and the week went by…. whoosh… just like that

On Monday we were considering a plan for the week. The week in effect turned out to be almost entirely about the Geocaching – the OU TMA certainly did not get drafted! Today I have been working on Cézanne but still have to complete that before I can do Part 2 of the assignment.

On Tuesday I was less than keen on walking and Nell and Mr L went off on their own in the morning, leaving me with the spoken intention of assignment work and the laundry. The laundry got done. In the later afternoon we walked out to do the closest unclaimed cache, the location of which we had visited last week and previously in the spring. It was a return walk of just under four miles and I felt quite good about having tackled it in the circumstance.

Just a microcache today
Just a microcache today
Long-time readers of this blog may recognise this spot
Long-time readers of this blog may recognise this spot

Wednesday took us to Castle Douglas, as per the plan. It was a very sunny day and the sun was hot. We were in short sleeves all day an bemoaning the need to lug around with us the sweatshirts we had packed in case of need. Hah! What was needed was sunhats and sunscreen.

The bus journey to Dalbeattie is short and sweet, taking under ten minutes. The connection is quite good, allowing us just enough time to investigate the Estate Agents and Butchers windows. Bus number two takes around 20 minutes to Castle Douglas, taking a winding rural route. We arrived in “CD” around 11 am, checking out the chippy on our way to Carlinwark Loch to give Nell a run. She had not enjoyed the bus trips and was feeling a little stressed.

Carlingwark Loch
Carlingwark Loch

D&G Council have a caravan and camp site adjacent to the loch and were fortunate enough to chat with the warden, who gave us a tour. This is a site that we had under consideration fr a seasonal pitch and now that we have had a good look around “CD” we may well wish to come back and stay for a length of time.

Lunch came next. Moore’s chippy has a good reputation and our desire to try them out had only soared earlier in the day when we had noticed fresh Cod on the menu.

Cod & Chips!
Cod & Chips!

Our verdict: not bad. We’ve had worse. Not as good as their rep but we’ve certainly had far worse. Overall, a tad greasy. Mushy peas lukewarm and  a little weird in a can’t-quite-put-my-finger-on-it way, For the course of eradicating any doubt, that is Tea accompanying my meal.

The lochside park provided a tranquil setting for our lunch, surprisingly quiet for a town centre feature. There was plenty of bird life to observe on and around the loch. We found a young swan in distress, fishing line dangling from its beak, and were about to summon help via the phone when a woman came over to say it was alright, she had already sent for the SSPCA/RSPB/Vet or anyone who might arrive swiftly to deal with it. She had been able to get close to the bird and had seen the hook in its mouth. Fucking anglers!

So we were able to go off with a clear conscience and examine the town. Not closely, as we had Nell with us and could not go into the shops but we had a good browse, finding an organic artisan bakery and three very good butchers but failing to find a cheese shop. I was flagging by 2 pm and in need of sit down and a cold drink. We headed to a wee café that Mr L had noticed had a pavement table out but when we got there the single table was occupied. We decided to go back to the park but Mr L wanted to call in at the Sulwath Brewery for some bottles as we passed. Then I remembered the Brewery Tap and suggested that if it were dog-friendly we might go in and sit…. and so we did. We had a pint of Criffel each and a lovely cool sit down, just yards from the bus stop home.

Sulwath Brewery Tap
Sulwath Brewery Tap

This will prove to be a useful facility time and again, I feel.

Six bottles of beer came home with us.

Nell was well-behaved in the Taps, reserved but curious
Nell was well-behaved in the Taps, reserved but curious

At the bus top I was struck dumb (unfortunately) when a passing cyclist impinged on my consciousness as a familiar face. He was gone before I could utter the words… “S…., is that you?”

On Thursday we went for a little walk, catching the bus over to Sandyhills and walking back via the Coastal Path, taking in three Geocaches along the way. Sadly, I left my camera at home as I knew that I would be needing two walking poles. I certainly did need them! There were some punishing ascents and descents and never has four and a half  miles felt as long but it was worth it for the remarkable views. On a clearer day we might have seen Ireland but on Thursday had to settle for the Lake District and the Isle of Man.

Luckily my phone takes photos, of a sort.

Looking back towards Sandyhills
Looking back towards Sandyhills
The panoramic view (what a clever phone)
The panoramic view (what a clever phone)

The caches were nicely spaced out along our route

Ceridwen with the first cache
Ceridwen with the first cache
Ceridwen with the second cache
Ceridwen with the second cache
Ceridwen with the third cache
Ceridwen with the third cache

Ceridwen is coming on all caching trips now as the perfect mascot for a team of Argonds.

I hobbled into Rockcliffe and then opted to take the bus from there and leave Nell and her Dad to walk through to Kippford, where we met up again for a few pints and a pub meal.

Disinclined to exercise on Friday, we stayed at home for much of the day doing housework and laundry. Nell and her dad went out to play for a while and we all strolled into Kippford later. I had ordered a new long camera strap which arrived on Thursday. I attached it to my camera and tried it out on this brief stroll to do a Virtual Geocache on the riverside. It was a delight to carry the camera, weight nicely distributed across my body and suspended from a broad soft shoulder pad. The camera is readily accessible to swing into action without wriggling out of the constraints of a tight strap. I think there will be more photographs from now on as managing both camera and walking poles will become much simpler. I was very pleased with some of the images that came home on my card last night.

I have missed having my camera with me at all times and it is good to have an old friend back. The walk itself was an issue for me, with a very sore ankle still troubling me after the Coastal walk so today I opted for Paul Cézanne and a footrest, whilst Nell and Mr L went forth to Dalbeattie, thereby missing the planned visit to Colvend Produce Market (a disappointment.) Technical issues dogged my studies, leaving me after three hours solid work with about half of the material still to be covered. I enjoyed what I did and bizarrely (for me, the Pre-Raphaelite fan) find myself in danger of reaching some kind of understanding with Modern Art.

Isn’t Education a wonderful thing?

And so, to Other News:

  • No knitting progress
  • No reading progress
  • No Two Snails progress (but about a dozen articles in my head and waiting to get out)
  • Weight evidently dropping off slowly but I have no way to prove it or to measure the extent
  • Tan developing nicely
  • I have closed my Blipfoto account due to my issues with the shabby way that Lifetime Members have been treated and the whopping new membership fee, which is decidedly not Pensioner-friendly.

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