Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Freezing Thrunton

Tuesday evening - it's raining, cold, misty and windy. So what do you do? Stay at home, watch TV, go to the pub, or run round Thrunton Woods. Naturally, you choose the last option. YC enjoyed an 8 mile run with Scott and Katherine. It turns out that Scott hails from Wallsend like YC (briefly at Willington Quay maternity hospital) and Katherine from Blyth - and they breed them tough up north.

Wallsend lads in the fog on top of Thrunton Woods

the climb to Long Crag is a mere bagatelle for the Blyth lass

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Back in the Music Group

YC marked his return to Holy Saviour's Church with an appearance in the music group today. While he has been away, the group has grown and got louder (courtesy of pick-ups on the flutes). The service had a "donkey" theme ranging from Jesus's triumphal entry to Jerusalem to Balaam's Ass (in the Old Testament - look it up in Numbers chapter 22). The music followed suit with numbers such as "We have a King who rides a donkey" (to the tune of "What shall we do with the drunken sailor") and "Little Donkey" (played with a slow shuffle beat). Here is the group tuning up: Chris and Emma on flutes, John and Julian on bass and rhythm guitar, and Amy (on the right) on violin.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

St George's Day running

YIC has been limbering up for the fellrunning season with a couple of training runs in Northumberland. On Wednesday evening he ran from Rothbury with Paul, Nick, and Graham - his running partners for the Old County Tops race. The route followed the Simonside Cairns Race past Spylaw with an extra descent to Tosson and then a climb back through the forest.

Paul works hard on the climb, but it's all a breeze for Nick.

at the back of Simonside running towards Spylaw

Paul, Nick and Graham on top of Simonside enjoying a breather.

Today YIC ran with Katherine Davis from NFR to Hedgehope from Hartside in the Ingram Valley. Yesterday's sunshine had given way to cloud and a distinctly chilly breeze in the Cheviots. Undeterred, your hardy Northumberland Fellrunners both wore shorts. They might have carried a St George's flag as well, but Rev T was making full use of the flag reserves for a St George's Day assembly for Christ Church school. St George didn't actually slay the dragon at Christ Church today, though you would have been forgiven for thinking so due to the fantastic props (flags, lambs, damsel in distress etc) provided by Mrs Rev T.

Katherine and YIC on Hedgehope summit

Having worked up a thirst, YIC is off to test the quality of the ale in a nearby licensed premise. It is St George's Day, after all.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Carlisle Lunch

YC took the train to Carlisle on Monday for an excellent lunch at the home of Andrew & Diane Walker (his uncle and aunt). A delicious curry and salad was washed down with some fine Shepherd Neame Spitfire ale. After lunch, a reviving walk by the River Eden in beautiful spring sunshine was just the ticket. Here are Andrew and Diane. The cat belongs to Andrew's son Alan - they are looking after her while Alan & family are in Beverley, North Yorkshire.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Coledale Horseshoe

This fabulous fellrace in the Lake District is held at Braithwaite (near Keswick). The 9 mile race takes in the tops of Grisedale Pike, Eel Crag and Barrow. Conditions were great for running - blue skies, not too hot, and dry underfoot. There were about 250 runners and YC came home about 50th in 1 hours 35 mins. Here are a couple of photos courtesy of Phil Sanderson.

runners gather at the start

the first hill - Grisedale Pike
And here's a photo from Sarah Gibson.

John Telfer has written an account of the race on the NFR website.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Back in Blighty

YIC has now returned to the UK. The world tour is over and very enjoyable it was too. But lest readers be worried that YIC is now returning to work, let him set their minds at rest. He isn't due back at work until 1 October - hurrah! The plan is to spend some time in the UK, starting with a fellrace in the Lake District tomorrow.

The weather back in Tynemouth is not overly spring-like at the moment - it's cloudy and cold with a chilly easterly breeze. But this hasn't stopped nature while YIC has been away. Here's the proof. YIC forgot to empty the dishwasher back in October - and 2 wooden spoons developed a culture all of their own. Blimey.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

a bit of American history

Boston was the place where it all began for American Independence. The colonial settlers grew increasingly tired of British interference and, more to the point, British taxes. The final straw was a tax on tea, following which they deposited a fair quantity of it in the sea in 1773 - the Boston Tea Party. This didn't go down well in London and the Redcoats were ordered to sort out the locals (known as the Patriots). The British won the Battle of Bunkers Hill in 1775, but sustained heavy casualties and ultimately lost the war. American Independence was declared in 1776 and readers are sure to know the precise day and month [4 July for numpties].

YIC walked round "The Freedom Trail" on a beautiful spring day in Boston, taking in the sights.

William Prescott was a key patriot leader at the battle. Here he is set against the Bunkers Hill monument.

Paul Revere was another key patriot. He lit the lanterns in the Old North Church (pictured in the background) to warn of the approaching British army.

One of the earliest warships was USS Constitution - "Old Ironsides". Reports that Old Salt was one of the first midshipmen are not true - readers of his recent publication know that he was at The Battle of Trafalgar instead. So it must have been his cousin Sam Salt on board the Constitution.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Happy Easter

God's Paschal Lamb is sacrificed for us;
Death has no more dominion over him;
Through him we die to sin and live to God.
Alleluia, Alleluia.
(tune - For All The Saints)

YIC enjoyed singing this hymn and several others (including a rather challenging all 8 verses of Hail Thee Festival Day) at the Easter Day service at Ascension Memorial Church, the local Episcopal [Anglican] church in Ipswich. It was a beautiful day, the church was packed, and the rector was called Brad Duff Clark - what more could you ask for?

