Posts Tagged ‘pub’

Gradbach Mill (day 2)

This is day 2 of a trip to a Youth Hostel (which opened in 1984) called Gradbach Mill. It seems like an odd name to me. Looking up the history tells us the name possibly comes from a Henry Gratebach mentioned as living in the area in 1374.

We decided on the full breakfast to start us off: orange juice, grapefruit, cereal, big fry-up, toast, & tea. We set off walking up the hill. Initially on the road we soon came to a turn off and began the cross country stuff. OS map in hand we were making for a village I’ve mentioned in a previous post but will keep it as a surprise for now. Here’s a narrow bridge over a stream

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Then just a bit further on a TV aerial attached to a drystone wall. We couldn’t immediately see which house might be using it but closer inspection revealed the wire to it was broken. It does show how difficult it is to get reception in the area and the lengths people will go to to try and get a signal. (You might remember I mentioned that the hostel didn’t have any for TV, phones or PC.)

After crossing a few more fields we were onto tarmac for a short while. The road had been resurfaced recently and there was a 10mph speed limit sign. Here it is.

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This gentleman had obviously fallen over. We deduced he had probably been running and therefore exceeded the speed limit causing him to end up flat on the road. (He seems to be pointing at the sign to warn us.) We thanked him and moved on. There wasn’t time to help him but we hoped he was ok.

Across a few more fields and we were nearing our target. Here’s the sign

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Yes, it’s the sign for a village called Flash. If you remember the post from 10.4.13 (I is for interesting) you will know that this is the village whose height above sea level has been measured and found to be the highest in England and in fact the whole UK. We wondered what to expect but set off on the 1 mile to get there indicated by the sign; not surprisingly it was all uphill! The edge of the village is some way out from the houses and here’s the sign. Shortly after, a cyclist went past us and we almost felt as if we should be cheering and running alongside like they do in the Tour De France and maybe shouting Allez-allez. We didn’t.image

And a little further on in the village itself we saw this sign on the wall of the pub

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Yes that’s right – the highest pub in the British Isles. If you need an edge that’s not a bad one is it? After 2 hours walking across fields, up hill and down dale we were ready for a quick stop: a drink in the highest pub in the UK would be nice. We knocked on the door and were told that it didn’t open till 4pm! (It was 10.58am.) There are some who believe the term “flash money” comes from the alleged counterfeiting of banknotes in the village. It’s a nice idea and seems to fit but it’s probably an inference made from a novel (Flash) written in 1928 by Judge Alfred Ruegg rather than historical facts.

The next building was the old schoolhouse.

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And a little bit further

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Of course there’s no “new” police station.

We carried on and came to the local primary school. Here’s the sign.

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Now read that motto under the logo at the top: ‘Reaching Ever Higher’. Remember where we are – the highest village in the UK! I liked that. However after a bit of research and a conversation with a local person we found out that the school was actually closed. Apparently, in Sept 2012, the school roll fell from 7 in 2011 to zero pupils and the school closed at the end of Dec 2012. The local council said that in the last 10 years only one child had been born in the catchment area. Property prices also meant it was difficult to attract younger families to the area. The village had had a school for over 250 years (since 1760) so very sad it could not continue. (The Ofsted inspection in April last year gave a figure of over £22,000 funding required for each pupil; a comparable figure for my local urban primary school is £3,700 per pupil.)

Next building of interest was this one

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It looks like a large square house but originally it was a Wesleyan Chapel built in 1784 (and rebuilt in 1821 according to the date stone). There were 60 members of the Methodist Society which grew to 90 by 1790. In the 1851 Census there were 180 attending the evening service. It closed in 1974 and, as with many old chapels, is now a private house.

We walked on. Although a fair way out of the village we came to a place called “Flash Bar Stores And Coffee Shop”. We got some food here as it was almost lunch time. As we sat outside this vehicle pulled up in the parking area next to us.

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On the top right above the windscreen you might be able to see “Your Library”. Yep that’s right in these more isolated places there is no local library so the villages depend on a mobile one. I spoke to the driver who told me he covers quite a large area. Each stop has a scheduled time so people know when to expect him. While we were there a couple of folks came; one lady had an armful of books. I do hope this service will keep going as it’s a big help for those who can’t get to the town libraries often miles away.

