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THE CHURCH GARDEN - PHASE ONE.

Monday, November 24, 2014

I WAS JUST GOING TO UPLOAD A COUPLE OF PHOTOS, BUT I DECDED THAT I HAD ENOUGH MATERIAL TO ACTUALLY WRITE A BLOG.

AS YOU ALL KNOW I HAVE BEEN WORKING ON A PROJECT TO CREATE A COMMUNITY GARDEN AT THE FRONT OF OUR CHURCH. I AM SO PLEASED THAT PHASE ONE HAS NOW BEEN COMPLETED, BUT THE STORY IS ONE OF UPS AND DOWNS.

IN TH BEGINNING ALL WAS ROSY. THE PROJECT WAS APPROVED BY TH CHURCH MEMBERS AND THUS IT WAS DOWN TO ME TO SET IT IN MOTION. LITTLE DID I REALISE JUST WHAT I WAS TAKING ON.

THE START CONTINUED TO BE EASY AND I WAS ABLE TO GET HE LOCAL SCHOOL ON SIDE SO RAPIDLY IT TOOK MY BREATH AWAY. THE TEACHER I SPOKE TO WAS SO ENTHUSIASTIC AS SHE IS IN CHARGE OF THE SCHOOL'S ECOLOGY PROGRAMME AND THEY WERE EMBARKING ON TRYING TO ACHIEVE THEIR THIRD ECO AWARD, SOMETHING UNPRECEDENTED IN OUR AREA SO IT WOLD BE A MAJOR COUP FOR THEM. THE NEXT THING WAS TO TRY AND ELICIT SOME FORM OF SPONSORSHIP AS THIS PROJECT WAS BEING DONE ON A SHOESTRING. (WHEN I SAY SHOESTRING I MEAN JUST ONE LACE OUT OF THE PAIR). FORTUNATELY, I WAS ABLE TO GET TWO SPONSORS ON BOARD, ONE OF WHOM ALSO SAID SHE WOULD GET INVOLVED WITH THE PROJECT ON A HANDS ON BASIS AS WELL. THAT WAS FANTASTIC NEWS AND, AS IT TURNED OUT, WAS GONG TO BE SO USEFUL TO ME.

NOT ONLY WAS I GOING TO TRY AND DO THE FRONT OF THE CHURCH BUT I ALSO HAD PLANS TO INCLUDE THE SIDE AND REAR AS BOTH COULD BE UTILISED AT A FUTURE DATE AND BESIDES, IT ALSO PROVIDED OUR EMERGENCY ESCAPE ROUTE. THE PROBLEM SOON MANIFESTED ITSELF. THE WEEDS WERE OVER CHEST HIGH AND ROOTS WERE REALLY DEEP. WHILST ARLENE, (TH SPONSOR I SPOKE OF), AND I WERE ABLE TO CLEAR THE FRONT AREA, AND I WAS ABLE TO CLEAR SOME OF THE REAR, THE TASK OVERALL WAS SIMPLY BEYOND US. NOT ONLY THAT BUT BECAUSE OF CIRCUMSTANCES, ARLENE AND I FOUND IT IMPOSSIBLE TO EVEN WORK TOGETHER AT TEH SAME TIME AND SO WE ENDED UP DOING THE JOBS SEPARATELY AND KEPT IN TOUCH BY PHONE.

OUT OF THE BKLUE I THEN RECEIVED A REAL SHOCK. AS PART OF THE PROJECT I WANTED THE CHILDREN TO DESIGN AND PAINT A MURAL WHICH I WOULD LIKED TO HAVE PUT UP AS PART OF THE GARDEN. THE OBJECTIONS I GOT TO THIS FROM ONE WOMAN MADE ME BITE MY TONGUE EXTREMELY HARD AND IT NEARLY CAME DOWN TO A FULL BLOWN ARGUMENT. I EVEN SAID THAT IF THIS WAS HOW SHE FELT THEN I WOULD ABANDON THE PROJECT AND GIVE THE SPONSOR MONEY TO THE SCHOOL SO THAT THEY COULD CARRY ON. I EVEN WENT AS FAR AS ACCUSING THE OBJECTORS OF LIVING INT HE PAST AND NOT WANTING TO MOVE FORWARD. FORTUNATELY, THINGS BLEW OVER AND A COMPROMISE WAS REACHED WHEREBY THE MURAL WOULD BE PAINTED AND DISPLAYED AS A FEATURE INSIDE THE CHURCH ITSELF.

THAT THEN MANIFESTED ITSELF JNTO ANOTHER SIDE SSUE. THE WAREHOUSE THAT HAD GIVEN ME THE MONEY TO BUY THE MATERIALS FOR THE MURAL DD NOT HAVE THE SIZE OF WOOD IN STOCK AND T HAD TO COME FROM ANOTHER WAREHOUSE 15 MILES AWAY. TRANSPORT COSTS ALONE WERE MORE THAN THE COST OF THE WOOD SO WE WERE IN A BIT OF A PICKLE.

SO, THE TELEPHONE WAS MY MAIN SOURCE OF GETTING STUFF DONE. LUCKILY, ONE OF THE SCHOOL BOARD OF GOVERNORS HAD A VAN THAT WAS CAPABLE OF CARRYING THE WOOD AND THE LADY WHO DROVE IT AGREED TO GO AND FETCH THE WOOD FOR US AND DROP IT OFF AT THE SCHOOL. ONE PROBLEM OUT OF THE WAY. YET MORE PHONE CALLS ONLY THIS TIME TO THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT. THEY HAVE PEOPLE WHO, DUE TO THE FACT THEY ONLY COMMITTED MINOR CRIMES, GET COMMUNITY SERVE INSTEAD OF GOING TO JAIL. WAS ABLE TO TAP NTO THIS AND GET A TEAM OF THEM ALONG WITH A SUPERVISOR TO COME AND COMPLETE THE CLEARING OF THE SIDE AND REAR OF THE CHURCH, AND A RALLY SUPER JOB THEY MADE OF IT. HEY DID EVERYTHING I ASKED OF THEM AND MORE. IT STILL LEFT ME WITH A HEADACHE THOUGH. THE AMOUNT OF BUILDERS RUBBLE THEY DUG UP WAS RIDICULOUS. THAT PLUS THE OTHER RUBBISH THAT HAD MOUNTED UP OVER TIME HAD TO BE GOT RID OF.

FIRST OFF WERE TWO BIG OIL DRUMS WHICH HAD SIMPLY BEEN LEFT WHEN THE CHURCH HAD AN OIL FIRED HEATING SYSTEM. AGAIN, LUCK WAS WITH ME AS I KNEW OF A SCRAP METAL GUY WHO LIVED INT HE VILLAGE AND HE WAS OKAY WITH COMING TO COLLECT THEM AND TAKE THEM AWAY. I DID NOT CHARGE ANY MONEY AS HE ALSO HAD TO DISPOSE OF THEM AND THAT NEEDED TO BE DONE ELSEWHERE BECAUSE OF OIL RESIDUE AND CONTAMINATION ISSUES. A DIRTY JOB WHICH I WOULD NOT WISH TO UNDERTAKE.

AGAIN, RODE MY LUCK WHEN I WAS ASKED BY OURT CHURCH SECRETARY TO SEE IF THE SAME PEOPLE WHO DID THE CLEARING WOULD DO SOME PAINTING FOR US. THE SUPERVISOR CAME ALONG AND, ALTHJOUGH THEY SAID IT WAS NOT WORTHWHILE DOING WHAT WE WANTED, (ANOTHER STORY), THEY WOULD BE GLAD TO HELP US IN ANY OTHER WAY. NO PROBLEM!! WOULD IT BE POSSIBLE TO TAKE ALL OF THE RUBBLE AND RUBBISH AWAY FOR US? I HAD THE CHEEK TO ASK AND WHEN I WENT TO THE CHURCH THREE DAYS LATER IT WAS ALL GONE. ANOTHER SIGH OF RELIEF AS THAT COULD REALLY HAVE BEEN AN EXPENSIVE PROBLEM SHOULD WE HAVE HAD TO HIRE SOMEONE TO COME IN AND DO IT. WHILST THAT WAS GOING ON I DID MANAGE TO GET ROUND AND PUT SOME CREOSOTE DOWN ON THE SIDE AND REAR OF THE CHURCH TO KILL OFF THE OSL. IT WAS PARTIALLY SUCCESSFUL BUT EVEN AS I TYPE, THE SPACES ARE STILL CLEAR AND NOW THAT WINTER IS WITH US IT WILL STAY THAT WAY UNTIL NEXT YEAR WHEN I WILL START AGAIN AND TAKE MORE DRASTIC MEASURES.

SO, THE SITE WAS CLEAR AND, AS YOU WILL SEE FROM THE PHOTOS, ALL S OK EXCEPT FOR THE MOSS, BUT IT IS NOW TOO LATE TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT THAT UNTIL NEXT YEAR ALSO.

NOW IT WAS BACK TO THE SCHOOL FOR METING AFTER MEETING TO DISCUSS THE PLANS FOR WHAT WE WANTED TO ACHIEVE AND ALSO FOR ME TO APPROVE THE DESIGN FOR THE MURAL. OVER MANY WEEKS IT WAS BACK AND FORTH KEEPING THE STE CLEAR OF WEEDS AND DOING ODD JOBS TO KEEP THE THING GOING.

THE SCHOOL CAME UP WITH THE IDEA OF A REALLY BIG PLANTER AS THE FOCAL POINT OF THE GARDEN AND ONCE THIS WAS APPROVED THEY ASKED THEIR JANITOR TO BUILD ONE FOR US. THE RESULTS WERE SUPERB AS AGAIN, YOU WILL SEE. SO FAR THE WHOLE PROJECT HAD COST JUST A FEW POUNDS. EVEN THE WOOD FOR THE PLANTER WAS GIVEN TO US BY PEOLE WHOM THE JANITOR KNEW FROM HIS FORMER JOB.

MY NEXT PROBLEM WAS ON OF WHERE ON EARTH WAS I GOING TO GET THE SOIL FROM TO FILL THIS THING? TO THIS DAY I DO NOT KNOW FROM WHERE IT CAME BUT I WENT TO CHURCH ONE SUNDAY AND THERE IT WAS; A HUGE PILE OF SOIL LYING IN THE GARDEN AREA. THINGS WERE JUST SEEMING TO HAPPEN AND THE PROJECT WAS GOING ALMOST TOO WELL AND I DARE NOT DRAW BREATH IN CASE SOMETHING WENT WRONG.

I NEED NOT HAVE WORRIED. WHEN THE MEMBERS SAW THE PLANTER IN SITU THEY WERE OVERAWED, AND IT WAS DECIDED THAT THE CHILDREN SHOULD HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF PLANTING IT OUT ONCE WE HAD GOT THE PLANTS. AT THIS POINT WE STILL DID NOT HAVE ANY PLANTS BUT, THE TEACHER IN CHARGE OF THE PROJECT INT HE SCHOOL HAD TOLD ME THAT THE SCHOOL HAD WON FIRST PRIZE FOR ONE OF THEIR GARDENS AND THEY WERE GOING TO BUY THE PLANTS FROM THAT MONEY.

