Saturday, 3 September 2011

Gone but not forgotten

The title refers to me I hope ....  I haven't written a thing here since I got home in April.  I have been writing now and then in my other three(!!!!) blogs.  Not that I am offering that as a reason for writing nothing here  I swear there never seems to be the (right) time for it.  I am mentally 'writing' all the time and come up with wonderful passages and thoughts and arguments which I really must try to get down on paper but they drift away and the days move on.

The purpose of this tiny piece is to direct you to some new albums and a new blog and to promise (yet again) to make a real effort to come and talk to you soon.

A week ago we got home from a week in Alston, Cumbria.  Its claim to fame is that it is the highest market town in the UK and that it is 20 miles from any decent size town in any direction.  We discovered that it lives up to both these claims.  The driving was stupendous - mile after mile of views across half the county whilst climbing up moors along twisty and often narrow roads. The only other risks to life and limb were the bikers - motor and pedal - who obviously have this area marked as their ultimate challenge ride.  One of the roads (A686) lays claim to being the most scenic in the UK (!).

While staying at Love Lady Shield Hotel we visited a couple of NGS gardens (photo links for those are in my garden blog), a couple of NT places - Aira Force and Gibside and a great two-for-one Gardeners World offer - Hutton in the Forest.  So there's a bunch of photos for you to have a go at here if you are interested.

The apartment we rented we got through a Living Social offer (like Groupon if you've heard of that), so for a couple of hundred pounds we (and sometimes four of us) had a week in something which normally costs six hundred (can't be bad).  It was really, really nice -  a new, very spacious two bedroomed place, lacking nothing - for the normal person that is.  You are listening to a woman here who takes her own Dutch oven and chef's knife with her.  I won't list the other three thousand items we also took so I 'could manage' to cook.  I was not made for camping.

We went to Aira Force on Monday (two days into the stay) and guess who fell down the steps to the fall (well named) - yup!  I had scrambled up half a mountain on vertical uneven scrabbly paths, arrived at the summit with a glimpse of the falls.  At this point the National Trust have kindly constructed some sturdy, nice and even steps down to the bottom so you can get terrific views.  Three steps down and down she goes.  One hurt back, two arms and a leg.  I now have a head, trunk and one leg that function without pain.  This combination does not lend itself to much.  The rest of the week was spent doing short hobbles round places like Gibside and Hutton in the forest whilst others gambolled off to have fun. I didn't do too badly at Hutton as it was at the end of the week but I pretty much missed the 18th century splendour of the remains of Gibside so I can't extol the virtues of that place.  It was nice for a picnic in the sun though.  The temple is also incredibly beautiful and there is the (sad) fantastic story of Lady Mary Eleanor Bowes.- one of the Queen Mother's ancestors.

We also visited quite a few ice cream shops as my daughter and my other half make it their duty to find anything vaguely ice cream and home made wherever we are.  No photo albums for those though.  All in all we had a good week and the weather was kind to us.

I'll leave you to the photos and hope to come back soon for a natter.

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