Lakes journal part 2

Got back from the Lake District last night, always sad to go home and especially so yesterday, it was a glorious day after rain, rain and more rain. We decided to do a walk near Keswick on our last day and went up to Walla Crag, which is easily walkable from town centre and has marvellous views for what’s only a little hill:

And on the other side, view of Keswick and Skiddaw behind – so happy we’ve managed to climb it this time:

We walked to Ashness Bridge, which I think I’ve posted on before, then back via Great Wood, around 6.5 miles and skipping over lots of little Gills swollen with weekend rain. Back in Keswick, got some local cheeses from the cheese deli and pork pies from the butcher for the journey home (well, you have to!) and spent the last hour browsing old books in an antiquarian/ second hand bookshop which I’d never even seen before. They’ve a tiny little window on street level and the shop is on the first floor, so easily missed. I drooled over a very old Complete works of Hogarth but, at £140 was a bit much so bought some paperbacks instead – Howard’s End was a perfect read for train back home.

Bank holiday Monday weather was pretty nasty so we ended up taking a bus to see Aira Force. Luckily we were early, only a few people about but the car park filled up as we were leaving. It’s only a short woodland walk and most definitely worth it, the waterfall is highest in the Lake District and just magnificent. As we walked back, trying to catch last glimpses of it through the trees, I was imagining what it must be like in bleak winter. Probably pretty awesome,

On way back, stopped for lunch at Horse and Farrier Inn in Threlkeld then decided that the rain wasn’t that bad (we’d gotten really soaked earlier) and that we’d walk back to Keswick via disused rail path, which was very pretty.

Now back at home and looking at all the photos, am slightly disappointed that the ones we took from Skiddaw on Friday are blurry and just not that good. By the time we reached the top, the clouds were pretty ominous and my fingers were clearly too cold to hold camera steady, still here are a couple:

I originally planned the climb to be via Ullock Pike and Long Edge, just visible on the left – looking down at this path almost made me dizzy! Am sure it’s fine in good weather though.

Blencanthra in the distance, this was taken on way back down. Guess this is it for the Lakes this year, very sad.

Homemade butter and other weekend projects

I picked this book up years ago (Borders bookshops were all the rage at the time), thinking it may come in useful some day then put it on a shelf and pretty much forgot about it for a few years. Typical, have lots of books like that. Then I remembered it had a recipe for elderflower cordial, which I’m making at the moment and off the shelf it came. It also tells you how to make butter – did not realise how simple making butter is so thought I’d try it. Last night was as good a time as any – words fail at the excitement and joy I got from this tiny little pat of butter I produced.

Am sure lots of people make butter at home – have never really thought about it before but so glad I did this. Here’s what to do:

– pour double cream into a jam jar and shake until it separates into a lump of butter and the remaining liquid is buttermilk.  The cream should be a few days old, not fresh.

– pour out buttermilk and reserve if using for another recipe (e.g. pancakes), then rinse the butter by pouring water into the jar and gently swirling until water runs clear.

– press butter with the back of a wooden spoon to squeeze out any remaining buttermilk and do this properly or butter will go rancid. Add salt if you like salted butter (apparently it also keeps longer) or just put in fridge if you prefer unsalted.

That’s basically it. I probably had only about 100ml double cream left and the jar in the back of the picture is 500ml – gives you an idea on how much butter you get. The shaking didn’t take too long – perhaps around half an hour, was making dinner at the time so would just pick up the jar and give it a few vigorous shakes every now and then. Lost crafts book says some people make this in a food processor but I really see no need to do that.

Going to have my little bit of homemade butter for breakfast with yesterday’s black pepper rye bread.

In other bread news, I now have my first sourdough starter!! Am following Dan Lepard’s instructions from Short and sweet and have had a little dough ball (rye flour and water) for 5 days before mashing it with more water and adding more flour to make this mush last night. There are already bubbles in it this morning and it doesn’t smell particularly nice:

Can’t wait to make first sourdough but obviously still a while to go. Am likely to burst with excitement prior to actually producing any bread…

Last project this weekend – elderflower is currently steeping in sugar syrup so will be bottling my little batch of cordial later this afternoon when I get back from Taste of London where I’ve a little work to do. Shame the weather is rubbish, will probably get soaked…

Day 76 – we may have a problem

Conscious of the fact that there was no terrace watch yesterday, this morning’s was conducted bright and early. In fact, first watch was so early that it was still dark outside (see below). And, while I ended up with some lovely effects that kinda go into ‘accidentals’ category as I think pics are great and they sort of ended like that by chance (and lomo), that is now no longer important.

