Archives for category: Walking
Now that has been a tough week. All a bit of an emotional roller coaster but the end is in sight – mostly.

Monday’s list of jobs went pretty well although the mowing and strimming took a back seat and got shuffled right out to Saturday just gone, in the end.

Daughter’s big day on Tuesday was a jolly use of time. we had a leisurely start to the day and then went off to Cabot’s Circus in Bristol. You might be fogiven for thinking there were clowns and performing elephants, however, there were none for it is the name of the relatively new shopping centre. If you’re wondering, the Cabot in question is John Cabot and there’s all the historical gen on him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cabot but the short version is that he was the first european since the vikings to explore mainland North America in 1497.

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I’m sure he wasn’t planning on having a shopping center named after him, but we live in a strange world.

We also paid a visit to the scandinavian flat pack land that is Ikea. As always this resulted in a return trip being needed to take back what didn’t fit or to replace what was damaged under the packaging. This is a consistent and constant bug bear of what would otherwise be a very useful store of furnishings.

Wednesday found me back to the “rolling dung uphill” routine with the badman. We’re still pushing although we are sort of leaning on the ball and catching our breath ready for the next big push. Thursday was a trip to a starfleet outpost to gather the team and review the situation so far. General consensus is that we’re all going in the right direction and that Friday’s meeting in a different star system will be a turning point.

Which brings me to Friday. Funerals are never much fun. It was a terribly sad and moving occasion and everyone that was present felt the pain of the children that my cousins wife leaves behind. 41 is no age at all, and 15 and 17 is a hard time to loose your mother. They do have a hugely supportive group of family and friends and my cousin is doing his best to hold it all together, but the pain is very raw. The crematorium was standing room only and one hopes that this in a small way might provide some comfort to them in their hour of need. A rough day for everyone involved.

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Friday evening, on our return journey from the forgotten county, Mrs G and I were able to catch up with A, L and A and this provided some light in an otherwise heavy and dark day.

Finally on Saturday I got the mower fired up for the second cut and the strimmer had it’s first run of the year. “Hoorah!!” said the lawn, which is now quite happy to show it’s face in public. I was beginning to think I’d never find the time, but it’s all ship shape and bristol fashion now.

The other half of Saturday was all about the remains of the 21st birthday celebrations. This time, it was to involve, grandparents, parents and friends of daughter all attending a local curry house for a bit of a nosh up and the onwards into Cheltenham for drinking, dancing and general shenanigans.

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Of course, grandparents aren’t particularly suited to the clubbing scene so they snuck off home to open a nice bottle of red and have a game of scrabble probably. It turns out that Mrs G and I (and Aunty S & M) have reached that point in our lives where we too are not the best of bedfellows with a nightclub any longer. This came as quite a shock to me, having been at my most relaxed in such environments for many years. I supposed though, that it comes to all of us, and for the first time ever I found myself wanting a bit of a sit down and a chat as opposed to jumping around to some banging house tunes. Very disconcerting. Still, we made the best of the overpriced drinks and the underdressed youths and finally crawled off towards the night bus at around 1am. I’d never say never, but my clubbing days are numbered I believe.

And so to Mothering Sunday. The fun just keeps on coming… really I need a break, so I’m looking forward to being back at work just to stop the socialising and earn rather than spend. A journey up to Tewksbury and lunch in a nice old hotel followed by a little walk out by the river with Mrs G and both mothers (and other halves of course) made for a most welcome end to the weekend.

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This all left me with no other option other than to collapse into a fitfull sleep of the sofa variety from about 4pm until 5ish…

Ordinarily I would have said that was a waste of an hour of my day, but in this occasion we’ve been fitting so much emotion into our days that exhaustion is taking over and it was an hour exceptionally well spent. If I’ve learnt one thing this week, it’s make the most of every moment you have.

To quote the great Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding “Get busy living, or get busy dying”

Until next time….


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

What a truly excellent Friday that felt like a Saturday. It’s always nice when you feel like you’re getting an extra day and yesterday was no exception.
As planned – although not on schedule as events involving so many kids never are – we trundled off to Cooper’s Hill (made famous by the rolling of the Cheese) for an energetic hike through the woods to Cranham.
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The push to the top of Cooper’s Hill is one of those climbs that leaves you feeling like you don’t do enough exercise no matter how much exercise you actually do do. (Did you just write do do ?? Ed). However, on days like this it also leaves you in no doubt that it’s absolutely worth the lung busting burning agony.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

At this time of year the tree colours are incredible. To see the luscious greens slowly turning to reds and oranges before disappearing altogether is a sight that anyone would be heartbroken to lose, and just reminds me that I don’t want to live on the Mediterranean or the west coast of the US really, even if I think I do.
From here we head south easterly along a short stretch of the cotswold way through the woods. A left turn and down hill past the woodsmans cottage and the across the road and back into the woods to drop down into Cranham itself.

It’s a beautiful little village trapped in a valley and feels like it’s cut off from the world. Near the top of one of the tiny roads is an equally tiny pub “The Black Horse”. With a proper open fire and proper beer and a proper home cooked (not too fancy but huge portions) menu, it was just what was required.

