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Archive for the ‘Saturday Walk’ Category

I took advantage of an unusually dry day today,  to take a bus up to the top of Varley Road (I wasn’t walking up; it’s too steep, too busy and there are no footpaths) and I then walked along Chain Road (B6107) to Marsden.  The views from up here are tremendous and now that we’re a good way into August the heather is beginning to populate the hillsides and tops.  Along with the purple thistles, and other pink/white flowering wild flowers – the colours are just beautiful.

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There is a slightly higher route, on Marsden Moor proper, alongside the water channels originally designed to move water to and from Deerhill and Butterly reservoirs, but I fancied the road route as I would return to Slaithwaite along the canal.

The canal was wet and muddy after all the rain and in places, showed signs of having been flooded at some point. Still the rain stayed off and I had a pleasant five-mile walk.

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When the weather is nice here in the UK, we can experience the most wonderful scenery. From where we live, rugged countryside is never more than a few minutes away.

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I’ve used Google Maps a lot over the years. But recent updates may prevent me using them as much.

Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 18.25.59When this mapping service introduced street view, perhaps a thousand years ago, it was really exciting. We were planning our trip of a lifetime across America and to see Seattle, San Fransisco and Apalachicola at ground level was phenomenal. It took a while for us to see bits of the UK but whilst we waited, holidats in France were also planned. Well done Google with street view, perhaps you could do Germany some time soon?

However, my main use of Google maps has been to detail walks I’ve made (originally on Saturdays – hence Saturday Walks) with my friend (and over a thousand years ago – best man) John Rousell and sometimes others – Example. Some of these walks (most of these walks) avoid roads and a good while is spent walking across country. With the ability to ‘draw a line’ across the map, it was easy to record the walk and to assess the distance walked.  However, the update, whilst purporting to ‘Add walking route’ seems to assume that the ‘walk’ will be along the roadside and refuses to cross country and follow MY (the user!)’s route.

I really don’t have a problem with progress – it might seem that I have, because many ‘new’ ‘updates’ are put forward as that – progress. But they are often just ‘new’ and not often so progressive. Developers often forget the user and concentrate on the advertisers. I’m sure (please tell me I’m wrong Mr. Google) that the better, shinier, superb updates to the mapping service are just to make it easier for advertisers to place links to their businesses on the map.

Go on tell me I’m wrong – then put the ability to ‘walk’ across the map back like it used to be.

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two bikes, two blokesThis week I have done two things that I haven’t done for five years or more.

The first thing, and I only mention it first so I can get it out of the way, was a visit to Burger King for what used to be called a Spicy Bean Burger meal. It certainly isn’t the spicy bean burger I used to get there anymore. Let me say right now, that wherever possible I avoid burger joints like the plague – I detest everything they stand for, but the one oasis I used to find amongst these purveyors of saturated fat and hormone fed beef was a Burger King Spicy Bean Burger. No longer!

What they served yesterday was not one but two of the most flavourless and textureless patties of cack I’ve ever eaten. They came wrapped in a soggy bun that will forever taint my understanding of the word ‘bread’. Had I known before I risked eating here again, I could have had a home made pie with hand cut chips and mushy peas for less in a pub up the road. Shameful.

The other thing I’ve done this week for the first time in many years is to go for a ride on my mountain bike. I used to ride my bike quite a lot once. John and I have even been known to cycle from Barmouth in Wales to Great Yarmouth – the widest coast-to-coast route.

Picture of Sir nigel Gresley's Mallard locomotiveI have no real excuse for not riding my bike for so long, it just seemed to slip right to the bottom of my things to do. Urged on by John and Jim, I had the bike serviced in summer last year but then weather, work and holidays prevented me from riding it then. So, this spring I was full of hope that the bike would be ready for use without any more servicing. And, apart from a bit of air in the tyres it was ready to go.

I’d bought a new cycle rack the other week; one that sits on the tow-bar and doesn’t damage the paintwork like my other one did. It just clips on, so I drove to John’s house, loaded his bike behind mine and drove to Silkstone Common, where we joined the Trans Pennine Trail. For my first outing, we didn’t go all that far, just about eight miles to Wombwell and back, but the trail was quite interesting. It crosses the M1 just below junction 37 along the route of an old railway track. Although it seemed fairly level on our way to Wombwell, we certainly felt the incline upon our return. Apparently Sir Nigel Gresley, designer of The Mallard, was called in to help develop engines that could cope with the 1:40 slope that covers 2½ miles of the track.

It was a great trip, but now my bum feels like it’s grown two small broom handles for me to sit on J. But they will go and they will become less painful each time they appear following future rides.

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I’d initially thought that I’d call this short post ‘dirty bastards’ but I’m not sure that would have been exactly right. Lazy is a truer description of the dog owners who scoop up their dog poo into tiny plastic bags (so far so good – not too dirty then?) and then throw the plastic bags into the undergrowth.

Lazy, thoughtless bastards!!!!

