Tuesday 15 July 2014 – Dent Station to Hawes to Hardraw Force to Sedbusk

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 …

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Dent Station. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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It overlooks beautiful Dentdale. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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Diane. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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See! England’s highest mainline station. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Ian – next to a no-smoking sign. He gave up smoking almost 3 months ago. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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The old station house can be hired for £750 per week. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

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.

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The many different layers of Dentdale. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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Sheep. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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Dentdale – “come on in”. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

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.

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The Dales Museum, Hawes. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Hawes. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Bunting in Hawes. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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The Dales Museum, Hawes. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

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.

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Hawes. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Hawes to Hardraw. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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One of the more desirable bothies we saw. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Hardraw – Ian fell in taking this one … (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Diane and Ian, Hardraw Force.
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Perspective. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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Hardraw Force. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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The poet painting … well, drawing in this picture … (Picture: Diane parkin)

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.

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He told me there weren’t any more hills! (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Sedbusk. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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In Sedbusk, with all that DOWNHILL to go. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Ancient packhorse bridge. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Random angler, on the River Ure. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

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.

Enjoy the pictures.

Saturday 12 July 2014 – Hemsworth to Dent

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.

“Yes.”

“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.

Here are a few pictures for today’s post:

Beautiful Dentdale (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Beautiful Dentdale (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Dent on a rainy evening. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Dent on a rainy evening. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
The village of Dent. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
The village of Dent. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Meadow pipit in Dentdale. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Meadow pipit in Dentdale. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Holly hiding. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Holly hiding. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Enjoy!

w/c 17 Feb: to do list

I had some good news last week. A short story I wrote over a year ago and submitted to a magazine last March was finally accepted. I have to do some work to it – lose 200 words and confirm something – but I was very happy to hear from them as it’s a favourite client. That’s 2 fillers and a short story I’ve had accepted or published in the last few weeks, and there was me thinking I might be losing my touch. Of course, I might be, but at least it’s given me some confidence back.

Two days before I was yearning to be back in Dentdale, but a quick check to see availability and a tentative message to the poet (to which I had one of the speediest replies ever), and we’re booked in for a full week in the summer. We have to pay the deposit, still, but because we’re returning customers, and because I went direct to the owner, it’s fairly cheap and he’s reserved the cottage for us anyway.

This is what I was a tad excited about, for those who noticed last week on Facebook. We’re also looking forward to spending 2 nights in Keswick for my birthday next month.

We had a good weekend with the poet’s first gig of the year. He has 2 more in February and then that’s it, I think, until April. Most of the band have asked for most of March off.

Much of this morning was spent doing shameless self-publicity; this afternoon I made a red trifle. I still have a few jobs to do today, but here, for now, is this week’s to do list:

  • shameless self-promotion 
  • diary work x 2 
  • blog x 3 √×
  • surf job boards daily x 5 
  • daily competitions x 5 
  • write walks report 
  • submit walks report to 6 local newspapers 
  • electronic edits on historical non fiction #1 
  • send historical non fiction #1 to author for checking 
  • send historical non fiction #1 for typesetting 
  • doctor’s appointment 
  • revise short story 
  • return short story to favourite client 
  • write editing article for writing anthology 
  • print off historical non fiction #2 
  • manual edits on historical non fiction #2
  • electronic edits on historical non fiction #2
  • send historical non fiction #2 to author for checking
  • send historical non fiction #2 for typesetting
  • invoices (hurrah! – there are LOTS)
  • check historical non fiction #3 3rd proofs
  • send historical non fiction #3 back to client
  • check historical non fiction #4 author amendments 
  • send historical non fiction #4 for typesetting 

What’s on your to do list this week?

The lovely little cottage where we stayed. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Looking forward to coming back here in the summer. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I can stand the rain

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Diane and Ian on *another* bridge. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

I’m loving listening to and watching the rain at the moment, so much so that I’ve set up camp on the kitchen table where I can see it through the open back door.

I had a bit of a mini-revelation over the past few days. I really, really need a view when I’m working. My desk is currently shoved into a dark corner of the bedroom, with a view of 2 walls. Granted with lots of familiar bits and pieces all over them, but short of knocking through a window, I think I need to move the office.

Even when I’m writing longhand, editing longhand or proofreading longhand, I like to sit on the settee in the living room opposite the window, even when there’s not a lot to see.

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I do intend to one day gut the spare room and make it my office. There’s a window my desk will fit under, and I can watch the birds – and the weather – through the window. It’s going to cost money, though. And that’s the dilemma.

I have other things I need to spend my money on first; but I also need to optimise my earning so that I can afford it all.

Food for thought, but I think the next big job in this house may be converting the spare room to an office. There will still be room for an occasional, fold-up bed, and the number of visitors I actually get doesn’t actually justify a permanent bed taking up optimum working space all the time.

I’ve been very busy. I didn’t make it to Mom’s and Dad’s yesterday because I had to deal with idiots for most of Wednesday and lost the whole day. It also gave me the chance to have a good old de-clutter in the bedroom and office area, which is good and makes the work space inviting again. But it did take All Day.

So yesterday I worked. I carried on editing a non-fiction that I should finish (and invoice – hurrah!) today.

I have the weekend to myself and while I was considering going to the Leeds write-in tomorrow afternoon and maybe a gig tomorrow night, I can’t really afford it and I do have plenty of other work to be getting on with. I’ve also cancelled a dentist’s appointment today and will probably cancel my hair appointment as well.

If I can do all of my October income work before the 14th of the month, I can spend the rest of the month getting in new work, writing and preparing for NaNoWriMo in November.

I’m going to see my parents on Tuesday anyway, as we have some stuff to deal with. But between then and now I’m going to be busy, busy, busy.

