across the M62 and then to Blackstone Edge where we stopped for our lunch. Across the A58 and into the White House for drinks. The half way point. I had a coffee which seemed fine, a very inky black espresso. About half an hour later I started feeling queasy and this continued until the next day.
We reached the next Stanza Stone and then it was on to Stoodley Pike. Had a bit of a rest there. Then the last leg back to Hebden and along the canal to the station. I’m quite impressed that I managed it whilst feeling hideous but there wasn’t really a choice.
Into my car and back to Marsden for Cath and B. Then back to my house where I was able to be sick.
Despite my ailments we had a great day, legs were fine. 2 days later I’m still right off coffee and being careful as to what I eat.
Saturday 8th August
Saturday 4th July
Chris and I waited for the clouds to blow away. We eventually drove off from Borth and got to Mwnt where it was at least not raining and the sun popped in every now and then. We’d had some falafel and hummous on the way to keep us going.
On arrival at the campsite, we tried to pay up but no-one was in so we got Chris’s tent up. It’s very spacious and well constructed by Vango. By then time was marching on so we went into Cardigan to the Grosvenor for chicken Caesar for me and Chris had fish with ratatouille. Both meals were very nice and we washed them down with Doom Bar beer.
After dinner, we drove up the coast a little and stopped to watch the sun go down along with some keen photographers who set up their tripods and did a lot of fiddling. This will be me one day.
Then it was back to the campsite and I set up my tarp and bivvy combo. Well now I’ve really looked at the pictures I can see I didn’t get this right at all. The idea with the tarp is that you use your walking poles as the poles (to reduce weight). This part went ok and I managed to stay dry all night as did my book and my shoes even though there was a lot of rain. But I didn’t get the tarp taut enough and it needed guy ropes. It didn’t come with guy ropes which is a serious error on the part of the manufacturer Rab as it ‘s not a cheap item so really they are being tight fisted here. All the photos of the Element Solo in action show it being used with guy ropes so I’ve got some on order now. The tarp acts as a flysheet and then I get myself and my sleeping bag and my mat into the bivvy bag which is a waterproof bag.
I drank rum and read some more of The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, good book but it will end in tears, I haven’t yet finished it. It was amazing feeling all sleepy under the stars and seeing the moon through the end of the tarp. It was less good hearing a thumping base which it turned out was about 3 miles away.
Sunday 5th July
I woke up early and went up the Mwnt to see the views, someone was making sand patterns on the beach. I also looked in the church which was peaceful. Got back to the campsite just in time to brew up and then the heavens opened again. We sat it out and then packed up the wet gear. First breakfast of fruit and granola in the car. We paid up which was when we found out about the distant noisy party.
We parked in the National Trust car park and visited the kiosk on the path to the beach, hot chocolate and freshly baked Welsh cakes for breakfast no. 2.
Just about missed the next downpour and then off to Llanerchaeron to make further good use of our National Trust memberships. Lunch first, Chris had a ploughman’s and I had a frittata. Yum yum!
We went round the walled gardens and met a nice cat. Then back to Borth where Chris made my supper of pasta and veg and sauce. Yum, yum yum!
A racing weekend with Chris.
Out to Machynlleth to see O’Hooley and Tidow who were on good form.
A spot of gardening
PetsRUs to get supplies for Patcho and Jim the psycho.
Aberaeron for a wander to find a cafe, we ended up in the Celtic Cafe fish restaurant. Chris had a tuna baguette and I had a tuna toastie. Mine wasn’t very nice really.
Llanerchaeron for a wander round a nice old house, we were the last visitors of the day so had the place to ourselves. They made the phone ring when we went in the study so I picked it up and had a conversation with a clever recorded message.
National Trust shop for more plants for Chris.
Kate and Dels for dinner. Chicken pie and spuds and creamed spinach followed by choc brownie and ice cream and sticky pistachio dessert, possibly I have missed something out there! Delish!
A sort of typical Chris and Jak outing where we did as much as we possibly could. It was lovely to be out and about and doing things.
Both a bit cream crackered!
Mon 6th April
Chris arrived at our house and we set off smartly and on time.
