Thursday, 28 February 2008

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. ~Noelie Altito

And there seemed to be an awful lot of construction on the roads between point a) here and point b) Sible Hedingham, the small village in Essex where Mum lives. On Tuesday I set off at 5.45am to go and get Mum and her broken arm, oh and the Pip the dog too. Ten hours later I crawled into her driveway, opened the door and fell sideways out of the car (that last bit is a lie but it helps to build up a proper picture of the journey). It is an incredible trip really, going through the beginnings of the west Highlands here, through the rolling Cumbrian, then Yorkshire countryside on down to the huge agricultural fields of the South. The A1 was, as usual almost entirely populated by lorries, take them off the road and there would be a few solitary cars trundling along looking lonely but happy. I got particularly intimate with the rather large backside of an Argos lorry when we were diverted off the A1 for 21 miles after an accident only to rejoin the motorway 5 miles south of the diversion off. However, without this diversion I would almost definitely never have visited the pretty villages of Ollerton and Wellow (love to know the provenance of that one). Admittedly, the latter was rather marred by having a large articulated lorry lying on one side in the middle of the main street but it made a change from looking at the Argos Lorry. Presumably it was a recent addition due to the interest of all the local children, curiously and worryingly for the future generations of Wellow entirely male, coming out of playgroup. I say “presumably” as for all I know it could be an unusually inapt feature erected by the Village council in preference to funding something more useful…stranger things have happened. I digress, the trip south wound its way on until the aforementioned conclusion was reached and I was safely in Sible Hedingham. The next day was the reverse directionally with thankfully no diversions and we reached home at 4pm. Four hours later the land of slumber beckoned and a good nights sleep was enjoyed.

PS The photos were taken at a Farm Teashop on the A66 where we sought caffeine and bizarrely found emus, llamas and a camel (the camel sat down behind a gate and declined to be photographed...pity.)

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Ski Diary

Who says there's no snow! Plenty of the stuff around at Glencoe yesterday. In the parlance of the ski trade..
Icy to start and softening later
. I was forced to go it alone as I was big and brave and did not book a lesson for the first time, at some point I have to stop paying Ryan to escort me down the scary bits. After a few gos down the speedy Plateau I hovered around for a while hoping to catch Garret as he whizzed past but there was no sign as he was off chasing snowboarders on the higher slopes. I had to grab up my courage with both hands and go solo.....again and again. It was great! Sometimes we managed to connect (not literally) at various points on the run as Garret whisked by shouting encouragement chinking as he went. The day was gorgeous again and the runs quiet and in the main peaceful. Very good for nervous beginner (I never did believe the intermediate label...beginner is engraved on my ski pants if not my heart). The only mishap of the day was being hoist aloft on the arm of the chair lift by a part of my anatomy that was never intended to be caught on a metal rail and dangled...well, not outside of a certain type of establishment that is. However all is well despite a wee bit of tenderness when riding Lewis today.

Picture One Mugs run for the day
Picture Two Garret on chairlift
Picture Three Plateau Poma

Monday, 18 February 2008

Walk and pictures by Rosie

Picture One:- Ice House on the Castle estate.
Picture Two:- Dog intently listening to training instructions ....
Picture Three:- Rosie and Ginny in Rosie's special place.
Picture Four:- Sibling chat.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Snow, Stags and Skis