I TELL YOU, ON THE DAY OF THE PLANTING IT WAS CHAOS AND HOW THE TEACHERS MANAGED TO MAINTAIN CONTROL IS BEYOND ME. THE CHILDREN WERE SO HYPER AND ALL WANTED TO GET IN AND PLANT AT THE SAME TIME. IN THE END IT WAS ACHIEVED BUT HONESTLY, I DO NOT KNOW HOW. I HAVE HAD TO REPLANT A COUPLE OF THE BULBS AS THEY WERE NOT PLANTED DEEP ENOUGH, BUT IN DOING SO I WAS ABLE TO ASCERTAIN THAT ALL HAVE A GOOD ROOT GROWTH SO T LOOKS OK.

THIS LEFT ONE MAJOR JOB TO BE UNDERTAKEN, NAMELY THE BENCH. AT THE TIME I HAD ASSUMED WE WOULD BE CELEBRATING THE END OF THE PROJECT AT TH END OF NOVEMBER. NOT SO. APPARENTLY, THE SCHOOL HAD TO GET THE PAPERWORK IN FOR THEIR AWARD APPLICATION BY NO LATER THAN 22ND. ALSO BY THIS TIME MUM HAD GONE NTO HOSPITAL SO I WAS HAVING TO DIVIDE MY TIME BETWEEN GOING UP TO VISIT AND THE HOUSEWORK. IN THE END I MANAGED TO FIT IN TIME TO PAINT THE BENCH SO AS TO MAKE IT WATERPROOF AND TWO LADIES FORM THE SCHOOL WERE ABLE TO LIFT IT INTO POSITION FOR ME. I DID HAVE TO BERATE OUR MINISTER THOUGH. HE JUST COULD NOT RESIST TOUCHING THE BENCH AND OF COURSE, IT WAS NOT TOTALLY DRY, SO THERE IS A BLISTER WHICH WILL HAVE TO BE SANDED DOWN AND REPAINTED. WHAT IS IT ABOUT WET PAINT AND PEOPLE FEELING THE NEED TO TOUCH IT? FORTUNATELY, HE DID NOT TOUCH ANYTHING ELSE.

SO, THE DAY FINALLY CAME TO DEDICATE THE GARDEN AND TO THANK EVERYONE FOR THE JOB THEY HAD DONE. MY SECRETARY WAS SUITABLY GUILTY ABOUT HAVING RESERVATIONS AND OBJECTIONS, AND MY MINISTER ALSO APOLOGISED TO ME AS HE SAID FROM THE START THAT HE DID NOT THINK COLD ACHIEVE WHAT I HAD ACHIEVED. WITH HELP AND LUCK AND A LOT OF BARE FACED CHEEK IT IS AMAZING JUST WHAT CAN BE DONE. I DID QUOTE TO HIM FROM THE BIBLE AND TOLD HIM O YE OF LITTLE FAITH! LOL.

THE DAY BEFORE TH DEDICATION SERVICE I HAD VISITED MUM IN HOSPITAL AND THEN HAD TO BAKE A SPONGE CAKE, A SULTANA CAKE AND 40 CUP CAKES. IT WAS 1040PM BEFORE I WAS CLEANED DOWN AND THE CAKES HAD BEEN DECORATED. I WAS DREADING THINGS THOUGH AS HAD DELIBERATELY GONE TOT OWN AND MADE THE TOPPING FOR THE CUP CAKES A BIT ONT HE STICKY SIDE BY USING A COMBINATION OF STRAWBERRY JAM AND WATER ICING TO CREATE SWIRLS. AT LEAST TH FILLING FOR THE SPONGE WAS SENSIBLE, ALTHOUGH THAT WAS FOR THE ADULTS.

EVERYTHING WENT SO WELL AT THE SERVICE. OUR CHURCH SECRETARY AND ANOTHER MEMBER WERE ON HAND TO HELP WITH THE DRINKS AND ALSO OUR MAIN SPONSOR, ARLENE, MANAGED TO MAKE IT ALONG WITH OUR ECO-CONGREGATION MINISTER. HE WAS SO TAKEN WITH WHAT WE HAD STARTED THAT HE WROTE A FEATURE ABOUT IT AND PUBLISHED IT IN THE ECO MAGAZINE WHICH IS DISSEMINATED TO ALL PARTICIPATING CHURCHES. THE KIDS WENT THROUGH A WHOLE ROLL OF KITCHEN ROLL AS WELL AS SOME WIPES AS THEY TRULY ENJOYED LICKING THE TOPPING FROM THE CAKES. NOT ALL OF THE SPONGES WERE FINISHED BUT NO TOPPING WAS LEFT, LOL. THERE WAS SOME OF THE SPONGE AND SULTANA CAKE LEFT OVER AS WELL SO I GAVE THOSE TO THE SCHOOL FOR THEIR STAFF ROOM TEA BREAK. AS A RESULT OF THAT I AM NOW DONG A CAKE DEMO FOR THE CHILDREN ON 17TH DECEMBER.

THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN WAS THE NEXT CHALLENGE. AS YOU WILL SEE IN ONE OF THE PHOTOS, OUR FENCE LINE IS A LITTLE BARE, SO I HAVE CHALLENGED THE CHILDREN TO DESIGN A PRACTICAL SOLUTION TO PLANTING THAT WILL COVER THIS OVER AND MAKE IT LOOK PRETTY. I HAD SAID I WAS GOING TO GIVE THE WNNER OF THE CHALLENGE A GIFT TOKEN TO THE VALUE OF 10. ARLENE CAME TO ME AND SAID THAT SHE DID NOT THINK THIS ENOUGH. SHE SAID THAT SHE WILL DONATE A FIRST PRIZE OF 2O AND TWO RUNNERS-UP PRIZES OF 10. NOT ONLY THAT BUT SHE ALSO VOLUNTEERED TO BE MY ASSISTANT ON THE CAKE DEMO AND IS PAYING FOR THE INGREDIENTS. I WAS ABSOLUTELY FLABBERGASTED BUT IT SHOWS WHAT CAN COME OUT OF A PROJECT SUCH AS THIS.

OVERALL THOUGH, I THINK THE MAIN SATISFACTION I GOT FOR MYSELF WAS NOT MANAGING TO GET TEH PHASE COMPLETED, BUT THE FRIENDS I AMDE AND THAT INCLUDES THE CHILDREN. JUST BEFORE THE SERVICE I WAS INVITED TO THE SCHOOL FOR LUNCH AND THE CHILDREN WERE ALL ASKING ME TO GO AND ST AT THEIR TABLE. IT WAS JUST SO NICE AND GAVE ME SUCH A GLOW INSIDE. IT S SOMETIMES NOT EASY TO GET CHILDREN ON SIDE AND SO I FEEL THAT I HAVE REALLY DONE SOMETHING WHICH I CAN BE PROUD OF.

ANYWAY, TO THE PHOTOS.

THE FIRST IS OF THE PLANTER, AND I APOLOGISE FOR THE BACKGROUND, BUT THE HOUSE NEXT TO THE CHURCH IS UNDERGOING MAJOR RENOVATION.

THE NEXT SHOWS THE PLANTER AGAIN BUT THIS TIME IT ALSO FEATURES THE BENCH.

THE NEXT TWO ARE OF THE MURAL. THE FIRST IS THE WHOLE PICTURE AND THE SECOND IS OF SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE. THE CHILDREN WERE ASKED WHAT THE STORY OF THE PICTURE MEANT TO THEM AND THE WORDS ARE WHAT THEY CAME UP WITH.


THE NEXT IS A PICTURE THAT THE SCHOOL WANTED FOR THEIR SCRAPBOOK AND IS OF OUR MINISTER, MYSELF AND SOME OF THE CHILDREN OUTSIDE THE CHURCH DOOR.

FINALLY WE HAVE THE WHOLE ASSEMBLY. THE LADY ON THE LEFT OF THE PICTURE IS ARLENE, OUR MAIN SPONSOR; THE LADY ON THE RIGHT OF THE PICTURE IN AMONGST TH CHILDREN IS GEORGIE, OUR CHURCH SECRETARY, AND THE GENTLEMAN ON THE FAR RIGHT OF THE PICTURE IS OUR ECO-CONGREGATION MINISTER. WHAT YOU SEE IS ALL OF THE SCHOOL CHILDREN EXCEPT FOR THE ONES WHO ATTEND PRE-SCHOOL. AS YOU SEE, IT IS NOT EXACTLY A HUGE SCHOOL, BUT WHAT THEY ACHIEVE AS A WHOLE IS TRULY AMAZING AS THEIR SCHOOL IS TESTAMENT TO.


IT HAS BEEN A JOURNEY AND IT IS NOT OVER YET. THERE IS STILL AN AWFUL LOT TO GET DONE, BUT NOW I HAVE THINGS GOING AND HAVE SUCH GOOD PEOPLE ON BOARD I FEEL THAT ANYTHING IS NOW POSSIBLE AND THAT WE WILL GET THIS FINISHED.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOYCECAIN 11/29/2014 1:35PM

    All the work that went into this lovely project. I know you are so pleased with it. You, and everyone involved, did an excellent job. God Bless. Love Joyce emoticon

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SHERRY666 11/27/2014 3:01PM

    SORRY I'M SO LATE READING YOUR BLOG MAC.............. THINGS JUST GOT CRAZY AROUND HERE LATELY ....... AS I'M SURE YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN............ BUT WOW...... WHAT A GREAT JOB..... THOSE MURALS ARE BEAUTIFUL.... AND THE GUY WHO MADE THE PLANTER CERTAINLY KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING...... YOU SHOULD BE SO PROUD OF EVERYTHING YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED WHILE THERE WAS SO MANY OTHER THINGS THAT KEPT YOU RUNNING ALL THE TIME... IT'S SO AWESOME WHEN THINGS JUST FALL INTO PLACE AND HAVING SO MANY VOLUNTEERS.... I CAN SEE YOU ALREADY HAVE IDEA'S FOR NEXT SUMMER....... THE PLANTER FOR ONE NEEDS PAINTING OR STAINING.... LOL... NOW IT'S OVER AND I HOPE YOU CAN GET SOME TIME TO YOURSELF AND NOT BE ON THE GO SO MUCH..... FANTASTIC WORK MAC emoticon ..... PHASE ONE DONE..... NOW ONTO PHASE TWO HEY.....

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CONTENTCHRIS 11/26/2014 6:22PM

    I enjoyed your blog as I expected you had me there with you.

I loved the bench for folks to sit and enjoy the trellace and flowers.

I can see you relaxing on it in the spring.

I would note to add the photos or start taking some of your cake projects,

I personally could almost picture each one, a photo

would have added even more for my pallet.

All in all a great job and a enjoyable visit to your lovely hometown church.

emoticon

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CORGIMOM10 11/26/2014 11:29AM

    Great Job Mac! emoticon

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CORGIMOM10 11/26/2014 11:28AM

    Great Job Mac! emoticon

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ARTJAC 11/25/2014 4:03AM

    emoticon JOB MAC emoticon

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DEE107 11/25/2014 12:08AM

    way to go Mac love it cant wait to see the rest

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JACKIEWALKS4FUN 11/24/2014 5:20PM

    emoticon emoticon

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NORMAINIRELAND 11/24/2014 5:08PM

    That's amazing, well done on all you have achieved. Looking forward to the next update. Norma

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PWILLOW1 11/24/2014 4:17PM

    GREAT JOB MAC. YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO FEEL PROUD OF WHAT YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED

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LITTLEDUTCH 11/24/2014 3:19PM

    Hats off to you for a job well done. It's people like you that give your time and talents who make this earth a wonderful place.

