Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Going Nowhere

It's a lovely day today, but I'm going nowhere...except maybe to the shops if I can fit it in. I'm having problems with the drains, it's not an emergency yet, but they do need clearing out. So...I've just phoned up the property management company, who now need to contact my landlord to find out whether or not he's prepared to sort out the problem. If he decides not to do this I'll then have to find a drain unblocking company; more phone calls, more waiting, and more expense.

Planning a walk in the Peak District is much simpler, even given the problems that might happen with public transport.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fox House, Ringinglow, Whirlow Bridge, and Abbeydale

I'm starting today with photographic evidence of something I've already mentioned a couple of times, that there are more trains going to London from Doncaster than there are trains going to Sheffield.

Both my train and my bus were on time this morning; I arrived at Fox House and started walking across Houndkirk Moor. It was cloudy for about half an hour but then it brightened up just before I entered Lady Canning's Plantation. There were hazy views of Sheffield in the distance by the time I reached the eastern edge of the moor.

Inside the plantation there's something I've not seen before, a network of well-signed, dedicated trails for mountain biking.

I came out of the wood at the car park near to Ringinglow. I walked down the road to the village to take photographs and then re-traced my steps to start walking down the path that leads to the Limb Valley. It was woodland all the way down to the road at Whirlow Bridge.

After crossing the road I was in Ecclesall Wood. A few yards inside the wood, right next to the path, I took a photograph of a good example of what I call a 'turnstile tree' - I hope you can see why I use this term.  

Not far beyond this point there's a squeeze stile. A woman with seven dogs let several of them have a pee before I had the opportunity to pass through the stile. It was a case of either get dog pee on my trousers, or possibly pull a muscle whilst trying to hurdle and straddle the stile...I think I got a bit of each for my efforts.

The 'Coffee Stop' in the middle of the wood is well signposted. When I got there there were more dogs than humans sitting at the tables. I ordered a cup of tea and remarked that the sugar looked a funny colour, as though a dog had peed in it...I kept the second observation to myself though. I was told that it was actually unbleached, or golden, sugar. I've never had this before, and it didn't taste any different to normal sugar.

It was then a short walk down to the road to catch the bus back to the city centre.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Sprotbrough And Walker's Show Gardens

A pleasant afternoon spent  with Marshall my support worker, fitting in two short walks around a dental appointment.

We started by going to Sprotbrough and doing one of our regular walks there.

After Marshall had had his dental check-up we drove down the road to Walker's Show Gardens at Blaxton. The gardens here are a delight, an undiscovered secret known by only a relatively few people in the town...I only found out about them a couple of years ago myself. They are immaculately cared for in order show off the plants and garden features at their very best. There's plenty to see; an arboretum, parkland, several ponds, ornamental fish, a canal, a boathouse, decorative archways, pagodas, pergolas, attractive hump-backed bridges over streams, a summer house...and even a stone circle.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

My Photographs

When I started this blog five years ago I only made use of photographs to illustrate the places where I'd been walking. At that time there was a limited capacity for uploading images and so I tended to only include a couple of pictures per post. However, more recently I've been taking more time actually taking photographs and giving a lot more thought to the quality of the images. I've been quite happy with the results and have been posting a lot more photographs on here now that bandwidth use isn't an issue. I've received a few positive comments about the artistic merit of my photos; this is appreciated and is certainly an incentive to continue to experiment...and hopefully improve.

I've noticed that several of my images have been published elsewhere online. Three of them have had their locations misidentified; Cusworth Hall here in Doncaster is being used to promote a golf resort and spa in southern California, a view of the River Don taken from Conisbrough Viaduct is masquerading as a river in Germany, and a picture I took from the viaduct at Monsal Head showing the River Wye was genuinely mistaken for an image of the River Wye in Herefordshire - when I contacted the blog owner she promptly removed my photograph and apologised. Finally, a photograph of a pretty cottage in Baslow is being used on the website of a holiday cottage company...I suspect it might be one of their properties. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Trip To Harrogate and Wetherby

A day out in the car with Siobhan, my support worker. The weather forecast wasn't very promising, but I have to book these days quite a bit in advance and so I can't be guaranteed good weather; it wasn't too bad though, drizzling on and off at Harrogate and quite sunny later on at Wetherby.

There are flowers everywhere at Harrogate...and a lot of wrought iron canopies too.

After looking round the shops we went to have a look at the church, an interesting architectural design, constructed in the 1870s, not very attractive from the outside, but pleasantly colourful, light, spacious, and airy inside.

A couple of the car parks at Wetherby have rather unusual names; we parked in the Cluster of Nuts Car Park, but there's another one called 'The Wilderness.'

Although it's quite close to Doncaster, today was the first time I've visited Wetherby. It's a pretty market town with a lot of sandstone buildings which look lovely in the late afternoon sunshine. This building doesn't seem to be anything special, just a large house that's up for sale...I love the colour and texture of the stone though, and the contrast between the house and the wall.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Where Has Chesterfield Gone?

