Friday, 23 December 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone!

It's been a party morning in the library today - and now I'm done for another year. Wishing you all the very best for Christmas and the New Year. xxx

Wednesday, 30 November 2011


This isn't an allusion to the Space Odyssey or even to the name of this blog (which is, of course, a line taken from the film).

No. In this case, I am referring to the number of miles I have walked so far this year.

In the tradition of my blog, let's see where I would end up, had I walked those 2,001 miles in a direct line from my own front door.



(This is an Panoramio image taken from Google Maps, but unfortunately - and yet rather typically - Google Maps froze before I could get the name of the photographer. For which I apologise - but isn't it a nice photo?)

What do I know about Saratov? Almost nothing, except that it is a Russian city situated on the Volga, and that 2,001 miles from my house is this house.

By the time I get home tonight, I will have walked 2010 miles. But that's the sequel. Rather good, it was too, Helen Mirren was in it.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Got fur balls?

Then you can make cat crafts!

It is nearly two years since I opened my library blog, and at the time I imagined it would be full of book reviews and other posts of an erudite nature. Since then, however, I have spent a lot of time wandering about in the hills, visiting pubs and knitting woolly royals. Very little time has been devoted to anything of a bibliographic nature.

So, today I'm going to restore the gentle, bookish nature of my blog with this offering: Crafting with Cat Hair.

You can look inside it at Amazon.

Although at first this book might look, well, a bit bonkers, the advice seems sound. For example, under the heading of Supplies: I have a cat. What else do I need to craft with cat hair? Makes sense - presumably a cat, on its own, is not enough.

And, quite importantly: These crafts are not recommended for people with cat allergies.

There is a claim that "cats do not naturally produce any bad smells", which as someone who once shared a house with the very farty Milligan, I know to be not true - but I can't see that this would necessarily stop you producing any crafty objects with your cat.

At present I am busily knitting the Archangel Gabriel, so I won't be purchasing this book any time soon, but I would still recommend it to anyone who would like an indoors hobby for the winter months. Anyone who owns a cat, that is.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Hare & Hounds (9 & 10)

Not one but two Hare & Houndses yesterday!

Hare & Hounds (9)

This was the first one I've visited in Yorkshire. It is in Hebden Bridge, which involved a short but stiff walk up a hill to here:

(Photo by Humphrey Bolton, through Creative Commons.)

What a lovely friendly pub this is. I will be visiting it again, not least because I noticed they have a Sausage Saturday! Three locally sourced sausages every Saturday. That's got to be good. Outside the pub three handsome pigs were snuffling about happily.

I don't know if they've got anything to do with Sausage Saturday.

From there it was back down the hill, and then a lovely misty autumnal walk along the Rochdale Canal towpath to:

Hare & Hounds (10)


Another warm and friendly pub. This photo is from its own website.

They were showing the Chelsea - Liverpool game on 3D telly. Two teams I couldn't give a rat's arse about, but seeing the other punters in their 3D specs added a rather nice retro touch to the occasion.

A top day out. In the evening I finished knitting the camel for my nativity scene, which only heightened my delight with the whole day.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Hare & Hounds (8)

It is hard to imagine that any Hare & Hounds I ever visit could possibly have a more glorious approach walk than this one.

Last Friday I did not go to work. Instead I took the day off and went for a walk. And what a beautiful day it was - immaculate, crisp, bright autumn weather. I started at Edale and followed the Pennine Way up Jacob's Ladder.

(photo by hoshisato)

On to Edale Cross, then across Kinderlow, down through Coldwell Clough to Hayfield, and then finally along the Sett Valley Trail, through the woods, to New Mills - to this, my eighth Hare & Hounds:

(photo from Google Streetview)

It was closed. Ten fucking miles, over hill and dale, I walked to get here and the bloody place wasn't even open. Friday, 4pm - you'd expect every pub in the country to be open, wouldn't you?