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-WISPY- 11/24/2014 3:12PM

    Great blog Mac and it's looking good. Love all the kiddies. Didnt realise some of them were so young. You should be feeling very proud of yourself for the idea and execution.

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LINDA! 11/24/2014 3:11PM

    Wonderful blog, Mac. I really enjoy the photos. What a nice outcome.

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BYEPOUNDS 11/24/2014 2:29PM

    emoticon

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SUNSHINE99999 11/24/2014 2:27PM

  very nice. emoticon emoticon

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INCHCOMBE ISLAND

Thursday, September 04, 2014

TODAY WAS THE DAY I HAD BEEN WAITING FOR SINCE MY BIRTHDAY IN MARCH. IT WAS THE DAY WHEN WE WOULD TAKE THE FERRY TO A NATURE CONSERVATION BIRD SANCTUARY, EXCEPT THAT UNFORTUNATELY, IT TURNED OUT THAT WE HAD LEFT IT TOO LATE TO SEE MANY OF THE BIRDS THAT NEST THERE, AND THERE WERE ONLY A FEW GULLS LEFT AS STRAGGLERS, THE OTHERS HAVING MIGRATED MONTHS AGO TO THE LIKES OF PORTUGAL.

NONETHELESS, IT WAS TO BE WONDERFUL DAY OUT AND ONE I WILL TREASURE FOR A LONG TIME. THE ONLY PROBLEM, AS YOU WILL SEE WITH SOME OF THE PHOTOS, WAS THAT ALTHOUGH THERE WAS NO SUN AORUND, EVERYWHERE WAS COVERED IN A HEAT HAZE.

THROUGHOUT THIS BLOG YOU WILL COME ACROSS THE HISTORY OF THE PAST, FROM CENTURIES AGO TO THE TWO WORLD WARS, AND THEN ON TO HISTORY BEING MADE AS WE SPEAK. MORE OF THAT LATER.

WE START AT THE WORLD FAMOUS FORTH RAILWAY BRIDGE. THE RIVER IS OVER A MILE WIDE AND THIS WAS ENGINEERING THAT WAS WAY AHEAD OF ITS TIME, AND IS THE LARGEST LISTED BUILDING IN EUROPE, DATING BACK TO VICTORIAN TIMES AND STILL BEING USED TODAY.

SINCE WE ARE AT THE BRIDGES I MAY AS WELL SHOW YOU THE PRESENT DAY ROAD BRIDGE HERE.

(APOLOGIES HERE AS THE LIGHT HAD STARTED TO FADE BY THE TIME I TOOK THIS ONE).

NOW, AGAIN TO DO WITH THE BRIDGES; THE PRESENT ROAD BRIDGE WAS NEVER DESIGNED TO TAKE THE AMOUNT OF TRAFFIC THAT IT HAS TO COPE WITH AS IT WAS BUILT IN THE 1960's. AT THE TIME IT WAS THE LONGEST SUSPENSION BRIDGE IN EUROPE BUT I AM NOT SURE IF THAT RECORD STILL STANDS. ANYWAY, UNFORTUNATELY, IT COPES WITH OVER 2 MILLION VEHICLES PER DAY AND AS A RESULT HAS STARTED TO SINK SLIGHTLY. BY THE END OF 2016 A NEW BRIDGE WILL BE BUILT WHCIH WILL TAKE THE MAJORITY OF THE TRAFFIC AND ONLY BUSES, CYCLISTS, MOTOR CYCLISTS, TAXIS AND EMERGENCY VEHICLES WILL BE ALLOWED TO USE THE PRESENT DAY BRIDGE. THE NEW BRIDGE IS GOING TO BE THE LARGEST OF ITS TYPE N EUROPE USING A SERIES OF CABLES TO HOLD A DUAL CARRIAGEWAY HIGH ABOVE THE RIVER. APPARENTLY IT WILL LOOK SIMILAR TO THE SUSPENSION BRIDGE BUT IS NOT THE SAME. FOR THE ENGINEERS I THINK IT IS CALLED A CABLE CROSS BRIDGE, BUT THAT MEANS NOTHING TO THE UNINITIATED, NAMELY ME! LOL. YOU CAN SEE ONE OF THE THREE STANCHIONS WHCIH ARE ALREADY SUNK INTO THE RIVER BED HERE.

(YOU CAN CLEARLY SEE THE HEAT HAZE HERE).

THE FERRY WAS QUITE A SMALL BOAT
BUT WAS COMFORTABLE AND ALL THE WHILE THERE WAS A COMMENTARY ON THE HISTORICAL EVENTS THAT HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN AND ON THE RIVER. FRO EXAMPLE, DID YOU KNOW THAT THE WORD POSH IS ACTUALLY A COMBINATION OF FOUR DIFFERENT WORDS. APPARENTLY, IT WAS FROM THE RIVER FORTH THAT MANY WELL TO DO PEOPLE SET SAIL FOR THEIR LUXURY CRUISES. NOW REMEMBER THAT THEN, ONLY THE WELL HEELED COULD AFFORD SUCH LUXURIES, AND AS SUCH WERE ALLOWED TO CHOOSE THEIR CABINS. SO, ON THE WAY OUT THEY WOULD CHOOSE THE PORT SIDE BECAUSE AS THEY GOT NEARER TO PLACES LIKE EGYPT OR EVENT HE WEST INDIES, THE PORT SIDE WOULD ALWAYS BE THE SHADIER SIDE AND THUS MORE PROTECTIVE OF THE HEAT. ON THE WAY BACK THEY WOULD REVERSE THEIR CHOICE AND CHOOSE THE STARBOARD SIDE. SO IT WAS PORT OUT STARBOARD HOME, OR POSH FOR SHORT,A ND BECAUSE IT WAS ONLY THE RICH WHO COLD DO THIS THE NAME STUCK FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE PLUMS IN THEIR MOUTHS OR WHO ARE WELL TO DO. ANOTHER ONE THAT WAS EXPLAINED, ALBEIT THROUGH ANOTHER REASON WAS THE GAME OF GOLF, AGAIN AN ACRONYM. IT ORIGINALLY STOOD FOR GENTLEMEN ONLY, WOMEN FORBIDDEN, AND IS THUS WHY EVEN TODAY SOME GOLD CLUBS DO NOT ALLOW WOMEN TO BECOME MEMBERS. ALSO, THE FIRTH OF FORTH, OR RIVER ESTUARY, HAS 132 WRECKS ON THE BOTTOM OF HE RIVER BED, AND SOME CONTAIN TREASURE SO VAST THAT IT IS WORTH HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF POUNDS IN TODAY'S MONEY. IT WILL NEVER BE BROUGHT TO THE SURFACE THOUGH BECAUSE THE WHOLE OF THE ESTUARY IS A CONSERVATION AREA AND NO DIVING IS ALLOWED UNLESS SANCTIONED BY HISTORIC SCOTLAND, THE ORGANISATION RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF THE ESTUARY AND ITS MANY ISLETS. YOU WILL SEE SOME OF THE ISLETS LATER ON AS WELL AS THE LARGER INCHCOMBE ISLAND BUT REMEMBER THAT THESE ARE ONLY THE TIPS OF GLACIAL MOUNTAINS AND THAT THE REST GOES DEEP DOWN UNDERNEATH THE RIVER SURFACE.

OK ON TO THE ISLAND ITSELF. BEFORE SHOWING YOU ANY PHOTOS, A BIT MORE HISTORY. ORIGINALLY THE ISLAND WAS SUED AS A PLACE OF SANCTUARY FOR A HERMIT. WHEN ALEXANDER 1ST CAME TO BE SHIPWRECKED ON THE ISLAND THE HERMIT CARED FOR HIM AND HE PROMISED THAT AN ABBEY WOULD BE ERECTED. SADLY HE NEVER GOT TO SEE THIS FULFILLED AND IT WAS ONE OF HIS ANCESTORS THAT FINALLY BUILT THE ABBEY WE SEE TODAY. SADLY THIS WAS DAMAGED OVE THE YEARS BY VARIOUS FORCES SUCH AS DURING THE MANY CIVIL CONFLICTS THAT PLAGUED THE BRITISH ISLES ATONE TIME OR ANOTHER, AND FINALLY WHEN JOHN KNOX LED THE REFORMATION OF THE CHURCH, THE ABBEY WAS FINALLY DISSOLVED AND NO MORE MONKS HAVE BEEN LIVING THERE. ALTHOUGH A RUIN IT IS STILL THE LARGEST COMPLETE EXAMPLE OF ITS TYPE IN EUROPE. AS YOU APPROACH THE ISLAND IT COMES FULLY INTO VIEW.


HERE IS ANOTHER VIEW OF THE COMPLETE ABBEY.


SO, FINALLY WE LANDED AND WERE ABLE TO STRETCH THE LEGS AND EXPLORE. IT IS AN EXTREMELY SMALL ISALND BUT LARGE ENOUGH TO HAVE HAD BUILDINGS FOR A COMPLETE GARRISON ON IT AS WELL AS THE ABBEY. DURING BOTH WORLD WARS THE ISLAND WAS USED AS A FORWARD LISTENING POST AND ALSO AN OBSERVATION POST. IT HARDLY SAW ANY ACTION BUT WAS USED TO FOOL THE GERMANS INTO THINKING THAT AN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE WAS TO SET OUT FROM THE GARRISON THERE TO ATTACK THROUGH NORWAY. OF COURSE THIS NEVER HAPPENED BUT WAS A RUSE WHICH THREW THE GERMANS OFF COURSE AND DISTRACTED THEM FROM THE REAL TARGET OF THE NORMANDY BEACHES.

SOME OF THE WARTIME BUILDINGS AR STILLT HERE, ALBEIT IN RUINS BUT STILL CAN TELL A STORY.

THE FIRST TIME WE SEE EVIDENCE OF THIS IS WHAT LOOKS LIKE A STEEP HILL PATH. IN FACT IT WAS A SET OF RAILWAYS LINES AND YOU CAN JUST MAKE THEM OUT ON THE PHOTO.


THE AMMUNITION AND STORES WOULD COME ASHORE AT THE QUAYSIDE AND THEN BE LOADED ONTO THE WAGONS AND HAULED UP TO THE TOP OF THE SMALL HILL TO HE STORES AREAS.


THE STEPS YOU SEE LEADING UP TO THE STOREROOM ARE ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE TO THE RAIL LINES BUT THEY DO INDICATE HOW STEEP THE HILLSIDE IS, SO SPARE A THOUGHT FOR THE POOR SQUADDIES WHO HAD TO HAUL THE WAGONS UP BY HAND IN ORDER TO GET EVERYTHING TO THE TOP. YOU WILL SEE A BUILDING ON THE VERY TOP OF THE HILL AS WELL. THIS IS WHAT REMAINS OF A MESS HALL BUT I DID NOT GET THAT FAR BECAUSE THE STEPS RAN OUT AND TURNED INTO HILLSIDE, WHICH I WAS NOT PREPARED TO RISK GOING UP. OTHER THAN THIS, THERE IS ONLY ONE GUN EMPLACEMENT AND THE RUINED OBSERVATION POST REMAINING. MORE THAN ANYTHING THE WEATHER HAS PLAYED A PART IN ERODING THESE BUILDINGS AS IT CAN GET REALLY STORMY AROUND THIS AREA.



