Posted in Fitness challenges, Walks

Bow Fell and the Good Samaritans

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Back in October 2012, I have an entry in my diary saying ‘Lake District Mountain’ and ‘sunny’. Wainwright would have been horrified at such scant details. Thankfully at a later point, I had penned the name of this mystery mountain in a different colour of ink.

Bow Fell. My first ‘proper’ mountain (excluding Pen y Gwent in the Yorkshire Dales) and my first ever Wainwright. I actually can’t remember my first time that well, maybe I was too focused on breathing while going steadily upwards! I seem to remember a river while going down though…

So it is now May 2019, with about 12 Wainwrights completed, Snowdon, the three Yorkshire peaks (not all at once), Mam Tor and Kinder Scout, I may be a few years older but surely more experienced at hill walking?

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Sundew spotted en route to Bow Fell

Bow Fell Part 2 must surely be easier than Part 1…

No.

It was a bad start when we realised that we didn’t have the map we actually needed. It was left in the house and instead we had an older, less defined map which would just have to do.

There were a few flattened out plateaus, but it felt mostly uphill and heavy going. Strangely, for a bank holiday, there were not many hikers until nearer the top.

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We passed three tarns and walked and scrambled up many peaks, each time I thought, is this it?

And each time my hopes were shattered. We finally reached the top and decided, instead of going back the way we came, we would take a shortcut down and walk along the river. We followed the river the last time so it must be the right route.

By this time, the rain had got heavier and it was getting more difficult to see with the increasing mist.

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Wearing glasses ironically makes it even harder to see when the water lashes down onto the lenses and smears the vision.

So there was poor visibility, poor weather, and the steep downhill section had, what looked to me, slippery rocks, ready to trip me up.

Here’s the truth – I’m not scared of heights. I am scared of falling, slipping, sliding and doing myself an injury.

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At the top of Bow Fell

I did it on Skiddaw (skid by name, skid by nature). I ended up with a sprained ankle, not a nice experience but it could have been worse. Much worse.

So our wet, slippery journey down the mountain was not fun. Hence why there are not many photos of this particular walk, I gave up taking photos fairly early on.

Finally we reached the bottom and continued along the river, where we passed a tent, feeling envious of the dry person or persons inside while we traipsed on what seemed a never-ending trail, sogging wet.

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Eventually we got to a farmhouse and a road, not quite a main one, but a road nevertheless.

But it was bad news. We didn’t have a clue where we were. The river was not our river, not the stream we walked along the previous time. This watercourse was some random one that had no connection with where we wanted to be.

We were tempted to ring the bell at the farmhouse. Instead, we looked at the location in the red phone box, tried to locate it on the vague 1972 map, which isn’t much good, and eventually we two luddites tried to get Google directions on our phones.

We hovered at the side of the road, soaking wet and miserable, awaiting unsuspecting passer-bys.

A cyclist came around the corner, he was in no mood to stop but Simon waved him down and asked about directions. The cyclist was annoyed, he was actually in a race but he reluctantly – though helpfully –  told us we were eight miles away from our car park and two miles away from the nearest village in the opposite direction.

This was not good news.

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We grovelled our thanks to the cyclist, feeling bad about interrupting his race, and feeling even worse about our location. If it was not wet, if we were not tired or exhausted, we could walk to the nearest village and hopefully there would be a pub to dry off and a number to ring for a local taxi to take us where we wanted to be.

It was our only option.

Later, Simon told me he didn’t think I would be able to walk those two miles – that even he would have found it hard. It’s amazing to think how little two miles sound when you’re not soaked, exhausted, chilled and hungry.

Despite this, we started to head in the direction of the village despondently.

There may not have been a pub, or even any taxi service nearby. But we will not have been able to walk eight miles, that was for sure.

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And then two angels (that is how it felt for me!) arrived, in the form of a young couple driving a large blue van.

