Ravenglass – a walk in two parts

Day 4 of my holiday started with the most glorious sunrise over the nearby fells just before 4.30am, a promising start to the day ahead. This was to be my ‘big day out’ and I left the camp site a bit earlier than usual for the drive down to Ravenglass to meet up with Jayne. We had agreed to rendezvous in the village car park and when I arrived I found she had got there just a short while ahead of me. She had reversed her campervan/mobile home into a space in an empty corner of the car park so I drove into the space on its nearside, meaning our side doors were opposite and we could sit and chat easily without being disturbed.
DSCF9459 - Copy
Jayne had previously suggested taking me for a walk, she had in mind a part of Ravenglass she suspected I hadn’t seen before – she was right – so after much chatting and drinking of cool ginger beer and coffee we set off. Through the car park and over the railway line we came to a pretty little garden set behind the signal box, then past the nearby play park and quite a distance along a lane through a pleasant wooded area we came to the ruins of a Roman Bath House.
DSCF9411 - Copy
The Roman fort of Ravenglass was established on land between the lane and the river estuary and is believed to have been occupied from AD 130 to the end of the 4th century. Standing almost 13ft high in places, the remains of the bath house are among the tallest surviving Roman structures in northern Britain. The building was identified as being Roman in the 19th century, although it was initially thought to have been a villa and wasn’t identified as a bath house until the 20th century.
DSCF9418 - Copy
Further along from the bath house the lane turned to the right and led downhill under the railway line to the estuary, where we walked along above the shore line before dropping down onto the sand for the last couple of hundred yards to the village’s main street.
DSCF9424 - CopyDSCF9426 - CopyDSCF9427 - Copy
Back at the car park there was much more chatting to be done until it was time for Jayne to leave but it was still only late afternoon, my car park ticket was valid for all day and I had no reason to rush back to the camp site so I decided to stay for a while longer and take myself off for a walk across the railway bridge to the other side of the river.
DSCF9434 - CopyDSCF9436 - CopyDSCF9437 - CopyDSCF9438 - CopyDSCF9440 - CopyDSCF9439 - CopyDSCF9444 - CopyDSCF9445 - CopyDSCF9447 - Copy
Back in the village I had another walk along to the end of the main street then took a path between the houses and past the end of the car park where Jayne and I had started our walk. At the far side of the railway line for the second time I dropped down onto the platform for the steam railway and came out onto the main road into the village. Down the road and under the main railway line I was then on a loop back to the car park and my final shot of the day was taken as I passed a very pretty cottage garden.
DSCF9451 - CopyDSCF9448 - CopyDSCF9449 - CopyDSCF9450 - CopyDSCF9452 - CopyDSCF9453 - CopyDSCF9455 - CopyDSCF9456 - CopyDSCF9457 - Copy
It was well after 7pm when I finally got back to the camp site, with the good weather having stayed with me all the way back. Meeting up with Jayne had been lovely, I’d had two nice walks and taken lots of photos in the process; it had been a perfect day, now it was time to make a brew and relax for the rest of the evening.

“Mum, don’t ever change your phone”

There are three parts to this story but they are all interlinked so bear with me on this.
Part 1 – It’s an established fact that although I may be good at DIY and practical things I just don’t ‘do’ technology. The latest new-fangled smart phones are absolutely beyond me and anyway I have no use for all the features they come with so I just stick to a basic older model Nokia – phone calls and text messages are all I really need from a phone.
Now the phone I’m currently using is the second one of this make and model, the previous one had got rather battered and bruised from use over time and being dropped more than once so I replaced it a while ago but this second one is weird. I’m still using the sim card from my previous phone and if anyone rings me the phone shows the name if it’s in my contacts but for some reason a text message only shows the number, so unless I recognise the last three digits or the gist of the message I have no idea who has messaged me – which links to Part 3 of this post.
Part 2 – At the beginning of the week my friend Lin’s daughter Dee took in what seemed to be a stray cat. Apparently it had been wandering round for a week or so, was obviously elderly and didn’t look to be in the best of health, so Dee and her boyfriend Adam took it to a local vet to get it checked over. The vet said to leave it there and it would be checked for a microchip – if the owners were traced they would be contacted but with no ID it would either go to a rescue place or Dee may be able to adopt it herself, although it would have had to go to Adam’s sister’s as Dee’s dog doesn’t like cats. The following day (Tuesday) just before going to my evening job, I asked Dee if she had any news of the cat but she hadn’t so I told her to let me know if she heard anything – which also links to Part 3.
Part 3 – I hadn’t been at work very long when Tracy, the young woman who is temporarily working with me, shouted to tell me that the sink in the ladies toilet was blocked up. I knew there was a plunger somewhere but not being able to find it anywhere around the offices I went over to the works to see if somehow it had ended up there, and while I was there I got a text message which just said “Got it!”
Now as my phone only showed a number which I didn’t recognise, and thinking it was Dee telling me that she’d got the cat, I sent back the message “Brilliant! Are you taking it to Adam’s sister’s?” This was immediately followed by a phone call from Tracy – “Who the heck is Adam and why would I be taking a plunger to his sister’s??”
The text message had actually come from her to say that she had found the plunger! Cue a fit of giggles at my own misunderstanding and my phone’s inability to show me who’s texting me, but if Tracy had put “Found  it” instead of “Got it” I would have known what the message meant. Of course when I got back over to the offices we both had a laugh about it.
I told Michael the tale later on and when he’d finished laughing he said “Mum, don’t ever change your phone, it won’t be half as much fun if you do!” I suppose he’s got a point – a new-fangled smart phone might be able to do everything except sole shoes and make dinner but it wouldn’t create funny situations like this so I think for now I’ll be sticking to my basic little Nokia even if I don’t always know who’s texting me.


