Only my son could do this

Back towards the end of June Michael, through no fault of his own, managed to accidentally break his ankle, resulting in a trip to A & E . X-rays showed it was a very bad break and he came out on crutches and wearing a supporting boot strapped up his leg, with an appointment to go back for another x-ray six days later when it would be decided if he needed a plaster cast or not. He came back from that appointment still with the boot on, another appointment for the following week and some medication which he had to inject himself with to prevent a DVT – that was assuming he did nothing but sit or lie and rest, however within minutes of getting back home he decided he was going to Ireland that night!
So in spite of having other things to do (I was having a weekend away myself and needed to sort things out) I spent the next hour or so on the pc, organising his journey. He couldn’t fly out as he needed a doctor’s note authorising the syringes he had so I booked him on the Holyhead to Dublin night ferry with coach connections at both ends then a flight back from Dublin to Manchester the evening before his next hospital appointment the following Friday. He had already left home when I got back from work that evening but he rang me at various stages of the journey to let me know he was okay and he arrived safely at the family home in Roscrea the following morning. All went well until the evening he was due to come back home then everything went pear-shaped, producing a string of complicated and confusing events.
The flight back from Dublin on the Thursday was 9.30pm and I’d arranged to pick Michael up from Manchester airport an hour or so later, however at 7.15 he rang me and his first words were “Mum, I’ve messed up”. Now to put you in the picture, over the last few months he’s become friendly with a girl in Roscrea and he’d called to see her before setting off to come home, only to be told by her next door neighbour that she’d had a bad epileptic seizure and had been taken to hospital 35 minutes drive away. As the coach to Dublin passed the hospital where his friend had been taken he’d decided (not very wisely as it turned out) to stop off there to see if she was okay, only to find out when he got there that she’d recovered from her seizure, checked herself out and presumably gone home. By the time he’d come out of the hospital and made his way back to the main road he’d missed the next coach to the airport and hadn’t a cat in hell’s chance of getting there in time for his flight so the only thing he could do was get the next coach back to Roscrea and start again the following day. He would miss his hospital appointment but it could be rearranged.
So once again using the trusty pc and various timetables found on the internet I came up with an alternative. Flying back was now out of the question as Friday and weekend flights are very expensive, so it was decided that he would wait until Saturday and come back on the night ferry; Saturday was also the day when I should have gone to Anglesey but there was no way I was going until I knew Michael was safely back home. Unfortunately there was nowhere in Roscrea where he could make a direct ferry booking, he couldn’t make an internet booking using his phone as for some reason he couldn’t get into the system, and I couldn’t book it for him from here as he would need a printed ticket, so the only thing he could do was get to the ticket office at the bus station in Dublin and make his booking there.
Now not knowing what time the Dublin ticket office closed I suggested that he get the 1pm coach from Roscrea which would get him to Dublin by 3pm, so assuming that the ticket office closed early at maybe 4pm he would be in plenty of time. However, even that didn’t go according to plan; at 1.45pm on the Saturday I got a text ‘Still waiting for coach’ so I rang him. The 1 o’clock coach hadn’t turned up and there was no timetable at the bus stop so yet again I got on the pc to check, only to find that the timetable I was looking at then wasn’t what I’d been looking at the previous day – it had changed overnight and there wasn’t now a coach at 1pm. The next one was 3 o’clock, which got Michael to Dublin bus station a few minutes after 5pm – just five minutes too late for the ticket office! The only thing he could do then was get a taxi to the port and see if he could get on the next ferry as a foot passenger, though he would have to sort out his own way of getting home from Holyhead once he got there.
However, for the first time since all this mess began he actually had a stroke of luck – the young woman in the ticket office got into the booking system and he was booked in on the night ferry for the full journey from there right back home; all he had to do was wait for the coach which would take him onto the ferry then he could relax for the rest of the journey. He did text me at one point ‘Now on ferry, just set sail’ to which I jokingly replied ‘Well don’t get off anywhere!’ and back came the text ‘Even that would be impossible for me now!’ He eventually arrived home just after 7 o’clock on the Sunday morning, the coach having dropped him off at the local Asda store ten minutes walk away – and I don’t think I’ve ever been so relieved to see him.
I finally went to Anglesey two days later than planned, leaving Michael home alone, and he went to his rearranged hospital appointment on the Friday that week. This time his foot was put in a plaster cast which goes halfway to his knee – and on his way back home he stopped off in town and booked himself on the ferry back to Ireland that night! He would have been going anyway as it was his birthday a few days later and he’d already booked the time off work as a holiday so he wasn’t wasting it. The following Tuesday I got back from Anglesey to an empty house and Michael finally arrived back the Sunday afterwards, though even that journey hadn’t been without incident.
For some reason the driver of the coach from Roscrea to Dublin had taken a different route round the city and hadn’t stopped at the main bus station where Michael had to pick up the coach for the ferry; when he realised that the coach was heading towards the docks on the way to the airport he had to ask the driver to stop and let him off. He then had a choice – a taxi back to the bus station and risk missing the ferry coach or onwards to the port. He chose the port, and though he had to wait a while he was able to pick up the ferry coach there. He’s been at home since then but I know he’s planning on going back to Ireland after his next hospital check up at the end of this week; if he does then hopefully things will all go according to plan but if they don’t…..then watch this space!


