Thursday, August 30, 2007

Push, Push, Push; Mow, Mow, Mow!

One of the highlights of Lynn, Pete and Dads visit; something we had been building up to since they arrived on Saturday! In reality Lynn had not wanted to go at all and it was used as a threat so they would enjoy the other visits.
The British Lawnmower Museum is situated in 106 to 114 Shakespeare Street, Southport, Sefton. Please note that in spite of the address being Lancashire, the museum is in Sefton! They also have a website at
I quote from their leaflet...
"Don't let the grass grow under your feet! It's mower interesting! Have even mower fun! Visit the British Lawnmower Museum and be a Cut Above the rest. It's all you need to mow."
I am sorry!

As those of you reading the blog can see from the collage, the over 200 'pristine exhibits' are varried to say the least; the audio tour was informative and, much to their surprise, everyone enjoyed the visit. For those of you who must know, the lawnmower was invented in 1830 by Edwin Budding of Gloucester. It was a unique experience, marking the culmination of a dream by ex-racing champion, Brian Radam.
Chris missed out on this life changing experience so Lynn purchased a DVD for her; this we watched later in the day. It included the lawnmower song, something everyone should perhaps give a miss. Ben, it is something to look forward to at Christmas. Lynn also purchased a pewter lawnmower for me.
After lunch we headed for Anfield.
Melanie had obtained a slot for our visitors on one of the tours. As Pete and Lynn have no interest in football this was going to be another 'experience'.

The collage I have included is made up of pictures taken by Pete! They all enjoyed the tour and said it was an enjoyable experience. Dad, Mel and I all enjoy football so it was no surprise that dad had enjoyed himself.
On the way home Lynn anounced that the stay would be complete if she could take a photo of Red Rum's statue...

So we called around at Aintree for Lynn to take the picture included on this blog. A quick visit to Maplins (Lynn wanted a VOIP phone and web-cam) and then home.
We all went out for a meal that evening; Pete and I watching the usual Hen and Chickens, Scotch Piper Motorbikes, during the meal; it was Wednesday!
This morning we said goodbye to our guests. It was nice to spend a few days with them and to share our life with them. We both hope they enjoyed themselves and look forward to their next visit.
PS Lynn, as those of you who read my blog will know, has purchased a monocular. On Tuesday evening I was call to the garden to "look at the moon"! This image is of that very moon...

Her monocular enabled most features of the moon to be seen. Until next time bye.

Blogged with Flock

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Underground, overground...

A senior moment again. The one exciting thing I missed from the last blog was the 'stoat event'!
As we were walking around Martin Mere, I spotted a stoat running for cover with a young moorhen in its mouth. Nature is wonderful; or should that be cruel?

Today, it seems quite appropriate on Livererpools eight-hundredth birthday, that we visited Williamson's Tunnels. Volunteers have and are working hard to open up this maze of interlinking tunnels under Edge Hill.
We all had to wear hard hats; a bit like the 'Village people'! Dad looked particularly smart.

Our guide was excellent, providing some information that perhaps he should have kept to himself! For example the fact that flats were above our heads supported on the apparently inadequate pile shown in the image below. Quote "the poured concrete, only stuck to the rubbish that filled the tunnel!"

'Break throughs' and shutes, from buildings above...

had allowed people to get rid of their waste over the decades and the biggest task facing volunteers was the removal of this vast amont of rubbish; using what appears to be primative tools.

I wont spoil your possible visit to the tunnels but just say they are well worth a visit. Quite secure walkways...

 lead you through the tunnels, in many cases high above the floors below. (I'm not sure how the floors could be above, arn't they ceilings then, but you know what I mean)

The shear size of these tunnels, and the methods used to construst them, is awesome!
The double tunnel at the end of the guided walk, also a cafe, illustrates the vast sizes involved.

After a drink and biscuit, we headed off to meet Chris. She had been in work. We went to the farm shop in Lydiate for onions, a walk around the Manor House ruins and lunch in the cafe. Lynn collected 'eyes' of an appropriate size for her card making. The peacocks had been very accommodating!
In the afternoon we headed to Ormskirk. Pete was impressed by the church; having both a tower and steeple...

