Monday, 14 April 2014

A week on Lundy

 
 We arrived to see an island shrouded in cold fog.  Someone asked where King Kong was...

 
It was a long slog to the village, along ricky paths...

 
and up stone steps...

 
following signs in the fog...

 
We sought refuge in the church, where we had lunch (we all had lunch packed, having planned on an outdoor picnic)...

 
A short orientation tour was called off as we couldn't orientate ourselves, but not before we visited the old light house...

 
The view from the top was spectacular.

 
As the week went on, the weather steadily improved and we  all got to see more and were able to fall in love with this desolate rock.
 
On one cold and wet day were had lunch in this hut...

 
while the wild ponies sheltered from the wind behind some ruined cottages...

 
The main area of the island is rolling moorland, with steep slopes to the sea in all directions...

 
This is the Motorway...
 
 
The only vehicles seemed to be a couple of Landrovers and half a dozen quad bikes.
 
At the very northern end of the island is another lighthouse, reached by steps worthy of The Lord of the Rings...

 
This is one of the cottages that can be rented by holiday makers.  A splendid view, fog permitting!

 
This is about as good as the beaches get...

 
At some point, someone stole my camera and forced me to pose...
 
 
This is the remains of one of the engines of a Heinkel 111 bomber that tried to land on the island, but hit the cliffs instead.  It is not the easiest place to get to but does seem to be well visited, and respected.

 
The animal life kept me mesmerised all week.
 
Wild goats - this one is known locally as Wingnut, after the shape of his horms.

 
This one was having a great meal, clinging to the smallest of ledges...

 
And wild sheep too!

 
 Plenty of very young lambs to go Ahhhh at....
 
 
Wild dear were a very nice surprise too...



 
Not to mention the seals!

 
There was domestic livestock too.  Sheep with lots of lambs...
 
 
and Angus cattle...

 
The week was full of the over-use of the word Shag.
 
Some of the students were studying seabirds called Shags (like the black one below)...
 
 
but over here, shag is also slang for having sex.  Students could be heard declaring "6 shags this morning - not bad, eh?" or "Not a single shag all day!"  Bless them!
 
 
Once the fog cleared, the sunsets were fantastic.  Funny to think that the next piece of dry land in this direction is Newfoundland...

 
I must confess to becoming a bit possessive about this island after a few days.  On the Tuesday I found myself resenting the daytrippers who seemed to stagger to the top of the path, have dinner in the pub and then stagger back to the ferry again.  Strange, but with its one pub, one shop, no internet and a phone signal that seems to emanate from Wingnut, this place really is something special.
 
And then it was time to leave.  We were sad to go but we were all ready to get home really.  First stop, Burger King...

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Back!

Watch out for lots of photos....


  video

An amazing week......

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Countdown to Craggy Island Trip!


The image above shows where I will be spending next week.

The image is an elevation map created using Lidar - a laser scan taken from an aeroplane.  You should be able to see buildings and the jetty.  Close ups show you field walls and stuff.  Wonderful!



My part in the trip is to help students map sea birds and their dive patterns - for me this is the perfect starting point, I am sure you will agree!  Should be fun - just hope the weather plays along, although apparently it will be raining when we arrive...


The weekend was great - Number One Son had a nice birthday, doing very little except eat and play the new games we bought him. 

Mothers day was also good - Mrs RC also did very little except sit in the sun in the garden (a real treat!) and read her Kindle.  I headed out to give my mum her present, a small willow tree which I planted in her garden for her.  She was very pleased with my choice, as she had one until a couple of years ago.  I would like to claim careful planning and choice, but I just rolled a 6 to be honest!

The next couple of days will be good and busy at home as I check the tent, bad, sleeping bag, etc and pack my clothes.  Hope I don't forget anything important, as there will be little chance to buy things...

Not sure if I will have internet on the island or not - if not, watch out for photos when I get back...

Cheers!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Where is the time going?

The days and weeks are just vanishing at the moment, along with my bike saddle.

Yes, after doing my temporary saddle fix, as I was riding in yesterday morning there was an ominous CLICK, and the saddle was no longer attached to the bike.

Thankfully I was going slowly and was able to stop without everything falling into the road and nasty things happening to me!

