Tuesday, September 10, 2013
DEAR DIARY, DAY 1- GOOD; DAY 2 - GOOD; DAY 3 -IFFY; -DAY 4 - TERRIBLE; DAY 5 - A BIT BETTER; -DAY 6 - IFFY.
WOULD I LEAVE IT AT THAT? NOT ON YOUR LIFE. YOU WOULD NOT BE BEST PLEASE WITH ME IF I DID, LOL.
SO, WE HAD A LOVELY RIDE OUT ON THE WEDNESDAY AND THE SUN SHONE BRIGHT AND EVERYTHING WAS GOOD. MARY HELPED ME PUT THE TENT UP AND SO IT WAS DONE IN QUICK TIME, WE UNLOADED THE CAR ALTHOUGH TRISH WAS BANNED FROM COMING DOWN AS THE SLOPE WAS A LITTLE STEEP FOR HER WITH HER STICK AS WELL AS CARRYING STUFF. AFTER THAT I WAS LEFT TO SORT EVERYTHING OUT AND GET MYSELF ORGANISED.
I HAD DECIDED THAT I WOULD NOT BE DOING ANY WORK ON THE FIRST AFTERNOON BUT RATHER I WAS JUST GOING TO CHILL OUT PLUS TAKE SOME PHOTOGRAPHS TO SHOWYOU.YOU MUST FORGIVE THE FACT THAT SOME OF THEM LOOK AS IF THE LOCH IS RUNNING DOWNHILL. IT IS PURELY THAT WHEN I HOLD THE CAMERA UP I START TO SHAKE AND OFTEN HAVE TO HAVE SEVERAL GOES BEFORE I CAN GET A HALF DECENT SHOT. ALSO, THERE IS ONE PHOTO OF THE TENT THAT IS REALLY BRIGHT. UNFORTUNATELY, AS I WAS TAKING IT THE SUN DECIDED TO REALLY SHINE BRIGHT THROUGH THE TREES AND SO I WAS TAKING THE SHOT DIRECTLY TOWARDS THE SUN RATHER THAT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. ALSO, YOUWILL SEE THAT SOME ARE REPEATS BUT I WANTED TO SHOW YOU THE DIFFERENT LOOKS OF THE PLACE ON ANY GIVEN DAY. ALTHOUGH THE MAJORITY OF THE PICTURES WERE TAKEN ON THE WEDNESDAY I DID SAVE SOME TIME DURING THE CAMP TO TAKE OTHERS BEFORE THE BATTERIES FINALLY GAVE OUT.
SO, THE FIRST THING TO WATCH FOR IS WHERE YOU PITCH YOUR TENT. THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPH IS OF THE LOCH SHORE AND IT IS PRETTY MUCH THE SAME ALL THE WAY ALONG, SO YOU HAVE TO GET BACK FROM ITA LITTLE WAY IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO GET THE TENT PEGS IN THE GROUND WITHOUT BENDING THEM.
HENCE THE REASO9N WHY I PITCHED MINE HERE.
AND SINCE YOU HAVE SEEN THE TENT BEFORE I WOULD LIKE TO INVITE YOU INSIDE MY HUMBLE ABODE.
(THIS IS WHERE I APOPLOGISE FOR THE SUN BEING IN THE WRONG PLACE, LOL).
THE SECOND THING TO LOOK FOR IS A DRY PLACE WHERE YOU CAN DRY STUFF ON A MAKESHIFT WASHING LINE, BUT MORE OF THAT LATER.
SO, THE AFTERNOON DRIFTED BY AND I ENJOYEDA LOVELY PEACEFUL AFTERNOON IN THE SUN JUST RELAXING AND DRINKLING COFFEE.
DAY 2, THURSDAY, WAS THE FIRST OF MY WORK DAYS. I AM DOING A PROJECT FORTHE CHURCH WHICH WILL ULTIMATELY RESULT IN AN ATERNATIVE HYMN BOOK. OFTEN PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW SPECIFIC HYMNS BUT THEY DO RECOGNISE SPECIFIC TUNES. A LOT OF HYMNS GET MISSED FROM SERVICES BECAUSE OF THIS. WHAT I HAVE BEEN DOING IS TO MARRY THESE OFTEN UNKNOWN HYMNS WITH TUNES THAT EVERYONE KNOWS SO THAT WE CAN INCORPORATE THEM INTO OUR SERVICES. I STARTED THIS PROJECT AT HOME BUT I JUST COULD NOT GET THE TIME OR THE PEACE TO BE ABLE TO CONCENTRATE ON IT FULLY, HENCE THE REASON I WANTED TO GO ON THIS CAMP, (AMONGST OTHER THINGS, OF COURSE).
I WORKED ON THIS RIGHT THROUGH THE MORNING AND GOT A FAIR BIT ACCOMPLISHED, BUT ALL WORK AND NO PLAY..... SO AFTER LUNCH I WENT FOR A SHORT WALK AND THEN DECIDED TO TEST THE WATERS OF THE LOCH. UNFORTUNATELY, AND AS YOU WILL SEE, THE LOCH IS REALLY LOW BECAUSE IT IS THE END OF A LONG SEASON AND WE ARE WAITING FOR THE WINTER SNOWS TO COME DOWN AND REPLENISH IT. THIS MEANT THAT I COULD WADE OUT SO FAR BEFORE STARTING TO SINK INTO THE SANDY BOTTOM. UNFORTUNATELY, THIS WAS NOT SO FAR OUT THAT I COULD ACTUALLY SWIM, BUT IT WAS REFRESHING NONE THE LESS AND WAS THE FIRST OF A COUPLE OF PADDLES DURING THE CAMP. ONE OF THE THNGS ABOUT CAMPING WHRE I DID WAS THAT YOU GET VISITS FROM THE FOREST RANGERS. THEY THOUGHT I WAS STARK RAVING MAD FOR EVEN PADDLING AS THEY THOUGHT THE LOCH WAS FREEZING. HAVING BEEN BROUGHT UP SWIMMING IN MOUNTAIN STREAMS AND TARNS AS A YOUNGSTER I WAS NOT GOING TO BE PHASED BY A SCOTTISH LOCH, LOL. AS MUCH AS ANYTHING IT ALSO WASHED ME DOWN A BIT AS WATER WAS AT A PREMIUM. IT WAS THEN THAT I FORGOT WHERE I HAD PUT MY KNIFE, FORK AND SPOON ANDDESPITE AHVING THE TENT UPSIDE DOWN I SIMPLY COULD NOT FIND IT.FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS I WAS TO EAT USING A TEASPOON ONLY BEFORE FINALLY COMING ACROSS THEM AGAIN.
I DIGRESS, THOUGH. DAY 3, THURSDAY MORNING WAS A FREE ONE AS I WANTED TO GET A LITTLE EXERCISE SO I SHUT THE TENT UP AND WENT FOR A NICE STRIOLL ALONG THE WATER'S EDGE. I DISCOVERED THAT PEOLE TREAT SUCH PLACES WITH CONTEMPT A LOT OF THE TIME AND WITH NO THOUGHT. THE AMOUNT OF LITTER I CAME ACROSS WAS APPALLING ADN NO WONDER THERE ARE LITTER PATROLS SENT OUT VERY SO OFTEN. IT IS A DISGRACEAND PEOPLE LIKE THESE SHOULD NEVER BE ALLOWERD NEAR TO SUCH A BEAUTIFUL PLACE. IT IS THE SAME WITH THE FIRES. SEEMINGLY EACH GROUP WANTS THEIR OWN FIRE PITS RATHER THAT USE THE ONE IN THE AREA. YOU WILL SEE THIS CLEARLY IN THE PICTURE OF THE TENT AROUND WHICH YOU WILL NOTE THERE ARE THREE OF FIVE IN THE ONE LOCALITY.
THURSDAY AFTERNOON WAS SPENT ON THE PROJECT FOR THE MOST PART ALTHOUGH I DID THE THE FIRST OF A FEW VISITS FROM THE RANGERS. APPARENTLY THEY HAD TO CHECK ON TENTS TO FIND OUT IF THEY HAD PEOPLE IN THEM OR NOT. WHEN I ASKED WHY THEY SHOULD HAVE TO DO THIS I WAS FLABBERGASTED TO FIND OUT THAT QUITE FREQUENTLY THEY COME ACROSS TENTS WHICH ARE SIMPLY ABANDONED, AND APPARENTLY THERE ARE SOME REALLY GOOD ONES AMONGST THEM. I SIMPLY COULD NOT BELIEVE WHAT I WAS HEARING. TO SPEND OUT ON A TENT AND THEN ABANDON IT JUST DOES NOT MAKE SENSE TO ME. OBVIOUSLY SOME PEOPLE HAVE MORE MONEY THAN SENSE!
WHAT I WAS FINDING WEIRD WAS THE FACT THAT BY 8PM THE LIGHT WAS FADING SO MUCH THAT BASICALLY I HAD TO USE MY TORCH. THE PROBLEM WAS THAT MY HAND HELD DECIDED TO GO ON THE BLINK AND THE ON/OFF SWITCH DECIDED TO TO WORK PROPERLY. FORTUNATELY, I HAD MY HEAD TORCH AS WELL SO I WAS STILL ABLE TO READ.
AFTER TWO REALLY GOOD DAYS THE WEATHER COULD NOT LAST AND IT STARTED TO BREAK ON THE FRIDAY. THE FIRSTSIGN WAS THE WIND. EVERY AFTERNOON AROUND 3PM THERE IS A WIND THAT COMES DOWN THE CALLEY AND STIRS UP THE WATER A BIT. IT IS QUITE STRONG BUT REALLY CAN ONLY B DESCRIBED AS A HEAVY BREEZE. NOT ON FRIDAY. TO START WITH THE SUN HAD DECIDED NOT TO APPEAR AT ALL AND THE SKIES WERE DARK AND GREY. I DECIDED THE BEST PKACE TO BE WAS INSIDE THE TENT SO THAT IS WHERE I STAYED. I WAS ABLE TO CONTINUE WITH THE PROJECT AND ACTUALLY I GOT THE FIRST GO THROUGH FINISHED JUST AFTER LUNCH. JUST AS WELL AS WHEN THE AFTERNOON WIND CAME IT TORE DOWN THE VALLEY LIKE A STEAM TRAIN AND THE TENT REALLY SHOOK HARD. LUCKILY THERE WAS A FAIR BIT OF WEIGHT IN IT TO HELP ANCHOR IT DOWN. FINALLY THE WIND DIED DOWNAND THINGS WENT RELATIVELY QUIET FOR A WHILE. I KPT EVERYTHING CROSSED BUT TO NO AVAIL. AT AROUND 8PM THE HEAVENS OPENED SO I DECIDED TO CALL IT A NIGHT AND GO AND SNUGGLE DOWN HAVING MADE UP A COUPLE OF FLASKS OF HOT WATER SO THAT I WOULD HAVE A HOT DRINK. DURING THE NIGHT THERE WAS NO LET UP AND THE RAIN CONTINUED TO COME DOWN IN TORRENTS. I WOKE UP ON SATURDAY MORNING TO DISCOVER THAT MY TENT WAS SHOWER PROOF ONLY.
