Monthly Archives: April 2013

Muttley’s First Haircut – After!

Well, all done. Neat, clipped, definitely non-feminine….phew. Even he looks relieved. Mutts I’ll be happy to walk you on the Moss on Monday. “Bezzimates”

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Muttley’s First Haircut – Before

Big day for the Mutt, his first haircut!!. The groomer’s been briefed, “No fancy, poncy styles….1 x mancut please.” Image

We shall see!

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Thick As Thieves

Two nights ago at 12:30am, we had our first “Silent Alarm” from a unit fitted within the van. Myself and the Missus(she likes a fight…she’s Irish!) were piling into the yard within about 5 mins. Had a good look around, nothing to be seen. Anyway went back to bed thinking one of two options:

1. Technical error with the software

2. Local thieves(druggies), giving the vehicle a firm push to see if its alarmed.

Next day, I discovered that 20 mins after the silent alarm initiated, a lady in a nearby cottage had disturbed two guys trying to break into her house along the same 300m stretch of road of village road.

The following night an attempt was made to get into my daughters car, which was temporarily parked on the drive.

Today we’re having a Cobra alarm fitted. So whilst the silent alarm is doing its job, what i’m after now is prevention. So hopefully with the van all stickered up and a flashing led, it will persuade them to move on. If they don’t, they may have an unpleasant introduction to the Missus and her hockey stick “Henry” !

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The Lilac House, Pennerley Shropshire – Score 4/5

This week the 3 Stooges packed up the comedy van of fun. We tootled an hour south of the base location to sample the glorious Shropshire hills, the land of my birth. We were located approximately 15 miles south west of Shrewsbury in a village called Pennerley. Staying on a small holding called Lilac House that allowed easy access to the range of crags called the Stiperstones and the stunning views from “The Devils Chair” a well known shropshire landmark.

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The Lilac House Campsite(CL)

The site is level and firm, basic facilities only, but it does include EHU and free wifi. As a bonus the site owners, Debs and Andy breed their own pigs and have a small shop on-site, selling their own pork produce. I gave the two sows the once-over but kept thinking back to that loveable character “Bricktop” in the film Snatch ” And when you got your six pieces(of human body), you gotta get rid of them, because it’s no good leaving it in the deep freeze for your mum to discover, now is it? Then I hear the best thing to do is feed them to pigs.” ……Scary stuff, i’m sure that they were looking at me as their potential next meal, needless to say  I gave them a quick pat on the head, a silent pause for thought, then quickly moved on!

Dogs are allowed, but must be kept on a lead, although within a few mins walk, the tracks leading to Stiperstones are available for safe off-lead walking.

The weekend weather was perfect and my sleeping bag is actually starting to keep me warm on our travels, which is always a bonus. On Saturday morning, I was up and about like a gunshot! and we were soon off and onto the Stiperstones. Its a beautiful area for walking, not as rugged as Snowdonia, but for views its not to be beaten:

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View from The Devils Chair. The Other Half and Mutt spectating from the rocks.

We were up on the highest point within an hour and then traversed the 4 main peaks, each topped with a crag, the most exhilarating being The Devils Chair, a place steeped in Shropshire folklore. Its believed that when the chair is shrouded in mist, the devil is in attendance and sitting in the chair!

‘For miles around, in the plains, the valleys, the mountain dwellings it was feared. It drew the thunder, people said. Storms broke round it suddenly out of a clear sky; it seemed almost as if it created storm…. It had the look of a chair from which the occupant has just risen, to which he will shortly return.’  (The Golden Arrow by Mary Webb)

Obviously in my mind i’m still 14yrs old, and therefore every crag must be climbed with the ferocity of a final assent of Everest. At these moments the other half and the mutt, parked themselves in amongst the rocks and watched with mild amusement as “Not so bendy MHD” shuffled and shimmied his way over the rocks. It wasn’t an attractive sight, i’ll grant you that, but I like to think my technique is effective and safe, in the style of Joe Brown(the mountaineer, not the singer..or maybe….?). Three points of contact with the rock at all times, even if this sometimes included my backside as one of the three!

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My epic ascent of The Devils Chair:

Anyway, after several hours of this we started the descent back to the campsite and were back in the van at 3pm enjoying tea and medals. All in all a great days easy walking, in fantastic weather, with stunning views and I got to show the other two that the old boy hasn’t lost it. I think!

Another very enjoyable trip. Off the tourist track, unspoilt and during these austere times cheap at £10 a night, what more can I ask for?

