5 days in pictures

4 September, 2008

Well, the weather’s been so crappy that I’ve been unable to get out and do much, so I’ve spent much of my time in the kitchen.

I’m champing at the bit to make the suggested modifications to my Competition, though, and spent an hour last night trying to work out how to use a Line Lok. Doh… I almost had to post for help, but I got there in the end with the assistance of some diagrams from the web page.

The Terror Spider also made a further appearance, followed by a permanent disappearance…

Potato, thyme & taleggio pizza

On Monday Francesca came to lunch, and I made a potato and thyme pizza (including pizza base!) from a Nigel Slater recipe. It was all yummy except for the base, which was rather too ‘virtuous’, I felt; the wholemeal flour tasting very obvious and making the edges a little cardboardy. Still, Francesca was very polite and said she enjoyed it very much. Thank you, Francesca *g*

Later on Monday I converted the cucumber, round beans and runner beans…

Cucumber, runner beans and round beans soaking for piccalilli

…plus cauliflower and shallots…

Cauliflower and shallots too

…that I’d been soaking in brine overnight into piccalilli! When I remember I’ll take a picture of the finished product. What a nice colour it is! Unfortunately I have to wait 3 months to see how it tastes. Crunchy and hot, I hope, rather than squishy and sweet, like all the shop-bought ones I’ve ever encountered.

On Tuesday I decided to wash the throw thingy I have over the armchair in my sitting room–the chair underneath which the Terror Spider disappeared when I last saw it several days ago–and I found the spider tucked up in the folds! It agreed to sit there while I ran downstairs for the camera, and after I’d taken its picture I transferred it to a beer glass (the largest glass I had) and put it out into the garden, where it dashed off into the border. Eep!

Terror Spider!

Yesterday I made soused herrings and a truly delicious soda bread loaf. Last time I made soda bread it came out like a brick, but twice as heavy. This was a different recipe, though, and wonderful. Yum!

This afternoon I made lentil soup with bacon ribs–free-range bacon ribs, that is, made especially for me by the butcher after I ordered them a week and a half ago–and it was absolutely stonking, with some red cabbage. Yum, yum, yum!!!

Lentil soup with bacon ribs & soda bread

I’ve done some other stuff too–met up with two great Challenge pals yesterday; lived through 36 hours without my desktop when the blasted thing broke down (****ing Vista…); endured an hour of terror last night when we experieced some of the loudest thunder I’ve ever heard in this country; put the tent out in the garden to air and waited 3 days for the rain to stop so that I could bring it in (I’m still waiting)–but the foody things are the ones that seem to bring out the camera.

So! Crubeens crossed that at some stage before 2009 it might be possible to get out and so some walking without a snorkel and fins…

Edited to add:

Oh, joy! October TGO has just arrived digitally, with the application form for next year’s Challenge 🙂

Laser Competition — BlogPackingLight’s fantastic modifications

28 August, 2008

One of my favourite places is BlogPackingLight, which is an absolute mine of information, and innovative solutions to a variety of backpacking problems.

In particular, there’s a whole raft of extremely cunning and elegant suggestions for the modification of Laser Competition tents: here and here.

They’re all easy to do. A few of them involve the use of bits and pieces that can easily be purchased from Bob and Rose at backpackinglight.co.uk, but none of them are expensive, and Bob and Rose are so quick at sending things out that they normally arrive in the following day’s post. (Well, in fact things have *always* arrived the following morning when I’ve ordered from Bob and Rose.)

So! If you have a Laser Competition then haste ye over to BPL and check out those suggestions. Hasten there even if you haven’t got a Competition, because there are all sorts of other clever and interesting ideas for all of us who go camping.

Wee creatures… invading my space!

27 August, 2008

I was sitting watching the television 20 minutes ago when suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a HUGE spider leaving my bedroom. Leaving My Bedroom! In total Stealth Mode.


I confess that this is something that I’m always aware of when I’m camping. I see other people putting up their tent and fastening the door open to air it, and I’m thinking: “Are you NUTS? Are you actually INVITING the entire arachnid population of the area to sneak into your tent and snuggle down in your sleeping bag?” I even saw this happening in Corsica, where they have BLACK WIDOW SPIDERS!

*feels faint, and has to lie down for a moment*

Give me nasty camping-related fumes any day!

I’m absolutely anal about keeping my inner fastened up if there seems to be any chance whatsoever that scary, silent arachnids might creep in and secrete themselves in dark corners of the tent. I’ve never been keen on the idea, but I think that waking up on the last night of the Pennine Way and opening my eyes to find a spider SITTING ON MY NOSE! didn’t help. It took me 2 years after I got home to work up the courage to unpack the sleeping bag and check it out for crawlies… I had to buy a new one to use in the meantime.

It’s not that I don’t *like* spiders btw: if I saw one drowning in a puddle I’d spend significant time attempting to rescue it. With the assistance of a suitably long twig or piece of grass. I made myself late trying to leave Alston in 2004 because I was trying to tempt a spider out of the bath onto a piece of loo roll, so that I could drop it out of the window to safety. But share my sleeping bag with one? Or my BED? No way…

Anyway, this is something that worries me about bivvying and tarping. I was looking at the nice Shangri-La 3 tents over at BPL the other day, but when I realised that they don’t automatically come with an inner I had to turn away. What About The Ticks???


Is this only me? Don’t all these wee creeping creatures bother the rest of you when you hunker down for the night in the undergrowth?

Time to watch this again, I reckon… *g*

TGO Challenge Video — hee hee!

25 August, 2008

It happens that the bloke who used to be my guitar teacher recorded a very funny song about a holiday in Scotland, and it occurred to me this morning to set some Challenge pics to it and make a video.

It’s mainly pics from my 2006 crossing, but there are some pictures from 2005 as well. All the usual suspects will find themselves featured at one point or another (or several, heheh…)

Well, if you watch it then I hope you enjoy 🙂

Incidentally, I’ll put the larger, better quality vid up on MegaUpload, so if you’d like a copy you can download it there. (Membership isn’t necessary, though it’s free and I think downloads may happen faster that way.) I’ll add a link to it here when it’s up.

Edited to say:

Megaupload download link here.

Backpacking photos: Pyrenees 2006 (Haute Route)

22 August, 2008

I’ve uploaded the pictures I took during my walk along the Pyrenean Haute Route (High Level Route) between Borce (near Lescun) and Gavarnie in August 2006. Anyone who’d like to take a look can find them here.

Backpacking photos: Pennine Way, March 2008

20 August, 2008

Last March I did most of the Pennine Way again, and I’ve been putting some pictures up at SmugMug. I might write it up at some stage, but in the meantime, and for those who’d like to see what a late winter/early spring Pennine Way looks like, you’re welcome to take a scan at the piccies.

This SmugMug place seems really excellent, btw. The only thing is that it takes quite a long time to upload the pictures, and so I’ve only got about a third of them up so far. I’ll put the rest of them up over the next day or so, and then I’ll go back and add captions and maybe a bit of further info.

Coast to Coast – Finished! Grosmont to Robin Hood’s Bay posted :)

19 August, 2008

At last! Grosmont to Robin Hood’s Bay can be found here 🙂