Simon asked about directions again and…

Words to my ears…

‘Do you want a lift back to your car? We’re going in that direction anyway.’

They even apologised about us having to sit down on the floor of their van! They chatted throughout the journey, putting us at our ease and after about 20 minutes or half an hour, we arrived at our car.

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They wouldn’t even take any payment!

There are two ways to see this particular and memorable day.

We should have had a proper map, I shouldn’t be so reliant on Simon, we both should have paid more attention. If I was fitter, I wouldn’t have been so exhausted at a point that could have been more worrying had we not received such kind help.

So a lot of lessons to learn.

On the other hand, it’s when you fall on hard times, even as temporarily as this, that is when you do encounter kind, generous people, such as Phil and his partner, who restore one’s faith in humans.

Thank you.

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Posted in Travel, places to visit, mini-adventures

Ancient Anglesey

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Anglesey is an island separated from mainland Wales by the Menai Strait and connected by two road bridges – Britannia Bridge and the Menai Suspension Bridge. Like many islands, it is sparsely populated. Apparently the number of people who live here (69,751 people) is fewer than the population of the medium-sized city I live in! So very rural, underrated and beautiful. And as for the history, well… Simon and I stayed on the outskirts of Anglesey for a week and here are three of the sights we saw.

Bryn Celli Ddu Burial Chamber

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I hadn’t realised how impressive or fascinating Bryn Celli would actually be but it is certainly worth a visit. It is reminiscent of, but smaller than, the Irish monument in Newgrange. We meant to return on the Summer Solstice but got the dates wrong.

To be honest, I liked the idea of seeing the sun rise but wasn’t very keen on the thought of getting up at 3am to travel there!

We did return however as there was an archeology day at the site, full of interesting stalls with experts who could tell us about neolithic food and tools and so on… We also listened to a talk about another archaeological dig in the next field where more ancient finds are waiting to be discovered.

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According to CADW’s Anglesey: A Guide to Ancient Monuments on the Isle of Anglesey, Bryn Celli, the Mound of The Dark Grove, is one ‘of the most evocative archaeological sites in Britain’. It was excavated in 1928/29 and it appears that it started off as a henge (ritual enclosure) in Neolithic times before making way for a passage grave. A stone burial chamber was then constructed and covered by a mound.

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It is believed that the entrance could have been important for ceremonial reasons. A platform of white quartz pebbles were discovered here. Other finds in the chamber and passage included human bones, flint arrowheads and mussel shells.

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A ‘Pattern Stone’ was also discovered at the back of the chamber. It can now be found in the National Museum and Gallery, Cardiff – a replica (pictured above) has been set up at the site.

Barclodiad Y Gawres Burial Chamber

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Our second neolithic visit was Barclodiad Y Gawres burial chamber at Cable (Trecastell) Bay, along the cliff path. Apparently, a key can be collected at a shop in Llanfaelog but we did not know this until later. If you have a torch, you will still be able to see the stones from outside.

Curiously, the name means ‘the Giantess’s Apronful’, and is believed to come from local tradition.

Five of the stones were decorated, including spirals, zig-zags and lozenges. These designs are also found in the Irish tombs.

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Llanddwyn Island, off Newborough Beach

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Our third trip to the past was to a tiny island off Newborough Beach. Llanddwyn is a tidal island so most of the time, except for the highest tides, it is quite possible to walk across to this island which, to me, feels quite magical.

It is also fascinating in terms of geology and nature (it forms part of the National Nature Reserve of Newborough Warren).

 

We came across a cross, the ruined St Dwynwen’s Church – built in the 1500s on the site of the original chapel – and a lighthouse in this delightfully idyllic setting.

The island is associated with St Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers (like a Celtic St Valentine) and sick animals, who lived during the 5th century. The island’s name means the church of St Dwynwen and her church here was an important shrine during the Middle Ages. The Celtic cross was a much more recent addition, dating from 1903.

