A wet walk along the canal.

Horses and Canal stitch

Yesterday, we set off with the heartbeat gang on a walk along the canal at Mirfield. Because of my illness and also the rotten weather, we haven’t been on one of these walks for ages, and it certainly showed! The others left us for standing, and as usual the weather spoiled itself by throwing it down! Luckily I had had the foresight to take my brolly along, as a second sense told me that as soon as he who is in charge of the weather knew I was out and about, he’d send the rain. Happens every time! (somebody up there doesn’t like me!)  Kerri fell further and further behind, but T said he would stay with her and encouraged me to catch up to the others but I couldn’t do it. 

We three turned around at the ford across the canal, and then slowly made our return. By this time, the rain cloud had disappeared, and the sun came out amongst the fluffy clouds. It was perfect apart from all the puddles and mud that was now adorning the towpath.  Nevertheless, it was lovely to be with the gang again, and we eventually arrived at one of our favourite lunch venues, the Railway Inn, where we enjoyed a very tasty lunch. I had a Turkey dinner and Kerri had a burger meal. All for £4.99 each.  We swilled that down with an Appletizer and Soda with ice. 

Some of our walking friends who live not far from us offered to give us a lift home which we very gratefully accepted.

Here are the pictures taken on our walk along the canal.  Hope that you enjoy them.

TG

This blog post created solely with Live Writer, the best blogging editor you can get bar none! Save our Writer!

Throwing caution to the winds.

Is anyone else diving out the door at the first opportunity whenever the sun peers through the clouds or is it just me? Following the lousy summer we’ve had so far, I simply can’t bear to waste a moment of it. Throwing caution to the winds and not caring if I looked like mutton dressed as lamb, I even went as far as donning my pedal pusher trousers and my open toed sandals. Even the raincoat and umbrella were left at home!  Foolhardy? Tempting fate? Once again my destination was the doctors and I had allowed a good half hour for my walk down. I can walk a lot faster when K is not with me. She is going swimming this morning with Day Care and I confess that I really envied her as she set off. 

For once I had remembered to grab my watch but a quick glance reminded me that I hadn’t made allowances for the frequent stops along the way I was tend to make these days taking snaps with my phone. I had to adjust my walking speed accordingly and although my doctor is always running late, the one time that I risk it and arrive late will probably be the one time that she is running to time. It’s a gorgeous day. Everyone I pass seem so cheerful.

Good morning! Isn’t it lovely to be out in the sunshine?”

Yes, and not before time!” I reply.

Following my stint at the doctors, I pick up my prescription and saunter down to town, no longer having to rush. Nearly every person I encounter is dressed either in shorts or cool summer clothes. Its so colourful after the dingy sight we’ve all become used to of raincoats, umbrellas and the like. I linger outside Websters furniture shop, peering in the windows at their recliner suites and chairs. I ponder for what must be the hundredth time on how they manage to be about the only shop in Brighouse that has survived. I have yet to see any customers in the shop purchasing anything. Most of their stock is very expensive and yes, okay, the best quality, but this is hardly what I would consider an affluent area. Yet I reason to myself, someone must be buying it for whilst other shops have died a death in our town, Websters marches on.

Merrie England scrumptious home made apple pie.

I enter Merrie England and stand at the ‘take away’ part of the counter to order a Turkey Salad on Gluten free bread. As usual, its quite full and there are probably as many customers sat outside in the back area enjoying the sunshine.  I was tempted to linger myself and have one of their delicious decaff cappuccino’s but had second thoughts, seeing as I intend to walk home and not waste any of this glorious sunshine. Trouble is, I am stood directly opposite the display of their fantastic home made apple pies, which are sorely testing my willpower. At last she hands me my sandwich, I pay and saunter on to Hartley’s bread shop for K’s order of a Chicken Tikka and onion sandwich with salad cream on white bread. (Yes, she has strange tastes, my daughter.)  I also purchase a side salad for my lunch and a piece of Quiche.