So instead of the pint I should've rewarded myself with, I sat in the tent, drank the last of my water and had a cigarette.

I have not been applying a rating system to the Hare & Hounds I've visited, but if I had this one would've scored a few points for the smoking tent, and also for the dog kennel by the front door. It's those little touches that help make a pub, even if it hasn't got the decency to be open.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Hare & Hounds (7)

This is where I went yesterday.

As usual, the photo has come from Google Streetview. At some point on this project I might just remember to take my own camera with me. Nine months into the year and the only time I've taken my camera with me the battery went flat before I'd snapped any Hare & Houndses, then I slipped crossing a stream, landed on my arse on a pointy rock and ended up with soggy undies and a massive bruise.

But I digress. This is the Hare & Hounds in Mill Brow. And everything about it was lovely! I visited it at about the halfway point on another walk starting at Middlewood, this time via the Macclesfield Canal. Yesterday was hot and sticky, so I sat on a bench at the front, sipping my pint and watching the horses mooching about on the hill opposite. Idyllic.

A day earlier, we were knocked out of the FA Cup, early and in an unflattering manner. Sometimes you need a beer.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Hare & Hounds (6)

Hasn't Number 6 been a long time coming?

After a good start my Hare & Hounds Project had lapsed somewhat.

Never mind. I am back on track, and yesterday I visited the above. It is the Hare & Hounds in Dooley Lane, Marple, and it was at roughly the halfway mark on a lovely early autumn walk from Middlewood to Marple. The photo was taken by the Google Streetview Jelly Baby - the weather was much nicer than this yesterday.

The whole walk was a cracker! As well as a refreshing pint in the Hare & Hounds and a walk in the woods, we visited the 16th century Chadkirk Chapel, with its lovely walled garden:

(Photo from Wikipedia, more info here.)

and this:

(Photo from Geograph.)

and umpteen locks on the Peak Forest Canal. Then we got tired so we sat down and drank more beer.

I love my life!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Tiny little teeth

I feel like someone or something with tiny little teeth is chewing on my earlobe. Maybe someone like this:

(Photo from here.)

It is not entirely unpleasant, but it is not right either.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Looting, Pillaging and Plundering

I was busy on Tuesday night, so didn't get to do any looting or rioting.

Last night I was tackling a mountain of ironing so again I missed out. And it was raining, so wouldn't have been bothered anyway.

Now, if you didn't live here you might think this country was beyond hope, but for every robbing scumbag there's someone ready to take the piss. More of the above here.

Elsewhere in town, the rioting was more subdued.

(from YouTube)

Friday, 22 July 2011

Sam's gone to Skem

I hope he knows how very loved he was with us, and how much he will be missed.

Here is Sam in happier times, celebrating his goal against Retford last season. Oh how we laughed! Neilboo's video is on YouTube if you haven't already seen it.

Goodbye Sam, and all the very best of everything in the future.

I'm sad.

To cheer myself I had a look at the FC Forum and found this:

Viva Ken Barlow!

Now I am happy again.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Prince Philip and the Ood

A state visit with a difference.

I hope the Duke managed to get through it without making any of his usual cracks about slitty eyes or being too fat to be an astronaut. Although the Ood isn't fat at all, he has a very trim figure - and a rather natty suit, I think.

I made these myself. The pattern for Prince Philip came from Fiona Goble's book, "Knit Your Own Royal Wedding", which I tackled as one of my Spring Projects. The Ood is my own design.

I knitted a corgi and the Queen and Prince William and Catherine Middleton and Prince Philip (all from the Fiona Goble book). By then I was heartily sick of the Royal Family. I couldn't face knitting any more of them - not Harry or Charles or Camilla or even the Archbishop.

It was because of this that the Ood ended up officiating at the Royal Wedding.

It was when I started seriously considering knitting Lord Sugar that I realised it was time to put the needles and wool away and return to real life.

