Friday, 30 January 2015

Not quite the week I planned

I had such plans for this week - fell walking, a bit of batch cooking for the freezer, maybe an hour or two in the garden.  It didn't quite work out like that :}  Monday went well enough, a decent walk at Fangs Brow, a good bit of progress on 'stuff' in the house and I rounded off the day with my first ever Skype to Australia which I thoroughly enjoyed. 

Unfortunately the wheels rather came off when I woke up Tuesday morning and found I could hardly move . . . entire left-hand side of my back had gone into muscle spasm.  Although I've never had anything like this before I knew what it was, and that with care it should ease up in a few days.  Try explaining that to poor Daisy who just did not understand why Mum was not taking her for a walk.  Of course, she has survived and got plenty of exercise either in the garden or when I have walked slowly around the block with her.

Standing up and laying down were relatively pain-free (although getting from one orientation to the other was tricky) and surprisingly I've been sleeping OK.  Sitting hurt like hell so driving was out of the question, as was catching up on computer stuff.  Putting on socks has been like a bad game of Twister requiring much concentration and contortion.  A couple of hot baths helped although I took the phone with me in case I got really stuck.  Fortunately I managed to clamber out without assistance but I did think this would be a hell of a good way to get a fireman into my bedroom whilst Management was in London!  A neighbour kindly went and collected some painkillers from the doctor for me, which in truth I don't think I really need, but she also brought back a referral to the local physio department which I did want.  Many years ago when I dislocated my hip in the garden it was the Cockermouth physio team who eventually provided the correct diagnosis and treatment.  Sadly, the lady who treated me has retired but hopefully there will be someone else just as nice in her place.

An unusual amount of snow at Bag End yesterday, although within a couple of hours it was mostly gone.

Yes, that is a happy dog carrying snow in her mouth!

Ruddy irritating today - although I'm a bit better I still can't move enough to drive or go out and the fells look gorgeous.  I wish we were at Whinlatter or going up Sale Fell in the fresh snow.

Monday, 26 January 2015

A lovely start to the week

I don't often start from Fangs Brow because there is usually livestock in the fields beneath the fell wall.  Today was no exception but thankfully the cattle in the first field were grazing quietly some distance away from the path and paid us no attention and the horses in the second field just wandered off as we approached.  We kept to a very relaxing 2½ mile stroll although it would have been easy to go a lot further, the path is gentle and even on a cloudy day the views are outstanding, but today the brisk and extremely cold wind won out over extending the distance.

Daisy's looking down at Holme Wood, where we often walk in the summer.

Zooming further than is fair to a compact camera on a cloudy day, you can just make out the boathouse on Crummock Water, another regular haunt.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Tough week

It's been a weird week and I'm at the end of it feeling worn out.  I don't feel like putting too much detail out in public, it involves the bereavement I mentioned previously.  Before anyone kindly steps in with condolences, they are not necessary; the death occurred a little while ago but for reasons I am still trying to get to the bottom of, no-one was notified.  There might be a future career for me as a private investigator though, I have uncovered all sorts of information and confess to quite enjoying the cerebral side of it.  There has also been an unusual amount of driving, think I'm up to about 300 miles since Monday, which is five or six times what I normally do in a week. 

A predominate theme this week has been the kindness I've encountered.  People who don't know us have bent over backwards to help and assist.  There really are some lovely folk about :}

It's not all been death and despondency - I'm also looking for a new* car and I ~HATE~ buying cars.  There have been test drives and much patience from salesmen (more of the above-mentioned kindness) and we get to Friday with no idea of where to go next, because the only vehicle which I thought would suit is incredibly uncomfortable to drive.  I am not the right shape for modern cars - my femur seems to be too short and seat bases stick alarmingly into the back of my knees which is never going to be comfortable.  Staying with a nine-year-old Honda is looking like an increasingly attractive option. 

Today there is thick cloud, rain and wind and it's lovely - an excuse/reason to stay hunkered down at home.  So far I've done all the laundry and tidied the floor of my study.  Might not sound much but it makes a huge difference to how I feel.

Yesterday was the highlight of the week.  I ignored everything which "had" to be done (clearly it didn't) and took Daisy out.  Nothing more exciting than three miles around Sale Fell but it was wonderful.  Just enough snow to be interesting but not so much as to make things difficult.  Blue sky, not a breath of wind, so warm I had to remove her coat and shed one of my own layers.  We took our time and when I eventually reached the main summit I realised I'd not thought once about funerals or cemeteries or solicitors or cars.  I'd been totally focussed on Daisy and our walk - completely in the moment - so not really such a bad week after all :}

I took zillions of pictures and a bit of video - my video skills are NON-EXISTENT and need lots of practise but if you can bear the sea-sickness inducing camera shake then Daisy barking at an unexpected snowman was the highlight of the day.