My walk home is very enjoyable, I’m in no hurry and anyway, its slightly uphill with some steep bits, so I take my time, greeting people who are busy in their gardens as I pass. We’re all mostly a friendly bunch, its one of the reason’s I like living here, practically everyone knows everyone else and that’s the way I like it. By the time I arrive back home, I’m lathered and have to open most of the windows to compensate. I’d much rather be too hot than cold though, and I quickly set too making my Quiche and salad lunch. It’s been so enjoyable, being able to throw caution to the winds for once and leave that blasted umbrella at home!

Technogran

A Walking Disaster.

 

Elland Bridge

On Saturday we decided to through caution to the winds, cock a snook at the constant rain and risk going on a walk along the canal.  Suitably armed with umbrellas and raincoats and optimism that the rain would hold off just for one morning, we set off to catch the E8 bus and alighted at Elland bridge for the beginning of the walk.  We have done this particular walk many times, its a pleasant enough walk along the canal towpath just as long as you don’t happen to be deaf.  If so, you are in constant danger of being run down by the numerous cyclists who seem to consider these canal towpaths as their domain.  They are requested to ring their bells twice in order to alert walkers to their impending presence, but this rule takes for granted that walkers are not hard of hearing and are able to move swiftly aside to let the bikers through.

As we began our walk, I felt quite optimistic, there was actually some blue sky to be seen and it was reasonably warm into the bargain, a good day for a walk I thought. Then we reached the canal towpath and my heart sank.  Despite the fact that the towpath along this stretch of canal is tarmacked, it was covered in a layer of thick slimy mud. It looked like someone had tried to cover the path with thick brown chocolate.  It stretched along the towpath in front of us for at least 4 or 5 metres or so.

Thick oozing mud Now anyone in their right mind would have turned around at this point and beat a hasty retreat back to the mud free road and called it a day.  Any sane mother with an ounce of brain who can recall how her daughter is none too happy walking on anything but a flat surface, and who has endured previous slides and falls in just a tiny patch of mud would have turned back at the sight of it all.  But readers, you all know me by now!  Never one to be beaten by an insurmountable quest such as thick sticky mud, I simply took hold of her hand and we both gingerly plodded our way through the first mud patch.  In my defence, I was reasoning that it was only this patch, after all (I reasoned) this path was tarmacked so it was surely just this area, and we would soon be walking on a nice dry tarmacked surface as we continued our way onward back to town.

We ploughed our way through the next patch, even deeper and stickier and harder to get through than the last one.  I couldn’t understand it!  What had caused this mud to appear on the canal path? As we struggled on, both of our shoes began to become covered up to the laces with slimy gooey mud, and we made some vain attempts to get it off with grass, puddles anything bar dangling our feet into the canal, and at one point I have to confess that I did even consider doing just that.  By now, we had reached a sort of en passé.  In front was yet another huge patch of thick mud, but behind us were all those patches that we had just struggled through.  A vivid illustration of being between a rock and a hard place I thought to myself, as I looked guiltily at my daughter clutching grimly to the fence at the side of the mud covered path.  What sort of mother was I?  Dragging her Down’s Syndrome daughter on one perilous venture after another, and for one horrible moment I remembered the nightmare incident where I foolishly took her up the 275 spiral staircase steps in the York Minster tower and how that incident had left me with nightmares!

The lesser of two evils was to negotiate this last patch as there was a canal lock where we could hopefully get back onto the main road. As I stood there contemplating which was the best way forward, two cyclists rode past us, churning through the mud with their bikes as if it was the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Ah hah!  Now it all fell into place!  This stretch of the canal is a very well used route by cyclists, so maybe they were the reason why the mud was all over the path!  They were covered in it, all the way up their legs, but the bikes went through it like a knife through butter.  Meanwhile, we squelched our way through the remaining patch of mud, walked across the lock gates and out onto the main road. 

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We must have both looked a sight, with mud covered shoes on! Luckily there was a pipe gushing water out further up the road, so we both stuck our shoes under it to hopefully remove most of the mud. I had some tissues on me and we did manage to get quite a lot of the mud from each shoe, before continuing our walk along the road which is not a easy task in itself.  Elland Road is a very busy road, lined with trees on either side and snaking continuously as it does from left to right, and yet for some strange reason,  everyone seems to drive like lunatics on this particular stretch of road despite the poor visibility around corners.  It has always been a notorious road for accidents, and I was more than a little apprehensive as we both walked along. The pavement isn’t all that wide either, so eventually I rang our local taxi service to come and collect us to take us the rest of the way back into town. 

