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My first Tag in the ‘Blue Skies Challenge’

Life’s been a little busy lately with our plans of ‘selling up & moving onto our boat’ being in full flow.  I have now found a buyer for my business and it’s going through with great speed, along with having the house up for sale too, so I haven’t had a lot of time to spend on blogging, so when I noticed a few more views to my last posting I was delighted to see that it was because I had been nominated for my first challenge.

For me being new to the world of blogging, it was very exciting to have been chosen by Amanda from  Something to Ponder About and I couldn’t wait to get started, but then soon realised that it wasn’t something I could rush, so I have taken my time on this.

Anyway here goes, but firstly, here are the rules for this Challenge…

Thank the person who tagged you – So a big Thank you Amanda from Something to Ponder About, whose blog is about Travel, Traditional Art, Food and Wisdom.  Such a lovely blog and well worth a visit.
Answer their 11 questions –The questions you put to me made me really have to stop and think.  I have enjoyed my first challenge 🙂                                                                         Tag 11 people
Give them 11 questions to answer.

11 Questions from Amanda, with my answers:-

1.Your favourite place in the world?

I found this question very difficult because I don’t have one particular favourite place, but instead I love being in a Forest, on a beach or up a mountain, but also I love being with family wherever that happens to be, a bit corny I know, but true.

2. What keeps you young?

Keeping active and busy and trying new things

3. Something you would never ever do again?

Let a job take over my life and stop me doing the things I want to do

4. Favourite book/author?

I love reading, but can’t think of a favourite as such.  I enjoy very different books from crime thrillers to gentle stories.  I’ve just started ‘The girl on the train’ by Paula Hawkins, (I know, I’m late to that party!)

5. Thing you most remember from school?

Sports Day’s and the Tuck Shop

6. Most important lesson you have learnt in life?

  1.  Life is too short and precious so – Live life to the Full, don’t waste a moment.
  2. Only have positive people around you, stay away for negativity

7. Tidy desk or Messy Desk?

Tidy

8. Do you prefer forests or the seaside?

Difficult question, but I have a love of trees so forests

9. Style of art you prefer?

I love Fabian Perez and his figurative art work

10. Favourite food?

Anything Spicy

11. Have you changed careers since you left school?

Many times, yes –  Freelance Make-up Artist; Make-up Rep for a Theatrical Make up company; Make up consultant for Estee Lauder; Local Council Administrator; Office Manager; Monitoring & Evaluation Officer; Children’s Centre Manager; Self Employed Pet Sitter & Dog Walker  🙂

Here are the 11 Bloggers’ I’d like to tag.  

Please don’t think you have to take part in the challenge, just love your blogs & want to show my support…

Cornishbirdblog – Cornish Adventures

Maggie – Views on life as they travel & explore

Fromdreamtoplan – Lisa turns can’t to cans & dreams to plans

WildaboutScotland – A beautiful exploration around Scotland

Lovinglifeinwellies – Adventure & country living in Wales

Little Adventures – A brave change in lifestyle  – follow the adventures

Deliqute – A new Poetry Blog

Free Spirit – Life on a narrow boat

Narrow Boat Wife – Living on a narrow boat

Yellowfields – Adventures of a family that camps

The Zen of living smaller – Quality over Quantity for a fuller life

And my questions to you…

  1. What’s the biggest Challenge you have faced in life?
  2. Would you or have you ever taken a big risk in life and changed your life doing so?
  3. What’s the best thing in your life right now?
  4. Where are you happiest?
  5. If you could describe yourself as an animal what animal would that be?
  6. Do you like to play or watch a sport, if so which?
  7. One word to describe yourself
  8. Are you a Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter person?
  9. Do you have pets? If so what do you have?
  10. Do you have a talent which not many people know about?
  11. Sweet or Savoury

There you go… I really won’t be offended if you’d rather not take part.  If you do, then great, I look forward to reading your Challenge post 🙂

By the way, the picture at the top was of a local cricket match I was watching yesterday, which my son was playing in.  It was such a beautiful day and the sky was truly gorgeous and so blue – Happy Days 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We found an Owlet

Wharncliffe & Greno Woods is a beautiful place near Sheffield and every time we go we seem to discover more and more paths for walking and find more mountain biking trails too, but a few weeks ago we were walking in the woods a little off the normal path when Jon suddenly heard an usual sound.  It was like a ‘clicking’ or ‘sharp snapping’ noise which drew his attention downwards toward the base of a large tree and then he saw something sat on the ground.  At first we couldn’t quite identify what it was, but then it dawned on us that it was in fact a baby owl.

