Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Curse Of Millhaven

I've gone all fanboy for one song again, this time it's from Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds Murder Ballads (and I could get fixed on Where The Wild Roses Grow, The Kindness Of Strangers and Death Is Not The End as well), I find The Curse Of Millhaven to be darkly funny, it's not half as downbeat as the rest of the album. It does worry the staff that I'm merrily singing songs of murder and, well, more murder really, at work.

I live in a town called Millhaven
And it's small and it's mean and it's cold
But if you come around just as the sun goes down
You can watch the whole thing turn to gold
It's around about then that I used to go a-roaming
La la la la La la la lie
All God's children they all gotta die

My name is Loretta but I prefer it Lottie
I'm closing in on my fifteenth year
If you think you have seen a pair of eyes more green
Then you sure haven't see them around here
Well my hair is a-yellow and I'm always a-combed
La la la la La la la lie
Mama often told me that we all got to die

You must have heard about The Curse Of Millhaven
How last Christmas Bill Blake's little boy didn't come home
They found him the next week in One Mile Creek
His head bashed in and his pockets full of stones
Well, just imagine all the wailing and moaning
La la la la La la la lie
Even Billy Blake's boy, he had to die

Then Professor O'Rye from Millhaven High
Found nailed to his door his prize-winning terrier
Then next day the old fool brought little Biko to school
And we all had to watch as he buried her
Well his eulogy to Biko had all the tears flowing
La la la la La la la lie
Even God's little creatures, they have to die

Our little town fell into a state of shock
A lot of people were saying things that made little sense
Then the next thing you know the head of Handyman Joe
Was found in the fountain of the Mayor's residence
Well foul play can really get a small town going
La la la la La la la lie
Even God's children they have to die

Then, in a cruel twist of fate, old Mrs Colgate
Was stabbed but the job was not complete
Well the last thing she said before the cops pronounced her dead
Was, "My killer is Loretta and she lives across the street!"
Twenty cops burst through my door without even phoning
La la la la La la la lie
The young ones, the old ones, they all gotta die

Yes, it is I, Lottie. The Curse Of Millhaven
I've struck horror in the heart of this town
Like my eyes ain't green and my hair ain't yellow
It's more like the other way around
I gotta pretty little mouth underneath all the foaming
La la la la La la la lie
Sooner or later we all gotta die

Since I was no bigger than a weavil they've been saying I was evil
That if "bad" was a boot that I'd fit it
That I'm a wicked young lady, but I've been trying hard lately
O fuck it! I'm a monster! I admit it!
Well it makes me so mad that my blood really starts a-going
La la la la La la la lie
Mama always told me that we all gotta die

Yeah, I drowned the Blakey kid, stabbed Mrs. Colgate, I admit
Did the handyman with his circular saw in his garden shed
But I never crucified little Biko, that was two junior high school psychos
Stinky Bohoon and his friend with the pumpkin-sized head
I'll sing to the lot, now you got me going
La la la la La la la lie
All God's children have all gotta die

Than there are all of the others, all our sisters and brothers
You assumed were accidents, best forgotten
Recall the children who broke through the ice on Lake Tahoo?
Everyone assumed the "Warning" signs had followed them to the bottom
Well, they're underneath the house where I do quite a bit of stowing
La la la la La la la lie
Even twenty little children, they had to die

And the fire of '91 that razed the Bella Vista slum
That was the biggest shit-fight this country's ever seen
Insurance companies ruined, land lords getting sued
All cause of wee little girl with a can of gasoline
Those flames really roared when the wind started blowing
La la la la La la la lie
Well the rich man, and the poor man, they all got to die

Well I confessed to all these crimes and they put me on trial
I was laughing when they took me away
Off to the asylum in an old black Mariah
Well it ain't home, but you know, it's better than jail
It ain't such bad old place to happy home in
La la la la La la la lie
All God's children they all gotta die

Now I got shrinks that will not rest with their endless Rorschach tests
I keep telling them that I think they're out to get me
They ask me if I feel remorse and I answer, "Why of course!
There's so much more I could've done if they'd let me!"
So it's Rorschach and Prozac and everything is groovy
Singing La la la la La la la lie
All God's children they all have to die
La la la la La la la lie
I'm happy as a lark now and everything is fine
Singing La la la la La la la lie
Yeah, everything is groovy and everything is fine
Singing La la la la La la la lie
All God's children they gotta die
Run Inzi Run

No result from the first ODI last night, but some super bowling from Akhtar, Asif and Hameez, Ian Bell is still on fine form with the bat but the rest of the England team were pretty woeful.