Everything went smoothly at Manchester airport. I was very thoroughly checked over in security, it felt as if most of what I was wearing had to come off and the scanner went up and down about 3 or 4 times. Just as well I don’t fly very often. We got a free sample of Beefeater gin so Chris bought a plastic litre bottle of it for £13 and some sunglasses and I bought a half bottle of The Balvenie.
The flight was fine and relaxed. Interesting to see frozen lakes but not much actual snow as we approached Oslo airport. We appeared to land in a field but the airport is really quite big and we had to walk a good way to collect our bags and then a big queue to get through passport control and another long walk to the train station.
At Oslo Sentrum we bought some hair dye. C to change from the strong carrot shade and me to hide the grey. Then a bus to the Hotel Anker. A nice man was keen to help by telling us it’s only 5 mins walk. Not with these shoes! (we were wearing our hiking boots to save on luggage weight when flying). Well actually not with the weight of our luggage and I’m sure I can’t be the only one to mentally add a W prefix to the name of our hotel!
However the hotel is clean and comfortable in our basic room. Just as well we like it as we are coming back here on Monday. The wireless is less than useless though.
Straight out to find dinner. The resto we look for is a building site so we wander around a lovely indoor market in a new apartments area near the river then we go to a rougher downtown area where C gets tonic water and eventually we opt for Santino’s spaghetteria. C has tagliatelle and scampi and I asked for a 4 seasons pizza but got a spicy beef one the size of a tea tray. The food was very fresh and tasty and I got half my pizza to take away in a box. Prices are eye watering.
Feel we have not yet seen the best of Oslo. It looks a bit tired after the winter, much as our garden does. It is not as clean a city as I expected.
Back to the hotel for hair dying session, nice shower and so to bed.
Got up early. Breakfast was a bit mixed. There were some horrible looking hot things – violently yellow eggs, fried potatoes in what looked like sweet chilli sauce but the mini frankfurters were ok. Lots of cold meats, some were fine. Also cheese and pickled gherkins and fresh tomatoes and cucumber. The muesli and runny yoghurt in a big carton were good. The juice was weak and the fact that the coffee was hot is the only good thing to say about it. The rye bread was fab.
We ate some of the food and made up bread rolls for lunch on the train. Then we checked out and got onto the bus. Another nice man was keen to help by telling us it’s only 5 mins walk. We’ve still got the luggage to consider although the footwear is not an issue today except that some twit in the shop had their eyes shut when they laced up my new Merrell shoes so as we were early for the train to Bergen I re-laced them.
The train was comfortable and we had lots of room to spread out. We went and bought coffee from the buffet car and then found we had free drinks in our Komfort section.
As soon as we left Oslo it started to become clean and lovely. We passed iced over lakes and wooden cabins. Getting higher up there was lots more snow. We went through Geilo and saw the hotel we will be going to on Saturday. It looks a good place. Some snow there but not enough for dog sledding or snow shoeing.
Higher and higher and serious amounts of snow. Travelling through miles of whiteout across the Hardangervidda plateau and up to Finse which at 1223 is the highest station on the journey. Deep winter there for the population of 10 who work in the hotel.
The train left Oslo at 8.00 and we had our slices of pizza for elevenses and our bread rolls for lunch. The first half of the journey was dry and bright. Then we went through snow and sleet. Got to Bergen and rain.
A short hop to the Radisson Blu hotel on Ole Bulls Plas.
Our room on the 6th floor is an eclectic mix of designs but clean and comfortable.
Off for a swim and jacuzzi, both hydro therapy and air therapy, then a sauna.
Off out to Pingvinen bar which is literally just round the corner. I have some problem with the bar stools which twirl me round and nearly off at 180 degrees. Chris has a dish that is only available on Thursdays. It is salted lamb with sausage, bacon and mashed swede and potato dumplings. This was raspeball. But we don’t know why it’s only served on a Thursday. I had meat balls (kjottkaker) with mashed peas, carrots, new potatoes and lingon berries. Great combination and very tasty. Not sure about the berries they were small and red and delicious. Could even have been red currants. Also drank Hansa beer.
