Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Look Where We Are

I've broken the rules concerning musically inspired blogs, kind of. I usually get started by listening to a song which incites either a mood or a topic for me to expand on. Today I started with Hoobastank - Inside of You but scanned down my iTunes playlist to find the topic of this blog under the same artist.

I chose this song because it represents where I am right now. Yesterday, I took a trip to uni with a bulging folder and two bags full of library books. It was the dreaded/long awaited final deadline day. I had my work sorted into  plastic wallets for the last time. It was really strange filling out five lots of cover sheets and dropping them into the box. I cleared my £6.00 library fine because you can't graduate if you don't! Fifteen books down the chute and I'm free.

Monday was yet another bank holiday which meant a day with Tom. We met up in town and shopped for picnic stuff. I've been on trams a lot recently and this was no exception. Tom has been suggesting going to Heaton Park for a while and, though it was windy, it was a good day to go. We jumped on the Bury tram and the stop for the park is right outside the gates.

Tom wanted to eat our picnic on the grass but under the shade of a tree. Granted, this meant we were away from the elements but it was dark! We found a spot on the field which was pretty empty and tucked in. As we ate, the grass filled with families, kites and footballs.

On the lake people were battling rough water but they weren't getting very far. £8.00 for 45 mins wouldn't get me very far either... It was cheaper to jump on the park tram. It's an old fashioned open top which came from Blackpool. I had never seen the wires changed over before, it reminded me of trying to hook a duck on the fair.

Our next stop was the animal centre. We expected the rabbits, the chickens and the goats but not the alpaca which visited the toilet in front of adoring fans. I also didn't expect to find the scrawniest and scruffiest duck I've ever seen. His friend was actually pretty scary, it was a white duck but his eyes were simply blobs of white and that is not right. It looked as if it had Glaucoma or something and wasn't pleasant to look at. At that point I had seen enough.

Back in town I had a mini mission. On Sunday night I had been messing around with my brothers PS3 on the main television in the lounge. I had my latest copy of Kerrang! and sat searching bands on YouTube. With having no access to Kerrang TV I've been starved of music. Up until finishing my work on Friday, I hadn't bought an issue of the magazine for about seven or eight months either. My iTunes was drying up with stale music and I was getting bored with my playlist. The discovery of a new single from Simple Plan, music from Twin Atlantic and an EP from Francesqa meant that I had some CDs to buy in HMV. Later that night I also found a free download of Canterbury's album from their website so I have a decent amount of new songs to get into!

I plan to revert to my life of music and gigs which I had before starting uni and I missed it for three years. Speaking of music, Kerrang Magazine is out again today and I need to go and buy it in a bit!

Tonight we're all meeting at the Pint Pot for a celebration of Dan and Jess's engagement. I have a sneaky feeling that football will be involved too...

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Enter Sandman

I have been away for the last week, keep reading down. Here are my exploits... 

Tuesday 26/04/11

We visited the much publicised Sand Exhibition today. This came after mooching around the town itself. I found an Animal shop and, because they are so rare at home, I had to buy a t-shirt! It is my favourite shade of blue!
  My parents keep trying to get me to remember the town, this is bearing in mind that I haven't visited since I was six... However, I do remember image of a white horse which is on the hill near Osmington. I don't remember the pub which sits down below and just off the main road.

The Smugglers Inn

Or the sign on their car park below...

''lesser cars will be clamped" !!!
The sand exhibition is still quite small with apparent plans for expansion. However, I really enjoyed examining the sculptures of castles, pirates, ships and dinosaurs. They were all as tall as double decker buses and, all together, consisted of 75 tonnes of sand! It amazed me how intricate the detail was and how the damsel in the boat (below) or the waterfall (which ran from the very top of the castle sculpture to the bottom) didn't collapse.

Mum and Me in the Sand Exhibition
Monday 25/04/11

We spent five hours in the car today. I was reluctant to get out of bed when Dad came into my room at 6.30am. Despite this, my iPod kept me company whilst I had my eyes out for Volkswagen camper vans. We spotted six or seven but no splitties!

On the campsite, I'm not impressed with how the caravans are crowded together like some kind of military field. I hoped we wouldn't stay on site very often. 

That night we did a quiz in the bar. It was interactive with video clips and video mashups. I think only one team got a higher score than us on our side of the room. We were glad because the winners on each side had to do a deciding round on stage... The last time we let Dad on the stage was in Devon and he had to sing 'Teenager in Love'... oh dear.