A successful car boot trip

For quite a while now the large eagle transfer/graphic thingy on the front of the van has been looking rather the worse for wear and in need of replacement. The original one, which was identical to this one, was put on in 2008 just after the van was purchased; it lasted five years and I replaced it, and the two smaller ones on the back of the van, with the current ones in May four years ago. I got both sets of graphics from a stall at a big car boot sale at St. Michael’s-on-Wyre a few miles from Garstang; previous and recent internet searches haven’t come up with anything like those and I really wanted the same again so today Michael and I had a drive out to the car boot sale.
Bearing in mind that I got the current graphics four years ago and I haven’t been to that car boot sale since, I didn’t even know if the same stall would still be there. If it wasn’t I would have to try and find the closest possible alternative from somewhere else, however halfway down the first row of stalls I found the one I was looking for – and out on display was a set of four identical eagles. I was more than happy to find just what I wanted after all this time and I was even happier to find that they were actually half the price I paid for the current ones four years ago – now that really did make my day.
Copy of eagle transfer and sparrows
The white round the edges is backing paper – they won’t look like that on the van
The set of eagles was the only thing I bought, though Michael bagged himself a couple of dvds for his collection and a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle of a map of Ireland showing all the different counties and some of the towns and cities. He loved doing jigsaw puzzles when he was a kid, and now he’s off work and semi laid-up at home (more of that in another post) tackling one should relieve the boredom for a while.
From the car boot sale I drove over to Lytham St. Annes and we had a late lunch in my favourite cafe there, then while Michael relaxed over a second mug of coffee I took the dogs for a short walk along the beach. I’d just got back to the van when it started to rain, so between us we decided not to bother going anywhere else and I just drove straight home, getting back at 4.30pm. Apart from the rain it had been an enjoyable day for both of us, made even better for me by finding the eagles I wanted – now all I have to do (on a warm dry day and when I’m in the mood) is get the old ones off the van and put the new ones on. These things can be quite tricky to deal with, especially the big one, so if at some point you see a blue cloud on the horizon you’ll know what I’m doing!

Going underground

On a visit to Amlwch during my recent Anglesey holiday I found out that it’s possible, with the aid of an experienced guide, to explore some of the many miles of passages and caves underneath Parys mountain. I’ve walked round the mountain (above ground) a couple of times and found it to be an amazing and fascinating place so to be able to explore underground would be a brilliant experience. Unfortunately I couldn’t take the opportunity when I found out about it as pre-booked visits only take place on Wednesdays and I was a day too late, however I’m seriously thinking about doing it next year.
The following is taken from the underground group’s website and the information sheet I got while at Amlwch –
Only visitors with valid British Caving Association third party insurance may enter the mine. If you are not a caver with this insurance you can join the group as a temporary member at a cost of £10 per person; this will provide BCA insurance for the trip as well as allowing the use of our club caving lamps, helmets and belts. Personal insurance is not covered by the group and must be arranged by each individual.
The mine is much as it was when abandoned 100-150 years ago – it is not a sanitised show cave. There is no lighting other than that provided by a headlamp, and there are areas of obvious hazard, deep and acidic pools and steep drops, but with due care the usual visitor route is safe. The passages are muddy and frequently uneven with some water on the floor. Visitors must be at least 17 years of age and physically fit as the trip involves areas of restricted height, some steep areas, short crawls and climbing a number of unprotected wooden and metal ladders up to 25ft long. 
Due to the acidity and secondary ochre deposits wellingtons, gloves and a boiler suit should be worn; wellingtons rather than boots are recommended as some areas are above ankle deep in water. You should allow around 3 hours to complete the tour and return to the car park.
The more I look at the photos on the group’s website the more I want to do this – I just hope they take individuals and I don’t have to be part of a group. I’ll be making some enquiries soon and if I get the answers I’m hoping for then I’ll really have something to look forward to on my Anglesey holiday next year. Bring it on!

I can’t believe I’ve just done this….