THE MODERN USE OF THE ISLAND IS AS A FORWARD BASE FOR THE COASTGUARD, AND AS SUCH THERE IS AN UNMANNED BUT OPERATIONAL BUILDING ON THE ISLAND WHICH IS VISITED FROM TIME TO TIME, BUT CONTAINS SUCH THINGS AS RADAR EQUIPMENT AND SATELLITE RECONNAISSANCE COMPUTERS WHICH ARE ACCESSED FROM THE COASTGUARD CUTTERS THAT PATROL THE RIVER.



BEFORE WE DELVE BACK INTO HISTORY, I HAVE TO HAND IT TO THE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO OPERATE THE SERVICES ON THE ISLAND DURING THE SEASON. THEY DO NOT GET TOP LEAVE THE ISLAND UNLESS THEY ARE CALLED TO WORK ELSEWHERE OR TO GET A BREAK AND LIVE IN A HOUSE WHICH IS RIGHT NEXT TO THE ABBEY. THESE YOUNGSTERS ARE A HARDY BUNCH BUT THEY ARE FULL TIME STAFF AND WHEN NOT WORKING ONT HE ISLAND ARE CALLED TO WORK ELSEWHERE FOR HISTORIC SCOTLAND, SUCH AS IN ONE OF THE MANY HOUSES AND CASTLES. IT IS DEFINITELY NOT A JOB FOR THOSE WHO LIKE THEIR LUXURIES.


NOW TO THE ABBEY ITSELF. I HAVE BRIEFLY EXPLAINED THE HISTORY OF THE PLACE AND YOU HAVE SEEN THE EXTERIOR. THE ARCHITECTURE WILL GIVE YOU AN INDICATION OF AGE AS IT IS TYPICAL OF THE PERIOD. THE FACT THAT IT HAS STOOD THE TEST OF TIME IS TESTAMENT TO HOW WELL IT WAS CONSTRUCTED. I WILL SHOW YOU JUST A BRIEF GLIMPSE OF THE INSIDE AS IT WOULD TAKE THE REST OF THE BLOG TO SHOW YOU ALL THE WAY AROUND.

FIRST WE GET TO A COURTYARD. THE PHOTO SHOWS A WALKWAY AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BUILDING BUT TAKE NOTE OF THE WINDOWS ON THE UPPER FLOOR. EACH WINDOW DENOTES A MONK'S CELL SO YOU CAN SEE THAT THEY WERE NOT EXACTLY LARGE OR LUXURIOUS. WHEN THINKING ABOUT THIS, HOWEVER, IT PAYS TO REMEMBER THAT IN THOSE DAYS PEOPLE WERE NOT AS BIG, AND BESIDES, THE CELLS WERE ONLY USED FOR SLEEPING IN AS THE REST OF WHAT A MONK REQUIRED WOULD BE FEATURED ELSEWHERE, AND THE MAJORITY OF THE PLACES, SUCH AS THE KITCHEN AND DINING AREAS, WOULD BE COMMUNAL.


SO I TAKE YOU TO THE CHAPTER HOUSE AND A LOOK AT THE CEILING AND HOW SMALL IT WAS COMPARED WITH MODERN DAY CATHEDRALS.


AS I SAID, I COULD FILL THE WHOLE BLOG WITH PHOTOS BUT BASICALLY THEY ARE EMPTY ROOMS SO YOU WOULD NOT REALLY GET TO SEE WHAT THEY WERE USED FOR. IF OYU CAN JUST REALISE THAT THESE MONKS WERE OF THE AUGUSTINE ORDER AND SO WERE DEVOTED TO A LIFE OF PRAYER. THEY WERE SELF SUFFICIENT IN EVERY WAY AND GREW THE FEW VEGETABLES THAT THEY WOULD USE, THEY BAKED THEIR OWN BREAD FROM WHEAT WHICH THEY WOULD GET FROM THE MAINLAND BY SELLING SOME OF THEIR CRAFT WORK AND THEY WOULD ALSO FISH AS THE RIVER IS STILL TODAY ABUNDANT WITH WILDLIFE UNDER THE WAVES.

SPEAKING OF WILDLIFE, AS I MENTIONED EARLIER, THERE IS NOT A LOT OF EVIDENCE THAT THIS IS A BIRD SANCTUARY AS WELL NOW BECAUSE IT IS SO LATE INT HE SEASON. THE ONE AREA THERE WAS EVIDENCE CAN ONLY BE SEEN FROM THE BOAT. WE COULD NOT, HOWEVER, GET CLOSE ENOUGH AS THE ROCKS ARE TOO DANGEROUS.

HAVING SAID THAT, THERE ARE STILL SIGNS OF INHABITANTS. THERE SI THE LONE SEAGULL WHO HAS TAKEN IT UPON HIMSELF TO GUARD TEH ABBEY GARDEN. THIS BIRD DID NOT MOVE AWAY DURING THE WHOLE TIME WE WERE THERE.


THEN THERE WAS THE YOUNG GULL WHO DEFINITELY HAD HIS HEAD SCREWED ON. NEVER MIND EXPENDING ENERGY TO FLY OUT OVER THE WATER AND THEN HAVE TO HAUL IN THE FOOD. WHY NOT JUST LAZE AROUND NEAR TO THE GIFT SHOP AND LET THE TOURISTS FEED YOU, LOL.

TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA HOW CLOSE WE WERE TO THE BIRD, THE PHOTO WAS TAKEN WITHOUT THE USE OF ZOOM. HONESTLY, WE SAT DOWN TO ENJOY A SNACK AND HE WAS THERE. WE WERE ABLE TO CALL IT OVER TO GIVE IT TITBITS AND IF WE SPOKE HE WOULD COCK HIS HEAD AS IF TO SAY ARE YOU TALKING TO ME? IN THE END TRISH REMARKED THAT SHE DID NOT BELIEVE SHE WAS TALKING TO A SEAGULL. APPARENTLY HE IS KNOWN INSIDE THE SHOP AND DOES NOT STAY AROUND ALL OF THE TIME, SO IS NOT TAME IN ANY WAY. HE WILL GO AND FISH FOR FOOD ALONG WITH THE OTHERS IF NEEDS MUST, SO HE IS NOT SPOILT BY THE TOURISTS FEEDING HIM. IF HE WAS GETTING THAT WAY THEN THE WARDENS WOULD SOON PUT A STOP TO IT. THEY ARE VERY STRICT ABOUT THINGS LIKE THAT. BUT IS JUST SHOWS YOU THAT NOT ALL FEATHERED CREATURES ARE 'BIRD BRAINED'!

AS I ALSO SAID A COUPLE OF PARAGRAPHS AGO, THERE IS STILL PLENTY OF WILDLIFE IN THE RIVER. THIS IS BORNE OUT BY THE NUMBER OF SEALS THERE ARE INT HE AREA, AND THEY ARE THERE ALL YEAR ROUND.

BEFORE WE GET TO THEM, THOGH, THERE IS ONE MORE PIECE OF HISTORY TO SHOW YOU. THE PHOTO IS OF WHAT LOOKS LIKE A MODERN DAY LIGHTHOUSE, ALBEIT A REALLY TINY ONE. IT IS JUST THAT BUT MODERN IT IS NOT. THE LIGHTHOUSE IS A LARGE BUOY IF YOU WILL AND THUS IS UNMANNED, BUT WAS BEQUEATHED BY THE STEVENSON FAMILY, WHOSE BEST KNOWN SON WAS, OF COURSE, ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON OF TREASURE ISLAND FAME. THE ONLY WAY THAT THE LIGHT STILL IS ABLE TO SHINE IS THAT BOATS AND SHIPS THAT USE THE RIVER HAVE TO PAY A TOLL TO PASS IT BECAUSE IT IS NOT MAINTAINED, LIKE OTHER LIGHTHOUSES, BY GOVERNMENT, BUT IS ENTIRELY SELF FUNDING. IT COSTS AROUND 18 MILLION TO RUN IT AS IT CONSTANTLY HAS TO BE CHECKED AND MAINTAINED SO THAT DURING A STORM IT STILL CONTINUES TO FUNCTION. THIS SOUNDS A LOT BUT WHEN YOU THINK THAT YOU HAVE TO USE A BOAT TO GET TO IT AND THEN THERE ARE THE MAN HOURS AND ALSO THE ELECTRONICS THAT HAVE TO BE CONSTANTLY UPDATED AND CHANGED, THEN THIS JUST ABOUT COVERS THE COSTS.


HOWEVER, BACK TO WILDLIFE AND THE SEALS.

AS YOU WOULD EXPECT, MARKER BUOYS ARE EXTENSIVELY USED INT HE RIVER TO MARK SHIPPING LANES AND AREAS OF HAZARD. I EXPLAINED ABOUT THE FACT THAT THE ROCKY OUTCROPS IN THE RIVER ARE MERELY THE TIP OF DEEPER UNDERWATER HILLS. SOME OF THESE BUOYS ARE QUITE LARGE AND SO MAKE PERFECT RESTING PLACES FOR SEALS AS THIS NEXT PHOTO DEMONSTRATES.
(APOLOGIES BUT THE LIGHT WAS JUST TOO STRONG AND WAS REFLECTING OFF THE WATER).

THERE IS A THRIVING COLONY OFF THE COAST OF INCHCOMBE ISLAND AND THE MANY ROCKY OUTCROPS PROVIDE RESTING PLACES FOR THEM. HTE FIRST SET ARE TAKEN FROM THE ISLAND ITSLEF.

THE NEXT IS OF ONE OF THE OUTCROPS WHICH HARBOUR SEALS. (NOTE HOW SHALLOW THIS IS ABOVE THE WATER).


YOU WILL HAVE SEEN THAT THE SEALS ARE OF DIFFERING COLOURS. THERE IS AN ALMOST WHITE ONE AND THERE IS SPOTTED ONE AND THERE IS A DULL GREY ONE. THESE ARE ALL GREY SEALS, HOWEVER, AND THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM.

FINALLY IT WAS TIME TO GET BACK TO THE MAINLAND. I ADMIT THAT BY NOW I WAS FEELING QUITE TIRED AND MY LEGS WERE A BIT SORE AS IT TOOK SOME WALKING TO GET AROUND IT ALL, AND AS YOU HAVE SEEN, IT WAS NOT EXACTLY FLAT, LOL. JUST CLIMBING THE STEPS FROM THE QUAYSIDE TO WHERE WE COULD WALK WAS A JOB IN ITSELF.

ANYWAY, IT WAS A GLORIOUS OUTING AND I HAVE PROMISED MYSELF THAT I WILL HAVE TO GO OUT THERE AGAIN BUT NEXT TIME IN THE EARLY PART OF THE YEAR SO THAT I CAN ALSO SEE ALL OF THE DIFFERENT NESTING BIRDS AS WELL.

