stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a compass (101compass)
Denbies Vineyard, Dorking

It was a while ago, so you may well have forgotten, but a couple of people got married in April, and as a result we had a bank holiday. I made the most of it. I took the train to Guildford, and then I took another train east, and, while sitting in it, debated whether to get off at Dorking West and head north up something called the Mole Gap Trail, or get off at Dorking Deepdene and head north up the main road, which would still be legit, but shorter. But I hate road walking, so the Mole Gap Trail it was.

Not that it was marked as such. However, it was pretty easy to follow on the map. It came off a residential road, and then went through a vineyard. Yes, I thought. Yes, this is what a pilgrimage is meant to be like. A tramp through a vineyard, cockle shell bouncing against my rucksack (I'd remembered to fix it on this time) and the prospect of a very big hill up ahead. A chap walking his dog asked if I was getting my walk in before the Big Event. Well, sort of.

I wasn't on the route, yet, but I knew the Mole Gap Trail hit the North Downs Way. Somewhere.

Pilgrims' Way

The only problem was, the North Downs waymarking failed just at that point. Footpaths, bridleways, rights of way there were in plenty, but it was by no means clear quite which of them I needed to turn right on to. Eventually I went too far, walked through Westhumble (passing, for church music geeks, Cleveland Lodge), and followed my nose east.

There are four significant obstacles on the way east. The first is the railway. Well, I was walking down a lane, and it crossed the railway. The second is the main road. Happily, it seems that all walkers, cyclists, and anyone who's not a motor vehicle, have to cross the main road at the same place, and there's a subway, so in the course of crossing the main road I picked up the North Downs Way.

The third obstacle is the river. You can wuss out and cross this using the footbridge. Or you can keep going in a straight line, and use the stepping stones.

Stepping Stones

Well, wouldn't you?

And the fourth obstacle is Box Hill. Look at it on the OS map, and you'll see that the contour lines are so close that they merge into a smear of orange. Helpfully (I think) there are planks set into the path all the way up to serve as steps, but I found that I had to sit down several times along the way to recover my breath. And my hip was beginning to complain, already. Annoyingly fit people, twice my age, most of them, overtook me. There was one pair who passed me on their way down, and then overtook me on the way up again. I had to keep reminding myself that it is not, repeat, not, a race. This is one of the perils of making pilgrimage alone: I am very prone to competitiveness.

But let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. There's a heck of a view from the top.

Box Hill - Trig Point

Once at the top of Box Hill, one proceeds for the most part along the contour lines, rather than across them, which is much more dignified. The path is mainly wooded, hazel, yew, oak, sycamore and chestnut in varying proportions. My friend Karen, of whom more anon, claims that the wealth of yews along the Pilgrims' Way is due to the pilgrims of old who ate yew berries to induce penitential bowel discomfort, and excreted the results along the road. Whatever the truth of this, there are certainly plenty of yews, and they are pretty old.

Union Flag

Coming down the other side, it's a lot less steep, but one has the joys of road walking to contend with. I avoided being run over, noted that civilisation was getting on quite happily without me, and celebrating the Royal Wedding, and, pretty much as soon as I'd got off the road and back into the shade, sat down to eat my lunch.

And then I was back among the yews and hazels. A couple of lads on motorbikes passed me, but posed no problem: I'd heard them when they were a long way away, and dodged. The path started to climb again. This was Colley Hill. Nothing like Box Hill, but still hard on my hip.

Circular Walk

Rucksack, Hazel

And I was beginning to think that I knew Colley Hill. As I toiled on up, past more yews, and then a high wire fence with a notice warning of guard dogs, suspicion became certainty. I'd been here before. I'd been here before on a drizzly July day in 2009, on the famous Yomp de la Poulet. My friends have a somewhat idiosyncratic way of doing hen nights, it must be admitted.

This was a cheering realisation, for I knew that if the North Downs Way was going to follow in the way of Le Yomp, and from the map it looked as if it was, it would be easy to track, and sooner or later I would come across a helpful National Trust car park with a loo block, and maybe some ice cream.

It also gave me some helpful landmarks to look out for, as previously pointed out by Karen. I'd seen plenty of Pilgrim Yews, but I could still find the Huggy Trees (except the North Downs Way cuts that corner off, so I couldn't) -



- the Furry Cows, looking much the same in 2011 as they had two years ago -

Furry cows - Colley Hill

- and the little temple thing with the mosaic ceiling -

Shelter - Reigate Hill

Shelter - Reigate Hill

and, eventually, the footbridge over the main road, and the car park. I'd half hoped that I'd find another Roman snail, but it was hardly the weather for them. I sent Karen a text to let her know how I was doing; she and her husband Nicholas live in Merstham, beautifully close to the Pilgrims' Way, and had generously agreed to put me up for the night, assuming that I didn't mind their house being in chaos. I didn't mind.

The loo block was still there. The little cafe next it had gone seriously upmarket and offered lattes and smoothies and stuff like that. All I really wanted was a Twister. Happily, hiding among their pretentious organic sorbets or whatever, there was one. I sat and ate it, and enjoyed the view over Reigate.

