Saturday 28 July 2012

The Olympic Road Race

I walked into Kingston upon Thames yesterday with Marilyn and Abi.  We couldn't drive in because all the roads were closed to allow the Olympic Cycling Road race to pass through . Here are some photographs.

On the corner opposite Wilkinsons, Cotswolds outward bound shop and Costas Coffee.

Going past London Road and the leaning post boxes.

Here come the British team.

The British team closer.

More cyclists.

Police outriders.

Leading cars.

Friday 27 July 2012




A little suggestion for you all.
WATCH the opening ceremony. It will BLOW YOUR MINDS. Ha! ha! You will just know this is England, this IS Britain!!!!!

Maybe you will even have a chuckle to yourselves. Ony here. 
Only  here. Ha! Ha!


The above title, for those not attuned  to  an English way of  speaking means ,"Are you  going to be watching our Olympics on your televisions? Interminably!!  Ha! Ha!

 Do you get it?

Here is a  set  of guidelines for understanding the way we think, speak and everything else you didn't  really want  to  know. Oh we are awful  aren't  we? Sorry!!

London 2012: A 12-part guide to the UK in 212 words each

Child standing next to a Union Jack flag
What do people visiting the UK for the Olympics need to know about the nation's quirks, habits and rules?
The British obsession with talking about the weather is much discussed, but there are a host of other oddities and complexities that visitors might do well to acquaint themselves with.
Quirk212 words on...
Hugh Grant
In the movies, one might notice British characters have a tendency to talk in one of three stock accents - "English gentleman" (eg Hugh Grant), "Scottish/Irish hero" (eg Mel Gibson) or "Cockney chimney sweep" (eg Dick Van Dyke). But in reality, the UK has a rich mosaic of many different accents. Dominic Watt, a linguist at the University of York, says in the Border regions, where he has studied, you can hear a different accent just by walking down a road or crossing a bridge. The differences aren't just in rural areas. TheLiverpool accent is quite different from its near neighbour Manchester. Some even say they can detect a softer south Liverpool accent and a grittier one from the city's north side. Corby in Northamptonshire has an accent known as "Corbyite" that has tones influenced by the many settlers there from the west of Scotland. Researchers have described a new accent they call Multicultural London English influenced by Caribbean, South Asian and West African immigrants. Others have referred to it as Jafaican. Overlaid on the regional differences, Watt says class distinction in speaking is also greater than in other countries. The Olympics themselves offer an opportunity to sample these myriad accents, as Team GB has representatives who speak many of them.
The bobby
Police lead a streaker away
Fuzz. Po-lis. Old Bill. Plod. Rozzers. Bizzies. All are slang names for the police in the UK of differing levels of friendliness. Perhaps the kindest is "bobbies", after Sir Robert (hence "Bobby") Peel, who founded the Metropolitan police in 1829. Television captured or perhaps created the image of the "bobby" in Dixon of Dock Green. The series lasted more than 20 years until 1976. Dixon was avuncular, in touch with his community, a carer as well as a copper. He ended each programme speaking directly to the audience as though he really was the bobby on your beat. Look at Dixon through the eyes of a visitor and two things stand out. First, there's his helmet. Based on a Victorian design, it is still worn by many male police officers in England and Wales, particularly those tasked to smile at tourists. The helmet doesn't play much of a protective role, but it has proved invaluable at sporting events. Second, Dixon carries no gun. Forty years on and despite his screen successors being far more muscular, British police officers do not routinely carry firearms. For some this is the success of the British model where there is consent to the bobby's authority. Perhaps, though, the British are just sufficiently respectful of the truncheon.
Local boys and boy dressed in Harrow uniform in 1934
three-tier class system is synonymous with the UK to outsiders, at least among those who boosted Downton Abbey's international audiences. But, says cultural commentator Peter York, it's much more nuanced than that. The British, he believes, are experts at chronicling each strata's many sub-divisions. This is a country, indeed, in which Nancy Mitford could categorise words as "U" (upper-class) or "non-U" (aspirational middle class) - looking glass versus mirror, for instance, or napkin versus serviette. The nation's favourite sitcoms rely on a keen awareness of class. For instance, the tension between upwardly-mobile lower-middle-class Captain Mainwaring and the downwardly-mobile upper-middle-class Sgt Wilson inDad's Army. Or the attempts of the Trotters to escape Peckham in Only Fools and Horses. Yet York believes the UK is no more class-bound than, say, the US - simply better at signifying how the system works. The paradox, he adds, is that as the gap between rich and poor has increased over recent decades, so too have the number of flat vowels among the super-rich as pop stars and footballers joined the elite. "The assumption is that we are uniquely class-divided, whereas that is of course nonsense," York adds. "Everywhere has a class system. But it's our obsession in the sense that race is the American obsession."