I don’t know if it was St Dwynwen’s influence or just the stunning natural setting, but this amazing spot really did feel magical and a place well worth going to on a pilgrimage to.

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Information courtesy of Anglesey: A Guide to Ancient Monuments on the Isle of Anglesey and Wikipedia

 

 

 

Posted in Fitness challenges

Fitness Challenge 2019: June/July

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

JUNE – Goal: 100 miles by the end of the month

I started June on a high with the 21-mile Preston Guild Wheel walk on Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2.

And then, on the third day of the month, I had a consultation with a personal trainer.

The fourth day? I started personal training sessions.

I was on a roll.

Funnily enough, after the Guild Wheel walk, I didn’t think I would be working out for at least a week afterwards!

Meeting up with a personal trainer, and the resulting weigh-in, made me feel more accountable to go to the gym at 8am twice a week. I was getting up early for the hens and didn’t go to work until 10am, and the gym was five minutes away from my home and work so the logistics worked.

It was a pay-by-month with no contract which also suited.

In the meantime, I tried to go to the gym every day the rest of the week, allowing myself a day off. This is unlike Lazy Clare who usually bores of a regular gym routine very quickly but the convenience of the location made it much easier to drop in for 30 minutes.

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Photo by Mnz on Pexels.com

When I went to the gym, I used the treadmill, rower, cross-trainer and the bike. So far, I haven’t got bored (touch wood!)

I also went to Zumba on two occasions, one on Thursday and one on Sunday. Both were fun, the Sunday Zumba was very fast and energetic! And even better, she had excellent taste in music!

Notable Walks

Guild Wheel

A 21-mile walk around the outskirts of Preston. The ‘wheel’ is popular with cyclists, but also used by walkers, families and dog walkers. I stayed at the Tickled Trout Hotel on the Saturday after walking seven miles, and the remaining 14 miles was completed on Sunday. It was a pleasant day on Saturday, with lunch at Brockholes Nature Reserve, and a more difficult day on Sunday, with resulting tired legs.

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Wales – Bethesda to Cym Pen to Ilafar

Simon and I stayed in North Wales for our holiday this year. Our holiday cottage was located in Bethesda and, from there, we went on a valley walk along the River Afon Llafar. The setting was beautiful but not a soul to be found. Were they all climbing Snowdon instead? Curious sights included an old dam and weir, meadow pippit and wheatear. Unfortunately I wore my trainers rather than walking shoes so ended up with a blister! Ouch. Will I ever learn?!

Aberglaslyn Pass – From Beddgelert, Wales

Beddgelert is a pretty village with a tragic canine legend. We passed the grave and bronze sculpture of the faithful hound, Gelert. He was killed because of a fatal mistake by his owner, Prince Llywelyn, who assumed the dog had killed his son. The truth was that he had killed a wolf and saved the prince’s child. Following on from this poignant, if potentially legendary site, we carried on to the Fisherman’s Path, along the Afon Glaslyn River. The path is narrow here. In fact, it’s so tight that there are handholds. We then walked up Cym Bychan where we encountered the remains of old copper mines and an aerial ropework, built in 1927 to transport ore.

Rhosneigr, Anglesey, Wales

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This was a delightful, easygoing beach walk starting from the ancient Barclodiad-y-Gawres, a neolithic stone cairn dating from 2,500 BC, to the little seaside town of Rhosneigr. Along the beach we came across sea glass, seashells, wild flowers including pyramid orchid, meadow cranesbill and sea thyme. Skippers, holly blue and small heaths fluttered by.

Newborough Commons and Beach, Anglesey, Wales

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A magical place with wild horses. Our ramble along Newborough Beach led us to the tiny tidal Llanddwyn Island. An incredibly beautiful place with an ancient stone cross and the ruins of St Dwynwen’s Church. The Welsh patron saint of lovers (the Welsh equivalent of St Valentine), St Dwynwen is associated with this island.

