The most pressing thing I needed to do today was banking. I’d not had any mobile signal on my phone the whole time we were at the cottage, and whenever we ventured into civilisation, such as Sedbergh, Kendal or the Lake District, we just hadn’t stopped long enough in any one place to do anything about it and take advantage. So today I wanted to go somewhere that I could sit quietly and check things online.
As it was our last full day we decided against a picnic and chose instead to eat out. We drove over the top, past Dent Station, through where we’d seen wheatears, pipits and grouse, and stopped to take a few more pictures. By the time we reached the Spar at Sedbergh it was already midday (again!). I did what I had to while sitting in the car park and then we bought some provisions and a packed lunch from the supermarket.
Last time we were in Dent, in August last year, we drove to Bassenthwaite in the northern Lake District to see the ospreys. The pair had successfully reared 2 young and the adult female had already flown away, leaving the adult male to teach the youngsters – a male and a female – how to hunt.
When we got there this year, we learned that another pair had successfully mated – the adult female who was here the year before last and the adult male brother of the adult male who was here last year – having 3 chicks, of which 2 survived. The family were still altogether and one of the adults could be seen on a favourite perch above the nest. But it was too warm and hazy to take pictures and there wasn’t much activity.
We stayed until almost five o’clock, when the volunteers were packing up to go, and then we set off back.
As it was our last evening, the poet wanted a bit of a scenic drive back to the cottage, so I took him via Thirlmere, Grasmere and Ambleside to the Kirkstone Pass, which we went up rather than down.
Shortly after joining the top road above Windermere we were once again held up by sheep changing fields. Lots of sheep that stopped the traffic both ways. It was nice to watch the 5 dogs working the animals so successfully and cleverly, even nipping up the banks and along the dry-stone walls to keep runaways in check.
We’d eaten quite late in the day and didn’t feel much like food when we got in, so we grabbed a snack, packed a few things, watched some telly, and had an early night as we had to be up early the next morning.
An early start today as we were off to climb Hallin Fell at Ullswater in the Lake District. I’d tried to climb this the last time I stayed in the Lake District, but I took a wrong path and didn’t think I could scramble up the last bit it was so sheer. And I don’t generally do big hills anyway, but I wanted to do Hallin Fell.
By the time we’d made a picnic, got ready and drove there – via the fast route along a really pretty section of the M6 – it was already midday. And the hottest day of the year so far, apparently.
We would have normally caught the Ullswater Steamer from Glenridding to Howtown. But because it was already quite late, and already very hot (and with no shelter up there), we thought it might be better to drive up to Martindale and climb the rest of the hill from there. Hopefully we’d get back to Pooley Bridge in time to catch the last round trip around the lake at 3:20pm. So I directed the poet back around the lake, through Pooley Bridge and up the zig-zag alpinesque narrow lane to the church at Martindale.
I’d put sun cream on and we donned our sunhats and sunglasses, and off we went, with the dog pulling me up the hard bits on his lead by one hand and the boyfriend pulling me up by the other. (They both must love me very much.) I have to say that had the poet not been more than prepared to stop every ten paces or so to give me a breather, we might not have made it up to the top this time either. And he made me do that final scramble up the sheer face of the fell too. But we did it.
Ian added a stone to the cairn on the top for the both of us, we caught our breath, took some photographs, and had our picnic – the dog too. We were both very proud that I’d made it this time and he was quite proud of his motivational skills.
At the top of Hallin Fell I finally had a signal on my mobile phone, so we took the selfie and posted it to FB before the signal went again. We also tried to call my parents, but they were having a heatwave too and had gone out.
Then it was time to head back down Hallin Fell to the car, and then drive back down to Pooley Bridge to catch the steamer. But while it was much quicker going downhill, by the time we’d parked up and walked along the road to the pier it was already 3:20pm and we were too late … but the girl in the office radioed the boat, and they held the departure for us.
Rufus wasn’t very sure about his first ever boat ride, but he soon settled and just needed to get used to so many people, and so many little people, all in one place. And then there were two other dogs on board as well.
Our first stop was at Howtown, where a couple of people got off and a few people got on. Our next stop was Glenridding, where we were able to leave the boat for a few minutes, have something to eat and drink, and use the facilities. Then it was back at 4:45pm to catch the boat back the way we had come. Going, we had to sit indoors and it was a bit warm and stuffy. Coming back we were outside, at the front of the boat, in glorious sunshine, but we could also enjoy a breeze while we added to our ever-growing photo collection.
