Monday, September 25, 2006

23/24 September 2006

A lovely weekend! Mandy & Dave arrived late Friday night but recovered after a beer or two. They were going to the match at Anfield on Saturday starting at 12.45 and then into town to meet up with friends. We decided to do the next leg of the Lancashire Trail starting at Rivington and walking to Abbey Village, 9 miles away. It really was the most beautiful day, blue sky, sunny, the smell of autumn and a lovely walk through beech woods beside a stream. Lots of fungi, berries, butterflies etc. We got to Abbey Village at around 3 pm and had a quick drink at the pub before returning to Rivington for J's car. We agreed to met in Ormskirk to do some shopping but unfortunately I got hopelessly lost around Balckrod and didn't arrive until about 20 minutes after J!! It was a bit like a nightmare when you know you need to be somewhere but you just cannot get there, I knew I had to turn off the main road but couldn't find the turning. I asked directions in the end and it all seemed so obvious. My glasses were in my bag in the boot of J's car so I couldn't even look at the map!! The joys of old age!!
Sunday morning J, Mandy and Dave went to Maplins for a new harddrive for B's computer. A great thunderstorm whilst they were away which Bournville took great exception to and hid for most of the day. The computer now works, complete with Windows etc and has returned to Peterborough with M and D. Roast dinner at 2 pmish then a laze around until the golf finished (Dave is a bit of a fan!)before they set off in time for Mandy to play netball at 8 pm. Did she make it??? A new serialisation of Jane Eyre on TV so all in all a very good weekend. Wonderful to hear Ben's news about his job - will he have time to fit it into his busy schedule? A new address would be nice sometime! We are off to Hadleigh on Saturday for Mum's 80th birthday celebrations, stopping in Cambridge on Friday night as Mandy is, inconsiderately, going away.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Badger night!!

Drove with Mel to Ribchester and met John who had gone straight from Blackpool. Met up with the 3 badger people and made our way to the farm and walked up through the fields to the hide by about 7.30. We waited for about half an hour before 2 badgers appeared some distance from the hide and one disappeared fairly soon after. The other one stayed for about 10 to 15 minutes just rooting around and finding things to eat. He disappeared down a hole and came up out of the hole in front of us (I missed that bit!) then trundled off into the undergrowth never to return. We stopped until about 9.30 but no more badgers. Rather disappointing but we also glimpsed a fox, and owl and some bats. We were told that the best time to see them is June or July so I must book up earlier next year. When we got home we had another wild life adventure! Bournville had a poor mouse cornered which had dripped several spots of blood on the dining room carpet! John the hunter caught it and released it complete with torn ear back into the wild.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Another weekend gone…

Went to the gym nice and early after hanging out the washing. A trip to Toni & Guy was an experience – back massage whilst hair being washed and an interesting way to cut hair, not what I asked for but which hairdresser ever does that? I am still undecided. Mel came to watch the footie with John and I did the ironing when I returned from Ormskirk. Tried to get tickets for Abigail’s Party at the Unity but sold out so stayed in and watched ????.
We set off early for the next 2 stages of the Lancashire Trail which was about 9 miles in all. This went from near Standish to Rivington (parked near the Barn) but we resisted the temptation to climb up to the top of the pike and had a sandwich and drink instead! The weather was lovely – really autumnal and sunny. We saw 2 beautiful herons on Worthington Lakes and a dead sheep being nibbled by a magpie. There were bushes near the M61 services that were covered in huge sloes so we may return in a few weeks to gather some for sloe gin. We haven’t tried last years so I am not sure if I like it! Crossing the M61 bridge seemed like good training for the SF Golden Gate but probably no where near as scary. We got home mid afternoon and I wrote a report for work which I never seemed to get time to do in the week and we had roast bacon and purple cauli for tea! Last night we went to see Arthur Miller’s ‘All my sons’ at the Playhouse which was very good – that information is for Madeline as I know I am wasting my time with Ben!! On Thursday it is the highlight of the year – Badger night in Lancashire. I hope we see them perform as well as they did last year. I looked in the loft for Ben’s binoculars but no joy – needle and haystack spring to mind. I went to the gym tonight so should sleep well. Hope Ben’s kittens are OK, I’m glad he has inherited a liking for small fury creatures, wonder where he got that from??