DAY 4, SATURDAYWAS NOT TOO BAD WEATEHR WISE AS THE RAIN HAD FINALLY STOPPED AND THE SUN WAS OUT AGAIN. JUST AS WELL ASDUTING TYHE NIGHT THE RAIN HAD BEEN SO HEAVY THAT THE SO CALLED WATERPROOFING COULD NOT TAKE IT AND I WOKE WITHA WET CAMP BED PLUS WET BEDDING AS WELL AS OTHER BITS AND PIECES WHERE ITEMS HAD BEEN TOUCHING THE WALLS OF THE TENT. THIS IS WHERE MY FORESIGHT AND PLANNING HAD COME GOOD AS I HAD ALREADY RIGGED UP THE WASHING LINE IN A PLACE THAT, BECAUSE OF THE TREE CANOPY, DID NOT GET WET EVEN DURING THE 'MONSOON' WE HAD EXPERIENCED.
JUST BEHIND THE GRASS THERE IS ACTUALLY A DEFINED TRACK SO IT IS NOT AS BAD AS IT LOOKES, LOL.
IT WAS NOT THE LAST TIME I WAS TO PUT THIS PLACE TO GOOD USE. I HAD TO HAVE SOMEWHERE TO DRY MY TRUNKS AND ALSO THE SHOES I WORE WHEN GOING INTO THE LOCH. I WAS NOT GOING TO GO BAREFOOT ON THAT KIND OF STUFF, BUT IN ANY CASE I HAD INVESTED IN A PAIR OF SHOES ACTUALLY MADE FOR THE PURPOSE. THIS IS WHEN THE AFTERNOON WINDS CAME IN HANDY AS THEY ACCELERATED THE DRYING PROCESS QUITE A BIT.
SATURDAY AFTERNOON WAS SPENT LITERALLY JUST CHILLING OUT. I WAS INOT UP FOR DOING ANY WORK AFTER THAT MNORING.I DID HAESOME CROSSWORD BOOKS WITH ME AS WELL SO I CONTENTED MSELF WITH DOING SOME OF THESE. IT IS AMAZING HOW QUICKLY TIME FLIESEVN WHEN YOU ARE NOT REALLY DOING A LOT.
IF I THOUGHT THINGS COULD NOT GET ANY WORSE AFTER A MORNING OF DRYING OUT SOGGY BEDDING AND STUFF, I DID NOT RECKON ON THE SATURDAY EVENING AND, AS IT TURNED OUT MOST OF THE NIGHT AS WELL. A GROUP OF AROUND HALF A DOZEN MEN APPEARED AND SET UP CAMP OSTENSIBLY ON A FISHING WEKEND. TAKING THE LOCATION INTO CONSIDERATION, THERE WAS NO WAY THEY WERE GOING TO CATCH ANYTHING OTHER THAN MAYBE A COUPLE OF SMALL FISH AT THE OUTSIDE, BUT ALTHOUGH THEY ALL GOT RODS OUT, I STILL THINK THIS WAS AN EXCUSE. COME NIGHTFALL THE FIRE WAS LIT AND THE CAMP GATHERED AND OBVIOUSLY THE BEERS WERE BROUGHT OUT BY THE CRATE LOAD I SHOULD THINK. THE EVENING STARTED OFF PLEASANT ENOUGH, ALTHOUGH WHY THEY HAD TO TALK SO LOUD IS BEYOND ME. SOUND TRAVELS FURTHER AT NIGHT ANYWAY BUT I DON'T THINK ONE OF THEM KNEW HOW TO TALK QUIETLY. AS THE EVENING WORE ON THE TALK GOT EVEN LOUDER AND THEN THE SINGING STARTED. I WOULDN'T MIND EXCEPT THAT A LOT OF IT WAS REPETITIVE AND WAS DEFINITLY OUT OF TUNE. YOU KNEW IT WAS LATE WHEN ONE OF THEM SUDDENLY DECIDED TO LET THE WORLD KNOW THAT IT WAS 4AM IN THE MORNING! NEEDLESS TO SAY I WAS NOT A HAPPY CHAPPIE AS I WAS SO TIRED AND THUS IT WAS SOMEWHAT LATER THAN USUAL BEFORE I GOT UP ON THE SUNDAY.
DAY 5, SUNDAY ACTUALLY SAW ME WITH A SMILE ON MY FACE AS I SAW THE GUYS CREEPING OUT OF THEIR TENTS AND THEY DID NOT LOOK TOO HAPPY ABOUT HAVING TO GET UP EITHER. THEY WERE NOT TALKING SO LOUDLY NOW! LOL. IT WAS WITH RELIEF THAT I SAW FOUR OF THEM LEAVE RIGHT AWAY, AND THE OTHER TWO ONLY STUCK IT OUT UNTIL LUNCHTIME. AT LEAST I WAS GOING TO HAVE A PEACEFUL NIGHT AND THUS I COULD CATCH UP ON MY MUCH NEEDED SLEEP. I CONTENTED MYSELF WITH DOING SOME CLEANING OUT OF THE TENT FLOOR AS BY NOW I THINK I HAD TRACKED IN HALF THE BEACH. I LITERALLY HAD EVERYTHING OUT SO THAT I COULD SWEEP IT ALL DOWN. YES, I DO TAKE A SMALL DUSTPAN AND BRUSH WITH ME FOR THAT VERY PURPOSE AS I HATE A FILTHY TENT. I ALSO TOOK THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEAVE THE STUFF OUTSIDE FOR A BIT TO AIR IT. FORTUNATELY, THE WEATHER WAS KIND TO ME AND I WAS ABLE TO ENJOY A SUNNY MORNING JUST AMBLING ALONG THE SHORE AND FINALLY GETTING DOWN TO A SECOND GO THROUGH OF THE HYMNS. THIS IS WHERE I CAME UNSTUCK. I HAD EXPECTED THAT TEH SECOND GO THROUGH, WHICH WAS ABOUT ME FITTING TUNES TO HYMNS RATHER THAN TH OTHER WAY ROUND. WHAT I HAD BEEN DOING WAS LOOKING AT THE OFFICIAL ALTERNATIVES. FOR YOU WHO ATTEND CHURCH REGULARLY, YOU WILL KNOW THAT OFTEN A HYMN HAS A COUPLE OF DIFFERENT TUNES THAT ARE ALREADY LAID DOWN. WHAT IS OFTEN MISSED IS THE FACT THAT A HYMN CAN BE SUNG TO A WELL KNOW TUNE BUT IT IS NOT RECOGNISED AS AN OFFICIAL ALTERNATIVE. I WANTED TO RECTIFY THAT SOMEWHAT BUT THOUGHT THAT BECAUSE I HAD ALREADY GOT 3 FOOLSCAP PAGES FULL I WOULD NOT FIND TOO MANY. HOW WRONG WAS I? BY SUNDAY SUPPER TIME I HAD ADDED ANOTHER 2 FOOLSCAP PAGES AND HAD NOT FINISHED YET. HAD TO CALL IT A DAY THOUGH BECAUSE I HAD TO COOK SUPPER BEFORE THE LIGHT STARTED TO FADE.
BEING THE GOOD SCOUT THAT I AM, I THOUGHT I WOULD GET PREPARD FOR SUNDAY EVENINGA ND NIGHT BCAUSE I WAS NOT CONVINCED WE HAD SEENT HE LAST OF THE RAIN. WHAT I DID WAS TO REORGANISE THE TENT SO THAT NOTHING WAS TOUCHING THE WALLS ANDTHUS OWULD HOPEFULLY STAY DRY. WELL, I WAS RIGHT TO BE PREPARED AS TH RAIN DID COME AGAIN. IT WAS WHY IWAS FLABBERGASTED ONCE MORE TO SEE A CHAP APPEAR WITH TWO YOUNG GIRLS IN TOW, NITHER OF WHOM WERE ANYWHERE NEAR SCHOOL AGE. THE THING WAS THAT IT HAD STARTED TO RAIN BY THIS TIME AND YET HE CALMLY SAT DOWN AND LIT A SMALL FIRE AND HE AND THE GIRLS MERRILY TOASTED MARSHMALLOWS ON IT UNDER THE CANOPY OF ANOTHER GROUP OF TREES. WHO, IN THEIR RIGHT MIND, WOULD BRING TWO YOUNG GIRLS OUT ON A NIGHT SUCH AS THAT AND THINK NOTHING OF IT? THERE IS CERTAINLY NOTHING AS STRANGE AS PEOPLE, THAT IS DEFINITELY FOR SURE, AND SOME OF THEM WANT THEIR HEADS EXAMINED; ALSO A DEFINITE!
I DIGRESS,THOUGH. I SAT WITH TREPIDATION IN THE TENT EXPECTING THE WATER TO COMETHROUGHAT ANYTIME, AND EVN STARTEDTO SLEEP IN THE CHAIR FOR FEAR OF TURNING OVER IN BED AND TOUCHING THE TENT WALLS. FORRTUNATELY, THE RAIN DIES AWAYBY AROUND MIDNIGHT, SO I WAS ABLE TO GET INTO BED AND I SLEPT THE SLEEP OF THE JUST.
