Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Gaddings Dam

High on a hill above Todmorden in west Yorkshire lies Gaddings Dam.  I’d never heard of it until last Wednesday when Caroline and Trev invited William and I to go to Hebden Bridge with them.


The main reason for the trip to Hebden Bridge was to try out the Lamppost Cafe which is owned by a friend of Trev’s.  The cafe is a very dog friendly one.  They even sell cakes made for dogs!  Caroline’s dog, Harley, tried one and judging by the way he scoffed it up we presumed the doggy cakes were very nice!  Anyway it was here that we learned about Gaddings Dam.  Trev’s friend mentioned in conversation that she had been swimming in it.  Our interest was peaked and so Trev suggested that we take a short detour on the way home and check it out.  Caroline had actually heard about the dam but had never been there either so it was a first for all four of us.


It’s just a ten minute walk from the Shepherd’s Rest pub we were told.  Well… We found the pub, parked the car and set off on our ten minute walk up a hill with the wrong footwear on and totally unprepared for what lay ahead!


Thirty minutes later we were still walking and climbing steadily higher and higher.  It was at this point William asked had any of us donated to the Air Ambulance recently.  Ever the pessimist his mind was working overtime and he was imagining one of us being airlifted to the nearest hospital with heaven knows what kind of injuries!  The rest of us were enjoying the views.


The views were something special!  England’s green and pleasant land was in evidence every which way we looked.


If you look carefully you’ll spot several rock climbers clinging to the rocks in the pic above.  We were on our way to climbing higher than they were albeit in a less vertical direction.


We couldn’t have picked a better day though.  The sun shone down on us and we could see for miles.


We just couldn’t see the dam anywhere!  Every time we rounded a bend in the hillside there was another bend and another hill in front of us!  We’d been climbing for about 45 minutes now.  Trev broke away and climbed further up to see what was over the next hill while Caroline consulted Google maps.  Looking at the map it became clear that we had taken the wrong track from the bottom of the hill and that the dam had to be close.  


We joined Trev at the top of the hill and after a few more minutes walking, hallelujah!, we found Gaddings Dam.


What a little gem!   Safe for swimming and complete with a beach.  It doesn’t get much better than that in these parts.


Look at Billy’s face.  I think that was how I felt too – in a good way though.


I think we deserved a rest after that climb.  Caroline snapped this pic with her iPhone 5c.  I like it.


Look how pretty.  Harley thought he was in heaven.


It’s definitely a place we need to go back to.  The boys will absolutely love it! 


Imagine this place in winter though.  There’ll be a completely different atmosphere then.  The word inhospitable comes to mind.


Starting the descent now, down the ten minute way, and stopping for a quick picture before the going got tough.


The walker in blue on his way up looked a bit hot and sweaty.  He informed us he was going up for a swim.  He was about to cool off pretty quickly.  We all know that water has got to be freezing even on a red hot day like last Wednesday!


Looking down, the clearly defined path going off to the right is the one we took on the way up.  We’ll know better next time.


The woolly locals were friendly enough.


Stoodley Pike with its monument in the background.


What a pleasure then to finish off in The Shepherd's Rest Inn with a cold drink.  A lovely pub.  We’ll be going back there too!


Thursday, 22 May 2014

Beautiful Weekend at Bay View

Well, did we or did we not have glorious weather last weekend here in good old England?


I’ll say we did and lucky old us got to spend it at Bay View.  George was with us.  Caroline and Charlie should’ve been too but unfortunately poor Charlie caught himself a bug on Thursday which put paid to their weekend away.  I’m happy to report that he was better by Sunday and back at school on Monday.


We got up to Bay View on Friday evening and it wasn’t long before we were down by the salt marshes and George was burning up some energy.


Jumping from stone to stone.


Mother Nature treated us to a beautiful sunset.


After which George was treated to a game of pool with grandad in the Bay View Bar.


Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny and breakfast was taken al fresco.  I love when it’s that time of year and that phrase “al fresco” comes into play once again.


A stroll down the front after breakfast ended up at Bay View Garden Centre. 


A beautiful warm day called for a beautiful cold ice cream.  I really wish the empty cone had a vanilla ice cream in it.  I love Neapolitan ice cream colours and I have decided, only last night actually, that I want to crochet a blanket in mainly those colours. 


We  decided to walk back to Bay View via the Lancaster Canal.


A walk along a canal towpath on a summer’s day is such a pleasant thing to do.  I’d brought along my binoculars and they came in useful a time or two.  Above George is taking a closer look at resting Mallards and Moorhens on the opposite banking.