Next I was walking through Gatton Park, one of Capability Brown's masterworks - although, it must be said, not entirely a pleasant walking experience due to the unevenness of the paths. Usually that sort of thing wouldn't worry me, but every time I tripped over a stone or a root it jarred my hip. At the bottom of the hill I found a field of goats, wandering around some standing stones. These, it transpired, were put up for the year 2000, and each featured a spiritual thought by a giant of literature or theology, one for every two centuries.

Millennium Stones - Gatton

Having found my way out of Gatton Park, I discovered that I was in the grounds of the Royal Alexandra and Albert School. It seemed that this was deliberate, though there were stern notices here and there about not leaving the path. This would have been fine, had it only been evident where the path actually was. It turned out it was the road, so that was easy. I plodded on along it.

Then I crossed a golf course, watching diligently for flying golf balls, and found myself approaching Merstham. I phoned Karen to see if I had to cross the motorway or not. Not, was the answer. But I had to find my way to Camilla's house, Karen and Nicholas both being at Camilla's Royal Wedding party.

Camilla had never seen me before in her life, nor I her, but this seemed to be no barrier to my attending the party. I got there just as the royal couple were making there way to (or from?) Buckingham Palace in a convertible, and spent the rest of the afternoon in the garden with tea, scones, cream, jam, etc. It was most pleasant.

Airbed

A night in Karen and Nicholas' front room, on the airbed, which, we discovered too late, had a leak in above and beyond the leak we'd already found and duck-taped. Still, a pilgrim must expect less than optimal accommodation. I slept pretty well despite it, and set off the next morning to cross two motorways and head towards - though not quite into - Kent. For the first time, I moved inside the M25, and the distant roar was my companion for the rest of the day.

North Downs Way - Oilseed Rape

I climbed to the top of the ridge, and found some honest to goodness Pilgrims' Way, with a sign and everything.

Pilgrims' Way - Hilltop Farm

For the next mile or so the way consisted mainly of farm tracks, looking out alternatively across fields or protected downland. Pesky buzzy things buzzed around me, but didn't seem inclined to bite. Small mercies, and all that.

There was more road walking at the end of that, but it was a fair bit quieter, and on the whole reasonably pleasant. My main problem was what to do about lunch. I'd waved off Karen's offer of sandwiches, being sure that I'd find something, somewhere, but I was beginning to have my doubts.

Another main road, another bridge across it. I had hopes of this main road. The map showed a car park, and I thought that maybe, just maybe, where there was a car park there might be a burger van, or a loo. I don't know, because I never found it, but, stomping down the byway to reach the road, I saw a sign to a vineyard. The sign mentioned a coffee shop. Where there are coffee shops, there is often food, and there are always loos.

Lunch, it turned out, was a very pleasant cheese and broccoli bake, with pear juice from the vineyard's own pear trees.

Rejoining the North Downs Way after Godstone Vineyard involved some Up. The North Downs Way involved some more Up. Then some down. And my hip was protesting more and more. I thought about leaving the path, saving a kilometre or so, and heading straight to the station at Oxted, but it looked confusing, and I really couldn't face getting lost.

A chap overtook me while I was having a rather miserable sit-down. I contemplated calling Anne, my former pilgrimage partner, and asking her to persuade me to go on. I thought about it some more, and concluded that actually I had no intention of sitting there all night, so I went on of my own accord. I caught up with the chap at a viewpoint, and overtook him. Some short while later he overtook me; we exchanged brief comments about the possibility of cutting corners, but both decided against it.

Oxted, Railway

And, finally, a steep descent from the ridge (with the railway tunnel directly beneath, which is mildly surreal), an unfairly windy meadow, a footbridge back over the M25, and plodding into and through Oxted until I found a coffee shop, and a train home.

Next up: an interlude, a revisit.
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a compass (101adventure)
Joining the North Downs Way

The great thing with this pilgrimage, about taking the train home and back again, is that you can be sure you're picking up exactly where you left off. The station is a fixed point, where 'somewhere in Guildford' isn't. Even so, I went over my route from Saturday for a few hundred yards, dropping down from the station to the towpath and following the river as far as the town bridge. There I crossed over and went up the High Street as far as Quarry Street, which I walked down on the off-chance that St Mary's was open. It wasn't, so I kept going.

North Downs Way: Chantry Wood

The North Downs Way runs a little way south of Guildford proper. After crossing the Wey at Shalford it runs along the edge of Chantry Wood, which is where I joined it. It's well way-marked and easy to follow. Through the wood and out the other side, walking up on the banks of the path so as not to have to plough through dry sand, and then a steep climb up St Martha's Hill. I stopped just before the summit to get my breath back, eat breakfast, and consider the next step. Originally I had intended to stick to the North Downs Way, which is more direct - but I wanted to stop in Shere and I hadn't brought anything for lunch. For the most part, the North Downs Way skirts around the places that one might expect to have pubs or sandwich shops. I changed my mind.