DAY 6, MONDAY SAW ME ACTUALLY GETTING UP WHAT FOR ME IS LATE. THE GOOD THING WAS THAT I WAS WARM AND I WAS DRY AND NOTHING INSIDE THE TENT SUFFERED EITHER. HOWEVER, BY THIS TIME WHAT LITTLE WATERPROOFING THERE WAS HAD REALLY BEEN WASHED AWAY. DURING THE MORNING I MANAGED TO ADD ANOTHER FOOLSCAP PAGE TO THE PROJECT BEFORE FINALLY FINISHING. I NOW HAVE 6 FOOLSCAP PAGES OF HYMNS WHICH NOW NEED TO BE COLLATED INTO THEIR VARIOUS SECTIONS AND TYPED OUT AND PRINTED IN BOOK FORM. THAT IS GOING TO TAKE A WHILE YET TO COMPLETE AND I WILL BE LUCKY IF I MANAGE IT BFORE CHRISTMAS AS I NOW HAVE A MYRIAD OF OTHER THINGS TO CONCENTRATE ON.
BY MONDAY LUNCHTIME I WAS BEGINNING TO GATHER HOPE THAT WE HAD SEEN THE LAST OF THE RAIN. UNFORTUNATELY, THIS WAS NOT TO BE. MONDAY AFTERNOON WAS A NIGHTMARE AS I HAD TO STRATEGICALLY PLACE POTS AND PANS AND BOWLS AS FINALLY THE WATER DID START TO PHYSICALLY DRIP THROUGH IN PLACES, MOST OF WHICH WERE OVER MY BED! LUCKILY I HAD ENOUGH THINGS TO BE ABLE TO KEEP MY BED DRY ALTHOUGH I WAS STARTING TO WORRY AT ONE STAGE. FORTUNATELY, MY EVER PRESENT FLASKS OF COFFEE WERE THERE TO KEEP ME GOING, LOL. MY LAST JOB BEFORE SUNDOWN WAS TO ENSURE I HAD HOT WATER TO DO ME IF I WOKE UP AND WANTED A HOT DRINK DURING THE NIGHT, OF WHICH I DID AVAIL MYSELF A FEW TIMES AS IT GETS REALLY COLD BY A LOCHSIDE. THE FIRST JOB OF THE MORNING, AFTER I HAD DRUNK MY FIRST CUP OF COFFEE AND TAKEN MY MEDS, WAS TO REPLENISH THE FLASKS. I MADE SURE THAT I HAD AT LEAST ONE FULL FLASK AT ALL TIMES.
ANYWAY, BACK TO THE SUBJECT. BY EARLY EVENING THE RAIN HAD FINALLY ABATED AND I GOT MY LAST VISIT BY THE RANGERS. THEY WERE JUST CHECKING TO SEE IF I WAS OK THIS TIME AS MY TENT HAD BEEN REPORTED TO THE VARIOUS SHIFTS SO THAT THEY KNEW I WAS THERE AND HOW LONG I WOULD BE STAYING FOR. ACTUALLY, I THINK THEY WERE GLAD TO GET OUT OF THEIR VEHICLE AND STOP BY FOR A NATTER AS WE WERE TALKING FOR A GOOD 45 MINUTES IN THE END. IT TURNED OUT THAT ONE OF THEM WAS FROM NEAR WHERE WE LIVE AND KNEW OUR AREA WELL. I MANAGED TO FIND OUT FROM HIM THAT THE WEATEHR WAS NOW SET FAIR SO I WAS HAPPY THAT I WOULD NOT HAVE TO BREAK CAMP IN THE RAIN AS WELL AS BEING ABLE TO SLEEP IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT I WAS NOT GOING TO BE DROWNED OUT EITHER.
SO TO THE FINAL MORNING. THIS MORNING, WEDNESDAY. THE RANGERS WERE CORRECT. THE SUN WAS SHINING AND THE MORNING, ALTHOUGH A LITTLE BREEZY, WAS QUITE WARM, AND THE DAY WOULD ACTUALL GET WARMER STILL. KNOWING THAT MARY WOULD NOT BE UP VERY EARLY I DECIDED NOT TO GET OUT OF BED STRAIGHT AWAY MYSELF. IN THE END THOUGHT I HAD NO CHOICE. NATURE DOES NOT WAIT FOR ANY MAN, LOL. STILL, I TOOK MY TIME OVER EVERYTHING AS I HAD ALL BUT FINISHED MY READING BOOKS AND HAD LONG SINCE COMPLETED THE CROSSWORD BOOKS, SO APART FROM BREAKING CAMP I WAS GOING TO BE HANGING AROUND. IT TURND OUT TO BE JUST THE CASE AS I HAD A LEISURELY STROLL FOR THE LAST TIME ALONG THE SHORELINE AND THEN DECIDED TO ACTUALLY FINISH MY READING BOOK BEFORE DOING ANYTHING. JUST AS WELL AS I PHONED HOME AND ASCERTAINED THAT MARY AND TRISH WERE BUSY DOING A RUBBISH RUN BEFORE THEY WERE COMING TO COLLECT ME. AFTER FINANLLY BREAKING CAMP I WAS JUST POTTERING ABOUT BUT TIMED THINGS TO PERFECTION AS I WAS JUST MOVING THE STUFF TO THE PICK UP POINT WHEN I SAW THE CAR GONG PAST ON ITS WAY TO MARY TURNING IT AROUND AT THE DESIGNATED POINT. IT IS A SINGLE TRACK ROAD SO THERE ARE DESIGNATED PASSING PLACES AND JUST AT THE ONE POINT THERE IS A GATED ENTRANCE TO A PRIVATE ESTATE. I WILL POINT OUT THE MANOR HOUSE WHEN I COM TO THE RELEVANT PHOTOGRAPH, ALTHOUGH YOU WILL ONLY GLIMPSE IT IN THE DISTANCE. THE ONLY PEOPLE ALLOWED THROUGH THOSE GATES OTHER THAN THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE THERE ARE THE BOAT CLUB PEOPLE WHO RENT A BOATHOUSE FROM THE ESTATE, CYCLISTS AND WALKERS WHO HAVE RIGHT OF WAY ALONG A TRACK TO THE NEXT VILLAGE. DESPITE THIS, YOU WOULD BE AMAZED AT JUST HOW MANY VEHICLES USE THE ROAD. I CAN ONLY IMAGINE THAT THEY ARE THE PEOPLE WHO WORK BOTH ON AND FOR THE STATE. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE AS I WOULD IMAGINE THAT SOME WOULD WORK ON THE ESTATE BUT WOULD BE EMPLOYED BY EMPLOYERS SUCH AS THE FORESTRY COMMISSION AND, OF COURSE, THE FOREST RANGERS.
MARY AND TRISH ARRIVED AT JUST BEFORE NOON AND BY THEN I WAS FEELING PECKISH, SO WE DECIDED TO FINISH THE DAY BY GOING BACK HOME, OFFLOADING THE GEAR , COLLECTING MUM AND GOING OUT TO DINNER, A MEASURE THAT IN THE END PROVED BOTH POPULAR AND EXTREMELY DELICIOUS. EVEN MUM WAS COMPLIMENTARY, WHICH TELLS YOU A LOT!
OK, THAT IS THE BORING BIT FINALLY OVER WITH. NOW FOR THE INTERESTING BIT; THE PHOTOGRAPHS. YOU WILL SEE THAT I AM VIRTUALLY AT THE ONE END OF THE LOCH AND YOU WILL SEE THE TRUE END WHERE THE SLUICE GATES ARE, WHICH ALLOWS A MEASURE OF CONTROL AS TO HOW MUCH WATER IS LET OUT INTO THE RIVER. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT AS WITHOUT IT, THE RIVER WOULD ACTUALLY DRY UP TO A LARGE EXTENT WHEN THE LOCH DOES GET SO LOW. SO WE START BY LOOKING AT THE END OF THE LOCH WHICH IS TO THE RIGHT OF WHERE I WAS CAMPED.
THIS NEXT ONE IS WHAT I WOKE UP TO EVERY MORNING AS IT WAS RIGHT OPPOSITE ME.
NOW WE LOOK LEFT AND DOWN THE LOCH TO THE PLACE WHERE IT BENDS.
IF YOU LOOK TO THE VERY RIGHT OF THE LAST PHOTO YOU WILL JUST ABOUT MAKE OUT THE ESTATE MANOR HOUSE ABOUT HALF WAY UP THE SIDE OF THE HILL AND SEMINGLY SURROUNDED BY TREES.
IN THE NEXT COUPLE WE SEE THE BOAT CLUB ON THE WATER DOING A BIT OF LEARNER TRAINING.
FINALLY I WANTED TO SHOW YOU SOME OTHER SIDES OF THE LOCH. THE FIRST WAS TAKEN IN THE MORNING WHEN THE MISTS WERE JUST COMING OVER THE LOWER HORIZON PRIOR TO BEING BURN OFF BY THE SUN.
THEN THERE IS THE LOCH AT AROUND SUNSET.
THEN THERE IS THE LOCH IN THE MIDST OF SOME HEAT HAZE.
AND FINALLY, THERE IS THE ANGRY SIDE, OR AT LEAST THE BUILD UP. I WAS NOT GOING TO BE DAFT ENOUGH TO GO OUT IN THE RAIN AND TAKE PHOTOS, LOL.
NEXT YEAR I WILL BE UPGRADING MY QUIPMENT AS I HAVE, DESPITE THE RAIN AND THE 'FISHERMEN', ENJOYED MY CAMPING. IT HAS BEEN A LOVELY EXPERIENCE WHEN, AT THE PEACEFUL TIMES, YOU ARE BACK TO BEING ONE WITH NATURE. NOW THE EQUIPMENT HAS BEEN PUT AWAY FOR THE SEASON AND I WILL BE AVIDLY LOOKING FOR BARGAINS AS IT IS AT THIS TIME OF YEAR THAT THE CAMPING STUFF IS STARTING TO GET CHEAPER BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY, NOBODY WANTS TO GO CAMPING DURING THE WINTER TIME, SO GETTING RID OF SURPLUS STOCK IS THE THING BEFORE THE VENDORS JUST CONCENTRATE ON CARAVANS AND MOTOR HOMES WHICH SEEM TO SELL ALL YEAR ROUND. I ALSO WANT TO LOOK FOR PASTURES NEW AS THERE ARE PLENTY AVAILABL IN THIS BEAUTFUL SCOTTISH COUNTRYSIDE.
