Wednesday, 30 May 2012

TRANSPENNINE TRAIL, TALE OF A GIANT, MERSEY ESTUARY

TH went to a car show at Capesthorne Hall on Sunday but again, I didn't want to go, I like to do my own thing and not sit 'in a field' most of the day. I decided I would explore the furthest reaches of my area of the trail and then I will be able to report back tomorrow and also feel good I've finally been to the boundary of our area of the trail.

It was such a beautiful day (Sunday) I slapped plenty of sunscreen on and hoped for the best. Again, when coming over to Widnes I take the train and cycle back, it's a bit boring to go there and back on the same stretch of trail. There is the old Station sign, it is just now called Widnes.



I popped into Victoria Park as I saw a war memorial but was sidetracked by this old milepost, which had been bombed by a Zeppelin attack. I had no idea that Zeppelins were used for bombing.



It's about 2 miles from the station to the Catalyst Museum, which is a hands on museum so kids can experience things for themselves. It was deadly quiet in there, most of them were sunning themselves outside at Spike Island.



This is the site of the former Transporter bridge across the Mersey, where you drove  on, cycled on etc and the whole thing would move on some sort of rail system across. I used to get so excited going on it as a child.
I then went along the marked trail in the direction of Pickerings Pastures, which is a whole area of reclaimed land which has been set out with flowering meadows. Most of the areas on this trail were industrial and indeed there are still many factories along the trail, which do stink a bit. Not half so badly as previously. I am posting some photos on the way back so you won't get confused with the fact that the river suddenly veers from the left to the right!!!! There are soo many pictures to show in one post, and you'd be bored.

To get across Ditton Brook the trail map says cyclists have to dismount for some steps. Here is a picture of the 'steps'. I had a real shock! I was even more shocked when I had to lug the bike back up on the way back, on a day like Sunday it was hard work. I thought that was a fantastic view though.



Cycling through Pickerings I thought I would go to the edge of my area's responsibilities, Hale Village, which is not far from Liverpool Airport but seems to have been transplanted from somewhere in Suffolk not Merseyside. There are a couple of really old thatched cottages, one of them was the home of The Childe of Hale, after whom a pubis named and there is a very large grave in the local churchyard, stating he was 9' 3" tall. There is a link below to tell you about him.

link http://www.forteantimes.com/features/articles/146/the_childe_of_hale.html





This was the house that was lived in by The Childe of Hale

I think that is enough for now, otherwise you will probably get bored, so I'll finished the rest of the trip next time with some more photos.





Tuesday, 29 May 2012

LOVELY CROCHET BLANKET RECEIVED!

This is a little post as I have yet to post about my Ranger trip on Sunday, which, because it has lots of photos, will be split into two posts.

I learned last week that I had won the giveaway in the blog,  Dreaming of a Cottage by the Sea. It is a beautiful crochet square in the most wonderful colours. Thank you so much Becky, it is so nice to receive something that somebody has made, taken time to do and I am benefitting. Usually I am knitting/crocheting items and giving them away and it's lovely to be on the receiving side.

Here are a couple of pictures of it spread out on my bed so you can see the lovely cuddliness of it. I am sure that is not a proper word but it is what I mean. Isn't it beautiful? Becky you can be sure the blanket will be much loved and appreciated.

My bedroom is very basic, it is only just large enough to fit the bed, plus two small side tables which are in fact two parts of a former dressing table from a local shop (it has a name plate in) which has been closed for years. I took away the base, back and mirror and these were just the right size. In an alcove is a tallboy which matches. It has lovely handles but a couple have fallen off so I might just have to find new ones. I might be painting them soon with Annie Sloane paint that doesn't need any preparation. I had a bed with a wooden surround and headboard but as it was under the window it was awkward to get to. I removed the bed frame and it is now in the garage. I now store my 'alternative' season's clothing or junk under the bed, where it is more accessible.



Sunday, 27 May 2012

A BIT OF A WASTED DAY

Yesterday I was going to visit my Mum when a parcel came for TH so I decided to run it up to him.


Decision made, drove up the M62, got a bit annoyed with a van driver who decided he'd like to drive through my back window, got annoyed, then overtook me and cut me up, only for me to casually drive up behind him at the traffic lights just coming off the motorway. White van men!


