Back from Anglesey – and I definitely need a new tent!

I arrived home late yesterday afternoon from my holiday on Anglesey; weather-wise the eight days had been a bit of a mixed bag, with two days of rain and a day-and-a-half of grey cloudy sky, but the other days were full of sunshine and blue skies and also quite hot.  Other than a few weekenders who arrived last Friday and left on Sunday the camp site was very quiet and I was the only one in the field where I’d chosen to pitch – the peace and quiet were absolutely blissful.
The start of the holiday wasn’t without it’s problems though; if I’d thought that getting a rip in the side of the tent a couple of weeks ago was a disaster then this was a catastrophe of Titanic proportions. I’d got the tent up and was in the process of pegging out the guy lines when it decided to give up the ghost completely – there was a horrendous ripping sound and a huge – and I mean really huge – tear appeared right along the top. The tent was definitely dead this time but luckily I had a back-up plan, which will be explained on my other blog, so it didn’t affect the holiday too much.
My out-and-about days produced plenty of good photos including various animals, birds and flowers, and I even found a couple of places which I’d never been to or seen before. I finally found a beach I’d been looking for for several years and at another beach I managed to get myself cut off by the tide, though fortunately I was able to wade the few yards back to dry land. The dogs had to swim though, and while Poppie was okay with that Sophie wasn’t too impressed. On Monday, armed with a tin of black paint and a couple of artist’s brushes, I took a walk to Tyger’s memorial stone near Rhoscolyn and repainted the faded lettering engraved on it – I really needed a finer brush but it didn’t look too bad, and no doubt by next year it will have faded again so I can do it better next time.
A couple of the grey days were spent on the unsuccessful hunt for a new tent and on one of the days I got a free meal and coffee at the Morrisons cafe in Caernarfon. I also visited my cousin, who I managed to track down at my second attempt, and I spent a good couple of hours with him and his wife, catching up on our respective news over a coffee or two. The sunny days produced some lovely sunsets and glorious colours in the late evening sky and the bedtime dog walks were spent rabbit spotting as there were loads of them hopping about round various parts of the camp site. Early morning yesterday saw me walking the dogs along the nearby beach and at only 6.30am we had the whole place to ourselves; after breakfast a final fling before packing up to come home was a photography walk round Parys Mountain.
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Nefyn beach – finally found after several years
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Amlwch harbour
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A lake on Parys Mountain
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A random garden at Amlwch
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Garden flowers at Porth Dinllaen
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Lesser black backed gull at Holyhead port
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Late evening sky over the camp site
With well over 200 photos taken during the eight day holiday, and the hot sunny days making up for the dull ones, my much-needed time away was very enjoyable in spite of the tent giving up the ghost at the start. My back-up plan had worked out well enough that the demise of the tent didn’t really spoil things so all in all it was a good holiday. Now all I have to do is sort out my photos and update my other blog – it may take a while!

Off on my travels again

Tomorrow morning (Monday) I’ll finally be leaving for my usual summer camping holiday on Anglesey. I should really have gone early yesterday morning but a very mentally taxing couple of days where I felt like my brain was going to explode and shower the whole area with mush has meant that my trip has been somewhat delayed. The van is all packed up – in fact it was never unpacked from last weekend, I’ve just added a few more things to what was already in there – so all I have to do now is put my personal stuff in and I’m away.
To be honest, just at the moment I’m so tired I don’t really feel like going anywhere but I’ve been looking forward to this holiday and I need it so come hell or high water I’ll be on the road sometime tomorrow. I’ll be gone for eight days and I won’t have any internet access but when I get back I’ll write about the events of the last few days – and be warned, it’s a long story!

A weekend away

I returned home yesterday afternoon after a weekend away at the Elvaston Castle Steam Rally just outside Derby. Always the early bird I was on the road by 5.15am on Saturday, arriving at the show ground just after 7am. Weekend camping for the rally is actually on four huge farmer’s fields across the road from the show ground, and while most people camp in the two fields closest to the entrance I prefer to be in a quiet corner out of the way, so after checking in with the camping stewards I made my way over to my favourite spot near the far end of the far field.
It was while I was putting up the tent that disaster struck but I’m not going into detail here – I’ll save that for my camping blog, when I finally find time to update it. As well as all the usual stalls and attractions at the rally there was camel racing (which I thought was rather boring but it would have been okay for kids) and Winged World with some very colourful parrots and cute little owls. The weather was gloriously sunny and warm all weekend and I was able to get out and about with the dogs and the camera, especially on Sunday when not only did I walk round the show ground but I also went for a lovely walk along the nearby canal – and even though my step challenge has officially finished I surpassed myself that day by walking a total of six miles and 21,339 steps!
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With the opportunity to catch up with various camping friends, and friends from years ago who live nearby, plus a walk round the castle grounds before setting off on the journey home, it was a very enjoyable weekend, and already I’m looking forward to doing it all again in July next year.

