A Grim North

Musings from a northerner living in the deep south…

Posts Tagged ‘2010’

2010 – the end is nigh

Posted by Alan on December 31, 2010

So this is it? Another year draws to a close and a fresh one starts. 2010 has been a mixed year for me – looking back it seems almost as if I was stood still in a whirlwind (apologies for the blatant hyperbole).  Quite a lot of stuff happened – some of it seems so much further away in time than reality! This blog is almost 2 years old now and is a little more diverse than it was on day one.  Important events? Well, probably changing jobs slightly in April and rediscovering cycling as a useful form of transit just after the Cycle Hire scheme went live, the latter resulting in some reduction in mass so that I am no longer classified as obese by BMI – hurrah!

Highlights? There’s a few, which means it’s time for a python-esque list…

Resolutions? Maybe not.

However, 2011 will probably be a massive year of change.  The cuts are coming – who knows whether what role there will be for me at work this time next year, so it’s probably a good year to be motivated and get stuff done.  That said, having become an irregular cyclist in 2010 I do plan to become a regular cyclist and see if I can get my mass down < 75kg before the summer solstice. I’m going to have a second crack at the Bogle on foot and actually train (a bit). Much more photography to be done – I’ve vaguely learned what the buttons and numbers mean and how to use them. Next step, figure out how to point it at things in a more interesting way and figure out the best way of presenting the results.

Oxo Tower

My favourite shot of 2010 - The Oxo Tower & South Bank at night

So, time to raise a glass and get on with it…!

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Norfolk Holiday – Day 2 – Holt, Cromer

Posted by Alan on September 22, 2010

Breakfast in the B&B at a very leisurely 10 to 9. Mmm full breakfast. At 1030 we boarded the steam train to Holt around 5 miles around the coast from Sheringham. Apparently there was a lot of space in the 1950s for things like bikes!


Bike space on the steam train

Bike space on the steam train


The current Holt station is on the edge of town – about 1.25 miles (2km) so only a short hop by bike. We found ourselves a lovely brew in a cafe called Byfords. Pretty damn good and with an excellent deli on the site – here I picked up the local “Yetman’s stout” to try sometime. Brew supped, we headed back out on the main road past Holt station and picked up the sustran’s regional route 30. This took us through the countryside – mostly fields – along quiet single track roads all the way to Cromer.

Ruth, cycling through Gresham

Ruth, cycling through Gresham


The Norfolk countryside around here is actually rather undulating – not quite the flat plain we had imagined! Still, I’d be very surprised if we topped 200″ (60m) above sea level all day.

Cromer is a busy little town. On our visit it was hosting some steam cars – a little bit strange – chuffing slowly along the promenade and with the occasional loud bang. Picking up some provisions in the Morrisons (complete with bike stands) we grabbed some chips on the sea front (as one must) before going for a half in the Dolphin. Woodforde’s wherry was very tasty!


Cromer from the pier

Cromer from the pier


The final leg of our cycling adventure took us out of Cromer onto the A149 – the coastal road – over the steep cliffs above towards the north west. But after a further 2.14 miles (3.4km) spotting a sign for West Runton station we decided to give up and take the train back to Sherringham (just 1 stop and £1.25 each!). Back in Sheringham and it was time for tea. Tonight, The Lobster was the venue. Sadly, disappointing. In 5 words: overcooked food and flat beer. Shame, it was a promising pub from the outside. So, back to the Windham arms for a good beer!


Wolf: howling' good beer

Wolf: howling' good beer

And with that off to bed!

Trip Miles Kilometres
Holt Station – Holt 1.25mi 2km
Holt – Holt Station 1.25mi 2km
Holt Station – Cromer via sustrans RCN 30 11.14mi 17.82km
Cromer – West Runton via coast road (A149) 2.14mi 3.42km
Total: 15.78mi 25.25km

Summary

Date: 08/09/2010

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Narrowboat Log – Day 5

Posted by Alan on August 15, 2010

A very late start this morning! We dispatched mum and Ruth off for some ‘ retail therapy’ at the farm shop, to which they obliged by returning with some excellent sausages and other treats. Since we were close to a boatyard we opted for pump out – despite extensively using on shore facilities there’s only so long you can last…

Boat and butty, Trent and Mersey Canal

Boat and butty

We followed another boat through the final tunnel and back to the Anderton lift where we stopped for some liquid refreshment at the Stanley Arms, as well as filling up the water tank on Endevour. Mid afternoon we stopped close to ‘Broken Cross’ on the edge of Northwich.  This part of Cheshire doesn’t fit the stereotype at all – everyone seemed to have a fag on, they had to razz around in souped up cars and the pub didn’t seem too friendly either.  So we found a chinese before moving on.

