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|Most Recent Guide Entries|
A87743866 Museum Of Science and Industry, Manchester, England, UK
(Feb 21, 2012)
A87726162 Metal Chicken's NaJoPoMo Challenge November 2011
(Dec 3, 2011)
A28545357 Starlight Paddling
(Oct 29, 2007)
A27671493 Starlight paddling
(Oct 6, 2007)
(May 7, 2007)
A2066177 Baltimore, West Cork, Ireland
(Nov 21, 2003)
A1310699 Lough Ine, West Cork, Ireland
(Sep 29, 2003)
A1069364 Making rhubarb palatable
(Jun 5, 2003)
A1022716 The Tatra Mountains, Poland/Slovakia
(Apr 13, 2003)
A752717 The Irish Iron
(May 17, 2002)
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|Most Recent Edited Entries|
A87754431 Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, England, UK
(Jul 15, 2012)
A9913908 The History of the Transit of Venus
(Jun 15, 2012)
(Aug 10, 2007)
A2122598 Baltimore, West Cork, Ireland
(Mar 19, 2004)
A2122633 Lough Ine, West Cork, Ireland
(Mar 19, 2004)
A1032085 The Tatra Mountains of Poland and Slovakia
(May 7, 2003)
A848595 Tips on How to Grow Winter and Spring Vegetables
(Nov 29, 2002)
A760259 The Irish Iron - Scunthorpe United Football Fans from Ireland
(Jun 20, 2002)
A753527 The Origins and Common Usage of British Swear-words
(May 20, 2002)
A668072 Seasonal Gardening Timetable
(Mar 15, 2002)
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Longdendale - The Haunted Valley
I live in the Longdendale Valley, near Glossop in Derbyshire, UK.
I'm just up the road from Hadfield, more recently better known as Royston Vasey with the weird shenanigans of the League of Gentlemen.
I'm on the edge of the Peak District, England's oldest National
Park and an area of outstanding natural beauty with a great richness of flora and fauna. My favourite example of local wildlife is the Mountain Hare, which mostly lives in more Northern reaches where its habit of turning snowy white in the Winter is an invaluable survival aid. Sadly, our hills are covered in snow for only a few days each year, meaning that most of the time the poor old Mountain Hare is very conspicuous in its Winter coat. We also have a healthy population of birds of prey...
Some things I like to do
For relaxation I like to go gliding over the moors and would highly recommend the silent flight of an engineless aircraft to any potential aviators out there.
I play the classical guitar whenever I can find the time, being particularly fond of Spanish and Latin American guitar music (Villa Lobos, Albeniz, Granados, Brouwer and many more).
I'll read anything that comes to hand but my preferences are for
SciFi, Fantasy, Humour and modern classics. After reading the excellent article in The Post about language and literature, I've decided to have another crack at Finnegans Wake1, James Joyce's inspired (but virtually unreadable) novel creating something wholly new from the English language.
Just in case you were wondering....
Why Metal Chicken? Well, maybe you remember the Clangers?
They were knitted puppets who spoke in whistles and lived on soup fed to them by a friendly dragon. When life got difficult they called on an eccentric neighbour for help. She lived on a nest of scrap iron and would always give away something useful from the rubbish heap along with a slice of worldly wisdom. At age five I aspired to be that metal chicken and now I have my chance.
I'm a member of the The H2G2 Astronomy Society, a good place to go for those with an interest in watching the skies. Throughout 2003 we're attempting a Messier Marathon. That means we're spending clear nights trying to spot all 110 faint fuzzy patches catalogued by comet-hunter Charles Messier as objects that look like they might be comets but aren't.
That's quite enough about me. Get back out there and start writing your own entries! Do leave me a message before you go though.
Who's On H2G2?
1 Hmmm. Been a long, long time since I wrote that and I've still not got past the second page. Having finally read through the Silmarillion after 20 years of trying maybe this will be the year for Joyce.
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The New Forest..
Mar 12, 2012
.. is not New, it's at least 1000 years old. And it's not really forest in the tree sense, just the original royal hunting ground sense. However, it does have some trees and a load of wildlife in the shape of ponies, deer and pigs as well as the usual squirrels and birds. After a few days it became normal to see ponies nibbling away in the heathland verges and forest clearings, not to mention trimming domestic hedges where they weren't kept out of human habitation.
The New Forest also has a good selection of very nice country pubs, making for good walks and evenings out. There are some local breweries (that I'm reliably informed are alright) and even a rather good cider maker, although I had to stock the car with cider samples to take away as none of the local pubs seemed to sell it. Even so, the Royal Oak at Fritham is heartily recommended to anyone passing by, particularly at lunchtime for an excellent range of Ploughman's lunches with local cheeses. I'd also recommend the Cuckoo at Hamptworth for an experience, particularly busy on Friday nights when the Fish & Chip van parks outside.
A week didn't really allow us to see everything the Forest has to offer, but I came back a lot more relaxed than when we left. The odd loose Peak District sheep on the roads seems like nothing after days of stopping for the ponies crossing. I'll miss the horses
NaJoWriMo30 - Finale
Nov 30, 2011
So this is it. There should be a drumroll announcing my last post of the month or some fireworks lined up and ready to fire when I hit the 'Store journal' button. Kaboom. Whoosh. Aaaah.