Inzamam-Ul-Haq, I can't quite explain why, but every time I see him 'racing' across the field when fielding, I get the urge to shout out, a la Forest Gump, Run Inzi Run!
I Surprise Myself

Isn't it odd what you body will do when your brain switches over from rational control to something more instinct based ?

Last week I gave myself a scare when I was locking up the clubhouse. It was already dark outside and I'm familiar with the layout of the building, I was just switching a light on here and there to illuminate various dark corners and possible hiding places. This is something Dad drilled into me when my parents had the Red Lion, it's far easier to get in and hide somewhere than it is to break in, so I always check all the shower stalls, toilet cubicles and cupboards for lurkers.

As I reached the last cupboard/drying room in the ladies locker room the door was closed, this isn't unusual though, I opened the door and gave it a push, and something pushed back against it.

Now this is the weird bit because the fight or flight reaction took over and without any real concious thought I rammed the door back again, and, I kid you not, with a gutteral battle roar I leapt into the drying room, armed only with a small bunch of keys, to confront......well luckily only a patio chair that had been propped up against the wall and had been tilted over when I opened the door.

I quite got the shivers afterwards though, what was I doing ? If there had been some lurker on the other side, possibly armed with a knife ? Well he would have thougt he was about to be attacked and I would have ended up in bother.

How do you tune your automatic reflexes to run rather than fight ?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Yorkshire Soul's Rambling Quiz Series 5.5, Answers & League

Identify the following people.......

1) Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda

2) Guy Verhofstade, Prime Minister of Belgium

3) Amy Studt, pop singer

4) Eddie Lewis, Leeds United footballer

5) Leonard Bernstein, conductor

6) Rahul Dravid, cricketer

7) Ted Bundy, serial killer

8) Vaslav Najinsy, ballet dancer

9) Charles de Gaulle, French leader

10) Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho author

This Week's Points

Eleanor 5
Ross Dulmaine 5
MR 5
Mr Moosehead 4
Penny Farthing 2

I presume everyone else found it far too difficult ?
I put the quiz up for my staff and they got 5 between the 10 of them.

Week 5.5 League

1) MR 48
1) Eleanor 48
3) Mr Moosehead 41
4) Saeri 33
5) Dider Depireux 18
5) Penny Farthing 18
7) Chez 16
8) Dan Manche 14
9) Tony G 13
10) Ben Spellman 12
11) Squirt 11
11) Electric Landlord 11
11) Dr P 11
14) Matt M 10
15) Ross Dulmaine 5

Keep watching this space, I'll post another improbably hard quiz soonish.
British Food Fortnight

23rd September to 8th October has been designated as the fifth annual British Food Fortnight.

One of the sponsors of the event is the all encompassing Brakes, one of those companies that I would like to purchase less from rather than more, nevertheless, when their promotional magazine arrived with the front page tag-line "British Food Fortnight, Are You Cooking It ?", I thought I'd have a look.

The first page looks promising, it points out the contents and flags up some seasonal foods, Autumun Lamb, Blackberries and Baking Potatoes, I turn the page, and I kid you not, this is the list of foods on pages 4-5 of the British Food edition of the magazine.....

1) Spinach and Ricotta Canneloni
2-3) Aberdeen Angus burgers
4) Salmon marinated in orange and cranberry
5) Turkey breast with port and cranberry stuffing
6) Breaded Scampi
7) Mushroom, Cranberry and Rosti Tart
8) Chicken with Camembert in Merlot Sauce
9) Salmon skewers in three flavours, maple syrup and honey, sweet chilli, lime and coriander.

What are we to make of this, well they seem to have bought in a job lot of cranberries for a start, but the items veer from Italy to America and Canada via France, Korea and Switzerland.

I turned the page again only to be confronted with Wasabi Vegetables, Water Chestnut and Chilli Pastries and Brakes Imported Minute Steak, at which point I've given up.

