Friday, 7 December 2012

Hurrah! It's December

And I've been knitting. (Click on the pic if you'd like a larger image.)

The patterns for the geese and the hen came from Fiona Goble's "Twelve Knits of Christmas":

And the patterns for the cat and the dog came from her "Farmyard Knits":

She has a pattern for a cow too, but the highland cow is my own design. As are the sheep, the donkey, the camel and everyone else.

Christmas isn't just about the decorations though (although they are one of my favourite bits), it's about festivities and fun and seeing friends.

Unfortunately, my plans to catch up with Dear Pork Chop tomorrow have been thwarted by the weather - because December is also the month when frozen pitches and postponed matches kick in.

We were lucky last weekend though - an away trip to Blyth Spartans, in Northumberland, which was ON.

(Photo by Matthew Wilkinson.)

A smashing ground and an astoundingly lovely club. Thank you Spartans for your wonderfully warm welcome!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Reading the Internet

(from Christalinks)

It has been nearly two months since I last blogged about anything. This is because two months ago the academic year started, and I have been busy. Stupidly busy.

Stupidly, mind-numbingly busy. Today I should still be busy, but as I have already mentioned, my mind is numb. So instead of working I have been reading the Internet.

Regular readers (if I have such a thing) may remember that I am keen on craft activities, for example: here, here and here.

Imagine my delight when I stumbled upon what might just be one of the most practical, well-researched and useful craft sites on the whole Web: Stop Alien Abductions

Can you guess what this is going to be?

Monday, 17 September 2012

New Boss

It's quite some time since I've blogged about work. That's because it's not much fun - unlike the rest of life, which is a lot of fun.

But today work intervenes. It's the first day of Freshers' Week, there are students everywhere, and I really do have to start paying attention.

A couple of weeks ago we got a new manager. I met him last week. He talked too much and didn't listen enough.
On the plus side, he looks a lot like this:

I haven't actually seen him with a laptop yet, but I reckon he'd be the type.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Pennine Adventure (6)
Hare & Hounds (14)

Two Hobbies Collide!

On Friday I took the day off work and I went for a walk - the next leg of the Pennine Way, this time from Haworth to Thornton-in-Craven. And somewhere in the middle of the walk (Lothersdale, to be exact) the Pennine Way goes right past a Hare & Hounds.

How great is that?!

Here it is (pic as usual from Google Streetview):

I've drawn in a little white arrow pointing at a signpost for the Pennine Way, so you can see just how close it is.

Lothersdale is a lovely place. Here's another photo:

(Photo by Dave Dunford.)

In case you are wondering - yes, I did see some rather mad sheep. Lothersdale has a very big chimney, and a very big waterwheel. I didn't see the latter, I was too busy checking out the Hare & Hounds.

I've walked to North Yorkshire now, the landscape has changed and it is altogether a gentler world: rolling green hills, flowery fields and pretty villages nestling in the Dales. And I had it all to myself!

Here's the profile - obviously it's not to scale, so what looks quite pointy isn't really.

(From Where's the Path?.)

This is probably as far as I am going to get this year. I've walked a long way from home, and from here on it is going to be extremely difficult to get to the start of a walk early enough to get to the end of it in time to catch the train or bus home again. This isn't, of course, in the spirit of the Pennine Way. One is meant to walk it all over the course of a couple of weeks, staying in youth hostels or camping at night. But I am not some double-hard bastard with a point to prove - I like to go home at night to scented shower gels, fluffy towels, clean clothes and chilled wine.

Monday, 20 August 2012

My God it's Full of Frogs!

Pennine Adventure (5)

I've been up ont' moors again. Yesterday. This time it was the leg of the Pennine Way between Hebden Bridge and Haworth.

Here are the ups and downs (and even a map this time):

(From Where's the Path)

You will need to click on the pic if you want to see any detail.

Highlights of this section:

1. Hebden Bridge is charming.

2. Quite early on I passed the remains of what I believe is called a 'drop water closest'. Basically this is a structure built over a waterfall where one can move one's bowels - then presumably pop down to the River Calder later in the day and try to identify one's own turd bobbing about in the water. As far as I could tell it was no longer in use.

3. The heather is in bloom, giving the moors a lovely purple glow.

4. I passed the 50 mile point on the Pennine Way - not sure where exactly.

5. I also passed Top Withins. Legend has it that this is the ruins of the farmhouse that Emily Bronte based Wuthering Heights on. Despite a Bronte Society plaque stating "the buildings, even when complete, bore no resemblance to the house she described" the place must have some sort of tourist-pulling-power - it is possibly the only part of the Pennine Way which has signposts in both English and Japanese.

