cribBlog 2016 volume
cribBlog 2015 volume
Cribbit's first log book
Account of 2012
Account of 2011
Account of 2010
Account of 2009
Account of 2008
Account of 2007
There is always a flurry of LJ's before Sj leaves to visit us, 2007 was no exception.
2:50 pm Protected
I leave (for the bus, which leaves for the plane, which leaves for England) in just a few minutes and as always I'm a bundle of excited energy raring to go. My things are packed. Indeed rather a lot more than normal is packed as this year's trip involves the need for my hiking boots.
I'm particularly excited about this year's trip as we will be visiting the Lake District and seeking out the locations from Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series of children's books. As a result in the last few days I've been flipping idly through the books and reflecting as to just how central these books were to my own childhood.
Indeed, as I charged my ipod and grabbed images off an external drive last night, I reflected on just how evident their influence is on my life even today.
Every machine in my house takes its name from one of the boats in the book.
As has become tradition, last April I spent a week in the UK visiting my father and my
brother. Instead of puttering around as we typically do, this time we had a plan, namely to
spend some time in the Lake District locating as many sites as possible from our favorite
series of children's books (Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons).
As is also tradition, it's taken almost a full year for me to type up the trip report.
No first period class so ended up going into school about 20 minutes late so that I could fret about my impending trip in peace. Not a bad day all told but hard to concentrate on much.
Ready to go the second the bell rang and made it home in record time. Quick shower, e-mail and into the car and off to the bus. Part way there, realized that the 5 minute grace period I gave myself was only actually good when compared to school time.
Ended up just behind the bus as it pulled into the lot and probably would have made it had the lot not been chock full. By the time I'd figured out the valet service and bought my ticket, the bus was long gone. No matter, only an hour until the next. Not too keen on the idea of leaving my car with a valet for a week and seriously considered taking it home and having a friend drive me to the bus instead. Probably best I didn't as I really couldn't afford to miss the second bus as well.
A guy about my age also waiting for the bus with a woman I assumed to be his mother in attendance. He was going to England she informed me, so was I. Oh, was I on holiday from school? Yes. I refrained from mentioning that I was a teacher and not a student.
Very quick trip to Logan, sneaking in a back way I would never otherwise have discovered. Signs seemed to indicate that the Air Canada flights now departed from terminal B as opposed to terminal C as my flight itinerary suggested. A tad leery as I disembarked and watched the bus drive off without me but if I was in the wrong place, so too was the guy from the bus station, who it turned out was on the same flights as me.
Checked in and discovered that in addition to listing the wrong terminal, my flight itinerary also had the wrong departure time - a tad concerned I might be cutting it a bit too close.
Through security without issue. Astonished at the security guy whose solution to his impending baldness was to paint his head black. He'd even managed to get the line over the top of his head perfectly straight so that from a distance it looked as if he was wearing some sort of a hat. Only when you got right up to him did you notice the moist droplets of sweat all over his head and realize that it was paint - clearly someone had told him that comb-overs looked ridiculous.
Onto the plane without issue, saying hello to the bus!guy (who had been joined by his girlfriend) on the way. Uneventful trip to Halifax, the entirety of it spent talking to my seat mate who turned out to be an excellent conversationalist. When beverages were served he was insistent that I try a favorite Canadian beverage called "clamato". Clamato, which turned out to be manufactured by Mott's was Canada's answer to tomato juice and, I was informed, was typically served with vodka. Not so mine, I did however get the can so I could see for myself that in addition to tomato juice and celery seed it also contained dried clam juice. Fortunately it wasn't nearly as dreadful as it sounds and I won good points from my seatmate for drinking the entire thing.
I confessed to my seatmate that while I had flown into Halifax before, I was most impressed with the Ottawa airport. He assured me that Halifax had a waterfall every bit as good as the one in Ottawa. I was not convinced.
Slightly early arrival in Halifax meant an entire hour to navigate immigration and customs as opposed to the 45 minutes my itinerary allotted. When I had checked in in Boston, I was informed that my bags had been checked through to London. "Great," I replied. The gate agent laughed and said that this meant the bags were tagged for London. I would still have to claim them, navigate customs and immigration in Halifax and then recheck them before heading to my next flight.
Despite the steps involved, I knew from experience that this was a fairly quick process in Ottawa. It turned out to be just as quick in Halifax. 15 minutes from gate to gate. Thank goodness I hadn't been routed through Toronto where 3.5 hours from gate to gate is the typical norm.