I'll do some specials at the club, it's always hard weaning the blokes away from their diet of anything fried in lard and the ladies from a tuna sandwich shared between two, but I'll make an effort. I shan't be bothering with Brakes though, instead I'll buy some top quality meat from Lishmann's where David can always tell you the farm the animal was raised on, fish from Monkfish and Ramus, fruit and veg from my local greengrocer.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

You're Going To Suffer

I was talking to a bloke in the bar tonight, he's doing the Three Peaks the week after me, he's about 15 years older than me, plumper, doesn't look in the best of shape.

I asked him point blank how fit he thought he was and what training he had done.

"Well," he said, "I walk the dog up on the moor a couple of times a week."

You never know, he might just make it round, but he's going to suffer the next day, and the day after that. I've been a hiker all my life, I know my level of fitness and I reckon I'm going to get round on Saturday, but it will be an effort, after all it is 25 miles and 3 very stiff climbs. Let's just hope he doesn't need to call on the services of the Mountain Rescue volunteers.
Troo Black Metuhl

Nicked from user Rumblebaby
She Is So Wonderful

My wife, it's our ninth wedding anniversary this week, and knowing how obsessed I am with Muse, she has decided that we are going to go and see them play live in Paris in December.

Now that's a great anniversary idea, it certainly beats the chocolates and flowers routine.

Photo from the fansite Microcuts.
Walking Yorkshire - Buckden Pike, Firth Fell (Twice)

This is our last training day before we attempt the Three Peaks on Saturday. I am joined by my ex-chef Steve for a day's hiking in somewhat changeable weather conditions, we get both sunburned and soaked in cold showers during the day.

We parked up in pretty Kettlewell where the last remnants of the village's Scarecrow Festival were still on display....

Then we go strait up Top Mere Road which is a fiar steep old climb to get the body woken up and the blood flowing, the walking becomes a little easier once we get to the summit of Top Mere and the gently rising, boggy path to the memorial cross and Buckden Pike itself.

Looking down into Wharfedale from Buckden Pike, Firth Fell rises on the other side with Littondale behind and Darnbrook Fell can be sen in the distance.

A muddy shakehole full of big frogs on the side of Buckden Pike.

Steve peers into the hole of frogs whilst I debate pushing him in.

The waterfalls on Cow Close Gill above Cray. We had a slightly worrying moment here, there are three farmers with sheepdogs rounding up a flock of sheep in the field to our right as we pass by, on the track there is a quad bike with another sheepdog stood with it. Now I'm often cautious of dogs, but a well trained sheepdog shouldn't be a problem, should it ?

Yes, as we get close the bloody thing barks, rushes me and grabs my leg with its teeth, it didn't actually deliver a bite, just a bit of a squeeze, but enough to give me a fright, we walk on rather rapidly.

We had lunch on the village green in Buckden, then we set off up Birks Fell, this second ascent of the day feels much easier than the first one, thus Pennyghent will be a right bugger early on Saturday morning but Ingleborough will be that much easier, possibly. Chatting away we go up and over Birks Fell and down into Littondale.

Looking up and down Wharfedale from the road just above Buckden, isn't it beautiful ? I love the Dales.

Looking down into the hamlet of Litton from Ackerly Moor. From Litton we walk down the river Skirfare to Arncliffe, and then climb back over Birks/Firth fell at the Southern end, there is some steep scrambling on the path through Park Scar woods.

The village of Arncliffe sen from Middlemoor Pasture with Cowside Beck shining in the afternoon sun.

Arncliffe Crag with its strange, almost terraced looking top.

The top of Middlesmoor Pasture is covered with heather and the air is sweet with its honey scent on the afternoon breeze. Over the top we go, down the slightly scary descent of Gate Cote Scar and back into Kettlewell and a well deserved pint sat in the sun at the Bluebell.

This walk was approximately 18 miles, completed in just under 8 hours. My knee seems to have held up this time, I wore a sports support on it from the start and this seems to have done the trick, everything is looking good for the Three Peaks then, just the weather to pray for.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Mash Em Up 'Arry

Just in case you were lying awake at night wondering what would have happened if James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich had met Paul McCartney and John Lennon, the answer would be Beatallica.