Something that I've noticed and thought I'd post on the blog.

This is a screenshot of what happens at a certain magnification when I'm using Ordnance Survey maps. Where is Chesterfield?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Litton, Cressbrook, and Ashford-in-the-Water

I'd like to start today's blog post by praising the 'powers that be', the Department of Transport or maybe the Local Authority, for installing a flashing twelve seconds countdown system at the pelican crossing on the dual carriageway in front of the railway station at Doncaster. A very good idea for people rushing to catch a train.

As is often the case I had an hour to wait at Sheffield until my bus departed and so I decided to spend some time photographing the water features in front of the railway station; there were some striking shadows and interesting reflections.

I got off the bus at Litton, I had planned to start the walk at Miller's Dale but I was desperate to escape from the confined space of my seat, there was very little legroom. I had been fine until only a few minutes earlier; lack of blood circulation maybe causing the sharp pain and numbness in my knee. A lot of people were travelling to Buxton today; there was some event there yet the bus was only a single decker - I do wish management at TM Motors would check the 'what's on' listings for the Peak District before allocating the day's vehicles. 

Only a few seconds after the bus pulled away a van drew up  beside me and I spent the next few minutes finding 'Littonslack' on my map and confirming the directions with the driver.

I crossed the fields and walked down into Tansley Dale, and then Cressbrook Dale. I didn't stay at the bottom of the valley for long, I was on the lookout for the higher level paths which I hadn't used before. I walked through some different areas of Cressbrook and made a slight detour to photograph an interesting crenellated building which at one time was a cafe, but is now up for sale.

I walked down the road and up the track onto the Monsal Trail. Before entering Headstone Tunnel I found the adjustable settings on my camera; I was quite impressed with its night vision capabilities. The only problem is that the images are shaky because I can't hold the camera still because of my poor minor motor control of my muscles. I've included one of the photos though because I quite like the accidental effect that I created, especially the overhead lights clawing their way deep into the tunnel.

It didn't take me long to reach Ashford; a bus back to Bakewell was due and so I got on it - my knee was getting a bit sore by now; a recurring public transport injury...I wonder how many other walkers have this problem?

It was still quite early when I arrived at Bakewell and so I spent about an hour looking round the outdoors and sports outlets, and charity shops. Most of the outdoors shops had sales; I bought some socks.

I arrived at the bus stop ten minutes before the bus back to Sheffield was due. There seemed to be a rather large queue. I discovered that the previous 218 bus hadn't turned up. Well, the 218 I was waiting for didn't turn up either, but the 240 arrived twenty minutes later, on time.

As expected, when we reached Chatsworth House there was a lot of people waiting. Those who had passes or tickets that they could use on this service, and people paying their fare with cash, got on, however there were still a lot of people with return tickets to Sheffield who couldn't get on, including a large group of Chinese students. The leader of the group instantly took charge and negotiated some arrangement with the bus driver. Some money was handed over, a single ticket was issued, and the entire group was allowed to board, most of them thanking the driver as they got on.

Back home in Doncaster there were dozens of police officers at the railway station and football fans supporting several teams were being kept a safe distance apart.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Change of Plan

A few days ago arrangements were made to go for a short local walk with two friends from Leeds who are visiting Doncaster for a few days. The plan was changed last night though to just meeting up in a town centre pub for a meal. 

I was slightly disappointed about this, but it's always good to spend time with friends and catch up on the gossip.

The weather forecast for the weekend is good and I've already got Saturday's walk in the Peak District planned.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Bakewell And Magpie Mine Heritage Open Day

I went to Bakewell again today, specifically to visit Magpie Mine at Sheldon for the guided tour, which is only held on a few days every year. Because today was part of the National Heritage Open Day programme there was also tea and cake being served...and a display of local minerals to look at.

Bakewell has some very photogenic nooks and crannies ; I checked the angle of the sun and knew the locations where I might get a good photograph. I wasn't disappointed, I haven't even had to crop these four images; I particularly like the first one where the grocer's bike seems to have been placed inch perfect up against the wall.

I ended up walking along the road for most of the way to Magpie Mine, I couldn't find the footpath down in Bakewell which I needed to take - there were some lovely views over to my right from the higher elevation though.

I arrived at Magpie Mine with enough time before the next guided walk to have a cup of tea and a cake, or bun. I do know which I had, it's just that some people would call what I had a bun, whilst others would call it a cake - being a Northerner myself I call it a bun.

The tour of the entire site was excellent; it lasted for an hour and in addition to detailed explanations of the remaining equipment and the techniques used throughout the centuries we were also entertained with tales of murder, bravery, sabotage, underground disputes and fights, and free dinners...which seemed to feature prominently. In the past he understanding of gender equality and women's rights wasn't the same as it is now though.