The day was completed in style when Liverpool won their second leg, of the European Cup 4 goals to nil. 5 nil over both games. We then looked at the DVD of tunnels we hadn't visited today. How sad is that!
Lawn mower museum tomorrow, WOW! Even sadder perhaps.

Blogged with Flock

Monday, August 27, 2007

Martin Mere

Before I talk about what we did today, let me include a picture of the Childe of Hale; remember we saw this carving yesterday.

Impressive isn't it?
Today we took our guests to Martin Mere. No surprise there as we tend to take most of our guests to see the "wetlands and wildfowl"!
I experienced a few firsts, even after so many visits!
One, I have never seen a flamingo eat from someones hand or, come to that, get so close to one!

Then again, two, I've never touched a living dragon-fly before but, today they seemed reluctant to move and I got some nice shots with the digital camera.

And three, for the second day running I managed to photograph a Peacock butterfly; this time on a plant.

Two iron sculptures caught my eye, I'm sure I've seen them before but I don't think I've taken any pictures. I include images of them below...

Lynn, Pete and dad seemed to enjoy their visit, Lynn having purchased a monocular. We visited the cafe, as usual, and enjoyed the fine fare provided. We were going home via the coast road but, Southport was being visited by the masses! So it was a quick turn-round and back home for further refreshments. Dad and Pete are watching cricket (India against England), Lynn, Melanie and Chris are in the other room and I'm uploading pictures and 'doing-the-blog'.
Chris is in work tomorrow morning so, it is down to me to entertain the guests until Chris joins us at lunch-time.

Blogged with Flock

Hale, Crosby and Lady Green...

We headed off to Hale, on Sunday morning, to take a gentle walk along the Mersey.

Chris, Lynn and Dad managed the two miles to the church but, dad had had enough by then. Pete and I went the rest of the way and returned with the car. The walk is available on line at
Still wheat and barley to cut! Father found a four leaf clover among the large variety of flora. aand we stopped at regular intervals to look at the birds on the mersey, mud-flats and sandbanks. Lynn took pictures of the'Childe of Hale'; a renowned wrestler who stood 9 feet 3 inches tall. He is commemorated outside the church-yard in the form of a huge wooden carving representing the man and events significant to the village.
It was then off to Burbo Bank and our usual visit to 'Another Place'

Antony Gormley's figures on the beach. Most were under water because it was high-tide! Ice-creams were enjoyed by all as we walked along the beach. Dad was impressed by the speed at which a P&O ship left Liverpool, passing the new wind-farm, and out to sea.
A quick trip to the supermarket, in Formby, was followed by a visit to Lady Green Nursery.
Here we were fed and watered. Father played hide and seek. I went to look for him through one door as he came out through another.
It was then back home for a lazy rest of the day, with roast beef and all the trimmings in the evening.
We had, as you expect, tales of the expected; ranging from cakes made with pepermint oil, beef dripping and Lynn hitting Eddie Clarry's artificial leg with a plate. What excitement. I didn't know however, that Eddie had lost his leg by standing on a land-mine; the day after the war ended! how unlucky was that!

Blogged with Flock

Badger, Badger, Badger...

On Saturday, 25th August 2007, Chris and I attended a 'Badger Day' at Spring Wood in Lancashire. The day consisted of raising our awareness and helping us to find evidence of bager activity.
We apparently arrived too early because I was driving too fast. To waste a little time we went into Whalley to take a passing look at the Abbey and Gate House. Quite impressive and we determined to return sometime in the near future. While waiting for the initial talk and slide-show, we watched squirrels, nuthatches, various tits and other birds on the Spring Wood Bird tables.

