Heights, Hats and New Year

Hello All

Hope its not too late to wish you all HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! What is the protocol? I usually go with wishing Happy New Year to people I have not seen – since hearing the fading strains of Auld Lang Syne – until the end of January. What do you do?

Protocols aside a bit of housekeeping is needed on this here blog. I don’t feel I have finished 2017 off properly as I was smitten by a fluey bug at the tail end of the Christmas festivities and didn’t complete a post for the last walk of the old year. It was a Bussing It walk and everything!!! So here goes.

Somewhere in the mists of time … December 2017! …. J unleashed our first walk from Robert Swain’s “55 555 Walks” Bolton Le Sands to Lancaster. For me it is a particular pleasure to combine public transport with a walk, no worries about driving, parking, individually polluting the universe … that sort of thing. But little did I know as we set off that by the end of the day I would be facing one of my greatest fears. Eeek.

Innocently we tootled off on a very pleasant stroll through the Lancashire countryside chuckling at the punishments meted out to ne’er do wells of yesteryore.

The stocks at Slyne give a hint of a raucous past in this now ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ little village. Oh how I was chuckling … then.

The next stretch of the walk took us part-way along the Lancaster canal. My favourite: a really flat walk.

Although major road building – the Bay Gateway: Heysham to M6 link if you wanted to know – left us with a rather strange detour (not in Swain’s book of course) serpentining our way around the pillars of the new four-lane highway rumbling above us before entering the outskirts of Lancaster through a modern housing estate. Different from the Lakeland fells and cottages for sure.

And then as we walked through Lancaster’s Ryelands Park … gulp … the realisation that the walk took us across the Lune and that this would only be managed by bridge (swimming across would be pretty radical). Those of you that followed my travels in Germany will recall an annoying vertigo that decided to visit me while I was away. The thought of a scary bridge on the horizon brought that memory back.

J being the good friend she is suggested we walk to a much less high rise footbridge. But that meant skipping some of the walk so I girded my loins and up and over Lancaster’s Carlisle (foot and rail) Bridge we went. And do you know what? despite my qualms, fear of white knuckles, passing out part way (I think that was J’s fear) it was … drum roll please …. ok. I know what an anti-climax. It really was alright.

It was worth it too as the quays along this bank of the Lune, a salt marsh tidal river, are quaint and full of architectural interest. They also end in a good end stop at the oldest pub in Lancaster. The Three Mariners is not only a grade II listed building steeped in 500 years of history – even holding prisoners in its cellar when Lancaster Castle’s dungeons were overflowing – it also serves a fine pot of tea which comes with a jug of fresh milk and a spare pot of hot water. Tea heaven. Oh yes its also a paranormal haunt!

A quick hop across the road and we were back on the 555 Stagecoach bus home. A good way to end the walking year.

As to 2018? No walks yet. Recuperating from fluey-virus thing has grounded me a wee bit. Although now the hacking cough has subsided I am rather enjoying the snug loveliness of homely pursuits and a couple of thoughtful Christmas presents especially.

In the last few years my children have introduced new folks to our teeny tiny family. Their wonderful partners are extremely welcome additions and already know me well enough to supply fodder for my New Year needs.

A selection of beautiful wools from No 1 Son’s No 1, RS

From which one ball today started a cable-knitted journey to becoming a hat:

The free pattern from Margo Knits can be found here. Big thanks RS: I will soon have a warm hat so I can again embrace walks in my chilly county.

Thanks to No 1 Daughter’s No 1 RP I am happily putting up my feet and losing myself in an era that I love

Fabulous reading especially now the thumping head has receded. Inspired pressie.

On those happy and thankful notes I will love and leave you.

May 2018 bring you everything you need.

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

High Days and Roman Holidays

Hello All

Being born on 24 July in the 57th year of the last century means that I have just turned 57 myself. A pleasing symmetry.

After an early morning birthday call from No1 Son, No1 Daughter arrived to take her old mum out for the day. Off we set in glorious sunshine for the pretty Lancashire village of Ribchester.

No1 Daughter knew the perfect place for lunch DSCI0326

Steamingly hot no one was sitting inside said glass house but outside under cheerful parasols or broad brimmed hats thoughtfully provided by the proprietors. I snaffled a jaunty blue number. I thought I looked tres chic. I can’t imagine what that girl of mine was sniggering at.

What a friendly and convivial setting for a happy birthday lunch.

The cafe is part of an eclectic mix of little businesses which are set up in small summer houses dotted around what is also a delightful rambling garden centre.

A special treat. But the day was not over.

Lying on the banks of an expansive stretch of the River Ribble – on this hot day filled with squealing children trying to cool down – Ribchester is a picture postcard village. It has a 13th century church, St Wilfred’s DSCI0337

 

cottages quaint enough to feature on top of a biscuit tin lid DSCI0332

 

and comes complete with an 18th century hostelry, The White Bull. DSCI0328

But what makes it very special to me are the remains of the Roman fort of Bremetennacum the story of which is told in the village’s small but beautifully formed museum.DSCI0330

 

Famously Bremetennacum was garrisoned by Sarmatian auxiliaries. These highly accomplished horsemen from the lower Danube came to Britain after their defeat by the legions of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius in 175AD. In this fabulous mongrel nation of ours I like to fancy that modern day Ribchesterians will be descended from these exotic nomadic people.

The ‘Roman’ visitors also left behind more tangible traces of their lives at Bremetennacum: their granaries

and a little walk away, their bath house

complete with an add-on medieval well DSCI0342

I couldn’t resist patting the sun-warmed stones and thinking of the people who had dressed and placed them there. It made me smile.

I’ll let you into a little secret: over the years I have researched the Sarmatians in Roman Britain for a novel and if you are really interested you can have a sneaky peek of the first few chapters on Wattpad. Beware it is very different from my blog!

No1 Daughter and I had a lovely time chatting and tootling about the site of this ancient world but thank goodness for modern conveniences and a last cup of tea. DSCI0347

 

Until we meet next. Moke