Monthly Archives: March 2011

Spring Has Sprung

So once again, it’s time for our annual March break in The Lakes …

Monday this week was the first day of spring, and the weather duly obliged, with a forecast of dry, warm and mainly sunny for the week ahead. We remarked on Tuesday that the blossom trees are suddenly — well — blossoming; and that Roy’s magnolia looked poised to explode. So we were hopeful of a really (what’s the equivalent of “vernal” for Spring?) Spring-y Spring Break.

Day 1 (Wednesday)

Woke to a misty morning with the sun starting to break through, and left just before 9.00 with the feeling a nice day was in prospect. By the time we’d had breakfast at the Little Chef in Middlewich it was a nice sunny day, and we enjoyed an easy drive up the M6.

Coffee at the Burton-in-Kendal services, before pressing on the Windermere, and the traditional visit to the Lakeland shop. Inevitably found one or two things to buy!

Arrived in Grasmere just before 2.00 with the sun still shining, but by the time we had checked in and strolled down into the village the cloud had begun to spoil things a bit. Had a pint in The Lamb and mooched around the garden centre and other shops.

Sunshine returned late afternoon.

Enjoyed evening meal of mussels, followed by slow-cooked lamb dish whose exact description I forget (basically a lamb shank served off the bone), and lemon tart.

Day 2 (Thursday)

An even better day, weather-wise: bright sun and good temperatures dawn to dusk.

After a hearty breakfast, headed down to Ambleside and parked easily in one of the limited number of free parking slots right by the pier at Waterhead. Bought tickets for the Red Cruise to Bowness and mooched around in the pleasant early sunshine until we boarded the boat for the 10.40 sailing.

Excellent 30-minute sail down the lake in an un-crowded boat followed by a stroll up into Bowness. Coffee at Costa, sitting outside. Got back to the pier in good time for the 12.30 sailing back up the lake — just as well, as a big queue had formed by the time we boarded. Again enjoyed the sail, even though the boat was much busier.

Tasty pint of (Jennings?) Cumbria Ale at the Waterside Inn before driving back to Grasmere.

Relaxed in the hotel garden, reading, for an hour or so. Then a walk down into the village, along the riverside walk, up to the main road and so back to The Swan.

Evening meal was ok for us, though there seemed to be some minor hitches in service for others; largely due to absence of the restaurant manager, I suspect.

Day 3 (Friday)

Down to the village after packing the bags and checking out, to buy some gingerbread.

Then north to Keswick, where we wandered round and checked out Geo Fisher and a couple of other shops, in search of replacement walking shoes for me. Eventually bought a pair from Cotswold: bit on the high side, price-wise, but hopefully they will last a while! Popped into Cornerwise, of course! (Tobermoray 10 year old)

Out along the A66 towards Penrith then turned right to come down to Ullswater and up to Kirkstone Pass. Enjoyed a pint in the sun at the pub above The Struggles.

Down to Windermere and so via Kendal to Garstang. (Called in on the off chance of seeing Sylvia, but she was out for the day – Ross made us a cuppa and we chatted briefly.)
Another excellent day, weather-wise.

Mother-in-Law’s fish pie for tea.

No internet connection most of the evening — Vodafone coverage really shocking in Garstang, and neighbour’s wi-fi too weak to be useable.


a most pleasant break, made so largely by the weather, of course.

Look forward to next year!

A Cold Start to the Season

Last Saturday saw the start to my 2011 marshalling season, and a cold start it was.

The meeting was a Masters Historic Racing event at Oulton Park. This was the opening motor racing meeting at Oulton and a first time for Masters Historic at this venue.

Proved to be a not-too-strenuous day, with plenty of slack in the timetable: five qualy sessions and five races. We finished in good time, with the last race finishing not long after 5.00, though it was getting pretty gloomy by then, so any more races would have been pushing it.