The public house is one of the few cultural institutions unique to the British Isles. Many visitors will be familiar with the acid-etched glass and high ceilings of a classic Victorian-style pub. Or indeed a horse brass-festooned country pub. But not all will understand the "gastropub". The Eagle in London's Clerkenwell opened in 1991 and is claimed as the first. The concept has since spread around the country. Gastropubs or "gastros" are supposed to allow you to eat restaurant food, but without the formality of a restaurant. The chips ("hand-cut") come stacked in a Jenga-like formation or served in a little metal bucket. Beef dishes are typically accompanied by a "red wine jus". To critics, gastropubs are a symbol of vulgar gentrification, a bourgeois pastiche of the humble boozer. But Observer food critic Jay Rayner believes they have stayed true to the traditional customs of the alehouse. "It has taken a working class institution and made it a middle class institution," he says. "But it still has this association that the pub has with British culture." They have helped improve eating out. In his 1946 essay about an idealised tavern, George Orwellfantasised about eating "a good, solid lunch - for example, a cut off the joint, two vegetables and boiled jam roll".
People holding umbrellas and Union Jacks
The English are British and lots of people think the British are English but that annoys the Scottish andWelsh because although some think they're British and some think they aren't and some think they are but don't want to be, they all agree that they definitely are not English. The Irish mostly think they are Irish, apart from the ones who are Northern Irish. Some say that makes them British and Irish. But others disagree and say they should just be Irish and then some say they aren't British either but part of theUnited Kingdom. People from England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland can all play cricket for England because they're British as can those from Ireland even though they aren't British. So can South Africans. The English play football for England unless they aren't that good when they might try to play for Ireland. Those from the Isle of Wight are English, from Anglesey are Welsh and the Orkneys are Scottish, but although that means they aren't from the island of Great Britain they're still British. The Channel Islanders depend on the crown which is what the Queen wears but they aren't in the UK and those from the Isle of Man are the same, apart from their cats.
Rail ticket. a bank note and a coin
Rail Pricing Mysteries: The single/return puzzle: An off peak single to Manchester costs £73.20 but the return only costs £74.20. The split-ticket conundrum: It can be cheaper to buy several tickets for different parts of a journey rather than buy a ticket for the whole thing. The riddle of the conductor: Staff on trains may charge more for the same journey than those at the station.
Some visitors might think UK rail travel is expensive. Certainly, the 260m (0.16 mile) Tube journey from Covent Garden to Leicester Square, at £4.30 for a paper ticket, is a solid candidate for the world's most expensive railway trip. Then there's the complexity. Arriving at Gatwick airport and wanting to get a train to London, you would find two operators and then the "express". All are different prices. Single or return? Two singles might be cheaper than a return. Do you want an "anytime" ticket in case your plane is late or choose an "advance" fare? The "advance" might be cheaper but is worthless if you miss the train. You could take an "off peak" ticket but be careful - what "off peak" means can vary. Confused? The fare structure may be confusing, but it allows the operators to target expensive fares at business travellers who are willing to pay while still attracting more frugal consumers who might be tempted by alternative transport, says Mark Smith, founder of rail website And if you're from anywhere else in Europe, don't be too smug. The ticketing model is catching on elsewhere, Smith says. Visitors should also get used to: "No smoking, even in the vestibule areas." That means those bits between the carriages.
Newspaper humour
Stack of newspapers
In the UK newspapers are not just there to convey news. There is also the venerable institution of "newspaper humour". The tabloids, of course are known for their knockabout proficiency with puns. Take theSun's headline above a story about fears Pyongyang's regime had engaged in nuclear testing - "How do you solve a problem like Korea?" The tenuousness and corniness of the punning is supposed to be part of the appeal. Four becomes "phwoar" etc. The topless women of page three used to be accompanied by groanworthy punning. Now, in the Sun at least, they pontificate on economics, politics or philosophy for the effect of humour by sheer incongruity. In the broadsheets it can be a little more acid, exemplified by AA Gill's depiction of shadow chancellor Ed Balls ("the wide-eyed look of a man being given a surprise prostate examination") and the Guardian's Marina Hyde on Sting and wife Trudie Styler ("possibly the least self-regarding people on the planet they have done so much to save"). "The tradition of mixing entertainment with the most serious news, through the likes of parliamentary sketches, is almost uniquely British," says Tim Luckhurst, former editor of the Scotsman and now professor of journalism at Kent University. "What unites them is a lack of deference."
Public transport
People on a London tube train
Trains, buses and trams might seem natural venues to start a friendly chat. But do be careful. For many Britons, initiating conversation with strangers on public transport ranks as a breach of etiquette not far below commission of High Treason. Take the Tube through London in rush hour, for instance, and you will see dozens of strangers packed tightly together. Though they may be intimate in terms of physical proximity, each revels in splendid isolation. Break this code of silence and you will be greeted with embarrassed silence (interrupted, perhaps, by nervous newspaper-twitching) as all around you seek to avoid your gaze.