I HAVE TWO PEOPLE TO THANK FOR THIS TRIP. TWO PEOPLE WHO NOT ONLY GAVE ME THIS GIFT BETWEEN THEM, BUT PATIENTLY SAT WAITING FOR ME TO FINISH EXPLORING AND ENJOYING MYSELF, AS THEY WOULD NOT HAVE MANAGED TO CLIMB ALL OVER THE PLACE AS I DID. SO I SAY A BIG THANK YOU TO....


HOPEFULLY I HAVE MANAGED TO GET ACROSS MY ENTHUSIASM AND JOY AND I HOPE YOU HAVE ENJOYED SEEING THIS AS MUCH AS I ENJOYED GOING THERE. I JUST WISH I COUOLD HAVE TAKEN YOU WITH ME.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BYEPOUNDS 11/24/2014 2:30PM

    emoticon

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SALLY5577 9/9/2014 11:53AM

    What a brilliant blog. So much information and great pics to illustrate it. I loved the explanations for Posh and Gowf.

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SHERRY666 9/6/2014 4:36PM

    WOW WHAT A GREAT BIRTHDAY GIFT......... MARY AND TRISH CERTAINLY KNOW WHAT YOU LIKE....... THAT WAS SO GOOD OF THEM TO HANG AROUND WHILE YOU DID YOUR THING....... BY THE WAY I LIKE MARY'S HAIR...... THOSE BRIDGES ARE REALLY SOMETHING..... I WAS REALLY INTERESTED IN THE PART OF THE ABBEY...... THAT IS SUCH A LOVELY ISLAND AND SO MUCH HISTORY BEHIND IT. ..... THE STORES AREA WAS BUILT WELL...... I GUESS IT WAS ALL BUILT WELL TO STAND THE TEST OF TIME.... WHAT A NEAT STORY ABOUT THE SEAGULL.... THAT LIGHTHOUSE IS SO AWESOME..... I'D LOVE TO WALK UP THE WINDING STAIRS THAT THEY HAVE....... THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR TRIP WITH US MAC......... YOU SURE KNOW HOW TO TELL A STORY AND CAPTURES EVERYONE READING IT..... emoticon

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JOYCECAIN 9/6/2014 10:08AM

    Love the blog, always so full of history and pictures of places I will never see. Love

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PWILLOW1 9/5/2014 6:45PM

    HEY MAC...GOOD BLOG..VERY INFORMATIVE. YOU CERTAINLY GAVE US A FULL ACCOUNT OF YOUR MOST ENJOYABLE DAY......WILLOW

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CEREBELLUM 9/5/2014 3:49PM

    Sounds and looks like you had a great time'! I would be more interested in history than the birds anyway. I didn't know how golf got it's name!

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CONTENTCHRIS 9/5/2014 10:52AM

    Hey ya Mac,

I enjoyed the blog and the bridge info was very keen. Thanks for the ride around your neck of the woods /world emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ARTJAC 9/5/2014 12:21AM

    THANKS FOR THE TOUR OF SCOTLAND VERY INTERESTING JACQUE

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DEE107 9/5/2014 12:18AM

    love your blogs on vacations because I feel I am there with you thanks

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-WISPY- 9/4/2014 6:40PM

    Mac loving the trip. You are a master story teller. What a wonderful time you had. That's what I call a birthday outing well worth waiting for.

You obvious joy adds life and sparkle to everything.

Thank you for sharing.

Hugs Wispy

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SDEHNKE 9/4/2014 6:07PM

    I would love to have gone along with you although I'd probably be sitting on the bench with your girls much of the time. I really hope you get to go back when the birds are all there. What a delight that would be!

Suellen

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SDEHNKE 9/4/2014 5:47PM

    I hope this is only Part 1. I'd like to see the rest of the trip.

Suellen


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LOCH DRUNKIE

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

HELLO THERE EVERYONE. IT IS GOOD TO BE BACK INONE WAY, BUT IN ANOTHER I WAS ENJOYING MYSELF SO MUCH AND WAS SO RELAXED THAT IT WAS A SHAME THAT IT DID NOT LAST A WHILE LONGER.

SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT THIS TIME AS I AM GOING TO DO THIS BLOG DIARY STYLE, BUT FIRST A PHOTO TO START THE BALL ROLLING.

IT ALL STARTS AT THE VISITORS LODGE, WHERE THE RANGERS START THEIR DAILY TASKS FROM, AND WHERE THE LIVE CAMERAS KEEP WATCH OVER SOME OF THE BIRDS IN THE FOREST SUCH AS OSPREYS AND BARN OWLS, AS WELL AS LOOKING OUT FOR RED SQUIRRELS. THEY ARE AN ENDANGERED SPECIES AND ONLY LIVE IN A FEW AREAS IN THE UK. THEIR COUSIN, THE GREY SQUIRREL, HAS HOUNDED THEM OUT OF EXISTENCE IN SO MANY PARTS OF THE UK SO NOW, IF A GREY IS SPOTTED INT HE FOREST, IT IS TO BE REPORTED AND THE RANGERS WILL GO OUT, CAPTURE IT, AND THEN TRANSPORT IT AWAY TO AN AREA WHERE THE GREY IS PREVALENT.


SO TO THE CAMP.

DAY 1. ABSOLUTELY HORRENDOUS I'M AFRAID. FIRST OF ALL WE HAD TO GET FROM THE CAR PARK TO THE CAMP AND FISHING AREA. THIS WAS NO MEAN FEAT AND THE GIRLS PROVED TO BE A GODSEND. EVEN SO, IT WAS 310 OF MY STEPS TO THE AREA AND WE HAD TO CARRY EVERYTHING DOWNHILL WITH US, AND THEN COME BACK UP AGAIN. TRISH MANAGED TO DO THE TREK 3 TIMES BUT THEN HAD TO STOP. MARY STAYED DOWN WITH ME AND HELPED ME ERECT THE TENT. SHE GOT BITTEN ALL OVER BY MIDGIES AND THE LIKE FOR HER EFFORTS. FOR SOME REASON I DID NOT. SHE HAS SAID THAT NEVER AGAIN AND I HAVE TO LOOK FOR TWO SMALLER TENTS SO THAT I CAN USE ONE FOR SLEEPING AND ONE FOR STORAGE, BUT THE MAIN THING IS THAT I CAN ERECT THEM BY MYSELF. I DID FEEL SO SORRY FOR HER AS SHE STRUGGLED BECAUSE SHE IS NOT THAT TALL AND COULD BARELY REACH TO SUPPORT THE FRAMES. SHE IS STILL CURSING ME YET AND I CANNOT SAY I BLAME HER. HER FACE AND LEGS ARE A MESS EVEN THOUGH THE BITES ARE NOT STARTING TO GO AWAY. SO BEFORE I SHOW YOU THE CAMP ITSELF I THOUGHT I WOULD SHOW YOU THE TRAIL WHICH WE HAD TO USE. THE PICTURES WERE ALL TAKEN GOING UP THE HILL AND BOY IS IT STEEP IN PLACES, NOT TO MENTION BOGGY IN ONE AS WELL.
THE BOTTOM OF THE HILL TRAIL.

NOW WE START TO CLIMB.
(AS YOU CAN SEE, THAT WAS THE BOGGY BIT).
(THIS LAST ONE IS ACTUALLY GOING DOWNHILL AND THE ROAD AT THE BOTTOM LEADS INTO THE CAR PARK).

NOW FOR THE CAMP SITE ITSELF.


FOR FUTURE REFERENCE, MY CHOSEN FISHING SPOT WAS ON THE LEFT OF THE CAMP AND MY SWIMMING HOLE WAS ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE CAMP AS YOU LOOK AT IT.

IT IS AS WELL THAT I HAD DONE ALL OF THAT GYM WORK AS THERE IS NO WAY I COULD HAVE MADE IT OTHERWISE. IN THE END I HAD TO GO UP AND BACK 10 TIMES CARRYING STUFF, AND AT THE START OF ANY CAMP NOTHING IS LIGHT! NOT JUST THAT BUT, APART FROM SWEATING, THE RAIN ALSO GOT THROUGH AND I HAD TO STRIP OFF AND CHANGE EVERYTHING BY THE TIMER I HAD ORGANIZED THE TENT AND THE STORES. MARY STAYED FOR AS LONG AS SHE COULD, BUT THEN, BLESS HER, SHE DID A ROUND ROBIN FOR ME AND WENT BACK TO THE LODGE BECAUSE I HAD FORGOTTEN TO GET MY INSECT REPELLANT. THUS I HAD TO FINISH ERECTING THE TENT ON MY OWN. WITHOUT HER HELP, THOUGH, THERE IS NO WAY I COULD HAVE MANAGED IT, SO I AM SERIOUSLY LOOKING AT HER OPTION FRO THE FUTURE. AS IT WAS I HAD TO SUMMON EVERY LAST BIT OF ENERGY I HAD TO GET IT ALL DONE, AND BECAUSE OF THIS, AND SO UNFORTUNATELY, I WILL NOT BE GOING BACK. WE ARRIVED AT AROUND 1230 BUT IT WAS NOT UNTIL 7PM THAT I COULD FINALLY REST MY WEARY BONES.

DAY 2. BOY DID I SLEEP WELL LAST NIGHT. HARDLY SURPRISING EREALLY AND WHEN I LOOK AT IT, I DID NOT MISS MY GYM SESSION THIS WEEK. I DID IT YESTERDAY, LOL. NOT MUCH TO SAY ABOUT TODAY. THE WEATHER IS STILL CLOSED IN BUT IN ANY CASE, I AM PAYING BIG TIME FOR MY EXERTIONS OF YESTERDAY, SO IT IS A DAY INSIDE WITH A BOOK OF CROSSWORDS AND MY READING BOOK.

DAY 3. MY LEGS ARE STILL A WEE BIT SORE, BUT MY BACK IS OK NOW, THANK GOODNESS. SO, EVEN THOUGH IT WASN'T BRILLIANT I DID DECIDE TO TAKE SOME PHOTOS, AND I WILL SHOW YOU THESE LATER. I SPENT THE MORNING IDLING AROUND BUT INT HE AFTERNOON I DID GET MY LINES WET. I WAS TAKING THE ADVICE OF THE FISHING TACKLE SHOP AND I DID NOT CATCH A THING. I DETERMINED THAT TOMORROW I WAS GOING TO CHANGE TACK AND TRY MY OWN METHOD. JUST AT THE END OF THE AFTERNOON I DID MANAGE TO INTRODUCE MY BODY TO THE LOCH, BUT ONLY STAYED IN FOR A FEW MINUTES AS IT WAS QUITE CHILLY. THE SUN HAD NOT HAD CHANCE TO WARM IT UP ANY SO IT WAS HARDLY SURPRISING THAT IT WAS COLD. IT WAS CERTAINLY REFRESHING THOUGH, I WILLS AY THAT! OK, THE FOLLOWING ARE THE PICTURES I TOOK, BUT YOU WILL HAVE TO FORGIVE ME AS THE LIGHT WAS NOT EXACTLY VERY GOOD, SO THEY ARE VARIABLE IN NATURE.
THEY SHOW THE LOCH AND THE SURROUNDING AREA AND IT WAS WHAT I WOKE TO EVERY MORNING. YOU TELL ME THAT THIS IS NOT JUST PERFECT.