We saw quite a few little feathered families along the way.  


It was impossible not to stop and watch them.  So very cute!


At various points along the canal you can see into the gardens of nearby houses.  Glancing into one garden this couple, catching a few rays, caught my eye.   Hands up all those of a certain age who remember Bill and Ben.  I do for certain.  I loved them, along with Woodentops and Andy Pandy.  They were 1950s children’s television programmes for those of you who’ve never heard of them.  All in black and white and yet all so colourful too!  The thought of them is making me feel quite nostalgic.


So coming back to the present our walk along the canal continued and still in brilliant sunshine!


A great day to be messing about on the water.


Round the next bend was where we left the canal and wound our way back to Bay View.

Back at Bay View George found a friend to play with and with the unaccustomed freedom to come and go as he pleased he had a great time. 

The good weather continued all through Sunday too.  William and I spent a lot of time sitting in the sun outside the van reading and watching the comings and goings on the site.   Well, William found the odd job or two to do and when he’d run out of his own jobs to do he helped another couple with their awning.   He doesn’t sit still for too long, ever!

And so the weekend passed.  What a good one it had been though!BlogSignature

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Helping Grandad

Nicholas stayed over with us on Friday night.


On Saturday morning after pancakes (what else?) for breakfast Nicholas got the surprise of his life. 


Grandad was doing a job in the garage which involved the sander and asked Nicholas would he like to help him.


Nicholas actually got to use the sander!  Now that’s a first.  Grandad isn’t usually so free with his electrical tools, he’s very cautious by nature.  Nicholas was over the moon!

Speaking of which…


The night sky was breathtakingly beautiful last night!  My picture in no way shows just how spectacular the sight was but it gives a bit of an idea.  I usually have a peep at the night sky before I turn in and I’m sooo glad I looked out of the window last night.  Like I said it was breathtaking!

Until next time,BlogSignature

Savannah, Georgia.

The day after Hilton Head was a visit to beautiful, beguiling Savannah.


A comfort break on the drive to Savannah.  We loved those French Vanilla Cappuccinos!


No better place to kick off our visit than the visitor centre where once again the city tour buses left from.


Our bus driver/tour guide was Wendy.  She was the best.  I know this because she told us she was the best.  And do you know what? by the time the tour was over we agreed with her 100%.  Wendy seemed to overflow with knowledge about Savannah and tons of other stuff too, a born and bred Savannah girl, she made that tour so interesting.  The main fact I remember is that she was the lucky person who showed the actor, Ben Affleck, around the city!


Apparently quite a few films have been set in Savannah.  Forrest Gump to name but one.  He even jumped on the bus at one stage and offered his chocolates around.  I think I was one of the few who actually took one.  I knew what I was going to get though.  They were all Hershey’s Kisses!  A few characters boarded the bus and told his/her tale of old Savannah history.


My favourite was this southern belle.  She was the ticket inspector.  Loved her hat!  Bless her heart!  A little snippet of info we learned on the bus was that y’all can insult anybody y’all would like to as long as you finish off with “bless her (or his) heart”.


The ubiquitous horse drawn carriages were every bit as much in evidence here as in Charleston.  There seemed to be a little park at the end of every street.  Trees galore, lots of them draped in Spanish  moss. 


And each park had its own monument.  This one was dedicated to Les Chasseurs des Volontaires de Saint Domingue, the largest unit of soldiers of African descent to fight in the American Civil War.


Historic houses galore too.


Looking through one of the parks to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.


The city tour included a stretch of the Savannah River waterfront.  It was extremely busy, actually from what I remember now everywhere in Savannah was busy.  I wouldn’t liked to have been driving the bus that’s for sure!


Keeping it real.  Nowhere is perfect and like everywhere else Savannah has its share of properties that would benefit from a little TLC. These old buildings still have bags of charm to me despite their rundown condition.


After the tour it was time for something to eat and right there in the visitor centre was a cafe by the name of Whistle Stop Cafe!  Having just read and totally enjoyed Fanny Flagg’s, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, I was tickled pink with that!

Our visit to Savannah was a short one but it definitely was one of the highlights of the trip and I’d love to go back again some day.  Truth be told I’d love to do the whole trip again and spend more time in each place.

Unfortunately in Savannah we encountered the same problem we’d had in Charleston with finding a hotel.  All the decent, and the not so decent, hotels were booked up but after some searching we managed get a room for just one night.  This led to us missing out on going back into Savannah for another look round.  Instead we hit the road and headed in the direction of Atlanta and home.  The road home was not without its moments though as will be revealed in my next USA 2014 post.