Thursday, 23 July 2009
A break from our usual routine found us not in the Alps but at home in Cheshire at the time of this annual event.
So we went along for the day. The sun shone, except when the odd shower drummed against the tent roofs.
The journey to and fro was achieved without much by way of delays.
We met Jenny, Gaynor and Sarah, and we extracted our wallets to make some indulgent purchases.
So we had a great day out.
But what of the displays? Gardens. It's a flower show.
Or is it?
The garden above is supposed to make soothing sounds in the wind. Today it was mute. Perhaps the wind was too strong.
The poncey effort below has something to do with one of the 'avant garde' designers. Beardshaw, I think.
Occasionally, we came across some nicely laid flowers - they tended to be marked lower than their less practical competitors.
Some designers just had to muck about with the flowers, plonking insects, animals, dart boards, toilet rolls, etc, on top of their floral displays.
The design below got a gold medal and lots of enthusiastic media coverage. I just managed this snap when the maintenance team was taking a break from reconstructing the tree, which had broken in half.
Inside one of the tents, there were lots of floral displays - flowers of many types - this one is a 'Gay Gordon' Begonia.
And here's a fine cactus, all of 40 years old.
Finally, we came across this immaculately laid garden with a perfect floral display. Probably marked down for being too practical.
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
But it was Monday, the traffic was sparse, and being in our dotage we could indulge ourselves whilst our erstwhile friends and colleagues were beavering away in their efforts to rekindle the UK economy.
Mike (The Pie Man), being (still without bus pass) the junior member of the party, had the energy to relate his tale of this day out more or less as soon as he got home. Here it is - an excellent report - I will try not to be too repetitive with this belated entry.
We reached a magnificent lunch spot, as related by Mike, by which time the rain had stopped and we could ease ourselves cosily into the lush grass for lunch and a snooze.
Superdawg didn't sleep much - he was much too interested in my sandwich (chicken tikka and peach - I shared it with him).
After last week's excesses on the botanical front, the specimens on view today were rather more sparse, but the fells were carpeted with Heath Bedstraw (pictured below). Tormentil, Melancholy Thistle, Lousewort and a selection of grasses and sedges added a bit of colour on the lower slopes.
The descent of Bram Rigg was an absolute delight, with clear views to the Lake District (High Street) beyond the impressive viaduct at Beck Foot.
The Magnums went down well, though.
I've uploaded a full set of 24 images here, for anyone who may be interested.
Mike's statistics were pretty accurate - I reckon our route was roughly as shown below - 17 km with 1000 metres ascent, taking us 7.5 hours including a good hour of breaks.
A fine day out. We shall have to meet up again. Perhaps on Eel Crag?
Mike has written a most entertaining series of articles on his walks in the Howgills over a period of a year. I commend you to dip into them - here.
Sunday, 19 July 2009
Here's the flier:
"Cholmondeley Castle’s annual fireworks’ extravaganza returns this summer accompanied by enthralling performances led by Manchester Camerata Orchestra.
This year, a military theme will provide an additional twist to the entertainment. Music will range from Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, 633 Squadron, Star Wars and Dambusters and will culminate in the traditional ‘Last night of the Proms’ style concert with the 1812 Overture accompanied by real cannon fire.
The concert will include The Mossley Brass Band, The Royal Engineers Military Marching Band, Pipes and Drums, Drummers Finale with lit batons, Last Post Ceremony and a Lone Piper on the Castle Turrets. The Army Benevolent Fund will be the event's principal charity.
The breathtaking beauty of the Gothick Castle, set in picturesque grounds will provide the backdrop to this unmissable event. Bring along chairs and a picnic to enjoy from the Castle Lawn.
Besides the beautiful Castle gardens themselves, other attractions are the walled garden, lake, nature reserve, rare breed animal centre and children’s play area. Everything is open for you to explore from 4pm."
No mention of the weather.
Otherwise we got what it said on the label.
The rain soon eased and we got to wonder whether the white ladder on this tank about to be driven to Afghanistan (friendly fire incidents permitting) wouldn't be just a bit conspicuous.
We were well equipped, with duvet jackets de rigeur - replacing the customary t-shirts employed for this occasion. Between us we had brought quite a feast, including what appeared to be a cellar load of fizzy wine from Richard and Jenny's bunker.
So it's not surprising that I couldn't hold the camera steady for the fireworks! They were spectacular, making the stage look very small (which it was from where we were sitting).