Solmōnaþ

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The Pepper Pot.

Apparently the old, Anglo-Saxon name for February was Solmōnaþ, or Sol-monath. Which has been interpreted as ‘Mud Month’, but which Bede defined, happily, as Cake-Month. I can’t show you any cakes, but here’s yet more bread pictures…

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Pain de Mie

This has butter and milk in it, so I made…

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Olive Bread

To keep the vegans happy too.

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Post sunset, from the Cove. I’d been at the Pepper Pot for sunset, which was obscured by cloud, but the sky cleared quickly once the sun had set.

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Mud-month was definitely more appropriate this year. I’ve read that February 2020 was the wettest on record, in England at least.

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Man of the Match.

Astonishingly, B’s game at Garstang went ahead, played in a quagmire. They lost, trying to play flowing rugby when conditions dictated otherwise. B enjoyed it though – lots of tackles to make, rucks to hit and opportunities to steal ball.

This was a wet winter generally, and I had hard things to say about November, but I was happier in Solmōnaþ, because the afternoons were lengthening rather than drawing in.

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During the first week of February, I kept just missing the sunset. But I was just glad to be out in some sort of light.

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One day, I was meeting A for her Parents’ Evening, so had a chance for a wander around Williamson’s Park in Lancaster first.

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The following weekend, I had a pleasant enough wander round to Arnside, despite a poor forecast and then an even more pleasant afternoon in The Fighting Cocks watching the Calcutta Cup with some of the other dads from B’s rugby team. After the match, I walked home in the dark, with the added delights of a howling gale and torrential rain and hail. For once, I had reason to regret my habitual adherence to short trousers through the winter.

The following day brought some blue skies…

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…but more rain too…

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A taste of what was to come.

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Solmōnaþ

Sussed

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Eaves Wood from the Coronation Path.

I don’t know if you’ve played the card game Sussed? It’s like the old TV quiz show ‘Mr and Mrs’, if you’re old enough to remember that: on your card are various multi-choice questions on a wide-range of subjects (and there are numerous editions available), the other players score points for correctly guessing what your answers will be. I’ll never win it, not when I’m playing my family anyway, because they are entirely too good at anticipating what I will say. Apparently, I’m completely predictable, or so they tell me.

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Early sun in Eaves Wood.

I can see their point. I’m certainly a creature of habit. Take this weekend back in January.

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On the Saturday I was up early and at the Pepper Pot a little after sunrise…

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The Dale.

I took the boys to their BJJ lesson and had a wander around Lancaster, as I did most Saturdays, when such things were allowed.

Then later, I was back at the Pepper Pot…

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…and down to The Cove for the sunset.

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On the Sunday, I was out and about early and…

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…you guessed it, at the Pepper Pot again…

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The frosty Dale.

Took B and his friend E to their rugby match as I do most Sunday mornings…

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Rugby pitches somewhere in Southport. Note the clear blue sky.

And when we got home? Well, of course, I went out for another walk, this time a circuit of Eaves Wood and Middlebarrow.

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Arnside Knott and Arnside Tower. The Knott, all 150 odd metres of it is partially veiled by clouds.

That’s me. Steady-Eddy, predictable, unswerving, humdrum. The weather, on the other hand, was far from predictable that weekend, particularly on the Sunday. We had sunshine and frost in the morning; dense fog most of the way to Southport; glorious sunshine, clear blue skies and a biting wind in Southport; and finally rotten gloom and low cloud when we got home. Fickle and capricious as it is, I wouldn’t swap our weather for a totally settled climate. How dull that would be!

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.

John Ruskin

I’m not sure I can agree whole-heartedly with this much repeated old saw. Rain gets tedious after a while. I’m much more in agreement with this one…

Bad weather always looks worse through a window.

Tom Lehrer

A tune, which isn’t really about the weather…

And, just in case anybody hasn’t heard this…

Might be useful if you are home-schooling Chemistry? I was tempted to include his song “We’ll All Go Together” but thought it might be too bleak in the circumstances.

Sussed

Notes from a Small Island

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The end of October half-term, and B and I were away on a tour with his rugby team in the North-East of England. When the tour was arranged, I don’t think anybody realised that England would be playing New Zealand in a World Cup semi-final that weekend. In order to see the whole match, we had to set-off uncomfortably early, but Billingham rugby club were very welcoming, opening their club house for us, providing us all with bacon butties and, in many cases, turning out to watch the match with us.