We finally spotted a man in a Norwegian sweater. Then out to walk off the dinner. Found a mini market for more tonic and much cheaper. Wandered around the theatre streets and narrow pedestrian streets and the harbour but both cold so after we had looked at but not entered the only gay bar in Bergen we headed back to warm up. The hills around have now got more snow on them and the cloud is low. The funicular station at Floyen is flood lit through the mist but now the rain has stopped.
We like that there is a fold out ironing board and an iron in the room, although really this needs Carol to be fully appreciated. Chris very happy that there is an ice dispenser just outside the room.
Got up and Chris went for a swim and I went for a run. I went round and round the lake across from the hotel. My longest stretch was 8 mins and it felt fine.
Back for breakfast. Very good. Lots of lovely things. Nice cereals, yoghurts, bread, cheeses, cold meats, pickles, pastries and pancakes. We made up sandwiches for lunch plus cake and apples.
Out to the Floibanen funicular railway to Floyen. Then we walked up and up into the snow to the top at about 600m. Very suddenly we were in a whiteout as the snow, hail, sleet came down so we headed back the way we came as very few feet had trodden our intended path. The snow was deep and the map poor. We stopped for lunch at Blamanen, this is a lochan with a closed kiosk. I think it was closed when we came here before (Aug 2004).
Back down the zig zag paths to the town both with assorted sore and aching bits and bobs. Feet, legs, knees.
Back to hotel to change footwear and coats and out again to Bryggen to look for Norwegian jumpers. We looked in 2 or 3 shops and found some with good discounts and tax free (we will get the tax back at the airport). A nice man sold them to us. Chris bought 2 hats for her collection. We walked round the old wooden sector which was pretty much shut.
Back to hotel to rest with gin/whisky. Out again to Zupperia where we served by somewhat bossy girl who seemed to delight in moving customers from table to table. Chris had teriyaki chicken with rice and veg. I had marinated chicken with rice and salad. I had Chris’ mushrooms and she my sweet chili sauce.
Back to hotel for packing and bathing/showering. A terrible noisy racket set up outside but only lasted for about 20 mins. We’d seen lots of young people in red trousers and hats and now they were dancing badly by a bus.
Both very tired.
Up early after neither of us sleeping very well. Too hot and surprisingly noisy.
Breakfast was great and we made lovely sandwiches.
Straight to the station and onto the train. Such a lovely sunny day so the mountains and lakes are all glistening and the snow is shining. I try to speak some Norwegian but pick some Germans to try it on so it’s a dismal failure but at least I get to practice my German a little. I also chat to an Australian woman from Melbourne and learn that they do have a snow season.
The journey back to Geilo is stunning and looks so different from just 2 days ago. I like that skis are seen as normal things to carry.
We arrive in Geilo at 11.00 and walk to the Hotel Geilo. There are only 2 others staying because the ski season is over and the summer walking has not yet begun.
The hotel has nice painted wood in the public rooms. The bedroom is ok but not special unless you count the Sandtex on the ceiling!
After settling in we go in the town. Tourist Info confirms everything is shut so they give us a free buff and free pin badges.
We have coffee and carrot cake (Chris) and hot choc (me) but it’s not got much choc in it. Walk round shopping centre and buy bottles of beer from a shop selling alcohol that is very secure with a turnstile to get in and out.
Back to hotel to change and out for a walk round the lake. We don’t go all the way round as it’s hard work on slushy snow. But we do go to the Nature Park and the sound sculpture which is lots of resonant wood clanking together in an old byre. It sounds lovely and reminds me of cow bells. Then back to hotel sometimes up to our thighs in snow and sometimes just lying on it.
Absolutely beautiful sunny day. Still lots of sun at 8.00 in evening. Have drunk 2 bottles yummy beer. Soon be time for dinner.
We set off for Hallingstuene having decided to go for the best if pricey place for real Norwegian food. We go in and it looks to be lovely place with painted wood and I’m just starting to take my things off when we find the place is full for the last evening of the season so we are well buggered there then. We weren’t expecting this as the town is so quiet and empty.