After lunch we walked all of 20 feet (6 metres) across to the Traveller’s Rest for a drink. The place had a bit of a theme of “ye olde England” with the toilets being labelled – Knights & Damsels.

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Soon it was time to head off as we were only half way round on our walk and it had taken 4½ hours so far. (Lunch and drink though had taken longer than we had anticipated!)

On a lane we came to one of those stalls left unattended with an honesty box for stuff you buy. Although we didn’t buy anything there was a note hanging on it

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I think you can probably read it. Imagine that a colony of Wallabies once existed in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

This next pic looks simply like a stone bridge.

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Could be anywhere? No, this is quite a special place called “Three Shires’ Head”. It’s the point on Axe Edge Moor where the borders of 3 English counties meet: Cheshire, Derbyshire & Staffordshire. It’s an 18th century packhorse bridge over the River Dane; remember that’s the river that our Youth Hostel in its original incarnation used to drive the big water wheel that powered the mill machinery.

The rest of the route back had one difficult part. We came to a field of cows and of course we needed to be the other side. When you get close up to cows you realise just how big they are and how easily just 2 or 3 could cause you a lot of damage. You don’t mess with cows, you will lose! (Same for horses by the way – when our kids were younger we were walking across a field and a herd of horses surrounded us. Unsure of how to react, and being townies, we tried to push our way through. Man versus horse – another one you’re not going to win. Fortunately something took their attention and a small gap appeared so we could make our escape.) We skirted the herd of cows keeping close eye on them. Heads came up and a few started heading towards us. We took a bigger sweep out onto a farm track behind another wall before coming back into their field and heading for the stile at the other side.

And soon we were back at the hostel. Then it was evening meal, more backgammon & head off to bed for night 2. We liked this place.

 

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The handbags and the gladrags…

It’s Friday morning and here I am again, writing about the time I jumped on a bandwagon, cause Emily and Ashley told me to. I’ve no idea what I’m going to write really, so let’s just see what happens.

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I can start by telling you about a bandwagon I didn’t jump on. I didn’t jump on the Take That bandwagon when one of the popular girls in juniors, Amy, decided she loved them, as did a lot of other girls.

I did, however, jump on the PJ and Duncan bandwagon (that’s Ant and Dec to most of you). I don’t know if they had their own bandwagon, as such, but my friend Hannah liked them, hence I liked them. Her and I went to quite a few of their concerts.

My other friend, Ruth, and I once wrote them a letter before one of their concerts. We must have been about 11 years old. We were all into learning dance routines off Top of the Pops or making up our own so this one time we had tickets to one of their concerts. We had matching outfits ready for the concerts, by the way. O yes, matching outfits. We didn’t do things by halves, Ruth and I. We had black tight fit t-shirts that said ‘Right On’ in silver lettering, a white denim skirt (yes, white denim), black pump things with a bit of a heel, a pale denim jacket and a little black over-the-shoulder handbag thing. All matching. Boy, did we look cool!?

And we wrote them this letter which was something along the lines of “Do you need backing dancers for your next concert in Liverpool because we’re really good and already have dance moves to all your songs so we could be your dancers.” I’m also pretty sure Ruth asked PJ to send a pair of his pants with his reply.

We never got a reply. Which surprises me.

Actually, talking of having matching handbags, Ruth and I jumped on that bandwagon bigtime! We decided, when were maybe 15 years old, that it was time for us to join the world of grown ups and have handbags.

Our first foray into the handbag world was filled with nervousness and there was a lot of discussion about how best to go about it. I think Ruth’s first one was a cute grey fluffy backpack type thing. I’m not sure what mine was, probably more of a shoulder bag. We experimented with what exactly to put in it. I remember us both being like, “What on earth do people have in them?” So Ruth went on a discovery mission and looked through her Mum’s handbag.

I remember her being like, “Ok, she had a pen in there,” so we both ran off, got a pen, put it in our handbags and felt like we were real grown ups cause we had proper handbag items.