The boys match preceded a first team game, so in all I watched a lot of rugby that day. The boys won, but the first team were trounced.

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We stayed overnight in the youth hostel near Osmotherley. It had been so wet during the previous week that the stream which runs past this old mill was flowing over as well as under the bridge by the entrance.

The next day, the boys won again, this time in Redcar, which is where the two photos above were taken. I’m reasonably familiar with the Northumberland coastline, and have holidayed in the past in Scarborough, Whitby and Filey down in Yorkshire, but the stretch of coast between those two is a bit of a mystery to me. Looks like it’s worth investigating though!

Later, after the long drive home, I was out for a late local wander, so that I managed to photograph both the East and the West coasts in one day. This really is a small island.

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The boys were due to tour again in a few weeks time, but obviously, that tour is one of the many casualties of the current lockdown. A has been saving hard and fund-raising to pay for a jamboree in Poland this summer, S has spent two years learning Mandarin in after-school classes with the prospect of a heavily subsidised trip to China at the end of it. Both now cancelled. Personally, I’m quite happy pottering about in the garden, doing a bit of cooking and baking, catching up on the blog, reading, playing games and watching films with the kids and taking my one walk a day, but I feel for the kids, who are missing out on opportunities which may not come around again. Still, I dare say, other folk have it worse elsewhere, and the kids seem to have adjusted pretty well.

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In terms of the blog, that’s October dispensed with, and we’re rattling towards 2020!

Notes from a Small Island

An Underley Walk

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Today has been a slightly odd Sunday because not only I have not been to Underley Park,  home of the Rams, Kirkby Lonsdale RUFC, but I also haven’t been to any other muddy, wind-blown, rain-lashed venues to watch boys play rugby. But that’s this Sunday, which will have to wait for a post of its own. Last Sunday I was at Underley Park, as I so often am.

Having said that, I haven’t been there as much this season. The boys fixtures used to generally coincide so that they would both be at home or both be away at the same venue. But this year they mostly have different fixtures, so that often one is at home and the other away. Sometimes they are both away. I’m the designated driver for away games, and TBH now does home fixtures and training.

Last Sunday, however, both boys had training. In fact, I think that all of the junior teams had training. As a result, it had been decided that some of the senior players would lead a strength and fitness session. With my ‘little and often’ head on, I decided that this was a great opportunity for me to log a few bonus kilometres, before the actual rugby was underway.

Underley park, the rugby ground, is within Underley Park the grounds of Underley Hall one of Ye Stately Homes of England.

I think that this Hansel and Gretel house may have been a gatehouse to the Hall…

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This is Underley Business Park…

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…once a stable block perhaps? There was also a small pond which was dammed, I wondered whether the other buildings behind this one were a former mill, but I can’t find any history on the web.

You can sort of see the Hall here…

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…partially shielded by trees.

This is the current house…

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…in its heyday.  I’ve shamelessly lifted this from wikipedia and they have it from A Series of Picturesque Views of Seats of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland by Francis Orpen Morris in 1879. There was a hall before this one, and this building has been extended since this painting.

There’s actually a good view of Underley Hall from the rugby club. Here’s a photo I took back in 2014, but never used on the blog…

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And with a zoom…

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It was a very changeable day.

Anyway, back to last Sunday, I followed this Leat…

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..which took me to the banks of the Lune (but with too many trees between me and the river for a good photo) and a little gate which let me back into the rugby club…

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The gate was unexpected, but very handy because I had to meet TBH and A. I had realised that the girls’ team were training and had rung to let A know, because she has decided that she no longer wants to be left out and now she’s going to play rugby too! Quite how we will get all three of them to matches and training in potentially three different locations, I’m not sure.

More photos from 2014. The clubhouse as it was then…

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…it’s been extended since then.

One thing Underley Park definitely has is great views. Here’s B’s team warming up…

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…and here they’re playing, you can see that the weather has changed…

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It’s a very exposed spot. You’ll just have to imagine the cold and the wind.

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Here’s B. Not in a ruck, which is unusual. I realise that I have no other photos of him playing and none at all of Little S. I shall have to rectify that.

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An Underley Walk