"Oh yes, could you please tighten up my wing mirrors?", I asked TH. Now this isn't just fitting a spanner and turning, I discovered, it's a funny complicated fitting. One of them snapped, the post inside the thing. It was only new a few months ago! Well, he doesn't throw things out and I was standing around for over an hour whilst he tried one after another of discarded Beetle wing mirrors. One was found but it looks funny, sticking out at a funny angle. Still better than none at all. He fitted the window handle too, as that had broken off. He is very thorough but doesn't seem to have any sense of urgency. 


Toddled off home, deciding to give Mum's a miss until the next day. Called at the farm to pick up some eggs, potatoes and carrots. 5lb potatoes, 2lb carrots, 1 doz eggs, £3.50. I love having a chat with the old guy there. He still runs a haulage business from his bungalow farm, which is a very large smallholding, his son and another driver do the running around. You can pick up stuff in a little building and leave the money for it if nobody is there. If you've not got any money, you can leave a note and pay for it next time.


I am making a shrug to hopefully wear over my dress if it's cooler, at my son's wedding. I bought some lace weight wool, which is so beautifully soft and as I'm a slow knitter with fine yarn, I'm crocheting, and doing it freeform, ie, throwing double treble and triple treble stitches randomly. Really the yarn would look better in soft knitting but crochet grows so much faster, I've done almost half in a week of picking it up for 10 minutes here and there. Straight rows of crochet would not achieve the same effect. Here's a shot of what it's looking like. I've no idea how I'm going to finish it but will probably make some flowers to trim, with a shell edge. 


I am hoping it looks better when I have finished it!

Monday, 21 May 2012

A SHORT BIKE RIDE ALONG THE TRANSPENNINE TRAIL

Today I did a much overdue audit on the Transpennine Trail. I am a volunteer ranger and cover an area from Hale Village, close to Liverpool Airport, to Heaton, near Lymm, Cheshire, although not all at the same time. I've not done a great deal of trail work recently due to needing to spend a little more time with my Mum and also the bad weather. I am a wimp when it comes to cycling in the rain.

The weather today was absolutely gorgeous but the fairly strong North West wind made me glad I'd got a light jacket on. I only covered an area from Latchford Locks, just outside Warrington to Lymm and return. The Ranger's cabin at Lymm was shuttered, so I couldn't have a talk with the rangers there.

Crossing over the Manchester Ship Canal made me think what a magnificent structure it is. The locks used to have large boats sailing down from the port of Liverpool to Manchester docks. Nowadays there are very few boats, apart from a few cargo ships and in summer there is a daily cruise ship which covers the whole of the canal. I would like to do that trip but it takes quite a long time.

At Latchford locks used to be Richmond Gas Stoves company (New World Cookers), I used to work there for the Production Director many years ago. It is now housing. The whole side is full of houses with small gardens, where once hundreds of men and women earned their livings. Part of my job was to go around the factory collecting production figures and I learned not to get embarrassed when the men cat-called. It was of course a dirty and old factory but still employed a large percentage of people from that area. It became Ti New World Ltd, then became absorbed by Stoves who closed it down and sold the site.

Anyway, I looked forward to cycling along the trail but found because of the dampness of the trail, surrounded by trees as it is, there were so many flies I had to keep remembering to keep my mouth shut (difficult I know) otherwise I'd be eating them.




The trail runs along an old railway line. This was one of the stations along it.

The mileposts in this area were sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland. Last year, when I was a co-ordinator,  me and my team painted two mileposts, highlighting the letters in gold. This one was going to be done and maybe I shall ask the new co-ordinator to do it this year.


Just showing you a few photos of the locks and the trail. The railway bridge shown last, reminds me of the bridge in the film The Cassandra Crossing. It is now unused but the bridge is such a work of engineering.

It was my Mum's 92nd birthday on Saturday and she was happy with her few presents, I always make her up a few parcels as she likes opening them. For her birthday card I found a photo of her when she was in her late 20s, sitting on a gate, very stylishly, enlarged it and put it into one of those cards with a hole in it. She was thrilled to bits. I called again at her house on the way home for a welcome cuppa and of coure a piece of cake.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

THE BLACK SHEEP, THEN RISLEY MOSS

Today was the first outdoor classic car show at Cholmondesley Castle, not far from Whitchurch but I didn't want to go. Tall husband (TH) said he would like me to go but I really wanted to have a day to myself and have a little bike ride.

The intention was to go to Widnes on the train, then do a trail audit on the Transpennine Train, from Widnes, go back up to Pickerings Pasture and then cycle down to Warrington and home. However, the very strong winds made me think the Mersey was not the best place for today. I will do that another day and show you some pictures of the River Mersey and the interesting parts of the trail.