After we’d got over our initial excitement, the “Awwww’s” and the “Oh Wow he’s gorgeous!” bit, we then didn’t know what to do.  We asked the questions…Do we leave him?  Will he survive being on the ground?  Had he fallen out of a nest? We then felt responsible for the little fella as we couldn’t just leave him, so I turned to Google, (luckily I had good reception in what seemed to be the middle of no-where) and typed in, “Found a baby Owl” Straight away a page from the Barn Owl Trust came up and helped us out.  What a great website!

The first thing we had to do was identify which type of Owlet it was, (yes our first lesson learnt was what a baby owl was called…) as the course of action all depended on which owlet it was, a Barn owl or a Tawny owl.  There were photographs and descriptions on the site to help us out with this problem.  We decided our new friend was a little Tawny owlet and it was very common for them to leave their nests early, way before they can actually fly.  The instructions from the Barn Owl trust went on to say;

“Tawny owlets go through a phase called ‘branching’, when they walk, climb, jump and        flutter around in the trees at night. The adults locate them by their contact calls and will feed them anywhere. It is not at all uncommon for owlets to spend time on the ground during this phase and they are surprisingly good at climbing back up again. It is very likely that the owlet you have is perfectly okay and if it is left where it is, or returned to the same spot, it will be fed by the adults and will be able to climb to safety”.

But we were worried about leaving him.  He seemed so vulnerable, so helpless and the thought of walking away was horrible.  The advice from the Barn Owl Trust went on to say;

“Owlets on the ground sometimes fall victim to natural predation and are also vulnerable to dogs. As a result, you should consider picking the owlet up and placing it somewhere off the ground, on a shrub, or low branch for instance”.

We had found our fluffy little friend on the ground at the base of a big tree so we decided the above advice was what we’d do so we lifted him a little higher thinking he may at least have a better chance.   Jon didn’t fancy putting him onto his hand because although he was young and small, he had a really menacing looking set of claws so he found a stick and picked him up and got him to latch onto the stick where he perched happily whilst being gently moved from the ground to a higher position on a nearby tree branch, still low but off ground.

We then moved back and walked away, not able to take our eyes off the little fella, but also conscious that his parents were probably watching and actually had it all under control.   We hated leaving him, but also felt we’d done the right thing, although after reading a little further down the website page about signs of whether the Owlet looked ok or in distress, we decided that actually the little fella had been perfectly ok and we’d probably been worrying for no reason at all because Nature is truly amazing.

Our little Tawny owlet encounter was amazing and we were so happy we’d come across him or her 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

A cheeky little canal cruise to Sprotbrough – And relax…

Millie modelling her life jacket 🙂

With a long Bank holiday weekend behind us, Jon and I had asked ourselves the question…a short jaunt in Polly the camper van or a little trip out in the canal boat? It had not been long since we got back from a great week in Cornwall in Polly so we packed up what we needed and opted to take out the canal boat on a short 4 hour trip to Sprotborough where we’d moor up and have a couple of chilled out days enjoying this quiet little spot, with maybe a little bike ride and few woodland walks thrown in there somewhere.
With the house up for sale and with our intentions to live on the boat in the near future, we also thought we’d take the opportunity to introduce our two cats, Minnie & Alfie to the life on the boat too as they would need to get used to the idea eventually.

Our dogs, Rosie & Millie already love the boating life and are totally used to the slight, very relaxing rocking feeling and the engine noises, but also they both love to watch the water as we cruise. They skip merrily on and off the boat as we stop to go through the locks and take every opportunity to say hello to the other boaters along the way.

We arrived at the boat on Friday evening and as it was dark and too late to set off at that time we had a quiet evening in watching TV allowing Minnie & Alfie to find their boating mojo. They were all over the boat sniffing in every nook and cranny and actually seemed to settle really quickly.

Minnie chilling on the boat

They obviously were going to be indoor cats for the duration of the trip, which to them was new as they are used to having the freedom to the big outdoors, but it would only be for a few days.

Alfie being very inquisitive, watching the water
Minnie chilling out in the front bedroom windowsill

Saturday morning and Jon started the engine.  I’d put the cats in the front bedroom as this is the quietest place in the boat when the engine is running and the boat’s on the move.  They hid for the first hour or so, I think mainly because of the movement, but as time went on I opened the bedroom door and slowly began to see them become curious about what was going on.  They started peeking out of the windows and even dared to come up to the wheelhouse where we and the dogs were, to watch the water and canal life go by.  They did so well on their first trip out.