Saturday, 11 April 2009

New York New York

YIC has just spent an enjoyable few days in New York. Here are a few of the sights that he visited.

The New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. It was packed on the street, but tourists weren't allowed inside. Maybe the sight of all those traders crying in their beer was just too much.

Grant's Tomb - Ulysses S Grant was a popular general in the Civil War and then served 2 terms as president. Where have all the tourists gone? They're here...

Times Square - consumerism gone mad

Empire State Building - rather than queuing with the masses to go to the top, why not go "to the bottom" for a drink in the Heartland Brewery bar - YIC can recommend it.

YIC also took time to walk and run in Central Park, peer at the Statue of Liberty across the Hudson River, and visit several bars. He can particularly recommend Amsterdam 106 on the corner of Amsterdam Avenue and 106th Street: lots of beers to try at only 3 dollars a pint before 7 pm. Pick of the bunch was Goose Island Brewery's (Chicago) Honker's Ale: a fine bitter served from a white goose-neck pump with a goose's head setting off the pump.

And finally - start spreading the news, YIC's leaving on Thursday. The UK beckons for the next leg of the journey.

Monday, 6 April 2009

a bit of Cameron history

Here is a photo from the dim and distant past that Elizabeth has in her family collection. It will be of interest to those who have a Cameron grandparent in their family tree. It was taken at George and Doris Thompson's wedding in 1935.

In the photo are:
back row, from the left: George Cameron [later married to Nora], George Thompson, Doris Thompson (nee Cameron), Timothy Duff [Grandpa Duff], Marjory Cameron [Granny Duff], John Cameron [later married to Mabel]

front row, from the right: Josephine and Arthur Thompson [George's parents], Elizabeth Ann Cameron (nee Craggs - Doris and Marjory's mother)

The American branch of the Cameron family commented that YIC looked like Timothy Duff (his grandfather). YIC also thought that he could spot a resemblance between a close relative of his and Marjory Cameron (answers on a five pound note please if you know who this might be).

UPDATE - The American Camerons were not the only one to spot YIC's family resemblance. When James Duff asked his son Matthew who the man in the photo was (pointing to Timothy Duff), Matthew replied: "I know who that is, it's Uncle Johnny".

Ipswich family occasion

YIC has now arrived in the US. Here he is staying at Ipswich (near Boston) with Ross and Elizabeth Pope. There was a very jolly family occasion today when YIC was delighted to meet several family members whom he had not seen before. Pictured above from the left are: Dillon, Elizabeth Johnson, Margaret, Elizabeth Pope, Cindy, Kailey, Cameron, David and Ross.

For those wondering how the family relationship works, here goes:
Granny Duff's sister was Doris Cameron
Doris married George Thompson and had twin daughters - Elizabeth and Margaret
Elizabeth married Ross Pope. Their son is David who is married to Cindy and has 2 children - Cameron and Kailey
Margaret married Rodney Robinson and their daughter is Elizabeth (married to Jeff Johnson) whose son is Dillon

So for YIC (and indeed his Duff cousins), David Pope and Elizabeth Johnson are his second cousins.

All perfectly clear!

new maritime blog

For readers wishing to keep up with news of the fine craft Stella Genesta, they can now do so at www.149.org.uk . Postings on the site are currently brief - but keep an eye on it for lots of riveting news in the future (possibly).

Friday, 3 April 2009

Ode to Bitter Beer

YIC took a trip to Rangitoto Island in Auckland Harbour. It is an extinct volcano and was rather tame in comparison to the other volcanoes YIC has seen in NZ. But walking to the summit did allow him to work up a thirst, which he duly slaked at Galbraith's Alehouse where he found real ale in Auckland - huzzah! The weather had been particularly hot, so YIC thought it appropriate to have a half of shandy (or possibly something a little stronger). The Bob Hudson's bitter at 4.0% ABV was a pale golden colour and vg.

He also found this ditty on the Pub's beer menu:

The subject of my little song is one I hold most dear,
It supports our constitution, and it will for many a year;
John Bull, indeed, would be defunct, or else look very queer
If Bass and Co. should cease to brew their glorious bitter beer.

I've tasted hock and claret too, Madeira and Moselle
But not one of those boshy wines revives this languid swell;
Of all complaints from A to Z, the fact is very clear,
There's no disease but what's been cured by glorious bitter beer.

Apparently it's an old musical hall song from the 1880s. YIC can only add - hear hear.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

With a Little Bit of Luck

A man was made to help and support his children
Which is the right and proper thing to do
But with a little bit of luck
With a little bit of luck
They'll go out and start supporting you.

YIC filled a spare afternoon in Auckland with a visit to the theatre to see the musical My Fair Lady. It was excellent. The actor playing Alfred P Doolitte was particularly good and he gave a fine rendition of this song. If Rev T is reading this blog (which YIC can guarantee he will be), he might care to note that YIC will be delighted to support him to the bar on YIC's return (with a little bit of luck...)