We were in such a rush to grow up, Ruth and I. We spent hours poring over Argos and Next catalogues, looking through the ‘home’ section and deciding how we would decorate the flat we would live in. Even down to the design of the taps in the bathroom. We had a little scrapbook where we cut out all the things we saw that we liked and stuck them in then spent ages looking through it all.

When we were about 17 and people had starting ‘going out’ drinking and clubbing, we decided to jump on the ‘clubbing’ bandwagon but in a comparatively rubbish way. My mum and her then-boyfriend were going for a drink at a kind of upmarket fancy pub-club place called Yates’ on Allerton Road (the cool girls at school went all the way into town to the proper over-18s clubs whereas Allerton Road was just a shopping road with one or two gastropubs at the end) so Ruth and I went with them.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. My first Big Night Out was to a slightly fancy gastropub with my mum.

Mother and boyfriend went and stood a little way off so as not to ruin our Cool Factor and it was at this point that we decided to give ‘drinking’ a go. I think we probably got some kind of bottled soft drink thing with about 0.2% alcohol content that wouldn’t even get a toddler tipsy. I was doing a bit of dancing cause I’d heard that’s what people did when they went out. Ruth, however, was having none of that silliness. She sat on a high stool while I bobbed about and sang “The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire!” in her face (while also changing the word ‘roof’ to ‘Ruth’ and feeling terribly clever).

I can’t remember if we Talked To Any Boys on this occasion (another bandwagon I was pretty keen to jump on) or even if we stayed out past midnight. I imagine we didn’t. I’m pretty sure we just walked to the car and drove the five minutes back home and got into bed.

When I’d be in school after this occasion and girls would sometimes ask who’d started Going Out Clubbing, I would always pipe up.

“O yeh, I have, yeh. I’m mad for it, me! Can’t stop going out! Yeh, I love all that. The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire!”

It was quite a long time, after this one evening out before I actually did start clubbing and we all know how that turned out.

The pub quiz (part 2)

On Tuesday last week, Danda and a friend and I decided it was time we went and won the pub quiz cause the prize was £490. So we went. And we won. And they gave us some drinks vouchers and kept the money. Apparently the way they do it, so you have to get picked from a hat to win, is called a ‘snowball’ prize.

We did not get picked from the hat so we didn’t get a chance to answer the question or win the money. We were gutted.

So, three days ago, with new resolve, we decided it was time to go and win that money. Off we went, to the pub quiz, to get that money.

We were answering the questions really well. The inventor of something or other was called Birdseye… True. What was Fred Flintstone’s favourite sport? Bowling. What did the Earl of Sandwich create whilst gambling? The sandwich. Et cetera. Et cetera.

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We missed a few more than last time because there wasn’t a customer from the deli helping out after having a few drinks, like last time. But overall, we ended up with half a point more than we had the previous week, when we won.

The quizmaster came around to collect the papers and we looked at him, hopefully. He looked at our score.

“Is ours the highest score?” we asked.

“It is, yeh.” He only had one more paper to collect so we were hopefully we could win.

“But you know you get docked five points, right,” he said, as though it were no big deal.

My face fell. Danda laughed at my devastated face and described me as “a kid who’s had all her sweets taken away.”

“Why?” I asked, in confusion.

“Because you won last week.”

So now we are to be penalised for being clever?! We’ve answered those questions and we’ve got that score. Stop bullying us! Give us our 96.5 points!

It’s hard being penalised for having a massive brain and winning at everything.

So when he added everything up and read out the scores, we came second… Rude.

And then we didn’t get picked out of the hat to answer the question to win the money. We didn’t actually know the answer anyway.

We’ve decided that next week is our week. We’ll win the quiz then we’ll get the question and we’ll get the money and then we’ll be loaded and I’ll go off and buy a farm. That’s right. A farm. With my one third of the £510 prize….

The time we went to the pub quiz

I’ve mentioned my need to win the lottery before, in passing. It’s recently become quite essential that I win, because of my need to become a beekeeper/farmer/chef. The only way I can really pursue this is to not be constrained by small irritations like paying the rent.

About ten days ago, my friend and I saw a sign for the local pub’s pub quiz. The prize was £470!

Amazing, we thought, it will be like winning the lottery. Only smaller. Much, much smaller.