DAY 4. RAIN, RAIN AND MORE RAIN. IT HAS PUREED DOWN ALL NIGHT LONG AND HAS KEPT ME AWAKE BECAUSE IT WAS THAT LOUD. I LOVE THE SOUND OF THE RAIN ON CANVAS NORMALLY, BUT THIS WAS NOT FUNNY. IT WAS TORRENTIAL AND JUST DID NOT STOP. SO, I DETERMINED THAT I WOULD NOT BE GOING FISHING TODAY, BUT INSTEAD GOT ENGROSSED IN A BOOK AND ENDED UP READING IT TO A FINISH. THE RAIN DID ABATE LATE AFTERNOON AND EARLY EVENING SAW A VISIT FROM THE RANGERS. THEY WERE JUST CHECKING TO SEE IF I WAS OK AS MARY HAD LEFT WORD THAT I WAS ON MY OWN AND HAD SAID WHERE I WAS. APPARENTLY, HAD THE LADY WHO ISSUED ME WITH MY FISHING PERMIT REALISED I WAS GOING TO BE CAMPING, SHE WOULD HAVE ADVISED ME AGAINST DOING IT HERE BECAUSE OF HOW HARD IT WAS TO GET DOWN TO. I ONLY FOUND THIS OUT AFTER THE FACT, THOUGH, SO TOO LATE. ANYWAY, WE ENJOYED A BRIEF CHAT AND THE LADY RANGER WHO CAME ROUND SAID SHE WOULD SEE IF THEY HAD ANY FLY SPRAY INT HE OFFICE. I NEVER DID GET ANY BUT SUBSEQUENTLY FOUND OUT THAT SHE DID NOT HAVE ANY TO GIVE TO ME. IT WAS NICE OF HER AND HER COLLEAGUE TO DROP BY THOUGH.

DAY 5. ONCE AGAIN A LAZY MORNING, ALTHOUGH I DID GET ANOTHER BOOK FINISHED, LOL. I EVEN WENT UP TO THE TOP AND TOOK SOME PHOTOS FROM UP AT THE CAR PARK ARE. YOU MIGHT JUST GET A SENSE OF HOW FAR THE LOCH WAS AND HOW STEEP THE DESCENT/CLIMB WAS, ALTHOUGH UNFORTUNATELY, THE PHOTOS ARE NOT IN 3D. THEY DO SHOW THE VIEW ACROSS THE TREE CANOPY DOWN TO THE LOCH AND ALSO THE VIEW ACROSS THE FOREST LOOKING DOWN THE ROAD.



AND THEN ON THE WAY DOWN I COULD NOT RESIST TAKING A COUPLE THROUGH THE TREES.


IN THE AFTERNOON I ACTUALLY DID A BIT OF FISHING. THE FISH WERE NOT THAT BIG, THOUGH, SO IT A CASE OF LETTING THEM GO TO GROW BIGGER.
THIS IS A SMALL BROWN TROUT WEIGHING IT AT AROUND 12 OUNCES. THIS WAS ABOUT AVERAGE, AND I COULD NOT BRING MYSELF TO KEEP ANY OF THEM, EVEN THOUGH I COULD HAVE ON SIZE, BUT IT WOULD HAVE TAKEN AT LEAST 2 TO MAKE A MEAL. EVEN THEN, THERE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN A LOT OF MEAT ONT HEM. BETTER THEY SHOULD BE RELEASED TO GET BIGGER. THEY PROVIDED ME WITH A GOOD AFTERNOON, THOUGH, AND I AM GLAD I CHANGED TACK AND WENT WITH MY OWN GIT FEELING FOR ONCE.

DAY 6. YES, I GOT UP TO MORE RAIN. NO I WILL REPHRASE THAT. I WOKE UP TO RAIN, BUT WAS SO WARM AND SNUG THAT I CONFESS I TURNED OVER. BY THE TIME I RE-AWOKE THE RAIN HAD STOPPED AND THE DAY TURNED OUT TO BE A REALLY GLORIOUS ONE. SEEING AS THE SKIES HAD CLEARED I THOUGHT I WOULD HAVE A FULL DAY FISHING, BUT IT WAS NOT TO BE MY LUCKY DAY. I KEPT WITH A SHALLOW DRAFT AND MAYBE I SHOULD HAVE GONE DEEP AS THE LOCH CERTAINLY WARMED UP ENOUGH FOR ME TOG O FOR ANOTHER SWIM, AND THIS TIME I STAYED IN IT FOR A FAIR WHILE. AT THIS STAGE I WANT TO SHOW YOU SOME CONTRASTING PICTURES OF THE LOCH. YOU HAVE SEEN IT FROM DIFFERENT ANGLES, BUT NOW I WANT TO SHOW YOU THE SIDES OF THE LOCH THAT PEOPLE OFTEN DO NOT THINK ABOUT. FOR THE MOST PART THE LOCH IS LIKE A MIRROR AND THE FIRST PICTURES ARE ONES I TOOK FOR MYSELF AS I JUST LOVE TO SEE THE REFLECTION OF THE COUNTRYSIDE INT HE WATER. THE LAST ONE, HOWEVER, SHOWS THAT THE LOCH CAN CHANGE. AT AROUND MID AFTERNOON EVERY DAY, RAIN OR SHINE, THERE IS A WIND THAT BLOWS THROUGH AND THE WATERS GET A LITTLE CHOPPIER. IT IS ACTUALLY THE BEST TIME TO FISH AND WAS WHEN I CAUGHT MY CATCH AS I WAS ABLE TO DRIFT THE BAIT INTO THE FISH RATHER THAT HAVING TO TRY AND PLACE IT.


DAY 7. WHAT A SCORCHER. I SPENT THE DAY LOLLING AROUND DOING ABSOLUTENESS NOTHING TODAY. I HAD BOTH SIDES OF THE TENT OPEN, WHICH WAS GREAT AS IT ALLOWED SOME BREEZE THROUGH, BUT NOT SO GREAT AS I HAD TO DEBUG THE TENT BEFORE CLOSING IT UP FOR THE EVENING. I DID MAKE A START, RELUCTANTLY, TO GET MY STUFF TOGETHER AND TO TIDY UP A BIT SO THAT I WOULD NOT HAVE IT ALL TO DO TOMORROW. I READ MY BIBLE TODAY AND HAVE A LOT OF QUESTIONS FOR MY MINISTER WHEN I SEE HIM NEXT. WILL NOT BORE YOU WITH THE DETAIL HERE , THOUGH. NOT THE FORUM FOR THAT.

DAY 8. THE FINAL DAY AND WHAT A SCORCHER AGAIN. IN FACT IT HAS TURNED OUT TO BE THE HOTTEST DAY SO FAR AND, WHEN MARY CAME TO COLLECT ME, IT WAS REGISTERING 26c ON THE CAR THERMOMETER. THAT IS RIDICULOUS FOR SCOTLAND. WE NEVER HAVE TEMPERATURES THIS HIGH! ANYWAY, YOU CAN IMAGINE THAT BY THE TIME I HAD DECAMPED, GOT EVERYTHING PACKED AND HAD BEEN UP AND DOWN THAT HILL AGAIN SEVERAL TIMES, I WAS SOAKING WET THROUGH AGAIN, BUT THIS TIME IN PURE SWEAT. I HAD TO CHANGE EVERYTHING ONCE I HAD GOT IT ALL UP TO THE CAR PARK AND WE EVEN WENT TO THE LODGE ONT HE WAY BACK AS I WAS SO THIRSTY AND SO WERE THE GIRLS. HOPEFULLY THIS IS THE START OF THE SUMMER PROPER. I HAVE GOT AN IDEA ALREADY WHERE I MIGHT GO FOR MY NEXT CAMP, AND IT IS NOTHING LIKE AS ARDUOUS TO GET TO, BUT WE WILL SEE HOW THINGS GO.
JUST A LAST COUPLE OF PHOTOS OF THE LOCH BUT TAKEN AS THE LIGHT WAS FADING. I JUST THOUGHT IT WAS TOO BEAUTIFUL NOT TAKE THEM.


I WILL LEAVE YOU WITH ONE FINAL PICTURE WHICH WAS TAKEN AT THE WRONG TIME. IT IS OF ME BUT IS NOT EXACTLY THE BEST. I WAS TRYING TO EXPLAIN TO MARY HOW TO USE THE CAMERA AND SHE TOOK THE PHOTO ANYWAY BEFORE I COULD STOP HER. I PROMISE YOU THAT I DO NOT NORMALLY LOOK LIKE THIS, LOL.


UNTIL THE NEXT TIME.......

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CONTENTCHRIS 8/10/2014 11:20AM

    Yes agreed with Sherre n others in looks like you did get a lot of work out in with that hill for sure. Sorry to hear about the rain maybe it was for the best after the work to set up. Thanks for sharing and sorry I have not been around much either as of late. emoticon

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PWILLOW1 6/25/2014 1:52PM

    ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL TRIP FOR YOU MAC. GLAD EVERYTHING WENT WELL. THANKS FOR SHARING..........WILLOW

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CMFARRELL36 6/18/2014 4:28PM

    Thanks for sharing your holiday, and pics.
I hope the weather I'd kinder next time!

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DEE107 6/18/2014 12:41AM

    what a lovely country side thanks for sharing your vacation with us

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ARTJAC 6/18/2014 12:36AM

    emoticon MAC ENJOYED THE TOUR OF THE LOCK AND CAMP SITE

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-WISPY- 6/17/2014 11:38PM

    Oh Mac, what an adventure and a half. The photos are wonderful and what a long and winding trail up and down to the water. I take my hat off to you for doing that several times, not to mention Mary and Trish as well. It is a perfect spot where you camped and I can tell you had a lovely relaxing and peaceful time away from all the hustle and bustle of your daily life.

What a shame about all the rain, but you do not seem to have allowed it to damper your spirits one little bit and getting to read some books undisturbed must have been a treat in itself.

The last photo is priceless thank you for the good humour and fun loving person that you are to be sharing it with us.

Looking forward to the sharing the next trip already. emoticon

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LINDA! 6/17/2014 6:19PM

    This was so interesting. I am sorry that you had rain so much on your trip. But happy that you did have some good days. You definitely did not get to go to the gym but on many days got your exercise, just the same.

Great pictures!

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SDEHNKE 6/17/2014 5:56PM

    It looks like it was worth every bit of effort. Good exercise too. Probably better than the gym. I converted 26C to Fahrenheit. Oh my! We would find that pleasant almost a cool day for this time of year. It's all what you get used to. My father was born and raised further north and hated summer in Indiana.

I'm glad you've had this time to relax and get away. We're happy to have you back though.