We set off for best place no. 2 which is Sofia’s at Bardola Hotel. Of course I’ve come out without a map but a helpful woman, in fact the only person we meet, directs us. It is 10 mins away.
The woman’s minutes are a little ambitious. It is a good trek along a nice little road. Bardola is a big hotel. At first it seems we may not get a seat as we have not booked but then the girl changes her mind. Plenty of tables free up as we eat so this is nonsense.
We manage to work out most of the menu successfully. They then bring us English menus which is how we know we’ve got it right. Chris opts for Jim’s burger (made by her cat?!) and me for Caesar salad, all washed down with Hansa beer.
The burger comes with cheese and bacon and fried potatoes in sweet chili sauce. It is all held in place with a skewer. The Caesar has bacon bits and croutons and is very tasty.
Back along the road as the last light goes. House lights shining on the snowy slopes. Puddles starting to ice over.
Late and lazy start to day. We were the only ones in the large dining room for breakfast. Muesli and thick yoghurt, bread with salami and cheese. Nice coffee and juice. Rye bread fab. Crisp breads fab, I’ve not eaten them before as Ryvita is like cardboard but these were excellent and I am converted. I had them with pâté also brown cheese which is slightly sweet. I like it more than last time but Chris not keen. We make up our sandwiches.
Off out to find the path up the hill. It is a dull day and chilly. We go into Dr Holm’s Hotel to reserve a table for the evening. The hotel is very lovely and massive. We find the path behind it and zig zag our way up and often across the ski slopes. The snow is mostly hard but when it isn’t we fall over. It’s quite fun in the birch trees and I’m pleased we got the right path from the less than brilliant mapping. It must be a very pretty path in the summer. Summer starts in June and is short.
We get up quite high at 1040m but the wind is strong and bitterly cold plus there is a big steep ski slope to cross so we turn back and stop half way for me to eat half my sandwich. We went up about 230m. Much windier back in the village so we go straight back to hotel for hot chocolate by the fire. More chocolatey than yesterday’s.
Mooch about. Finished off the last beer bottle.
Dr Holm’s is quiet. Only us and a few other parties. Chris had the fixed price menu which was scallops and langoustines, lamb shank from Flam and creme brûlée. I had coq au vin and creme brûlée. All very good and washed down with Hansa beer because we struggled with £50 for a bottle of wine.
We breakfast and make sandwiches. I have taken to crisp breads in a big way. I had no idea there were so many types.
As we get ready to leave the hotel, it starts to snow and by the time we’ve walked to the station in the blizzard there is an inch on the ground.
The journey is very pretty as everything has a light dusting of snow.
The loos on the train are gruesome today. I have taken Imodium so that my evening with Bruce is not spoit by loo breaks.
We arrive back in Oslo a bit late but quickly catch the tram back to the Hotel Anker using our 24 hour pass and get ready for Bruce. We take the 31 bus from Hausmann’s Gate to Fornebu and get off at the Telenor Arena. It’s in a bit of an industrial wasteland.
There’s a bottle neck in the queue for entrance E but we squeeze past to get to D which is much more orderly although I’m told not to block the road by a rather stern G4S security guard. As we go in I think they are playing a version of This Hard Land sung by Bruce that I don’t know and we are looking for food and drink but as soon as I realise it’s Bruce himself we race to an entrance and get a great view and he’s just singing for the people in the pit and us. He plays All that Heaven will Allow, the Fever and Growin’ Up before telling us he’ll be back later. Here is the whole pre show set on YouTube.
Despite all the arena info saying there is an 800 seater restaurant all we end up with is a long hot dog sausage in a pancake and 2 glasses of beer.
Our seats are ok and we have a decent enough view. Bruce comes on at 7.40 and gives us a great show. He’s so generous with his band. Little Steven opens with a Lillehammer song during which Bruce is just backing him. Highlights for me were the River with Bruce’s extraordinary falsetto sounding like an angel, blistering guitar on Prove it All Night and For You piano solo. Chris’ star songs were For You, She’s the One, Thunder Road and Prove it All Night. The audience actually listened during the quieter songs but also struggled to get on their feet to dance. Even after Bruce had got everyone up, our neighbours all just sat down again.