Not all of the UK is quite so circumspect about small talk, however. Citizens in the north of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all take pride in being more welcoming than their aloof southern neighbours. Nonetheless, etiquette expert Simon Fanshawe strongly advises against making verbal contact with one's fellow commuters and transgressing one of the UK's most powerful codes of behaviour.
"My advice would be to do it with extreme caution," he says. "If you do, expect us to be extremely gruff.
"If anybody so much as looks us in the eye, we assume they want our wallets. We'd much rather rustle behind a copy of the Daily Express."
Queuing in the rain at Wimbledon
Many British people believe queuing is peculiarly British, or even English. But the first reference in the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1837 when Thomas Carlyle referred to it as a French custom.
The British like to think they stand in line with patience and humour. At Wimbledon, the January sales, women's toilets in the theatre, queuing has almost become the point rather than merely a means to an end. No matter how dull the wait, the British keep on queuing. Joe Moran, a cultural historian and author of Queuing for Beginners, says that the idea that the British are good at queuing arose after World War II. It was a reaction to a time when shortages led to arguments and police were often called to disperse crowds. The Hungarian-born satirist George Mikes helped create the myth, writing in1946: "An Englishman, even if he is alone, forms an orderly queue of one." But Moran says there is little real evidence that the British are particularly good queuers. They like the thought because it feeds into their self-image of pragmatism andpoliteness. The lesson for any visitor perhaps is to be aware that the British think they are good at queueing. So if you want to get ahead, try to do it subtly.
British curry
Don't be fooled by the fact that curry is found in restaurants called "Indian" that are mostly run byBangladeshis. Curry is as British as its favoured accompaniment, the pint of lager. Born to foreign parents, the British love both curry and lager as their own. The Oxford English Dictionary says the word curry derives from the Tamil "Kari", or the Kannada word "Karil". Although the root is Indian, South Asians have no single word to describe their many, distinct dishes. The word "curry", however, has helped sell Indian cuisine to the British. The Guild of Bangladeshi Restaurateurs believes there are now 9,500 "Indian" restaurants in the UK serving three million meals a week. The curry has developed to suit British needs. Vindaloo,for example, is a Goan dish of pork marinated in vinegar. The only thing certain about the British restaurant version is it is hot enough to generate conversation. Chicken Tikka Masala is known as Britain's National Dish. One legend has it created by a Pakistani chef in a restaurant kitchen in Glasgow. The next big taste innovation could come from the "Balti Triangle" in Birmingham, Manchester's Rusholme's Wilmslow Road, or Brick Lane, Southall or Tooting in London or perhaps one of the myriad restaurants that spice-up every British town.
Buying rounds
Pints of beer
"He never gets his round in." There is no more damning assessment of one's character to be heard in the British Isles. Rather than approaching the bar collectively, each member of the drinking party alternates fetching a collective order. It's about more than beer. Being in a round means being part of a group. And taking turns to ensure everyone has a full glass in front of them means reciprocal bonds are formed between all of its members. The system has a further practical function, ensuring that the bar staff are not overwhelmed by a procession of individual drinkers. Not everyone is a fan of rounds, however. During World War I the practice - known as "treating" - was expressly forbidden in some areas because of fears that it encouraged workers in essential industries to drink more. In 2011 the Sun reported that Prof Richard Thaler, an adviser to the prime minister, said rounds should be discouraged in favour of setting up a tab that is settled at the end of the night. But among traditionalists, the round remains the preferred method of supplying an evening's refreshment. "I think it's a lovely system," says Roger Protz, editor of the Great British Beer Guide. "It's all part of the convivial atmosphere of the British pub."
Stephen Fry
To listen to a conversation between Britons about their careers, say, or educational histories, an observer from a more forthright culture might be forgiven for assuming the participants were morbidly depressed. Chances are they'd be wrong. Self-deprecation is an inescapable part of British discourse. The only socially acceptable way to talk about one's achievements is to diminish them. The affection held for that paragon ofself-mockery, Stephen Fry, is testament to the national love of this brand of humour. The UK is, after all, a country where showing off is considered the height of bad form and boastfulness regarded as the very height of vulgarity. Charm and wit, by extension, are demonstrated by making oneself the butt of one's own jokes. Outsiders might conclude that this tendency to self-effacement reflects the UK's diminished global status as a former imperial power. But don't be fooled. Times columnist Matthew Parris argues that this tendency is, in fact, a subtly disguised form of self-aggrandisement. "British self-deprecation is actually quite boastful," he says. "Its primary purpose is to show how relaxed, at ease and confident you are. It's a sign of being so in command that you can undersell yourself." So is British self-deprecation just one big humblebrag? We really are useless, aren't we, utterly useless.
Apart from talking about the weather, what other quirks have been missed? Send us yours in 212 words using the form below.