St Martha's

St Martha's Churchyard

St Martha's was closed, too. This didn't worry me, however; I'll be visiting it with the PCC in a couple of weeks. On coming down the other side of the hill, I left the North Downs Way and joined the Pilgrims' Way. This is considerably trickier to follow, and I was getting the map out at every fork in the road all the way to Shere.

Pilgrims' Way: Bluebell Path

The church at Shere is dedicated to St James, the first of the twelve apostles to be martyred and the pilgrims' saint. There are cockle shells on the kneelers and a tiny Madonna and Child, thought to be from a pilgrim's staff, in the wall.

St James, Shere

Pilgrim Staff Ornament, St James, Shere

While in Shere, I stopped for a lemonade and a bite of lunch at the White Horse - and another look at the map. Or, rather, maps - traversing from the Guildford and Farnham sheet to the Dorking, Box Hill and Reigate one was imminent. So that was quite exciting. I was not looking forward to the next stage, though - climbing up to rejoin the North Downs Way. I'd done that before and not had much breath left at the end of it. As it happened, I went up Combe Lane and Combe Bottom by mistake, and by the time I'd worked out where I was had almost got to the top. It felt a lot less steep than the previous route I'd taken, though that may of course have been my imagination.

Once safely back on the North Downs Way it was a level, shady walk on a well-kept bridleway between tall conifers. A group of cyclists whizzed past me; I heard them say they'd be in the region of Toulouse in ten days.

North Downs Way: Birches, Chalk Path

After a while, one leaves the top of the ridge and moves into chalky paths along the face of the Downs. Oak trees, silver birches. Sun on my right. Something slithered out of the way of my clumpy feet. A slow worm. (They're not slow.) Waymarkings for 'Walk the Chalk' - Dorking to Gomshall. I considered following them down into Dorking, but trying to do it backwards was risky: too easy to miss them. I stuck with the OS map and the North Downs Way until I came out the other side of Ranmore Common.

North Downs Way: Slow Worm

North Downs Way: Dorking

I was half-tempted to buy an ice cream from the van in the National Trust car park, but a loo would have been more helpful. I left the path and began the long descent into Dorking. A few hundred yards of road-walking - dodging Chelsea tractors every twenty seconds - was mercifully ended by the discovery of a footpath running alongside the lane. This,
while overgrown, was infinitely preferable to the road and not actually too nettley.

Map: North Downs Way

The Pilgrim, Dorking

I came out near Dorking West station, passing "The Pilgrim" on my way. Then came the exciting search for a public lavatory on a bank holiday Monday. There isn't one. Second best: a pub - but I needed to get some cash out, because it's terribly poor form to go in just to use the loo. One has to buy a drink at some point in the exercise. Well, I found a cashpoint, and then a pub that didn't look too horrible - and indeed it wasn't.

And then I bought my ice cream at a petrol station, and consequently missed the most convenient train back to Guildford by about a minute. (I know, because I saw it go while I was waiting to cross the road.) But really, it was a lovely evening, and even if Dorking Deepdene station is a bit of a dump, there was a friendly blackbird to talk to.

Not at all bad for the first day of serious walking - although my thighs have only today stopped aching. Tomorrow I'm walking from Dorking to Merstham, and on Saturday Merstham to - who knows?
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a compass (101travel)
Wey, Narrowboat

Back in 2007, when I was making the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela with my best friend Anne, we walked 500 miles over seven weeks. We would start walking where we'd left off the day before, we would take a rest day once a week or so, and we walked until we got there.

But there's another way to do it. Towards the end of our journey, we found ourselves falling in with a group of four folkies from Ely. Two of them were only walking the last bit of the camino, but for the other two the stretch from León to Santiago was the last of many stages. Over several years, a week here and a fortnight there, whenever they could get the time off, they had walked the camino a bit at a time, picking it up where they had left off the last time.

My current pilgrimage is a lot closer to home. So close to home, in fact, that I can walk every step of the way, from my home in Woking to Canterbury. I don't have to mess around with trains and boats. However, I'm not in a position to take a huge amount of leave in one go, and I'm not in a state of physical fitness sufficient to up and walk one hundred and fifty miles at a time.

Happily, the cluster of bank holidays around Easter, May and the Royal Wedding have sorted themselves into a nicely paced schedule. On the days off I can walk, and on work days I can rest my legs. I'm walking this pilgrimage a day at a time.

Adding to the fun is the fact that I'm completely reliant on public transport. Fortunately I'm reasonably handy with a bus timetable, but it does mean that I'm having to be a bit creative with the paths I take. It does help to end a day's walk in a town with a railway station.

I began walking on Easter Saturday, and persuaded my long-suffering partner [personal profile] countertony to join me for a gentle stroll into Guildford. Woking is some way north of both the historic Pilgrims' Way and the modern North Downs Way, so before I could join a recognised path I had to make up a route south.