After the show we just went and got on the 31 bus which took us all the way back to the hotel.
A Bruce nerd had attached himself to us but we disentangled quickly.
We went to Sara’s Bar around the corner and drank 2 glasses each of Frydenlund dark beer.
Very late to bed.
Woke late but in time for breakfast and sandwich making.
Out to city hall on tram and foot. The city hall was built in 1950 and is an eclectic mix of architectural styles but quite fun and big with some great paintings of Norwegian myths. Bought Oslo 24 hour pass, this covers most museum entries, all travel and discounts in some restaurants. With it we went on the ferry to Bygdoy. Walked a way to the Norwegian folk Museum. This was excellent and included an exhibit on Sami life. The museum has reconstructed farms, houses both rural and urban. It was a great place and we lunched on a bench in the sun outside a couple of town dwellings.
Then the Viking Ship Museum. There are 3 Viking ships which are most impressive, also a carriage and other artifacts found inside the ships because they were used for burials. Lovely carving and detailed metal work. They are having serious conservation dilemmas as the fartiacts are disintegrating.
Quite a hike to the Fram museum. By then we were running out of time as it shut too early at 4.00. I would have liked a little more time there but I did get to go inside the boat and see that they were very comfortable in the cabins. They very fairly had an exhibit about Scott. The statues outside are the ones who actually did get to the South Pole first though!
We had a look round the Kon Tiki museum which shut a bit later. They had the raft and also a reed boat which Thor Heyerdahl made a lot later on.
We got the ferry back to the city hall and then waited a long time for a tram or bus at a stop where the grass was growing over the tram tracks. The electronic signage was telling us that the next tram was due but ours had not appeared so we set off but then of course the bus did come and we had to run to get on it.
A quick change and off out on the 11 tram to Kaffistova. This is a self service cafe and we got 20% off with the Oslo card. Chris had meatballs with squashed peas, fried potato, gravy and then ice cream. I had mini reindeer burgers, veg mix, fried potato wedges, gravy followed by apple cake and ice cream.
I will be buying sweet pickled gherkins and crisp breads in bulk.
We passed the London Pub, Chris very quickly identified this as a gay bar because of its rainbow flag. We observed but didn’t go in.
We’ve seen a lot of people wearing bright red trousers. Reckon this is some national sport gear but not sure what. Seen a lot of people wearing wellies too. I can understand in the snow but it’s very dry now and seems a hot sweaty thing for poor feet. Once we found the other parts of Oslo away from what was quite a run down area, it was a lovely city to see and be in. Also much cleaner.
Back to hotel on the tram. A quick pack and back out to Bar Sara for a pint of brown lager. The handsome boy served us again. The bar is much more busy tonight because we are not there at midnight! Nice local bar. We are knackered so one drink and back to hotel. C falls asleep instantly. I fall asleep writing this account.
Up early at 6.45 which translates to 5.45 in UK time. We are almost the first to breakfast and make up our sandwiches. Check out. On to tram to central station. I have loo emergency now that Imodium has worn off. We catch the local train to the airport.
First we get our tax back on our purchases although the desk is not where it says on the info we were given.
Then the check in which is entirely self service. The auto machine does not like Chris’ passport. Eventually we get it to work and it spits out boarding passes and luggage labels. We have to label up our own baggage and stick the labels to themselves which is just not very easy although everyone else manages to do it neatly. We have to scan our luggage onto the conveyer belt. Too much DIY and a bit stressful.
Into security. This time I don’t get a full work over. My jeans don’t fall down when the belt comes off as I have eaten so much that my BMI shows I am too short.
Into duty free for essential shopping. Onto our gate. We get coffee but machine breaks as we are supposed to be boarding. Coffee not nice. Always get the coffee from the percolator jug!
Onto plane. Beer!
Don’t buy bottled water, the stuff in the taps tastes good. Buy travel saver tickets for the trams, buses, ferries in Oslo and use them wisely. Also the Oslo pass for museums and travel. Get up early if you are going to Bygdoy. Make up sandwiches from the generous hotel breakfasts. Take resealable sandwich bags. Buy spirits from the Duty Free in the UK.