Our boating route was along the Sheffield & South Yorkshire canal from Rotherham to Sprotborough, where we’d planned to moor up for a couple of nights.  The weather didn’t disappoint, we were so lucky to have such a few warm and sunny days when in other areas it was apparently pretty bad.

A Heron hoping we haven’t seen him
Rosie watching the water

There is something very calming that happens to you when you step on a canal boat and start to meander along the water amongst the nature around us.

Your shoulders begin to relax slowly, you steadily breathe out and a satisfying smile starts to develop on your face.  You tend to forget your busy, fast life and that phone, all of which appears in your mind to be floating away with the tiny wave behind the boat and disappearing into the distance, you are then amongst nature and start to watch the ducks, the swans, the wild birds, you see the flowers and the beautiful trees and then…all is good with the world.

Working the electric locks

We had 6 locks to open on our way, they are all electric locks on this stretch which makes life a little easier too.

Myself and Jon usually take it in turns to work the locks whilst the other navigates the boat through into the lock and back out.

Going through a lock

 

Fresh water mussels on the lock walls at Pastures Lock

One of my favourite parts to this section of canal is heading towards and passing under Conisbrough Viaduct.  This amazing structure opened as a railway in 1909 and is 1527 feet in length.  It closed as a railway in 1965 and is now part of the Trans Pennine Trail for walkers and cyclists.  Maybe myself and Jon will be cycling it in the future.  Watch this space 🙂

Approaching Conisbrough Viaduct on the River Don
And we’re through the other side

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conisbrough is also the home to Conisbrough Castle which was built in the 12th Century and which inspired Sir Walter Scotts’ Ivanhoe.  You can only just see a small part of the castle from the canal.  I haven’t been to see the castle as yet, but it is definitely a visit I am planning in the near future – I love Castles.

Sprotbrough was our next stop after Conisbrough.  The moorings appear on the right and so we chose our spot and moored up, sticking our pins into the bank and switching off the engine.  The mooring is opposite to The Boat Inn, a beautiful pub which is said to date back to 1642 and boasts one their famous guests as being Sir Walter Scott.

This tree, not sure what tree it is, but it’s obviously incredibly old and different to the other trees in the same area
   Such a strange tree – Intriguing

Sprotbrough also has a Nature Reserve, which we love.

We have walked a number of times  around the lake and through the reserve and taken in the wonderful wildlife, the beautiful flowers the ancient trees and scenery, but we hadn’t biked around the area until now.

We actually couldn’t bike the Nature Reserve as biking isn’t allowed up in the woods, so we decided to go the opposite way along the canal to investigate the Pennine Trail which we knew was nearby.  We rode for quite a while along this route, which we found to be a mixture of tarmac and shale, great for eating up the miles, but we did realise we were on the wrong type of bikes or to be more precise, we had the wrong kind of tyres on our bikes.  We both have fat, chunky, knobbly tyres for more off rode mountain biking and for these trails it’s a lot easier to have the smoother tyres.  We decided the Pennine Trails have massive potential for future exploration, but what we were really looking for that day was some decent off road biking.  The day before as we had been cruising toward Sprotbrough, we had noticed quite a few mountain bikers on the far bank who were having a ball in the woods, so we headed there.  We did eventually find the spot and had a little play, but our playtime soon came to an end as something ‘pinged’ on my bike and my chain broke, I had lost a link and so that was it for me, I had to walk back to the boat.  Luckily though, after being out biking for a good few hours we were actually quite near to the mooring and so hadn’t too far to walk.

Time to shower, get some food cooking, enjoy a gin and tonic and chill for the evening…

We stayed in Sprotbrough for just the two nights.  It was only a short trip on the boat, actually our first of the year, but it was slow, calm, relaxing and fun.  We cannot wait to move on and live on this splendid boat and have the time to travel around the network of broad canals which we are lucky enough to have in this pretty country of ours.