Of course the ordering and delivery of food and beverages is made over complicated by the shear numbers of people involved and the fact that everyone wants something slightly different but the Barman did an excellent job of keeping us all organised and the food and superb beer were quaffed and enjoyed greatly.
The return journey involves a lot of up hill work and on this occasion took the same route as before. As the kids explained this is a particularly dangerous strategy, because by going back the way you came the Indians are sure to know where you’ve been and are likely to ambush you. All too late had I realized we’d forgotten to cover our tracks on the way in to the village. A schoolboy error (apparently). This gem of very useful information was made all the more pertinent when the kids also revealed this logic to have been proven by their cousins who never retrace their steps and instead strive to find an alternate route. The system must work, as the cousins, as yet have never been ambushed by said Indians, in these or any other parts. Fun times.
The beauty of conversations with 7 year olds is the way their logic produces all sorts of hitherto unknown facts. For example, I hadn’t realised that I’m now logically a grandparent. It turns out that once you’re kids are no longer kids and are grown up, you’re no longer a parent, but automatically a grand parent. Well thanks for that nephew of mine. I shall remember it for future use and try my best to embarrass you with it at a later date. Probably during your university application.
By this time we’d also had the sad news that daughter was required to help out at work in the evening and so our little party of scattered family was to come to a close. We traipsed back to the bottom of the Cheesey hill and from there back home. For those wishing to try it out, we made it last almost 3 and half hours, but two of those were spent sat in the pub eating, so a 45 minute walk each way. Longer if you’re covering your tracks.

All was not completely lost though, as Mrs G and I were able to join them all again in the evening for a well deserved curry, frivolity, a number of “was-lovely-to-see-yous” and couple of “we’ll-be-up-to-visit-you-all-soons” before they were due to head back north to bonnie Scotland.
One tiny bit of tech note…  Daughter’s new camera was the test bed for these photo’s (A Samsung PL150 – £130 – other cameras are available) which she’ll be taking on her forthcoming Thailand trip. It’s done a good job. Might be a little small for my clunky hands, but it takes a damn good picture as I’m sure you’ll agree.
And then there’s a beutiful little app for the iPad called “TiltShiftGen” Which enabled me to take this shot of Tesco’s…

….and turn it into this beautiful model village…

Best of all, it’s now only just Saturday morning. The weekend awaits and I hear there’s a beer festival at The New Inn in Gloucester. Ahhh, to sip, perchance to drink.. Who knows, but gotta keep an eye out for the Injuns, especially at my age.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Sunday is always a political day on the BBC and in the press. I’m doing my best not get involved, but it’s not easy. I’ve already been twittering like a mad thing while watching the Andrew Marr show this morning. My facebook status looks like it’s run by a ranting buffoon… oh hang on… it is… I really enjoy the Sunday papers normally.Nothing beats a lazy start to a Sunday with a bunch of stuff to read with quality coffee on the go, but this week I will not be buying any of them other than the Mail on Sunday. [Ed… WHAT!!?? Are you kidding??!! The Mail on Sunday??!!…] Yep, seriously. Mrs G really really wants that free CD of Phil Collins that’s in it and we need something to light Monday’s Bar-B-Q with. The MoS ticks all the boxes. From what I’ve seen the newspapers polls are completely out of whack with the online polls and I think this is directly attributable to the fact that newspapers are funded by individuals who have a personal interest in who gets into government. Worse still is Mr Burns – sorry – Murdoch, who not only owns the papers by Sky TV too. Interesting how all his publications polls seem to put the Tories in front. I fear for the future of unbiased news reporting in our country.

Mother-in-Law’s bathroom isn’t quite finished yet- close, but not quite, so they’re coming over to borrow ours for their ablutions. Once that’s all sorted we’re going out for a spot of Sunday Lunch at Daughter’s pub and then a tour around the unfinished bathroom which will no doubt be accompanied by several ooo’s and ahh’s. My worry here is if (as I suspect) that tripple B has done a smart job of it, Mrs G might decide that we need to have ours done. I can almost hear the money being spent already. Of course I love a beautiful room as much as anyone, but we already have one for the time being… We’ll see.

Last night Mrs G and I had the £10 meal deal from M&S, not just any meal deal of course. It was the Salmon fish cakes and fresh chips. The fish cakes needed a quick fry (2 minutes each side) and then 25 minutes in the oven at 180. The chips needed 35 minutes in the oven at 200. The result? Chips weren’t quite ready when the fish cakes were. A little bit of creative cooking (ie: keeping the fish cakes warm) for a couple more minutes solved the problem and the resulting dish was delicious. Dessert was a Millionaires Shortbread thing in a pot – bit sickly, but very tasty and a bottle of white washed it all down. Easily the best £10 cook at home meal I’ve had. A veritable bargain.

As I suggested yesterday, it being a bank holiday weekend it was bound to rain and sure enough it has for most of the night. We’ve put the idea of going to Ludlow on hold but might go for a walk up to Crickly Hill instead. It’s a lovely bit of park space that provides superb views out across Chelters towards the black mountains, at least on a clear day. But that’s for tomorrow, and if the weather improves we still might change the plan back to Ludlow… who knows…

Right now – more coffee required, and I’m going to manufacture a trip to Whittards to top up on the quality stuff after examining the incomplete bathroom. Have a great Sunday without the Sun.