I’m sat here, itching to tell you about my walk on the Quantocks last Friday but instead, I’ve decided to write about another adventure. Largely because it follows the chronological sequence of events; partly because I’m frustrated that Flickr (owned by Yahoo) have recently overhauled their website and so, getting the image URL from specific photos is currently more of a chore than ever!
Fewer photos is working better for me at the moment. But, having just completed two walks over the Easter weekend, you’ll be able to catch up soon, regardless of how long it takes. This walk across the Mendips took place about 10 days ago.
My first visit to Westonbirt Arboretum was back in August 2008 over the bank holiday weekend, to experience their annual woodworking show (now known as Treefest) for the first time. It was only the second show of its kind that I’d been to and it blew me away with all it had to offer – put it this way; we spent so much of the day walking around to see each and every stall that we didn’t have enough time left to explore the arboretum. I’m not sure how the show may have changed in the years since but it still attracts a large following.
Since then, I’d been wanting to revisit and my intention has always been to return during the autumn season, after having seen everyone else’s photos (on Facebook, etc.) of the leaves in all their vibrant, autumnal glory. Fear of going alone is all that has really held me back until now (not to mention wasting a lot of time last year ‘waiting’ for someone…). But I’ve made a few really good friends in the last year and one of them didn’t hesitate to say yes to the prospect of going last weekend.
It’s been a fortnight since I did this walk and I’ve just noticed in my Flickr photo set that I implied it included a visit to ‘Prison’ and not to a small village near Marksbury, just west of the city of Bath! All is amended correctly now. But my intention for this Sunday was to join the walking group and to venture up to Pen Y Fan on the Brecon Beacons. I was late leaving the house, I got caught by the road works and everyone had gone by the time I arrived at the meeting point. I didn’t fancy driving 70 miles each way on my own (not to mention paying £12 for my van to cross the toll bridge) so I decided to head straight home and to collect the map of a 6.5 mile route I’d printed off a few weeks earlier.
Before I get started on a brand-new post with regards to a walk I’ve been wanting to write about for the past week; I’d like to announce that I am back in touch with my blog, after a long week of apparent inaccessibility! It looks as though it’s an issue with several UK-based ISPs (ours, here at home, is TalkTalk). I haven’t been able to sign-in to my blog without difficulty, I could load the site to simply view it in any browser and neither have I been able to view any other blogs that happen to be hosted by WordPress (and I am subscribed to quite a few).
Sites that use WordPress’ software and developer tools only (but hosted elsewhere) don’t seem to be effected by this. I’m no techno-genius but it’s almost as if something within the ISP’s setup is ‘blocking’ some elements of the WordPress software… I’ve not yet experienced this on any other site, although I have had trouble trying to update the basic information on my Facebook fan page for this blog.
Anyway, I’ve moved around this by turning off the wi-fi and switching back to my mobile broadband dongle, with its minimal download allowance remaining. I hope this might help others experiencing similar difficulties, if these ISPs don’t sort the issue very soon. In the mean time, I’m going to begin writing about the walk. There are already a load of photos on Flickr so, even if I don’t finish this tonight, you’ll at least have something to look at! 😉
Thank you all for your patience and also, a big thank you to everyone who’s recently decided to follow and Like my page on Facebook. I’m trying to keep it updated (more so now than ever before) with regular photos of progress and any links that I find interesting and would like to share. I’ll try to include more snippets from my walks as well, so it’s not entirely about working with wood.
There are a couple of more recent walks that I would like to write about today but I’ve realised that I still haven’t shared the experience of walking the Cotswold Way along the skyline route, near Cheltenham a couple of weeks ago. This was led by another member of the Brunel Walking Group. Apparently, it was also his first walk-leading experience and I for one think he did very well (I certainly wouldn’t have guessed it). Some of the details from that day are bound to have slipped my mind in the time that has since passed but, one thing I cannot forget is the heat from that day…
We started off (after meeting up in Bristol) at a lay-by car park on the western outskirts of the village of Cranham (apparently, it’s home to Lilly Allen among other celebrities, if you really wanted to know…). From there, we climbed up through the woods to reach the peak of Cooper’s Hill, which is perhaps best known as the site of Gloucestershire‘s annual Cheese Rolling event!
There are a lot of little things that I’d like to update you on but, first of all, I’d like to share with you a little evening walk I went on with the group last Wednesday evening. These evening walks only occur in the summer months (for obvious reasons) and I didn’t honestly think I’d have the energy left, after nine or ten hours at work (not to mention the early starts). But I’d booked Wednesday off in order to get my van serviced (apparently, the wheel bearing had fallen off and I was very lucky that the wheel hadn’t done the same) so, I didn’t really have much of any excuse not to go. I was worried about turning up to find a small selection of people I didn’t know (which did happen) but even the weather was against me – it was sunny!
It feels like a long time has passed since we had this amount of snow fall in this part of the UK. There were threats and warnings that we might have seen a few flakes last week but, it only landed elsewhere. Some were sceptical as to whether anything would happen this time. I kept my hopes up though; seeing the forecast on the local news of how one white blanket would cover the entire west country area filled me with optimism…
As soon as I got up around 6am, I was greeted and delighted by the sight you can see above; captured rather poorly by my smart phone‘s camera, which doesn’t particularly like the dark (and, I don’t like flash photography so, we can never agree).
As you’re probably aware, the UK has been hit by a heavy dosage of snow recently and, last night (or, early morning), it was time for the south-west of England to receive its fair share. This is where I’m glad that I have a job where I only have to work half a day on a Friday… I’m more encouraged to make an effort to get in to work on time (which I did) and, I still get the whole afternoon to go out and to enjoy these rare sights of whiteness.
I think this is the first time we’ve had any proper snowfall for two-years? At least, in this part of the country. Apparently, another couple of showers are forecast for tomorrow morning as well.
When I have more time, I’ll make a better effort to collate all the photos I’ve taken (currently counting 89, including this one), upload them in to a Flickr album and to then inform you all with a new blog post. Photography is a part-time interest of mine and so, it deserves a place on this blog.
Before I have to go and do other things, I just wanted to share this one image with you because, amongst my list of many other things to do, I still need to pick-up, repair and refit a 4ft tall fence panel that blew down months ago. I’m hoping that it doesn’t need replacing. If I have to cut some new battens for it then, hey, I also get to use my workshop! 😉
As you can tell, now is not the time for me to be running blades and bits at several thousands of RPM when I can barely feel my toes sometimes. I do need to go out there and seriously sort out my first pile of tools to sell though (hand and power tools that I can manage without).