And so the plan was made. We would go to the pub quiz, Danda and my friend and I. And we would win. And then we would each have a third of the £470. And we would be rich. And be able to quit our jobs and keep bees.

Off we went, last Tuesday, with our brains in gear. We have four university degrees between us and a whole host of varying life experience. We were going to smash this!

And it got started. Where is the PM’s Buckinghamshire residence? Chequers! Boom! We were on fire (actually, Danda was the only one on the team who knew that but never mind).

Next question. Who sang Dancing In The Moonlight? Toploader! Boom!

Where does the Council of Europe sit? Strasbourg! Boom!

We stumbled on a few but a lovely/drunk customer from the deli enlightened us with his Star Trek knowledge and on we went, getting a surprisingly large amount of the answers right.

It took forever to read the answers out and mark them, then announce the winners. He started with the last place team… Not us! Fab.

Seventh place… Not us. Woop!

Finally he got to the second place team….. And it was us. Gutted.

First place team only got one and a half points more than us. But wait! What’s this?! They had too many members on their team so they’ve been docked two points!

So we’ve won! Yessssssss! YES! YES YES YES! WE WON! AAAH! We’re rich! Bring it on! We sat back, grinning from ear to ear.

But then something was happening up front. Someone’s name was being picked out of a hat. Someone from a different team. He was asked a question to win the money… Wait a minute. The money is ours, surely?

No, the lady at the next table explained. Winning the quiz doesn’t mean you win the money. You just win vouchers. To win the money, you have to get picked out of the hat and answer the mystery question right.

Erm. Excuse me. This is two hours of my life I can never get back. Where’s my money?

Anyway, the guy who got picked out of the hat didn’t get the question right so the money rolled over to next week.

And us? Well, we won vouchers. And respect. Obviously. But the problem with the vouchers is that Danda is teetotal and I don’t really drink at all either. And the quizmaster couldn’t find the proper vouchers so he hand wrote us two vouchers each.

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Fair enough, it was tons of fun and I’d definitely go again and we got free sandwiches afterwards. And now my friend had six drinks vouchers and can get drunk at the next quiz.

But I’ll guess we’ll keep playing the lottery.

Figure this one out!

I had a slightly mental dream again, everyone. Get your dream analysis heads on and figure this one out.

So I was doing a dissertation in the dream. It was about migration and what encourages it, or something like that. I had printed the subject of the dissertation in big purple letters then cellotaped it into a lined pad that I was taking notes on.

Somehow, by who-knows-what genius on my part, I had organised an interview with Prince William and Prince Harry for my research. I met them in a little pub somewhere with one of my friends, I don’t know who. This friend had brought along one of her friends who just wouldn’t shut up, basically. She was rabbiting on about the environment and the state of the country and what were the princes going to do about it and didn’t they have a responsibility and blah blah blah.

At first I let her go on and on because I was hoping she’d give me a go. Eventually I just stopped her and got all stroppy. I was like, “Ok, could you give it a rest? I don’t know if you realise but I arranged this meeting. I’ve got a dissertation due and I need to interview them as part of my research. I mean, these guys don’t have very much time so could you let me get on with my stuff now, please?!”

Suitably admonished, she stopped talking but laughed at me a bit. The princes looked a bit surprised at my outburst but told me to start with my questions.

So I flipped to the page in my notepad where I had cellotaped the title of the dissertation and I couldn’t find it! It was my turn to talk and I couldn’t find, nor remember, the dissertation title! I knew it was something about migration.

I kept trying to ask them stuff from memory, I was going, “O, it’s about migration and how we encourage it in this country.”

They were going, “Immigration? O yeh, and the benefit system?” The loud mouth sitting next to me kept saying things about immigration and immigrants.

I was getting all annoyed but trying to be polite about it, given that I was chatting to the princes. I was going, “No. Not immigration. Migration. It’s not about immigrants as such, it’s slightly different.”

The princes were waiting for me to tell them what it was about but I was flipping through and through my notepad and couldn’t find the dissertation title.

Then they had to go and Prince William took out a notepad and jotted down his expenses, paying for everyone’s drinks, then they left.

And then, on the floor, in a pile of papers, I found the dissertation title and I realised it wasn’t specific enough. It didn’t really have a clear focus. I started to worry about the deadline being in April as it’s March now and there’s not much time and I didn’t have anything written yet.

