Tag Archives: England

The Lake House

Lake House 1

Boathouse 1, Newmillerdam

Actually, it’s not a Lake House, but an old, preserved Boat House; however, that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

You can try here for more information on Newmillerdam, Yorkshire.

I have shown photos from Newmillerdam before, of various water birds and the enchanted forest. It’s a lovely, peaceful place to walk around.

Lake House

Boathouse 2, Newmillerdam

The Boathouse itself was built in 1820 and is a Grade II listed building. so should stay around for a while yet.

This is the last of my photos from the English part of my European trip last June. Next stop, Berlin, Germany.

 

Camouflage

Camouflage 1

Camouflage 1

Watch the Dickie Bird!

What Dickie Bird?

Oh, That one!

Camouflage 2

Camouflage 2

I knew this little Wag Tail was down the in the fast-flowing stream, as I could see it flitting about. But it was really hard to capture when looking through my camera and when I checked my photos later I thought at first that I’d missed it.

Camouflage 3

Camouflage 3

British birds seem to like living life on the edge, in rapidly flowing water (see Ducklings), but they appear to thrive on it. I spotted this energetic bird at Newmillerdam, Yorkshire, during my UK trip last June.

Camouflage 4

Camouflage 4

Now, I don’t know much about British birds, except that this was obviously a Wag Tail. However, careful research (oh, all right: Google!) reveals that this cute little bird is a Grey Wag Tail; and a female one at that, as she is, quote “like the male but duller”!

Also, in typical Mum fashion, she has her face stuffed with insects to take back to her hungry chicks.

 

Walk the Line

Walk the Line

Walk the Line

Men walking the right of way at the station. Or are they?

Walk the Line 2

Walk the Line 2

Actually they are spraying weed killer, but they have to walk the line to do it, right?

There are two stations in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England. Westgate is on one side of town. It is bigger, with more trains running through it, a ticket office, toilets and cafe.

Kirkgate Station Wakefield

Kirkgate Station Wakefield

This is Wakefield Kirkgate. It has no facilities at all.

But the trains ran on time and I got myself to Nottingham in ninety minutes. It only cost 7 pounds 40 pence, since my daughter Pix had purchased my ticket online months before, thus saving me 14 pounds!

I love travelling by train in England. It is the most civilised form of transport. Once settled on board I can sit back and enjoy the ride and the beautiful countryside. After half an hour or so, I eat my packed lunch and drink my bottled water. Happy.

 

A Gaggle of Geese

Gaggle of Geese 1

Gaggle of Geese 1

A gaggle of Canada geese at David Attenborough’s Nature Reserve, Nottingham.

Gaggle of Geese 2

Gaggle of Geese 2

There is a large lake you can walk around, many different water fowl to admire, an information and gift centre, and a tea shop.

Gaggle of Geese 3

Gaggle of Geese 3

It was starting to rain when I visited here last June, with my daughter Pix and her husband, so we didn’t walk around. But the cream tea was delicious!

 

post script: Collective nouns can be really strange. I particularly like 

a crash of hippopotami

a charm of humming birds

an exultation of larks and 

a lounge of lizards

Try here for more fun Collective Nouns of Animals.

 

Baby Face!

Baby Face Calf 1

Baby Face Calf 1

You got the cutest little Baby Face!

I must admit to having mixed feelings about this little chap.

Baby Face Calf 2

Baby Face Calf 2

Yes, of course he is cute! And he and his friends are in nice clean stalls with fresh hay, a bucket of fresh water and a bucket of cattle feed.

But I can’t help thinking that they should all still be with their mothers, drinking milk and out in the fields, there on this farm in Yorkshire that I visited last June.

Baby Face Calf 3

Baby Face Calf 3

And my next thought is: what life will they have?

If they are male, most likely they will be fattened up a bit then slaughtered for veal, or later on, beef. If they are female, they will probably be used to breed from and then kept as dairy cows.

 

post script: The song Baby Face was first published in 1926; music by Harry Akst, lyrics by Benny Davis. I picked this version with Dean Martin singing because my Mum liked Dean. He had a great voice. But I must admit that, as a kid, I always thought he was drunk onstage. Watching this clip now does not dispel that theory!

 

Communication

Old Rose

Old Rose

Apparently I don’t speak English any more!