Another one of Howard and Myrna’s fabulous pictures from Monday. What a gorgeous picture, and the weather really was that good. Also two added from Toby's phone.Wednesday was a blast, with more snow than you can see on the picture. We left here early leaving our long suffering friends to not only help themselves to their own breakfasts and look after the dogs, but to pay us for the privilege too. B and Bers beware! Nah not really, it is only Howard and Myrna that we use and abuse in this way.
The drive up was glorious with clear blue skies as far as you wished to look in either direction and mountains galore. We forced the children to abandon all electronic devices and look at the view, this will one day make them very grateful to us, I am sure. Once the boring stuff was over with ski hire etc (very speedy if you pre book but Garret was toe tapping as he has his own skis….Me too soon thank you ebay) we took off up to the tops for the children’s first chair lift ride which was approached in three very different ways.
T: -nonchalant and manly
F: -bit scared but excited
and lastly R: -quite a bit scared and fearful.
Before the lessons Garret had a go down the plateau with his usual aplomb and pronounced that I would love it…there was such a huge bump where his tongue was poking through his cheek, hamster style that I did not dare attempt it until escorted down by a properly qualified person. It was a bit icy in places but did not bring forth screams of “ AHHHHH it’s skitey” as before. I have no idea where that word came from (rhymes with kitey) having never used it before or since my fateful trip down from the top. We dumped the juniors on the long-suffering Paddy, bleary eyed from being a friends birth partner the night before (that is another story) and were free!
Quote of the week from Ryan “Fee, I think that you may just feel happier if you know that you can instantly stop on a slope”
This is so very true and that was exactly what I spent the first half of the lesson learning and can now attempt to do that twisty, jumpy thing when trying to turn. It seems to have eliminated a subliminal urge to run myself into a fence whenever feeling a wee bit insecure, those skis are a devil to untangle from the thin posts but do provide plenty of opportunity for humorous asides from Garret as he flashes by, and Ryan as he stands down-hill of me faithfully abiding by my foolish words of Monday. This was when I regretfully told him that I really should learn to get up alone and not have to drag his arm out of the socket every time I fall. The next hour was spent going down Mugs Alley again with Ryan encouraging, cheering and on one occasion when I spun off the wrong way down a fast bit laughing. There was, I am proud to report, cos I am such a sucker for showing off only one fall on the first run and none on the second (I don’t count ones that happen mere feet from the bottom) and, this is a big one I have now learnt to get myself up unaided (unless as happened once two snowboarders knock me over and feel so bad that I just had to let them assist me to my feet). All afternoon I had a big grin on my face practising the twisty thing and sometimes doing it and sometimes not. Some of the falls were the best bits. AND I have officially, according to Paddy progressed to Intermediate no less, not only intermediate but Advancing intermediate. I like the sound of that, it seems so grown up and important. Maybe I should try taking things a bit more seriously and stop doing the victory dance every time I make it down a run, falls and all…..or maybe not. The tow boys were also greatly encouraging, frankly amazed that such a wuss had turned up again and again. Toby was a demon on his skis down the plateau and the girls who struggled a wee bit balance-wise in the morning were quite happy to have the run of the car (where they ate my Bovril rolls…a crime that will not be forgotten lightly). Now I am in deep mourning for the end of the snow, which is slowly, and surely approaching as I type. (LATER hopefully that is not so now as after checking out the forecast for next week there could be snow on the way!!)Glencoe seeems to be holding on to the best of it and we love it there! Homeward bound we stopped at the climb down from the Glencoe to see the resident stags there who prowl around pretty much all day in order to send hundreds of tourists home with their photos safely tucked up in their cameras…..including us. Much cheaper than paying a piper to wow the passing traffic.The heroes of the day were waiting for us when we got home and even had the kettle on. Perfect. The rest of ½ term has been pretty good to with the promised weather surviving well into the weekend. We have ridden and baked and walked and talked and rowed and bickered so all is normal and well in the Corner Family Home.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Glorious weather…

But it is melting all the snow!!! Finally we returned to Glencoe after several abortive attempts including one drive up there to be turned away by high winds to find the snow cover much reduced but still ski-able…if only we could get rid of every one else determined to enjoy it too. Garret played on the plateau briefly then took off to the slightly higher routes, he probably would have gone higher onto the aforementioned terror run but ice was stopping play. I had an hours lesson with my lovely, patient instructor which turned into nearly 2 hrs of great fun. We made it down Mugs Alley twice with several falls, obviously by me and no leg clinging at all. One spectacular fall was executed in front of a crowd waiting to get on the chair lift as I careered down the hill and skied up onto some rocks falling neatly with a crash…thankfully the cellulite absorbed most of the impact and I was up and off again with great decorum only to be knocked off the chair lift by an unopened bar in front of the same admiring crowd…hey ho. My hat was knocked all skewy too along with any shreds of dignity that I had managed to maintain. The absolutely best bit though was being recognised by all the staff after my….um…difficulties last time and given the thumbs up by everyone on the lifts etc for having another go, oh and the hug from Ryan on making it down Mugs Alley still smiling. The muscles are all intact after 5 hrs in all on the slopes and even managed a run and swim today with Lizzie. The day really is fantastic, and set to continue for ½ term too.Poor Garret beavering away at Ardfern to pay for tomorrow. More of that later.

PS Photo courtesy of Howard and Myrna who did a fly past which happened to be during the ten minutes when we had stopped for coffee.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

A very good friend indeed

Today despite the threat of rising winds and torrential rain Liz and I ran (mostly) round Loch Glashan (inbetween Minard and Loch Gare). This was not exactly the way that Liz wished to spend the morning of her day off especially after a fairly tough session at jogscotland last night but she, good pal that she is bowed to pressure and off we set. My idea was that we needed more miles under our belts at it were, or even better under our trainers. I remained faithful to this ideal until we were slogging up a long rise.I was convinced that we were at least 8 miles in when Liz announced a little doubtfully that she thought we might be half way. This was an accurate assessment of our position as it turned out. The threatened bad weather had settled down into a fairly warm drizzle only worsening for the last mile or so. The Loch is quite sheltered by geography and trees. That meant that layers were rapidly peeled off in the very early stages of the run and tied around waists where they stayed. It was a great track to run on with only one muddy bit due to forest vehicles. The track was unexpectedly busy with forestry workers/deer stalkers who all, without exception looked quite astonished to see us there. The way to keep going is to have plenty to chat about, never too much of a problem for either of us. Ten miles done we were piling tired, wet dogs into the car and telling ourselves that we will feel very pleased with ourselves, once the tiredness and pain has receded. We had left Ginny at home, too far for puppy legs. Even Molly the inexhaustible Jack Russell who normally becomes a canine cannon ball ricocheting off the seats and windows when she gets to ride in my car with Lucy was willing to lie quietly and gratefully in the back.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

No earthquakes as yet.......

"It's snowing still," said Eeyore gloomily.
"So it is."
"And freezing."
"Is it?"
"Yes," said Eeyore. "However," he said, brightening up a little, "we haven't had an earthquake lately."