We struck out towards Old Woking and Send, and joined the Wey towpath at Cartbridge - resolutely resisting the lure of the pub. The Wey Navigation is not the shortest way into Guildford, but it's easy to follow, and on a hot day a nice flat walk by the river is the most tempting. And my word, was it hot. We finished two litres of water between us on a three and a half hour walk.

Send Church
Send Church, from the Wey.

The Wey, in its natural state, is not entirely navigable; thus stretches of canal-like navigation were put in from the late 1500s onwards. There are locks and all sorts, which add to the interest. Assorted wildlife (including, it is rumoured, parakeets, though I didn't see any). An ancient tree held together with an iron band. The bits of plain river aren't bad, either.

Duck and Ducklings

Oak Tree

Wey: Reflection

I had planned to eat at a hostelry in Guildford (to be decided when we got to it) and then attend the Easter Vigil at the cathedral. And that is, in fact, what we did - somewhat to my surprise. My hip was complaining all the way from Stoke Lock into town, and I was developing a splitting headache, and it was as much as I could do to cross the river from the pub to the cashpoint and order food. I wasn't feeling much more human at the end of the meal, so we decided to call it a day and get the train home.

Except... when we'd hauled ourselves to the station, it quickly became apparent that we wouldn't be getting home in a hurry. A lightning strike had taken out the signals between Guildford and Woking, and there were no signs of improvement. And, you know... it's not really that far from the station to the cathedral, if you go out the back. And my head was improving.

So I went to the Easter Vigil and, while it wasn't a patch on last year's (no fire inna bucket!) and I haven't got used to being in church and sweaty and filthy and horrible and therefore felt somewhat awkward, I'm glad I did. It starts Easter off properly, and it starts the pilgrimage off, too.

And when I got back down to the station the trains were running beautifully on time.

Sunbeam

As it happens, the Wey Navigation is part of a long-distance path. The E2 European Long-Distance Path, in fact. We looked this up when we got home; it runs from Galway to Nice. They're not kidding when they call it long-distance.
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a compass (101travel)
10 St Mary's Road - Under Construction

On the 4th, I returned from a somewhat frustrating morning's walk around Harrogate to continue my search for significant sites in family history in Leeds.

10 St Mary's Road was the house my great-grandparents lived in when they were first married. ('After the Wreck of the Empress,' says my father - they crossed the Channel on the first night of their honeymoon, in a paddle steamer which damaged both paddle boxes on the twin piers at the French end of the voyage. When I was a little girl, I used to create working models of this event with sardines and chunks of cucumber; despite this visual aid, I can remember very few of the details.) I'm not sure whether they were the first people to live in the house, but going by the picture above it seems likely.

Anyhow, it has a proper address, and therefore was very easy to find - though a long walk from Headingley station. No matter; while it was very grey, it didn't actually rain, and I got some decent pictures. Leaving aside the deterioration in my guide picture, it's very obviously the same house:

10 St Mary's Road - front

St Mary's Road - sign

10 St Mary's Road - side

10 St Mary's Road - gate

10 St Mary's Road - rear

I did start out towards Harehills, but it was looking greyer and greyer, and my feet hurt, and anyway, I thought that, with three sites visited and two photographed, I'd done more than enough to call this goal -

- complete
stapsdoes101things: Pizza with '101' marked out in green pimento (101food)
Leeds Parish Church

Perhaps six restaurants was too few? Should I have aimed higher? I certainly didn't expect to complete this goal within a year, but here we are: of the four nights that I was in Yorkshire, I ate at a restaurant on three of them. Let's face it: it was that or supermarket sandwiches in my hotel room. Not inspiring.

So -

on Saturday the 2nd I ate at Da Mario's, an Italian restaurant. I had a goat's cheese salad followed by tortelloni with asparagus. Very nice. I wish I could say the same for the orange juice I had with it, which seemed to be reconstituted, and resulted in pale squash-flavour at the top of the glass and soupy sweet gunk at the bottom. The house white was OK, however.

on Sunday I had pizza with a friend.

on Monday the 4th I ate at Shabab Pavilion, an Indian restaurant. Started with poppadoms, and had a very nice gobi aloo sag (cauliflower/potato curry) for the main course, with peshwari (almond/sultana) naan.

on Tuesday the 5th I ate at Safran, a Persian restaurant. I was in something of a hurry, having found a concert I wanted to go to at Leeds Parish Church (above). I started with aash-e-reshtah (an absolutely delicious noodle and bean soup) and had all that I could manage of an enormous portion of fesenjaan (walnut sauce) with rice.

Now I've learned not to be shy about asking for a table for one, I'm finding that I can be a lot more adventurous about where and what I eat. In each of the cases above I walked in off the street because I fancied the look of the place. In each case I found something that I liked all or most of, at a reasonable price.

That said, I'm not convinced that eating out is really a habit that I want to get into. Just to remember that it's a possibility that exists, and, when I'm out with friends and it's my turn to pick the eatery, to have a little more trust that we'll find something edible.
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a compass (101travel)
153 Sunbridge Road

My great-great-grandfather was in wool. Quite a lot of Yorkshire was, and did very nicely out of it, thank you. There's a reason for the dead sheep in Leeds' coat of arms (it's actually a fleece). While the family lived in Leeds, the works were in Bradford, and I made that my first stop.