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We decided to have our lunch in Wetherspoons for a change, and as we sat waiting for our meal, mud stained shoes tucked under the table in the vain hope that no one else would notice them, I went over in my mind the whole mornings adventures.  Instead of being thwarted by the weather as we had expected, we had ended up being stopped in our tracks by mud, thick mud of the kind that I had never seen before in my entire life, probably churned up by all the cyclists who were probably revelling in it.  And for me a stark and valuable lesson. Stop being such an idiot and admit defeat when its staring you in the face, and stop dragging your daughter through impossible tasks!  I rewarded her for her all her endeavours with a luscious chocolate sundae! 

Not a lot of photos I’m afraid, as I was far too busy helping Kerri and myself stay upright to take many pics.

TG Confused smile

Over the hump.

As planned by my daughter the day before, we set off after breakfast towards the entertainment centre where the four wheeled bikes were kept. She kept insisting that some of them were go-karts, which she has recently been apparently excelling at whilst with Day Care.  I kept trying to explain that some were actually four seater bikes which had two pedal powered seats at the rear for adults, and two smaller seats on the front for children. Because these sort of bikes had steering wheels rather than handle bars, she considered they were not bikes but go karts.

Pedal pushers.

The bike that we hired had only one wheel at the front so it was actually a trike of sorts. As the first leg of our journey was to be downhill, I insisted that I took charge of the steering (these bikes can really shift downhill!) but once we arrived on the flat, making any progress   took on a different perspective entirely.

Speed ‘bumps’ or humps were placed strategically along the path to stop any foolish car driver from exceeding the speed limit of 10 mile per hour and running over unsuspecting campers as they sauntered along it, or even worse, colliding with foolish  novice peddlers out for a spin on one of the parks bikes.  Once we reached the flat, we ground to a halt at the first speed hump we encountered, and I then spent most of my time pushing and shoving at the back of the bike whilst Kerri made some vain attempts to steer and keep us on the path. She does tend to suffer from a certain amount of delusion where being able to drive is concerned.  She insists that she could jump into any vehicle tomorrow and drive away safely, easily able to handle steering, changing gear, the car itself, mirrors etc. It’s all a piece of cake in her mind, whereas in reality, as I discovered as I very nearly did myself an injury at the rear, she happily steered us into the grass and between the vans, colliding with refuse bins and so on in the process.

As I began to recall from my younger days spent as children at Wallis’s holiday camp at Cayton Bay Scarborough, these vehicles are fine when you are travelling downhill but sadly come to a grinding halt on any other type of surface, where even if you are lucky enough to be accompanied by someone who has very powerful pedalling legs, they are really hard to move. They seem to become virtual tanks, weighing tons with no means to enable any motion from the pedals at all.  Nor did it help that the one in charge of steering whilst I battled to get the bike to move forward, couldn’t even keep it on the relatively smooth path.  My legs were aching, my back was aching and so before I fell to the floor with exhaustion I threw in the towel in defeat and we limped back (well, I limped, she rode) to the hire area and parked up the bike.

By now I was about ready to pass out, so we had a welcome cup of coffee in the small cafe nearby so that I could get my strength back. For lunch we decided to take the reverse walk down the cliff path down to the Bluff Inn. As you can see from this photo that Kerri took, I’m still managing to remain upright and smiling despite my ordeal earlier.

A sunny smile from Mum.

We had our lunch in the Bluff Inn and on our return up the road back to camp, we met a lady who was obviously staying in one of the holiday villas that line the road up from the Inn to the Park. She was about to take a gorgeous long haired white Alsatian dog out for his walk. Kerri and I stopped to admire him and in our usual fashion we asked her about him. He was only eight months old and already quite large. I made her laugh by saying that if he was mine, I would have called him Ghost after the white wolf owned by Jon Snow in the Game of Thrones series.  Kerri took some photos of him as did I.  As with all young dogs, he was very skittish and didn’t know what to look at next!