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Weekend Plans

This weekend the “Three Musketeers” are off to the land of A E Housman; Shropshire! Those blue remembered hills! Up into “Deliverance” country around the Stiperstones,  Snailbeach and Minsterley(banjos twang). As a young teenager this was my playground, I went to school nearby and had friends living in the area, so it’ll be good to revisit. So tomorrow I’ll be loading the van with low fat pies, alcohol free red wine and of course, the his n hers sleeping bags(Mines like  a teabag). Review to follow….

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Grisedale Farm, Leighton, Carnforth, Lancs – Score 4/5

Grisedale Farm, Leighton, Carnforth, Lancs LA5 9ST

http://www.grisedalefarm.co.uk/index.php

This weekend we headed north into Lancashire, pitching up at a small Caravan Club CL site in the grounds of a farm at Leighton near Carnforth. This covers the area of Arndale and Silverdale, which are designated “Areas of Natural Beauty” Just a few sort miles from the coastland around Morecambe Bay. The campsite was isolated, peaceful, with stunning views, it’s just what we wanted. The facilities were basic but provided hook up, a central water tap and chemical waste disposal. Meanwhile I provided the stunning good looks and witty one liners, whilst the missus provided the culinary surprises and late night/early morning dog walking support! Teamwork.

The Farm:

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That evening we walked 5 mins along a track onto a causeway that cuts through the RSPB Natuure Reserve at Leighton Moss, within a few minutes we spotted a Marsh Harrier hovering overhead, a great experience, we’ve never seen one before and was surprised how large it was. There is also a public hide you can enter if you want a closer look at the wildlife. Twitchers abounded!!!

The Causeway:

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The following day, with sandwiches and flask packed we set off on a 6 mile circular walk, passing through nature reserves, quarries, and some stunning farmland. The mutt was off the lead for most of it. All in all a very enjoyable day out.

The Other Half…Pushing the pace on the inclines:

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View from the van:

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I would certainly recommend the area for a weekend break, its probably under utilised and therefore a bit quieter than its near neighbours in the Dales, Bowland and the Lakes.

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The Central Heating – A Tale of Woe

We decided to replace the central heating system, which is over 40yrs old and barely functioning. So the guys duly came in and ripped out the old system(we lifted all upstairs carpets!!!), they then fitted an all singing/all dancing Combi system. Wow what a difference, surely this was the start of the good times, lashings of hot water…radiators pumping out heat like a nuclear reactor…WRONG!! the nightmare was only just beginning (soundtrack of “Jaws” playing in the background).

Incident 1. With two hours of switching on the system, an old feed to the hot water tap in the bathroom burst, to be fair to the plumbers this was not their fault. Luckily MERT swung into action and the other half managed to switch off the mains, but not before water had started dripping through light sockets into the dining room below. @£$%^@££$!!!  Oh how we laughed, so I noted that was a decorating job to do, surely things couldn’t get any worse…WRONG!

Incident 2. I noticed the pressure was dropping quite a bit on the combi. The plumber had said before departing, if it drops, charge it up from underneath. No problem! Now i’m not the most DIY minded type of bloke, in fact as far as anything techie goes, i’m officially the village idiot. So over the next couple of days, I recharged it a few times(also phoned the plumber, but it was easter weekend, so no answer). Anyway on monday I managed to get hold of him and he said “Bloody hell, there must be  a leak on the system, is there any sign of leaking water? there should be”. Nope! replied the village idiot, I couldn’t find any.

Anyway, an hour later, whilst having a shower, thinking where the missing water could be, a lightbulb illuminated in my empty head, screaming “Artex Ceiling FRONT ROOM”….So I scampered downstairs and sure enough, no sign of water, but a very definite unstable bulge in the ceiling…..Just Greeeeaaaaat”. Cue further phonecall to the plumber, who is now an occasional member of our family, I’m thinking of giving him his own room.

Over the last few days the upstairs furniture and carpets have been moved/lifted about 4 times. We can do it in 12 mins now, Olympic Carpet Lifting, its a new sport. So this is where we are now:

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Then yesterday just to top my week off:

Incident 3. The other half decided to see how resilient plastic bumpers on a VW Golf are, against a traditional sandstone wall. I can feel my ticker racing as I write this. I kept very calm and was very supportive!!  This doesn’t feel like retirement, rather an episode of “The Worst Week of My Life”.

Anyway, roll on next week!

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