I HOPE YOU HAVE ENJOYED MY LITTLE JAUNT. YES, I DID NOT DO A LOT, BUT THEN IT WAS NEVER MY INTENTION TO DO SO. I GOT THE PEACE AND TRANQUILITY THAT I WANTED, AT LEAST FOR THE MOST PART, AND THE WEATHER REALLY JUST MADE IT INTO AN ADVENTURE. WHO SAYS WE HAVE TO GROW OLD GRACEFULLY, LOL. LIFE IS JUST TOO SHORT!
UNTIL THE NEXT TIME.....
Thursday, July 18, 2013
BACK HOME AGAIN AND BOY AM I THANKFUL.
OKAY, LET ME BREAK THIS DOWN. THE START OF THE HOLIDAY WAS REALLY GOOD AND I THOUGHT THAT MY FEARS WOULD BE UNFOUNDED. THE FLIGHT WAS EXCELLENT AND WE MET UP WITH MY AUNT AND UNCLE AS ARRANGED. I EVEN CONFOUNDED THEM AS MY COUSINAND HIS WIFE HAVE SOME DOGS, OF WHICH YOU WILL SEE PICTURES LATER, AND ONE OF THEM HAS A HABIT OF SNEAKING UP BEHIND MEN AND BITING THEIR LEGS. WELL, HE CERTAINLY HAD HIS CHANCE BUT WHAT HAPPENED? HE ENDED UP ACTUALLY ON MY LAP! THEY COULD NOT BELIEVE IT, BUT HEY, YOU KNOW WHAT I FEEL ABOUT DOGS AND I GUESS HE COULD SENSE THAT.
UNFORTUNATELY, THE HOLIDAY WENT DOWNHILL FROM THERE AND FROM BEING EMBARRASSED TO BE WITH MUM IN A RESTAURANT TO THE FACT THAT TRISH SEEMED TO THINK THAT SHE WAS THE BOSS, I HAVE TOLD THEM ALL THAT I WOULD GO ON HOLIDAY WITH MARY BUT NEVER AGAIN WITH EITHER OF THE THE OTHERS AND DEFINITELY NOT ALL TOGETHER.
DON'T GET ME WRONG; IT WAS NICE TO SEE FAMILY AND FRIENDS, ALTHOUGH UNFORTUNATELY, OUR TIMING COULD NOT HAVE BEEN WORSE AS WHEN WE WENT TO SOMERSET, OUR FRIEND HAD JUST RECEIVED THE NEWS THAT HER YOUNGER SISTER HAD SUFFERED AN ANNEURISM, AND THE DAY AFTERWARDS SHE WAS DEAD. THE GOOD THING WAS THAT WE MANAGED TO CHEER HER UP A BIT AND GOT HER OUT OF THE HOUSE, FOR WHICH SHE WAS GRATEFUL.
SEEING MY BROTHER WAS REALLY NICE, BUT IT WAS SO SHORT LIVED AS HE DID NOT WANT TO LEAVE HSI WIFE ON HER OWN FOR TOO LONG, SO WE ONLY GOT TO CHAT FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS OVER TWO DAYS.
SO, THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE HOLIDAY FOR ME WERE THE FACT I MANAGED TO GET A DAY AT THE EDEN PROJECT AND TOOK A LOT OF PHOTOGRAPHS, SOME OF WHICH I WILL BE SHOWING YOU. I ALSO BOUGHT MYSELF SOME NEW COOKWARE AS I WAS ENTITLED TO DOUBLE DISCOUNT ON THAT WEEKEND, WHICH MEANT A SAVING OF 20%, AND, AS I SAID, CHATTING WITH MY FRIENDS AND RELATIVES. IN THE END I HAD TO IGNORE MUM AND BLANK HER COMPKLETELY WHEN WE WENT TO EAT AS SHE DID NOT REALLY GO FOR A LOT. I KNOW IT WAS HOT AND, AS YOU ARE PROBABLY AWARE, EVEN THE UK IS IN THE MIDST OF A MINI HEAT WAVE WITH TEMPS GOING ABOVE 30c IN SOME AREAS, SO MUM DID NOT FGEEL LIKE EATING, BUT EVEN TRISH GOT ON TO HER ABOUT IT IN THE END. SUCH A SHAME AS WE FOUND SOME REALLY GOOD EATING PLACES. I CALL THEM THAT BECAUSE WE EVEN FOUND AN AMERICAN STYLE DINER, AND BOY WAS THAT A MISTAKE. ON THE FINAL MORNING WE ORDERED WHAT WE THOUGHT WAS A LIGHT BREAKFAST. I ORDERED A ROLL WITH SAUSAGE, BACON AND EGG. I WAS THINKING OF A NORMAL BREADROLL, WHICH IS NOT THAT BIG AND DOES NOT CONTAIN SO MUCH OF A FILLING. WHEN THIS 'THING' APPEARED IN FRONT OF ME I COULD NOT BELIEVE WHAT I WAS SEEING, AND THERE WAS NO WAY I WAS EVEN GOING TO ATTEMPT TO FINISH IT. THE ROLL ITSELF WAS FOUR TIMES THE SIZE OF A NORMAL ROLL AND CONTAINED 4 SAUSAGES, 4 RASHERS OF BACON AND 2 EGGS! ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS. I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT EXCEPT ON THE US TV SHOW MAN VERSUS FOOD. NEEDLESS TO SAY MOST OF IT GOT RETURNED TO THE KITCHEN, ALTHOUGH THEY DID OFFER TO WRAP IT UP FOR ME TO TAKE HOME. LIKE THE TV SHOW, THIS DINER HAD A CHALLENGE DISH AND WE ASKED IF IT EVER GOT ORDERED. WE WERE TOLD BY THE OWNER THAT IT GOT ORDERED AT LEAST 4 OR 5 TIMES A WEEK BUT THAT SHE HAD ONLY SEEN IT FINISHED ONCE. SEEING WHAT WAS ON IT I AM NOT SURPRISED - 6 SAUSAGES, 6 RASHERS OF BACON, 6 HASH BROWNS, BAKED BEANS, 4 SLICES OF FRIED BREAD WITH 4 FRIED EGGS, MUSHROOMS, TINNED TOMATOES, SIX PIECES OF BLACK PUDDING, FRIED POTATOES AND 4 SLICES OF TOAST AND BUTTER. I ASK, WOULD YOU EVEN ATTEMPT THIS? WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO? DEFINITELY A HEART ATTACK ON A PLATE, BUT THE DINER ITSELF WAS BUSY AS THE LOCAL POLICESUED IT FOR THEIR COFFEE BREAKS AND BREAKFASTS, (THERE WERE 3 CARS IN WHEN WE FIRST TRIED IT).
ANYWAY, ON TO THE PHOTOS. I AM GOING TO SPLIT THEM AS THERE ARE QUITE A FEW TO SHOW YOU.
THE FIRST SET OF PHOTOS IS OF MY COUSIN'S PETS. THERE ARE THE FOUR DONKEYS AND FOUR DOGS, ALTHOUGH YOU WILL SEE FIVE DOGS AS MY AUNT AND UNCLE ALSO HAVE ONE. THE ONE WHO BITES LEGS IS THE DARK HAIRED DOG IN THE FIRST PHOTO AND THE ONE OF THE DOG ON ITS OWN IS MY AUNT AND UNCLE'S DOG, AND WHO IS ALSO THE ALPHA MALE OF THE PACK.
THE NEXT LOT ARE OF THE EDEN PROJECT, OR MORE PRECISELY, THE BITS I WAS ABLE TO SEE. THERE ARE 5 BIOMES ALTOGETHER AND BECAUSE OF TIME CONSTRAINTS WE ONLY GOT TO GO INTO TWO OF THEM AND EVEN THEN ONLY HALF WAY AROUND THE SECOND. THE PLACE IS BUILT IN AN OLD QUARRY WHICH IS REALLY STEEP TO GET DOWN. THE GOOD THING IS THAT THERE IS TRANSPORT TO BRING YOU BACK TO THE TOP AND TAKE YOU TO THE CAR. I AM NOT EVEN GOING TO ATTEMPT TO REMEMBER THE TREES AND PLANTS AS THERE WERE SO MANY. ALL I WILL SAY IS THAT THE MAJORITY WERE TAKEN IN THE FIRST BIOME WHILST IN THE SECOND I SUSPECT THERE WILL BE SOME PLANTS AND TREES THAT YOU WILL RECOGNISE. TO START, THOUGH, I AM GOING TO GO OUT OF SEQUENCE AND SHOW YOU A PHOTO OF A PLANT BED.
IT IS BEFITTING THAT THIS IS OUTSIDE THE CAFE AS EVERY ONE OFTHE PLANTS YOU SEE YOU CAN EAT. UNFORTUNATLEY, I COULD NOT GET A DECENT ENOUGH PICTURE EXPLAINING IT ALL BUT IT WAS FASCINATING TO SEE SOME OF THE COMMON GARDEN PLANTS THAT WE WOULD NEVER DREAM OF USING AS A FOOD SOURCE, AND YET HERE THER WERE ACTUALLY BEING GROWN AND USED IN THE CAFE. I HAD A LOVELY SALAD WHICH CONTAINED MARIGOLD FLOWERS, FOR EXAMPLE. THERE WERE A LOT MORE AS WELL BUT I SIMPLY COULD NOT GET THEM ALL INTO THE ONE SET OF PICTURES AS THEY WENT ON FOR A LONG WAY. THIS IS BESIDES THE FRUITS, VEGETABLES AND COMMON HERBS THAT WERE GROWN. REMEMBER THAT THIS PLACE STARTED OFF AS A RESEARCH PLATFORM INTO BIOSPHERE TECHNOLOGY SO FOR THE MOST PART IS STILL SELF SUSTAINABLE.
SO,TO THE OUTSIDE.
AS YOU WILL NOTE, THIS SERIES IS TAKEN FROM RIGHT TO LEFT AND ALL THE BIOMES ARE INTER-CONNECTED. I FINIFH THIS SET WITH AN UNUSUAL SCULPTURE OF WHAT I CAN ONLY GUESS IS A HORNET. SEE WHAT YOU THINK.
