Saturday, 6 September 2014
Friday, 5 September 2014
Thursday, 4 September 2014
Tuesday, 2 September 2014
Sunday, 31 August 2014
Soon after returning home from ‘Camping with Jacob’, an old friend from University, Anna, arrived at our house with Dale. Luckily their four children were not in tow. We’ve enjoyed their company for the weekend and are looking forward to a trip with them starting on Monday.
Today I set off on a bike ride with Dale and Anna. Anna soon turned round, frightened by Stumpy’s eccentricities, but Dale found Shogun manageable, and we enjoyed a ride along the canal towpath from Brooklands to Stretford and then around both Chorlton and Sale Water Parks.
Chorlton Water Park looked and felt very summery on the warm day.
Dale survived a few wobbles and stayed smiling.
The south bank of the Mersey near Jackson’s Boat is in the process of being repaired and re-seeded. The water level in the river seemed pretty low today.
Here’s our 18.5 km route, which at today’s modest pace took a shade under an hour and a half. On the return journey by the canal, we saw the lone lady mandarin duck who has now resided here for nearly two years. Several cormorants were rampaging around Sale Water Park.
After lunch we all went to Dunham Massey.
The deer were sunbathing.
Anna and Dale visited the gardens whilst Sue and I ambled. We reconvened by the Blackamoor that has graced the forecourt of the Hall since before 1750.
The ponds had ducks and weeds and geese (and, if you look at the top picture, an unidentified mystery object).
Before we left we saw this sign and felt it perhaps not quite the right day to upgrade to top of the range BMWs.
Kate needed to be on hand in the Yorkshire Dales in case any of her ‘D of E girls’ had a problem, as both the supervisor and their assessor were male and therefore barred from one to one contact with the girls. So if any of them had to give up, Kate would be available to provide transport.
The girls weren’t expected to give up and in fact they managed to complete their three day expedition in style.
All this presented the opportunity to take Jacob camping for the first time, as Kate had stationed herself in her new tent on Stainforth campsite. So I picked up Jacob from his dad on Thursday morning and by lunch time we were enjoying sandwiches with his mum at a playground in Giggleswick. He’d cycled there from Settle.
Then we checked that the girls were on course before heading to their destination for the night – Malham.
Jacob was fascinated by Malham Beck, in which he immersed himself for a good hour. We’d found an elephant’s dummy, so he spent a lot of time looking for the baby elephant of Beck Hall.
The chickens and the ducks were all very friendly.
Eventually we found our way onto the path to Malham Cove. It was a lovely afternoon. The elephant was still missing.
After finally giving up our quest to find the baby elephant, Jacob issued instructions to another friendly D of E group to keep an eye out for it, before heading off to the Victoria Inn at Kirkby Malham for good helpings of tasty dinner – steak and ale for me and Kate, and what looked suspiciously like a mixed grill for Jacob. Ceri and Dave joined us and a jolly time was had by all.
Jacob was desperate to see his accommodation, and on returning to the campsite at Stainforth he gave it the thumbs up before adjourning to the swings.
I went to visit John and Steph (and Sierra and Jack) in the village before returning to the tent in the dead of night. Everyone was fast asleep.
On Friday morning we all seemed to sleep in. Our family all appear to be adept at getting really good sleeps when in their tents.
Sadly, the tent had to come down, and we made our way to the youth hostel in Malham to join Ceri and Dave for breakfast after they’d checked that their girls were ok. I wasn’t expecting such a lavish fry up. Thanks gents, and Kate.
The girls were headed up to Janet’s Foss, so we went to meet them at the waterfall. They were all fine, if a little hungry.
By now, Jacob had mutated into Spiderman. He nearly crawled into Janet’s Foss.
After seeing the girls on their way, we drove round to Long Preston to say hello to Heather and Rowan. After a while Kate and Jacob returned to ‘girl duty’, and I went home to greet our visitors from Canada after enjoying a short stroll with Heather, Rowan, and a selection of sticks.
There’s a slideshow here.