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Alternative weekend 9/10 September

As I don’t seem to do the Lancashire Trail in enough detail I thought I would record the other exciting (?) events of the weekend. Early morning gym for me as J was waiting for a bed to arrive – it didn’t! A beautiful day so did an hours gardening just to tidy things up a bit and also a quick snooze in the sunshine. Liverpool/Everton Derby so Mel came to watch and I decided to go to Southport instead. Didn’t buy anything much except a guitar book. My musical genius is coming along very slowly but I am trying to do something each day and there is some progress! J reported that the bed still hadn’t arrived when I got home only to be told at 4 pm when I was about to phone them up and complain that it had arrived whilst I was at Southport! What a silly Billy! Sunday looked like a lovely day again so we set off early to avoid the full heat of the day. Full details on J’s blog but suffice it to say it was very pleasant especially the refreshing end at the Wiggin Tree. Sunday afternoon was a bit more gardening, some strumming and a read of the Sunday papers then roast and tv – how predictable!! Lovely to see Ben’s blog but where is Mandy and Dave’s???

Monday, September 11, 2006

Lancashire Trail Part 3: 10th September

An early start today dropping of Chris's car at what was the New Seven Stars Inn; she remembered to leave her shoes in her car this week, so driving would be easier at the end of the walk. Then it was back to The Wiggin Tree Pub to start stage 3 of our Lancashire Trail walk. A little misty, typical September morning, as we set off down the hill towards Fairy Glen. Just past the carpark we headed off left up towards Harrock Hill
We passed a sleeping grouse who was in shock when he/she suddenly awoke to find Chris and I looking at them! A bit like Mandy when she wakes up! The rest of the walk up past the High Moor Restaurant, Harrock Hall and up to the Ruin of the windmill on Harrock Hill was familiar territory, having done a number of walks in this area. A very pleasant part of Lancashire; meadows, woodland and 'big sky'.
The next part of the walk took us along very quiet lanes and accross fields, towards Toogood Farm. Too good to be true; yes again the instructions were difficult to follow and we ended up taking a longer route than we should have done! Damn. We did walk through an equestrian centre who were preparing for an apparently big cross-country event. In the process of looking for "the lowest part of the field", "a stile and a plank bridge", we noticed how laden the Oak Trees were with acorns.
This, together with the vast numbers of game birds, frantically trying to escape from our paths, indicated a very successful growing and breeding season in the northwest. (or is it a sign of a hard winter?) When we eventually arrived at Toogood Farm, the path we should have taken was obvious; note to myself to return and trace back to the "stile and plank bridge" we couldn't find.
Toogood Farm shop were advertising the availability of Beef from their herd when on our left there was the "food on the hoof"; a fine collection of steer! Whoever wrote the original guide to this walk, didn't know how to read a compass very well; good job we had an OS map and a compass to sort out the directions we should be walking in. Passing Fishing Lakes at Broadhurst, very busy with dour fishermen staring into the murky depths we had no difficulties in finding Mossy Lea or Broadhurst Lane.The directions heading towards Chisnall Wood, left alot to be desired but, with a fair bit of looking at the OS map and reading the instructions over and over and over... we found the route along the edge of the wood; into the wood; across a brook and out of the wood again; all of this carefully watched, to Chris's delight, by a large herd of cows.
Over the M6 and, at this stage of the walk, don't ask me why, I had the urge to ask Chris if she had her car keys with her! Blood having drained from her cheeks, she stated that they were back at the start in the boot of my car! A quick, not quite panic riddled, search brought relief when I discovered I had a key for her car on my key ring! Only one more lengthy discussion was needed to work out the route, we decended to Stars Brook, crossed the footbridge at the bottom and ascended up the other side, turning sharply towards Langtree Old Hall Farm.
Three, chained to Chris's relief, dogs greeted us as we walked through the farm yard and it was just a short walk down the service road to the A49 and the end of Stage 3 of our walk.
I've put together a map of what we have done so far on the Lancashire Trail and you can see details at theLancashire Trail map. You can zoom into street level (or out) and see additional information/photographs at each "flag"; you can also click-n-drag the map to follow the "Maghull Meander"