PS: For those of you not familiar with the Ood, they have a song:

(From YouTube)

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

It all ends!

My back-to-back Harry Potter reading marathon ended last night. This was a project I started in March - re-reading all seven Harry Potter books before the final film is released next week. I think I spun them out rather nicely - any sooner or later and I would've been too fraught or addled.

This is a pretty good picture of Voldermort, isn't it? Looking at it, I am tempted to knit my own Dark Lord.

It will help to keep me calm while I am waiting to go to the cinema.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

One Thousand Miles

I have mentioned before, more than once, that I love walking. Up and down, round and round, here, there and everywhere. Walk, walk, walk. I love it.

So far this year I have walked 1,000 miles. This is further (or faster?) than this time last year, which I attribute to the milder winter. Much as I like walking, I do not walk in snow or ice.

If I had walked that thousand miles in a straight line, where would it have got me?


This is Nazare, in Portugal. Doesn't it look nice?

I found this on Google Maps. When I went back to find the photographer's name so I could acknowledge it here, I couldn't find the pic again. Sorry. If this is your photo, 1. thank you, it is lovely, and 2. let me know who you are and I'll give you the credit you are owed.

That's enough from me today. Tomorrow I am having a day off.
I'm going for a walk. Yippee!!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

It's a boy!!

Sochirca Dan

Congratulations to The Cheadle (occasional visitor here) and Mrs Cheadle on the birth of their son!

That will be a big boost to the attendance at Cheadle Town FC next season.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Bank Holiday

Yesterday was a Bank Holiday. I went for a walk here:

pic from britainexpress

Isn't it lush?

Friday, 27 May 2011

A stinky treat in store

Who has been blocking the drains, overflowing the toilets, and stinking out the knickers at Underworld?

Poor dead old Colin Fishwick, that's who.

And tonight is the night that Colin will finally be... ummm... I'm not sure what the correct word is. Not unearthed. Resurfaced? Yes, that'll do. Tonight Colin is going to be resurfaced.

I am guessing not with one of these:

It would be interesting if it was though.

I am really looking forward to this episode. Work has been particularly drab lately, with more demoralising things looming on the horizon. I need a bit of Corrie fun to lighten the load and make everything good again.

And doesn't Corrie do watery fun so well?! How many people have ended up in the canal at Castlefield over the years? Roy Cropper, Richard Hillman, David Platt (on more than one occasion), the list goes on and on... And only last year we had Joe McIntyre at the bottom of Windermere - until he bobbed to the surface.

But I can't remember any character blocking a toilet before, and so tonight will be a brave new televisual treat.

Hasn't that rug kept well, considering it's been down a dunny for a year?

Monday, 9 May 2011

This has never happened before!

Lanky is outside the Library, playing cricket with some students. I don't know why, but they are having a lot of fun.

One day I was at the cricket and Lanky did a star-jump right in front of me. A star-jumping giraffe is something you just don't ever expect to see, and it is an image that still delights me whenever I remember it. Which is often.

A huge black stormcloud is approaching and I suspect rain is about to stop play. Oh dear, back to grown-up life...

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Why, Oh Why?

In case you are wondering, these are William and Kate teabags.

I am so perplexed by these that I can't even begin to work out what Dewey number to classify them at. If you've got any suggestions, please chip in.

Meanwhile, at the Crab Home, work is progressing slowly but surely on the Knitted Wedding. A corgi is complete, the Queen is complete but barefoot, and Kate Middleton is - well - she has been constructed, but is as yet, naked, bald and faceless.

She looks like a rather spooky crash test dummy. She is frightening the corgi.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Hare & Hounds (5)

This is the Hare & Hounds at Werneth Low.

(Photo by Scott Ainsley)

I visited here yesterday with Mr Crab and a friend, after a lovely walk up through the woods from Broadbottom. Well mostly lovely, except for the bit where we were chased by some Norty Horses. We might be explorers but we are not brave.