The squirrels were, in particular, very amusing. A nuthatch flitted in and out pinching the peanuts but I was unable to capture him or her on the camera.
The talk was interesting but I don't feel I learned a great deal; it covered...
  • a general introduction including the biology, nocturnal lifestyle and 'the social badger',
  • food sources;
  • badger noises;
  • territories;
  • badger paths;
  • setts;
  • hole comparison;
  • scratch marks;
  • foot prints;
  • Latrines, droppings and Urine;
  • Badger Bones;
  • Badger Watching and
  • Badger Sett Recording.
It was then time for a quick snack before setting off for the 'practical' part of the day.
We headed off into Spring Wood. Off the main pathway we were asked to search a particular area and to note what we found.
To cut a long story short, it was a rabbit warren and evidence was discussed providing an overview of what we should have noticed and how we could confirm that it was indeed rabbits!
We then moved on to an active Sett.

Sand had been placed the day before with the hope of getting foot prints. No luck there but, we found badger hair and noted the loose soil and rocks at the mouth of a well worn entrance.
Latrines were also found...

Some of the group then left us while the rest headed off to another wood and a second sett.
Crossing typical badger feeding grounds,

sloping well grazed fields, we entered the second woodland.

Further investigation gave us increased confidence as we correctly identified active and inactive entrances.

One of the highlights was the discovery of a wasps nest that badgers had ripped open in an attempt to eat the grubs.

Repairs were underway, as can be seen from the picture below.
We returned via part of the 'Lancashire Trail', past ruined farms and over fields.

The ranger was pleased that Chris was keen to help them in West Lancashire, an area they had little knowledge of. So armed with 'Sett Initial Visit Record' sheets and 'Guidelines for monitoring badger setts' we set off for home. Chris has to email the badger-group to register 'our' interest. Watch this space.
At home we waited for Sister Lynn, brother-in-law Pete and Father. They were coming to stay for a few days. I'll let Lynn describe the journey in her blogg, as she has first hand experience!
They had to leave the M6, because it had been closed, and there were no signs to help them find their way.

Blogged with Flock

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Southport Show and Maps

We decided today that the weather was too unpredictable and we would be better off visiting "The show"! It hasn't been something we had considered doing since moving here in 1989 but it was an interesting experience. The theme was "music" and some of the exhibitors had been very imaginative. Displays included an Octopus's garden (seen above), Lucy in the Sky..., Strawberry Fields, Abbey Road etc. I particularly liked the displays of ferns and grasses as well as the Bonsai (again one included in the image above).
Rather than putting each photograph in separately I decided to do two collages; I hope this gives a feeling of the exhibits I liked and the range of things on view.

As you can see above there were other things to view than plants and fruit and vegetables. I've included one bird of prey especially for Madeline and Ben. Chris purchased a new bag (black leather) and as the weather deteriorated we headed back home so that I could watch the clash between Liverpool and Chelsea. A 1-1 draw.
Maps: - It seems as if some people like looking at the maps of our walks so I've added the two I've missed...

Blogged with Flock

Monday, August 13, 2007

Pinhaw Beacon

Today we mainly walked in the rain!
Our arrival for the walk was delayed by a cycle race...

...which involved most of the British Police Force stopping us, and others, from proceeding with their journey.
It isn't often that we have rain when we are out walking but today we had three or four sharp showers.
The 7.5 mile walk started and finished in Thornton-in-Craven. In spite of the rain the walk took us through heather, not quite at its best, up onto Pinhaw Beacon (1273 feet; we climbed about 950 feet)

The route was easy to follow, across open fields, through plantations, across moorland along ravines and, we were pleased to say, avoided steep gradients.
Part of the walk was shared by the Pennine Way with its paved paths and duckboards.

It had been some time since we had last visited Thornton-in-Craven (The end of the Lancashire Trail) but I did remember the 'Farm' with its cafe; we visited for food and drink but decided not to look round at £4 a head. Chris spotted a Llama, some sheepdog puppies and a lamb with a limp! Our journey home took an unusual route; the M65 was closed (so not all the police were with the cycle race!) because of an incident. We still don't know what the 'incident was but the motorway was not an option. An enjoyable walk which you will find as walk 18 in Jack Keighley's Book Walks in Dales Country (Yes Lisa it was the book you bought at Christmas!)