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.
Carol went and did an early dialysis slot and I picked her up about 11.30. We arrived in Chapel Stile at 3 after being held up by a nasty looking accident on the motorway and then stopping to eat some lunch in the car at the services. After unloading the car very quickly because we were blocking the road we soon got settled in.
We walked up Meg’s Gill, quite steep up to just over 300m. The cottage is at 100m. Then we turned east on a great proper little mountain path with sharp drops to reach a col overlooking Grasmere. Through some leftover snow to the col to take us back to the village and down some very steep sections.
We are eating in tonight and because it is a bit like camping we are having chicken korma and rice from the Look What We Found range.
Another lovely crisp sunny day. Parked at Colwith wood and went to Black Crag, my 50th Wainwright, via a different route from when we last came here and only got some of the way.
We lunched near the top overlooking Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, the Langdales. Then back via our own route across the access land. Off piste and very nice too.
Tonight we are going to the Jumble Room in Grasmere for our dinner.
I had kedgeree for starters, the hard boiled egg came separately and it came with some pale jam. Very good. Carol had fish and chips main which had some bones but she coped and the fish was also very good. I had chicken curried which came with beetroot and sweet potato. All very nice. Carol had sticky toffee pudding, no surprise there then. I managed to resist pudding but was feeling quite unwell with allergies. I have sneezed a lot in the cottage which is a bit dusty and something set me off in the resto. I must be a bit susceptible at the moment. Also have excema on my legs and feel very itchy and uncomfortable. Came out of resto streaming.
My dad would have been 99 today.
We went into Ambleside and lots of gear shops but I refrained and just bought a birthday present for a friend. Not saying who as they will probably read this!
We drove to Far Sawrey and parked up opposite the pub in a car park with an honesty box. Great walk covering all sorts of terrain and some lovely views. Stopped at Moss Eccles Tarn while Carol ate some lunch. I’d already had mine before we set off. Then we skirted round where Chris and I did bushcraft. A good mix of open land, tarns, coniferous woodland, the Somme (really very reminiscent with bare trees sticking up out of bog in the forestry cleared sections) and older woodland. Eventually we met up with the path Chris and I used. We found a good spot for wild camping which is a secret. Only a 4 mile walk but it took us nearly 4 hours because of being so leisurely.
Back to the cottage and I went for a run and met a very young Jewish lad who was looking for a campsite. I met him a second time on the way back from Elterwater and asked if he was ok and he said he was but I worried about him as he seemed rather vulnerable.
Drove to NT car park at Dungeon Ghyll and saved £6.50 because I am member. We walked along and then up to Blea Tarn on a mixture of permissive paths and public rights of way and a bit of road. Another gorgeous crisp sunny day. Looked over to Wrynose Fell and pass.
Carol was having sore knees so we went to Dungeon Ghyll pub and then for a drive back via Blea Tarn again and Little Langdale. Buggered because nowhere to park the car. Hey ho. It will be hard to pack it up tomorrow.
Dinner at the Grasmere Hotel. Smoked salmon and creamy nibble and brie and walnut nibble. C starter filo pastry parcels. J creamy forest mushrooms. Both had lemon sorbet. Both had beef casserole with veg, roast spuds and creamed celeriac. So nice I have now bought some celeriac with which to experiment. C pudding Grasmere gingerbread meringue ice cream. J blueberry creme brûlée. Complimentary coffee with mint. All very good quality at £24 per person.
I got up early and went for a run to Elterwater and back, hardly saw any cars, lovely although very chilly. Packed up car with only having to shift it once.
Went to John Ruskin’s house, Brantwood on Coniston Water. Nice house but I think he would have been quite annoying, writing several books and papers before breakfast. They have kept his clothes so you can see his pants! For those of a delicate disposition it’s actually just his outer pants.
Hot drinks after chilly house. Ambled round a bit of garden overlooking the lake. Great location for a house.
Booths’ supermarket in Windermere because Carol felt like she hasn’t been in one for weeks and then home. The weather got duller and duller and finally started raining. We seem to have had the best of the weather.