Incidentally, the things the kitty’s didn’t like about their maiden boating trip, (apart from not being allowed out):

  • people who walked past the boat in the towpath
  • the whistling kettle, although they soon got used to it 🙂

 

A sleepy village called Gweek

There’s more to this quiet little village than meets the eye

Whenever we visit Cornwall we always seem to fit in a walk over to Gweek from the farm where we stay near Helston.  It’s such a beautiful walk with a mixture of country lanes and farmland

                                       

and it usually only takes us around 45 minutes to get there, which sometimes is just enough to stretch our legs and give the dogs a good walk.  The other reason we tend to go is because Gweek has a boat yard which you can have a wander around and Jon loves boats!

This time I thought I’d look a little more into this sleepy little place which always seems so quiet with it’s one pub, a shop and post office, a village hall, a garage and also a Seal Sanctuary which is open to the public as it’s known as a local visitors attraction.  I remember going to the Seal Sanctuary once quite a few years ago with Jon and my boys when they were young and I remember it being such a nice place to visit.  You also get an insight to the marine rescue work they do there and as well as Seals, there are also Otters and Penguins which are such loveable characters, so I’d say it’s well worth a visit, especially if you have children.

Gweek is at the head of the Helford River and was an old port, in fact as it says in the Cornwall Guide it is thought there was a port here as early as 450BC when tin was traded with the Phoencians.  Now I love history and I’d never heard of Phoencians so I went straight to Google.  This civilisation were a part of the East Mediterranean coast, which now would be seen as : Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Spain and more.  To think we were trading with far and wide countries so many years ago, travelling across seas.  This opens up so many questions to me – what did these people look like? what did they wear? what were their boats like? what was life like in those times? What must Gweek have looked like in those times?  Gweek was also a bustling port in the medieval times allowing all but the largest ships.  Cornwall’s main industry was mining and so Gweek was busy up into the mid 1800’s with tin and copper being exported and coal and timber being imported.  As the water trade started to decline and the waste from the mines started to work its way into the river, Gweek was to become the quieter more sedate village we see today, but you will still see plenty of boats along the river and in the boat yard.

        

…And of course we had to sample the local beer in the Black Swan before heading back, this time we tried the Skinners Cornish Knocker, Golden Ale.  Another lovely day in Cornwall.

 

 

The Things We Don’t Say

A beautifully written post…

The Off Key Of Life

Nothing haunts us like the things we don’t say.
Mitch Albom

This is not an elephant in the room kind of thing where the problem we all acknowledge keeps getting pushed under the carpet. This is more about an unspoken hug. It’s about the things we don’t say because we don’t know if the person we care about wants to hear them or if the words are just inadequate.

It’s about love, and pain. It’s about hurt, and loss. It’s about moments that stay with us forever but never get acknowledged once we’ve moved past them.

It’s about remembering, and forgetting. It’s about understanding, and learning. It’s about wanting to put your arms around someone you care about and tell them you can’t begin to understand their hurt or loss but you think about them everyday. It’s about wanting to let them know that you see past the smile.

This…

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Cornwall here we come!

A trip from Yorkshire to Cornwall for some mountain biking, walking and surfing

Since my last post It’s time to sell up and live on a boat…, we’ve  barely had time to think! We gave ourselves a target of getting the house up for sale for Easter which we thought was realistic, but then when we started to look at the jobs we felt needed doing around the place… well… needless to say, we’ve ended up almost re-decorating the whole house, along with a good Spring clean, including the (rather large) garden, garage and sheds as well as working full time and also trying the get the boat ready – Phew…

The house goes on the market this week just in time for Easter so we decided to say “Hello” to Polly the Camper van, packed her up with some toys – surf boards, mountain bikes, canoe, kites and set off down to Cornwall leaving the house in the hands of the estate agent.

Rosie enjoying the journey

We arrived in Helston, Cornwall where we set up camp and spent the next day or so getting over the 13 hour drive down from Yorkshire, (should have been around 8 hours, but got caught up in a major tail back on the M5) and enjoyed some well earned down time, but then yesterday we oiled up the mountain bikes and set off for the afternoon with the idea of heading towards Lizard Point, (the most southernly point of the UK), not actually realising how far south it was.  Although we hadn’t got through Helston before my gear lever fell off, but luckily we were very near to a cycle shop so a big thank you to a very kind guy there who helped me out, put on a new screw thingy and sent us on our way – Thank you Giant Helston Cycle Store !!

 

                                     

With blue sky and the sun on our backs we headed first from the farm where we are staying in Helston on to Penrose where long woodland and coastal paths are bike, horse riding and walker friendly, an absolutely beautiful ride along Loe Pool, the largest natural lake in Cornwall with the English Spring flowers in full bloom and the trees bursting out in leaf.