81.1 Miles

July – Goal 100 miles by the end of the month

Ironically I hadn’t gone to many gym classes even though that was one of my incentives for joining a gym. However, I took part in Zumba twice in July, enjoying both times.

I became ambitious and tried a virtual spin class (an indoor cycling class with stationary bikes). 🚴

The super-fit instructors were on a large screen. Alas, I was late and felt self-conscious. The class had more people than I expected, the bike had more buttons and controls than I expected and it was faster and seemingly more advanced than I expected.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I left after about 15 minutes. I will try again at a future time, when I am fitter and more confident. I aim to arrive earlier too!

I continued with the personal training and gym sessions. The personal training is more weight-based, my independent gym sessions are cardio. By the end of July, formerly tight clothing was becoming a little looser and I had lost a few pounds.

I could now do with a new walking challenge to test my fitness!

Otherwise, apart from the two notable walks mentioned below, it was a case of walking the family dogs and walking the three miles into town.

Notable Walks

Saltby National Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire 

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It’s amazing how beautiful spots such as this nature reserve can be so quiet and feel so remote away from people. We only encountered a few dog walkers. One rescue dog we encountered had two different coloured eyes, very unusual. At certain times of the year, seals can be found but not in July. We did encounter a seal skull however. Remnants of the Second World War can be seen here too with a derelict bunker and decaying tank located on the beach.

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Stair Arms Hotel to Crichton Castle, Scotland

My mum and I visited The Stair Arms Hotel, Pathhead, while on a visit to relatives in Scotland. This historic coaching inn was a mere three miles or so from Crichton Castle. Or so the signs said. Walking along the country road, it felt rather longer than the miles stated on the sign. Oddly, the way back felt much shorter! 🚶

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90.5 Miles

 

 

Posted in Pets

Tom and Tim come home to Cosy Cottage

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Tom had a quiff in his black hair and strutted around as a teddy boy. Tim was an out and out punk, with streaks of red, white and black.

And they had attitude.

Yes, they may have been small but they had mountains of attitude.

‘Make my day, punk’, Tim would growl at Tom, as he rumblestrutted around.

Showing off like a John Wayne-style cowboy.

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Since Loco’s death, back in February, I had been pondering whether my guinea pig Blaze needed – or wanted – another companion. He seemed happy enough, eating and drinking. But everyone I spoke to and everything I read gave the same message – guinea pigs are social animals.

I posted a lonely hearts advert on social media, a friend replied with a link to a guinea pig rescue centre.

There was no luck there so I went back to where I adopted Loco and Bugsy (pictured below).

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I found those two at the Pets at Home adoption section, where the ‘preloved’ small animals stayed, looking for a second chance of a good new home.

This time, there were four pigs in two cages – Poppy and Pepper and Tom and Tim.

Now, if Blaze was there, he would have requested the girls, I have no doubt.

And although he was getting on in years (six to be precise), how would I know if he was still capable of being a father? I have heard of the multiplication of guinea pigs, you start off with two and end up with… Hundreds!

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Blaze

No. I did not have the room to keep hundreds of guinea pigs.

That was on a Thursday. On the Sunday, Tom and Tim came home, and for the next few weeks lived in a spare cage, next door to Blaze.

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I was told they were under a year old and were given away for rehoming for ‘change of circumstance’ reasons.

There were meet and greet sessions. Blaze studiously ignored them. Tim made his ‘motorboat’ sound and wagged his bottom (my previous pig Bugsy used to do the same). Worryingly, Tom tried to mount Blaze every time he saw him.

I knew this was standard boar behaviour in meeting new males but I was aware of Blaze’s grand age. He didn’t want this sort of aggro at his time of life.

Had I made a mistake? Would he be better off on his own after all?

I opted for two in the end as I didn’t want to be in the situation of having to look for a new partner for the bereaved male when their friend passed on.

But now I was fretting….