We arrived back at Pooley Bridge at 5:45pm and we arrived back at the cottage an hour later.
The poet cooked us chicken breasts stuffed with sausage meat and cheese for tea, and we settled down to await the forecast thunderstorm. Yesterday the poet had drawn two of the birds we’ve seen, a wheatear and a meadow pipit. This evening he drew another, a stonechat, while tea cooked.
We decided to have a bit of a lazy day today, which was just as well as it rained for much of it.
First job was to contact the poet’s dad to wish him a happy birthday, but he was out when we called and we didn’t know when we’d have a half-decent signal again. So we left a message just in case.
The day had started with a bit of a lie in, then we drove up to where we’d seen the wheatears so we could take pictures. They were a little elusive but the poet did snap some meadow pipits. We drove up and down three times and parked up a few times, but we couldn’t get those wheatears. He did get a red grouse, though, and spent quite some time getting photographs of that. Quite a scoop, we thought, until we drove into a bit of a dip – and there was a small flock of them, probably a large clutch.
We drove into Sedbergh to top up supplies and then headed out to Settle so we could have lunch at Ye Olde Naked Man Café. I had a gammon, cheese and pineapple baguette melt while he had two Yorkshire puddings with Cumberland sausages, gravy, apple sauce and sage and onion stuffing. Then we really pushed the boat out and had a cream tea – fruit scones with jam and fresh cream and a lovely pot of tea each.
It was quite late by the time we got back and we didn’t feel like eating much else, so we watched the drizzle some more before watching The Woman In Black on a very pixelating television, we think caused by the inclement weather. We also managed to reach the poet’s dad and wish him that happy birthday before turning in.
After a relatively early night (apx 11pm …) we were disturbed by the dog barking at nothing, the poet’s throat spreading to his sinuses and a young man coming into “our” garden to take the wheelie bin out for the dustmen. Rufus didn’t like the man coming into the garden, and he didn’t like the dustmen much either.
We had breakfast (cereal and toast with juice and tea) and made a picnic (ham sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, apples, bananas, cherry cake and malt loaf …).
And then we drove up to the highest mainline railway station in England – Dent Station. It’s miles away from Dent, or even anywhere. But it does overlook beautiful Dentdale and it is surrounded by beautiful countryside. The old station house has been beautifully restored but is now a holiday home that can be rented for a snip at £750 per week (apx $1,275). But if that’s a little steep, the snow hut just down the track can be rented for £350 a week (apx $600).
We hung around to take some photographs before jumping in the car and heading over to nearby Garsdale Station … which also isn’t anywhere near anywhere, let alone Garsdale …
We drove along a single-track road over the top of the dales where we spotted several birds – pipits and warblers mostly. One nice little spot was a wheatear, several in fact, who had lots of fun flying just out of photo-range and landing on fence posts in front of us. We also saw a shepherd with his dog working their sheep, with 3 transportation boxes waiting for them.
After driving through Garsdale, we arrived at Hawes, where it was market day and very busy. We parked up at the Dales Museum while we did a little shopping, and we made use of the facilities and changed into our walking boots.
We set off UP THE HILL to Hardraw, a very tiny village with just the one pub. However, if you walk into the Green Dragon pub and pay what is billed as a “small” toll (£2.50 each, apx $4.25), you can continue on into the gardens and onto a small campsite. If you walk just a little bit further, you can visit the highest waterfall in England, Hardraw Force.
What a hidden gem. We took some more photographs and had most of our picnic. I checked emails. The poet painted – he really is a man of many talents. We had a lovely little break and the weather stayed fine despite rain being forecast.
When it started to look a little black (“ovver Bill’s mother’s”, as they say around here), we continued on to the next stage of our walk, which was up ANOTHER HILL to the next village, Sedbusk, via several fields filled with loads of sheep.
Sedbusk is another lovely little dales village. The public footpath emerges right next to someone’s house, and they had left a bowl of water out for any passing dogs. We had a chat with the lady who lives there, while the dog had a big drink, and then we headed DOWNHILL (hurrah!), through many more fields of sheep, and landed back in Hawes.