There is a far, far bigger issue of which I’d become aware earlier today – it is a complete tragedy and at the same time it is happy news…

the neighbours are moving…

For a second, I felt like anyone with messy neighbours would feel at this sort of news but that is not what this blog is about. This blog… obviously therein lies the problem as I started the blog because of the terrace. Oh well, have had weird and wonderful 10 or so weeks of terrace watch so once the neighbours go, will be on look out for something else. Am far to addicted to my little collection of photo apps to stop the whole thing now anyway. Blame lomo!

And here is this morning’s ‘night vision goggles’ shot – do not have flash on iphone camera so think this is actually an ‘achievement’:

Day 71 repeater but totally worth it

The terrace doesn’t often get two look-ins in a day but I had a funny feeling today on return from work…

Total whoop moment as the long expected cat was out there!! Of course the iphone cam went into a complete overdrive as have wanted a photo of cat on terrace ever since I spotted it drinking water from the ‘pond’ weeks and weeks ago. The cat, however was just sitting under the table and snap as much as I like, you couldn’t really make it out.  It was sitting right on top of a dark stain. Then it made a move:

Of course, at this point I am like an overexcited child…

Look at that, the cat has totally appropriated the camping chair into its own private little source of drinking water.

And a nice little instagram moment too.

I got the proper camera out as well but by this point the cat had stopped drinking. It looked up at me as I took another couple of pictures but will not post – must protect the cat’s identity…

Day 63

Ah yes, we had the torrential downpour yesterday and that was marvellous for the terrace watch. I left for work, having taken morning picture & hoping there’d be further developments when I got back. Alas, no luck there. This was the view this morning:

No further change besides the clothes drying thingummy displacement. The displacement has, however revealed another intriguing fact to me, let’s take another look:

I am calling this bit of terrace ‘the black corner’ from now on as it is super grimy and filthy but what’s this in centre of pic – looks like a pillowcase which would make the big wet thingum on its right a duvet cover. I thought it was a curtain. Beloved always thought it was bedlinen but not me. I wouldn’t have believed it was bedlinen because how can it be so ugly?  But that thing right in the middle is clearly a pillowcase so must be… really can’t believe it, too ugly for words!

Actually, let’s go back to the ‘black corner’ for a moment, I am not sure if this should be black corner as bbq corner opposite with cat poo covered coal is equally black and even more grimy because of cat poo. Must have another look at this when I get home.

There and back again

Back from the lakes, such a good ‘system restore’. A very basic break it was too, just walking and looking – everywhere you look there is something, you want to take it all in and just be, perfectly content.

Viewpoint just outside Keswick. Looked like it was going to rain the whole day so decided to go to Keswick, luckily it didn’t rain straight away. The clouds, low and grey, covered peaks and hilltops. Fantastic spot and hardly anyone around.

Skiddaw through the trees, there wasn’t a clear view of it but I am super happy we saw it in the distance. These are camera pics, iphone wasn’t of much use that day.

Same day, later on, after a walk through Fawepark and back towards Keswick, the sun came out for a little bit and the colours were fabulous, think this was Grisedale Pike, still partly covered in clouds.

Had a short wander around Keswick and it was like hell on earth, swarming with tourists so it was a very short wander but I did manage to find a cheese deli so wasn’t a complete waste of time. Started raining heavily just as we got back to bus stop. Do some people go to the lakes only to spend most of their time wandering about villages? Didn’t quite understand that.

Back in Ambleside the next day, glorious weather and the most exhilarating walk of the trip, Wansfell Pike

View of Windermere from the Pike. It’s a popular climb and was great to see other people reach the top, arms up in the air and words failing – not just because of the view either. Most people would be totally out of breath too

Continued along the top to reach Baystones, the highest point, view of surroundings. Down path had all but disappeared so had the added bonus of ‘free descent’ for a bit until path reappeared.

View of Wansfell in the distance, with Windermere on the right. Walking back from Sweden bridge, yesterday morning’s constitutional, only a short walk before catching train back to London.

It rained back in London and I picked the stupidest time to get back – 6pm so everywhere was heaving with people, traffic… you’d think people would want to get away early on a Bank holiday weekend but no. Think everyone had the idea to get away at 6pm.

Would very much like to go back to the lakes, is it too soon to start planning a little trip for next year?