Thursday 26 July 2012


File:William Wordsworth 001.jpg
William Wordsworth  within his beloved lakes, contemplating.

The Lakes
A smooth drive up the M6,my Nissan Serena purred like a contented kitten. The new exhaust was working well. The recently replaced water pump  kept the coolant system  going perfectly,”Ee ba’ gum. It were all workin’ a treat!!!!”  After  131,000 miles on the clock, great stuff.

Myself  and   Clive, a good mate  of  mine, were entering the land of Romanticism and the Lakeland poets along the A590 and the A5074 heading for the heart of Lakeland and  Ambleside  north  of Lake Windermere.
A distant view of  Rydal  Water from Allan House.

Romanticism was a very important movement of artists and poets who formed a new philosophy during the early part of the 19th century from about 1800  to 1840. They encompassed imagination, myth and symbolism. Enlightenment previously dealt with science, philosophy, politics and revolution  and  also encompassed subjectivism, rationalism, empiricism and scepticism.  Enlightenment had marked   the previous centuries in  Europe from 1650 to about 1800 . It’s influence is still very much felt today and it shaped the modern world but Romanticism added another element to interpreting the human condition.
 The calm surface on  Rydal  Water.

The Lakes are a rugged  mountainous landscape punctuated by beautiful vistas of fells and glassy shimmering, silvery surfaced lakes. The lakes were the birthplace of  William  Wordsworth and the home of Samuel  Taylor Coleridge, the two most important Romantic poets.  Wordsworth can be described as instigating the whole Romantic Movement and it was this landscape that made him into a romantic.He was born in The lakes at Cockermouth in 1770 and he died a few miles away at Rydal Mount in 1850.he loved travelling throughout Europe, especially in France but it was always Westmoreland that he came back to and lived  most of his life. In his long biographical poem, The Prelude,  Wordsworth writes,
“ , -Was it for this
That one, the fairest of all Rivers, lov'd
To blend his murmurs with my Nurse's song,
And from his alder shades and rocky falls,
And from his fords and shallows, sent a voice
That flow'd along my dreams? For this, didst Thou,
O Derwent! travelling over the green Plains
Near my 'sweet Birthplace', didst thou, beauteous Stream
Make ceaseless music through the night and day
Which with its steady cadence, tempering
Our human waywardness, compos'd my thoughts
To more than infant softness, giving me,
Among the fretful dwellings of mankind,
A knowledge, a dim earnest, of the calm
That Nature breathes among the hills and groves.
When, having left his Mountains, to the Towers
Of Cockermouth that beauteous River came,
Behind my Father's House he pass'd, close by,
Along the margin of our Terrace Walk.
He was a Playmate whom we dearly lov'd.”