Pennington Flash

Last Sunday we decided to re-visit Pennington Flash; a short walk to 'break-in' my new walking boots. The last time we visited we were doing the RSPB bird watch (February'ish); we think it was probably 2years ago.
Carvings were the main highlight of this particular walk...

The kingfisher was the first one we spotted but...

...made Chris jump as she spotted it out of the corner of her eye as we headed towards a hide.


...were two others found on the walk.
The Flash was formed by mining subsidence; the vast amounts of coal extracted by local collieries (all now closed) eventually caused the land to sink and by 1905 a large lake had formed. The Flash was larger than it is today. It was partly filled with colliery waste creating the spoil heap between the Flash and the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, known as Ramsdale's Ruck.
The southern part of the Flash was filled with 'domestic waste' to prevent the regular flooding of St Helens Road.

During the 1960's and 70's ideas for developing the site for recreation and conservation began to emerge and in 1981 Pennington Flash Country Park was officially opened.

Blogged with Flock

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Done and dusted!

The End!
A grand total of 48.3605 miles through the Pennines - THE BRONTE WAY- including a detour to Top Withens (Wuthering Heights)
Having used the Paul Hannon Giide, I see little point in rewriting what is already an excellent guide. (£4:50 ISBN 1-870141-56-3 Publisher Hillside)
We walked for five days.
Day 1 started at Oakwell Hall...

...and headed for Shelf (10.8021 miles) This included a brief visit to Red House

...that featured as Briarmains in Shirley and Clough House to which Patrick Bronte came after his marriage to Maria Branwell in 1812...

The map of our first days walk can be viewed at
Day 2 - from Shelf to Wycoller (11.6753 miles)
This included visiting...

...the remains of the Bell Chapel (1612); the parish church when the Rev Patrick Bronte came from Hartshead in 1815.

Above is where they lived; now numbers 72 and 74
The map of our second days walk can be viewed at
Day 3 was a day of rest where we revisited Oakwell Hall, and the Red House; Ponden Mill was also visited for a snack and general 'nose'.
Day 4 was Haworth to Wycoller
We set off from our hotel...

...The Old White Lion situated at the top of Haworth High Street which was steep, and cobbled;

...making the hills in San Francisco quite insignificant!

Bronte Bridge and Bronte Falls (almost missed them as they were small to say the least) on our way to Top Withens...

...the inspiration for Wuthering Heights. Next we passed...

Ponden Hall where Emily visited the Heaton family; portrayed the house as Thrushcross Grange, the Linton home in Wuthering Heights. Eventually we arrived at what remains of...

Wycoller Hall, a 16th century country house. It is thought to have been the Ferndean Manor of Charlotte's Jane Eyre.
The map of our third days walk can be viewed at
Day Five we split up the last section into two parts; today we walked from Wycoller to a carpark next to the River Brun after which Burnley got its name.
We decided to give bothLumb Spout and Boulsworth Hill a miss (we had seen and walked to and up onto on previous walks; they were optional detours) We could see, for most of the first part of the walk...

Pendle Hill; Melanie will remember it as being far too steep, Ben because he insisted on bringing down a large stone which he painted sheep on. Chris and i because it was part of the Lancashire Trail among other walks.
We had lunch beside Thursden Brook a lovely setting, next to a footbridge...

No real Bronte influence today just wild and beautiful countryside.
The map of our fourth days walk can be viewed at
Day 6 - We explored the "Bronte Haworth"

and played at "Railway Children"

The Bronte Parsonage Museum, home for the Brontes from 1820 to 1861, is well worth a visit...

Day 7: The final walk
From the River Brunt to Gawthorpe Hall
Considering how close we were to a very large population the urban effects were minimal.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal passing...

Byerden Holme eventually brought us to the end of a truly spectacular walk. We were luck with the weather, the hotel, food, drink, wildlife (flora and fauna), and the Bronte family.
The map of our fifth days walk can be viewed at
All good things come to an end and Chris is back in work tomorrow and I'm back on Monday.

Blogged with Flock