All songs on the site are free and easily downloadable, and they're actually pretty good in an odd sort of way.

One For The Students

Q - How do you get a Manchester University graduate off your doorstep ?

A - Pay him for the pizza.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Things I Learned Yesterday

I have always been fascinated, obsessed even, with the written word. I devour books as fast as I can, most of my spare time is spent reading newspapers, magazines, cookbooks, blogs, websites, anything printed.

Newspapers especially, I love to know what is going on, I have read a daily newspaper ever since I was a boy when I used to read Dad's copy of the Daily Telegraph, I can't remember exactly when I began reading a newspaper, but I had a scrapbook of news cuttings about the Toxteth and Brixton riots, so that would have made me about 13/14 years old.

I'm also a news radio junkie, R5 or R4 is my usual listening, in between plenty of top class punk and metal of course. Knowing things is great though isn't it ? When I'm rambling on in the kitchen about Middle Eastern politics or the state of the hole in the ozone layer the girls sometimes ask "How do you know all these things ?" (actually, they also ask "when are you going to shut up ?") because really all they teach you at school is how to prepare your mind to accept more information.

Anyway, what do I know today that I didn't know yeserday.......

A young man put his car through the Wall of the Box Tree last week, there were no other cars involved so I suspect he may have been driving way too fast.

A young soldier apparently said "I can't go to Iraq, I can't kill those children," before commiting suicide, again, I suspect there may have been more to the young man's problems than this single issue.

Apple have settled out of court with Creative Technology to the tune of £52m to prevent a lenghty battle over who patented the song-artist-album search based MP3 player, looks like CT did then.

A TV weather girl called Joanne Malin, when asked to describe the torrential downpour she was standing in, said on live television, "It's pissing down."

Britian's population has reached 60 million, apparently due to an influx of Poles willing to work for peanuts, by a strange coincidence I am willing to pay peanuts, foreign job seekers should apply to the usual address.

The ban on carrying liquids onto aeroplanes is likely to become a permanent rule.

Two Asian students who were asked to leave and aeroplane by other passengers who thought they were behaving in a strange manner have been questioned over whether the incident was a strange student stunt designed to garner publicity.

Angus Young now looks totally ridiculous when dressed in his schoolboy outfit.

Paul McCartney have given £1.6m to a landmine charty after pulling out of hosting the event.

The Indy managed to find some pictures of happy, pretty girls opening their exam results (anyone who heard last weeks The Now Show will grin at this).

The numbers of students in Britain taking other languages other then English is plummeting.

Russel Brand has laryngitis and has called off a hot date with a a competition winner from List magazine.

Numerous media management types have ruled themselves out of the ITV top job.

The Riba Stirling Prize for Architecture shortlist has thrown up the usual mix off stunningly attractive (Evelina Children's Hospital) and monstrously dull ( Phaeno Science Centre).

A teenage girl in Austria has escaped after being held captive for eight years in a suspected paedophile's cellar, he has thrown himself off a tall bridge.

Tito's widow has been awarded a pension by the Serb government.

France and Italy have pledged more soldiers to the Lebabnon peacekeeping force.

China has banned strippers from performing at funerals.

Many Conquistadors are thought to have been eaten or sacrificed by their Aztec hosts.

Three Mexican fishermen who apparrentley survived nine months at sea after their engine failed are eing questioned about possible links to drug smuggling and whether or not the killed and ate the other two memebers of the crew.

Wasim Raje is dead, I knew this already, but it was interesting to read his obituary. In fact, obituaries are nearly always interesting, even when you have never heard of the person before.

Mike Roberts, president of McDonalds, has a scary smile, and has resigned suddenly from the company.

The Inzamam-Ul-Haq / Darrell Hair controversy continues to get stranger as the ICC reveal that Hair offered to quit if they would pay off his contract.

Alexei Sayle says that people keep mistaking him for the owner of a sandwich shop.

Mark Haddon is fed up of questions about his first novel.

Sea horses may not be monogamous.

As a Beach Boys fan, I ought to look out for a solo album by Dennis Wilson called 'Pacific Ocean Blue', it is apparently quite difficult to get hold of a copy.