The River  Derwent running at the bottom of his childhood home in Cockermouth sparked his life of emotional  and imaginative response to  the world.
Romanticism might conjure a less than realistic view of the world. However, although Wordsworth emphasised the emotional and imaginative response, a response through the senses,  he didn’t ignore the realities of  life and especially rural life in the lakes of his time.
The Lakes.

In the poem, “The Ruined Cottage,” Wordsworth relates the sad and  depressing tale of a family brought low and destroyed by failed harvests and loneliness in those beautiful  hills.

“ You may remember now some ten years gone
Two blighting seasons when the fields were left
With half a harvest.  It pleased heaven to add
A worse affliction in the plague of war
A happy land was stricken to the heart…….”

And in the poem,  The Thorn, ignorance, mythologising, and imagination appear to be used to express the detrimental ways of villagers who  all but turn  on a young mother, Martha  Ray,  when she loses her lover and baby. Romanticism is therefore not necessarily, about romantic things. It is about our emotional and imaginative responses.

Women’s contribution to Romanticism is less documented. William Wordsworth’s sister, Dorothy, is an obvious candidate. Dorothy lived her life emotionally in tandem with her brother. Her journals written ,”because I shall give William, pleasure,” describe everyday chores such as the manual labour of gardening, cooking, writing letters to friends, visiting neighbours and general household chores but they are also full of her detailed emotional response to nature and the fells and lakes where she lived. Comparing her descriptions of natural things in the environment and her emotional response you can see that many of her observations appear in William’s poems. She also  wrote poems for children which were published alongside Williams poems in some publications and he she wrote other journals and  accounts mainly for William alone or members of the family. Brother and sister must have discussed their feelings and observations and ideas together.

 Helm Crag from  Loughrigg Fell.

Friday morning 16th May 1800
“- all flowers now are gay and deliciously sweet. The primrose still pre-eminent among the later flowers of spring. Foxgloves very tall- with their heads budding. I went  forward round the lake at the foot of Loughrigg fell- I was  much amused with the business of a pair of stonechats.”

There is a discussion as to how Jane Austen fits into this Romantic period. She doesn’t seem to at all. She describes the interactions between people.  She does not express an emotional and imaginative response to the natural world around her. She must have experienced the beauties of nature and felt their emotional impact where she was born and where she lived for many years of her life but her concerns were marriage, inheritance and close, small communities. Wordsworth was revolutionary in many respects. His introduction of Romanticism in contrast to Enlightenment might not have endeared him to The Reverend Austen, Jane’s father. Wordsworth was an advocate of the principals and ideologies that fuelled the French  Revolution which  again might not have endeared him to  the Austens. He may not have been on the bookshelves at Steventon. The Bronte sisters in Haworth, on the other hand, used the landscape they knew well in their writing. They responded emotionally to the world around them. They could be classed as Romantics. Clive and I also visited Haworth and the Bronte parsonage on our trip. I will leave a discussion about the Brontes to a further post.
Wordsworth's office in  Ambleside. He was the Distributor for  stamps in Westmorland.

Wordsworth could not make ends meet by writing poetry as Byron was able to or would have been able to but for his debts. He worked from an office in Ambleside as the Distributor for stamps for Westmoreland.  This gave him a comfortable living.

  Wordsworth lived in various places in The Lakes. He also lived in Somerset at Alfoxden near his good friend Coleridge for a short while in 1797 but eventually he settled permanently in The Lakes.  At Dove Cottage in Grasmere, close to Grasmere Lake, many of his most important poems were written and this is described in Dorothy's journal.  In 1802 he married Mary Hutchinson , Dorothy, his sister,  remained part of the family. The three of them living together for the rest of their lives. Her role as close mentor to, William, appeared to not miss a beat.

 Dove Cottage where many of  Wordsworth's most important poems were written and where Dorothy kept her main journal.