Here's a photo of Top Withins from the 1920s. It still had a roof then.

(From Wuthering Heights)

6. I'm saving the best for last. This section of the Pennine Way is covered in frogs! Lots and lots of frogs! Big frogs, little frogs, green frogs, yellow frogs, red frogs.

(More about frogs here)

Who would have thought?!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Pennine Adventure (4)

Yesterday I walked the next section of the Pennine Way, this time starting at Littleborough and finishing at Hebden Bridge.

I've not made a profile of this bit. Last week I was provided with a new PC and I've just discovered it doesn't have any picture editing tools. Boo!

To be honest, though, this section of the Pennine Way is virtually flat (even the walk uphill from Littleborough is reasonably gentle) so this was an easy day's walk.

It's not always easy though. I was here in February with Mr Crab and a couple of chums. There was a lot of snow on the ground, the reservoirs were frozen solid, the path was an ice-slick from start to finish and we spent the whole day walking in heavy fog.

So heavy we couldn't even see this until it was a matter of metres away.

© Copyright Andy Stephenson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

This is Stoodley Pike. The views from here are magnificent (assuming you're not walking in a pea-souper, that is).

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Hare & Hounds (13)

I visited this Hare & Hounds yesterday:

(Photo as usual is from Google Streetview. Click on the pic if you'd like to see the full size image.)

I probably should have been here long before now, it's in Shudehill and I've been past it dozens of times since I started my Hare & Hounds quest.

A pub in the centre of Manchester possibly isn't a likely destination for a ramble, and when I set out from home I had no idea I going there. I thought I was going to the craft shop on Oldham Street to get some supplies - but it was a hot muggy day and by the time I got there I felt very grimy and dehydrated. A quick refreshing lager was just the ticket!

Of all the Hare & Houndses I've visited this one certainly had the most atmosphere, in fact it was a bit bonkers (in a good way). It was a shame I didn't have time to linger longer, but I still had nearly seven miles to walk to get home again. I will be visiting again.

Back to the craft shop. It has a name something like Azkaban, but it's not that, that's the prison in Harry Potter where the Dementors live. The craft shop is a happy place and I was getting some bits for one of my other hobbies. I am making a rainbow in installments. (My life isn't all beer and hill-walking, you know.)

Yesterday's provisions were needed for the chartreuse portion of the rainbow.

My rainbow, my rules.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Pennine Journey (3)

After an absence of a couple of months, I have finally returned to my Pennine Adventure. On Saturday, I picked up where I left off back in April and continued my journey North - this time from Greenfield to Littleborough.

The Pennine Way doesn't actually go through Greenfield (but the train does) so I had a walk of nearly four miles to the start of my route. This was the shortest and easiest stretch of Pennine yet, just a short haul up the Standedge Tunnel, then pretty flat all the way. Here's the profile:
From Where's the Path.

I've drawn in that little black cloud to indicate the section of the walk that was through a torrential thunderstorm. It didn't last long, maybe half an hour, but it was half an hour of boiling thunder and unrelenting, pissing rain. Luckily there wasn't any lightning nearby, because at the time I was the only feature in a bleak and soggy landscape.

The blue dip in the middle indicates something I've held an overwhelming ambition for, for a long time. It is the footbridge that crosses the motorway. Everytime we go to an away game in Yorkshire (which is most of them) I gaze up at that bridge and dream about walking across it. And now I have!!

Here it is:
© Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Fortunately it had stopped raining by then so the magic of the moment wasn't in anyway marred.

Some other landmarks of Saturday's walk:
1). I have left the OL1 behind; I am now walking on the OL21. That's progress!

(Ordnance Survey) In case you're not familiar with the area, my route is number 15.

2). At the very start of the Pennine Way, where I set out back in March, there is a pub. For the first time since then, there is a pub right on the route.

When I got there, it was closed.
This is becoming something of a feature of my walks, isn't it?

3). This walk completed the first 1,000 miles I have walked this year.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Golden Apple of the Sun

I was very sad to hear of the death of Ray Bradbury on 5th June. He has been one of my very favourite authors for many years.

Many, many years...

When I was about 12 or 13, one of my Christmas presents from my parents was Silver Locusts. I'd got to that age where reading just wasn't exciting as it had used to be - or maybe it was that there just weren't that many good books for one of that age.

Either way, it didn't matter - I absolutely loved it!

I still have this edition of the book, but I have no idea how many times I have read it over the intervening decades. This, and all his other books.

What a wonderful world they have opened for me - a world of colour and kindness, mystery and warmth.

Thank you, Ray, and rest in peace.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Hare & Hounds (12)

I've been on my holidays (yippee!) and while I was away I visited another Hare & Hounds .