Just time for a quick hello to the bus!guy and his girlfriend then onto the next plane. As is typical for a flight booked by CJ, ended up in the very last row, in seats that didn't recline. Another chatty seatmate but eventually made an attempt at sleeping. May as well not have bothered as no sooner had I closed my eyes than the cabin lights were turned on and breakfast served. A bit silly as still 2.5 hours from London.
Even more than that by the time all was said and done as we circled the airport for quite awhile. No proper gate available when we arrived, instead a stairway to the tarmac and shuttle busses were produced. Both myself and the bus!guy ended up on the last one.
Don't think I'd ever had such a late arrival in London, quite pleased to see that it was so late that the immigration hall was almost empty. Clearly I'd missed the peak arrival hours. Luggage quickly collected, much to the consternation of a girl about my age who was sitting by the baggage claim with a look of increasing defeat. Waved a final goodbye to the bus!guy and headed to the exit.
CJ was waiting for me as I emerged so into the car and off to Catslide. Warm day but fairly hazy/foggy so no chance of viewing "the mark" from the motorway. RS and CJ off to the shops soon after I arrived, leaving me in peace to take a quick shower and collapse into bed.
Napped for a few hours and was woken up (at least briefly) when CJ wound the clock. Lunch of potato salad and cheese in the garden.
CJ quite impressed by all the random hillside letters and fake ancient monuments I'd visited in Arizona and of the opinion that we should see a few genuine ones here as well.
So off to visit the White Horse
by a circuitous route that took rather a lot longer than we expected.
proved fairly difficult to view from close up leading one to wonder how in the world it had been created.
Not even the large man made hill just below the drawing provided a useful view
of the full horse.
An unfortunate lack of convenient trees or bushes
on the well exposed hillside.
A nice walk however and CJ quite pleased to discover a walkie talkie that someone had
abandoned in the field. As a quick call on it provided no answer, fairly clear it belonged
to us. Now we just needed to find a second one.
Trip back to the house much faster due no doubt to the fact that SJ napped in the car. Home
too late to do justice to the chicken so stir fry dinner with vitamin drinks instead. SJ
started reading Swallows and Amazons aloud to RS who had never read it. SJ quite done in by
the combination of gin and jet lag but remarkably her reading improved as she got
Clock ticked loudly
all night but SJ too exhausted to notice. As we'd visited a hillside drawing yesterday it was decided that a trip to the rollwright standing stones
would be the activity of the day.
A nice picnic which included more reading from Swallows and Amazons then a visit to the stones themselves.
The circle of kingsmen
is considered uncountable with nobody ever arriving at the same count twice. This likely because a few of the stones were no bigger than pebbles
and as such some debate
over whether they should be counted at all.
CJ insistent that they should so 81 stones on first count.
Watched the new age nutters doing readings or some such mumbo jumbo in the center of the circle. Ley lines! On second count both SJ and RS got 75
Back home and chicken put in to roast
while SJ given the full catslide tour.
Said tour involved a visit to the attic
to see the underside
of the thatch,
for which the cottage was named
and to the workshop
to see the door to the bread oven that CJ had discovered in the garden.
Conveniently, said door was the actual door for the bread oven to the right of the main fireplace
Spent some time showing RS the Arizona pictures, then vitamin drinks and a few more chapters of Swallows and Amazons.
Quite a nice place, even CJ and RS in the dog's home staying in style.
Cars unpacked we headed down into town. CJ stopping to buy groceries while the rest of the crew set off in search of the lake. Lake proved initially elusive but soon located.
It had its beginning long, long ago when, as children, my brother, my sisters and I spent most of our holidays on a farm at the south end of Coniston. We played in or on the lake or on the hills above it, finding friends in the farmers and shepherds and charcoal burners whose smoke rose from the coppice woods along the shore. Coming to it we used to run down to the lake, dip our hands in and wish, as if we'd just seen the new moon. Going away from it we were half drowned in tears. While away from it, as children and as grown-ups, we dreamt about it. No matter where I was, wandering about the world, I used at night to look for the North Star and, in my mind's eye, could see the beloved skyline of great hills beneath it.
And here it is as phone posted by Sj: The same quote from
CJ showed up soon after and hands suitably dunked
we threw sticks for the ship's parrot.
When the parrot tired of the water we headed to a convenient native watering hole
on the harbor and spent a lovely hour or so sitting at a picnic table and watching the
Back to the holiday cottage for a stir fry dinner and vitamin drinks served on the
A few more chapters of Swallows and Amazons
after dinner then CJ and RS off to let the parrot out of his cage. Rest of the crew awake
for awhile talking, eating chocolate buttons and listening to SJ attempt to make a simple
phone post. This complicated by the fact that SJ was attempting to read the author's note
from Swallows and Amazons and seemed incapable of doing it slowly enough to be
You can get a flavour of what this waslike here: Phone
Alarm went off at 8am so that LE could go for a run. Sod it, back to sleep.