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Lancashire Trail Part 2: 3rd September

As the next stage is only 3.5 miles we decided to do the next section as well. A total of 9.5 miles -well that was what it was supposed to be! We set off from Billinge and rejoined the trail (about an extra mile)to climb up Billinge Hill to the beacon on the top - pity about the graffiti. A pleasant walk under the M58 and up to Abbey Lakes but no sign of the lakes. This was the end of stage 2 which quickly led into a part of Deans Wood that was previously unexplored by the Dalziels. Very pretty but slippery in places and a steep climb out of the wood into a field. We ended up in Roby Mill conveniently near to the Fox pub (of Mandy's 18th birthday fame)where we stopped for a while as it decided to pour down for the second time. It was clearing up by the time we set off towards Ashurst Beacon on a path which we have previously walked in the opposite direction. From the Beacon we should have turned left at Banghams Farm but as we never found this we went a couple of miles out of our way before rejoining the correct path some time later! The path eventually crosses the River Douglas and Leeds & Liverpool canal before climbing really steeply up to the top of Parbold Hill by the Wiggin Tree Pub.
Highlights of the walk were a leaping squirrel, a jumping kestrel, John sliding into the stream in Deans Wood (I said it was slippery!)baguettes and beer at the Fox and the ice cream man at the top of Parbold Hill. We had left my car at the Wiggin Tree so it was a quick drive back to Billinge to find John's car. A long day, damp in places but some very nice sections and a feeling of achievement at the end of it all. We started at 10.30 and finished just before 4.30 pm. Home for roast lamb and a night of exciting Sunday night viewing - I bet Ben is missing that!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Bank Holiday Weekend

Saturday 26 August:- Train to Peterborough, taking full advantage of the over 50s offer, met at station by Mandy and Dave. Lunch (ciabbatas) then the first of several expeditions to DIY shops, but then it is a Bank Holiday weekend. Not sure if we actually bought anything or if that all happened on the Sunday and Monday but a good time was had by all. When the tile shop was closed we realised how late it was and returned home for Mexican and a beer before heading off on foot for the Peterborough Beer Festival! A once in a lifetime opportunity to sample some of the finest and weirdest tasting beers from around the country and even a perry (Mandy and I only, the men stuck to bitter!). The big disadvantage was that you had to stand up all the time and Mandy made a mental note to take chairs if they go again. The highlight of the night was a Robbie Williams tribute band (possibly Robbin Williams?) who Mandy assured us was similar to the real thing. At least it was loud enough for me to sing along to without annoying anyone else!
Sunday 27 August:- The DIY activities started in earnest after M & D revisited DIY shops with Mandy tiling part of the bathroom walls and Dave tiling the en suite floor. John did lots of lawn mowing and bush trimming whilst I acted mainly in an advisory capacity but also did a few odd jobs in the garden and bathroom! We went to the Botolph Arms for lunch, scampi for Dave and roast beef for the rest of us then back to the grind. Dave's job also involved plumbing as there was a leak under the shower and the tiles had to be cut on a very noisy electric saw! Mandy excelled herself with the small tile cutter and I was amazed as usual when the cut tiles fit the spaces (well, almost always). We slouched in front of the TV for a while in the evening then off to bed exhausted.
Monday 28 August:- Pancakes from Dave for breakfast then the really interesting part of tiling began i.e. grouting. Mandy and I grouted happily whilst Dave, with some input form John, continued with the tricky job of sticking down the floor tiles with a strict 15 minute deadline before the adhesive set solid! All was achieved before a quick baguette lunch and return journey on a crowded Bank Holiday train. Mel met us at the station and Mandy later reported that the bathroom had been painted and the shower screen was in the process of being erected. All in all a very good weekend and lovely to see Mandy and Dave and to help out a little. As Mandy said, it's all good practice if they ever go into the property this space!