No matter how many Hare & Hounds I visit this year, it will be hard to find one with more impressive views than this one. It is perched on a hill overlooking Manchester, most of Lancashire and a fair bit of Cheshire, and you can see nearly forever.

This is a very nice pub, but yesterday wasn't the ideal time to visit. It was heaving with families celebrating Mothers' Day - which is absolutely right and proper of course, but they were all clean and shiny, while we were muddy and smelly and covered in horse-spittle.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Spring Projects

We have managed to get through another winter - the days are getting warmer, there is suddenly a lot more light in the world, and the Crab has started to get quite enthusiastic about Spring Projects.

And by this I do NOT mean Spring Cleaning. I am a slattern and quite prepared to leave that sort of thing un-done for, well forever really.

Project no. 1

Knitting the Royal Wedding.
I haven't actually started this project yet, but the book came in the post yesterday and tonight I am going to leave work early so I can get to the wool shop before it closes. I don't know how much I will manage to achieve before the Big Day, but I intend to start with a couple of corgis, and maybe an archbishop. If nothing else, they will come in handy in my nativity scene at Christmas.

Project No. 2

Re-reading all the Harry Potter books.
Before the final film is released on 15th July. I got this idea from LibraryGirl on her delightfully-named blog, living in the kingdom of too much. It's a fine idea and one I can reasonable expect to achieve. At present I'm halfway through the second book, so only about another 27,000 pages to go.

Project No. 3

Building a ship in a bottle.
I haven't learnt how to do this yet, nor have I made any attempt to learn. I have, however, made an excellent start emptying whisky bottles.

Oh I do like hobbies!

Monday, 28 March 2011

Hare & Hounds (4)

Here is the latest Hare & Hounds.

This one is in Altrincham, and was visited yesterday afternoon after a sunny Sunday Cheshire saunter.

I didn't like it much, but to be fair, this was probably not the best time to visit. The Sunday Carvery was in full flow, people were queuing up at the buffet to help themselves to roast potatoes, gravy and something else that didn't smell very nice, and the background music(and I use the term loosely) was Celine Dion whinging and moaning and generally lowering the tone. Ambience was about nil.

In its favour, this pub does have a lot of outdoor seating, so that's where I sat - and watched a couple of little kids kick a football around and listened to an Australian on the next table who said the word fuck a lot.

Still, it's another Hare & Hounds visited. Well done me!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Two Fangs, You've only got Two Fangs

Today I am as giddy as a particularly giddy goat!

This is because the sun is shining, tonight FC United are playing Whitby Town, and in an hour's time I shall be leaving work and heading across the country to the seaside.

Whitby is wonderful. It is where Dracula first came ashore in England. You can see the little beach where he landed in the above photo.

I could have posted a cheesy vampire photo here, but instead I've chosen this fine Folio Society edition of the novel. This is meant to be a Library Blog, you know.

Another thing Whitby is famous for is the Magpie Cafe - the country's most popular fish cafe. You can see by the queue just how popular it is.

This is where we will be dining tonight. And then it is on to the match Hurrah!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Fat Tuesday

Isn't that a cracking name?! It would be churlish not to celebrate.

It is, of course, PANCAKE DAY.

The scene in my kitchen tonight will be something like this - but only a bit. There are no chubby-cheeked tots in my house, and nor are there any wizened crones. I won't even be wielding a frying pan.

But later on I will microwaving some zesty lemon pancakes from M&S. I am a lazy trollop.

Happy Fat Tuesday!

PS. I have heard that Americans will eat pancakes for breakfast. That can't possibly be true, can it?

Monday, 21 February 2011

Hare & Hounds (3)

Oh, the pubs are coming thick and fast now, aren't they?!

This is the Hare and Hounds in Uppermill.
The photo is from Craig H1's flickr set - more pictures of his Saddleworth Pubs here.

After a long, happy and muddy ramble yesterday I popped in here for a well earned pint.