So far, we hadn’t really ventured from the holiday park, but as the bus service from the park left a lot to be desired, we were somewhat handicapped as to venturing any distance. They didn’t arrive outside the park until 8.45am at the earliest (to Penzance) and the last bus was about 18.00pm! Not a lot of time to enjoy a day out further afield.  We went for another swim in the pool later that afternoon, and then made plans to visit St Ives the following day.

I’m enclosing  some more photos of our day which you can view as a slideshow by clicking on them.

TG

A Walk around Coley.

 

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Watch out for the horses!

Yesterdays walk was a strange one in that right up until the very last minute, we didn’t know where we were going to begin or end up. We had planned to go with the Heartbeat gang as usual, but one of the walk leaders contacted me to state that he didn’t think it would be suitable for Kerri as there were quite a few steep and very muddy sections to climb, a combination that has tended to spell disaster in the past with Kerri ending up covered in mud after a slip and fall.

At the last minute, I suggested that we walked from Coley church via Coley Hall Lane. It’s a relatively flat walk down a bridle path that I knew wouldn’t be muddy. We would eventually emerge at Leeds/Whitehall road where we would either walk through the golf course or continue down the road to Lightcliffe and our lunch venue, the Sun Inn.

We caught the 10.15am bus to Coley which dropped us off conveniently right outside the church. I had hoped that Kerri would be rewarded with some close encounters of horse and riders out for a walk, seeing as Coley Hall Lane is a bridle path,  and even before we had reached the Coley Hall Lane entrance we encountered three ladies out for a ride with their mounts. Pleasantries were exchanged and as always she was eager to learn the names of the horses. Following that encounter we began our walk. It was a very pleasant day weather wise, not too hot for walking, and although Kerri does find the going tough over rough surfaces, we still managed to make good progress.

View from Coley Hall Lane

It was such a clear day that you could see Emley Moor transmitter over in the far distance. Strangely enough there were quite a few people also using this route, three young ladies went jogging past us, two or three people were taking their dogs for a walk, and one remarked that it was unusual for this lane to be so busy! There aren’t all that many homes on this route either, but what there are are really very attractive, with quite a few  barn conversions and the lovely cottages. It was so peaceful and quiet as well without the usual vehicle traffic.

love this house.

We could have continued onto Norwood Green which was forming part of the mornings walk for the rest of the Heartbeat crew, but we had already decided that we would head towards Lightcliffe instead. We passed a horse training yard where a lady was busy training a horse and Kerri was rewarded with the sight of many horses grazing in the field next to it. As we neared the end of this road, we again met the three ladies out riding who had obviously done a circuit tour and were on their return journey. They were followed by some more younger riders who stopped to have a chat. Kerri was in her element!

Too busy grazing

 Crossing over Leeds road by the White Horse Inn, no easy task by the way, as its a very busy road, we continued down Knowle Top road and then onward to the Sun Inn at Lightcliffe for our lunch. By the time we arrived it was only 11.30am so we enjoyed a relaxing drink as we waited for our meal.

I plan to do this walk again at some time in the near future, probably making  a longer and more circular route by starting at the White Horse Inn and eventually ending back there for lunch.  Enjoy the photos taken as we journeyed along, and I hope you enjoyed our walk as much as we did.

TG

This blog composed and edited in Live Writer.

A lonesome Easter walk.

I’ve been on a walk. A rather lonesome walk taken to blow some of the cobwebs of indoors away and freshen up my lungs. A walk I have taken alone before and one that is fairly safe for a lone female, passing as it does amongst bungalows and houses full of people no doubt making the best of their Easter break.

Firstly I briskly walk past the ponies in the field stood waiting for their treats from passing children and their parents. The weather overhead is cloudy with occasional glimpses of a weak sun trying desperately to battle its way through. A gentle wind tugs at the ponies mane as he patently waits at the fence.