It was a combination of easy biking trails and harder down hill tracks with enough obstacles to make it interesting.  We then landed onto Loe Bar Beach where we stopped for a picnic lunch and a snooze.

                

I realised at that point that I’d made a mistake that morning in going for a jog first thing and my legs were feeling tired, so we decided we weren’t going the make the Lizard this trip and changed route to head for base.  We cycled back up onto the coastal path towards Gunwalloe Beach

but soon got sidetracked when we saw a sign for the Halzephron Inn.

Well it would’ve been rude to pass this beautiful country pub without tasting their local Cornish beer, ‘Skinners Porthleven pale ale‘ and they had a very welcoming sunny beer garden too, and as you can see below, Millie needed a break 😉

 

 

 

From there and with a little sway, we then peddled along a short road and then back onto the coastal path back towards and across Loe Bar beach.  It was above Loe Bar Beach where we came across this monument, which stopped me in my tracks.  It is a monument erected in the memory of between 130 – 190 sailors who lost their lives in a tragic accident on the HMS Anson off the coast of Loe Bar in 1807.  An inventor called Henry Trengrouse, from Helston, as a consequence of this tragedy invented the rocket powered rescue system for ships in distress called the ‘Bosun’s Chair’ which in time helped save thousands of lives, he also invented the life jacket – fascinating…

We then headed towards the outskirts of Porthleven where we headed high up following the National Trust footpath across farmland, back down through woodland and back through Penrose

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

toward Helston where we picked up another woodland river trail that brought us out at Lowertown and at the bottom of a very steep road which I wasn’t overly happy about climbing, but up we had to go up in order to reach Redruth Road then Falmouth Road which then lead us back to the farm and a well earned cup of tea, although something a little stronger found it’s way into a glass too.

    

 

 

 

 

The English Spring flowers are absolutely beautiful here.  Wild Garlic, Primroses, Apple & Cherry Blossom, Hawthorn to mention just a few…

    

We reckon we must have done at least 10 miles biking yesterday along some of the most beautiful woodland and coastal trails with some of the most amazing Cornish views, some easy bike trails, some harder up hill and a couple of exciting down hill rides.   What a great days’ fitness for this fifty something and an almost fifty something fella 🙂 twinned with sightseeing and a sneaky pint in a local country pub.  My legs were aching like mad when I got off my bike not to mention my ass!!

Brilliant day, loved every minute 🙂

It’s time to sell up and live on a boat…

 

fullsizerenderSo since returning from our amazing time in Canada, we’ve been suffering from post holiday blues.  With a combination of getting straight back into work, the weather here being rubbish with storms, Doris & Ewen knocking us about and not a lot of money to do anything.  So we’ve been getting stuck into moving forward with our ‘Living the Dream’ plans – exciting, but a lot to do…

Basically we have a boat and we’ve decided it’s the right time to sell up and go live on her 🙂

We call the boat ‘Head in the Clouds’, she’s a broad beamed canal boat, 10′ wide by 55′ long to be precise – and we love her 🙂

We first bought her in 2002 as a rusty steel shell with nothing inside except a vast rusty space with no windows or doors.  It was so exciting and it was from that point that we wanted her to be our home.

There was such a lot to do though and of course, general life and work got in the way which meant time ran on and on and all of a sudden it’s 2017, the kids are all grown up living their lives and the boat looks so much better.  So, (although not finished) it looks more like a home to us, so the time is now right to make the jump and go for it.  So it’s operation sell the house and climb aboard – Sounds that simple right?!

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Eh Voila!

 

I and some of Jon’s family helped with some of the work in the very beginning, but the credit must go to Jon who has worked his ass off over the years, grabbing bits of time here and there to create something quite special.

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Yes this is me modelling a very fetching boiler suit & dust mask

In the beginning, we sand blasted and grinded the rust away and then gave her many layers of special paint underneath, inside and out.

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IMG_6197When that was done she could go into the water and be tugged to her mooring on the Sheffield & South Yorkshire canal – exciting times.

 

 

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Then it was windows to cut out and make, doors to make, rooms to plan and create, electricity to bring in, solar panels to install, water tank, waste tank, inlets & outlets, kitchen & bathroom, fire place to build to name just a few necessities and then of course the engine – Phew – all so simple!

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Yeah right, I can see Jon rolling his eyes and tutting at me as I type…Bearing in mind he’s never done anything like this before, I’m so proud of him for what he’s achieved and learnt along the way.