Signets

Even the signets were stubborn!

After tea we sailed out back into the open countryside to find a peaceful spot to moor for the night – mostly to play scabble and cards!

Moored up in the Dane Valley

Moored up

Summary

Weather: Fair but overcast

Destination: Dane valley between bridge 181 and 180

Locks: 0

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Double deck bike parking

Posted by Alan on July 15, 2010

Double deck bike parking, originally uploaded by Alan Perryman.

Some good cycling for a change – this is the double deck cycle racks at Waterloo station that have been put in, presumably, because of severe overcrowding on the bicycle front.

I like this idea – more please!

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Carter’s Steam Fair

Posted by Alan on June 28, 2010

Given a sunny Sunday, what else to do but lounge in the park? Well… why not find a park with an Edwardian amusement arcade as well?

Steam powered pirate ships

Steam powered pirates

Helicopter Race

Helicopter Race - almost as good as England's race to victory!!

So after all that excitement, why not take in a bit of proper English cuisine – candy floss!

Dentist recommend flossing daily...

After that…well lie about in the park and do nothing.  When we did eventually go look at the football in the nearest pub, England were already being beaten. Quietly drinking our pints in a corner, we escaped before the end to make sure that we didn’t get beaten too! – but only back to the park for a picnic and a little more doing nothing. Brilliant. Wish more weekends could be like that.

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Around London Bridge

Posted by Alan on May 21, 2010

As I was running late to meet the CAMRA ‘crew’ anyway, I wasn’t exactly in a rush. This opened up a few opportunities for photos! At Kennington, I found a house missing:

A missing house in Kennington, London

A missing house, Kennington

I hope someone didn’t wake up one day and discover next door had just disappeared!

Moving on towards London Bridge, I came across this view:

Natwest Tower/Tower 42 from the peabody estate, London

The view from the outside

London is an utterly strange place in many ways. Poverty and riches often live side by side. It’s surprisingly green and some areas are surprising quiet. Just round the corner is the Lord Clyde – next stop for the CAMRA folks.

The Lord Clyde

The Lord Clyde, Borough

A fairly standard London boozer. Nothing out of the ordinary beer wise – good, proper bitter served well. Next up was the Gladstone arms.

The Lord Gladstone

The Lord Gladstone

This place is much smaller than it looks. With 10 (ish) of us, we took up 1/3rd of the seating in the pub! There was live music promised (we ducked out halfway through the second song – 0ops, mustn’t have been a good for confidence!) and an interesting menu with pies from pieminister of Borough Market (mmm). Somewhere to check out again when not in a rush perhaps.

With the light gone there aren’t any photos from the next pubs. The Royal Oak was nice but expensive (as usual) – good to see Fullers Hock back again (a lovely dark mild), the Market Porter was really busy hence we skipped on to The Rake. I wholly agree with the philosophy of the Rake – ‘No crap on tap’. They’ve just started a blog (at http://therakeblog.wordpress.com/) and combined with their twitter feed you can check out what beers they have. I’m not going to pop in for x,y,z beer but it’s nice to see what I’m missing out on.

Enough drivel for now. Early start tomorrow!

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Arundel Castle

Posted by Alan on May 3, 2010

This early May bank holiday saw Simon, Emo and I take a trip down to Arundel castle, about 4 miles north of Littlehampton on the south coast. Arundel castle is actually two castles – the stately home built in Victorian times (when castles were all the rage) and the actual castle a mott/bailey fortrification surviving (with modifications) through the civil war to this day.

Arundel castle, stately home

I'm not sure that turret could actually hold a cannon worth using...

