Saturday, 4 November 2017

10 Happy Things

Is it just me or is the news more depressing than usual at the moment?  Whenever I turn on the TV or check the BBC app on my phone all I see is misery.  Most of the internet isn't much better - provocative articles and editorial pieces designed to provoke debate and argument, followed by rude and abusive posts as people ditch their manners and lay into one another.

"If it bleeds, it leads" as they say in journalism - bad news is good business so, assuming that's true, this blog should absolutely bomb as I've decided I'm going to buck the trend and tell you about 10 things that made me happy this week.  Some big, most small, but all a blissful respite from the misery of the news cycle.

1.  The view from the train as I come home


I know that I am incredibly lucky to live where I do and I appreciate it every single day.  These were taken on Thursday as I came home from work and were the perfect antidote to a busy day.

2. A proper record player!


On Monday were lucky enough to enjoy a night away at The Plough in Lupton, an absolutely beautiful hotel not too far from Kirkby Lonsdale.  It's an utterly gorgeous place to stay, the rooms are superb and the food divine, but what was the thing that made me happiest?  The enormous roll top bath?  No.  The supersized shower?  No.  The thing which made me squeal with delight was finding a proper old record player in our room complete with a box of classic albums.  I could have happily have stayed in our room all evening listening to them and reliving my youth.

3.  Liverpool


I travel around the UK a lot for work - seriously, if "RailMiles" were a thing I'd have enough to go to the moon and back (though there'd probably be a rail replacement bus service on somewhere along the way). Wherever I go I always try and make time for a spot of sightseeing and I was blessed with beautiful weather as I explored Liverpool on Wednesday evening.  I wandered through the city and took a ferry across the Mersey but this was my favourite view of the day - perfect light and a perfect reflection - just wish I'd had a better camera with me to do it justice.

4. A new plaque!


Last Saturday the weather wasn't great but we were out and about anyway around one of my favourite places - Thirlmere. I love the views but I also love the history of the valley (we wrote a whole chapter about it in our first book)  but in all the times I'd visited I'd not spotted this particular plaque, probably because it's situated along the western road at a place where you wouldn't normally stop, but as the road across the dam is closed there's a lot less traffic so a lot more time to pause and spot little gems like this.

5. The Jacobean Moon Man of Wigan Parish Church


On Wednesday morning I was working in Wigan and had a bit of time to kill before my train to Liverpool so I took a wander around the Parish Church.  There I chatted to a very lovely man who filled me in on a little of the history. I was particularly interested to learn about one of their former Rectors, a man named John Wilkins.  In 1638 he wrote a book called "The Discovery of a World in the Moone" where he put forward the idea of building "mechanical chariots" to fly to the moon.  Seriously, click on this link. it's well worth a read.

6. Eleanor Rigby statue, Liverpool


Back in Liverpool for this one.  The city is full of statues and memorials to the very many famous people who are connected with the place - Billy Fury, Cilla Black and, of course, The Beatles, but my favourite statue was this, for 2 main reasons.  Firstly because Eleanor Rigby is my favourite Beatles tune and I think this statue captures the essence of the song perfectly.  The second reason I love it is because it was designed and created by Tommy Steele - a man not usually associated with sculpture - and I love little nuggets of history like that.

7.  Perfect chips in Giggleswick


After our lovely evening in Lupton, we headed for Settle - a beautiful little town which I'm terribly fond of and don't visit nearly enough.  You can pick up some interesting historic trails around the town from the tourist info and if you fancy something more adventurous there's a fabulous caves walk taking in the hills around the town.  What made me happy here were the perfect pile of chips with my burger. Considering it's one half of our national dish it's amazing how many places manage to cock it up; but not at the Harts Head - perfectly crispy on the outside, light and fluffy in the middle and with a pot of garlic mayo which will ward off vampires for the next week or so!

8.  My favourite view (well, one of them anyway)



Back at Thirlmere again but this time on Sunday and with better weather.  This is definitely one of my favourite views in Cumbria and it's so easy to get to.  As you drive over Dunmail Raise towards Keswick, park up at the top of the hill on the grass verge on the left then follow the tarmac track running parallel to the road for a couple of hundred yards until you see this.  If that doesn't absolutely blow you away then there's no hope for you.

9.  People paid to hear us talk!


Admittedly it was only 10 people, but even so, we were utterly delighted!  We were giving a talk at Waterstone's in Lancaster on Friday evening about what happened behind the scenes on our Trails with Tails book and 10 people came along - how cool is that?  They didn't even know about the cake before they arrived either! I've always dreamed of writing books so to have a book out which people are interested enough in to give up an hour of their Friday night to learn more about just blew me away!

10.  Mucking around with my bloke and a Kodaiq



I don't always get to spend days working with Steve, but I love it when I do!  This must be the blog with the least number of adverts on it - mainly because there's nothing I hate more than following an interesting sounding link only to be bombarded with adverts in every size shape and form which make it pretty much impossible to read whatever it was that lured me there in the first place, so I just don't do it. One of the perks of the blog though is that we get to work with people like Vantage Motors in Morecambe who occasionally loan us a car to play with for the weekend.  Last weekend it was a Skoda Kodiaq and we had a LOT of fun - we piled the bikes into the back and spent 2 days mucking around in Thirlmere creating our very own cycling video, which we plan to upload just as soon as Steve has finished editing out my swearing... 


DON'T LET THE NEWS GET YOU DOWN - our books are packed with fun facts and fab photos - perfect as a pressie or just to treat yourself!  Click HERE to learn more!

Click on the pic to learn more!