I text my friend Sophie (who was in the last crazy dream) to ask the due date then I heard someone calling my name and it was another friend Bianca, by some chairs. She waved me over and everyone I went to uni with was there, plus one girl I went to school with. Everyone looked a bit upset and sniffly as it was our last day at university but I just kept thinking about how my dissertation didn’t have a focus and what on earth could I write about.

By the chairs but a little way off was a policeman looking stressed. I started imagining his thought process and decided to write my dissertation like a diary of the policeman’s thoughts. Then I realised that’s more a story than a factual investigation. I played with a few more ideas but couldn’t settle on any.

Then my alarm went off. For the first few seconds, I thought about what I could write for my dissertation. Then I remembered I finished studying last year, there was no dissertation. Phew!

Wierd.

Any ideas, people?

AND to China and Namibia

Ok, everyone, it’s time for Rambler5319 to take over again as it is Wednesday. Get your thinking caps on as last week’s challenge is answered….

First off remember how we finished last week:

And finally on a lighter note – can anyone tell me how it is possible to use the word “and” five times consecutively in a sentence? That means you have to write a sentence that will have “and and and and and” in it with no words in between. Answer next week folks – you didn’t think I was going to give it straight away. Have a think and see what you come up with.

And the answer is:

In UK we have a lot of pubs with names like the “Coach & Horses”, “Dog & Partridge” and so on. Sometimes there are companies called, say, “Smith & Jones”. The answer to the puzzle goes something like this. The owner of the pub called the Coach and Horses was having a new sign made to hang outside. When speaking to the sign writer who was going to do the job he said to him, “the old sign was badly done so when you make the new one I want you to make sure you put a proper space between coach and “and” and “and” and horses. I’ve put quote marks round the “and” just so you can see that when it appears like that it is being treated as a noun (i.e. a word on the sign) and when it is without it is being used as a normal conjunction just joining parts of the sentence together. In ordinary usage the quote marks wouldn’t be there and you would have the 5 consecutive ands in the sentence and it still makes sense. It’s all in the way you say it, where you make a slight pause. You read it as “between coach and and (pause) and and and horses.”

Now onto this week’s subject: China. No not the country of China, the material for making cups, saucers and things like a china tea service or dining set. It can also be used to make mugs. I was given a real china mug recently. Now I have plenty of ordinary mugs: they have a fairly thick lip compared to a cup. Cups can of course be just ordinary thickness or they can be china cups in which case much thinner and more delicate to use. They also often seemed to have handles I couldn’t get my finger into to hold even when I was younger. My gran would only ever have a cup of tea in a china cup. Also my Mum used to leave a china cup at my house, along with a tea cosy, so that when she came over I would make tea (of course brewed in a teapot with the cosy on) and hers would be poured into her own china cup. She didn’t like to use a mug or an ordinary cup. They both said the tea tasted different depending on whether you drank out of a china or non-china cup. Of course I thought it was all just psychological and there was no difference at all. That’s how it continued for many, many years until recently – until I made a mug of tea in my new china mug. Because the lip is thinner and the material it’s made of being different I think I too can actually sense a slightly different taste or at least a different experience. Are there any china cup/mug folks out there?

I’m not a coffee drinker but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone talk of wanting to drink coffee out of a china cup/mug. Btw, a couple of days ago, I had a pot of tea at a local National Trust Museum place where they made it using those old fashioned things they call tea leaves. I ordered the same type of tea I drink at home and I tell you what – there’s definitely a better flavour from the leaves when compared with tea from a tea bag. Anyone out there a “leaves” person?

Here’s a pic of my new (china) mug.
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(You will notice my standing in the family has now been recognised – I was overcome with emotion as I realised I have now been recognised as a GENIUS!)

Here’s a pic of my normal mug

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Those of you who know of the Pink Floyd album Dark Side Of The Moon will recognise the mug decoration. (Worldwide sales of the album up to 2005 are estimated to be around 50 million. In 1998 the Recording Industry Association of America certified it as 15x Platinum meaning 15 million sales in the US.)

Because of their heights and different thickness of the sides the mugs are of different capacities: China mug smaller in height but larger in diameter.