This was an unusually early start to the season, so it was only to be expected that thermals were the order of the day. The sun never really got out, and though I started out bravely in just my new orange fleece as top layer, by mid-morning I had added the padded waterproof over the top! I was at the Shell Hairpin, and the breeze fairly whistled across when stationed by the box and in the middle; bit more sheltered at the other two positions, but was glad to get a full lunch break to retreat to the car for a bit.

The only thing approaching excitement, marshalling-wise, was when a Ford Falcon pulled off abruptly with a broken front wheel.

The races were, frankly, a bit too long for sustained interest: especially the last, which was 1hr 20min, featuring only a dozen cars.

Next outing is April 2nd for a BRSCC NW meeting — hope for a bit more action and warmer weather then!

Living with a Legend

Had my HTC Legend for about three weeks now, so it’s probably time to record some reaction.

Things that I Like:


Very clear and with a good range of brightness. (You really need a brightness adjuster app to make the most of this.)

Keypad Entry

This is much better than my old phone (Samsung Vodafone M1 360), even though the on-screen keys don’t seem significantly larger.

Home screens and HTC Sense

It’s really easy to organize things with seven home pages easily available. The “pinch-to-zoom” feature is really neat (not sure if this is part of HTC Sense, actually, or a facility of all Android phones).

Lots of Apps

The number of apps available is mind-boggling, and most of the ones I’ve tried are good quality.

Things that I Don’t Like:

Battery Usage

I find that after about 12 hours, the battery is down to 25% or less; which is OK provided you don’t forget to charge overnight every day, but it would be nice to have a bit more leeway.

Things I’m Not Sure About:


I haven’t used the camera a lot, but considering it’s 5 Mp it doesn’t seem much better (if at all) than the 3 Mp I had on the old phone.

Things I’ve added :

Here’s a list of the apps I’ve got (so far!) …

Inkpad Notepad by Wokpail
GPS Test by Chartcross
Brightness Level by CurveFish
JuicdDefender by LateDroid
WebMemo by Fuukiemonster
Unit Converter by Sunny Moon
Google Translate by Google
Astrid Tasks by Todoroo Inc
NIV Bible by Tecarta
JourneyPro by Navitime
Xmarks by LastPass
LastPass by LastPass
RealCalc Scientific byQuartic
Android Terminal by linxmap
Executive Assistant by Appventive
Exec Assist POP/IMAP byAppventive
Twitter by Twitter Inc
ES Task Manager by EStrings Inc
ES File Explorer by EStrongs
AndroZip File Mgr by AgileSoft
ASTRO File Mgr by Metago
Evernote by Evernote
Dropbox by Dropbox Inc
Barcode Scanner by ZXing Team
Sky News by BSkyB
TweetDeck by TweetDeck Inc
WordPress by Automattic Inc

Just Because It’s Dark …

…doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see:

This evening we saw two things we’ve never seen before — the International Space Station and our neighbourhood badger.

Watching Northwest Tonight after tea, as we usually do, we were informed by Dianne Oxberry that if we went outside around 7:55 and looked up into the night sky facing South, we should have a good sighting of the space station passing by.

So we dug out our binoculars and duly went out into the garden, not entirely sure what we expected to see. But sure enough, at 7:57 as promised, there was a bright spot coming up from the west that looked not-quite-right for a plane. To be honest, the glasses didn’t make a lot of difference — certainly couldn’t tell that the space shuttle was docked with the station; but we think we must have been looking at the right thing, because as it got directly overhead it faded out just as you’d expect it would as it moved into the earth’s shadow.

At this point, I was aware of a sort of chomping noise coming from just beyond the fence at the bottom of the garden; shining my torch in the general direction, I caught the reflection from a pair of eyes and had the distinct impression of a black-and-white head. We’ve had a significant hole dug in the garden a couple of nights ago, and Pamela next-door-but-one has had a lot of badger-bother recently, so I believe we have now seen the culprit. As long as he/she stays that side of the fence, we don’t mind!