We planned on going back to the 'The Smugglers Inn' for tea. It was a little pricey but I enjoyed my scampi, especially because it came with an ample amount of tartar sauce! 

And, because they never get any recognition (apparently) Dad took this:



We continued the walking theme of our holiday over the next few days. On Wednesday we took a trip to Durdle Door. It is a formation of rock on the picturesque coastline which has the resemblance of a doorway eroded through.
We parked up on the roadside and walked through a campsite with some very noisy feathered inhabitants. The trip down to the coast was only slightly precarious with a thin footpath and loose stones causing us to slip and slide. It was worth the effort for some brilliant views and photo opportunities.

Durdle Door

A shingle beach awaited us at the bottom and we watched a King Charles spaniel frolicking in the clear sea. Mum also caught sight of a swimmer, in a wet-suit and with bare feet, climbing the 'door'. He got half way up before coming unstuck and jumping off. Another fellow in a canoe wanted to sail through the opening, but the current denied him.

Me and Mum

A crunch behind us signaled someone, who had gotten all the way down to the last few steps, falling. On our ascent back to the car, we opted for the path which wasn't full of stones, but it was steep! A lady carried a tiny baby ahead of us, I was surprised that she didn't manage to slip. Further along, another lady was heading the opposite way whilst clutching a toddler. They also fell. Both were okay but the child cried with shock. I knew that the views ahead would console the lady, but I wasn't convinced that the child would be bothered...

Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle was the next port of call. We parked up near a Volkswagen camper van but the owners returned before I could photograph it. On the way into the centre, we passed a graveyard where this inscription caught my eye.

To live in the hearts
of those we love
is not to die

I like that. I think that it's a positive thought coming from a dark place. Much appreciated. 

The stone ruins of Corfe Castle inspired Kirren Island in The Famous Five by Enid Blyton. It was where the author took holidays and they have a 'Ginger Pop' shop inspired by the stories. I found all three Faraway Tree Stories in a collection and nostalgia spurred me...

Ginger Pop Shop!

Today we went to Portland Rock. It is an island just off Weymouth. First, we took a stroll to the prison gates, the building itself is embedded in the hillside. To the left, we had a brilliant view of the land. The walk progressed in a wide circle of footpaths through grasslands, viewing posts and back to the car. 

Portland Rock UK
 Next, we stopped at Portland Bill where Dad and I trooped up numerous steps to the lantern room of the lighthouse. Again there were great views, though I could only see through a small gate. I wasn't tall enough to see through the windows! We also had a close up of the inner workings of the lantern itself. 


I stated last week that I would probably enjoy a bit more exercise... Since then I have taken walks with mum and Tom around Blackleach Country Park. If we head onto the street where Dad works, and continue to the end of it, we are on the park. To the right of the path are fields, and you can hear the motorway traffic droning in the distance. We have made many trips to the park over the years on both cycle and by foot. We always walk down to the lake and sit on a bench, which is likened to chilling in a straight jacket. Needless to say, we always move on quick

Pylons... Typical!
When I was with Mum on Good Friday, there were lots of young families doing some kind of Easter treasure hunt. It culminated at a new stone wall viewing point where there was also a wooden bench carved with flowers and birds. I have no idea why my phone took the photo in black and white...

Through a new metal gate, we discovered a woodland assault course. The kids were loving it, so I only managed to try out the springy bridge and tightrope walk before heading out past the heritage hut and onto Bolton Road. 


It was only Easter Sunday before I was back, this time with Tom in tow. We walked the same way through the streets to get to the park. We pass the playground I visited as a child and, Tom having a mental age of 5, leaped straight in! It has been reconstructed countless times with new tyre swings and climbing apparatus. It annoys me when I see empty bottles of Smirnoff near the equipment, some people have no respect!

Tom and I spent more time on the assault course. Only dog walkers were present. I was challenged to complete the course without touching the ground. This meant Tom giving me piggy backs between the sections. We even noticed the den which somebody had constructed in the undergrowth, I didn't want to desecrate it or cause it to collapse, so we left it alone.

The Den

That afternoon was a blast from the past, because we went to Darcy Lever where The Farmer's Arms had been closed for years. I last remember going for a meal on Grandad's 70th which was about 13 years ago. Alex and I loved the soft play area upstairs. Now it had a cafe with an ice cream parlour!