Gifts from friends

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for quite a while but somehow I’ve never got round to it until now. Back in January, when I was devoting all my time to nursing Sophie through her illness following a stroke, I had an email from a friend to say she was sending a parcel to me, though she didn’t say what it was. A couple of days later the parcel duly arrived and though I can’t remember now what I’d initially thought it might be I was way off the mark as it was something so unexpected.
Now although I don’t have any particular interest in most of the tv soaps the one I do watch regularly is Coronation Street and a couple of years ago I even went on the official tour of the soap’s new outdoor set at MediaCity in Salford, so I was very surprised to find that the parcel contained several individually wrapped collectors’ pieces which make up the terraced row of Coronation Street houses as they were in the mid 1990s.
Each piece is labelled on the bottom with the house number and the names of the occupants at the time though of course these have changed probably more than once over the years since then, also many of the house fronts bear no resemblance to the ones on today’s new outdoor set, but the collection makes a great piece of memorabilia and it was lovely of my friend to send it to cheer me up when I was going through a difficult time with Sophie.
DSCF4596 - Copy (2)
Not long after losing Sophie in February I started looking for another little Jack Russell, not only for myself but also as another friend for Poppie, but any rescue centres I could get to easily only seemed to have big dogs and any Jack Russells advertised on the internet were going for ridiculously high prices – and still are – so the search goes on. I did however, get a Jack Russell in April thanks to another friend who sent me the surprise gift of a Jack Russell ornament. It may not be alive, and it doesn’t look like Sophie, Poppie, or any of my previous Jack Russells, but it’s very sweet and now lives on the unit next to my computer.
DSCF4597 - Copy
It’s strange to think that if it wasn’t for the internet I wouldn’t have known either of these friends in the first place, so a very belated blog post thank you goes to both of you (you know who you are) for thinking of me and sending me these lovely surprise gifts, they are both very much appreciated.


**Useless information time now – there is actually a real Coronation Street in Salford, probably only about a mile or so away from the new ITV studios at MediaCity, and back in the 1970s a cousin of Michael’s dad lived there, though other than the downstairs bay windows the house fronts bore very little resemblance to the ones in the programme. We visited a few times and I remember it was quite a nice street. The title of the programme isn’t connected to it though – when the soap was first created back in 1960 it was intended to be called Florizel Street until one of the studio cleaners said the name sounded like a disinfectant!


Thanks, and an update of sorts

First of all I must thank everyone for the comments and kind words on my previous post, and offers to share details of my stolen van in the hope that it can be found. To be honest I’ve been too tired and too emotionally strung out to reply to each comment individually but it’s good to know others are thinking of me and are willing to help where possible, so thank you everyone – and thanks also to Jayne for putting the van on her own blog.
Yesterday I had some news, positive in one way but still not good. I was at work just after lunch when the boss and one of the other guys came into the office to say that Maddie, who works in the office and had left for home earlier on, had phoned to say she had seen the van. It was on the M62 passing Ikea Warrington and heading west in the direction of Liverpool, towing a caravan and seemed to be in convoy with a green car behind it – Maddie had recognised it as she overtook it. I reported it to the police straight away but my worry now is if it’s been taken by travellers they may very well have changed the number plates, in which case it probably won’t be identified on any ANPR cameras or such.
Worst case scenario is it could probably end up in Ireland via either Liverpool or Holyhead, at best I’m hoping that whoever has it is has taken it just to have a holiday and it may end up back in Bolton, but to be honest I don’t think that’s likely. I’m glad in a way that it’s been seen on the road as it least it means that so far it hasn’t been broken up for parts, but it’s so upsetting to know that someone else is driving round in what, to me, was a big part of my life. I wonder if the scrotes who did this realise how much devastation and emotional upset they have caused? Would they care if they knew? Probably not.