In the meantime I had bought a c&c cage. It seemed a good idea at the time, especially as I now had three pigs rather than the two, but when I put it together, at first it seemed cumbersome for my little living room.

Then I couldn’t figure out how to sort the roof out. I think most people who have these go roofless, but with the family jack russells Molly and Teddy visiting on a regular basis, it would be highly dangerous.

But I figured it out. I think.

And then it was moving in day. The trio packed their bags (well, food bowls, water bottles and ‘dens’ /beds/houses) and into their new home they went.

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Blaze made a beeline for the cosy soft bed, not budging when the youngsters wanted to get in.

Tom had an unhealthy obsession with trying to climb onto Blaze while Tim ‘brrr-ed’ around the new vicinity.

But they settled down…

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… Or so I thought.

Tim and Blaze got on but Tom kept coming over, making a nuisance of himself with Blaze. Tim would then chase him away, as if to say, ‘stop bothering my friend’.

Maybe Tom was jealous of their friendship?

Then Tim was in a real mood one day and was starting to take it out on his new friend Blaze by trying to mount him.

I realised that although Tim seemed to like Blaze, he also had a temperamental personality. One that, in my eyes, was incompatible with elderly boars (male guinea pigs).

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So Blaze moved out, back to his bachelor pad, where he lived for another month before he sadly passed on due to old age.

Oddly, the two youngsters seemed to miss old Blaze when he left, looking for him and even whistling at one point.

They now quarrelled a lot. So much that I thought they had scars from fighting.

Or was it ringworm?

When Blaze went to the vet for his bumblefoot, the boys went too. The vet gave them an injection for ringworm and the scabs eventually healed.

I’m still not sure if it was ringworm or fighting scars but it got to the point that Tom seemed scared of Tim, hiding in the ‘attic’ of their abode.

Were they fighting over Blaze? Blaming each other for his absence or was it something else? More importantly, will I need to separate them as well?!

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But eventually, they settled down, and now they get on better, except for the odd tiff when one thinks the other has something past him.

Tom has become nearly as cheeky as Loco, demanding tasties when he hears rustling. He’s getting rather chubby as well. The more reserved Tim has started to join in the begging.

Their home now looks a little frayed along the edges – or more obviously, up in the attic – apparently the walls taste good!

Whoever says Guinea pigs don’t have personalities have never met the residents of Cosy Cottage! 🐹

 

 

Posted in Travel, places to visit, mini-adventures

Walking in the footsteps of Number 6 (aka The Prisoner in Portmeirion)

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Back in the 1960s, there was a cult TV programme called The Prisoner.

Up until this year, I had only watched one episode (I wasn’t around in the 60s and somehow missed the repeats in later years), and my impression was that it was rather surreal and was about a man (played by Patrick McGoohan) who finds himself trapped in a peculiar but colourful place named only as The Village.

He has resigned from the Foreign Office and it appears that he is involved in espionage, but now, having been kidnapped one night, he finds himself in a seemingly never-ending Kafkaesque nightmare.

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Picture postcard courtesy of http://www.portmeiriononline.co.uk

Now Number 6, he no longer has an identity or a name. No matter how many times he proclaims, ‘I am not a number!’

But there are questions…  Why is he there? Why did he resign? More importantly, how can he escape?

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Picture postcard from http://www.portmeiriononline.co.uk

Before our visit to Bethesda in Wales, we realised that the town isn’t that far from Portmeirion, which is actually where The Prisoner was set.

Simon bought DVDs of the series and we watched one episode a night on our holiday to get in the right mood for our visit to the mysterious ‘The Village’.

Funnily, my black and white spring coat, which I had bought from a charity shop a couple of years before, thinking it looked smart, seemed rather reminiscent of the jacket Patrick McGoohan (aka The Prisoner aka Number 6) wore. When I wore it in The Village, I wondered if I would be seen as a ‘super fan’! You can actually buy jackets in Portmeirion just like the one Number 6 wore!