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Today, there still is lots to do and of course as the time has gone on there’s also the maintenance to keep up to now but, ‘Head in the Clouds’ is beautiful, she has a ‘Perkins 315’ engine which came out of a dumper truck and sounds lovely as she ‘tug tug tug’s’ along.  She has two bedrooms, the main bedroom having the best view at the front of the boat, a double bed, dressing table and fitted wardrobes, the guest room is smaller, but amazingly can sleep three with it’s cleverly designed bunk bed system.    The bathroom has a toilet, sink, full sized bath with shower, there is then a corridor which takes you to the open plan living room and kitchen.

 

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Getting busy in the kitchen

There is a cosy living space with a brick fireplace and a wood burning stove along with a fitted B&Q kitchen, then out the back door into the wheelhouse which is a nice size for a couple of chairs and a coffee table.  Luxury 🙂  The wheelhouse is ‘work in progress’ at the moment, the bathroom needs updating and still many more jobs to be done, Jon’s just in the middle of fitting new doors and windows to the front of the boat right now.

We’ve already been out on a few cruises since the engine went in and that’s when we realised ‘yup, we did the right thing.’   We have both had to learn the rules and regulations of navigating a boat along the canals and we’ve also had to learn how to actually steer quite a large boat along with how to operate the Locks, all this being quite a daunting experience to start with, but we aren’t too bad at it now after having a few bumps and scrapes along the way.  We love boating and generally being on and around the British canals, it’s such a beautiful way to see the countryside.  The thing about canals is that they can be very near to busy towns and cities, but when you’re cruising along you barely notice that, because it’s so slow and quiet and you feel you’re really in there amongst nature.  (The  videos at the end of this post are of us cruising along the Calder & Hebble Navigation).

b3aa5dc6-031d-4824-a9bb-5efc55c6a83fThere are swans, ducks, herons and many other birds which we don’t know the names of, (we’ve got to get a good bird book!) and other wildlife which pops up to say hello – life on the water can be so tranquil.

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The British canal network is very large and generally kept in very good condition by the Canal & River Trust and consists of narrow and broad canals.  Head in the Clouds is a broad beamed barge which means we are a little restricted with the routes we can take as we can only travel on the broad canals, but there are plenty for us to explore and that’s what we intend to do.  Spring is on its way so we’ll soon be unhitching the mooring ropes and away we go…

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   Millie Puggly enjoying the view
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Rosie loving the moving water

                                       

 

An English lass arrives in Whistler in search of snow

 

IMG_6048So we arrived in Canada earlier this month for a 10 day stay, snowboarding on the Whistler & Blackcomb mountains.  Sounds like I say that as if it’s a normal occurrence, but no, really quite a special treat.  We usually go to somewhere in Europe for our once a year snowboarding trip and for the last few years it’s been Austria.  We are really quite good at travelling and doing the stuff we love to do on a tight budget and in Europe you can pick up some great cheap deals, but this year we’ve pushed the boat out and went to the place where Jon’s been itching to go ever since we learnt to snowboard and it didn’t disappoint.

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We stayed in a lovely little hotel/studio called Coast Blackcomb Suites which was located on Blackcomb Mountain where we could literally board from the hotel straight down to the first lift every morning and at the end of the day, with weary legs, glide straight to the door , (which I literally did one day, a little out of control!) where we’d be met by happy smiley staff who’d take our boards from us and safely store them – wonderful!

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IMG_6014The weather and conditions were amazing, having fresh snow most days along with beautiful blue skies –  what more could we ask for?!  Some days had a total ‘white out’ on the top of the mountains with high winds and heavy snow, where it’s been quite difficult boarding down, but we love the challenge of these conditions too.  It doesn’t take long before you’re half way down the mountain and the conditions change again and it’s just beautiful.  Wow and the scenery…  just stunning.  It takes your breath away as your coming down the mountainside, I was forever stopping just to take photo’s and we could really bore people to death with the video footage we have on the GoPro.