A puzzling email and a surprise gift

A week ago last Sunday, late in the afternoon, I got an email from a courier company informing me that a parcel was to be delivered to my address within the next two days. This was really puzzling as I hadn’t sent for anything from anywhere and neither had Michael so at first I thought this must be a mistake, however when I checked the link in the email I realised what it was and where it was coming from – it was a dog quilt for Sophie and Poppie, made by my blogging friend Jayne.
Now I’d known for a while that Jayne was making a quilt to send to our blogging friend Eileen for her dog Annie and I’d been asked to keep it a secret, but I hadn’t known that she was also making one for me so the email from the courier company, as well as being puzzling, was also surprising. The quilt arrived on Tuesday afternoon last week, I have to say it’s a beautiful gift and the photo doesn’t really do it justice. It also came with a very sweet letter from Jayne’s dog Daisy to Sophie and Poppie, which I thought was a really lovely touch.
Copy of dog quilt 002
Sometimes saying ‘thank you’ for something doesn’t seem enough somehow but I don’t really know what else to say. So thank you Jayne and Daisy for the very lovely and very thoughtful surprise gift, it’s much appreciated – Sophie and Poppie love it and so do I  🙂
Edited on Saturday March 2nd to add that sadly Jayne had to say a very loving goodbye to Daisy earlier this week, so this quilt and Daisy’s letter has become even more precious than words could ever say.

A sad and emotional day

Today has been such an emotional day that there’s no way I feel like sorting out photos and writing a Monday Walk page – sadly my friend Janet had to have her lovely dog Aphra put to sleep at the animal hospital and as she was in no fit state emotionally to drive herself there I took her and stayed with her.
Aphra was a Bearded Collie and only six years old but for the last couple of years has been beset by one medical problem after another, with visits to the vet’s every few months and being on an almost constant supply of various forms of medication for whatever was wrong at the time. A few weeks ago she started with what we thought could be a urinary tract infection – a course of antibiotics failed to clear it so she was booked in for tests and scans and it was found that her bladder wasn’t functioning properly. Janet had to take her every day for a week for a particular injection and tests at the end showed that things had improved quite well, however she then developed a bacterial gut infection for which she had yet more medication.
Last Wednesday evening Janet phoned me to tell me she wouldn’t be in when I went to do her cleaning the following day and also said that Aphra had become very listless and didn’t want to eat or go out – indeed when I went up there the dog was very quiet instead of being her usual bouncy self, and though I did manage to take her for a short walk she just trailed miserably along behind me. Late on Friday afternoon I got a very distressed call from Janet to say that she had taken Aphra to the vet’s earlier and they were transferring her to the animal hospital nine miles away as she was so ill, then yesterday the vet at the animal hospital rang Janet to say that Aphra’s kidneys were damaged to the point of shutting down, and though they would make one last ditch attempt to stabilise her she would probably have to be put to sleep.
This morning Janet rang me in tears again to say that the vet had phoned and told her Aphra was no better but they were willing to give her until 3pm to see if there was any positive change – unfortunately there wasn’t, Aphra was now suffering so it was time to say goodbye, although Janet asked them to wait until she could get there. With a heavy heart I picked her up from home and she was in tears all the way to the hospital – we were taken into the family room, and though I expected to see Aphra lying semi-comatose in a cage she was brought out to us, and to see her it was hard to believe anything was wrong. Although she wasn’t her usual lively self she was happy and her tail was wagging, and she made a big fuss of both of us, although she tired very quickly and went to lie on the blanket provided for her.
The vet made us a coffee and said we could take as much time as we liked to say our goodbyes – Janet was too upset to make any rational decisions for afterwards so with my guidance she asked for Aphra to be kept at the hospital and arrangements would be made direct with the pet crematorium tomorrow for her collection and individual cremation, then when she was ready she signed the consent form and sat on the blanket with Aphra, holding her and stroking her while she went to sleep for the last time. We were then given as much time as we wanted to sit with her until Janet felt ready to leave – there was a big white board on one wall of the room with a glue stick and a supply of leaf-shaped post-it notes for people to leave memorial messages, so I wrote one for Aphra and stuck it on the board before we left.
Janet has asked me to make the arrangements with the pet crematorium as, according to her, “I know what I’m doing” so that will be my first job tomorrow morning, although it’s not something I’m looking forward to as it seems so final. Although Aphra wasn’t my dog I’ve become quite fond of her over the years so today hasn’t been the easiest – and though I mainly managed to keep my emotions in check at the animal hospital I’ve cried since I got back home. Although some people might say that Aphra was ‘only a dog’ she was Janet’s friend and constant companion – mine too when I looked after her during the times Janet was away – and she will be very much missed in many ways.
Copy of Local area 2017 269
RIP Aphra – always loved and always remembered  xx