Since getting back I’ve been reading Robert MacFarlane’s Mountains of the Mind where he talks at length about Ruskin’s influence on how we perceive mountains. I really didn’t pick this up from our visit to the house but it’s made me go and look at his pictures a bit more, not sure that I like them.
I had to do an OU tutorial on Tuesday in Sheffield and what should be on at the gallery I passed but a Ruskin landscapes exhibition, unfortunately it was shut at night. It’s wider than just Ruskin. What I hadn’t realised was that Sheffield Museums have a Ruskin collection.
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.
I arrived in Oxford in the early afternoon with Angela’s excellent directions. She and Paul live in Jericho which is close to the centre of the city. Although I went to Oxford quite often as a child, I haven’t been since my brother’s graduation which was quite a long time ago, he is now 60.
After some delicious leek and potato soup, we headed off out for a whizzy tour of the city, taking in Christ Church Cathedral Choir School where Mum taught until 1951 when she married Dad. I had made a donation some time ago for Mum’s name to be put on the hearts on the railings at the front of the school and wanted to see these. They had promised a small ceremony for the people who did this but the headmaster had been taken very ill and it had never happened. The hearts were on the railings but no names visible from the street. Angela encouraged me to persevere so we went in through the car entrance and persuaded a parent to let us into the building and he delivered us to a teacher. This chap listened to my tale and then took us to the other side of the railings where the names have been put on the railings themselves on the inside which makes more sense and they won’t be vandalised there. Mr. Bagnall then kindly showed us around the school which was great as I’d never been there before.
Then we wandered around a bit passing several of the colleges and ending up in the Old Bank hotel in the Quod bar where Angela had a mojito and I had a bottle of Old Hooky. Back to Walton Crescent and then out again to the Lebanese resto at the bottom of the road. A glass of wine came and then an interesting plate of salad – carrot sticks, olives, strange pink pickled cabbage, one large tomato (whole) and one Little Gem (also whole)! And no dressing! Then a substantial wait until we decided to chivvy them along only to find that something terrible had happened to Angela’s fish. I explained the need to hurry and Angela opted to have the same as me, our food then arrived very quickly. We had lentils and rice with fried onion and spices. It was tasty but could have done with something else to lift it! A little dry cake arrived as a complimentary item in an effort to redeem themselves. We had sweet black coffee and then toddled off to Christ Church.
A lovely concert in aid of Christ Church Cathedral School Education Trust. Vaughan Williams and Faure. I liked the music and liked being where Mum and Dad were married nearly 62 years ago.
We continued to the Rickety Press pub in Jericho where I had a Laphroaig. They also did Caol Ila but I didn’t spot that until too late. Followed by seeing how Paul’s concert in St. Barnabas (St. John Passion) had gone. St. Barnabas is interesting and has half completed art work, very dramatic and unusual church.
Today we took Boris the bearded Collie for a walk in the park and then Angela took me for a tour of Boar’s Hill. We managed to go past Foxcombe Orchard without me realising as I couldn’t remember the orchard part of the name. This was a house built by my Radice grandparents which is now worth a very silly amount of money. Sadly my paternal grandmother was a nasty bit of work and none of the cash they got upon selling it came to my Dad, This was his punishment for marrying my mother (you should see the letters Dad’s mother wrote to him upon his engagement – pure venom). Dad’s father in complete contrast was a lovely gentle man, with a delightful Italian accent.
Then we drove through Wootton where my Radice grandparents are buried, straight through Abingdon and onto Clifton Hampden. My Guillaume grandparents are connected with CH but I can’t remember how and one of my cousins is finding out about this so will edit this post when I know. We went in the church which sits on a small prominence, just as well because a lot of the village is/was badly flooded. The church was a bit of a tardis and very dark inside and the lights didn’t work but I liked the gloom.
Finally back via Cuddesdon where my Dad trained to become a priest and then back to Oxford. It was great to be driven about, a real treat for me and very interesting to see the landscape and places that meant so much to my parents. Many thanks to Angela and Paul for everything.
This is the clock that the boys of the school gave to my Mum when she left to get married: