Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chatsworth — Country Park, Family Playground!

Chatsworth — Country Park, Family Playground!

We arrived at Chatsworth on Saturday to find the car parks already filling up and whole families teaming excitedly out of their vehicles. I asked one of the stewards if something was ‘on’ that weekend. He said no, it was just the fine weather and that they expected far more to arrive. Wonderful, I thought.

Here is a ‘playground’ safe for children to run and play. In fact there is a Farmyard with animals and children’s adventure play area, which is very popular.

There are some people who are against aristocracy and would like the state to take over their estates. But Chatsworth is an example of a well-run estate that benefits millions of people. My mum-in-law (she died ten years ago) loved to be taken around Chatsworth’s remarkable garden in a borrowed wheelchair. We enjoy visits there every year, mostly to walk in the extensive grounds but also to have a light meal at one of the eating places around the huge estate (especially the farm shop café or the garden centre café. And not forgetting the old stables). Chatsworth is a place for peace and tranquillity as well as being a remarkable house, a huge park and a playground for all complete with deer, river and acres of woods and grassland. (Photographs taken while walking through the Woods.)

Visit my Wrinkly Writers for my latest post — revisiting Nottingham University Park

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Ride Around Thirlmere, A Walk in Whinlatter Forest.

Last week it was my husband's birthday. In the morning I thought of asking him if he would like us to go to Whinlatter Forest for a short walk and lunch. There is a great little Siskin café there that serves up homemade food — simple but delicious. Tables outside too where you can watch the birds flying through the trees and feeding from nut and seed feeders that are drawn up to eye level. (The café is built up an incline so as to get lovely views of the forest.)
I decided not to ask as it is a good way for him to drive. Half an hour later, he asked me! This often happens. Sometimes it is quite funny. We both come up with the same reply, or automatically look at each other with the same expression when asked a question, or told a story.
“OOO… Fancy that!” Of course, you may think, “So what!”
We just find it funny.
The drive to Whinlatter takes us along country lanes and roads by the side of lakes and through valleys. Thirlmere Reservoir has been in the news lately because an earlier dry spell lasting far longer than usual had caused a considerable drop in the water level. It caused a hose pipe ban in the areas it feeds, as far down as Manchester. The water is now rising although it still has a little way to go. You will see this from the photographs. They are all of Thirlmere. There are plenty of photographs of Whinlatter in an earlier post.
Since we intended walking, we both decided on a bowl of soup with roll and butter. A piece of cake to share afterwards. (Well, it was hubby's birthday!) My eyes popped when the soup arrived — in two pound size pudding basins! The large seedy roll was also homemade — delicious with tow large pats of butter. (We don't usually eat butter because of the cholesterol) The cake too, was lovely. It was with a heavy tummy that we took a walk afterwards — not far, just about 50 minutes. Slow going as I soon get puffed, as well as my knee being sore at present.
The weather kept fine for us, even if clouds threatened rain.
We drove home via the other side of Thirlmere and I took some photographs.
Once home, hubby decided to cut the grass as rain was forecast for the weekend.
Just as well, rain has poured down!
A lovely day to remember.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Where am I?

Where am I?
Am I inside looking out, or outside looking in?
Looked at philosophically, profound questions.
I know the religious answers and they are even more intangible. “In Him I live and breathe and have my being,” is my choice there.
Lack of sleep gives you time to think. Today has been rain and sun. A lovely mix of dark and light.Dark clouds, but bright sun filtering through the showers, turning raindrops into diamonds.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What Do You See?

Things aren't always what they seem to be. We usually look at things from our own perspective. We may see ourselves as being successful in most things we attempt to do — or just the opposite. Can we always trust others to gain a truer picture of ourselves, or our achievements, that is without them knowing all the facts?

Years ago, I gave a talk to a women's group. It was a little excursion into how I came to be working in a particular job. It showed a different perspective of the person they thought they knew. They were surprised, and so was I by their comments. They thought they knew me, and were surprised to find their judgments were incorrect. I then realised that my natural shyness had given an impression of remoteness. So it was good to leave that building having drawn closer to people who mattered to me.

For a particular reason I took this photograph of our cooker. When I saw the result it brought a smile to my face. Now what impression does it give?

What is ‘inside’ me? What do others think they see?

What is ‘inside’ you?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Love Barrow-in-Furness?


Barrow seems to get a lot of stick. To hear certain statistics you might be forgiven for thinking it is definitely a no-no place to visit. That is a shame because Barrow-in-Furness is steeped in history, its main streets are wide and well planned and although there may be rows of old terraced housing in large areas, there is a certain charm about them that speaks of old times and neibourliness. Certainly, the many homes that I have visited in the town have been most welcoming. Nineteenth Century buildings and large park, speak of the civic pride when industrial Barrow had it heyday.

The Shipworks can be viewed from different angles. The view from Walney Island is quite splendid. So too, looking across from the promenade by Morrisons. Sandy beaches on Walney and at Roanhead are not just places to enjoy the sea and sit in the sun. Walney has a gull colony and Roanhead a wild life sanctuary. You don’t have to go far to get a great view of sea and fells with a mountain backdrop. There are plenty of shops in the town centre with supermarkets on the fringes. Plus all the entertainments you would expect from a town this size. The Forum 28 has great shows, plus regular free lectures by outstanding speakers who, at times, come from considerable distances.

When we first came to this area forty-two years ago things were a little different, especially towards newcomers. But since the place has been opened up by decent roads and with movement of people in and out, things have changed. I doubt any pupil would now regard a town a few miles away as being a remote place for their teachers to live, or consider them to be foreigners if they did not have a Barrovian accent.

I can’t say what schools are like now, but the children I taught could be difficult but were mostly a joy.

I still have a piece of paper with the signatures of all the children in the most difficult class of boys I had to teach. (It was the first year that three schools had become united but the Secondary School children taught separately from the Grammar until full integration took place) Would you believe, that class had the unfortunate group name of 3Z!

On the last day of term, which happened to be the last lesson on a Friday, these boys came in without a sound and sat down with their arms folded. Fearing they were up to something, I looked each one in the eye. ‘All right, what’s going on?’ I asked.

Silence and then, after a minute, the most sensible one said, ‘Please, Miss. This is our last day with you. We have all decided to be well behaved.’ With a balled fist, he gave a quick glance at the others and said, ‘Or else…’

They were fantastic. No teacher could have a better present. During the lesson I saw a piece of paper being passed around. Oh dear, what were they up to? It was brought to my table.

‘Please, Miss. We don’t think you will want this… suppose you’ll throw it away. But we want you to have it just the same.’

I read what was on the paper and nearly wept. Each boy had signed the paper. It was like a signature to a beautiful painting. That painting being the memory of lads controlling all their natural end-of-year exuberance to make my last day with them memorable.

After twenty-eight years since taking early retirement (to move on to another career, partly in Barrow), my thoughts of the place are not twisted by some of the unfriendliness received by a handful of people who had never been further than the beach (unless travelled by train and plane to a Spanish beach!) but by working alongside ordinary people over a number of years.

Before we moved up to the Furness area, people thought we must be crazy. They viewed Barrow as the end of a cul-de-sac, which was at the end of the earth! At that time the dreadful roads might have suggested it. But roads, like Barrow, have improved. I can’t join the ‘I love Barrow’ badge wearers, but I do respect the town and its people. If social problems exist in large numbers it is hardly surprising with rapid changes taking place in industry. Like everywhere else, they will be ironed out. With the whole of the Lake District National Park on its doorstep, and so much to see locally, Barrow has much to offer any tourist — or someone coming to work in the area,

I often wondered what happened to those boys.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

One of those days!

One of those days!

At my age, I count each day as important. Today is memorable indeed. Why? A totally frustrating day but finally, after much aggravation, at least I achieved one of my aims.

First, I thought I would relax with a bit of fun. I set up to record a little thank you to someone who has been kind to me. Part of that was to read the intro to my last book. (Make his hair stand on end?)

I had forgotten how to work the recorder so it was trial and error. Finally I got a recording but needed to trim it. How? Mm. I tried another recording and found I had done it on top of the last one. Mm. How to get rid of it. Turned it off and started again. That wasn’t a bad recording. But I could do better… and so on. Finally, that was it. So how come I lost it? Ah well, not to worry. Start again tomorrow.

Right, this afternoon. I went around in circles getting more and more frustrated trying to get into one of my important accounts. Incredibly I kept my cool. One of the things I finally realized was that I had been putting 8 instead of 0 to new numbers (due to the 0 on the Email looking like 8 – my eye problem of course) However, my son looked at the difficulties in accessing my account when he came home. The main problem we encountered was at their end, not mine. For some reason it would not accept the new passwords that I had to keep getting. However he eventually cracked the problem — their fault not mine. Finally, I thought up something acceptable and I was through.

And to think I keep telling hubby to go on line and save time! What a laugh!

At least I have had chance to look at photos of my grandson's wedding today. I am laughing on this one. I was watching my youngest son — tall and heavy — country dancing. He and another chap were swinging girls off their feet in a 'basket' movement. Now that's another laugh!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

As Time Goes By — the changing scene

As Time Goes By — the changing scene.

We have lived in the market town of Ulverston twenty-five years. Before that we were less than four miles away. We lived in that village sixteen years. So altogether we have been in the area 41 years. What changes have we seen in this small market town of Ulverston?

There is no doubt that Ulverston is not what it used to be. But is anywhere? The pace of life has changed; the whole way people live has moved on to embrace the latest technology especially in the living room and in the kitchen. Expectations are greater, personal responsibility has become less. But as far as a small town is concerned the way we shop has shifted — supermarkets have made family businesses less viable to the detriment of a town’s ambience. Flats and apartments are taking over some premises, and many others remain empty, or temporarily occupied.

I, and others of my age, will recall the shops that satisfied all our needs. I used to buy my blouses from a great little shop in the Market Square. My coats and other clothing, plus some furnishings came from the Coop in County Square, my underwear from Atkinsons, the men of our house bought clothes from Greenwoods. Delicious pork pies were bought on Queen St. Ham and other groceries from a shop on Market St. Meat from a King St butcher, fruit and veg from the shop now selling sports’ clothes. ‘Home made’ cakes and pies from a family business on Market St and Soutergate. Just about everything else was bought in Ulverston too. The book-come-stationary shop in Queen St is sadly missed. The printer, art and craft materials, on Queen St is no more. The list can go on. Thankfully Smith and Harrison is still in business — what would we do without Graham, whether for fork handles or four candles? His smiling face and friendly helpful manner is a true tonic. Long may his hardware store live on!

Well, I guess Supermarkets killed off most of the family businesses and made others non-viable. We have even lost the Halifax branch — a great loss to many, especially the older customers that prefer to have a ‘face’ to talk to and be greeted by name at the counter. I think the first bakery/café to go, and missed by many, is Salmon’s — genuine old thirties chairs and tables, rusting bay-window frames but marvelous atmosphere with open coal fire and simple good food in the upstairs café. Known for the quirkiness of closing between the hours of one and two! All of these gone but not forgotten.

The face of Ulverston has changed indeed. Tourism is welcomed as more trinket and charity shops, and cafés appear, and tables are put out on pavements. The town is given an olde worlde image with rough paving flags and cobbled areas. Thankfully, the delightful band continues to play on Thursdays and special occasions. A statue of Laurel and Hardy in Crown Square draws visitors, and the many festivals bring in coachloads of people from near and far. Fireworks often light up the sky.

But personally, I’m sorry to see more drink sold, and often bins too full to take away the remnants of take-away food. We seem less likely to bump into people we know, though footpaths are often crowded with the need to walk into the road.

But still the walks are delightful — the canal side, the Gill footpath, the Flan and onwards to the Hoad by a choice of paths. The walk through the bluebell woods particularly delightful, and the views from Hoad Hill spectacular. Longer walks too for those able to do so. Even so, I feel a sense of loss for what has been but will be no more.

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Diary of a Country Lady

Gladys Hobson — Author

Wrinkly Writers

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