To aid me in my search I had the address, the picture above, and the following helpful text message from my father:

Robt Jowitt&Sons, 153SunbridgeRd, Bradford BD1 2PA, on left leaving city, offices 1st, entrance to yard next, mill buildings behind, some lower. Foto coming :-)

So, really, it ought to be pretty easy so long as I could find Sunbridge Road. I decided to go to the National Media Museum first, and look for the works later. The museum closed in two hours. The works had closed years ago. Happily, I saw Sunbridge Road as I walked to the museum:

Sunbridge Road - sign

Emerging two hours later, I started at about number 29 and followed the road out of the city. Having once seen the old photo, the building was instantly recognisable, even though the trolleybuses are long gone.

153 Sunbridge Road

The name is still over the door...

153 Sunbridge Road - sign

Actually, that's a window, but you take my point. But the actual door is shuttered...

153 Sunbridge Road - door

... and the yard is empty...

153 Sunbridge Road - Side

... though the chimney still stands...

153 Sunbridge Road - Chimney

It felt very bleak, all abandoned like that. (The plan, I am reliably informed, was to sell the office off for conversion to luxury flats, but then the recession happened.) It didn't help that the sun was stubbornly lighting up the other side of the street. It felt, too, as if the part of me that is descended from these Quaker Yorkshire wool-merchants didn't recognise it as home. (But then, was I expecting it to?) As if it was all to do with some other Jowitts entirely.

I'm glad to have seen it, and I'm glad to have seen it now, while it's in good, recognisable shape. Whatever happens in the future, be it conversion to flats or descent into dereliction, will change it, and the name will come down. I'm glad to have seen it while it's still, in some little way, mine.

2 April 2011
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a camera lens (101photography)
National Media Museum

Well, I'm back from Yorkshire, via some excursions in Bedfordshire and Derbyshire, and am just about recovered from the trip. I've gathered enough to call goal 74 complete, but more on that in the next few days. I also took the opportunity to visit one of the many museums I've never been to before - the National Media Museum (formerly the Museum of Photography, Film, and Television) at Bradford.

I am more into photography than I am film or TV, so I started in the basement, where there was a Kodak-sponsored, but very informative generally, exhibition on the history of amateur photography. There was plenty to look at, though I must admit that I moved rather swiftly past the rows and rows of Brownie cameras. I was more interested in the very early stuff, and the mock-ups of Victorian photographic studios and drawing rooms.

Then I started working my way upwards. The ground floor is devoted to the shop, the cafe, and the cinemas, so I skipped that. The first floor is special exhibitions, except there weren't any, so I kept going on up.

Second floor: TV. Proper interactive kiddie stuff about how it all works, and how TV programmes are put together; also some early works by John Logie Baird, ancient TV cameras, etc. And a 3D TV room. (It doesn't do it for me. I seem to see several layers of 2D, not what I would call 3D, and it's just distracting.) Across the corridor the focus is more on what you see on the screen. There was a replica Dalek. And some replica Thunderbirds. And some Wombles. I am drawn to the sophisticated end of the schedule, I am...

Moving upwards, there was a floor devoted to animation. I wasn't familiar with much of this (I am a philistine - blame my TV-deprived childhood), but there was some gorgeous work there. And the museum set from The Wrong Trousers

Up to the top floor - which probably would have been more interesting had there been a film showing, as it contains the projection room. As it was, there was a small exhibition on 3D cinema.

Lastly, I went down to the floor below, where there were all sorts of lenses and mirrors to play with, which I would have enjoyed hugely had there only been time. Alas, it was five to six, and chucking-out time.

Highly recommended. It's a very good museum, and it's free to get in.
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a compass (101travel)
Melcombe, Harrogate

I write this looking out over Leeds - well, looking out over parts of Wade Lane if I peer over my right shoulder. I have some complimentary hotel tea and biscuits, and my legs have just about recovered from all the walking I did yesterday.

I'd intended to save the write-up for when I got home and had uploaded all my photos, but since I have net access and illustration here, and the next few days are likely to be as busy as the last few, I thought I might as well update you on at least part of my Yorkshire expedition.

"Melcombe", St James' Park, Harrogate, was my great-grandparents' second married home (more on their first married home later). They moved there in 1906, continuing on a path of upward social mobility that took them out of Leeds and eventually down south and out of the scope of this journey. (My great-grandmother grew up in Dorset, and I don't think she ever really felt at home in Yorkshire.) But Harrogate is quite posh enough in itself.

I thought, naively, perhaps, that Melcombe would be pretty easy to find. After all, the works in Bradford had turned out to be right under my nose (another story, again). The problem was, the picture above, together with some very vague memories from my father, was all I had as a guide. On leaving the train in Harrogate and purchasing a street atlas in the bookshop, I discovered that there is no such street as St James' Park.

