Travel

Soggy Situation

There were three days last week when it didn’t rain all day (think about your syntax) — when  it rained, but not all day!  Otherwise there has been precipitation, all day, every day since the end of October.  That is why this blog has been so quiet of late — incessant moaning about the rain when you have chosen to live in a temperate rain forest would be tedious.

As wave after wave of weather drives down the valley smudging the view and the streams and rivers roar, it’s hard to get excited about the waterfalls when the lens of my camera is wet and the image fogged, is that just condensation or  camera-wobble due to shivering, anyway the shutter’s jammed — will it ever work again.

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Last moment of respite from the deluge — in the Autumn.

There is a beauty, a vividness, in all this wetness, but lately it eludes me.

In the face of impending seasonal affective disorder we thought we’d have a little holiday, so off we set (not to somewhere warm and sunny) to Rossendale and Darwen in Lancashire — the home of the dark satanic mills of yore!

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Darwen photographed by A F Buck in 1948 — note the air pollution!

We stayed in Hurst Green and mooched around Rossendale, to old haunts, now-derelict pubs of youthful exploit, new housing estates where cotton-mills and shoe factories had stood last time we visited. We were visiting the county archive, researching this rapidly disappearing industrial heartland and it’s characters, perhaps 10 years too late, but the archive was very helpful.  In the evenings we were cosy in the Shireburn Arms where the food was excellent and dawn in the  Ribble Valley was stunning.

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We’re home now and guess what?  It’s raining!

 

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Humour, Travel

Hot Tarmac Addiction?

Our friend Glyn is drowsy with counting sheep, coming up the valley every day, after a day’s work, to be jostled by our impatient flock because this is the time of year that we go gallivanting.

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In the last ten days we’ve travelled 1300 miles (that’s not far –I hear you New World readers say). It’s far enough in this overcrowded island!

We picked our way over the mountain pass to South Wales at walking pace, avoiding the hundreds of road-runners who were jogging up on the hottest day of the year. We gave them wide berth to allow for heat-exhaustion-wobble, weave and collapse while also avoiding the pulses of road racers on two wheels coming the other way (only two lanes – this is Wales) – pelotons of cyclists, who had just crested the summit, had heads down and were hurtling in squadrons, turbocharged with huge potential energy and suicidal intent, lemming like, towards Brecon.

We glanced at the stunning scenery and at the idyllic path on the other side of the valley, made for walkers and wondered what it is that draws humans in such numbers to tarmac. Our musing was ended abruptly by the thud of a discarded plastic bottle flung, elite-runner like, against our windscreen by a mature but plucky lady with exceptional BMI and poor aim, probably due to chaffing.

As we eventually sped away from the last — or rather, the first of the runners and the last of the cyclists, the bikers started to overtake us, flashing past at every opportunity, like when one slows down to turn right! I have a horror of killing a biker and they come to Wales in huge migrations at holiday times: Hell’s Angels – 1950’s re-enactors on vintage Nortons with side-cars – even an intrepid band of ladies, several with L-plates, on Honda ‘50’s almost grinding to wobbly halts on the hills (though that was on the A30 high-speed dual carriageway in Cornwall!)

We made it to Cornwall without fatality, and back.

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Just when we thought we were out of danger, we had to set off again for a family funeral in Scunthorpe – more of that later.

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