Suellen


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TEENYSMOM 6/17/2014 5:24PM

    Oh Mac, what a wonderful adventure. emoticon so much for sharing with us. That trout emoticon looked yummy, if he'd had half a dozen more to go with him. I love trout, but all time favorite is catfish. Such beautiful photos of your plush green land. Like Sherry said, I felt like I was walking the path with you with seeing your wonderful photos. I am so glad that you had a pleasant & relaxing vacation.

emoticon Mac.
~~Starr~~

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SHERRY666 6/17/2014 4:56PM

    LOL........ THIS LAST PICTURE IS PRICELESS........ I CAN JUST SEE HOW YOUR TRYING TO TELL MARY HOW TO USE THE CAMERA AND IT LOOKS LIKE YOUR GETTING TO A POINT OF BEING FED UP........ LOL....... WHAT A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY SIDE........ YOU HAD A GREAT PLACE TO SET UP TENT........ BUT THAT PATH GOING UP AND DOWN WITH IT RAINING THE FIRST DAY AND BEING TOTALLY HOT THE DAY YOU HAVE TO PACK UP AND LEAVE............ THAT IS ALONG WAYS TO GO TO SET EVERYTHING UP........ I CAN UNDERSTAND MARY NOT BEING HAPPY ABOUT ALL THE BITES.......... BUG SPRAY DOESN'T ALWAYS WORK THAT GREAT........ IT'S TOO BAD YOU HAD SO MANY RAINY DAYS..... BUT I'M SO HAPPY TO HEAR THAT YOU GOT TWO DAYS OF SUNSHINE..... AND ALTHOUGH MOTHER NATURE PICKED THE WRONG DAYS TO RAIN AND SHINE....... I SEE YOU HAD A WONDERFUL TIME....... THANKS FOR SHARING THIS TRIP WITH US MAC........ I FELT LIKE I WAS CLIMBING THAT HILL WITH YOU..... emoticon

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PHOTOS FROM MUM'S BIRTHDAY

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

JUST A FEW PHOTOS OF OUR HOUSEHOLD PLUS THE TABLE FOR YOU TO HAVE A LOOK AT. I DID NOT TAKE ANY OF THE BUFFET THIS TIME AS IT REALLY WOULD HAVE MADE YOU ALL DROOL, LOL.

THE FIRST TWO ARE OF THE WALL AND THE TABLE BANNERS. (APOLOGIES FOR GETTING MARY'S HEAD IN THE FIRST PICTURE).



THE NEXT IS ONE OF MUM ON HER OWN AND I HAD TO JUMP THROUGH HOOPS TO GET IT. HER CAKE IS IN FRONT OF HER. THIS IS FOLLOWED BY A CLOSER LOOK AT THE CAKE. MUM DID BLUSH A LITTLE AS STEVEN AND PENG BROUGHT THE CAKE THROUGH TO THE REFRAINS OF HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AND THEN MUM GOT APPLAUSE FROM THE REST OF THE RESTAURANT.



THE NEXT ONE IS OF THE THREE LADIES IN MY LIFE. THIS IS FOLLOWED BY ONE OF THE LADIES PLUS STEVEN, (ONE OF THE MANAGERS) AND PENG, (THE LADY WHO HAD JUST RETURNED TO WORK AFTER MATERNITY LEAVE). BOTH HAVE BEEN WITH THE RESTAURANT FOR YEARS AND HAVE BECOME PART OF THE FURNITURE OF THE PLACE. THEY ARE JUST SO NICE AS WELL. UNFORTUNATELY, THE OTHER MANAGER WAS ON DAY OFF SO THAT WE DID NOT GET TO SAY HI TO HIM.



A THOROUGHLY ENJOYABLE TIME WAS HAD BY ALL.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CONTENTCHRIS 6/1/2014 7:03PM

    Good job Mac. I know you know how truly blessed you are my friend ..and well I must say grats on the weight loss too! emoticon

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-WISPY- 5/29/2014 8:19PM

    MAC JUST LOVING ALL THE PICS, THEY AND YOU SURE DID MOM PROUD. I AM AMAZED AT HOW WELL SHE LOOKS AND MUCH YOUNGER THAN I HAD EXPECTED. WHAT A SHAME THAT HER LOOKS BELIE HOW MUCH SHE IS ABLE (OR WANTS) TO DO.

HAVE TO TELL YOU YOU, YOURSELF ARE LOOKING AMAZING ALSO AND FAR BELIE YOUR YEARS, NOT TO MENTION YOUR PHYSICAL SHAPE. THOSE POUNDS HAVE JUST FALLEN OFF. WELL DONE MAC. emoticon

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SHERRY666 5/29/2014 4:02PM

    THERE WE GO FINALLY A RECENT PICTURE OF YOUR HAPPY SLIM FACE MAC........... HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MOM. emoticon I HAVE TO SAY MOM DOES DOES NOT LOOK AS OLD AS YOU SAY....... IT'S TOO BAD SHE WILL NOT GET OUT MORE AND ENJOY LIFE........... THE CAKE SURE LOOKS GOOD..... I LOVE CHEESECAKE........ THAT IS SO NEAT HOW YOU PUT THE BANNERS UP.......... I HOPE MOM APPRECIATED ALL YOU DID IN MAKING SURE SHE HAD A WONDERFUL DAY....... emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CEREBELLUM 5/29/2014 12:07PM

    IT LOOKS LIKE YOU WILL HAVE A LOT OF GREAT MEMORIES!

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DEE107 5/29/2014 12:10AM

    what a nice party for Mum HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM

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ARTJAC 5/28/2014 11:48PM

    emoticon TO MAM LOVELY PHOTOS MAC NICE TO HAVE A FAMILY GET TOGETHER I HOPE EVERYONE ENJOYED IT JACQUE

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SDEHNKE 5/28/2014 7:16PM

    I want to see the food!! LOL Happy Birthday Mum. emoticon emoticon You are such a good son Mac.

Suellen


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PWILLOW1 5/28/2014 6:28PM

    WHAT WONDERFUL PICTURES! WHAT A HAPPY FAMILY! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM.. emoticon ................WILLOW


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BR>

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OUR LATEST CANAL TRIP

Thursday, May 22, 2014

OUR LATEST TRIP WAS NEVER GOING TO BE A WARM ONE. WE ALL MET IN THE MIDDLE OF A REAL FOGGY MORNING, BUT THE FORECAST WAS THAT THE FOG WOULD LIFT AS THE DAY WENT ON SO WE WERE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THAT.

WE SET OFF ON THE CANAL A LITTLE EARLY AS WE WERE THERE AND THE BOATS WERE READY. I HAD BAKED A CAKE FOR EACH BOAT INTENDING TO SPLIT THE PEOPLE NTO TWO EQUAL GROUPS. THAT DID NOT HAPPEN SO OUR BOAT HAD FEWER PEOPLE ON IT. STILL, THE CREW WAS LEFT WITH A LARGE SLAB OF CAKE TO ENJOY AT A LATER TIME.

THIS TRIP WILL SHOW YOU A DIFFERENT SIDE TO THE CANAL AS WELL AS SOME INTERESTING FACTS.

BASICALLY, THERE IS ONLY A COUPLE OF SCENIC PICTRUES FOR YOU TO SEE IN THIS BLOG AS THE CANAL WAS SIDED BY BUSHES AND TREES, BUT I WILL GO INTO THIS LATER ON.

HERE IS A PICTURE OF ONE OF THE BOATS TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA OPF THE NATURE OF THESE BARGES.



THIS IS MORE LIKELY TO BE A PICTORIAL BLOG AS THERE IS NOT MUCH TO REALLY TELL YOU ABOUT. THE NEXT SET OF PICTURES, HOWEVER, IS ABOUT THE FLORA OF THE CANAL BANKS AND IN PARTICULAR ONE OF THE MOST COMMON OF TREES. THE GARDENERS AMONGST YOU WILL RECOGNISE THE HAWTHORN TREE AND AROUND OUR AREA, AND PARTICULARLY ALONG THE CANAL, IT REALLY DOES PROLIFERATE IN VARIOUS GUISES. THE FIRST PICTURE, THOUGH, IS OF ANOTHER REALLY COMMON FLOWER CALLED CAMPION, AND APOLOGIES FOR THE MOVEMENT IN THE PHOTO BUT I HAD TO BE QUICK TO GET IT.



BEFORE I POST THE HAWTHORN PICTURES I WANT TO TELL YOU OF AN OLD ENGLISH SAYING. NE-ER CAST A CLOUT TILL MAY IS OUT. IN THE 15TH CENTURY THIS TOOK ON THE MEANING NOT TO GET RID OF YOUR WINTER CLOTHES UNTIL MAY HAD FINISHED, CLOUT BEING ONE OF THE SPELLINGS FOR CLOTHES. THIS, HOWEVER, WAS NOT THE ORIGINAL MEANING. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MAY BUT MORE TO DO WITH THE HAWTHORN TREE, WHICH ALSO GOES BY THE NAME OF THE MAYFLOWER. THE FARMERS AND OLD ENGLISH WOLD LOOK AT WHEN THE HAWTHORN TREE BLOSSOMED AND ONLY THEN WOULD THEY SHED THE WINTER CLOTHES IN FAVOUR OF THE SUMMER ONES. THEY PREFERRED TO SUE MOTHER NATURE AS A GUIDE RATHER THAN THE CALENDAR AS THE HAWTHORN TREE COULD BLOSSOM EARLY OR LATE DEPENDING ON THE WEATHER BEFOREHAND, AND WAS THUS A FAR BETTER SOURCE OF INFORMATION. THERE IS ALSO LEGENDS ATTACHED TO THE HAWTHORN TREE SUCH AS THE ONE THAT SAYS A HAWTHORN BRANCH WAS TABOO INSIDE A HOUSE AND THAT IT COULD BE PLACED AT THE DOOR OF A LADY AND WAS A SIGN OF BETROTHAL. SO I F=GIVE YOU THE HAWTHORN, (MAYFLOWER), IN FULL BLOSSOM AND IN DIFFERENT GUISES.



AS I SAID EARLIER, THE CANAL SIDE ON THIS LEG OF THE CANAL IS REALLY ENCLOSED SO TO SHOW YOUO JUST HOW ENCLOSED EHRE ARE A COUPLE OF PICTURES.