There are a number of films due for release, of which, I don't facy Volver after reading the review, I thought Neo Ned sounded good after Robyn recoomended it but the reviw is only lukewarm, I quite fancy seeing Severance despite a lukewarm review, I'll give Colour Me Kubrick a miss, but I really fancy seeing 'Brothers Of The Head.'

CD sales continue to fall, so bands are racking up the prices of concert tickets and t-shirts, nothing new there then. Some bands (Korn, Robbie Williams) are signing contracts to include all revenue streams (live performances, downloads, merchandise) instead of just music sales. There were 10 times as many albums released last year as compared to any year in the 60's, this is due to the ease with which artists can now self produce and promote albums with modern technology.

Festival goers at Reading apprentley no longer bombard poor bands with bottles of urine, shame.

Then some late diners came in and I didn't get round the finishing the arts and literature section, but that's still an impressive list of things I didn't know the day before, what will today's papers tell me.....?

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Vanishing Act

It's like magic, we create a mountain of food, and then the customers make it dissapear.

Yesterday we hosted the Ping Ladies Northern Region Finals here at Ilkley Golf Club, almost two hundred players plus support staff from Ping, caddies and volunteers from IGC.

We bagan breakfast service at 7am, then a full buffet service from midday onwards. This would have been fine, but we had over a hundred people dining the day before which left us with alsmost no prep time for the buffet on the preceding day, I did a 19 hour shift on Wednesday, went to bed on the wrong side of 1am, then I was back in the kitchen just after 5am on the Ping day.

Delivery vans rolled up to the kitchen door all through Wednesday, disgorging mountains of vegetables, salmon, meats and desserts - normally we would have made all the desserts but the lack of prep time forced us into buying them for this event, the fridges and freezers were groaning with food ready for the day.

The staff started to arrive, new chef Robyn who is having a huge first week here, Calum, Christine, April, Hollie and Clair all arrived at varying times during the day, and they all did a fantastic job (as did all the others who worked the previous day), my staff are bloody great. We were kept busy all morning producing seemingly endless bacon butties and tea and coffee by the bucketload, I was slightly stessed as we approached midday and were struggling to get the display buffet out on time, but everything was trayed up and garnished ready for the first of the players coming back of the course.

The day rolled on, gradually the fridges emptied of food, the giant stack of pies and sweet tarts shrunk to nothing, I began to get a little twitchy over whether we had actually produced enough food for the masses, but as the last few players passed down the buffet there was plenty of food for them and not too much waste to throw away. Waste is the thing that drives the price of buffet dining up, with set meals we can judge almost exactly how much of an item we need and therefore charge a price accordingly, buffet dining has to have figured in an amount of money for how much food will be wasted, but we got it fairly spot on this time.

So, a job well done, and on Sunday, we're doing it all over again, another, more complex, buffet for 200+ for the Captains Charity Day, wahey, I'll sleep in the winter.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I'm Not Missing

Just too busy to blog.

Or to remember my best friend's wedding anniversary, oops, congrats P&C.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

York Festival of Food & Drink

A quick plug for this event...

York Festival of Food and Drink
Bye Bye Steve

So that's it, Evil Steve has left the building and will shortly set off to university to start his degree course in dancing like Michael Jackson nursing.

Credit where credit's due, Steve's been a damn good employee, he's taken to cheffing from scratch, has learned well, has ben interested in the work, works hard and is always happy and pleasent to work with, I'm going to miss him. Steve came to me with very little cooking experience, but a year on he has developed into a good cook, with all the basic skills and knowledge to feed himself well for the rest of his life, and of course he can always fall back on those skills for a job should his Uni debts start to mount up.

Good luck at Uni mate, I'm sure you'll do well, see you at Gogol Bordello.

The chef is dead though, long live the chef, on Monday morning Robyn starts with me full time. You'll remember Robyn, she's appeared many times before in the blog, usually hidng from the camera as I try to get shots of the staff at work. Robyn is going to stay until May of next year, then she too is going to University to study, er, psychology, or psychiatry, I forget which.

What is it with my staff and medical careers, don't they know that Nu-Labour are still sacking nurses and closing wards ? Not to worry though, they can always come back and wait tables for me.

So, advance job offer, commis chef wanted to start April 2007, I don't care about qualifications as long as you are.....

