Camping: Eskdale Day 3 – Whitsun weekend 2016

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I love this picture. Because of the light, it looks as though he’s beckoning … or gesticulating … (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

On our last full day in Eskdale, we decided to go for a short ride out to Whitehaven.

This is where my mom was evacuated to during the Second World War. A cousin said it was St Bees that they were sent to, and the two are so close, perhaps it was. But Whitehaven has always been fixed in my memory as the place Mom named when describing her time there as a child.

I thought it was just a place that just happened to be on the coast. I didn’t realise there was a beautiful harbour there, with boats and things.

Nor did I know about the mining history, or that this was where a so-called American invasion was attempted in 1778. You live and learn.

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This statue, “End of an Era”, commemorates the end of mining in Whitehaven. He’s captured the town in the background. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The photograph at the top commemorates this attempted invasion, and the second one down, “End of an Era”, is for the mining history, erected in 2005.

There was quite a lot to see in the town, and we didn’t have more than a few hours. So we did what we could in the time that we had, and that included a walk on a high sea wall that surrounds the harbour.

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It was blummin FREEZING atop this sea wall, with a keen wind blowing. But he gritted his teeth and put on a happy smile for the photograph. ((Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

It wasn’t half cold up there, and very WINDY. My balance isn’t great at the best of times and you can see in the picture that the wall is only a couple of slabs wide.

Once we were over deep sea water I started to panic and me and the dog climbed back down the first chance we got.

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Anchor. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The poet, however, was determined to walk all the way to the end (to the lighthouse you can see in the picture), but he did wish he’d put a fleece on first … Rufus worried the whole time the poet was up there, because he couldn’t see him, and was very pleased when he joined us again on the lower level.

It probably took us about an hour to circle the whole of the harbour, taking pictures of lots of other interesting things as we passed them – and not all of them had explanatory plaques. There was a giant anchor, a big wheel, and another older lighthouse.

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Big wheel. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

By the time we got back to the car, it was well past midday and we were all starving hungry. We found a lovely little chip shop that was really quite busy.

I ordered scampi (all the way from Whitby) and chips while the poet just had to have a Cumberland sausage with his chips.

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(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

(“I can’t come all the way to Cumberland and not have a proper Cumberland sausage.”)

Rufus helped us both. And we were so stuffed by the time we’d finished, we didn’t have room for the ice creams we’d promised ourselves.

Apart from the wind, the weather turned out very nice for us in the end, and there’s no way I can do the town much justice after just a few hours. So we’ve decided we’d quite like to come back, maybe spend a little more time in the area and find out what else it has to offer. For me, just the boats were enough – I do love boats – so everything else was a bonus. And I’m sure that when we go back we’ll learn a lot more.

When we got back to camp, we decided to pack up and go home. It was teatime and if the traffic was kind, we’d be back by about 7pm. We could have stayed another day, but we had a new house to come home to. But we’ll definitely go back to Eskdale.

One day.

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The harbour. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Christmas market

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Quakers’ Bottom (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Well, that was a weekend-and-a-half – and we had it as a holiday too.

We started on Friday with a trip out to the Christmas market in Matlock, which was very well-organised and laid out, and parking was free after 2pm too, as it is throughout December in the town on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. And, of course, the dog was welcome too.

We bought a small box of fudge for me and a ginger beer plant for the poet, and he nipped to one of the local shops to get us something to eat.

I had a fancy for Whitby scampi & chips, which was available inside the market at £6 for 7 pieces, plus extra for chips. At the local chip shop, scampi and chips cost only £2-odd! The poet had fish and chips and the dog helped us eat it all.

We chose a car park halfway between Matlock Bath and Matlock town and a had a nice, easy walk down and back. There are photographs, but they’re not on the computer yet, so for now we have another one from the Quakers’ Bottom walk last week.

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When we got home, we took the cat to the vet (again). She was only there a few weeks ago needing an emergency operation to close up a mysterious hole that had appeared in her side, and now she had a lump at the base of the scar.

The vet wasn’t very worried about it, though, and stuck a needle in to drain most of it. She thought it must be a reaction to the internal stitches and said it would probably go away on its own but we were to monitor it into the new year.

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The poet really wasn’t feeling very well on Friday either, but he didn’t want me to miss out on the Christmas market and he wanted some fresh air. But on Saturday morning when he woke up he was so ill that he cancelled Saturday night’s gig. I’ve known him to be very poorly and still not cancel a gig, but when he lost his voice as well, he didn’t really have a choice.

We managed to find another band to take their place Saturday night, and then we had a bit of an idle day and evening, and the same on Sunday. But yesterday, as he had another day off work booked, we went to Meadowhall to do the Christmas shopping and he did really well.

We had to keep going back to the car to drop things off and we did stop to have something to eat too – and book our table for mad Friday next week. And when we got home he was ready to drop as well. But we got all but about 2 gifts (apart from each other’s), including something for each of the pets, so we were very content with that.

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All over the weekend we had a bit of a Harry Potter-fest. I’ve read the first book, watched the first 2 films, and played the first 3 or 4 games on Xbox, although I may have abandoned the 4th one as it was quite hard. He’s never seen any of them, or read any of them. So when I saw that the box set was available on Sky Movies for free, I talked him into watching at least the first one … and we ended up watching all but the last one so far.

We won’t be able to catch up with that one tonight as we’re going over to his parents in Doncaster to keep his dad company while his mum goes out for her annual Christmas meal with some of her colleagues. We’ll watch the last one tomorrow night, I think.

The poet still isn’t feeling great and could have done with not going to work this morning. But at least we’ll just be sat indoors this evening.

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I’ve had a busy morning so far but don’t seem to have achieved much.

Saying that, I’ve pitched for 3 new jobs already and have another 10 to consider, I’ve done some pro-bono email work and I’ve done the daily competitions. I’ve also had a bit of an email-fest as I forgot to turn on my out-of-office auto-reply and had a few messages I needed to at least respond to.

I also cleaned some parts of the bird table – one of the feeders and 2 trays. They need a good jetwash and some disinfectant throwing at them, but at least it’s cleaner now than it was so I don’t have to worry about the birds catching any nasty germs.

All I have left to do today, now, is some editing. I have 2 books in I want to finish before breaking up at the end of next week.