I INCLUDED THE LAST PICTURE BECAUSE I WANTED TO SHOW YOU THE TOWPATH. NOW REMEMBER THAT WHEN THE CANALS WERE FIRST BUILT THE TOWPATHS WERE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT AS THEY ENABLED HORSES TO LITERALLY TOW THE BOATS ALONG THE CANAL. ALTHOUGH YOU CANNOT SEE IT ONT THE PHOTOGRAPH, YOU CAN ACTUALLY SEE WHERE, OVER TIME, THE ROPES THAT WERE USED HAVE SCORED INDENTATIONS IN THE BRIDGE MASONRY ITSELF. HOWEVER, I ALSO WANTED TO TELL YOU OF A PIECE OF MODERN HISTORY ABOUT THIS PARTICULAR TOWPATH. WHEN A BRITISH CABLE COMPANY WANTED TO LAY COMMUNICATIONS CABLE FOR PHONES AND INTERNET, A BRIGHT YOUNG LAD HAD THE IDEA THAT, INSTEAD OF DIGGING UP ROADS AND CAUSING MAYHEM WITH TRAFFIC, NOT TO MENTION THE EXPENSE OF RESURFACING THE ROADS AFTERWARDS, THAT THE COMPANY SHOULD LOOK AT USING THE CANAL INSTEAD, AS IT FOLLOWED THE CONTOURS OF THE LAND AND WOULD BE A LOT CHEAPER TO DIG UNDER. THE IDEA WAS ACCEPTED AND THUS THE TOWPATH WAS DUG UP AND THE CABLE LAID. AS AN ADDED BONUS, THE ONCE MUDDY AND FORLORN TOWPATH WAS RELAID SO THAT IT WOULD BE USABLE BY CYCLISTS AND WALKERS TODAY, AND ALSO, OUR BRITISH WATERWAYS STILL GETS A RENTAL INCOME FROM THE CABLE COMPANY. THERE IS ALSO A REAL TALE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP AS WELL ATTACHED TO THIS. THE CABLE COMPANY HAD TO USE MINI DIGGERS TO DIG THE PATH UP AS THEY WERE THE ONLY DIGGERS THAT THEY COULD FIT ON THE NARROW PATHS. THEY WERE AFRAID, THOUGH, THAT IF LEFT, SOME IDIOTS WOULD END UP TIPPING THE DIGGERS INTO THE CANAL. SO, A LOCAL MAN WENT AND BOUGHT AN OLD SKIP, CUT ONE OF THE ENDS OFF AND MADE A RAMP, ATTACHED AN OUTBOARD MOTOR TO IT AND THUS THEY COULD PUT THE DIGGERS INTO THIS, MOVE IT TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CANAL OUT OF HARMS WAY, AND IN THE MORNING PULL IT BACK OVER AGAIN. HE MADE QUITE A BIT OF RENTAL INCOME OUT OF THIS IDEA WHICH WAS SO SIMPLE THAT YOU WONDER WHY THE ENGINEERS DID NOT THINK OF IT THEMSELVES.

WE DID HAVE THE PLEASURE OF GOING OVER A SMALL AQUEDUCT WHCIH WAS SO NARROW THAT YOU COULD ACTUALLY STEP OFF THE BOAT ON EITHER SIDE, (THERE WAS JUST 3 INCHES OF A GAP BETWEEN THE SIDES OF THE BOAT AND THE TOWPATHS. BECAUSE OF THIS I WAS ABLE TO GET THE SCENERY FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE BARGE. ALSO WE STOPPED JUST PAST THE AQUEDUCT ONT HE WAY BACK SO I AM ABLE TO SHOW YOU THE STRUCTURE IN ALL OF ITS GLORY. WHAT YOU CANNOT REALLY TELL IS THE FACT THAT IT IS AROUND 80 FEET FROM THE RIVER BELOW. I WAS ABLE TO GO DOWN, THOUGH, AND GET SOME PICTURES SO THAT YOU CAN SEE HOW HUGE EVEN THIS SMALL STRUCTURE IS AND YOU CAN IMAGINE HOW MANY MEN AND THE ENGINEERING FEAT IT WAS TO CREATE AS IT IS NOT A MODERN STRUCTURE, BUT WAS BUILT IN A TIME WHEN THERE WERE NO MACHINES AVAILABLE AND IT WAS PURE MANPOWER THAT BUILT THE CANALS AND THE BRIDGES ETC.

SO, WE START AT THE TOP OF THE AQUEDUCT AND THEN MOVE DOWN.



BEFORE WE MOVE DOWN, I HAVE TO MENTION THAT YOU ARE LOOKING AT THE TREE CANOPY ON THE ONE SIDE OF THE AQUEDUCT. YOU CANNOT QUITE GET IT ON THE FIRST PICTURE.

THE AQUEDUCT THROUGH THE TREES.
YOU CANNOT REALLY TELL BUT THE FENCE IN THE PICTURE IS ABOUT 5 FEET HIGH. THE ARCH ITSELF IS REALLY HUGE.

THIS IS AN EXTRA PHOTO WHICH MY FRIEND KEN HAS SENT TO ME AND WAS TAKEN UNBEKNOWN TO ME. I AM THE FIGURE IN THE PICTURE AND I AM JUST OVER 6 FEET TALL, SO YOU DO NOW HAVE A SCALE ON WHICH TO SEE HOW BIG THE ARCHES ARE.

THIS IS THE RIVER BED AND YOUC AN SEE THAT IT REALLY IS SO SHALLOW. IN FACT, YOU COULD WALK ACROSS IT WITHOUT GETTING YOUR KNEES WET. WHAT YOU DO NOT SEE IS THE FACT THAT THIS IS IN AN OX BOW LAKE AND THAT ALTHOUGH STILL VERY SHALLOW, THE RIVER DOES RUN AT A RATE OF KNOTS SO YOU WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO WADE ACROSS WITHOUT IT CAUSING YOU TO FALL OVER. IT BASICALLY IS WHITE WATER.

ON THE WAY BACK THERE WAS ONE FINAL PICTURE I HAD TO INCLUDE. THIS WAS OF A STRUCTURE WHICH IS USED BY CHILDREN EVERY YEAR, AS THEY ARE TAKEN BY BARGE TO THIS PLACE AND HAVE SOME RAL FUN. I GIVE YOU SANTA'S GROTTO.
I DO NOT KNOW IF YOU CAN SEE AS I HAD TO BE QUICK IN TAKING THIS, BUT IF YOU LOOK CAREFULLY IN THE WINDOW, YOU CAN ACTUALLY SEE SANTA SITTING THERE WATCHING THE BARGES GO BY. ALSO, THERE WAS ONE PICTURE THAT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO GET. AT THE END OF THIS LITTLE ISLAND, A SWAN WAS SITTING ON THE NEST. IT WAS SO WELL CAMOUFLAGED THAT IT TOOK US TO ACTUALLY SEE IT SO NO WAY COULD IT BE CAPTURED IN A FLEETING MOMENT AS WE WENT PAST. YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE JUST HOW WELL CAMOUFLAGED IT WAS CONSIDERING THAT A SWAN IS WHITE AND THE REEDS ARE GREEN, BUT IT WAS REALLY SO HARD TO SPOT AND YOU HAD TO LOOK HARD IN ORDER TO DO SO. NOT SO FOR SOME ORNITHOLOGIST WHO HAS SET UP A TREE HOUSE CUM HIDE IN HIS BACK GARDEN.



THAT BRINGS ME TO THE END OF ANOTHER FINE TRIP, ALBEIT ONE THAT WAS A LINTEL ON THE CHILLY SIDE. WE WERE LUCKY IN THAT THE FOG DID LIFT HERE, UNLIKE BACK HOME WHERE IT LAY ALL DAY AND WAS STILL LAYING WHEN WE ARRIVED BACK AT THE PUB TO HAVE OUR MEAL.

SADLY THIS WILL PROBABLY BE THE LAST CANAL TRIP FOR QUITE A WHILE. I AM NOT GOING BACK TO THE LUNCH CLUB, (AND BEFORE ANYONE ASKS, I DO HAVE MY REASONS), SO IT WAS A NICE WAY TO SAY FAREWELL TO THE MEMBERS.

THANK YOU FOR DROPPING BY AND SHARING MY TRIP WITH ME. I HOPE YOU HAVE ENJOYED IT AS MUCH AS I DID ON THE DAY.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHERRY666 5/29/2014 3:54PM

    AS SOON AS I HEARD KEN TOOK A PICTURE OF YOU I HAD TO COME AND CHECK YOU OUT............ WOW MAC.... YOU ARE REALLY TONING UP AND THE WEIGHT LOSS I SEE FROM PICTURES AWHILE BACK IS AMAZING HOW WELL YOU HAVE DONE...... emoticon HOPE TO SEE A FRONT PICTURE FROM YOU NEXT TIME YOU DO A BLOG.

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CMFARRELL36 5/27/2014 6:20PM

    That was absolutely fascinating!
Thank you so much for sharing.

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LINDA! 5/24/2014 10:19PM

    This was a very interesting blog. I always enjoy the photos and the stories that I read from other countries.

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CONTENTCHRIS 5/24/2014 11:25AM

    You took me along with you again Mac!

Loved your blog!

The high Auquduct pic through the trees makes me wanna

explore hehe like a little kid.

emoticon

emoticon

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-WISPY- 5/23/2014 6:06PM

    OH MAC, WHAT A WONDERFUL GUIDED TOUR. CAMPION. HAVE NOT SEEN THAT SINCE WE CAME TO NZ, 44 YEARS AGO, AND WHAT WONDERFUL PHOTOS. THE MOVEMENT IS GOOD - IT GIVES A SENSE OF TRAVELING. LOL.
YEP, SAW SANTA JUST FINE. BET THE KIDS LOVE THAT. AND A TREE HOUSE - WELL NOW YOU ARE TALKING. IT IS NOT AS I IMAGINED MINE TO BE, BUT IT SURE IS A PROPER HOUSE.
WOULD LOVE TO VISIT UP THERE.

THE WEATHER WAS QUITE KIND IN SPITE OF THE FOGGY START.
BET THE CREW LOVED THE CAKE.

THANKS FOR SHARING.

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TEENYSMOM 5/23/2014 1:00PM

    Mac, that was a wonderful blog. Thank you so much for sharing with us. Beautiful scenery. Even before you wrote what it was, I could tell that it was Santa sitting in the window. LOL.

You have a blessed day, my sweet friend.

Hugs,
Starr

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ARTJAC 5/23/2014 2:05AM

    VERY NICE MAC IT REMINDED ME OF WHEN WE WENT ON THE NORFOLK BROADS WHEN OUR BOYS WERE LITTLE A LOT OF YEARS AGO LOVELY SCENERY MAC PLEASED YOU HAD A GOOD TIME THANK YOU

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DEE107 5/23/2014 12:07AM

    love your trips and when I read about it I am with you on the trip thank you

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PWILLOW1 5/22/2014 6:51PM

    HI MAC - NICE TRIP AND YOU MAKE US FEEL LIKE WE WERE RIGHT THERE WITH YOU.......WILLOW

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SDEHNKE 5/22/2014 4:43PM

    What a wonderful way to spend the day. Thank you for letting us go on your travels with you.

Suellen


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SHERRY666 5/22/2014 3:56PM

    OH MAC I JUST LOVE HOW NARROW THE RIVER IS WHERE THE BOAT GOES THROUGH......... THAT IS SO PRETTY....... THE HAWTHORN TREE IS GORGEOUS........ I CAN SEE SANTA SITTING IN THE WINDOW...... HOW NEAT FOR THE KIDS.......... I WOULD LOVE TO LIVE BY WATER AND TAKE A TRIP BY ONE OF THOSE BOATS..... WHICH BY THE WAY LOOKS LIKE THOSE OLD STYLE ONES I'VE SEEN ON TV...... THE GUY CERTAINLY BUILT A GREAT TREEHOUSE....... THE WHOLE TRIP MUST HAVE BEEN WONDERFUL....... ALTHOUGH I KNOW IT'S NOT YOUR FIRST ONE....... BUT WILL BE YOUR LAST....... I SUPPOSE YOU COULD GO OUT ANY TIME AND TAKE A TRIP ON THE BOATS........ WHICH IS SO AWESOME........... THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR TRIP WITH US MAC......... I TOTALLY ENJOYED ALL THE PICTURES.

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KAYLEESMEME 5/22/2014 3:52PM

    Beautiful photography. emoticon

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