NOW TO THE INSIDE, THE FIRST BIOME OF WHICH SHOWS THE RAIN FOREST FROM VARIOUS PARTS OF THE WORLD. THIS AREA DOES PRODUCE ITS OWN RAINFALL AND THE WATER IS COLLECTED AND RECYCLED. IT ALSO PRODUCES ITS OWN HEAT AS WELL SO ON A DULL DAY THERE ARE ACTUAL CLOUDS IN THE ROOF. THE TEMPERATURE WAS SO HOT THAT THERE IS A ROOFTOP VIEWING PLATFORM WHICH HAD TO BE CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC AS THE METAL WAS TOO HOT TO TOUCH. THE STRANGE THIG IS THAT SOME BRITISH BIRDS HAVE MADE THEIR HOMES IN THE LOWER WOODLANDS AND THERE ARE TROPICAL BUTTERFLIES NOW BEING INTRODUCED. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BIOME THERE IS A HATCHERY AND 18 DIFFERENT BUTTERFLY SPECIES HAVE BEEN PLACED THERE IN PUPAE STAGE SO THAT THEY WILL HATCH NATURALLY INTO THE ENVIRONMENT FROM WHICH THEY CAME FROM. I COULD NOT CAPTURE ALL OF THE PLACE AND THERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF A STORM SHELTER WHICH WOULD BE USED BY THE NATIVES OF THE FOREST AND EVEN AS A TSUNAMI RELIEF HUT. IT WAS IN AMONGST THE TREES AND BRANCHES AND THE PICTURE THAT I TOOK WAS SO DARK YOU COULD NOT SEE WHAT IT WAS. WHAT I WILL SAY IS THAT IT IS TINY, LOW ROOFED, AND HOW A FAMILY COULD LIVE IN ONE IS BEYOND ME. ALSO, THERE IS NOT AN EXAMPLEOF THE TREE ITSELF, BUT I DID GET TO SAMPLE OF A BAOBAB SMOOTHIE, THE SUGAR OF WHICH COMES FROM THE BAOBAB TREE. THIS TREE IS SO BIG THAT WHEN IT DIES, THE CENTRE IS HOLLOWED OUT AND THE TREE IS USED AS A HOUSE. THERE IS ONE THAT IS USED AS A BAR AND THE LARGERST ONE IS USED AS A RAIN SHELTER FOR UP TO FORTY PEOPLE! I HAVE TO SAY THAT THE SMOOTHIE WAS DELICIOUS AND THE BAOBAB SUGAR WAS COMBINED WITH PINAPPLE JUICE AND COCONUT MILK TO MAKE THE DRINK. ANYHOW, ON TO THE PHOTOS.
I INTERRUPT HERE TO MENTION THAT THIS LAST PHOTO SHOWS THE SIZE OF AN AREA WHICH IS BEING DENUDED EVERY HOUR FROM THE FORESTS. IT REALLY MAKES YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE IT UP CLOSE.
WE NOW MOVE INTO THE MORE TEMPERATE CLIMATE.
THE LADY STANDING IN FRONT OF THIS PLANT IS MY COUSIN'S WIFE.
YOU CANNOT SEE THEM UNFORTUNATELY, BUT AT THE END OF THIS ROW IS A BED OF CHILLI PEPPEERS. THESE RANGE IN HEAT FROM 100,000 TO 500,000, (WHICH ARE YOUR HABANEROS). THERE IS ONE THAT STANDS ALONE THOUGH. IT WAS RAISED IN, OF ALL PLACES, DORSET, UK, AND IS THE HOTTEST PEPPER IN THE WORLD COMING IN AT A WHOPPING 1.6MILLION ON THE HEAT SCALE. I HAVE NOT A CLUE HOW YOU WOULD USE THIS ONE!
THIS 'HUT' IS THE EQUIVALENT OF A PORTABLE SHELTER. GO FIGURE! THIS STATUE REPRESENTS A GREEK GOD CALLED DIONYSUS, WHO WAS THE GOD OF RESURRECTION SO FEATURED IN A LOT OF GREEK GARDENS.
I THINK I MAYBE SHOULD HAVE ENTITLED THIS BLOG, 'THE EDEN PROJECT WITH A BIT OF HOLIDAY TAGGED ON', LOL. ACTUALLY I TOOK A LOT MORE BUT HAVE LIMITED WHAT I AM SHOWING TO HOPEFULLY GIVE YOU A TASTER. IF THIS IS ONLY ONE AND A HALF BIOMES, JUST THINK OF WHAT I MISSED OUT ON. I WOULD DEARLY LOVE TO GO BACK AND SEE.
ALL OF THE ABOVE PHOTOS WERE TAKEN ON THE SECOND DAY OF THE HOLIDAY. SUCH WAS THE NATURE OF THE REST OF IT THAT I ONLY MANAGED TO TAKE ONE MORE PICTURE AND THAT WAS ON THE DAY BEFORE WE WERE DUE TO FLY HOME. IT IS OF TRISH WITH MY BROTHER, ALAN, WHO IS 2 YEARS YOUNGER THAN I AM.
I DO HOPE YOU HAVE ENJOYED THE TREK THROUGH THE JUNGLE AND THAT YOU MAY HAVE RECOGNISED SOME OF THE PLANTS FROM THE SECOND SET OF PICTURES. IT IS A FASCINATING PLACE AND THERE IS A WAY TO GET A YEAR TICKET AT THE SAME PRICE OF THE STANDARD DAY TICKET, SO THOSE WHO LIVE CLOSE BY ARE EXCEEDINGLY FORTUNATE.
UNTIL THE NEXT TIME.....
Friday, June 21, 2013
WELL THIS WAS IT. MY FIRST 'CAMPING' TRIP ON MY OWN FOR QUITE A NUMBER OF YEARS AND BOY WAS I LOOKING FORWARD TO IT.
BEFORE I START, AND FYI, THE LOCH NAME IS PRONOUNCED VENAKAR; THE SCOTTISH 'CH' BEING PRONOUNCED TOGETHER.
THE DAY WAS SET FAIR, ALTHOUGH WE HADA COUPLE OF THINGS TO DO ON THE WAY, NOT THE LEAST OF WHCIH WAS VISIT THE FISHING SHOP TO GET MY PERMITS AND SOME BAIT. I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THE SYSTERM INT HE US OR CANADA BUT IT IS VERY STRICT INT HE UK. YOU CAN BE HEAVILY FINED AND YOUR GEAR TAKEN OFF OYU SHOULD YOU NOT HAVE OR REFUSE TO BUY A FISHING PERMIT. ALSO, AS YOU WILL SEE LATER, THERE IS ONLY ONE ROD INT HE WATER. AGAIN, THIS IS A CONDITION PLACED UPON FISHERMEN WHO VISIT THE LOCH. IT IS FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE FISH REALLY AS THE FISHERY HAS TO MANAGE THE FISH AND RESTOCK FROM THEIR RESOURCE CENTRE AS NECESSARY SO THAT THERE ARE FISH AVAILABLE FOR THE START OF EVERY SEASON. THIS ONLY APPLIES TO TROUT AS THERE ARE ALSOP SOME OTHER SPECIES THAT LIVE AND BREED IN THE LOCH AS WELL. TYPICAL COARSE FISHAND TH DREADED PIKE, A REAL PREDATOR. FUNNILY ENOUGH, IT DOESN'T COST YOU ANYTHING FOR COARSEFISHINGEXCEPTTHAT YOU CANNOT TAKE ANY FISH HOMEBUT YOU HAVE TO CATCH AND RELEASE. PIKE, ON THE OTHER HAND, IS ACTUALLY MORE EXPENSIVE TO FISH FOR THAN TROUT AND THERE IS A BAG LIMIT ON HOW MANY YOU CAN TAKE OUT OF THE LOCH. AGAIN, IT ISFOR THESAKE OF MAINTAINUNGTHIS SPECIES SO THAT PEOPLE WHO GO AFTER THIS SORT OF FISH CAN HAVE THEIR SPORT.
ANYHOW, I DIGRESS. WE GOT TO THE TACKLE SHOP AND UNFORTUNATELY, THE OWNER WAS NOT THERE AND HAD ALADYTO OPEN UP FOR HIM. SHE HAD NOT A CLUE AND EVENTUALLY SHE RANG THE OWNERTOG ETHIM TO COME IN. THE DELAY WAS BECAUSE I WANTED A TIMED PERMIT AS I WAS NOT GOINGTO GET TO THE LOCH BEFORE THE AFTERNOON.
THE LOCH ITSELF IS NOT THAT FAR FROM LOCH KATRINE, AND I HAVE SHOWN YOU THAT ON A PREVIOUS BLOG. ALL AROUND THAT AREA THERE IS A SERIES OF LOCHS, BUT UNFORTUNATELY, MOST OF THE ARE FLY FISHING ONLY, ALTHOUGH THEY WOULD MAKE IDEAL CAMPING RESTS. I HAVE NEVER LEARNT TO FLY FISH, SO UNTIL I DO THESE ARE OUT.
WE GOT TO THE LOCH IN GLORIOUS SUNSHINE AND MARY AND TRISH HELPED ME UNLOAD AND GET MY STUFF ONTO THE SHORELINE. ON THE WAY IN WE HAD CALLED AT THE FISHERY AND I HAD SHOWN MY PERMITS AND ASKED WHERE I COULD CAMP. I DULY TOOK THE ADVICE GIVEN AND SUBSEQUENTLY REGRETTED IT, ALTHOUGH IT WAS NOT THE FAULT OF THE LAD INT HE FISHERY SHOP BUT MARY WAS REFUSING TO GO TO THEOTHER SIDE FOR ME.
WELL, IT TOOK ME OVER AN HOUR JUST TO GET THE TENT ERECTED BECAUSE I HAD TO SPEND A LARGE PROPORTION OF THE TIME DIGGING STONES AND PEBBLES OUT OF THE GROUND SO THAT I COULD GET MY TENT PEGS IN. I AM GOING TO HAVE TO BUY SOME NEW PEGS AS I MANAGED TO BENDA FEW IN THE PROCESS OF ANCHORING THE TENT. I WAS REALLYSWEATY BY THE TIME I HAD FINISHED, I CAN TELL YOU, SO I WAS NOT EXACTLY BOTHEREDABOUT PUTTING EVERYTHING INSIDE NEATLY. I DID THAT LATER ON AFTER I AHD EATEN SOME FOOD AND COOLED DOWN.