This is the last of the pictures from our holiday in Dentdale, and probably my favourite one of the lot. It’s one that I set up and, I must say, it’s actually quite good. 😀

Have a lovely weekend.

Two pictures today …

Diane in front of a couple more bridges ... (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Diane in front of a couple more bridges … (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Yesterday I succumbed and put the heating on. It’s very low, as low as it can go, and it’s on a timer. But it’s on. And today I was reminded that yesterday was 1 October, so the local authority still hasn’t left me. I was bullied into it by the dog, who sat in front of the fire with such a sad look on his face I could hardly resist. But I have to admit, it has gone a bit chilly now.

I’ve not done a lot this week other than the usual. I didn’t do the walks report because no one sent me any information. I’ve stopped doing the daily competitions because I need that extra half-hour slot in the day now to meet my new business objectives. And I’ve not done much job bidding.

But I did start to edit a non-fiction, and that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing constantly. I’ve also done the gig list for this week and started to plan my NaNoWriMo for November.

A lovely picture of Ian crossing the River Dove. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
A lovely picture of Ian crossing the River Dove. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Tomorrow I’m off to Birmingham to visit my parents and Friday afternoon is an errands day with trips to the dentist and to the hairdresser thrown in. That gives me just today and Friday morning, and any time I can squeeze in in between to do any work.

I know I said there were only 3 pictures from our holiday for this week, but I couldn’t decide between the one at the top or the one at the bottom, so I used them both. Friday’s will be the last picture, and my absolute favourite from Dent.

Enjoy them anyway.

Didn’t really do diddley squat yesterday

The lovely little cottage where we stayed. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
The lovely little cottage where we stayed. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I didn’t really have a Do Diddle Day yesterday. I set the Do Diddle posts to publish automatically and it was about 11pm on Wednesday night when I remembered I hadn’t cancelled the post on the blog. It’s a nice picture, though, so I decided to leave it – and hopefully no one would try to contact me.

I had a busy week this week. I have a wonderful new business manager (who also happens to be the poet) and he worked out a proper pricing module for me. This has made it so much easier to bid for work, and quicker too, so saving time that isn’t actually paid for.

It turns out that I’ve been charging roughly half what I should be charging minimum for proofreading, and about a fifth of what I should be charging minimum for editing. This is based on the average time it takes me to edit or proofread 1,000 words or a page.

Unfortunately, people don’t seem to want to pay the going rate for anything and want to get everything as cheaply as possible, and even free. Sadly, that doesn’t pay my mortgage nor buy my groceries.

This week I bid for 14 jobs at the old rate, and now I’m hoping everyone declines me, because now I see why I seem to be working all hours yet totally skint. Yesterday I bid for 6 jobs at the new rate. Today I hope to bid for a few more. Time will tell if maybe I’m just not working fast enough.

I’ve had a new edit come in this week and another revision on an old edit. I’ve also been promised a new edit. The non-fiction edits actually come well within my new pricing module. The fiction edits, unfortunately, are coming well outside. I seem to spend more time on the fiction, yet I get paid less for it. I’ll have to think very carefully when another new edit comes in.

The non-fiction regular work is fine. I have one lot of revisions, one new book and one on the way. The fiction regular work is less fine. I have one lot of revisions in and one new book. I won’t be chasing for work there in future, but I will still have to consider it if I have nothing else in.

Because of the new pricing module, I’ve had to increase hours worked on paid stuff and decrease hours worked on my own stuff. If I want to do my own stuff, I need to get up earlier. This work will generate income at some point, but it is still speculative and I can’t guarantee how much I’ll be paid or when I’ll see it.

I still have a lot of navel gazing to do, clearly.

I also updated the gig list this week for October and I’ve done usual admin work.

I’m not sure yet if I’m going to the Leeds write-in tomorrow. I may prefer to spend the travel time actually writing now I can’t justify writing during my working week. I do have 2 gigs this weekend, though – one on Saturday and one on Sunday, both in Doncaster.

Today’s picture is of the lovely little cottage where we stayed when we went to Dent.

Whatever you’re up to this weekend, have a good one.

Should’ve done this yesterday …

Look what the poet found across the River Dove ... (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Look what the poet found across the River Dove … (Picture: Diane Parkin)

It was a very busy weekend in the end starting with an emotional gig Friday night. It was emotional for several reasons, but the main one was to say farewell to someone off on a university adventure the next day. Also, someone I thought was a friend surprised me quite disappointingly … so they’ll probably be going into the next novel …

On Saturday we were at a charity boxing match helping to raise funds for several charities. That started at 11am for us, and finished close to 4pm. A quick rest and then we were off to Leeds to surprise another friend in his band. We had a good night and enjoyed dancing along to some less familiar tunes that aren’t done to death on the gig circuit.

Sunday was another day of rest.

Yesterday I started the new week with a vengeance and got quite a lot of bitty work done, admin work, diary work, planning work, those kinds of things. I also reviewed a book edit that really needs to be signed off now, but there are still tons of problems with the layout and with someone keep tinkering. If this book comes back with more work I’m going to need a new fee. I don’t mind correcting my own mistakes, but I’m not really responsible for everybody else’s too. Or a faulty system.

That job took longer than I intended, and so today I’ve done the walks report, and submitted it to 6 local newspapers, and I’m just doing the blog I should have done yesterday. Other jobs today include more admin work, surfing the job boards and starting the next historical fiction edit.

This Thursday would normally be a Do Diddle Day, but because I’ve already had quite a lot of time off this month with flu, along with a couple of unexpected, unscheduled Do Diddle Days, I’ve decided to cancel it and work. I need to catch up with some work and I need to get the invoices out.

Today’s picture was taken along part of the Dales Way long distance footpath. It’s the River Dove, just above Dent, and it’s one of mine. I love the mist in the background. Enjoy.