This one is in Hawsker, and it was visited after a walk along a coastal bit of the Cleveland Way from Whitby to Robin Hood's Bay. I was rather pleased with this as it satisfied not one but two ambitions: 1. visiting Hare & Houndses, and 2. more walks in Yorkshire.

This picture is from the pub's own website. I don't know what the pub was like as we got there just after 3pm and it was closed. Never mind - it is the furtherest away Hare & Hounds I've visited, the weather was glorious and we were heading back to Whitby for yet another fish dinner in the much-loved Magpie Cafe.

Some other things I did on my holidays: Norton Priory, Biddulph Grange, the Middlewood - Chadkirk - Marple walk(again, but without a Hare & Hounds stop this time) and the Chelsea Flower Show.

It has all been very, very good!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Pennine Journey (2)

Yesterday I tackled the second phase of my assault on the Pennine Way. This leg of the journey was the section from Crowden to Standedge - but I started in Hadfield and finished in Greenfield, for the simple practicality that both these towns have railway stations.

Here's the profile:

Actually this isn't quite all of it. Where's the Path struggled to generate a profile for 20 miles of hills, so this one peters out somewhere near Diggle. If you'd like to know what the rest of it looked like, imagine three miles of flat towpath. It was bliss.

I've never walked most of this section of Pennine Way before (the bit between Laddow Rocks and Standedge) so it was a bit of an adventure for me.

Actually my whole weekend was spent in the Peak District. Before my Dark Peak adventure yesterday I had a trip to the White Peak on Saturday. We were away at Matlock Town (another game we managed to lose, sigh) but it is a lovely place to visit. And a lovely journey to get there, with many scenic highlights. Here's Frankie at Monsal Head last year:

What a happy little bear!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Hare & Hounds (11)

When I first started my Hare & Hounds Project I imagined it was going to be undertaken in the space of a single year. However my progress wasn't quite as prolific as I'd hoped, so I've extended it into what may well become a Lifelong Quest.

Yesterday I visited this Hare & Hounds:

(As usual, the photo is from Google Streetview.)

This one is in Hurst Cross, just across the road from Ashton United's ground.

We played Ashton United yesterday, the first time we have played here since the August Bank Holiday in 2010 - which is why it has taken me so long to visit this pub. Yesterday was cold and wet, the pitch was claggy in the extreme, and we lost 1-0.

It's a lovely friendly club to visit though. Here are some of the local kids taking penalties at half-time. That little girl was a treasure!

(Photo nicked from Mick Dean. I hope he doesn't mind.)

I hope you all had a happy Easter. I'm back at work now, and our psycho-bitch boss has plans to lock us all up in a room with no windows. She must really, really hate us.

Oh dear.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Spring Projects 2012

It's that glorious time of the year again when the days are getting longer, the sun is shining, birds are singing and things are hatching.

Time for a Crab to start hatching her Spring Projects.

Actually at this stage it is just the one project - to walk more of the Pennine Way. Over the years, I have walked on the Pennine Way a lot - but not in any logical sequence. Sometimes I walk north, sometimes I walk south, and the start of one walk is never where the last one left off.

So this year the plan is to walk it in one direction (north obviously, I'm not going all the way to Scotland then trying to find my way home. I have limits you know.) I don't know how far I'll get but I want to see the Pennine Way as a single entity, unfolding across the country.

I made a start last Sunday: Edale to Hadfield, via Kinder Scout and Bleaklow. Eighteen miles. Here's the profile - you'll need to click on the image to see it in all its glory.

From the very excellent Where's the Path? - possibly my favourite website of all time.

I can tell you, that last long descent was a bit of a knee-cruncher. The views were absolutely stunning though - late afternoon sun over the Longendale Valley.

The next leg of my Pennine Adventure may have to wait until Easter (other things to do before then) but I am really, really looking forward to it!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Happy New Year!

2012 has got of to rather a slow start for me - hence the late greeting.

Last week I had a bit more ear removed. I hope they don't have to whittle any more off or I am going to end up looking like this:

I mean the funny little ear - there's no reason to imagine I might turn green.

Anyway, that was a week ago, and today my bandages have started to work their way loose. I feel like this:

It really has not been a glamourous start to the year.

Harking back to last year - here is 2011 in review:

2,143 miles walked.
10 Hare & Hounds visited.

That's 214 miles it has taken me to get to each of those Hare & Hounds - which is something of a failure by anyone's standards.

Never mind. Today is Chinese New Year. Hurrah!
Time to start visiting Dragon-themed pubs.

Happy New Year everyone!