Not  being a kid who likes to ride with no saddle, I walked the rest of the way to work, reading my Kindle as I went.  Book 4 of Game of Thrones...

I managed to get another bolt to fix things for a couple of days until we can get the real thing from the bike shop.  Hope it olds, I am trying to be gentle with it!


Saturday is Number One Son's 20th birthday, and he is coming home for a few days to celebrate. He is not staying home for the whole holiday as he wants to focus on revising for his exams, and knows he can only really do that properly at Uni.  Sensible kid, if only more students were like that!

Sunday is Mothers Day, so we will be giving Mrs RC a bit of pampering too - although it might include a trip out to buy some wood for her to build a new shed in the garden.  Yes, she wants wood for Mothers Day.  Hands up, how many of you girls would be happy with a few planks of wood for a special day?   No?  Didn't think so!


Another thing that is approaching fast is my trip to Lundy - we leave a week tomorrow...

Will I survive a week on Craggy Island?

Really wondering about the weather, it changes so often at the moment you really don't know what to expect!

More soon, I hope!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Almost!

 Had a lucky escape yesterday.  I got my bike out to ride to work but the saddle was a bit loose.  Grabbing my trusty allen key I tightened it up...

and the bold (make that BOLT!) sheered off!

Could have been nasty - I had visions of it all coming off when I was half way down the rather steep hill into Canterbury.

Number One Son had been catching up on South Park had an even nastier vision of what would have happened.  If you are a South Park fan you will know what he said.  If not, I will spare you the description.

With the sun coming out, I got a few opportunities to take some photos...
 
 
 
My first butterfly of the year!
 


 
Plants in my mum's garden.
 
 
 
A challenger to Grumpy Cat?  I hope he has a name like Tyson and isn't called something like Mr Tibbles...

Monday, 17 March 2014

A long weekend...

Before I get onto the weekend, I guess I should clarify what "bibbed" meant.  He "sounded his horn".  Guess it goes back to the old days when a car horn went BIB BIB.

Anyway, to the weekend.

Bryn, our oldie, who we now believe to be about 14 years old, had to be put down on Saturday.  A couple more small strokes had taken their toll, and she just wasn't "there" most of the time.  She had also started to get a fluid build up around her neck which the vet said was probably protien leaking from her system.  Old age was just catching up so we went for the kinder option before she suffered or had a major stroke which would not have been good for any of us.


Here she is, having fun unwrapping presents at Christmas. She was a real sweetie, and we all miss her a lot.

Custard has accepted that she has gone, having a nose around her bed etc.  Frou Frou actually seems happy to see the back of her, being able to reclaim her position of Top Dog.  They were never great friends, those two!  You can still see the pack instinct at work with a small group of dogs, can't you?


On Sunday, we woke up feeling rather battered, so Mrs RC said we should go to my Mum's and do a few jobs that we had promised to do months ago but the weather had prevented it.

So, there followed a restful day of tree trimming, fence moving and fixing 2 gates.  At one point I had to take a walk to the nearby hardware store to get some hinges and stuff.  When I got back, I found that we also needed some more screws.  The store closed in 10 minutes, so I had to run. Not something I do that often these days, but it was quite enjoyable!  No I will not be doing any half marathons anytime soon.

When we finished, my mum was really pleased with it all, and we staggered back home.

Still feeling achy today, and it is proving to be a very busy day here too!  Ah well, term is almost over...

Friday, 14 March 2014

The Fog

We have had about 3 days of constant fog, now.  It clears a bit during the day - today might be the exception, though, as it looks thicker than ever at the moment - but comes right back as the sun retreats.

It is beautiful, IMO.  I love it.

I love cycling in it too - the routes I take are winding so reduced visibility is not that big a deal really.  Of course there is always one idiot, in this case a guy in a huge white van who seemed to think that my luminous yellow jacket and flashing red LED lights were not enough to make me visible.

He bibbed.

I stuck up a finger.

He drove off.

I went back to enjoying the ride.

One thing that did amaze me was the number of people driving along with no lights on.  Silver cars are practically invisible in these conditions.  Does not affect me, of course, but I will be wondering when the accident reports start turning up on the news later.  Rather like the helicopter crash last night - flying low over Norfolk in dense fog....

Have a great weekend!
Remember, Spring is coming...