Thirty journal posts in as many days. I didn't even need to resort to my little list of ideas, thoughts and potential journal rants. So you'll not got to hear my complaints about the pinkification of the High Street. My musings on national identity for those who are part this and part something else, both and neither, will have to wait for another day. I didn't explain why I have 7000 assorted old postcards cluttering up my cupboards. Nor write about guerilla knitting. Or resort to describing the range of tea caddies that live by the kettle.
Just goes to show, taking on this challenge has done what I wanted it to and kick-started my latent writing impulse. I think I'll give the journal a rest for a bit but maybe I'll think of something to reasearch and put through peer review instead.
Thanks to anyone and everyone who stopped by to read or leave a comment. Hope you've enjoyed reading. For now though, time to preview and post one last November journal. Then off to see if there's a party going on, sure I saw one around here somewhere...
NaJoWriMo29 - Poetic thoughts
Nov 29, 2011
One last November journal entry about my Mother's adventures.
She always enjoyed playing with words and had a huge creative streak. Combining these two traits produced a lot of poetry over the years. Her verses weren't really to my taste, too sentimental and faith tinged for my preference, but they were heartfelt and thoughtful and many of her friends and acquaintances did appreciate them. Many of them were published in the local paper and she kept a scrapbook of those. She once wrote a poem for my father to commemorate the knocking down of a bridge that used to run across my grandfather's land and had major nostalgic significance for him. She recited it to him while he listened closely until eventually he said "that's very good dear but it's not our bridge they're demolishing". Nice thought though. My sister and I were merciless in our teasing of her about poems we thought silly or trivial. I'm somewhat shamefaced at the memories although we will still giggle at the mention of 'The Fledgling' or 'Nature's Symphony'. Aren't children cruel?
I much preferred her attempts at humorous odes. Such as the one she wrote to ease a friend's fear of flying before their first holiday flight, or the one she wrote about the trials and tribulations of a driving instructor based on her own experiences as a learner driver. These were the ones that led to her radio adventure when she sent one off to a local radio station and they rang her back to ask if there were any more where that came from. She spent a day at the radio station recording her funny poems and they were broadcast one a day for a while. I still remember tuning in to the radio each day and hearing the presenter introduce her as the 'oder of the week'. Still makes me gigglemremembering her indignation as he said it and how often she told that story afterwards.
A few years ago, we decided to collect all her poems together (even the ones we hated) and get them bound nicely into a book for her purely for her own enjoyment and pleasure at the sight of her work in print. When she moved into residential care, we made sure she had the book and that the staff saw it so they'd know her better as a person and not just another confused dementia patient. She may not be able to write them any more but she still enjoys hearing her verses, whether or not she recognises the words as her own.
NaJoWriMo28 - Cute pups
Nov 28, 2011
There's a coastal nature reserve at Donna Nook on the Humber estuary in North East Lincolnshire that's worth a visit at any time for a bracing walk and a bit of bird spotting on the dunes. At this time of year it becomes very busy, when the grey seals come inshore to give birth to their pups. So far this year, around 1300 pups have been born on the dunes. With all those pups plus the adult females and the big breeding males flolloping about on the sand, that's a lot of seals, making a lot of noise. The seal pups are enormously appealing and attract a huge number of visitors to this small stretch of coast during November.
Donna Nook has one of the biggest grey seal colonies in England and it's definitely the most accessible I know of. There are often fluffy white baby seals staring up from just the other side of the observation fence. It's a great privilege to be able to get so close to them and observe everyday behaviour such as the very young pups suckling, the older pups and adult seals lounging about on the sand, the big males fighting off any intruders. Did I mention the young pups are very cute with their fluffy white fur and big dark eyes?
When I was a child growing up in Lincolnshire we knew nothing about the grey seal colony down the coast. I don't think there were very many breeding on the dunes back then. I saw a chart at the information hut today showing the history of the colony in terms of number of pups born here. If that's correct then in the 80s there were only a few dozen pups born here each year. By 1999 it was up to 600 and last year there were 1400.
The volunteers were speculating about why they've settled in so well here. They most likely arrived due to overspill from an older colony, possibly coming South from the Farne Islands in Northumberland. The dunes are a safe, sheltered environment and it has protected status as a nature reserve and an MOD range. If numbers continue to increase at this rate it won't be long before some enterprising seals break off and attempt to form another colony further down the coast. For now though, there's just this annual spectacle well worth visiting for a close up of grey seal life. Did I mention seal pups are cute?
NaJoWriMo27 - Career changing
Nov 27, 2011
Being the last Sunday of the month, today was time for our local farmers' market. It's a bustling event, held alongside the busy ordinary market and has become an important part of our grocery shopping schedule. We plan ahead based on our favourite stalls and are recognised by some of the traders as regular customers. We will eat well this week.
One of the traders knows me better than most. She used to be my colleague, in fact she was my boss for a while. We both took redundancy from that company when they restructured around 5 years ago. I went on to do a similar job, in a very different environment and for fewer days a week. She decided to turn her foodie hobbies into a business and make jam.
I remember the look on her face the day she said she'd decided what she was going to do. I remember the early planning stages, the discussions with the authorities on food hygiene and I particularly remember tasting her earliest efforts as she worked on recipes, pricing and branding.
Chatting to her today, it's great to see her new business is definitely succeeding. She's expanded out of her kitchen into a proper unit with a couple of employees. She's developed a range of jams and relishes, producing consistently tasty products that have even won a couple of awards. I always believed she had the energy and determination to make a go of it and I always hoped she'd do well. Sometimes taking redundancy really can lead to a satisfying new career.
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