Before going out I made a very quick chicken casserole for TH, not for me as I'm veggie, and put in my tiny slow cooker, which lives in the conservatory. He would be able to eat that when he came back from his car show, hungry as usual. I had some chicken pieces, mushrooms, onions, a couple of tomatoes, and some soup mix. I would have a baked potato with cheese and salad.

I bought some wool from The Black Sheep Wool barn the other day but I'd got the wrong colour and went over there on the bike to see if they could change it but they didn't have the colour I wanted. Home again, a cuppa and back out on the bike again for a little cycle around Risley Moss Nature Reserve. It is a ten minute walk, or 5 minute cycle ride to get there, we are very lucky.

The wind was very strong and I was glad I'd not gone so far, probably about 8 miles in total. The sun was very strong and it was warm despite the wind.









Very few people were visiting Risley Moss but I think there was a football match on. I hope you like the few photos I took.

Risley Moss is a SSSI and in the neighbourhood used to be the Royal Ordnance Factory, Risley. Where I live used to be on that site and there are many remains of the factory, like railway lines, bunkers, look out posts etc. The picture above shows what I think is a reconstructed carriage for shells, which used to run from the filling sheds to the lorries to be transported either by road or rail. There was a railway halt specifically for that site. If you look it up on the internet, it is a fascinating account of wartime activity in the area and was chosen because of its location, ie, in a dip which made it ideal for preventing enemy bombers from seeing it. My dad said you could not see it from the air, he was a navigator in Lancaster bombers.

I'd love it if you posted a few words, just come in and say hi.

Monday, 7 May 2012

SORTING OUT THE GARDEN

I can be a reluctant gardener and only do it if I feel like it. On Sunday the weather was fine here and I decided to tidy up the flagged area behind the garage and next to conservatory, which gets forgotten about.

There are surplus bricks, paving bricks, large stones, slates, all ready to be incorporated into something in the garden (in theory). Last year I sliced off some lawn, put membrane down and laid golden pebbles. On it I made a cairn of the larger stones. That's harking back to my hillwalking trips. Maybe I should do a bit more this year if I get the opportunity.

There is an area next to neighbour's fence that has really poor soil. It's also on a slope and I have the idea to cut out and build a little retaining wall. I have lots of sand and just need to buy some cement or just some ready fixed, although I do know how to mix it. I'd love to have a go. I wonder if I could do it? Well there's only one way to find out ......... !

Then I just did a little bit of weeding, making edges of the lawn, which previously just ran into the border. Not a great deal of work but I think it looks a little better. I'd rather do construction type of jobs in the garden, and digging, rather than mowing a lawn etc. As the daughter of a plumber, maybe I should have been a brickie.

Didn't cycle this weekend, because I wanted to sort out my wool stash and then try to get the conservatory in some sort of order. Visited my Mum today. She'd clipped the hedges the day before. I keep asking her to let me do it but she says I'm not tall enough. She forgets, that now I am much taller than she is, as at 91, not only is her back bent over, but she's shrunk as well. I can reach the hedge without any problem and my arms are stronger. However, it keeps her busy, which is what she wants. She will be 92 on the 19th of this month and wants a teacosy with little blue birds on for her birthday. It doesn't sound much I know but she has everything she needs, and if she wants something, she buys it. She's no longer 'collecting' things, the contrary and despite telling me I've got lots of stuff, gives me something to take home every time I go.

I took with me my second sock to do a little bit of knitting but unfortunately forgot the spare needle so I couldn't do it. This will be my first completed pair of socks. I bought the wool in Zell on the Rhine about 5 years ago, never had the courage to start them. Hopefully will be finished by next week and I will proudly put a picture up on here with some photos of some of my crafted presents last Christmas.

I made a quiche Lorraine and apple pie today. Pretty good, cooked on convection in my microwave. Apples were a gift from a neighbour. Received with many thanks by me.

I am reading a Barbara Pym book, Civil to Strangers, which I am enjoying very much. There are a couple of other stories in the book which I have yet to read. A nice surprise as I wasn't expecting that.

Well, that's it for today. I hope you all had a good bank holiday. It's all the same to me, now I'm retired, every day is similar, except it's quieter in the week at the shopping centre. I don't like to go anywhere on BHs as I hate getting stuck in traffic.