AFTER LUNCH I DECIDED THAT BEFORE I GOTMY LINE WET I OWULD SORT THE TENT OUT PROPERLY, AND THAT INCLUDED INFLATING THE MATTRESS AND PILLOWS. NOT HAVING THE LUXURY OF AN ELECTRIC PUMP IT WAS TO PROVE A REAL WORKOUT IN ITS OWN RIGHT. ELECTRIC PUMPS REQUITE YOU TO HAVE THE USE OF A CAR BATTERY ORTO HAVE THE CAR ON SITE ANDUSE THE ON BOARD CIGARETTE LIGHTEER, (WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN NO GOOD IN OUOR CASE BECAUSE OUR CAR DOES NOT HAVE ONE). THE PILLOWS WERE THE EASY BIT BUT THE MATTRESS WAS ANOTHER SWEATY EXERCISE. IF EVER YOU WANT TO WORK OUT WITHOUT MOVING FROM YOUR CHAIRTHEN THIS IS SURELY AN IDEAL WAY OF DOING IT!!! BECAUSE THE WEATEHR WAS SO GOOD I WAS NOT GOING TO TRY THIS INSIDE THE RTENT AS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN SO HOT, SO I DID IT OUTSIDE. NOT SURE IF IT WAS THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS, LOL.
EVENTUALLY, EVERYTHING WAS SORTED OUT AND I WAS ABLE TO RELAX. I COULD FINALLY GET MY RODS SORTED OUT. I WAS INTENDING TO SUE TWO RODS, ALTHOUGH NOT AT THE SAME TIME. THE ONE YOU SEE IN THE PICTURE IS THE LONGER OF THE RODS AND I USE THIS FOR LONG CASTING. I HAVE A COUPLE OF SHORTER ONES WHICH WILL CAST OUT TO AROUND 20 FEET OR SO AND ARE IDEAL FOR CLOSE SHORE FISHING. AS IT TURNED OUT, I WAS ONLY ABLE TO USE A WEIGHT AND NOT A FLOAT. I HAD INTENDED TO TRY BOTH AT SOME STAGE, BUT SUBSEQUENTLY, THE WATERS BECAMETOO CHOPPY FOR FLOAT FISHING.
AS THE AFTERNOON WORE ON I DISCOVERED THAT THE PLACE I HAD CAMPED WAS QUIT A POPULAR STOPPING OFF POINT FOR PEOPLE TO COME DOWN AND JUST RELAX. SOME WOULD JUST SIT ON THE BENCHES WHILST OTHERS WOULD WALK THE SHORE ANDBEYONE, (THERE IS A HIKING TRAIL ALL AROUND THE LOCH WHICH WOLD PROBABLY TAKE YOU ALL DAY TO DO). THE OPNE THING I WAS PLEASED ABOUT WAS THAT APART FROM THE OCCASIONALY HELLO I WAS BEING LEFT TO MY OWN DEVICES. AT AROUND TEA TIME THINGS STARTED TO QUIETEN DOWN A BIT AND I ONLY HAD THE OCCASIONAL VISITOR. PEACE AT LAST.
I WILL GLOSS OVER THE REST OF THE DAY AS THERE IS NOTHING REALLY TO TELL YOU ABOUT. I SIMPLY CHILLED OUT AND GOT LOST IN MY OWN LITTLE WORLD.
THE FOLLOWING MORNING I WAS UP WITHT HE SUN, OR AT LEAST EARLY ANHOW; LIKE4AM EARLY. I DECIDED THAT THIS WAS A LITTLE TOO EARLY TO BE GETTING UPAND BESISDES, I WAS REALLY COMFORTABLE. THE PREVIOUS EVENING I HAD FILLED A FLASK WITH SOME BOILING WATER SO ALL I HAD TO DO WAS REACH ACROSS AND MAKE MYSELF A CUP OF COFFEE WITHOUT HAVING TO GET OUT OF BED.WISH I COULD DO THIS ALL OF THE TIME, LOL. ACTUALLY, I WAS GLAD OF THE SUN BECAUSE THE TEMPERATURE DROPPED DRAMATICALLY DURING THE NIGHT, AS I DISCOVEREDWHEN HAVING TO GET UP TO GO FOR A WALK. I WAS SHIVERING BY THE TIME I GOT BACK TOT HE TENT AND PUT MY COOKER ON LOW JUST TO HEAT THETENT UP A BITSO THAT I COULD FALL BACK ASLEEP PROPERLY.
ANYHOW, EVENTUALLY I HAD HAD ENOUGH SO I GOT UP AND GOT MY BREAKFAST. I HAVE HAD TO GET INTO THE HABIT OF EATING BREAKFAST STRAIGHT AWAY BECAUSE THE MEDS I AM ON AHVETO BE TAKEN WITH OR JUST AFTER EATING FOOD. I HAVE TRIED TAKING THEM WITHOUT AND IT CREATES A HORRIBLE NAUSEA WHICH DOES NOT GO AWAY QUICK ENOUGH FOR MY LIKING.
FIRST JOB WAS TO GET EVERYTHING SORTED OUT. WASH MY PLATE, TIDY THE AREA AND PUT THE TRASH INTO THE BAG AND MAKE SURE THE COOLBAG WAS DOING ITS JOB. I ALSO SPENT A LITTLE TIME REJIGING THE INSIDE OFTHE TENT SO THAT I HAD MORE ROOM. THIS WAS TO PROVE FORTUITOUSAS YOU WILL HEAR.
AFTER THAT IT WAS TO BOIL SOME MORE WATER FOR THE FLASKS AS IT SAVES TIME MAKING DRINKS IN THE LONG RUN AND I DO NOT AHVE THE TROUBLE OF FIRING UP THE COOKER EVERY TIME I WANT A DRINK. I AM NOT MUCH FOR COLD DRINKS, PREFERRING MY CUP OF DECAF COFFEE OR TEA. THEN IT WAS GET THE TACKLE I WANTED TO SUESORTED OUTAND ONCE AGAIN GET THE LINE WET.
DURING THE DAY I DISCOVERED THAT THIS WAS NOT THE CAMPING SITE I HAD ENVISAGED. I WANTED TO GET AWAY FROM EVERYTHING BUT ONCE AGAIN THE PLACE WAS LIKE A TOURIST TRAP. IGOT A MORNING VISIT FORM THE LAD FROM THE FISHERY AND HE INTRODUCED ME TO HIS DOG. HE DOES THE MORNING VISITS AND BRINGS THEDOG AS IT LOVES GOING IN THE BOAT, WHICH IS THE WAY THE ALDGETSAROUND THE WHOLE LOCH. THE AFTERNOON VISIT WAS DONE BY THE LAD'S FATHER, WHO WASTHE SENIOR GHILLY, (THE PERSON WHO MAINTAINS THE RULES OF THE LOCH AMONGST OTHER DUTIES). HE ASKED ME HOW I WAS GETTING ON AND, TO BE HONEST, IT WAS NOT GOING VERY WELL. HE SAID THAT HE WAS SURE HE HAD A SWIM FEEDER IN HIS TACKLE WHCIH HE DID NOT SUE ANY MORESO I COLD TRY THAT. HE WENT AWAY AND AN HOUR LATER HE WAS TRUE TO HIS WORD AND CAMEBACK WITH THE PIECE OF KIT; EXPLAINED HOW TO USE IT AND HOW TO TACKLE UP, AND THEN SAID THAT I COULD JUST HANG ON TO ITAS IT WAS ONLY GATHERING DUST IN HIS TACKLE. ANOTHER BIT OF KIT GAINED AND FOR NOTHING. FRIENDLY PEOPLE US FISHERMEN, LOL.
THE REST OF THE DAY PASSED BY TOO QUICKLYALTHOUGH I DID GET A VISIT FROM AN ELDERLY CHAP WHO ACTUALLY BELIED HIS AGE. APPARENTLY HE WAS BORN IN ENGLAND BUT HAD EMIGRATED TO AUSTRALIAWHEN HE WAS YOUNGER AND ITHOUGHT HEWASAN AUSSIETHROUGH AND THROUGH. HE WAS OBVIOUSLY COMFORTABLY OFF AS HE WAS TELLING ME THATEVERY AUSSIE WINTER, HE SETS FORTH ON HIS TRAVELS TO WARMER CLIMES, SUCH AS THE UK AND OTHER PARTS OF EUROPE, AND THEN GOES HOME IN TIME FOR THE AUSSIE SUMMER. HE RETIRED AT 55 AND HAS BEEN DOING THIS EVER SINCE. HE IS 70 NOW SO OBVIOUSLY DID WELL FOR HIMSELF AS I COULD NEVER AFFORD TO DO WHAT HE WAS DOING. THE ONLY OTHER VISITORS I HAVE TO MENTION WERE FROM THE USA, AND I MENTION THEM FOR THE WRONG REASONS. I'M AFRAID THEY DID NOT PRTRAY TEH USA IN A VERY GOOD LIGHT. THE DAD AND SON DECIDED TO PLAY AT SKIPPING STONES ACROSS THE WATER. THATW AS FINE UNTIL THE LAD WENT OFF BY HIMSELF AND STARTED TO THROW ROCKS INTO THE LOCH. ANY CHANCE OF FISH INSHORE WAS LONG GONE. NOT JUST THAT BUT HE DID NOT RESPECT MY SPACE AND HIS MUM HAD TO SHOUT HIM AWAY FROM THE FISHING ROD. UNFORTUNATELY, AMERICANS HAVE A REPUTATION FOR BEING BOLD, BRASH AND BRAZEN AND ALSO VERY LOUD. I'M AFRAID THIS FAMILY ONLY CEMENTED THAT PERCEPTION ON THE OTHER PEOPLEWHO WERE JUST THERE TO CHILL OUT. I KNOW THIS NOT TO BE THE CASE OVERALL HAVING WORKED WITH AND MADE FRIENDS WITH QUITE A FEW PEO-PLE FROM THE USA IN THE PAST, BUT SOMEONE WHO HAD NOT GOT MY EXPERIENCE WAS GOING TO THINK DIFFERENTLY. SUCH A SHAME. I AM AFRAID TO SAY THAT I WAS SO PLEASED WHEN THEY LEFT THE AREA AND I WAS NOT THE ONLY ONE! BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT STONES AND STUFF HAD BEEN THROWN INTO THE LOCH THERE WAS NOT MUCH CHANCE OF ANYTHING COMING ANYWHERE NEAR THE AREA SO I REELED IN AND LEFT IT FOR A WHILE BEFORE RECASTING.