Windswept pony

I cross the road and begin the climb up Catherine Slack. Every time I walk up this road I always wonder who she was. A woman of ill repute? There are many Catherine Slacks available if you decide to do a search, she’s even on Facebook! Hmm.

I spy a bank of buttercups at the side of the road. If there are many buttercups its supposed to be a sign of a very hot summer…….or so my mother used to say.  One of the newly built houses is now for sale, though I can’t quite make out if its the show house or one that has not yet been completed. Whoever buys one will have some wonderful views across the valley.

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Continuing on past the golf course where you can enjoy a Sunday Carvery for £10 and get another free at the Rookery Restaurant. Tempting.  Onward towards my two favourite houses, one of which I will definitely buy if ever I am lucky enough to win the lottery.

Giles house is tucked away from the road in such a way that you cannot see it in all its glory without entering the gates and drive, where you would definitely be visible from the house and probably considered a trespasser or worse. Not wanting to be arrested for loitering I have had to resort to stealing this picture of the house from the internet where it was available to buy as recently as last year for about £900,000 and unfortunately as that is somewhat out of my current spending league I had to give it a miss. Still, there’s nought wrong with dreaming as they say…….

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Onward then past my other lovely house Lower Edge house, which is no doubt in the same price bracket, and then up the slight incline of Finkel Street. Where do some of these streets get their names from I wonder? A small white poodle stares out from one of the houses as I past by, so still that at first glance I take it for a china ornament.  Now I am on the homeward stretch going down towards the cemetery, which these days is looking so so forlorn and unkempt. I can remember when a head groundsman actually lived in the large house at the entrance and the whole cemetery was kept so tidy and well looked after. Now because of the usual cutbacks and other demands for council money, its become overgrown and full of weeds. Its such a shame. Its still there though, as a timely reminder to all who reside near its locale that none of us are here forever.

I arrive back at my abode, refreshed and ready for my lunch.

TG

The mystery of the old canal side ruin.

My post today is about one of our walks that we embarked upon a week or so ago. It’s a walk we have done many times before where we set off by joining the canal towpath at the side of the Barge and Barrel in Elland. It was a very pleasant spring day and we all set off at a steady pace along the canal towpath going in the direction of Halifax.

It’s not long before you pass an old crumbled ruin that stands on the far side of the canal bank. It’s an attractive ruin with its two almost church like windows staring out at you from across the water. There was obviously a third window but that has lost its curved mantle. The ruin is now overgrown with ivy entwined around its stonework, and through those glassless windows you can see only trees.

Why does it stand so empty and forlorn, left abandoned and forgotten on the bank of the canal? What was it built for? Was it a house? A factory? Someone spend their hard earned time building and crafting those arch windows that now peer out emptily over the water. Why?

I would love to investigate it further but in order to do so, I would have to approach it from the road which is out of view but behind the ruin. If it was some sort of factory, then it seems to have been quite a substantial one as remnants of its size can be seen further down on the far left of this photo.

The Ruin by the Canal stitch

It intrigues me every time our walk takes us past it. Doing some sleuthing online has allowed me to glean some information about the ruin.  It was a flour mill and was called Woodside Mill. As I had already concluded by the spread along the bank of the canal, it was quite a substantial building that stood between the canal and Halifax road. It actually stood 5 storeys high and in 1890 was the largest flour mill in Yorkshire. Here is a picture of it taken when it was in all its glory.

In this old photo its the very substantial building on the right. In the photo you can seen the river Calder snaking its way through the middle on the left of the canal. The mill was first owned by J.F. Milner (1890) and then Elland Flour Mills Limited from 1905. On Friday 4th March 1892 there was a dispute in the corn milling trade between the management and workers of J.F. Milner. Apparently a fire took place there on Monday, 22nd April 1907 which caused damage estimated at 2,000 to 3,000 pounds, quite a sum in those days.

In the photo above, you can also plainly see the cause of the demise of the canals as a method of transportation of goods. Yes, the railway steaming its way through the photo from left to right. Whether it was this that sealed the fate of this once huge building which had obviously been built alongside the canal for ease of transportation of its products remains to be seen.

Of course, during the summer months, the ruins are almost completely covered over with flora and the trees encroach almost entirely through those empty windows obliterating their stare across the canal.

How many feet used to walk behind those walls I wonder? How many people’s lives revolved around the Mill? How many bags of flour were produced and loaded onto those waiting barges, and what would be those workers thoughts if they could return and see it as it is now? As with any ruin I come across in my travels, I always wonder about the people who inhabited it, how they lived or worked and what life was like for them. Thanks to the Internet I’ve been able to find out at least a small amount of information about that intriguing ruin by the side of the canal.

TG

A Winters Walk.

We decided that rather than wait until today to go on our usual Saturday walk with Heartbeat, we would enjoy one yesterday instead. After all the sun was shining even if it was giving off no heat whatsoever, the sky was blue, what more can a walker ask for? We donned our warm winter coats and hats and set off in great spirits.  First stop down the hill was to chatter to a lady who was busy feeding the ponies in the field with wholemeal bread. She insisted that they loved it and I remarked that they were probably grateful for anything at all as the field in which they graze is more mud than grass at this time of year.

Then it was onward and upward up Catherine Slack where we could enjoy the view looking down onto Harrison’s Dairy farm below us. We spied a man walking quickly through the far field towards a huge fallen tree trunk where another man was waiting with a car. I surmised they were chopping and collecting firewood, but I could have been wrong.  At the top of Catherine Slack, I spied some colourful yellow crocus’s peeping out of the grass verge just outside the entrance to some new houses which are just being erected.

The first crocus

We continued onwards, past the golf course and had a brief pause whilst I took a quick shot of one of my favourite houses. Its not easy to get a shot of it as the frontage is obscured by a very high privet, so the only gap where you can take a picture is over the wall at the side, and even then you need to be standing on tiptoe. I love old houses such as this one and note the lovely little lamp on top of the wall.

Over the Wall

The next leg of the walk was through a narrow lane that runs behind the houses and which turned out to be quite muddy to negotiate. Mind you, most of the mud was frozen solid, but it took K all her time to walk from one end of the path to the other. She is never at her best on uneven surfaces despite all those walks she has done over the years. She heaved a sigh of relief once we joined the main road, and we both gathered pace towards some horses who were busy grazing in a nearby field further along the road.

He's big!

Despite the fact that she loves horses, she’s still very wary of stroking them as you can plainly see in this photograph.  He was quite a size I will admit, but he had made his way through acres of mud in order to greet us both at the wall and I was only sorry that we hadn’t any treats to give him.

Under the bridge.

Onward along the road and under the railway bridge to join the main road. The sky was an absolute unbroken blue by this stage of the day but the sun gave off no warmth at all. We had to stride out and keep moving in order to keep warm.

Cottages.

Onward past the park and school then past Lightcliffe church and this gorgeous row of cottages which again are some of my favourites and then down towards the old church tower opposite the Sun Inn. 

The old church tower.

Unbeknown to me, at the time that K and I were taking a short breather before tackling the rest of the journey home, my brother was not far from this spot walking his dog Willam down Bottom Hall which runs alongside this churchyard. We must have missed one another by minutes. Onward across the road and down passed both the Comprehensive school, where several buses were parked patiently waiting to take pupils back to their respective localities. As we walked past, some pupils were playing a game of hockey and we could clearly hear the clash of sticks echoing through the cold winters air. We began recalling playing hockey when we were at school, and getting frequently whacked around the ankles during a match!

Onward past the newly built Cliffe Hill junior school with its rather unusual modern design a far cry from how it looked all those years ago when I attended! Past the farm and a last photo of the small stream (I’m sure it used to be much wider than it is today when I was a youngster!) back up the hill past the ponies and back along the lower estate road to our humble abode.

Miniature stream

Coats and hats removed, shoes exchanged for comfy slippers and a nice hot cup of tea! That’s what life’s all about!

TG

Incognito.