Pleasant to be with
Hard working
Willing to learn
Able to put up with a constant aural diet of metal and punk

Friday, August 18, 2006

Remember To Feed Your CD Player

....raw meat, must be a Motley Crue fan....
Most Disliked Foods

The BBC's magazine Olive did a poll earlier this year to find out what were Britain's worst foods. Their top, or bottom, 20 is as follows.....

1) Tripe
2) Jellied eels
3) Deep-fried Mars bar
4) Brawn (meat from the head of a pig)
5) Black pudding
6) Tapioca
7) Faggots
8) Marmite
9) Semolina
10) Beetroot (in vinegar)
11) Pickled egg
12) Haggis
13) Sandwich spread
14) Cockles (in vinegar)
15) Spaghetti hoops
16) Banana custard
17) Chicken tikka masala
18) Kippers
19) Rhubarb
20) Tinned tomato soup

Now, I have eaten everything on this list apart from a deep fried Mars bar, and I can pretty much imagine how that would taste, but I am surprised at some of the items on the list.

I bet that many people have voted for things they have never tried and do not understand, especially in the description of brawn, I havn't had brawn since my Grandma died and I don't know anywhere that still makes or sells it.

I can't argue with some of the items on the list, all the soft puddings I'd have to agree with, and I really don't like tripe, especially raw, although if there was no choice I could eat a nicely done portion of tripe and onions, but only if there was , choice at all .

Black Pudding though ? Faggots ? Haggis ? I bet there are more peple who have voted for these items than have tried them. I served haggis as a starter at a golf club dinner last month, a few of the diners were sceptical about trying it, but to a man they pronounced it tasty and good, indeed many of them asked if they could have it again on their visit next year. If you like meat, what's not to like about faggots ? Black pudding may be a slightly acquired taste, or perhaps not, perhaps it's just people being pointlessly squeemish and missing out on something good as a result.

Sandwich spread, go for proper potted beef instead. Rhubarb ? Kippers ? Apart from the dislike of jellied eels I'm begining to think that this list was compiled by softie Southerners.

Anyway, all that talk of food has made me peckish, I'm off for a Marmite smeared pickled egg and a side order of cockles.
How to cook crabs....

...or not, as the case may be.
Yorkshire Soul's Rambling Quiz Series 5.5

No spoilers.
No answers in comments please.
E-mail the answers to on/by Sun 27th Aug, with 'QUIZ 5.5' as the title please.

Identify the following people.......











Good luck !
But Is It Art ?

"Title of performance: Quiver Profile: Kira O'Reilly is a UK based artist. Her practice employs performance, video, installation, and more recently biomedical and biotechnical practices with which to consider the body as material, site and metaphor. The works frequently bring artist and audience into immediate communication, allowing the possibility to engage in ways that are intimate, sometimes tender, other times perplexing, always revealing. Since graduating from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff in 1998, her work has been exhibited widely throughout the UK, Europe, Australia and more recently Hong Kong."

Or would it be better off made into sausages ?
Those UN Lebanon Troop Deployments In Full

Bangladesh - 2,000
Malaysia - 1,000
Iran - 480,000
Hizbollah - approx 12,000
Syria - 17,000 (missiles)
Nepal - 200 sherpas
Denmark - 1 unit of crack blue cheese makers
Germany - 2 ships to be stationed in Hawaii or the Maldives
France - have bravely offered to lead the mission and will provide their own white flags.

A big 'well done' to the nations of the UN, everyone wanted the war to stop, but mostly they don't actually want to do anything about it bar talking.
Well Said That Man

John Prescott goes right in in my estimation as he dares to say just what everyone else thinks. Here at Yorkshire Soul I can exclusively reveal more details of that fateful 'confidential' meeting.....

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Successful Complaint

Some time ago, about 6 months actually, I wrote to Leeds Met Student Union to complain about the shoddy service we received at a Dragonforce gig, the doors opened late, we were left outside in the freezing cold for an hour, loads of people missed the support bnds because the staff were so slow getting people into the venue, and the bar staff wouldn't serve me until I got my hand stamped to prove I was old enough to drink, I am 39.

No reply was received.