So I knew what the house ought to look like, and I knew that it had to be near The Stray, which is a park in the centre of Harrogate. So I was looking for a big, turn of the century, probably grey stone building near a park.

Harrogate consists almost entirely of big grey stone houses and parks.

After wandering around fruitlessly for about forty minutes, humming 'New every morning', phoning my father for what I hoped would be more detailed remembrances ('north east across the Stray, and you may have to cross the railway line'), and finding (but being unable to get into) the church they attended (remind me to tell you some stories of the Reverend Guy some time) I did what I should have done in the first place, and went to the library.

There I found, in the excellent Local History section, a 1908 copy of "Robinson's Harrogate Directory". This not only lists Reverend Douglas S. Guy as Rector of Christ Church, The Stray, but also includes "Robert Jowitt, Melcombe, Cavendish Avenue, St James' Park".

Cavendish Avenue, you will be pleased to hear, is in the A-Z.

Sadly, Melcombe is no longer on Cavendish Avenue. I walked the length of it twice, and everything was either too new or too big. Or both. And it was coming on to rain, so I went back to the station and had a baked potato for lunch.

And that, dear reader, is why I don't have a current photo of "Melcombe", and that's why you're getting this post today.
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a compass (101travel)
17 March 2011

It took me three years to work up the nerve, but: on Thursday, when our musical director was handing out solo verses in the responsorial psalm, I asked for one. And I got it. And, on Sunday morning, I sang it. I actually have no recollection of what it sounded like, but various parties assure me that it was OK.

In the sanctuary I come to you
To behold your glory and might
To know your love is better than life itself
Therefore my lips will praise your name.


I rather suspect that the remaining three will be considerably less terrifying.

On Sunday I also gave my father a ring, and got some advice from him as to what I should go and look at when I'm in Leeds. (When am I in Leeds? This weekend. I'm going up on Saturday, have Sunday and Monday to do what I like with, and then have a course on Tuesday and Wednesday, going home on Wednesday night. I can do quite a lot in that time.)

It turns out that most of the interesting stuff (houses my ancestors lived in, and so forth) is in Leeds, not Bradford, though I should be able to go to Bradford and find what used to be the works pretty easily. I could also, if I have the time, go to Harrogate and see if I can find 'Melcombe', my great-grandparents' house.

I hadn't realised how terrifyingly wealthy my great-great-grandfather must have been. He seems to have owned a lot of the city at one time (Harehills, the park) and then given it to the city. This gives me a reasonable chance to get a proper look at some of it.

I may find a church to mystery-worship on Sunday morning. I'll certainly take a train over to York at Sunday lunchtime and meet up with a very dear friend. It will be a busy few days, but, in between panicking about how ill-prepared I am, I'm really looking forward to it.
stapsdoes101things: A sculpture of a Wellsian Martian Tripod; text '101' in corner (101sci-fi)
5 March 2011

Goal 63 is now two-thirds finished. I've written two fics recently, both in Doctor Who, both dealing with companions who get a bit of a raw deal in canon:

Transferrable Skills (2137 words) by faviconEl Staplador
Fandom: Doctor Who (2005)
Rating: General Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Donna Noble, Tenth Doctor
Summary:

Temping: an underrated profession. Five things that Donna has learned in her time as an agency worker.



Bats in the Belfry (2086 words) by faviconEl Staplador
Fandom: Doctor Who (1963)
Rating: General Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Dodo Chaplet, Tenth Doctor, Polly Wright
Summary:

When you've got giant flying six-legged (probably) alien bat-things nesting in the bell-tower, sometimes it helps to call in an old friend. If you can get hold of him.

Day 100

Mar. 8th, 2011 08:52 pm
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
8 March 2011

In a pleasing piece of symmetry, I started my 101 on Advent Sunday, and day 100 is Shrove Tuesday. Tomorrow Lent starts, traditionally a time of self-examination.

Let's have a look, then.

Over the course of my first hundred days, I have:

completed five goals:

- go on a demo;
- do an Advent observance
- get a decent shredder;
- do a first aid course;
- make wedding album/scrapbook


possibly completed one goal:

- join bone marrow donor registry


and the rest of it's long )


Over the course of the next 100 days, I'd like to:

- mystery-worship another service;
- make a success of the Leeds/Bradford trip;
- firm up plans for Exeter;
- make a start on the Canterbury pilgrimage
- finish the first quilt by the time the baby is born;
- get at least another twenty of the hundred snapshots done;
- post at least ten times to [personal profile] ancientandmodern;
- get my hair cut;
- sing a solo at church;
- read the book on heraldry that I currently have sitting on my bookshelf;
- give blood again;
- write six letters, longhand;
- keep plugging away at the 'little and often' goals.

Completed?

Mar. 8th, 2011 07:43 pm
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
Tissue-typing saliva set

I had a text message the other day. It was from the Anthony Nolan Trust, asking me why I hadn't returned the saliva tissue-typing kit they had sent me. I emailed them to explain that the reason was, in fact, that I hadn't had it myself.