While we were out we saw lots of birds – blackbirds, swallows, sand martins, mistle thrushes, stonechats – as well as 2 fighter jets and 2 military helicopters. We drove back over the top of the dales so we could see the wheatears again, and still the promised rain didn’t come.
We were all very tired when we got back, even the dog fell fast asleep, and while we uploaded the pictures taken so far to the laptop, and I labelled them, the poet also cooked tea – bacon, eggs, sausages and (for him) tomatoes.
Since we got here we’d had very limited internet connection and mostly non-existent. But after tea we tried again and Ian, at least, managed to limp through to Facebook to add a status update. By this time, though, it was already 10pm and we were also watching a Sandra Bullock film on one of our 7 TV channels. But we called it a night and turned in.
We both had a much better night with all of the animals settling down and the poet feeling a little better with the drugs kicking in – all over-the-counter. Breakfast today was just 2 courses – cereal followed by toast – with fruit juice for me and tea for both of us.
Sunday may have been spent in Cumbria, and we may not have left Yorkshire for our actual holiday home, but today, on Monday, the poet said he felt like a trip to the seaside (or “coast” as they say up here), and as Morecambe is the closest, we spent today over the other border – and in enemy territory – in Lancashire.
We had a lovely ride over along the western edge of the Yorkshire Dales, down to Kirkby Lonsdale. We stopped off to take some photographs and decided it might be nice to come here for a walk and a picnic beside the bubbling river – weather permitting – later in the week. We watched a shepherd herd his sheep from one side of the dale to another, and were quite surprised when a road hog in a Land Rover overtook us as we waited for the sheep and he almost ran some of the sheep off the road. We thought perhaps he lived there and was a local who knew the road and, quite possibly, the sheep and the farmer. We were still surprised, though, and would have been slammed if we’d done it.
From Kirkby Lonsdale we turned south-west and headed to Morecambe Bay, an area of special scientific interest due to the number of seabirds that migrate there every year. I love Morecambe Bay. I’ve had a holiday there and I went back and interviewed the Sandwalker of Morecambe Bay for an article I sold several times. It was nice to visit with the poet, who thought the sea, which was in, looked like “very thin mud”. Well, he is a Yorkshireman.
We both had our pictures taken with the very famous statue of comedy legend Eric Morecambe, and so did the dog. The weather stayed dry for our walk along the esplanade, and we were able to take more pictures and enjoy a fish and chip lunch – although we both had sausages instead of fish – with pop and followed by freshly fried and sugared doughnuts. We bought a jar of assorted rock and a bag of chocolate-coated honeycomb pieces before making our way back to the cottage via the same route, almost, in rain that was actually very low cloud.
We learned that the river in Lancaster is called the Lune, which is the old name for Lancashire. My Yorkshireman was very happy with that. (With apologies to all of my Lancashire buddies …) That meant the old, and therefore real, name for Lancaster would be Lunecaster and the old, and therefore real, name for Lancashire would be Lunecashire, which meant it was a county of Lune-ies … Yes, he was very happy. That made his day.
It was a bit chilly, so first job as soon as we got back was to build the fire – or the poet did. And then he made us some pasta in a cheese sauce with salad for our tea. He really is very well-trained.
Both cats seemed happy today to wander around at will. Domino had already tried to go outside, which is something she doesn’t even try to do at home. Holly had looked out of every single window, without trying to escape – so far. And Rufus … well, Rufus just acted as though he lived there and wanted to play ball. The. Whole. Time.
After tea we settled down in front of the fire and alternately watched the rain fall through the window and the screen pixelate on the telly.
First thing this morning I caught up on 3 days’ worth of Camp NaNo. I started the blog travel journal for our holiday and decided to add everything else written this month. I’ve been doing a lot of editing and proofreading work, which hasn’t left a lot of time or energy for anything else, so as there haven’t been that many other things (mostly due to the editing work), I’m adding them to Camp NaNo. I caught up with 2 days by doing that, and more than 2,000 words.
We had a disturbed night. it was very warm. We were worried about the cats and the poet managed to come down with tonsillitis. We’d bought the cats a new hooded litter tray but as they’d not used it at home yet we didn’t think they’d find it in a strange place. So, for now, I’ve taken the hood off and am delighted to say that both cats did actually find it during the night. I was up at 5am, though, to check.