THE EVENING WENT PRETTY MUCH THE SAME AS THE PREVIOUS ONE. I HAD BROUGHT A BOOK TO READ AND ALSO A CROSSWORD PUZZLE BOOK TOCOMPLETE. I DID THE PUZZLEBOOK DURING THE DAY AND READ THE BOOK AT NIGHT. I AM NOW UP TO DATE WITH EVERYTHING DAN BROWN HAS EVER WRITTEN, LOL. THE ONE DIFFERENCE WEDNESDAY EVENING WAS THAT ANOTHER COUPLE OF BLOKES PITCHED A TENT JUST DOWN FROM ME AND THEY WERE REALLY NICE. IN FACT ONE OF THEM NOTICED THAT I DID NOT HAVE A CAR PARKEDAND CAME ACROSS TO MAKE SURE I WAS OK AND THAT I HAD ENOUGH WATER ETC. HE OFFERED TO GO TO THE CAFE IF NEEDS BE TO REPLENISH ME, BUT I WAS ABLE TO TELL HIM THANKS BUT IWAS ALRIGHT. WE CHATTED FOR A WHILE AND I TOLD HIM THAT, APART FROM TIDDLERS, THERE WAS NOTHING DOING TROUT WISE, EVEN ON THE BOATS. I DID MENTION THAT PIKE WERE BEING CAUGHT AND H SAID HE WOULD TRY THAT AS HE HAD HIS PIKE TACKLE WITH HIM. WE WISHED EACH OTHER TIGHT LINES AND THEN I WAS LEFT ALONE. AS I SAID, THE FISHING COMMUNITY IOS JUST SO FRIENDLY AND WILL HELP ANYONE WITHOUT THINKING. SUCH A NICE GROUP OF PEOPLE TO BE WITH, AT LEAST FOR THE MOST PART.
THURSDAY MORNING WAS NOT GOOD. THE ONE PIECE OF EQUIPMENT I HAVE YET TO BUY IS A FISHING UMBRELLA, AND SO I ONLY HADA SMALL COLLAPSIBLE ONE. YOU'VE GUESSED IT, WE HAD RAIN. THER WAS NO WAY I WAS GOING TO GET WET AND SINCE I WOULD NOT HAVE A FULL DAY ANYWAY, I DECIDED NOT TO BOTHER WITH THE FISHING. I HAD NOT HAD MUCH JOY ANYHOW AND APART FOR A COUPLE OF SMALL ONES WHICH I AHD TO PUT BACK IT WAS A BUST, (NOT THAT IW AS CARING, OF COURSE).
THIS IS WHERE THE EXTRA ROOM I HAD CREATED CAME IN HANDY. I PULLED THE CHAIR INSIDE AND COULD SIT AND GET STUFF OUT AWAYWHILST I RODE OUT THE WEATHER. I HAD SOME COLD MEAT ROLLS FOR BREAKFAST, MEAT WHICH I HAD COOKED ON A DISPOPSABLE BBQ THE NIGHT BEFORE AFTER I HAD USED IT TO COOK MY SUPPER. (I MAY BE 'ROUGHING' IT BUT I SO NOT SKIMP ON FEEDING MYSELF, LOL)
FORTUNATELY, THE RAIN ABATED IN TIME FOR THE TENT TO DRY OUT BEFORE PACKING. THE SUN CAME OUT AGAIN AND ALL WAS WELL. I PHONED MARY TO SEE IF SHE WOULD COLLECT ME EARLY AND THIS SHE DID. I SUGGESTED GOING TO THE CAFE FOR LUNCH, BUT THAT WAS A NON STARTER AS MOSTLY THE MENU COMPRISED FISH WHICH IS A FOOD THAT TRISH WILL NOT EAT. INSTEAD WE DROVEAFEW MILES AND WENT TO A HARVESTERAND I TOLD OY ABOUT THAT IN MY POST YESTERDAY.
ALL IN ALL IT WAS A LOVELY TIME. OKAY, THE FISH WEEREN'T BITING AND THEREWERE TOO MANY VISITORS, BUT I DIDMEET SOME LOVELY PEOPLE ASA RESULT AND WILL BE GOING BACK AT SOME STAGE, ALBEIT ONTHE OTHER SIDE OF THE LOCH WHICH IS APPARENTLY A LOT QUIETER AND HAS GROUND THAT DOESN'T BEND TENT PEGS.
WHER ARE THE PHOTOS? (I HEAR YOU ASK). THERE ARE NOT MANY ASREALLY THE AREA IS SO ENCLOSED SO NOT MUCH TO TAKE. WHAT I DID WAS TO START OFF WHERE I WAS CAMPED AND GO FULL CIRCLE AROUND THE LOCH SO THAT YOU CAN HOPEFULLY GET A SENSE OF THE BEAUTY OF THE PLACE. PLEASE EBAR IN MIUND THAT YOU ARE NOT SEEING THE FULL EXTENT OF THE LOCH. IT IS NOT A STRAIGHT BODY OF WATER AND BESIDES, MY LENS DOES NOT EXTEND TO THE FULL DISTANCE. NEXT TIME I WILL BE ABLE TO SHOW YOU MORE AS THERE IS A WHOLE DIFFERENT VISTA TO PLAY IN.
AND LASTLY, MY HOME FROM HOME
HOPE YOU ENJOYED MY LITTLE JAUNT. 'BYE FOR NOW.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
I WILL BE QUITYE BRIEF IN MY WORDS AS I THINK MY PHOTOS WILL TELL THE STORY FAR BETTER THAN I COULD.
THE DAY STARTED OFF WITH US WONDERING IF THE TRANSPORT WOULD TURN UP. APPRENTLY, THE CHAPWHO WAS ORIGINALLY BOOKED GOT HIS DATS MIXED UP AND TURNED UYP TH DAY BEFORE. WHEN HE PHONED OUR SECRETARY TO SAY THAT NOBODY HAD TURNED UP SHE WAS NOTSURPRISED AND TOLD HIM THAT HE HAD GOT THE WRONG DATE. FORTUNATELYHE WAS ABLE TO SEE THE FUNNY SIDE OF IT AND ARRANGED FOR ANOTHER COMPANY TO PROVIDE A MINIBUS FOR US FOR THE SAME PRICE.
SO, AT 12 NOON WE ALL TROOPED ON BOARD AND WENT FOR A SUPERB LUNCH AT A PUB THAT WAS, UNTIL NOT LONG AGO, A PLACE TO BE AVOIDED FOR FOOD. A YOUNG COUPLE HAVE TAKEN OT OVER, THOUGH, AND I CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT THE TRANSFORMATION HAS BEEN AMAZING. THE FOOD WAS EXCELLENT BUT THEY NED TO CUT DOWN THEIR PORTION SIZES A BIT. NOT EVERYONE WAS ABLE TO CLEAR THEIR PLATES AND ONLY A FEW WERE ABLE TO PLOUGH THEIR WAY THROUGH ALL THREE COURSES. I WASN'T ONE OF THEMBUT I THINK I CAN PUT THAT DOWN TO ME HAVING SOUP AS A STARTER, SOMETHING I HAVE GOT INTO THE HABIT OF LATELY AS THE DESSERTS WOULD BE SO TEMPTING TO FORCE DOWN OTHERWISE.
THE COST PER HEAD HAD TO BE RAISED FOR THE BUS AS WELL, AND THAT WAS NOT GOOD AS I HAD TO ASK EVERYONE FOR EXTRA MONEY, SO IT MADE FOR AN EXPENSIVE DAY OUT IN THE END. THERE WERE SPACES LIGHT ON BOARD SO WE HAD TO COVER THOSE. NEXT TIME I AM GOING TO GET ALL THE MONEY PAID IN ADVANCE SO THAT THE COST IS COVERED COMPLETELY, AND THEN IF PEOPLE DO NOT TURN UP IT IS THEIR MONEY THEY HAVE WASTED. THERE WILL BE A NEXT TIME AS THE GROUP HAVE ALREADY AGREED THAT WE WOULD GO BACK TO THE SAME PLACE BUT GO DOWN THE CANAL IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION. APPARENTLY, THERE IS MORE TO SEE THAT WAY.
ALL IN ALL THE DAY WAS A SUCCESS. EVERYONE WAS THOROUGHLY RELAXED AND REALLY ENJOYED THEMSELVES, AND THANKS TO THE WEATHER BEING SO GOOD IT WAS A CASE OF US BEING ABLE TO SIT OUTSIDE THE CABIN AND SOAK UP THE AMBIENCE.
THERE IS NOT MUCH IN THE WAY TO SEE IN THE PHOTOS EXCEPT FOR THE CANAL COUNTRYSIDE AND SOME BRIDGES. THERE ARE A COUPLE OPF PHOTOS THAT I HOPE ENCAPSULATE THE DAY THOUGH. THERE IS ONE THAT SHOWS THE VIEW OF THE PILOT AND ANOTHER THAT KEN TOOK AS AN ARTY TYPE PHOTO USING A BRIDGE AS THE FRAME, BUT WHICH CAME OUT REALLY WELL. LASTLY, THERE IS ONE FROM ME WHERE I MANAGED TO CAPTURE THE PERFECT SUNSPOT ON THE WATER WHICH WILL TELL YOU HOW GOOD THE WEATHER WAS.
LASTLY, THE WHITE DUCKS YOU SEE IN ONE OF THE PHOTOS ARE THE MOST AGGRESSIVE DUCKS I HAVE EVER COME ACROSS. THE POOR MALLARD SWERE CONSTANTLY BEING BADGERED BY THEM AND ONLY WHEN THEY SETTLED DOWN, AS IN THE PHOTO, DID THEY GET PEACE.