Many people have a perception that Saddleworth is bleak. Much of this, I think, is rooted in history - some VERY BAD THINGS happened here in the 1960s. And Saddleworth Moor does present a rather forbidding aspect if only ever seen from the motorway.

But if you get off the motorway and get out of your car and go for a walk, it is a lovely area. High craggy hills, green valleys, woods, streams (like this), Yorkshire villages, impressive examples of Victorian engineering (and this) - and some jolly fine little pubs. And all of that only 20 minutes by train from Manchester Victoria.

Speaking of which. Despite what we saw on Corrie on Friday night, and despite Leanne Battersby's best attempts, you cannot catch a train from Victoria to London. Never could, never will. Especially not from that platform - the best she could have managed from there would have been, err, right back to Saddleworth.

So that worked out well, didn't it?

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Hare & Hounds (2)

This one was an unexpected (and delightful!) bonus. I've not been here since early October and at that time it had closed down.

This is the Hare & Hounds at Bower Fold in Stalybridge - and Hurrah! it is open again.

Once again the photo is from Google Streetview. It didn't look like this last night - it was dark (okay, there was a full moon) and there were a lot of happy FC fans outside. Nice little pub, isn't it?

What was I doing in Stalybridge last night? No, I have taken up midnight rambling. We were playing a home game at Bower Fold against Chasetown.

And we won! 4-2!
With only ten men.
And, my god, those ten men played well!

What an all-round excellent evening that turned out to be!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

A Day to Celebrate!

Today is the Chinese New Year, and this year it's the Year of the Rabbit. Woohoo!

Or if, like me, you grew up somewhere with a substantial Vietnamese population, you will know it as the Year of the Cat.

Here is a lovely painting of some cats on their way to a party.

This is from Look at Vietnam - click the link for more happy cat paintings.

A long time ago I was told (by a Vietnamese person, so it must be true) that being an agricultural nation, the Vietnamese don't like rabbits (they eat the crops) but they do like cats (the farmer's friend, they eat rats and mice) - hence Year of the Cat, not Rabbit.

Something like the Australians, who for similar reasons have an Easter Bilby instead of an Easter Bunny.

Don't know what a Bilby looks like? Here he is:

How cute is that?!

Cats, Rabbits, Bilbies. They're all good.
And on that mellow note, here's Al Stewart to sing you into the New Year.

Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

A New Year's Resolution

As I have mentioned before, more than once, I love walking. Walk, walk, walk. All over the place. I love it. At final count, I'd racked up 1,870 miles last year.

This year it is my ambition to walk with a purpose. No more aimless rambling for me! It is my resolution to involve as many pubs called Hare & Hounds as possible in my walks.

Why the Hare & Hounds?
1. There are a lot of them.
2. The first pub I went in, on my first real walk this year ('real' in the sense that it involved hills and a friend and a pint) was called the Hare & Hounds.
3. We will soon be entering the Year of the Rabbit, and Hares are as close to the theme of Rabbits as I could get.

Here is Hare & Hounds no.1:

This photo comes from Google Streetview. I didn't have my camera with me at the time - and to be honest, the weather wasn't this nice last Sunday. By the time we got to the pub it was pissing down.

Never mind! The pub was cosy, clean, friendly and thoroughly comforting. We didn't eat there, but the food looked and smelled gorgeous. Should you wish to visit yourself, it is in Simmondley Village, Glossop.

Hopefully I will have more Hare & Houndses to report on in the coming months. Please wish me success in the my brave and intrepid quest!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you've all survived the festive season, and Santa has seen you right.

To be honest, 2011 is not looking too promising for me so far: new boss, new regime. It's grim.

No chat.
No laughing.
No happiness.
No motivation.

It's like being buried alive.

A bit like poor Rita in the Kabin, except Rita had choccies (albeit slightly dusty ones) within her grasp. And Rita was rescued within a few days - unlike us, trapped here in misery with no hope of salvation.