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I expected Portmeirion to play on the fact an iconic 60s series was filmed there, but apart from The Prisoner shop (pictured above), it was more about the architecture, atmosphere, nature and the man behind this curious and unique holiday village.

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The architect was Clough Williams-Ellis and he acquired the site – then a ‘neglected wilderness’ for under £5,000 in 1925. The area itself – previously called Aber Iau – dates from at least 1188, with a mention of two stone castles by Gerald of Wales. Over time, it gained a foundry, small shipyard and some cottages.

Clough designed his holiday village from 1925 to 1939 and completed the finer details between 1954 and 1976.

As a whole, the village has a feeling of the Italian Riveria. When one looks more closely at the buildings, one sees classical, Arts and Crafts style, Palladian, and so on, with many buildings salvaged from demolition sites.

The Dome is the most memorable, built in 1960/61, and is a listed Grade II monument. There is also The Bell Tower, also called The Campanile, which housed a turret clock from a demolished brewery in London. The Piazza is the centrepiece of the holiday village and can be seen in The Prisoner.

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I don’t have space to go into detail about all the beautiful architecture, suffice to say, the more we looked, the more we found. Little details, statues, carvings…

Obviously these quaint, colourful buildings are attractive enough in their own right but there is a beach (also seen in The Prisoner) and a picturesque and varied tree trail, from the Persian Ironwood Tree (apparently its wood is used as toothpicks in Iran) to the St Helena Island Weeping Willow (from a cutting taken from the weeping willow at Napoleon’s Tomb on St Helena) – there is even a Dancing Tree (New Zealand Papauma Broadleaf)!

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Disappointingly, it doesn’t really dance, but the nickname is fabulous. Every time he passed the tree, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis thought the rustling shiny leaves sounded like dancing music – and so it became known as the Dancing Tree. 

There are other nature walks too, including one to the Ghost Garden! No ghosts though, it was so named to commemorate the garden of the ferry cottage which was once located there. 

These days, 200,000 visitors per year flock to Portmeirion. We were day visitors, of which I think most people are, but it is possible to stay at the hotel or in one of the buildings for a holiday. Not the cheapest of places but it would certainly be a unique stay.

I went to Portmeirion thinking of it as a set piece for a 1960s TV series. But I left feeling it was so much more, with something for lovers of architecture, nature, beaches and beautiful places… For The Prisoner, The Village was a hellish experience but for visitors of Portmeirion, it is quite the opposite. We were in no hurry to escape from ‘The Village’!

Be seeing you! 😀 (As they say in The Prisoner’s ‘Village’!)

Fact of the Day

Did you know playwright Noel Coward wrote Blithe Spirit while staying at Portmeirion? 

Background information for this post comes from the guide books, Portmeirion from Robin Llywelyn and Portmeirion Tree Trail

Posted in Environment, Environmental issues

Our Planet: The Amazon Rainforest – Fiddling while the planet burns

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Photo by David Riaño Cortés on Pexels.com

Gathering tweets is part of my day-to-day job and sometimes I come across events and news that haven’t been given full attention by the mainstream media.

Anyway, yesterday I came across something which made me freeze in horror – the destruction of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil is happening at a faster pace than ever before and the damage can even be seen in space…

Fires are up by more than 80 per cent compared to last year says Brazil’s space research institute.

This isn’t a natural forest fire but one perpetuated by humans obsessed with making money.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’m not a scientist or a knowledgeable naturalist, but I believe we are all part of this planet.

My spiritual view is that we’re meant to look after it, be its caretakers if you will.

My practical view is that we are all part of the ecosystem – we damage it, we damage ourselves.

Some months ago, the beautiful medieval Notre Dame Cathedral in France was on fire. The world was horrified, there was much media coverage and billionaires flocked to donate money to save it. 

And rightly so. It was and is an important part of history, religion, architecture and culture.