The dog was a bit barky, but stayed in his basket most of the night. He only jumped on the bed twice, and jumped down again straight away. The cottage owners don’t like animals on the beds, so we like to keep him to his basket. We also brought pet blankets with us to protect the furniture.
It was warm despite the rain because the wood burner stove feeds the central heating as well as the hot water.
And what we thought was initially a sore throat woke the poet several times during the night with a raging fever. When I had a look, one of his tonsils had a septic blob on it and the other was quite swollen. Still, he said if he was going to be poorly anywhere he’d rather be poorly here.
He’s not too bad, however. We both managed a 3-course breakfast (cereal, toast and fruit) before going for a drive. They’d forecast showers too, so we decided to stock up on provisions.
The first place we went to was Sedbergh, just over the border in Cumbria. My blog buddy Diane had mentioned that Sedbergh might be a book town. Well, it isn’t quite Hay on Wye, but there were a few book shops. We bought a new 2015 road atlas for £4.99, reduced from £10.99, and an ice cream each. My old atlas was dated 2004 and I’ve been nagging for a new one for ages, and here it is.
Then we went to the Spar to get a few groceries and some throat lozenges, and then we drove through Kendal to Windermere. We parked up at Windermere but halfway down the hill to the lake we decided to go back for the car, not because we’re idle, but because the parking was only for one hour and we were going to be longer than an hour.
So we went back to the car and drove into Bowness where we dropped on lucky with the car park, and we walked down to the lake via a hat shop up hill first. We both have sun hats, but with the panic over Holly, we forgot to put them in. So we bought a new hat each in Bowness and ate prawn sandwiches and carrot cake on the lawn overlooking the lake. Rufus had a great time rolling in the grass before eventually joining us reclining on the lawn.
When the grass felt too damp we headed back to the car and then back to the cottage for tea – and rest for the poet who was starting to wilt. He rallied, though, built the fire and made us some savoury mince, which we had with basamati rice. Then we settled down in front of the World Cup final before tuning in to another film.
We took quite a few pictures today, in Sedbergh, in Windermere and in Bowness. And, of course, of our new hats.
Little man’s taking a breather while I post the holiday blog over the next few days. I carried on with Camp NaNo while I was away, so he’ll be back just as soon as I’ve caught up. This is the journal “what I wrote” while we were there.
The first day of our holiday was more eventful than we hoped it would be. We had a late start because we were taking the cats and wanted to drive straight there in one go. The cottage wouldn’t be available until 4pm, so that meant we didn’t have to leave before 1pm. I’d also had a very busy week and not had my usual pre-holiday errand day. Instead, once the poet arrived home from his work on Friday, off we went to do the shopping, deliver a birthday card and get something to eat.
Even though I had been busy all week, I’d still managed to clear all of the washing so we had plenty of clothes to choose from. Saturday morning, therefore, was mostly spent selecting and packing clothes. Plus, of course, our travel clothes. We also packed all of the food, cleaning things (house and personal) and goods required for 3 pets. The cats were allowed out for a couple of hours in the morning, but then they were contained on one floor to make sure they were present and correct …
… or so we thought.
The poet started to pack the car but we noticed we were a cat short. Holly. We searched the house but couldn’t find her … and then noticed that the back door was open. Wide open.
We called and whistled, but Holly wasn’t having any of it. So we decided to finish packing the car and then go looking for her if there was still no sign.
We finished packing the car and there was still no sign. So Ian went one way and I went the other.
In the car park I thought I could hear her miaowing, but I couldn’t see her. I climbed onto the wall to look over the fence just as Ian appeared on the other side, both of us calling and Holly miaowing loudly.
“Where is she?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” I replied.
“Is that Holly?” he asked.
“Where is she?”
But I didn’t know.
“Is she over that way?” he asked, pointing at the houses behind me.
“I don’t think so,” I said, turning. “I think she’s in this part somewhere —”
And there she was, right behind me, rolling around in the dust, miaowing happily.
So I grabbed her and off we went, locking the house behind us and, ensuring all the animals were secure on the back seat of the car, we headed off … via Tesco. For Paracetamol, petrol, and air for the tyres. We’d gone about 10 minutes down the road beyond Tesco when Ian realised he’d forgotten something and he turned the car around and we went back home.