I also learned a new word today, a buddle. 

During the tour we were constantly buzzed by a drone which was filming us, it was quite a large quadcopter with some intricate stabilising struts. Later on at Owler Bar a full-sized sightseeing helicopter going to land in the field at the back of the Peacock Hotel swooped down very low as it passed over the bus.

After the tour I ate my sandwiches and then had a look at the map. I had planned to walk down into Deepdale, but decided to take the quickest route back to Bakewell via Sheldon and Ashford-in-the-Water instead. After a lovely warm sunny start to the day the weather had become quite cold and cloudy and not so enjoyable for walking.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Heritage Open Days 2015

Many places which usually aren't open to the public and places where you usually have to pay have been open or have had free admission, or have organised special events or guided tours as part of the annual Heritage Open Days. So far I've managed to visit five venues ..and am planning to visit another tomorrow.

Yesterday I visited Doncaster Minster and the Air Museum in Doncaster with my support worker. I've never been inside the Minster before and was very impressed with the building; in particular the stained glass windows.

The Minster looks like a typical mediaeval building, but it isn' only dates from 1859; the original parish church burnt down.

In the afternoon we went to the air museum. I've been before and knew what to expect. In my opinion the premises are far too small, most of the exhibits are crammed into just one hangar.

Today I went on the bus to Retford and had a look inside the town hall and the parish church, and enjoyed a guided tour of the Majestic Theatre.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Bakewell, Stanton in Peak, Darley Bridge, and Matlock

When I got off the bus at Bakewell I headed straight for the award-winning toilets, then to the shop.

I started by walking along Matlock Road until I reached the last house in Bakewell; this is where the footpath up onto Haddon Fields is. It was quite a steep climb uphill until I reached the part of the footpath which goes through an apple orchard. The ground here is flat and should be easy walking; however at this time of year there's an additional hazard I needed to look out for, hundreds of apples on the grass which rolled under my foot every time I took a step. Here's a new word I've invented for Mr. Google to catalogue - APPLESURFING...I'm not very good at it though.

There were even more apples still remaining on the trees; I bit into one, it had a bitter taste.

Beyond the orchard the walk took me through different landscapes, woodland, grassy fields, and arable fields, including one where both barley and oats had been planted at the same time. I've never seen this before and have no idea why the farmer might have done it.

At one point in a clearing in the woods I was struggling to get past some dense brambles; growing higher than the brambles were some tall bushes with red leaves and strange-shaped berries. Yet again something I've not seen before.

I walked down to the Alport road past a flooded quarry and then climbed up the other side of the valley; the steps cut into the hillside made it much easier.

I was soon in Stanton in Peak, sitting by the church and eating my sandwiches. I would have liked to have a look inside the church but it was closed for building works. Fortunately the builders' equipment is out of sight in the photograph.

As I walked along the path which leads to The Nine Ladies Stone Circle, and then Stanton Moor, I passed a couple of rangers carrying several plastic bags filled with empty beer bottles and cans. It must have been a wild party with the ladies last night.

I made a quick crossing of the moor, just pausing briefly to take photographs of the heather and the gorse.

I continued through the camping site at Brookfield Farm, it looked like it has closed though. Just beyond the farm there was a small group of alpacas. They were safely behind a wall, so I could get up close to them, not too close though because they have a reputation for spitting.

The next section was along the track to Darley Bridge; tied to a public footpath sign I found a question.

The final part of the walk was alongside the tracks of the Peak Rail heritage railway; two trains passed, one in each direction. There were trees in the way both times and so I didn't get any photographs.

I ended the walk about a mile north of Matlock town centre and sat on a wall next to the bus stop to wait for one of the buses going back to Bakewell or Chatsworth House. As a red car passed me a youth shouted 'Good Morning' to me...even though it was just after three o'clock in the afternoon. This was just the latest example of the incessant low-level abuse I have to suffer because of my Asperger's syndrome - in particular my poor gait, posture, and poise makes me a target for this type of behaviour.

If I had a job or a relationship; a place in the world, it would be so much easier for me to deal with this knowing that I'm loved and am respected for doing a good job, or at least a good enough job...but I don't have  a job or a relationship, and have never had either. I'm not likely to ever to get a job now since Doncaster Social Services say I'm too vulnerable to be allowed in the workplace...and I'm not likely to find a girlfriend, or even some mates, sitting at home most of the time, not interacting with anyone.

I was hoping I wouldn't have long to wait for a bus at Bakewell, but because of Chatsworth Country Fair the buses were running late and I had nearly half an hour to wait, so I had a wander round Bath Gardens, right next to where the buses go from and got a nice picture of the flowers.

Two buses going to Sheffield via different routes arrived at the same time; I got on the 218; it left earlier and takes the shorter route.