This is something that has taxed me for a while. I go for a walk with John Rousell every Saturday I can (hence the blog title) and at other times, I walk whenever and as often as I can. I like walking and it helps to keep me fit. However, more and more, I see these tiny plastic parcels along my route.

My routes vary. Over the year, John and I will cover most of Kirklees and some of the surrounding areas; we have apple tree walks, canal walks, reminiscences walks (around areas we used to live) – pretty much all kinds of walk across a variety of terrains. And as we walk we see more and more of those little plastic bags of dog shit.

Surely it would be better to just let the dog crap and walk away? At least the canine faecal matter will degrade at some time – the plastic won’t!  Not that that’s the answer – I actually applaud those dog owners who have the care and commitment to carry shit collecting equipment with them and to take the dog poo away with them for proper disposal.

But those dog owners who just chuck the shitbags away are lazy, thoughtless, ignorant bastards.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/crustyscumbrothersontour/2065702929/ Thanks for using creative commons.

 

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Fresh Fruit

Since discussing fresh, free, fruit before (http://bit.ly/r8WPnK and http://bit.ly/qtyNkb), John and I have done quite a bit of fruit scouting on our (usually regular) intermittent Saturday walks. We started ‘clocking’ wild (or at least, in the public domain) fruit trees last autumn and have spent this late summer, checking them out.

We started picking some apples about a month ago around the area where my grandma used to live (now waste ground), on Willow Lane and they are fabulously sweet but quite small. Yesterday we decided to start picking the others!

There’s a beauty down by the Incinerator that’s easy to climb and ripe for picking. There’s another at the end of 15 arches that has tiny but sweet, bright red apples and yet another just by our parking spot on King’s Mill Lane. Furthermore, my grandma’s tree is still full of fruit – so yesterdays’ haul was a big bag of apples each!

Today, I washed and dried all of the unblemished ones and wrapped them in newspaper – they can wait in the garage until I’m ready for them. The damaged and blemished ones have now been peeled and cooked for sauce (and or anything else).

Free food? Fabulous!

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Each year, in early October, we troll up to Marsden for the Jazz Festival. Most years, the weather lets us down and this year was no different. It’s not a ‘big’ issue, as many of the bands are playing indoors, but there are many more outdoor activities that are spoiled by the weather.

However, one regular outdoor activity amused me this weekend.

We’d been joined this year by Martin and Lin (MJF virgins) along with Karen and Dave, old festival hands. On Jazz Weekend Saturday, at 12.00 noon, there is always a Jazz Parade with the Red Rose Brass Band. This begins at the top of Peel Street, where it joins the A62. We all sheltered from the rain inside the New Inn on Manchester Road, and waited for the parade to start. One benefit of this move was that they sell Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, my favourite draught beer.

Anyway, the parade got started just after 12.00 noon and folk started to move around Marsden with the band. They play a New Orleans type Jazz as they mozzie on down, followed by school children all dancing in some kind of synchronised rhythm. Onlookers also follow the parade all the way around the village, including me. The amusing bit came when the band took a wrong turning and instead of heading for the underpass, they headed for the A62.

Now, the A62 (Manchester Road) isn’t what it was before being replaced by the M62 about forty years ago but it is still a busy arterial road between Yorkshire and Lancashire – even on a weekend. After much debate, the young copper charged with traffic control had to step in and stop the traffic from moving along this busy road while the parade passed. It wasn’t planned and was all the more amusing therefore when some of those car drivers stopped (for about five minutes!) chunttered about it.

It took me back to France, where they close down whole towns to allow this type of thing to happen. Just this year, in Montbron, they had decided to have a night market and closed down all of the through roads to allow it to happen. Tough if you didn’t know your way around. As I say – tough.

The rest of the festival has proceeded in its musical, damp way. I’ve just dropped Martin and Lin off in Marsden. I’ll pop back in an hour with John and Carol and watch/listen to Backwater Blues at The Shakespeare Inn on Peel Street! We’re all back here for dinner tonight. 🙂

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Tapas

picture of tapasTonight I made Tapas.  Not necessarily anything a Spaniard would recognise, but tapas nevertheless.

I’d been out walking this morning with John, and for the second week running, with Jim. Jim’s news this week was much better – he’d feared the melanoma found on his now non-existent thumb tip would have spread far and wide, but after checking four lymph nodes – he’s been given a cautious all clear.

We took my bike to Mirfield for a service/repair, and then walked on sundry routes back to Huddersfield, taking in all of the canal from Battyeford through to the University’s Aspley Goit! Then a train back to Mirfield to pick up the car and job done.

I’d planned the tapas around three dishes; Patatas Bravas, Italian Meatballs, and Feta and Bacon Salad (with cucumber and cherry tomatoes, lightly minted), but in the end we also had beef tomato bruchetta and the last piece of last night’s pizza (which Sharon made with fresh dough and home made sauce). I cheated with the patatas bravas and used some sauce from a jar; the meatballs I made earlier in the week. It was a delightful meal.

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