Here is Dorothy writing on November Wednesday 18th  1801.

“ We sate in the house in the morning reading Spenser. I was unwell and lay in bed all afternoon. Wm & Mary walked to  Rydal – very  pleasant moonlight, the lakes beautiful. The church an image of Peace- William wrote some  lines upon it. I in bed when they came home. Mary and I  walked as far as Saras Gate before supper.”

This sounds  matter of  fact but if you notice what is happening in this extract you can see the relationship William ,Mary and Dorothy had. It was definitely a threesome. Mary relates the emotional response William and Mary  had to their walk.  She would only have known this if it had intimately been told her. And later  Dorothy and Mary go  walking together.There is a seamless interchange between the three of them. They appear to be equally intimate with each other.

Allan House, on the north side of Grasmere overlooking Grasmere lake.

In 1808, Wordsworth and his growing family moved to the larger Allan House at the north end of Grasmere Lake with a wonderful view overlooking the fells. Over the years Mary gave birth to five children, John, Dora, Thomas, Catharine and William.  In 1812 Catharine died of convulsions and in the same year Thomas died of measles. 
Rydal Mount where the Wordsworths lived for the last part of their lives.

Finally they moved to Rydal Mount in 1813, not far from Grasmere and closer to Ambleside. Dora later died while living at Rydal Mount in 1847. William bought a plot of land at the bottom of the garden which was called Doras Field and had it planted with daffodils. It was at Rydal Mount, that William, Dorothy and Mary lived to the end of their days.
Doras Field which William, Mary and Dorothy planted out with daffodils in memory of Dora.

Clive and I wandered round Grasmere and Rydal.  We visited Dove Cottage and learned the history and stories of each room. The learned guide was able to relate to us what happened in each room and the daily chores that were performed in each room. I enjoyed the garden at the back very much. Dorothy writes in her journal how she and William would sit there contemplating nature or reading Williams poems. It was a place William often used to write in too. They planted new shrubs and flowers and gardened in this patch of steeply rising land.
Saturday 17th  April 1802.
“A mild warm rain. We sate in the  garden  all the morning. William dug a little. I transplanted a honeysuckle. The lake  was still  the sheep on the island reflected in the water.”
 The graveyard in Grasmere church where all  the  Wordsworths are buried.

We walked through Grasmere village and paid homage at the Wordsworth graves including that of William. We wandered on to the far end of the village and walked up the side of a fell to see Allan House. We later drove to Rydal and spent a good hour or more inside Rydal Mount and gardens with its view over Rydal Lake. We saw William’s room where he wrote.

The Lakes are a wonderful magical place to visit.  The mountains are based on volcanic activity some 100 million years ago. There is a volcanic substrata overlain by grey wackers, sandstones and slates that have been metamorphosed from siltstones and mudstones. Glaciation and erosion have much reduced the mountains in size but the many faults, intrusions, the cutting and erosion of mountain streams have created and left a high rugged landscape of beautiful calm lakes, many with islands in them, shear sided cliffs and high sparsely covered fells. Walking and mountain climbing, sailing on the lakes, mountain biking and horse trekking are many pursuits suitable to this landscape.
 A  dry stone wall in The Lakes.

This is my poor attempt at following Dorothy Wordsworth’s inspiration provided by her journal. Clive and I walked in the very footsteps of Dorothy and William around Rydal Lake and up onto Loughrigg Fell and saw the views they saw and experienced the natural world as they experienced it.
 Clive and I looking chilled out. Must have had a couple of pints of local brew by now.