THE PHOTOS ARE IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER GOING TOWARDS EDINBURGH. WE WERE SPLIT INTO TWO BOATS AND THE FIRST PHOTO IS OF THE OTHER GROUP. OUR GROUP WAS TAKEN UNAWARES, AS YOU WILL SEE WHEN I TOOK THEIR PHOTO LATER.
(THIS IS THE VIEW THAT THE PILOT HAS. JUST A SLIT ONLY AND AT THE BACK END OF THE BOAT AS WELL).
(THE SUNSPOT ON THE WATER. LOOKS LIKE SOMETHING FROM SPACE DOESN'T IT?). THE RAILS YOU CAN SEE THROUGH THE SECOND BRISGE ARE ON THE SIDE OF AN AQUEDUCT CALLED THE JOHN SCOTT RUSSELL AQUEDUCT. JOHN SCOTT RUSSELL EXPERIMENTED BY SENDING A WAVE DOWN A STRAIGHT STRETCH OF THE CANAL TO SEE HOW LONG IT WOULD LAST UNTIL IT DIES OUT. THIS BECAME KNOWN AS THE SOLITON, OR SOLITARY WAVE, AND NOW FORMS THE TECHNOLOGY THAT IS USED IN FIBRE OPTICS TODAY.
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST... THE WHOLE GROUP TOGETHER.
OBVIOUSLY THESE ARE NOT ALL OF THE PHOTOS. I ACTUALLY TOOK OVER 50. I DO HOPE, THOUGH, THAT THIS SMALL SAMPLE WILL GIVE YOU SOME IDEA OF THE PEACEFUL AND SERENE BEAUTY OF THE THE DAY AND JUST WHAT A CALMING AND RELAXING DAY OUT IT WAS FOR ALL OF US.
Monday, May 06, 2013
What a good couple of days.
We set out meandering our way to Moffat knowing that we have plenty of time and it was nice that it was just Mary and I for a change. I was not going to worry about what was going on at home or whether Mum was eating properly. I wasgoing to enjoy the company of my wife and relax.
We duly arrived and from the moment we got there we knew it was going to be special. The hotel was situated in a quiet cul-de-sac and it was definitely the old upper class part of the village as the houses were huge and dated back to Georgian times, so they would have been for the gentry or at worst, the upper middle classes. You will see what I mean as here is a photo of the front of the place.
However, I get ahead of myself. The first thing I had to do was to say a big thank you the our host as she had arranged for the the flowers and chocolates I had requested to be on the dresser. Mary's face wasa picture and that was worth everything for me.
Although you cannot reall y tell, therewere 12 carnations altogether and the florist did a really good job by packing them in gel so that they would last until we got home and could put them in a vase.
The back garden is the one piece of the place I would not like to get involved with. The next photo will show you why. In order to mow the bank, the man of the house uses a hover mower on a piece of strong rope and lets it down to the bottom and hauls it back up again. it wasquite a novel thing to see!
During the afternoon we went into Moffat itself and got ourselves a meal as we were not going to eat until the evening so needed something to tide us over. After that it was browsing time and the first thng wenoticed was thatthe Edinburgh woollen Mill shop had a sale on. Now that is like a red rag to a bull, as you will undoubtedly know, and so we must have spent the next hour or so in the shop and it was my turn to buy today. I came away with a couple of really nice jumpers and for less than half price. Little did I know that this was to be the start of a go mad spree.
We sauntered up the village for a little while longer, but finally decidedto head back to the hotel for a rest before our dinner. As it turned out, Mary was so relaxed by now that she actually fell asleep, lol. I went to investigate the lounge and it was so serene with a lovely view out of the bay window.
Naturally we dressed for dinner, which is not something we do often, but it was to be special so we went the whole hog. I have got the menu we were given and all I can say is that food was absolutely divine. It was something that we do not have as a rule and Mary tasted things that she hadnever tried before, and enjoyed them. She will probably never try them again, but the whole experience was a delight.
baby goat’s cheese, chargrilled red pepper, marinated aubergine and vine tomato
with sherry vinaigrette, toasted focaccia
Provencal smoked haddock brandade, black olive tapenade crostini, Moffat leeks
wild garlic soup, crème fraiche
duck breast, salad of pink grapefruit and mint, sesame oil dressing
fillet of Glencaple sea trout, risotto of broad beans and dill; fennel and mangetout
roast chicken breast stuffed with black pudding and bacon, cream of celeriac and truffle oil mashed potatoes, Moffat chard, thyme sauce
roast chump of Cumbrian lamb with chorizo, casserole of green Puy lentils, chargrilled courgette and salsa verde
lemon vanilla panna cotta, poached pear, almond shortbread
salted caramel chocolate brownie, brown bread ice cream
rhubarb pavlova, lemon curd ice cream
a selection of cheeses, chutney and biscuits (£3 supplement)
homemade ice cream or sorbet
I did say to Mary at the end of the meal that I could definitely get used to this, lol. Although it looks it, the menu was not heavy on the tummy, although the portions were spot on, and both Mary and I were completely satiated. Needless to say we both went upstairs to ourroom feeling very contented.
So, after a great night's sleep. the first in a while for both of us, we got up bright and breezy ready for breakfast and for me to discover what Mary wanted to do for the day. Because we know the village so well Mary decided not to spend the day there but to drive outto a place called Gretna, which is quite near to the famous village of Gretna Green where couples who eloped got married over the blacksmith's anvil, as blacksmiths were allowed to perform wedding ceremonies in Scotland at one time. even today, ceremonial marriages are held over the same anvil and performed by the blacksmith, but of course are not legal marriages any longer.
I was puzzledas to why Mary would want to undertakewhat would be an hour's drive but she said there was a retail park she wanted to have a look at. Here we go, I thought. I have tried to give you a get away break and you want to go shopping! What I did not realise is that thisis one of several simialr places that get in good quality and sometimes designer goods, but sell them at proces you would not believe. Once we got there we found we were early, but luckily there was a Costa Coffee place open, so we went fora drink whilst we waited. Now whether by coincidence or design or what, but almost opposite the cafe was a cookware shop; one of a chain that Mary had used before to buy me things for the kitchen. Now I started to get a little more enthuisiasm for the place, lol. They do not sell rubbish either and all of their saucepans even come with a 25 year guarantee. So, naturally, I was drawn inside as I was in need of a couple of things to replace items I had been forced to get rid of because of long term wear and tear. The lady behind the counter was so helpful and got me exactly what I wanted and again, I came out with some bargains which would have cost at least twice as much elsewhere. Other than that we visited a Cadbury's sweet shop where Mary bought some chocolates and stuff for the grandkids, and we spent some time in a discount book shop where I bought some books which I knew Mum would read. Mary also got some bits and pieces whcih will be stored as gifts for a future occasion as it also sold other bits and pieces suitable for children.
The park was not that big so we were able to get through it quite quickly, but it was still around noon when we left. Neither of us felt hungry aswe had deliberately had a good breakfast, so Mary suggested we tried to go back via another but more scenie route. That was fine by me, although it was to take longer than we imagined to et back in the end.
We set off and pulled off the motorway and into the countryside, and basically headed in the general direction of north. After a short drive we came across a place that you will have heard of but for the wrong reasons. . On the surface, just another town. However, this is a place where in 1988 Pan Am flight 103 was brought down so tragically. This is Lockerbie. Although you would never think it to pass through or even spend an hour o so there, the people of Lockerbie still remember and it was unfortunate for us that the memorial garden that has been created in memory of this tragedy was closed.
From there we were not sure which way to go and so basically flipped a coin. Unfortunately, the coin came down on the wrong siude and itsoon realised that we were heading back south once more.This time, however, we hadno choice but to follow the road as there were no turn offs or villages that enabled us to go in the direction we needed to. still, the day wasn't so bad, and we werenot pressed for time, so we just sat back and enjoyd the ride. We ended up in Dumfries as Mary wanted to see what the town centre was like. We nearly got lost there as it is full of one way systems and it took us to get out of the place. Neither of us feltas if wewould be going back there again.
in the end we spent most of the rst of the day on the road and did not get back to Moffat until around 3pm. By this time I was thirsty and a little p[eckish so we went to the Moffat woollen Mill shop cafe fora snack. Well, i am afraid to say that the highlight was the tea and coffee. we opted for what we call a high tea, but what wegot was nothing like and we left really disappointed, although Mary did get ehrself a change purse at the shop itself and also boughta couple of tops.
Knowing that time was egtting on I decidef to go and have a decent cup of coffee in the cafe we normally use whilst it was Maary's turn to visit theedinburgh Woollen Mill shop. We had arranged to meet at thecafe, but Mary did not come in or else she would have seen me as I was otherwise engaged when she got there. So, she went looking fo me at the gardenc entree as she knew I did want to pop in. I had not been there yet so she wandered up abnd down until I finally had to leave the cafeandwe met up. I still had the garden entre to go to and just made it as they were cashing up for the day. Luckily I knew what I antedas it is the one place I can get my natural extracts from which I use in my baking. This trip was not for plant or seed buying. Mary had also been successful at the Mill shop and had bought herself a couple of really nice cardigans.
Since we had dined so well the evening previous, we did not want to do it again, so we simply went and had dinner at a place we have used in the past. Whilst the food was tasty enough it was like chalk and cheese, and we could not help but compare the two meals.
Unfortunately, we were not going to have time to spend in town the following morning as along the way Mary had picked up a slow puncture, so we needed to get home and get the car into a garage. There was not one in Moffat and the nearest meant a trip south again. Fortunately, it was a really slow puncture, butwewere not prepared for the findings of the garage. It transpired that three of her tyres needed to be changed, which was going to be expensive and something definitely not budgeted for. However, we had to get the new tyres astheonesthat Mary had on the car were quite worn. Still, at least I know she is a lot safer now.
So, apart from the tyres, the trip was asuccess and we have found a bolt hole which, although a bit more expensive, is well worth going back to in the future should we ever find the need to get away from it all. Oh, and I only used my wheelchair once during the whole trip. I was able, for the first time, to walk the rest using my walker, and without penalty. Needless to say I was pretty pleased with myself for that.
Hopefully I have managed to convey the essence of the trip for you and just why it is that we delight in going back to this place time and again, as there are always new delights to discover.
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