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Having a rest halfway down the longest run of the holiday (5 miles) and some difficult red runs – Peak to Creek

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Wandering around Whistler Village – It was SO cold!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the ten days we ate out twice and the other evenings we catered for ourselves as the room was well kitted out with a great little kitchen, but not until we’d had a stroll around the Whistler and Blackcomb ‘villages’ each evening.  We began to wonder about the history of Whistler because what we were seeing for ourselves, apart from reminders of it being the host of the 2010 winter olympics, was a quaint yet a typical ski resort, but we were sure there had to be more to this place.  It didn’t take me long to find out, with the help of  www.whistlermuseum.org that the Whistler valley does have quite a history with The Squamish & Lil’wat first nations being the indigenous people of the area, thriving for thousands of years before visitors started to arrive in the late 1800’s.  It is really quite an interesting history and the whistler museum blog is an interesting read.

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Whistler also boasts a Peak to Peak gondola which is a World Record Breaker.  It is the longest unsupported span for a lift of its kind at 3,024km/1.88mi.  It is also the highest lift of its kind at 436m/1,427ft above the valley floor and the longest continuous lift system, connecting 2 high speed quad chair lifts and 1 high speed gondola.  It really is quite something and we were lucky enough to ride in one of the glass bottomed gondola’s.

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This is the view through the floor of the gondola!! It was just stunning!
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Enjoying the views in the Peak to Peak Gondola

We didn’t want to waste any time there, so every day after a hotel breakfast we’d get changed, collect our boards and get down to the first lift where we’d have a look at the piste map and make our choice of which of the vast pistes we would explore and enjoy.  With both the Blackcomb and Whistler mountains, along with all the inter-connecting green and red pistes to choose from, (we’re not good enough for black runs) we had an absolute ball.   I think our favourite run of the holiday was ‘Jeff’s Ode to Joy’, which started out on a lovely wide, pretty steep stretch of piste, winding down and eventually splitting into many smaller runs which took you through beautiful forestry to the bottom and to the next chair lift.   Such an experience boarding through such beautiful natural scenery and as if that wasn’t enough, whilst queueing for the next chair lift there were birds which, obviously were very used to the crowds of queuing skiers and snowboarders as they were cheeky enough to sit on peoples heads or land on various hands which were held out.  The birds apparently are called Grey Jays and are little picnic thieves 🙂

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Towards the end of the holiday as I was sat in the room enjoying a well deserved glass of red wine, I decided to take a look at the hotel guide book and there was a very helpful guide on what to do in the event of coming face to face with a Bear!

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I love the, “talk quietly and tell him you are leaving” advice! Pretty sure while we were there they’d have all been snoozing happily in their caves somewhere 😉

We loved our time in Whistler.  The only downside of the visit was the very long journey home and the jet lag which didn’t make going straight back to work easy on our return, but well worth it to experience such a beautiful and fun place.  Loved it! 🙂

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At the top of Seventh Heaven 🙂

Back to our home life now and back to our main project – the broad beam narrow boat which Jon is working hard to complete.  It’s coming up to Spring now and so to look forward to many trips on board ‘Head in the Clouds’ as she’s called.  My next blog will be going over a little of the history of our beloved boat and catching up on a few of our English canal trips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turned Fifty and this is my first blog…

Why I want to blog…

So I’m starting to blog.  Maybe I thought I’d give myself another challenge, not sure why really, but I just thought I’d give it a go.  It’s all very new to me and I realise there’s a lot to ‘tweek’ and certainly a lot to learn about blogging, (especially using WordPress)  so please bare with me and if you have any helpful hints about using WordPress and blogging etc then please let me know.

So what is my blog about? Basically my blog is about the stuff I do because along with my partner, Jon we mainly love to travel, walk, surf, snowboard & mountain bike.  We have a Camper van and a canal boat which we love and we’ve been merrily doing what we love to do for years, but the thing is, I’ve turned 50 years old and what made me want to blog about these things is that I was told, not so long ago, “you can’t snowboard or do that stuff you do because your 50 years old now, you need to slow down”.  What???! I don’t think so! Why? Really?! The fact is – I don’t feel like slowing down.  Yes, I have many little aches and twinges in my body, I certainly don’t have the 20 year old body I used to have, but as long as my mind is active, and my body can keep up then I’ll keep going. So you turn 50, so what? To be honest I’ve never felt better or happier than I do right now and also the people who make comments like that make me more determined to keep going and to maybe add more challenges and learn new things along the way, (I won’t jump out of a plane though!)   So here it is, my blog – like I said earlier though, definitely a new challenge for me  learning about widgets, Tags, categories, links etc – learning to snowboard in my 40’s was a doddle compared to this.

By the way – We’re so lucky as we’re going to Whistler, Canada snowboarding in February so my second blog will be about that so hope you want to hear about it…