The place reeks of power and status. There are many grand rooms full of large paintings of the Dukes of Norfolk, who still retain this as their home today. No pictures allowed inside of course – I don’t mind that since I can imagine how much flash might damage fragile paintings and also revenue from the tours must go some way to keeping the place…

Arundel castle, mott & bailey

The real castle

As well as the paintings, stuffed animals and trappings of gentry, the grounds includes some well kept gardens and the Fitzalan chappel.  The chappel is unusual as it is actually two churches stuck together – a Catholic side and a protestant/Anglican side but neither connected bar a single door in the main area of the chappel. In fact, the Anglican side is outside of the grounds!

Inside Fitzalan chappel, looking towards the protestant side

Looking towards the protestants

Photography was allowed in the chappel so I got to have a bit of play with the EOS…

Praying monk

Praying monk

close up of angel wing and blurred photographers

Winging it for the angels

Praying for the next life - grave statue

Praying for the next life

Next up were the gardens – unfortunately a day for frequent heavy showers meant that most of the flowers had closed up, but there was plenty of colour available to enjoy.

A splash of colour - red flowers

A splash of colour

Pink rose

Pink rose

spots of rain on a green leaf

Drip drip

We probably spend 4½ hours all told wandering around – very enjoyable.

Next up – the pub and eventually Sussex pub crawl… to be continued.

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Supporting the marathon

Posted by Alan on May 3, 2010

Being midway through the marathon I got to see some of the clear up, the bit most people forget! So this is a brief pictorial to say thanks to all those people who make sure all the running and fundraising happens.

St John's Ambulance - on bicycles

St John's Ambulance - on bicycles

The roadsweeper tractors

The roadsweeper tractors - note the runners in the top right hand corner

The scrubber - removing the extra road markings

The scrubber - removing the extra road markings

The ambulance folk, doctors and nurses

The ambulance folk, doctors and nurses

The barrier removal men

The barrier removal men

The bin men

The bin men - I hope that bunting is going into the recycling!

…and to everyone else off camera.

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Bogle 2010

Posted by Alan on March 14, 2010

Last year I walked (Bogle 09) and managed to get just over halfway round (29 miles!) before quitting and helping out a bit. This year I took the opportunity to drive a van. Since passing my test I haven’t driven anything but vans – but it isn’t like I get to drive very often so I thought it’d be great to keep the skills going! 🙂

An early start meant dragging my mum to help too (she loves it really though) since Metrolink killed our public transport back in October last year I can’t get in from their house to town before about 8AM…

This year I got checkpoint 8, which is out in North Manchester just on the boarder between Bury and Bolton. In a car park we couldn’t put the van in, but that didn’t matter too much. We had meat pies…!

Lech tucks into a meat pie on CheckPoint 8

By this point, the hardcore walkers had managed around the 45 mile mark and we could offer them tea, coffee and cake as sustenance for the final 9.9 miles.

Coffee from the van

Around 70 walkers made it all the away around the full 55 miles this year and the running total for charity has already passed 11K.  And I didn’t crash 🙂 Awesome eh?

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The Trip to Nottingham

Posted by Alan on March 14, 2010

I visit Manchester far too often. It probably helps that my parents live there and many of my uni/college mates still do. But once every now and then we have an agreement to meet somewhere vaguely halfway – hence the trip to Nottingham.

Silhouette of Ruth at St Pancras

The early (0900) train north beckoned

Nottingham is a kinda of strange halfway – it’s 2 hours from London, 2 hours from Manchester. London to Manchester takes just 2 hours 10, but at least the concept is there!

First up we were to head to the Castle and wander round with my Grandma. This was quickly rearranged to a coffee and a chat as the mistle hung miserably above the city.

I think this London bus may be lost...

The afternoon however… was much more pub based. We’d ‘planned’ to visit two pubs – but got so cozy in the Trip that we didn’t move out very quickly…

The Trip to Jerusalem

The Trip to Jerusalem - below Nottingham Castle

‘The Trip’ is allegedly England’s oldest in – and the rooms go far back into the rock on which the castle sits.

Holey Rock

If you get the chance to visit Nottingham this place is worth it for the novelty – decent beer too, nicely kept. I’m sure there are other places to go too though…note this all happened about 2 or 3 weeks ago (27/02), I am just rubbish at keeping up to date!

All the pictures are heading for flickr as I’ve decided I need to backup everything online in the highest quality possible. Flickr pro seems to do the job – check out this set.

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