Spring is slowly turning into summer here on the 54th parallel north, I wonder how it is in Unalaska Island who is on the same degree of latitude as us.
We may not have the sprawling majesty of Alaska but our lake is looking very pretty right now. All the wild growth around it is doubling in size each week, the bull rushes are racing to the sky and the herons are visiting to get lunch.
This weekend I decided to go hiking in Cheshire around Delamere Forest. It is a lovely part of the country, and although it is thought to be flat due to all the wetlands and lakes it is far from it. A beautiful day, the sun was blazing and we had temperatures of 16c, which for February is unheard of. Mazikeen proved she really does have the stamina for hiking. She was off the lead all the way, and I would estimate my 8.5 miles were for her about 20 miles as she was back and forth throughout the walk and just kept running the whole two and a half hours. She has a little limp from time to time today, but I think it was from leaping off very high sand dunes yesterday.
Although this is the main route I followed, I did manage to wander off it quite a bit adding more miles to the original walk, I also parked half a mile from the red tracks. Thank god for GPS as I would have got lost very easily.
After the hike, we went for lunch at Vale Royal Abbey Arms in Oakmere. I had 10oz gammon with pineapple, fried egg, chunky chips, mushroom, tomato and onion rings. Washed down with a nice pint of bitter shandy. M had a steak baguette with chips, salad, cheese, slaw and onion rings, washed down with a coke. Needless to say, we ate the lot, and the girls did help, but not as much as they wanted to LOL!
Today we went to Penistone Hill in Yorkshire to do our Bronte walk. The sun was out, and although it is still winter here it was a glorious day with highs of 13c. I parked 1.4 miles away from the Bronte Parsonage and headed towards Bronte Bridge and Falls. I had not been here for just over 21 years, so it was nice to visit it again, although I have been to Haworth many times in the past 10 years.
Wuthering Heights Inn was a lovely pub that we stopped at for lunch. They are dog-friendly which was really nice, they provided us with dog treats, bowls of fresh water and a warm welcome. M had a hot beef and gravy sandwich with thick chips. I decided to have a dirty burger which was a half pounder with cheese, pulled pork and chilli mayo, side of salad with sweet balsamic dressing, fries and onion rings. Needless to say, it was rather delicious and was washed down with a pint of bitter shandy. Mazikee and Harper helped eat the chips.
All in all, it was a lovely day, I am slightly burned from the sun and wind, mostly the wild and windy moor. Alas, we never found Heathcliff or Cathy or managed to get to Top Withens, but will go that way next time. All told I hiked 6.5 miles with the girls. Mazikeen probably did about 12 miles or more as she was off lead and ran about everywhere, leaping into every muddy puddle, stream, and the waterfalls. I kept Harper on her lead as she is a bugger for taking off on her own adventures.
Not too sure where we will hike next Saturday weather permitting that is, but I am looking forward to more adventures.
I love to bake. I mean bake anything. There is just something so satisfying about the whole process. I did make sourdough bread last weekend, but to be honest, it was a bit crap, however, that will not put me off, and I will keep going until I get it right. The instructions for the proving overnight in the fridge was good, but the dough collapsed when I was putting it onto the baking sheet. The other loaf stuck to the banneton as I had used flour rather than rice flour, so that was crap too. The other thing I had problems with was the heat in the oven. The instructions said for 500f which is mega hot, and as I was cooking it on a stone dish it just seemed to sear and the crust was tough, so tough it could be in the marines. It was supposed to bake for 20 minutes at 500f then 30 minutes at 450f, again, mega hot. I have never cooked any bread at this temperature so it would happen that it was cooked on the outside and slightly doughy on the inside. Not a bad crumb though. It also didn’t taste like sourdough does, so I think that was the fault of the leaven as it had not bubbled and matured enough. So now I know or think I know what went wrong I will try again. I may do a variation too so that I know I can control rather than using the heat of the sun.
As mentioned, I love to bake, so here are some photos of my other bakes, successful bakes too LOL
Thursday saw the arrival of The Giants in our city (Liverpool) along with over 1.3 million visitors to see them. Liverpool is quite a wonderland, and we have many odd and wonderful things to see here. This is the third time The Giants have visited, alas, it will be the last. The city was littered with the giant’s possessions, including likes of clothes drying, a dropped butter knife that sliced through a bus and a dropped fork that went through a car. Today (Sunday) they left to go back to their home, never to return again here or any other place. Here are just a few photos from the last few days.
A good few years ago M had gone back to Ireland for a month to see his parents and I had stayed at home. One Saturday I decided to go to Liverpool to take photographs of architecture and general life. Liverpool is a pool of things to see everywhere you turn. So, lunch time came and I was walking south along Queens Dock and decided to go to McDonalds to eat. Being a bright sunny day, the starlings were there waiting for people to drop food or feed them. I had sat my camera on the table and was eating my fries. More and more birds came over to see if I was feeding them. I decided to break up the fries and gently throw them onto the next table where the birds were now gathering. Seeing that they were all coming to the same spot I decided to turn my DSL camera to them and press the auto focus. Again gently throwing fries to the table for them they all of a sudden arranged themselves in the position you can see from my photo, and I clicked the shutter and snapped this photo. Needless to say, when I looked at the photo I decided to give them all the rest of the fries as I thought they had earned them.
A few years ago I decided to play about with making my own photograph worlds. The first one is just outside Kendal in the Lake District, the second my take on a water world, which happens to be Lake Coniston, also in the Lake District.
As a lot of my readers will know, I love to take photographs and have done since I was 14. My first job was as a photographic lab technician in charge of enlargements for the company and correcting photographs that had things in them that needed to vanish, a process called spotting. I had to spot away everything from dust marks to some, well, how do I put it, penis erasing. Yes, you read correctly, usually, a big group shot and there would be in the photo a man with his bits out. It was very enjoyable to do and made me laugh quite a lot, and surprised me how many men got their junk out on photos. I would always ensure that the offending item was erased and no one could ever tell. Now that is easy with the use of digital photography, and I have done some of my best corrections using the likes of Photoshop, especially on old photos that have fold marks and tears on them.
Anyways, I was invited to join a photography site and now have some of my work there. But, I did not want to let you all away without seeing some of my prize images.
Living in the country does have its perks. Each year the residents start making scarecrows for the festival we have. So as you are driving through this part of the country there are literally hundreds of them. Last year we had Trump ones, which were by a carrot farm funny enough. Even the kids get involved and tie them to the school railings. Here are some I took photos of. There are hundreds to photograph, but I am usually driving past them and just do not have time to pull over grab my camera and shoot, also I keep forgetting to bring my camera with me. Doh!