Ambling round Anglezarke

Although I’m not sure that ‘ambling’ is the right word as I usually walk at quite a reasonable pace. The latest long walk was done a week ago on a gloriously sunny (and hot) day, and I must admit that if I’d known beforehand just how far I would actually go I probably wouldn’t have chosen that particular route on that particular day.
Anglezarke reservoir is just beyond Rivington, and as I’ve recently explored the Rivington area on two separate occasions and it must be about twenty years since I’d last been round Anglezarke I thought it would make a good dog walk and also add to my daily step count. The reservoir was reached by taking a minor road off the road leading to Rivington village; just before the turn-off for the car park the road went uphill to a lay-by and viewpoint high above the reservoir and as I’d never been up there before I went to take a look.
Next to the lay-by was a very pleasant and well kept grassy area with a couple of benches overlooking the reservoir and several people were chilling out in the sunshine or just sitting looking at the view. And what a view it was; although there was a heat haze on the horizon I could see for miles and it was well worth a few photos.
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Three reservoirs – Lower Rivington, Upper Rivington in the centre, Anglezarke in the foreground
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View over Anglezarke
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From the view point I drove back down the hill to the car park and my walk started from there. A stone wall separated the path from the water but after only a couple of minutes the path veered to the right and took me through the remains of a small quarry. I remembered that the last time I went round there all those years ago the quarry had quite an open aspect but now it was quite overgrown with trees and bushes, although it was still very pleasant to walk through.
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Anglezarke quarry
From the quarry the path went back to the waterside for a short distance before veering off once again and taking me uphill through a densely wooded area which seemed to go on for ever and had no view of the water. After a while the path went downhill and crossed a narrow stream before going back uphill and through another wooded area, though eventually it went downhill once again and I left the trees behind, emerging onto a tract of open grassland with a good view across to the west side of the reservoir.
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A bench with a view
Unfortunately the open land didn’t last long and I was back into woodland again, with a steep bank of trees separating the path from the water. It was so steep in places that it was an almost vertical drop of about 30ft so for safety’s sake I put Sophie back on the lead. Eventually the path brought me out onto a minor road which took me across the north end of the reservoir and disappeared round a bend to who-knows-where. Just on the bend I picked up the path again and I was back through more trees though this time reasonably close to the water, which enabled me to get a shot of the lovely old waterside house I’d just passed the back of.
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After a while the path led up through the trees and I came to a gate into a small field; there was no sign telling me which way to go so I assumed it was straight on, and sure enough at the far side of the field was a kissing gate which took me out onto a farm track. And that’s where I began to feel confused. I have an extremely good memory for places I’ve previously been to, even if it’s been many many years since I last went, and I was sure that on my last walk round there I was able to walk close to the water at that point. I certainly didn’t  remember having to go up through the trees and cross a field to a farm track, and as I walked along the track the unfamiliarity of it convinced me that I was right. There were sheep in the fields though so maybe that was the answer – where once I would  have been able to walk close to the water access is obviously now denied if the land is used for livestock. It was a very pleasant, if rather hot, walk along the track though and I did get a couple of nice photos.
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View along the farm track
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Looking east, with Winter Hill mast top left, Rivington Pike top right
Eventually the farm track turned right but there was a bridle path which went straight on, and a notice on a nearby post told me that ice cream, lollies and bottled water were available at the farm at the end of the path. That sounded good to me, and as I was going that way anyway I thought I may as well stop for some refreshment. Two ladies were operating a stall just outside the farmhouse gates, with the proceeds of any sales going to a local hospice; the ice cream turned out to be various Magnums, which I have a great liking for, so I chose a Classic one and chatted to the ladies while I ate it then bought a small bottle of water to replace the one I’d shared with the dogs while we were walking round.
After Sophie and Poppie had slurped copious amounts of water from the dog bowl near the stall I set off again, down the farmhouse driveway and onto a tarmac lane. A little way along was the high bank and wall of the reservoir so wanting to be back near the water I climbed over the wall bordering the lane and made my way up to the top, where I was greeted by a great view across to the far side.
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Looking west
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At the far end of the wall my way was blocked by a thicket of trees so I had to go back down the bank, scramble over the wall at the bottom and pick up a sheep track of a path which followed the contours of the reservoir on my left. On my right was a large open tract of grassland dotted with trees which were all green except one not far from the path – this had a white trunk and branches which stuck almost straight out, and it was completely bare except for one bit of green growing out from near the top.
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A bit further on the path became separated from the water by a tree-shaded stone wall and not far ahead I could see a group of sheep mooching about with their young ones – thank goodness both dogs were on the lead. Strangely enough though, most of the sheep didn’t seem to be bothered by us and carried on calmly grazing as we went past, though one mum and young one insisted on blocking the path for a while before moving out of our way.
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Yes, they really were so close
A little way beyond the sheep the path ended in a set of crude steps up and over a stone wall and I was back on the road which passed the bottom end of the reservoir and eventually took me back to the car park. It had been an enjoyable walk but in the heat, and with the distance being greater than I’d thought, it had also been a very tiring one so it was a relief to finally get back to the van. There was one thing I wanted to do though before I left the area – I wanted to get a shot of the view from up at the view point but with an empty bench in the foreground, which I hadn’t been able to get earlier as someone was occupying both benches. So I drove back up to the view point and I was in luck – one bench was unoccupied so I got my shot, turned the van round and headed for home.
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Another bench with a view
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My walk, anti-clockwise from yellow spot
I’m linking up again with Jo’s Monday Walk where this week she’s on an exploration of Rufford Abbey ruins and gardens, and discovering some strange and wonderful sculptures along the way.