At 8.30 this morning I did something which is totally unheard of for me – I phoned the camp site I was booked in at and cancelled my weekend. Bank holidays are important to me as good opportunities to get away from home and work for a few days, and in the twenty years I’ve been camping I’ve very rarely missed one so this wasn’t an easy decision. Normally I really look forward to a long weekend away camping but for several reasons I’ve been having niggling doubts about this one since Thursday.
It was only on Wednesday that I realised the bank holiday was this weekend – I was actually thinking it wasn’t until next weekend so it felt like it had suddenly jumped up and hit me in the face, especially as it was only just over a week since I got back from the Easter break and I was still writing about that one on my other blog.
Then there’s been my work; the boss who I clean the house for is in the process of moving, and over the Easter weekend he rang me and asked if I could do some extra hours for him, cleaning the place he’s moving into as well as the one he’s currently living in. So last Wednesday, after doing my usual morning job, I cleaned his current house; on Thursday I spent five hours cleaning his new house and on Saturday I did my friend’s house clean which I would normally have done on the Thursday. If I’d been a cat I would have been chasing my own tail.
This week I’ve been able to spread things out a bit more but if I went away this weekend I would just end up playing catch-up again next week. The van is still packed up from Easter so this weekend’s preparations would have been minimal, but after doing a lunchtime job and two evenings jobs yesterday I was so tired when I finally got home that I was in no mood to do anything at all. My final decision not to go away was based on the late night weather forecast; although there was to be some sun there would also be a fair amount of cloud and as the photos I wanted to take relied on good sunshine I didn’t want to base my trip on ‘maybes’. The places I wanted to go to will still be there next year and for many years to come so I’ll be able to get the photos I want eventually, it’ll just take a little while longer – and if the weather here at home turns out to be really nice I’ll be able to enjoy some good walks with the dogs so the weekend won’t be completely wasted.

Back after Easter

I arrived home at 3.45pm this afternoon after quite a mixed weekend in more ways than one. Weather-wise things could have been better; the days were mainly dull, grey and cloudy with rain showers, heavy at times and prolonged during the nights, though there was a reasonable amount of sunshine on Saturday but a bitterly cold wind to go with it. Then of course Sod’s Law decreed that today, when I had to pack everything up and come home, it turned out to be glorious all day.
The changeable weather didn’t stop me from getting out and about though and with the exception of an intended canal-side walk I did everything I wanted to do and more besides, including going on a llama trek high up in the Berwyn mountains. I also suffered a few minor irritations, one of which was an unexpected and upsetting encounter with the most obnoxious, verbally aggressive and rude woman I’ve ever met, though fortunately neither that nor any of the other things spoiled the weekend for me.
I’ve taken a total of 223 photos over the four days, though some of those are duplicates so once I start sorting them out that number will be whittled down somewhat. As this isn’t a camping blog I’m only putting a couple of them on here, the best of the rest will find their way onto my other blog once I start writing about the weekend. So here’s a taster of things to come – eventually – over on my ‘tigermousetales’ blog, although the llama trek, which I did yesterday, may possibly feature on here as a Monday walk.
Copy of Easter, Felin Uchaf, 2017 227
Felin Uchaf camp site
Copy of Easter, Felin Uchaf, 2017 036
Bala lake
Copy of Easter, Felin Uchaf, 2017 192
Eddie and Kubera

I try to fix one thing….

And end up messing up several others.
Last night I noticed that my post about Bolton Abbey, which I’d only written that morning, had one glaring fault – the caption under one of the photos had somehow come out in a different font to all the others. Now it may very well not have been noticeable to anyone else, and if it was maybe no-one would have cared anyway, but it was noticeable to me and it was bugging me. It just looked so completely wrong that I had to do something about it, so I set about amending the post – except things weren’t quite as easy as they should have been.
In theory it should only have been a matter of deleting the wrong caption under the photo, selecting the correct font and retyping the wording, but every time I tried it either reverted back to the wrong font or separated the caption box from the photo it belonged to, and trying to join the caption box back to the photo resulted in the photo being deleted completely. After several attempts to get things right I ended up with more things wrong – the wrong font underneath two more photos, blank caption boxes all over the place and some photos deleted – and after persevering for two hours I was ready for throwing the pc through the nearest window.
Now I must admit that when I started this blog last October I didn’t particularly like the WordPress system, and I still don’t. It’s so much different to Blogger which I use for my camping blog, and I’ve found that in comparison some of the features aren’t as easy to use – and it also seems that certain errors aren’t all that easy to rectify.
So this morning I made another attempt at amending the Bolton Abbey post and yet again WordPress wasn’t playing ball so there was only one thing I could do before I lost my sanity – delete the whole post and start again from scratch. Needless to say I scrutinised everything carefully as I went along and checked it all three times before I hit ‘publish’ and this time everything is as it should be. Unfortunately though, deleting the original post has also deleted any comments that were made on it – so if you’ve read the new post and had that feeling of deja vu, or you’re wondering where your comment went, then I can only apologise for any confusion. Hopefully it won’t happen again – and if it does, don’t blame me, blame WordPress!