When I travel overseas I buy a new sim card for my phone when I get there and use that for all my contacts during my stay. It seems the easiest thing to do. My phone is very old and I don’t want the hassle of arranging ‘roaming’, having heard tales of people getting back to SA and finding massive bills awaiting them, as every call they made in the UK, to someone else in the UK, went via SA!

So as soon as possible after arriving in the UK in June, I walked into the little shopping centre in Windsor, with my friend’s husband D. We soon found a Vodaphone store. I knew their sim would work in my phone, as I’d done this last time. So far so good.

Now came the difficult part. I am English, but having lived in SA for many years, I speak SA English. There are differences in some words. For example, in SA you buy Airtime when your phone has run out of money to text or call someone; in the UK they call it Top Up. This much I knew.

However, the young girl serving me spoke with quite a strong accent and so fast that I was really struggling to understand her. Even D, a ‘native’, was battling!

Well, I explained what I wanted and she suggested options. She did ask me at one point did I want to call overseas. I said no, since I would mostly be texting, and use skype on a laptop to speak to SA. We settled on a 20 pound Big Value Bundle that gave me unlimited texts and 2GB of data for 30 days; more than enough for my needs.

I immediately inserted my new sim into my old phone and texted both my daughters to let them know my new UK cell phone number. The text to Pix in the UK went through no problem, but the one to DD in Germany refused to send. We were still sitting in the shop, so I told the Vodaphone assistant and asked her what was going on.

She said I couldn’t text overseas on this option; it was for the UK only.

So apparently when she said ‘call overseas’, she meant any sort of contact, not just speaking. Also, in my mind, SA was where I lived, and the UK and Germany were collectively ‘overseas’. I wasn’t thinking that now I was in the UK, even Germany was ‘overseas’!

I realise that this was my error. So I had to buy an extra 5 pound Top Up that would allow me to text overseas; both Germany and SA. This would be expensive to use, so I would have to be careful with it, but I did need to be able to contact DD in Germany, when I would be leaving from the airport in two weeks time.

Sorted!

And so it was, until I began running a little low on the Top Up option and needed another 5 pounds to see me through to my Germany visit. This time I went to a Vodaphone shop in Huddersfield with my sister. I must say that the man who served me was very off-hand and not listening to me at all.

I explained what I wanted and even got out the slip from my previous purchase, which had all the details on, but he wouldn’t look at it.

He was busy trying to find something on-line or in leaflets. In the end he called over a younger red-haired guy, who though obviously junior, also, obviously knew more. I started to speak to him and show him my slip from my last purchase, but the young guy said it was OK, he knew what I wanted from the older guy!

So I paid my 5 pounds and left the store. I checked my phone credit outside on a bench in the shopping centre and saw that it had not added any credit to my depleted amount. So I went back in the store and queried this.

After some more discussion, where I am really beginning to wonder if I am actually speaking English to these guys, he tells me, no the amount won’t show up. I do have 5 pounds worth of ‘calls’ to overseas – but I can’t text them!

Huh? So now ‘calls’ actually means speaking calls, which I had thought in the first shop! I explained that I needed to be able to text my daughter in Germany, for example if I am stuck at the airport and she is en route in a train, and unable to take my call or maybe without a signal. At least she will get the text at some point.

OK. Now he understands. That will be another 5 pounds please. It is a simple Top Up; which he would have seen if he had deigned to look at the slip I had been trying to show him in the first place!

I speak English – or so I thought! I can only sympathise with the problems non-English speaking people must have in England!

 

In England’s Green and Pleasant Land

England

England

Dry stone walls, open fields, meadowsweet, distant hedges and even a horse grazing at pasture.

England 2

England 2

Even on a misty  day, the green fields, hedgerows and stone buildings show their Englishness.

England 3

England 3

This is my England: the North, where I grew up and spent the first 21 years of my life, on one side of the Pennines or the other.

England 4

England 4

View taken at random through the car window as my sister drove us down country lanes.

In England’s green and pleasant land.

These scenes soothe my soul. I have come home.

 

Yummy!

Bounty

Bounty

It is surprising what you miss when you live in another country to the one in which you grew up.

For me it is:

– the open green fields and dry stone walls of the North of England;

– the sandy-coloured stone work of the buildings;

– being outside all day without sun cream or long sleeves – and not burning;

– hearing that accent again, and being called “luv”;

– so much choice in the shops!

And a few unobtainable foods, such as those in the photo, that my daughter kindly brought me recently. All eaten by now (except for one Fry’s choc cream).

Well, I had to – there was an expiry date!