Thursday, 3 May 2012

AROUND TOWN

Yesterday I went into Manchester to my German class at the university. The classes used to be run by the Goethe Institute and then when they closed the Manchester Office the University took them over. Our class is a very lively one, covering current affairs, books and other things, so totally stress free after the examination class I was in previously. We had a great discussion and talked about a short story we read about a man who discovered a mistake had been made in his bank account and decided on the spur of the moment to go in and close his account. He then had to run away, take a plane somewhere far away etc. The end was inconclusive but we all gave our ideas about what might happen next. We then went on to discussing our favourite places and those we might treat as our roots and we listened to a song by Marlene Dietrich called "Ich hab' noch einen Koffer in Berlin" or loosely, "I still have a suitcase in Berlin". Now I am not, nor ever have been, a clubby person but on listening to her singing that, you could almost feel the atmosphere of the nightclub, smell the smoke, and see Marlene Dietrich's silky, long dress. I've never heard that one before.

Our class is on the top floor of the Samuel Alexander building, a rather beautiful building with this impressive hall.

I had two appointments in town today and as the sun was shining, although very windy, decided to cycle the 5 or 6 miles, rather than having to find somewhere to park.

Our local town used to be in Lancashire and since the 70s (I think), is now in Cheshire. I still feel a pull to Lancashire after all these years. There is an attractive Town Hall next to the park, with beautiful golden gates.

The town is the site of the bombings over 20 years ago where two young boys were killed, many injured and one young woman who was in town that day, Mother's Day all those years ago, had with her a 6 week old baby and a toddler. She lost her leg in one of the two explosions. Following the injury, cancer recurred and she later, sadly died. I felt so upset about her, as the attention was all about the two boys who were killed and people seemed to forget her. Bronwen Vickers wrote a book about it. I should thank my lucky stars that day to having the need to visit the loo, and turning right at the end of the street rather than turning left, as I was just out of range of the bomb by the time it went off.

There was an earlier attempt to blow up some gas tanks at the gas works but the bombers were apprehended on a routine vehicle check up, lucky for the people who lived in that area and for a good way around.

We used to have a thriving fish market and general market, under cover. The fish market canopy still remains and a square with shops has built around it. The old pub, The Barley Mow is still in the corner, with the entry that you used to go down to reach the general market, a typical crowded market with tatty wooden stalls, a lovely, busy, friendly place, far better than the one we have now which is half empty.

I had my hair cut in the market at a cost of £6.00 and at that price I can afford to give her a tip.

In our local charity shop I found a cushion cover ideal for my friend, who has a Scotty doc cut out from another cushion, which I will applique on for her. I hope the machine will manage it otherwise it will have to be hand stitched in either a V stitch or blanket stitch so it doesn't fray. Maybe my Mother has her pinking shears still and I can borrow them.

Tonight I had a lovely telephone call from my Aunt who had received a pair of wrist warmers which I knitted for her and posted. She was having pains in the base of her thumb and said they are lovely and so warm. I found some nice Sublime organic merino wool and it only took one ball to knit them. It was reduced at The Black Sheep Wool barn, which is close to us and is one of the best internet wool sites you can find. They are having a sale from either tomorrow or Saturday but unfortunately it is only in the warehouse, not on the internet.

I go to a knitting group there every fortnight and there's a lot of nattering and a fair amount of knitting but it is best not to take anything too complicated, as mistakes tend to be made. Last Christmas I made quite a few little presents for friends and relatives, like neck warmers, wrist warmers, a crochet coat hanger from a pattern on a blog and a shoulder bag and wrist warmers for my future daughter in law to go with her present. I might put some pictures on when I get around to a craft post.

Thank you so very much for your comments on my new blog. Thank you Sue for commenting, it is very much appreciated. I am an amateur compared to you out there but as I like chatting and like taking photos, maybe I will enjoy doing it.

Here are a few photos of our town. I don't know if you can click on them to enlarge, I can't but you might. I don't know how I would set that up.

I can't seem to put any text in after the photos so will have to finish up here. That's all for today folks, thanks for reading. I can't manage a daily blog as it would be just too boring for you but next time I might take you around Risley Moss a site of SSSI, a nature reserve, just five minutes walk from where I live.

Night night.

The Town Hall through the Golden Gates





The Town Hall
This used to be the entrance to the old market, the Barley Mow pub  is on the right. 
The 'New' town centre. Years ago there was a beautiful roundabout with  flowers , that was when traffic went through the town centre. It seems as if the heart has been removed from the town, all the shops having been transferred to the new Golden Square shopping arcade.

The Barley Mow, near the site of the old Fish Market.