By 2pm we were finally on our way again, for a hopefully undisturbed journey …
But we had to stop … 3 times … for Holly …
Domino was brilliant. She curled up in her basket, didn’t make a single sound, fell asleep, and stayed there. For the entire trip. In fact, we did wonder once or twice if she was still alive.
Rufus was brilliant. He was on his best behaviour, happy to have the cats with us for a change, and happy to be going for a ride. And every time we did stop, he had a quick walk.
Holly was not brilliant. And she got car sick. She cried a bit and, when we let her out of the basket, she prowled a bit too. But in the end we had to keep her and her car sickness contained.
At 4:30pm we arrived at our lovely little cottage in Dent. The sun was still shining and all along the route we were reminded of the previous week’s cycle race, the Tour de France in Yorkshire, as we drove through several pretty towns and villages still decorated with bunting.
It took much less time to unpack the car than it had to pack it and once the cottage door was closed, the cats were allowed to explore.
Then Ian set to work making our tea. We had bacon, sausages, fried egg, mushrooms and bread, with fruit for pudding. He built the fire (it powers the hot water), we took the dog for a quick walk, and we settled down for an evening in front of the telly. The last time we were at the cottage, last August (2013), the television had 3 channels on it. This time we had 7. Luxury! So we watched some drivel and then a film at 9pm.
When we were packing up my house, we stumbled across my old SLR camera, a Pentax MZ50 AF with 2 lenses. I’d already tried, and failed, to sell it, but the poet asked if we could keep it as he’d like to give it a go. We emptied it of any film and changed the batteries, but it took us ages to stumble upon some new film that hadn’t already expired. We did find some, though, and the Pentax came with us to Dent so he could have a practise.
The camera came out with us on our local walk as it doesn’t matter if they don’t come out. We still had the digital cameras as backup. The pop-up flash already isn’t popping up and I think the camera may have winding-on issues, but time will tell and we shall see soon enough.
A light drizzle as we walked the dog had turned into a downpour by bedtime, and so ended our first day in Paradise.
I was working overtime on Friday when the poet arrived home from helping a work colleague move house, but he was early enough for us to nip out if we wanted to. So we popped to one of our local working men’s clubs and watched another new band to the pair of us.
Saturday was a busy day. I did some more work, then we went to collect the poet’s mother and visited his daughter in her first home. Son #2 was there too and we sat in the garden chatting and drinking squash, enjoying the sunshine.
He had a gig Saturday night, so we had to go early and get ready for that. He headed off in time to set up, but I caught the train later so the animals weren’t on their own for too long. On the way back we collected my car and we went straight to bed as we had another busy day on Sunday.
Sunday was Day 2 of the Tour de France in Yorkshire, and we drove over to Hade’s Edge where we parked at a friend’s house. Some places were charging £5, £10 and even £15 (apx $8, $17 and $25) just for parking, because the roads into Holmfirth were closed. Then it was a nice, downhill walk into the town.
We were lucky with the weather. It didn’t start to rain until we arrived home. Rufus was quite well-behaved, considering the crowds. He was a little warm, a little excited, a little tetchy, but he didn’t bark very much and we were very proud of him. I was quite proud of myself too at the end of it, because I managed the walk back up the hill, pulled along by the dog a bit, and I detest walking up big hills.
The race was due in Holmfirth at 2:30pm. Then it was 2.40pm. I think it was about 2:45pm by the time they got there, and we felt very proud and privileged to have been part of the 2.5 million visitors to the race over the weekend, apparently the world’s largest sporting event and free of charge.
Here are a few photographs from our visit:
I didn’t manage to do Camp NaNo for Friday until Saturday morning, and I did it sat up in bed while the poet made and fetched me a bacon sandwich. I can’t remember the last time I had breakfast in bed, let alone made for me. That was a nice treat.
Saturday evening, after he’d gone to his gig, I settled down for an hour and I managed Camp NaNo for Saturday. So I did none on Friday, two on Saturday and, erm, none on Sunday. So today’s will be yesterday’s and, if I get chance, I’ll do today’s as well.
I’ll update little man as I go along.
This week I have a lot of work to get through before we start our holiday on Saturday. I have 3 books to do – 2 editing, 1 proofreading – as well as Camp NaNo and prep for the holiday, and will probably be on overtime.