They very obligingly sent me a new one, and there you see it. I followed the instructions and sent it back.

And I'm almost ready to call this goal complete. Almost. You see, there are two things that make me think it might not be quite there.

Firstly, I'm a little dubious about the time limit. The letter asks for it to be returned 'within three days'. Is that 'put in the post by myself within three days'? If so, we're fine. If, however, it's 'make sure it arrives within three days', I don't think it's going to make it.

Secondly, I fear that I may have included a little too much spit.

Either way, I'm sure that if they're not happy with my sample, they'll send me another kit. I hope they'll send me a letter of confirmation if they are.
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
21 February 2011

Work seems to be going out of its way to make my 101 in 1001 easier. In just over a month I'll be on a training course in Leeds. It's a two-day course, on a Tuesday and a Wednesday - and they're happy for me to take the Monday as annual leave. So I'll be going up on the Saturday.

Location, location, location. Leeds is pretty close to Bradford, and Bradford is the Old Country. Back in the nineteenth century, when my ancestors were nouveau riche wool merchants, that's where they were based. I know a little about their history there, and I'll be phoning my father next week to find out more.

Quite apart from my own curiosity about my roots, there are quite a few awesome people concentrated in that particular bit of Yorkshire, and I hope to meet up with at least some of them. I have heard a rumour, for example, that the elusive Lord Hobbs is around there somewhere. Even if he manages to elude me, he's likely to recommend somewhere to go to Evensong. [personal profile] matgb and [personal profile] miss_s_b are in Brighouse.

Another person who lives in Leeds and whom I've never met is Ms Alex - who taught me everything I know about making a success of 101 in 1001. While I'm on the subject, I heartily reccomend that you go and have a look at her 101 blog. Come to think of it, most of what I know about Leeds I learned from her, too.

Next steps: do some research into family history; find a place to stay on Saturday and Sunday nights; work out something resembling an itinerary. Simple. Or perhaps not simple, but definitely fun.

I'm really looking forward to this trip. Could you tell?
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
Wedding album: groups

Yesterday I got the last two photos for the wedding album printed and stuck in - which makes this one done. The leftover prints and cards were enough to fill a big clip-frame - in fact, I could probably fill five more clip-frames if I put my mind to it. I'm certainly going to do one for the honeymoon. However, that has nothing to do with the 101 project.

This seems like an appropriate spot to endorse [personal profile] freddiefraggles as a photographer. She got some fantastic shots, and refrained from putting watermarks all over them. (The latter is going to be a big problem when I get to the album of other weddings - there seem to be very few photos of my sister-in-law's wedding that weren't taken by pros.) Have a look at Freddie's other stuff here.

Meanwhile, some more sample pages from my album are under the cut )

The book is full, the things too solid to stick in an album are safely in a gift box, and it's now possible to walk from one side of the sitting room to the other without slipping on a pile of photos. Win all round.
stapsdoes101things: A sculpture of a Wellsian Martian Tripod; text '101' in corner (101woking)
Hamlet

If you were wondering, Holy Trinity Church, Guildford, is indeed my regular church. Guildford Shakespeare Company, however, is worth seeing wherever it performs. (In the summer they do outdoor performances. I'm thinking of taking a picnic.)

So, once I'd finished my first aid training, I wandered back into the centre of Guildford and met [personal profile] countertony for dinner at Pizza Express. Olives, pizza rustichella, and tartufa di cioccolato. (Dull, I know, but it does count.) We then wandered over to the church, and watched Marcellus and Barnardo patrolling the stage until 7.30.

It was a good performance. Hamlet is not my favourite Shakespeare, or even my favourite Shakespeare tragedy (though at least it wasn't Romeo and Juliet again!) but I did enjoy this version. For me, Claudius and Polonius were the most convincing; Hamlet himself didn't quite live up to my expectations, though I don't know exactly what my expectations were! Ophelia was very shouty all the way through and then surprised me by moving me almost to tears in the mad scene.

I think the great success in this production lay in the emphasis on the military side of things: a kingdom constantly under the threat of war (and the stylised 1930s costuming went a long way to help with this) and cracking under the strain. I could have done with less of the Doctor Whoesque incidental music, at least at the volume they were playing it. And I could really have done with a cushion.

Little Black Dress

Then, yesterday morning, I was wandering around the charity shops of Woking, and came across my little black dress. The photo above is a detail of the beading at the waist. It's a John Rocha design for Debenhams, tags still attached, in my size, for £15.99. Sixteen quid is a lot for a charity shop - but it's cheap for an unworn 'designer' dress.

I wore it to a party last night. The party was in Reigate and, while it's possible to get home from Reigate after nine o'clock, if you don't want to take two hours and go round via Clapham Junction, it's more sensible to throw yourself on the mercy of your friends who happen to live ten minutes' drive away, near Redhill.

Said friends put me up for the night, and I spent this morning raiding their back-up drive for photos. I've now got copies of all the pictures I could possibly need for my scrapbook of other people's weddings. As for the scrapbook of my own wedding, it's almost finished. I just need to get prints of a couple of photos from my hen night.
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
Trained First Aider

Yes, that's my badge.