 

 

Sophie at the vet’s – an update

An updated report on Sophie to say that everything went well at the vet’s yesterday and other than the stitches in her leg she’s absolutely fine. She was taken in at 9am so I could collect her about 2pm but the receptionist rang me at lunchtime to say that they’d had to deal with an emergency so Sophie hadn’t yet had her operation, however another phone call mid afternoon informed me that the op had just been done and I could collect her after 6pm. She was still a bit dopey when she came out of the vet’s but she perked up a bit once I got her home and she was back with Poppie. She has come home with some medication which she has to have once a day with her food and she has to go back next Monday for a check up and to make a date for her stitches to be taken out about ten days from now.
Of course Sophie now has the statutory ‘lampshade’ collar on and I’ve put her in a little pink t-shirt as the sleeve covers her stitches and should prevent Poppie from licking them. The t-shirt has a crown design on the back and says VIP – Very Important Pooch – I got two each for both her and Poppie when I went to the last animal sanctuary open day. The vet who did the op said ‘strictly no running and jumping about’ but try telling that to Sophie – as soon as I pick up the lead to take her out she’s bouncing around like she’s on a trampoline.
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Just out of the vet’s
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Back home, still a bit dopey
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Hopefully Sophie will have the stitches taken out in time for our weekend away the first weekend in July, then the week after that we’ll be away for ten days, probably somewhere by the sea, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for good weather then she and Poppie can enjoy lots of beach walks.

Who ate all the pies?

In my years as a commercial cleaner I’ve come across all sorts off different signs and notices stuck up on the walls in various parts of various buildings. Mainly they are informative or instructive but sometimes amusing, and one which always made me smile was above the staff signing in/out log at the local advice bureau – ‘If you are coming in please sign in, if you are going out then sign out – if you don’t know whether you’re coming or going then join the club!’
The most recent one to make me smile was this one which I found stuck to the wall in the works canteen yesterday –
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Self-explanatory really. I know who recently left the firm, a nice guy in middle management who divided his time between the offices and the works. I can understand him being a bit narked, I think I might be too, but maybe the note was a bit too strongly worded? Whether it was or not, it still amused my quirky sense of humour enough to take a photo of it.

Sophie at the vet’s

This morning I took Sophie to the vet’s for a problem she’s had before, and after an examination and discussion she’s been booked in for a little operation next Tuesday.
Almost five years ago she developed a small hard lump under the skin on her right front leg; it started off as a tiny spot and stayed like that for ages then it grew into a lump as big as my middle fingernail, although it wasn’t giving her any pain. The vet wasn’t sure if it could be cancerous or not so after it was removed it was sent off for analysis. The result came back clear, it wasn’t cancer, and Sophie has been a happy and healthy little dog ever since.
The vet did tell me at the time the official name for the lump, a long name which now escapes me, and he also said that there was an 80% chance that it could come back again, though if it did it would be in the same place. That’s now proved to be correct as she’s recently developed another lump of the same kind under the skin on the same leg, though a bit higher up than before. The vet I’ve just seen – a different one this time – asked if I want the thing sent away to be analysed but I don’t see the point as I already know what it is, so she’s having a straightforward op to remove it next Tuesday and other than having any stitches taken out at a later date that should be the end of it.
Sophie had just turned five years old when she got the first lump, she will be ten in September this year, so it looks like this may be something which re-occurs roughly every five years – I can live with that as she’s such a healthy little dog otherwise. Poppie made me smile when we got back home though – as soon as I let Sophie into the living room Poppie was all over her, sniffing her like mad and inspecting her as if to say “Where the heck have you been?!”
The time spent in the vet’s wasn’t without its moments either. Both dogs had been out in the garden for quite a while before I took Sophie down there, but while I was busy booking in with the receptionist Sophie wee’d on the floor. It was easily mopped up, but as if that wasn’t bad enough I’d only just sat down when she did a poo right in the middle of the waiting area! I suppose the staff are used to dogs having accidents but right then I just wanted a hole to open up in the floor and swallow the pair of us!