Thursday 12th July 2012
Coming off the motorway we entered a humped landscape, rises, dips and sharp cutting streams, narrow roads that steeply climb up to blind rises followed by near vertical dips and sharp angled left and right turns. The landscape was dotted with shaggy woolly black faced sheep. Walls of neatly stacked and split grey stones formed into snaking and twisting dry stone walls threaded across the sparsely green landscape. The  landscape everywhere torn and ripped open by intrusive rocky lumps and gashed by bubbling streams hissing down over rocks and boulders. Mountains huddled in around us.  The underlying geology always close to the surface. Those road numbers  A590 and A5074 are a travesty. They need heroic names evoking emotions like a Wordsworth poem not clinical numbers that you might find on a storeroom list.
We had a pub lunch  at The Badger Bar, a stone constructed pub built into the rocks at the side of the valley overlooking Rydal  Water. The pub,  built in the  dry stone wall style seemed to hang against against the cliff face. It was  cool  and dark  inside away from the bright sunlight of the  day.
Later we walked across the road  and passed through a gap  in the stone wall  edging the road and dropped into the shadowy depths of Fieldfoot Wood. Oaks, sycamores and ash all around; then walked across a wooden bridge joining the two banks of a steely  grey  sparkling tumbling mountain stream. We walked through this shadowy cool  space along a rocky path our feet crunching on the stones until we  came out into  the bright blue skies of Rydal  Water.Sunlight lit up  the steep  fells about us, Loughrigg Fell  to our left, massive and mostly fern covered except for a barrenness  and rock outcrops  near the top. We made our way along a narrow path, bracken brushing our legs as we gradually climbed upwards. Thoughts of  grass snakes and adders  came  to  mind. Foxgloves, tall and slender still in their pink bloom stood erect randomly here and there. The views became more expansive and breath-taking as we rose near to the top of Loughrigg and looked back across the still,  silvered  water of Rydal lake and across to the massive hulk of Helm  Crag on the  other side of the valley.Helm Crag is hard muscled with bare rocks and sparsely grassed. Sunlight and clouds alternated bright illuminated patches with dark shadowy expannses on the sides of the fells.
We walked along the line of dry stone walls constructed with split slabs of Coniston Limestone and slate. Heathers and bracken carpeted all around. Bright red tiny Campions, periwinkle, vetch, stonecap, stitchwort,  toadflax, Herb Robert, crosswort, cranesbill and mustard, packed the crevices of  these stonewalls and were scattered between the roots of  trees amongst the mosses. Soft downy mosses softened the hard angular edges of stones and boulders.  Dark greens, light greens, mosses of complex intricate intertwining’s.
We stood on Loughrigg, just as William and Dorothy had done and looked out on the  fells  and photographed the  scene we saw before  us.
Wood pigeons cooed in Fieldfoot Woods.  Red Kytes circled above Loughrigg Fell their distinctive V shaped tail feathers and the flash of  white on  the sides of their long bowed wings.
On the way back to our car near,  The Badger Bar,  we saw a canoe come  out onto the lake.  Three people rowing gently across the still surface. As we entered again Fieldfoot Woods a mother and father and their young children sat on a small beach next to Rydal Water and they went swimming.

Monday 23 July 2012


There are four days left until the Olympics start in London.Over the last few weeks the Olympic flame has been carried around the United Kingdom. Everybody in these isles lives within a few miles of where  the Olympic flame has been carried. There are 8000 Olympic torch bearers. The 8000 holes in the perforated stem of the Olympic torch represent every one of the torch bearers.
The Olympic Flame arrives at  Wimbledon tennis Courts.

With four days to go until the Olympic flame is transferred to  the Olympic Stadium in Stratford in the East End of London it  is getting close to it's destination.Today it reached the London Borough of Merton where I live.  It  was scheduled to visit  Wimbledon Tennis Courts this afternoon where Andy Murray and Venus Williams were waiting to take it in turns to  carry it a short distance. Marilyn, Alice, Emily  and myself stood outside the gates to  Wimbledon  Tennis Courts to see the Olympic flame  arrive. Crowds gathered and built up  in the roads and streets around the tennis stadium. Police and the Royal Marines were out in force.
The Police and the Royal Marines provide security.

 Police helicopters buzzed overhead. A large blue bus arrived first with cheerleaders dancing on the top  deck  encouraging the cowds to sing along.Grey tracksuit clad security guards jogged into  view and then  there was the torch bearer  in his white track suit with the flame held aloft. An exciting moment.Everybody cheered and clapped. The atmosphere  was exciting Most of the torch bearers have been chosen and nominated by people in their respective communities for  the good works they do for their communities.  They are people of inspiration.
Crowds gather on the pavement outside of Wimbledon Tennis Courts.

I was in London yesterday with Marilyn and my brother and sister in-law. We  took a trip up and down The Thames on The Thames Clipper.  The party atmosphere is really building in the streets of London. It is a very exciting place to be.