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I was curious to see what their different volumes would be so I got the ruler out as they’re quite similar but you can see obvious differences:

Ordinary mug (inside measurements) – 8.8cm high/deep, 7.5cm diameter

China mug (inside measurements) 8.2cm high/deep, 9.0cm diameter.

Now do you remember back to your school maths (or math in US) for the formula for the volume: πr2h.

Substituting my figures gives –

ordinary – π x 3.75 x 3.75 x 8.8 = 389cc

china – π x 4.5 x 4.5 x 8.2 = 522cc

where π=3.14

Now I know you wouldn’t fill to the brim but it does mean I have to fill the china one to a lower height or I could be drinking nearly a third more with every mugful!

So what’s special about bone china? Basically it’s to do with how it’s made. It has a very strong construction which is why it can be made thinner than other porcelain. It is called “bone” china because quite simply bones from animals go into the making of it. (This is why some ethical/green folks won’t buy porcelain made like this.) The first attempts at making it were in the late 1740s but it wasn’t until the 1790s that Stoke-on-Trent based Josiah Spode developed what turned out to be the best mix of the various elements required to make it: 6 parts bone ash, 4 parts china stone, 3.5 parts china clay. (Some of you may have heard of Spode china.) That mixture has remained the standard ever since.

Sadly in 2009 the company went into Administration (bankrupt) and was bought by the Portmeirion Group (which owns Portmeirion Village). Head of this group is Susan Clough-Williams who is the daughter of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis who was the architect of the Italian style village called Portmeirion in North Wales. Some of you may remember that the 1967-8 TV series called The Prisoner starring Patrick McGoohan (as Number 6) was filmed on location at Portmeirion.

(A 2009 updated version, starring Sir Ian McKellen & Jim Caviezel, which aired on the American cable channel AMC, was filmed in Swakopmund in Namibia. It’s about an agent who wakes up in a strange place and doesn’t know how he got there or why he is there.

If you didn’t catch it here’s part (10 mins) of the first episode to give you a taster.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LXsb4COaEM

Perhaps, I wonder, has LLM been there or know anything of the place? (He gets to the Village at about 4m 10s so you can see the residence buildings then a bit later the town itself.)

And there you have it: this week a journey from AND to china to the Dark Side of the Moon to Portmeirion to Namibia.

A lovely day out

Yesterday, I took a cheeky jaunt up north to spend the day with family. The weather held up ok and didn’t rain until much later in the day, when we were safely hidden indoors, sipping cups of tea.

Mid-morning, we set out for a mini adventure to Frodsham Hill. Despite taking a wrong turn early on and coming out at the top in a different place than we expected to, it was lovely all the same and the sun shone bright, although it was cold.

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Midway up, I realised that I was really panting with all the stair climbing! Hard to believe I once trekked the Great Wall of China… True story.

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When we got to the top there was a lovely wide view of the surrounding area. With large flat areas, it’s hard to make it look good on a photo but anyway, here’s the view.

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Soon after this, we reached the WW1 memorial….

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…which is next door to a lovely hotel, positioned on the top of the hill so that, if you get a seat by the window, you can have lunch with the beautiful view. We had planned to have lunch there yesterday but they have a no-lunches-at-the-weekend rule so we wandered back down the hill via the roads and found a nice little country pub serving food (I was upset by their lack of apostrophes though).

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After waiting quite a while for the food to arrive, I got the breaded duck’s egg with pancetta…

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….and the Thai crab cakes with lime

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After this, we headed back to the car, again making a slight directional error which took us off down a different road and we came out quite far from where we needed to be but it was nice to be outside walking so we didn’t mind.

Also, we found a place called Castle Park, a National Lottery funded thing which had, amongst other things, a children’s art centre. We found some of this new ‘graffiti’ knitting stuff too. Has anyone else heard of this?

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People knit colourful strips then put them around things, like here on a post or maybe a bollard, to brighten the place up! It officially counts as graffiti but as it’s quite pretty, the police are ‘overlooking’ it for now. I kind of want to get into this!

After all this, we drove back, put the kettle on and settled in for an evening of Grand Designs Australia, which was actually quite interesting, before I jumped on the train to London.