Saturday, 29 December 2012

a grand day in the lakes (but don't mention the tea bags)

YC ventured over to the Lake District with some folk from Northumberland Fell Runners for a day in the hills.  The long-range forecast of sunshine had proved to be as reliable as Newcastle United's recent form, with the reality being heavy rain and wind.  We parked at Mardale Head at Haweswater, having negotiated lanes flooded by the overnight rain.

Our leader was John Telfer who took us on a 16 mile route over Harter Fell and Shipman Knotts to Kentmere, then back via the Ill Bell ridge to High Street.  There was a terrific hail storm on top of Froswick that tested the mettle of even the hardiest fellrunners.  But spurred on by Steph Scott (illustrious winner of the Howtown Fell Race no less), we pressed on and descended via Riggindale.  Here we eventually popped out of the cloud and could enjoy the view down Haweswater.

We finished as we had started - in the pouring rain at Mardale Head.  This necessitated a quick change into dry clothes (outdoor designer gear for some of the party, Ron Hills for YC), and then tea and scones at the Haweswater Hotel where the following conversation ensued:
JT - ah tea, perfect for slaking the raging fellrunner's thirst.
YC - before possibly something stronger?
Victor Meldrew (aka Paul H) - never mind that, there's only 2 tea bags in this pot of tea!  Call this a proper brew?  I've had stronger brews out of lakeland streams!

All of which the assembled company found highly amusing.

Steph suggests to JT how many tea bags make a good brew
NFR in Kentmere - Paul H, Dexter, JT, Paul A (obscured), Steph, David


Sunday, 23 December 2012

Ana Elena in Tynemouth

Ana Elena Kelly is visiting Tynemouth for Christmas and staying with Emma.  She is Ruth & Phil Kelly's elder daughter and is studying at Toulouse university.  It's a long way home to Mexico for Christmas, so Tynemouth is the "must-see" holiday destination instead.  The weather isn't quite living up to the holiday billing yet - south easterly gales and pouring rain has been the norm for the past couple of days - but you can't have everything.  Keen family historians will no doubt have worked out that Phil Kelly was Pat Duff (nee Walker)'s first cousin, so Ana Elena is YC's second cousin.

Over dinner at the Percy Gardens HQ, there was a chance to catch up on family news with Mr & Mrs Rev T.   There was even time for some early Christmas present opening (as the aged P's are off to Wonersh for Christmas).  So on that note, it's probably now permissible for YC to wish all readers a very "Happy Christmas".
Dinner at the Percy Gardens HQ
opening early Christmas presents with Emma

YC warmed up for the fesitive period with the Simonside Cairns race.  John Telfer couldn't make it due to "man flu" - possibly brought on by the prospect of supporting QPR over the festive period.  Photo by John Allen.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Birtley News resume

For readers who haven't been dipping into Birtley News on a regular basis (surely not?), here is a resume of what you have been missing:

And there's lots more besides.  Happy Advent!

The Tynemouth Duffs with Matthew at Il Fornos

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Advent Sunday

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion - "Your God reigns!"
Isaiah chapter 52 verse 1

YC has received a couple of Christmas cards (for which he is grateful) and is off to a work Christmas night out on Friday.  But before he rushes headlong into Christmas, he would like to remind readers that...IT'S ONLY ADVENT.  Indeed, today is Advent Sunday.

Advent is the season when we get ready for Jesus's birth at Christmas, and look forward to his second arrival on judgement day.  It has 4 traditional themes - death, judgement, heaven and hell.

In case readers think that YC might be a tad "holier than thou", he'd like to point out:
  • He will be going to the work Christmas night out
  • He might just force a glass of the necessary between his parched lips
  • If he chances upon a public house selling fine real ale, then he will enjoy a preview of the third advent theme.
  • If the pub only sells keg beer, then the fourth advent theme will be only too real.
Happy Advent!

bitterns and crosswords

YC took advantage of a beautiful, if cold, day with a jog on the beach at Cresswell followed by a stroll to Chevington while mulling over tricky clues in The Times crossword.  There were reed buntings and goldfinches aplenty, and a short eared owl hunting in the fields by Druridge Ponds.   But the most excitement was at Cresswell Pond where a bittern was poking its nose out of the reeds to capture the afternoon sunlight.

After warming up from the chill of the hide with some:

Refreshment taken during the day regularly (3 letters)

YC might just find time for a:

Right after worker gets stronger refreshment (4 letters)

Readers correctly solving the clues might just qualify for the second one.