I set off from the safety and privacy of my home.  With a furtive glance around as I lock the door, I step outside and walk swiftly along the estate paths with my hands tucked inside the pockets of my warm coat. Its chilly and despite the presence of the sun in a clear sky, it affords no warmth.  My face and cheeks quickly become chilled and my feet quicken on the ground as I walk past ‘the house that should have been mine if I’d won the lottery’. Someone is braving the cold conditions and hammering away nearby, the sound echoing eerily in the cold air. So far I have seen no one that knows me. So far so good.

Keeping up the pace, I quickly arrive at the narrow path that runs alongside the junior school. A lady is walking down in front of me, and in exactly the same way that I detest someone walking behind me, she keeps turning round to look at me as if to reassure herself that I am no threat to her.  I step up my speed with the intentions of passing her but as I draw alongside, she begins a conversation with me about the weather which moves onto how we both detest walking in the rain and then ends in the subject of people we both know who make the mistake of buying houses out in the middle of nowhere and the problems that can cause in winter. We part company in town and I continue on to my selected destination, the Merrie England Coffee shop. Before entering, I have to visit the cashpoint for some money as I find that my purse doesn’t actually contain  all that much in the way of coinage, and cups of cappuccino and sandwiches are unfortunately not free.

I enter the cafe and quickly glance around the tables that I am able to view from the doorway. Thankfully I don’t see any familiar faces, but from that viewpoint the whole seating area is not visible. However the seat where I had planned to sit in order to remain inconspicuous is occupied by a lady wearing  a red coat. The assistant, who is obviously a new girl as one of the older assistants is stood at her side showing her how to input items into the till, takes my order.

A large decaffeinated Cappuccino please and a Turkey and salad sandwich on Gluten free bread.’

None  of the assistants behind the counter seem to be giving me strange glances despite the fact that they know me by sight.  Nor do they seem particularly surprised by my unfamiliar appearance. My confidence grows. Still, I wish the lady in the corner seat at the far end would kindly get up and leave.  After receiving my coffee I am forced to sit down at a middle table as all the others are occupied.  I see someone I used to live near to sat at one of the far tables. She recognises me instantly and says hello with a smile. My nerves are on edge. In order to appear calm and collected I drink some of the coffee whilst waiting for my sandwich to arrive.  When it does, I enjoy it despite the fact that its really too early for lunch.  Another lady arrives that I am acquainted with and smiles a greeting. The lady in red sat in the far corner folds up her magazine that she was reading and leaves by the back door. I quickly pick up my half eaten sandwich and coffee and make my way to the corner bench seat.

Tucking myself right into the corner as if vainly trying to melt into the walls, I can now observe everyone whilst remaining fairly inconspicuous.  Or so I hope.  I’m feeling much more confident now. Those people who know me by sight have not stared or looked strangely at me, or worse looked shocked or burst into howls of laughter.  I finish eating my sandwich and spend the next few minutes scrutinizing the other occupants. At the opposite corner from me sits an elderly gentleman who rather reminds me of a cow chewing its cud seeing as his mouth is constantly making chewing movements, yet strangely I do not see any food on the table in front of him.  Perhaps this is some habit he has, perhaps he is always making chewing movements. I drink some more coffee which has by now gone cold. At the table directly next to me are three people, a man and two ladies. The ladies are sat on the bench seat next to the wall, whilst the man is seated opposite on a chair.  I don’t take in their conversation at all, despite the fact that I can hear it clearly as my mind is occupied elsewhere, mainly toying with the decision on whether or not to take full advantage of the sunshine and walk home rather than catch a bus.

Another lady who is familiar to me has sat down at a table directly in front of me and smiles as she does so.  My confidence is building with every single smile of recognition.  I check the time on my phone and leave the cafe with my usual ‘goodbye girls’ parting to the staff as I walk out of the door into the cold winter sunshine.  Having decided that I will walk home using an entirely different route I set off.  This route takes me along the main road but strangely I don’t see anyone I know.  It ends in a rather steep walk up a hill where I find myself beginning to flag a little and my aching back isn’t helping.  At last I arrive back home feeling really pleased with myself.  It has all gone far better than I had imagined!  What on earth had possessed me anyway? I have never considered myself to be vain at all, and to be so concerned about my appearance to others and what others would think, especially at my age, was in hindsight a complete mystery to me. I feel confident enough now to do the same tomorrow for our journey down to exercise class.