First outing of the year for my Micro-spikes - Daisy has canine crampons installed as standard.

There was much zooming around for the sheer joy of it

She really, really did not like that snowman :}

* not brand-new, never, ever.  Someone else can take the depreciation hit :}

Friday, 16 January 2015


It's been a strange sort of week.  LP was here on Wednesday and Thursday despite a dire weather forecast and got a lot done.  We were promised (and received) very strong winds but the rain hasn't been as bad as expected and there was no snow until this morning.  What little we did get was gone by lunchtime although it's definitely getting colder.

LP moved all the assorted surplus paving slabs that were dotted around the garden and made temporary paths for me so I can get to the log store and fruit cage without slipping on the mud.  He then set to with his latest new toy and pressure washed the black deck by the big pond, and all the slabs and patio areas which were getting very green and slippery.  I've got some photos which I will add to this post when I can be bothered to go to the iMac :}

A chunk of my week was taken up with supporting someone very close to me as she learned of the death of someone special.  When I haven't been on the phone and researching a few things online I've been a bit too worn out to do much else, but I'm fine, Management is fine, and Daisy is absolutely splendid!

Monday, 12 January 2015


Little Miss Perfect and I had a fabulous walk this morning.  Given how abysmal our weather forecast is for the rest of the week I took advantage of a break in the rain and we went round the back of Sale Fell.  Although very muddy in Chapel Wood we were sheltered from the worst of the wind and had the place to ourselves which is always a bonus.  Occasional bursts of sunlight made it extremely pleasant.

The wind really got into its stride as we hit the top of Lothwaite and I achieved a 'personal best'* by recording a gust of 55mph. That was a bit brutal and the rest of the time the wind was blowing a steady 35-40mph so no way we could have got up to the main summit.  Daisy was coping extremely well in her new even-more-weather-proof coat**, no hunched shoulders and flattened ears and a surprising amount of zooming around and chasing her tail.

A quick walk back to the car trying to ignore some very painful hailstones ended a lovely just under 3 mile walk. 

*  the previous highest recorded wind whilst walking was in May 2007 at the top of Grisedale Pike.  The weather had changed from "bright and sunny" to "no visibility and blowing a hooley" in the time it took to walk from Braithwaite to the summit, and a very necessary change of plans shortened what was to be a Coledale Round to a quick drop down to Force Crag Mine.  It was still a damn good walk though :-}

**  the week before Christmas she was the victim of an unprovoked attack.  We were in Harris Park and a collie went for her in no uncertain terms.  The bloody owners did nothing, except to berate ME for shouting at their dog.  Daisy's original Hurtta coat is now referred to as the stab vest because it prevented her getting bitten on her abdomen.  I've now repaired it but we took the opportunity to buy a new one whilst I was working out how to fix the damage.  Whilst our lovely girl had no physical injuries it has left her anxious when we meet dogs she doesn't know, we're working on that not becoming an ingrained habit.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Beginning to deal with blog-lag

It's only one post but it's a start.

Clicking on Tomatoes takes you to a round-up of last year's crop.

The plan is to publish the posts on or around the dates when the activity actually happened, so that in future years when I look back at the blog, the gaps are minimised and events appear in the right place chronologically.  And we all know that P-L-A-N is a four-letter word at Bag End.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

A slow start to the New Year

January is already 10 days old - where on earth did a third of the month go?  Whoosh . . .

The first five days I guess we just putzed around at home and there was a lot of decluttering as Management had a major overhaul of his study.  I should have taken a photograph of the huge number of bags and boxes which volunteers from Hospice at Home collected yesterday.  Christmas decorations came down, Daisy went for a walk (nearly) every day and life puttered on in a fairly normal way.  The last five days should have been quiet and relaxing - Management went back to work and I had planned to give the house a thorough clean and tidy.  Well, Management went to London and my week was non-productive.  We finally got connected to the SuperFast Fibre Broadband network that's been installed across much of Cumbria but of course, it didn't go smoothly resulting in a tremendous amount of time wasted.  All the irritation was forgotten this morning when the latest speed test gave us an incredible result:

It is more than a little frustrating that we should have had this in March last year and that incompetence and carelessness meant that the cabinet serving our group of houses was overlooked.  But we have it now and I'm not complaining about that sort of download speed.

I'm desperate to get out into the garden but the weather just won't co-operate.

There's not been much proper fell-walking, either it has been too wet or too windy, or both at the same time.  Daisy and I have still managed the usual walks such as Whinlatter, Sale Fell, Crummock Water and the sand dunes at Mawbray but there's not much to photograph at present.

Despite dreadful weather in Scotland, there is no snow to be seen on the 'Hobbit Hills'.  In fact, there's not been much to see out of our windows at all . . .