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Photo by David Riau00f1o Cortu00e9s on Pexels.com

But when a beautiful, ancient, natural part of the world is burning – one that is home to a diverse range of wildlife (including rare species) and indigenous tribes alike – the world seemingly turns a blind eye.

Where is the media coverage? Where are the celebrities? Where are the donations to save it?

If Trump says (not even does) something controversial, it will attract worldwide attention straight away. 

It seems the Brazilian President, who wants to develop the rainforest, is immune to such scrutiny.

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If the company Amazon went under, it would be big news.

But the rainforest burns and no one notices.

It affects many animals and the tribes who live there.

The wider Brazilian population will suffer.

Ultimately, we will all reap the consequences of this terrible decision. 

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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

There is a saying, ‘Fiddle while Rome burns’, which means to do something trivial while an emergency is taking place.

According to legend, the Roman emperor Nero played his violin while Rome burned all around him.

I can’t help thinking of this phrase when hearing about this catastrophe taking place right now.

I hope it stops before it’s too late…

 

 

Posted in Chickens, Gardens, Gardens, lifestyle, self-sufficiency, environmental issues, adventure, Pets

The Broody Sisters

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“When are you expecting your babies?”

“Soon, I hope, Jemima. I’m expecting five, you?”

“Six, I believe. Not long to go now, Flo.”

At this point, Dottie shakes her head in impatience. It is the silly season again and there are no eggs, no chicks, no pregnancies, no potential fathers in the vicinity and yet three of her friends have, once again, gone ‘broody’, sitting around all day in the nesting area, clucking about nothing except their invisible pregnancies. 

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If you read my blog last year, you would have encountered a post called Brooding Buddies. I was hoping that situation would be a one-off but no, once again, we have a similar scenario.

For one day and one night earlier this year, Dottie was showing signs of broodiness.

Then she snapped out of it.

But Florence, after a hard-working spring, laying eggs every day, decided that she would like to become a mother.

So she sat down all day, every day – or she would do if her cruel leader of the pecking order – i.e me – didn’t keep taking her out and putting her next to water and food.

That’s the thing with broody chickens, all sense flies (pardon the pun!) out the window and they don’t eat or drink unless they’re taken out of their broody spot.

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I separated Florence, put her in a hutch for a few hours, gave her a bath – none of these worked. Closing the pophole meant she would look for somewhere else to brood – like a plant pot.

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And Florence hogged the nesting area unless I closed the pophole. Yes, there are other places to lay eggs but hens being hens, they like things just-so and just-right. That particular nesting area was for all of them and Florence’s behaviour was beginning to irk them.

Jemima started giving her little ‘I am the boss and you should behave yourself’ pecks.

Mabel started giving her dirty looks – which escalated to pecks when she came near her.

And then Jemima started ignoring Flo, and seemed to be more easy-going but actually it was only a precursor to having maternal feelings herself.

And you guessed it, the next morning she was huddled next to Florence in the nesting area.

Jemima had it bad last year so I was not surprised by this change from ‘head hen’ to ‘mother hen’.

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So instead of Florence being given a ‘behave yourself’ or ‘snap out of it’ peck by Jemima, the two of them would now comfortably nestled together under the tree (after being ousted from their broody area).

So now there were three sensible girls – Dottie, Ava and Mabel.

Mabel was still angry at Florence but, oddly, ignored Jemima, who she still respected.

And then one day, I went to the coop to let/take the bantams out and Mabel, up on the top as always, fluffed her feathers up and made an angry sound at me. She even moved her head around to see where my hand was, was Mabel going to peck me?

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Not you as well,  Mabel?

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I have resigned myself to a summer of lifting the three broodies out and keeping an eye on them to make sure they are eating and drinking. Little Ava and Dottie are, so far, behaving themselves … so far!

https://cosycottageandthequestforthegoodlife.wordpress.com/2018/06/23/brooding-buddies/