Having the confidence to face the world outside and let them see the new me, that’s all that was needed, so I’m so proud that today I plucked up the courage to go out without wearing my wig!

TG

A Lakeside Ramble.

Snow surround

Yesterday morning we set of for a walk which initially was intended to be around the entire area of Shibden Park. A cursory glance outside the window that morning dictated that we might both be wiser wearing our Ugg boots rather than our walking boots because the ground was covered in ice and looked extremely slippery to walk on. I find that walking boots are brilliant for muddy or wet slippery conditions, but not so useful for keeping one upright whenever its icy. Trouble was as it turned out, the boots that we decided to wear were not much of an improvement.

We had a terrible time during the trek through the local cemetery, ending up having to resort to walking along the grass adjacent to the path in order to make any headway. It didn’t help that we had a bus to catch. Arriving at the bus stop outside Shibden Park only to be greeted by a steep downhill walk covered in wet soggy leaves and sheets of ice didn’t fill us with enthusiasm either, and it was only my lifetimes experience of being a pedestrian that helped to get us safely down the hill without a fall. By using a tactic of carefully weaving our way through natures winter hazards did we make it safely to the car park, only to be greeted by a really icy covered path leading to the Cafe. Gripping the fence  which thankfully ran the whole way along it with both hands and stepping gingerly one careful step at a time was the only way to arrive safely at the Cafe door without taking a tumble, and we sat down to catch our breaths and enjoy a welcome hot drink. We were very early but catching the later bus would have meant that we would have arrived too late for the arranged meet up with the other walkers.

Setting Off

Although our reasons for braving the icy and thoroughly treacherous  conditions was questionable, we were far from being alone in being in the park in this weather. There were not only some dog walkers already walking along the skating rink like paths in the park, but also many families who had thrown caution to the winds and arrived with their offspring. Mind you, children do tend to enjoy this kind of weather and walking in icy conditions probably doesn’t hold the same fear for them because they haven’t as far to fall as adults. Even so, I did question in my head the sanity of the parents. After everyone foolhardy enough had gathered in the car park, and one member had done a quick reconnoitre to inspect the paths for the safest route, it was decided that the lower path was considered safe to walk on, and so after a brief wait whilst all those wearing  walking boots added Crampons to their soles, we finally set off.

I was mainly left to my own devices because daughter used her usual tactic whenever the ground is unsafe underfoot, and  hooked herself up with the nearest male she could find. At one point during the walk she had one on either side of her. As we circled the lake via the safe path I busied myself taking shots with my camera. The sky was clear and blue and the sun was shining down but not having al that much affect on melting the ice. The party broke into two at one point during the walk, when a few foolhardy souls took their life in their hands and decided to tackle a path which had the additional hazard of water melt running down it, we with more sense took a lower route which all though it was safer, ended up consisting of mud, twigs and wet leaves as it meandered through the trees.

Gulls on boats

Despite the icy conditions, the miniature railway was running once the engine driver had inspected the route. He passed us during the inspection because our so called safe route took us across the railway lines. If it hadn’t been for the muddy conditions this part of the walk would have been very enjoyable but I found myself spending most of my time climbing up grassy banks trying desperately to avoid the very muddy path. At one point we passed a blocked off area surrounding what appeared to be an old mineshaft which then became the focal point for a lengthy discussion from one member about Anne Lister who used to own the whole of Shibden Park. As interesting as it was to hear the history of Shibden Park and why the fenced off area was probably a mine shaft, I was beginning to loose all interest as it can be so tiring to walk whilst picking one’s way around mud and ice. Eventually we arrived back at the Cafe for lunch where most of the others had to remove their Crampons from their boots before entering.

Muddy path through the trees

I ordered a salad, strange I know considering the cold icy conditions we’d just ploughed through, and K ordered a Pasta Bolognese which was far more sensible. We accepted the kind offer of a lift home from one of the other party, and after giving our mud covered boots a good clean I could eventually sit down and ponder on the days walk.

 

TG