All stirring by 10am and a quick walk down to the village to acquire a day bag for CJ and a postbox for RS. Not much luck for either as the store CJ wanted was closed and nary a postbox to be found. RS stopped to ask two gentlemen having breakfast outside a small restaurant and they were in the process of directing her to the post office when a shout rang out from the rest of the crew. She was standing right next to a postbox.
Clearly they should paint them bright red so as to be more visible.
Train yard closed long before we expected to be back so CJ parked around the corner leaving SJ the day pack. RS seized the opportunity to stuff the bag with all manner of things while he wasn't looking.
Admired the tank engines
and had a cup of tea and a scone while we waited for the train. Josie allowed into the cafe
after all, "that's not a dog, that's a parrot".
"What a fantastic view", said the ship's boy just as the train plunged into a tunnel. Clearly the scenic railroad wasn't as scenic as it claimed.
Still good fun to watch the steam from the engine billow through the trees and see Roger bouncing up and down in anticipation of his first view of the lake. Perhaps it would have been quicker to walk.
It had been a long day's journey from the south, but the last few minutes of it were going like seconds. Already they were in the hill country where walls of loose stones divided field from field. Grey rocks showed through the withered grass. Grey and purple fells lifted to the skies. Titty and Roger hurried from side to side of the carriage, looking first out one window and then out of another.
A farm house not unlike Holly Howe, flashed into sight and was gone. The farmer's wife jumped up and began collecting her parcels. The train came suddenly round a bend and began to slow up.
'There's the lake,' Titty and Roger cried together.
Far below them, beyond the smoking chimneys of a village, glittering water stretched between the hills. The train was stopping for the last time.
Caught the steamer
Bowness-on Windermere Rio at the foot of the lake and kept a sharp lookout for
Cormorant Island. Photographed several likely candidates, including one that actually had
cormorants before the real island came into sight.
All amazed at just how much like NH it looked.
Set off to find the steamboat museum only to discover that it was closed for refurbishment for the next year or so. Pity, we had been looking forward to seeing Amazon.
Headed up into Rio proper after first having to walk through a gaggle of swans. SJ quite terrified to be in such close proximity to so many of the beasts. TW amused, at least until he got a look at the next stretch of the path which included a comparable number of pigeons. Ship's parrot taken well around as she rarely appreciates mingling with other birds.
Large sign by the road informed the viewer that "swans have no road sense, for their own safety please feed them on the beach." SJ all for buying bird seed.
Ploughman's at a pub for lunch, the ship's parrot quite happy to sit under the table and mop up the day's crumbs. More reading.
CJ in search of a cash machines so the exploration of Rio continued apace. TW and LE lagged behind, CJ quite convinced this was because they'd gone into a jewelry store. SJ spotted a butcher that specialized in game and a (frozen) rabbit was duly acquired. Noticed a Peter Rabbit and Friends store on the way back to the docks.
of SJ and TW under the sign with the dead rabbit duly taken.
the lasagna in a very Swallows and Amazons fashion before putting it in to bake.
A nice dinner,
left overs destined for the parrot until LE spoke up, seems she was a tad leery of the
impending rabbit pie. TW, LE and SJ up quite late talking about all manner of things.
Finally driven to bed by the knowledge that they were expected to climb a mountain in the
Crew quite relieved that an early start was not required so off to Coniston to climb
Coniston Old Man Kanchenjunga. Parked in town and headed up a farm track. Passed over a
cattle grate, the ship's parrot taking one look and opting for the style
instead. A beautiful hike that wended its way up past the copper mines and a hydro electric dam installment (which TW paused to drink out of) before setting off across the moorland,
through the remnants of the slate industry
and eventually to the craggy top of the mountain.
Stopped for lunch halfway up
and note that while we'd reached the halfway point milewise, according to the GPS we were nowhere near it. CJ and TW of the opinion that clearly this meant the GPS was crap. LE the most sensible of the lot pointed out that if this was halfway it was going to have to get a lot steeper.
CJ had brought the pemmicanso a lovely lunch of bread, apples, pemican, salami and cheese was consumed before we headed up once more.
John opened a tin of pemmican, and the explorers had a simple and well earned supper, just a scrap of pemmican for each of them, and some bunloaf after it, and a bit of chocolate, while the expedition's one mug was refilled again and again with milk and a little tea and went round and round.
Passed a number of ramshackle slate buildings and the remains
of what had to have been a lift system
to get the slate on and off the mountain. A good number of caves and mine entrances
also in evidence. We kept climbing, eventually arriving at a small lake in which we
refilled our water bottles before starting up the steepest section.
"In the books, it only took them a chapter to climb this mountain," SJ remarked to RS.
At the start they had been scrambling up beside the tiny mountain beck that was now all that was left to remind them of the river far down below them in the valley. But as soon as they had come to a place from which they had had a clear view of the summit, Nancy, the leader, had turned directly towards it, and within a minute or two everybody had learnt how useful it is on a mountain to have four legs instead of two. Sometimes Nancy turned left or right to avoid loose screes, but when she came to a rock that could be climbed, she climbed it, and the rest of the explorers climbed it after her.
'The really tough bit's still to come,' she said cheerfully.
The tough bit came when nobody expected it, and the explorers were very glad they had rope in spite of it being such a bother from a talking point of view. They had come to a steep face of rock, not really very difficult, because there were cracks running across it which made good footholds and handholds, but not a good place to tumble down because there was nothing to stop you and there were a lot of loose stones at the bottom of it.
With Wild Cat Island,
visible far below
Sj took the opportunity to set a waypoint on her GPS.
All this time the explorers had been climbing up the northern side of the peak of Kanchenjunga. The huge shoulder of the mountain had shut out from them everything that there was to the west. As they climbed, other hills in the distance seemed to be climbing too, and, when they looked back into the valley they had left, it seemed so small that they could hardly believe that there had been room to row a boat along that bright thread in the meadows that they knew was the river. But it was not until the last rush to the top, not until they were actually standing by the cairn that marked the highest point of Kanchenjunga, that they could see what lay beyond the mountain.
Then indeed they knew that they were on the roof of the world.
Far, far away, beyond range after range of low hills, the land ended and the sea began, the real sea, blue water stretching on and on until it met the sky. There were white specks of sailing ships, coasting schooners, probably, and little black plumes of smoke showed steamers on their way to Ireland or on their way back or working up or down between Liverpool and the Clyde. And forty miles away or more there was a short dark line on the blue field of the sea.
Despite the fact that Susan had specifically forbidden
Roger from doing any such thing in the books, TW and LE insisted on climbing the the cairn
so that they could experience, as Roger had not, the feeling of being "a few feet higher
even than the top of Kanchenjunga".
They were startled by a shout from Roger, 'Look, look! What's this?'
In his hand was a small round brass box with the head of an old lady stamped on the lid of it. Framing the head of the old lady were big printed letters: 'QUEEN OF ENGLAND EMPRESS OF INDIA DIAMOND JUBILEE 1897.' Roger had found a loose stone at the foot of the cairn, had pulled it out, and seen the little brass box hidden behind it.
'She must be Queen Victoria,' said John. 'She came before Edward the Seventh.'
'She really is awfully like Bridget used to be.' said Titty.
'There's something inside,' said Roger, shaking the box.
'Let's open it,' said Nancy.
'I'll open it,' said Roger, and he did. Inside was a folded bit of paper and a farthing with the head of Queen Victoria on it.
'Take care,' said Titty. 'It may be a treasure chart. It might be a deadly secret. It may crumble at a touch. They often do.'
But the paper proved strong enough. Roger let Nancy unfold it. She opened it, began reading it aloud, and then stopped. Peggy took it and read it aloud, while the others looked over her shoulder. It was written in black pencil that had scored deeply into the paper:
August the 2nd. 1901
We climbed the Matterhorn.
That's mother and Uncle Jim,' said Peggy in a queer voice.
'Who is Bob Blackett?' asked Susan.
'He was father,' said Nancy.
Nobody said anything for a minute, and then Titty, looking at the paper said, 'So that's what they called it. Well, it's Kanchenjunga now. It's no good changing it now we've climbed it.
'That was thirty years ago,' said John.
'I wonder how mother and Uncle Jim escaped from the great-aunt to come up here,' said Peggy. 'She was looking after them you know.'
'Probably father rescued them,' said Nancy.
'Why did they put the farthing in?' wondered Roger.
'Let's put it all back,' said Titty hurriedly. 'They meant it to stay for a thousand years.'
'Has anyone got a bit of paper?' said Nancy suddenly.
Nobody had, but Titty had the stump of a pencil. Nancy took it and wrote firmly on the back of the paper on which her father and mother and uncle had set forth their triumph of thirty years before.
August 11. 1931.
We climbed Kanchenjunga.
'Now she said, 'we all sign here,' and she wrote her name. 'You next, Captain John. Then the two mates, and the the able-seaman and the ship's boy.'
Everybody signed. Then Nancy folded up the paper, put it back in the box with the farthing and gave it to Roger.
'You found it,' she said. 'You put it back, and then perhaps in another thirty years...' She broke off, but presently laughed, 'Shiver my timbers,' she said, 'but I wish we had a George the Fifth farthing.'
'I've got a new halfpenny,' said Roger.
'Can you spare it?'
'I''ll give you another if you can't, said John, 'when we get back to camp.'
Roger dug out his halfpenny. The box was closed and pushed far back into the hole at the foot of the cairn. Roger wedged the loose stone firmly into place.
'Nobody would ever guess there was anything there,' said Roger. 'I wouldn't have found it if the stone hadn't worked loose.'
'And now perhaps it won't be found for ages and ages until people wear quote different sorts of clothes,' said Titty. 'Perhaps it'll be more explorers just like us.'
Spent a few minutes looking for the notes
of explorers who had come before us, quite convinced there ought to be some. No luck.
Fortunately we were prepared with a small container, a scrap of paper and a new coin.
April 18th, 2007
We climbed Mount Olympus, Mars
Chris, Rosie, Sarah, Tom, Louise, and Josie (ship's parrot)
Placed a few coins and our note into a plastic egg and placed it inside the cairn.
CJ now a little worried that the meter would expire in the car park so an advance party of TW and LE sent on ahead to take care of it. They galumphed the entire way and made it down in only 45 minutes despite missing the patteran and having to go a different way.
who wasn't allowed off the lead due to her bad habit of chasing the mountain lionsproved the wisdom of this restriction by sneaking up on one that CJ hadn't noticed.
TW and LE waiting at the pub at the foot of the mountain.
They'd been shopping and were working on their third beers by the time the rest of the
crew made it down.
CJ nipped into the grocery to acquire the non-meat portion of the rabbit pie, including a bag of frozen peas for SJ's knee (which was not impressed by the day's activity). Beer purchased as well and the shop keeper informed that the ship's boy would be sent to fetch it. The shop keeper assured CJ that he'd be able to recognize the boy by the parrot on his shoulder. "Not likely," said TW, "that parrot is bloody heavy."
Drove by Holly Howe
on the way back to the cottage. Apparently it is now a youth hostel.
CJ started making the rabbit pie as soon as we made it back to the cottage. SJ a tad worried he'd notice she'd been squishing the peas as they thawed on her knee.
Turns taken with the good shower then a very good pie also decorated
in proper Swallows and Amazons fashion) with wine and vitamin drinks. Too tired to even clean up, a very early night as all exhausted.
Our main purpose in Grasmere was to acquire some of the world famous gingerbread
made from a secret recipe
passed down through the generations and locked away in a bank vault.
Also acquired five very nice bottles
gingerbeer grog and sat to enjoy them.
Only two kayaks so TW and LE took the first turn,
kayaking them round to the park where the rest of the ship's company met them. LE a tad uncomfortable in the boat and even TW a tad leery
as these were whitewater kayaks and as such quite hard to steer on the lake. SJ taking the next turn, just a short paddle
then back to the beach to give CJ his turn. Ship's parrot quite happy to play fetch with
whoever was waiting on shore for a turn.
TW and SJ both quick
to grab their cameras
when CJ headed out
onto the water but TW soon distracted helping RS into her boat and SJ looked down for a moment to locate the camera zoom just in case CJ should go over.
This distraction was just what CJ was waiting for and while all eyes were diverted he started feeling overconfident and over he went
snapping away with the camera.
where's the zoom?" she shouted excitedly.
Three years in a row she'd managed to capture CJ's accidental dunking on film.
and reported it to LJ.Sj proclaims that she is having fun
TW, the good child as usual, ran off to the car to fetch towels while CJ walked the kayak
to shore exclaiming loudly that he just couldn't believe it.
TW, LE, and SJ headed down to the shops to buy groceries as soon as we made it back to the cottage. Opportunity to buy thank you presents for CJ and RS in the form of wine, chocolate and Old Man Ale"", duly seized.
CJ made pizza for dinner and TW provided the home brewed gingerbeer
and then more Swallows and Amazons was read, everyone chuckling quietly over the references to owl calls which when read at great speed (SJ is incapable of reading slowly) sounded like "owl-cah-hol".
Tw offering LE assistance
over the muddy ground.
The island itself proved somewhat elusive and when we climbed to the top of what could only be the peak of Darien
we were quite surprised to find it nowhere to be seen.
Continued onward and eventually we found it, just as we'd imagined. It wasn't too far off shore and SJ and TW spent a few minutes grinning maniacally
and contemplating a short swim.
Swapped out the memory card in SJ's camera. All a tad nervous after CJ's example from the day before, so SJ and TW into more suitable kayak clothes. Kayaks a tad heavier than last time, perhaps CJ's needed to be drained more thoroughly. SJ and TW each carrying one end of each boat and LE bringing the paddles. All of the opinion that a slew of native porters would have been just the thing.
LE not so sure she wanted to visit the island so she settled down
with a book while SJ and TW paddled out. Kayaks still hard to steer
but both improving with practice and made it to the landing place without issue. The weather had cleared by then and the sun was shining by the time they made it to the landing place.
Disembarked and pulled the boats well up (in case of a tidal wave) and headed off to explore
the island. Conversation was sparse for awhile, consisting mostly of gasps of amazement and exclamations of delight. No doubt, we'd just landed on Wild Cat Island. Went north first and came upon lookout point. TW climbed the lighthouse tree then we ventured inland and discovered that Ransome was right
it was the very best camping place
that any explorers
could ever hope to have.
we discovered the harbor and our delight increased a hundredfold if such a thing was even possible. No doubt about it, this wasn't just any harbor, this was THE harbor.
Every description, every sketch could be talking about this and this alone.
He knew there was nothing that would do for a harbour on the north end of the island, or on the west, because there the rock dropped down like a wall of stone into the water. On the western side, except for the landing place, it was much the same. But there was just a chance that he might find what he wanted at the south end where the island broke up into smaller islands, bare rocks sticking up out of the water, some of them lying so far out that he had not thought it safe to come very near when they had been sailing round in Swallow.
He took the easiest way through the undergrowth and the small trees. Almost it seemed to him that someone had been that way before. He walked straight into the thing he was looking for. He had been within a yard or two of seeing it when they had first explored the island. Yet it was so well hidden that he had turned back without seeing it. This time he almost fell into it. It was a little strip of beach curving round a tiny bay at the end of the island. A thick growth of hazels overhung it, and hid it from anyone who had not actually pushed his way through them. Beyond it the southwest corner of the island ran out nearly twenty yards into the water, a narrow rock seven or eight feet high, rising higher then dropping gradually. Rocks sheltered it also from the south-east. There was a big rock that was part of the island, and then a chain of smaller ones beyond it. It was no wonder that they had thought that there was nothing but rocks when they had sailed past outside.
White cross on a large boulder served as one leading light but uncertain exactly which tree branch we were looking for so brought the boats in the old fashioned way.
under the bow of the boats more triumphant than any shout of glee. We'd just brought two boats
in through the rocks to the secret harbor on Wildcat Island.
Captain John unshipped the rudder, and put it in the bottom of the boat. Then he began sculling over the stern, gently, enough to make Swallow move slowly in towards the line of rocks. Titty, with the other oar, was ready in the bows.
'There are rocks on each side under water,' said Titty.
'Sing out if there are any right ahead,' said John. 'Don't let her bump one if you can help it.'
He sculled on, Slowly Swallow moved in among rocks awash. Then, besides the rocks awash, there were rocks showing above water. These grew bigger. Then there were high rocks that hid the eastern side of the lake, while the western side was hidden by a long point sticking out from the island. It was almost like being between two walls. Remembering what he had seen when he had climbed out on the big rock above the pool, John kept the Swallow as near as he could to the eastern wall, Titty with her oar fending off when the rock seemed too close. If they had been rowing in the ordinary way their oars would have touched the rocks on either side. Still Swallow moved on with the water clear under her keel.
At last the green trees were close ahead, and Swallow was safe in the pool and ran her nose up on the beach in the tiny bay, sheltered by the trees from the north, and by the walls of rock from any other wind.
Continued our exploration awhile longer, SJ taking off her shoes and walking out to perch
on "Titty's rock" and look for dippers. Eventually, we looked up to find LE shouting from shore, we'd been on the island for several hours and she was beginning to worry.
Portaged the kayaks back to the car and continued north to Coniston where postcards were
bought and fish, chips and mushy peas eaten.
Meanwhile, LE insistent that TW and SJ not tell RS and CJ that the nicest day of the holiday was the one without them
Saw a sign for "yeat", which SJ found suitably amusing
and properly contented we headed south once more, pausing only to briefly wave a last good
to Wildcat Island.
A very disturbing statue
of a pig/sheep creature just before we reached the Motorway then south to Birmingham at
high speed. Halfway there, SJ quite amused by the sign reminding driver's to keep two
chevrons distant from the car in front of them. The signs were talking about the chevron
symbols painted on the pavement but SJ misunderstood and mistook the term "chevron" to
refer to a particular type of car. "Just why did they decide on that one?" she demanded.
Quick stop at Tesco for milk and oranges then to TW's place to unload. Honda had trashed the place on Monday night and promptly locked himself out. The resulting chaos a bit more than SJ could take.
Off for a curry at the usual place then back to the house for the evening. Amazingly nobody in want of a vitamin drink, a first for the entire week. Time spent transferring photos, all quite pleased with the images of Wildcat Island.
SJ unable to stomach the idea of sleeping in the living room so TW and LE giving up the bed.
SJ of the opinion that TW and LE shouldn't bother taking the bed with them when they move to
their new place as all springs and no mattress. Not to worry, it's not theirs anyway.
Slept till almost 11am then off to the university (by way of the sausage roll shop) so that TW and LE could check their e-mail. Returned to the house and headed out to Sainsbury's in the car so that SJ could do her shopping.
LE had decided not to go to Catslide and so took the opportunity to buy groceries as well. SJ of course stocking up on all the things that you just can't get in the states such as branston pickle and chocolate buttons.
A little leary about buying cadbury's drinking chocolate after the last time but willing to give Air Canada one more chance (but only because SJ's wasn't flying home by way of Toronto).
Packed the car with food and headed off to drive by the house that LE and TW are in the process of buying. LE and SJ pointing out every single postbox along the way. Next stop the £ 1- store, which proved more elusive than you'd think. Eventually the thing we wanted from the £1- store was acquired somewhere else for 88p.
Another sausage roll for good measure on our way to the car. Strange alarm going on in the car and several of the maintenance lights flickering on and off.
Unfortunately the lights in question not very useful. One simply said "stop" and the other was the "!" typically used for indeterminate problems of every type. As the lights and alarms were growing increasingly insistent, figured we had to do something about it.
Stopped at the house to load up our stuff and then dropped LE off. Next stop, the garage that TW usually uses only to find them closed. The specialist Citroen mechanics similarly closed and just turning around to go home and google the problem when SJ spotted something that looked like a mechanic.
TW a tad embarrassed to have to go in and inform them that a mystery light had come on and he didn't know why. Fortunately the guy seemed to get questions like that all the time and the problem was soon diagnosed as low brake fluid.
The guy filled it for free and TW promised to go there for his next MOT. He retracted that promise the second we drove off however as he had no intention of returning to the scene of his very dufferish embarrassment.
Made it to Oxford without issue but no car in the drive, was there nobody home? Headed around back to see if they'd left a door open only to find RS and the ship's parrot in the garden.
Unpacked the car and SJ broke a stair when she stood on it with all her shopping. Quite nice outside so sat in the garden chatting and drinking beer while SJ wrote out her postcards.
CJ home just as she finished so vitamin drinks prepared and SJ set the task of transferring photos while CJ and TW attempted to fix the computer which seemed to be stuck permanently rebooting.
A walk to the Chandros Arms for dinner of steak and ale pie then back to the house where CJ started a fire and TW set up the monitor in the living room so that we could flip through pictures in style.
All impressed to realize that we'd taken 400 photos in the course of the week, so much better than similar trips in which we'd taken 10-12.
Ended up watching Swallows and Amazons and SJ and TW quite pleased to discover that it had been filmed on the real Wildcat Island. Both pointing out the various places they'd been and how everything fit together. SJ quick to point out that she'd done something on Wildcat Island that the Swallows and Amazons never had. "Peed?" asked CJ. Yes, rather.
Lake much lower in the movie, exposing far more of both the landing place's beach and the rocks outside the harbor. Otherwise, 33 years after the movie was made, everything was exactly the same.
Flipped through old photos and discussed previous trips when the movie was over. Didn't make it to bed until nearly 3am. SJ cleverly stopping the clock on her way up the stairs.
Slept till 10am then TW and CJ continued trying to fix the computer (an activity that
actually resulted in them making it worse) and SJ packed. An hour later she had somehow
managed to condense a lot of shopping into two small bags.
Bunloaf for breakfast then time for a few more chapters of Swallows and Amazons in the garden with RS. Only two chapters left by the time it was time to leave for the airport.
Said goodbye to RS and piled into the car. Made it to Heathrow in record time, parked and began to navigate the airport. Going first to -1 in one elevator and then walking straight through another.
Quite a labyrinth, beginning to think we'd never find the check in desk. Short line to check in with a ticket agent but staff seemed insistent that it would be quicker to use the self check-in. Not a particularly easy interface but SJ eventually succeeded in acquiring her boarding pass.
Next task was to check luggage and where there had been no line before, a hoard of high school students now made it impossible to get anywhere close. Clearly the self-check in had not been a good option.
Polite inquiry revealed that the students, who had no idea what they were doing, weren't even in line at all so luggage checked, we headed upstairs to acquire sandwiches and say goodbye.
Tearful goodbye as always and CJ and TW back to Catslide and SJ through security. This somewhat more complicated than usual as CJ had given each member fo the crew a 1930's era ginger beer bottle that he'd acquired on ebay.
As SJ has bad luck getting things home in one piece, she had cleverly packed the ginger beer bottle in her carryon and not her checked luggage. Unfortunately as it was a very nicely shaped ceramic bottle it literally screamed "contraband liquid" at every security checkpoint she passed.
Already a number of people tagged for extra screening ahead of her so almost 45 minutes before she made it through. To the gate and onto the place without further issue, once again landing in the last possible row. Inability to recline not quite as frustrating on a daytime flight.
The gaggle of students from check in all ended up on the same flight and as a result the flight attendants made an announcement specifying that due to the limitations of the oxygen system, no more than 3 people could sit in a row of 2 and no more than 5 in a row of 4. How they expected that many to fit in a single row remains a mystery.
Seatmate less talkative than usual so the entire flight spent writing the log. Made it to Montreal without issue and underwent the whole process of Canadian immigration, claiming luggage, canadian customs, US immigrations, US customs, checking baggage and security.
Once again the security guys less than impressed with SJ's ginger beer bottle but all told only an hour from gate to gate.
Its always nice to get comments and this post elicited quite a few which are presented below.
If you have a child, you should consider Titty for baby names. ;)we threw sticks for the ship's parrot.
The pencil museum in Keswick is worth a visit as well.
Good you did this in time before we start on the next one!!!!
Except THIS YEAR i am NOT going to fall IN
But it's a tradition!
In fact, if we go and look through every ship's log we have (from my trips to visit you guys) with the exception of the year that Matt visited (and fell in for you) in every single one of them you fell into (or had just fallen into) something...
27 August 1993
Hit Lapworth locks, hard. Moored before bridge 18, almost touching it, CJ fell in twice. Met Alan...Said goodbye to Alan (thank goodness from Tom)
28 July 1995
Late Evening (Midnight) - At Ann and Jim's CJ walking talking on mobile phone in an attempt to get a better signal. Mistook the pond for the path. Following conversation... "$%e@!!!! I have fallen in." "what did you say?" "I-H-A-V-E-F-A-L-L-E-N-I-N" "In what?" "I-H-A-V-E-F-A-L-L-E-N-I-N" "In what? The canal?" "NO the FISH tank."
26 August 1999Started down Aston flight, alternator fell off, had to pull boat down 2 more locks by hand, in rain of course. MPC slipped and fell in canal. Luckily held on to boat so only wet up to knees. SJ very upset to have missed this event.
Now I want you to be sure that just because it MAY be that I MIGHT have got the bottom
of my trousers damp on occasions in the past, this is NO indication that the same thing
may happen in the future. AND as proof, I append for your consideration this warning
that is used by the financial sector.
The price of shares and investments and the income derived from them can go down as well as up, and investors may not get back the amount they invested.
Past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance.
Yes but we'd be so dissappointed if you didn't stay true to form.
At this point, I have to say that I would also be disappointed. The falling-in is one
of the best parts of the story!
I ordered the book from the library. Neither I nor Scottish DH have heard of it before; clearly my schoolmates were negligent in indoctrination (I had Biggles and Narnia).
Because of this post?
Yes indeed because of this post. :) How could I not want to read this book now that I
have seen pictures of the actual places?
Oh, extremely cool! The photos add a great deal to it, too. Next time, you should cross
the Pennines and drop by here. (Find the A66, go to its eastern end, then keep going
another three roundabouts.)
One of the most memorable weddings (technically, a handfasting) I ever attended took
place at the Rollwright standing stones. You can imagine, can't you?
April 18th: you are only a set of GPS co-ordinates away from having laid a geocache. You're not the first to think of it, though...
The pig/sheep is almost certainly a wild boar
ie one of the indigenous wild pigs which roamed Britain until a couple of centuries ago. It is rumoured that they are again roaming woodlands in southern England having escaped from farms.
I loved it! and I am sooooooooooooooooooooo jealous of you for landing on Wildcat! Now I have to figure out a way to do the same before I shuffle off this mortal coil.