Yesterday was the final day of the three-day First Aid at Work course. In actual fact, only about a third of the day was learning new stuff - broken bones, dislocations, spinal injuries - the rest of it was divided between practice, sitting around waiting for the assessment, the assessment itself, and sitting around waiting for the results.

The assessment was much less terrifying than I'd expected it to be. The two assessors were very friendly and went out of their way to put me at my ease. I had to show what I'd do to treat a bleed resulting from a head wound, followed by shock. Then what I'd do if I were called to someone who was unconscious for some unknown reason. Then how I'd do CPR. Apart from my CPR getting a bit slow as I got tired, I was pretty much OK.

I still don't know how I'd react in the real world, whether I'd throw up or pass out, or whether I'd actually be of any use. However, I do feel much more confident, and competent, now.

Besides all that, it was a really fun three days; I met some great people and had a good laugh.
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
First Aid Manual

So, today we looked at:

- burns, of varying severity;
- medical conditions of which one ought to be aware - asthma, angina, epilepsy, and so forth;
- faints, concussion and compression;

and did some more rolling around on the floor by way of revision.

Tomorrow we get assessed. I'm not really thinking about it; I would be nervous otherwise. Whether I pass or not I'll count this goal as complete, but obviously it would be useful.
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
First Aid at Work

Good things about becoming the designated first aider at work, once the current one goes on maternity leave:

1. I don't have to pay for the course;

2. I get time off to go to the course.

So today saw me abandon the phone calls and the petty cash tin, and tromp up Cathedral Hill to the Regus, which was happily much easier to find than I thought it would be. I'm doing this course through the British Red Cross and so far would recommend them.

Today we covered:

- the recovery position, what it is, when to use it;
- shock, what to do about it;
- cardio-pulmonary respiration, what it is, when to use it;
- bandages, use of;
- bleeding, how to stop it;
- choking, what to do about it.

We watched several short clips, looked at many gruesome photographs, discussed horrific incidents we'd witnessed or heard about, rolled around on the floor, and all in all had a lot of fun. I'm already more confident, though rather more painfully aware of how much I don't know.

One and a half more days, a short assessment, and I can call this one done.
stapsdoes101things: Pizza with '101' marked out in green pimento (101food)
Lime Muscavado Biscuits

My hundredth day is approaching at a terrifying pace. Yesterday, being my compressed day (the day off I get once a fortnight for working extra hard and extra long on the other nine days) I attacked some goals with vigour:

- I went outside in my dressing gown to get some photos of the morning sky and the bush at the corner of our garden. One of these was my picture of the day, and another will do for Smell in the Hundred Snapshots.


- I went swimming in the morning, for the first time since, erm, I completed my 'swim 50 lengths' goal last time around, not counting some splashing around in the sea. That was two and a half years ago.

I'm beginning to learn about what my body thinks it can and can't do. I hadn't even got to four lengths before my lungs were complaining, but I discovered that I can push through this, and actually managed thirty lengths in thirty minutes. Five hundred lengths is looking ambitious, yes, but just about manageable.


- I wild-released a book at the swimming pool, too.


- I spent most of the rest of the day in the kitchen, making Celery and Peanut Soup (from Best Kept Secrets of the Women's Institute: Home Cooking - not very exciting), Lime Muscovado Biscuits (pictured - from Cookies Galore - disappointing until iced, at which point they become very exciting); and Soufflé Pancakes with Cheese and Broccoli (from Mary Berry's Complete Cookbook - very tasty, but immensely fiddly, and I don't think I'd ever dare to cook it for anyone other than the Countertony and myself).


- Having eaten some of the above, I watched Shanghai Express (I must post a review) and did some patchwork.


Pretty productive all round, really.
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
1 February 2011

No more goals completed, yet, but I've been prodding at a couple of the big ones. I've booked myself onto a First Aid at Work course (with, I might add, full consent, approval and, more to the point, funding, of my employer) - that's in a couple of weeks.

I've set up a Facebook event for my 26th birthday, though at the moment it says little more than 'ADVANCED WARNING'. I'll work on the details later.

What else? I had prints made of all the photos [personal profile] freddiefraggles took at my wedding, and spent a happy weekend sorting and trimming and sticking. I'm now rather more than half way through the album, and considerably less than half way through the photos.

Went for lunch today at Rumwong, a Thai restaurant in Guildford. It was my first real attempt at Thai food, and I liked it a lot - I had a noodle dish with chicken and broccoli, very mild and delicate in flavour. Also chrysanthemum tea, on my manager's recommendation; she unrecommended it, however, having tasted it. Myself, I found it plesant, but far too sweet. Service was terribly slow.

Ah yes, and we have discovered that the impending nibling-in-law is in fact a niece. This discovery has prompted me to get started on a patchwork quilt - a modified Grandmother's Flower Garden pattern in blue and pink.

Things are going quite nicely.

August 2013

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