When I booked tickets for the Eastpak Antidote tour I wanted to be sure that we got in to the venue in time to see all four bands, so I wrote again to LMSU, and this time I got a reply from the Leeds Met Events Manager, Claire Ainscough, who, by way of apology has invited me to choose a forthcoming gig and she promises to put me and a friend on the guest list.

Thanks Claire, I'll go see The Damned then.
Chef Steve On His Holidays

They didn't even throw rotting vegetables at him, shame.
Walking Yorkshire : Muker, Tan Hill, Gunnerside, Swinner Gill

It's another crack of dawn start this morning (Tuesday), actually it is still dark when I set off from Ilkley at just before 5 in the morning. As the sun comes up the day gets off to a gray start, the roads are filled with wildlife, it's no wonder so many rabbits and pheasants get run over, the roads are thronged with them this early in the day.

I drive from Hawes to Muker (909978) via the Buttertubs, and this time I want to get out and take some pictures, but it is pouring down again, it's always raining at Buttertubs. Never mind, the weather clears a couple of miles on in Muker, I pull on my boots, I have remembered my coat (good job as well, I spend half the day wearing it) and I'm off.

I follow the path beside the Swale Northwards to meet up with the Pennine Way just before Keld.

Prime beef on the hoof in Swaledale.

A view down the trickling Swale from the footbridge below East Stonesdale (896011).

The upper waterfall below East Stonesdale. That's the pretty views over for a while, it's now about four miles over Black Moor and Stonesdale Moor to Tan Hill. As the daylight gets stronger, so does the wind, the reading in the car was 10 degrees C when I set off, with the strong wind it feels far colder up here, it's only just the back end of summer and here I am walking with my coat zipped up and my gloves on, glorious Yorkshire weather.

Tha landlord's 'car' at the Tan Hill Inn (897067), do you think the weather gets a bit harsh up here in the winter ? This is a lonely looking place, as far as you can see in any direction there isn't another building apart from sheepfolds. I talked to a couple who got snowed in here in the early 80's who became so short of food after weeks of isolation that they were seriously considering eating either their alsation or its remaining supply of dog food.

The highest pub in the land.

Sadly, the pub isn't open yet, but it is only 9 in the morning. I turn off the Pennine Way and onto the path that leads cross to Arkengarthdale Moor, breakfast seems hours ago, in fact, it was hours ago, so I shelter in the doorway of the transmitting station and eat my butties.

The moors are purple, the heather is in full bloom and the stiff wind brings with it the honeyed scent of the flowers.

This is annoying, I've only done about 8 miles, and my right knee is twinging, more on the downhill sections, I seem alright on the flat and ascents. There's nothing I can do about it though, I'm at the furthest point of the walk of the walk from the car and there is no more direct route back, onwards it is then.

Look at this big beastie, I don't know what it's going to turn into, but it is very attractive, there are loads of these big, furry caterpillers crawling around on the heather.

I stood for a while on Annaside Edge (934054) and watched the clouds flying past over head, if you just watched the clouds and nothing else they give you a strange sensation of movement, it feels af if they are still and you are flying along beneath them.

Over the moor and close to Notion Gill, this object stands amidst the industrial scarring of the land at North Rake (956015), what is it ?

Oh yes, it's a patent kibbler stone breaker, I bet you already knew that ? They must have had a few of these things working to build up the spoil heaps that run for miles across the moors here. It's strange to think just how industrial this part of North Yorkshire was, but the high moors are studded with lead and coal mines, lime kilns, shafts and pits. It must have been a hard life being a miner in these bleak areas.

Friarfold Hush in Gunnerside Gill (942014), I've just come down that, now my knee is giving me some serious gip.

Looking up Gunnerside.

Old mine buildings at Blind Gill (937018). Now it's over Lownathwaite to Swinner Gill.

East Grain Falls (909007). I'm slowing down now, and the downhill sections have become painful and halting, worse than that, because I'm a bit tired and hungry and in pain, I misread the map and walk out of my way.

You see that rather precarious looking path picking its way along the cliff edge ? Well I'm supposed to be on that, as realisation dawns I could kick myself, except that my knee is now far too apinful for that. There's nothing for it than to hobble back down a particularly steep and soggy peat scree back to the gill and then back round the other side.

Swinner Gill, then an easy flat walk for the last mile and a bit back to Muker, treat myself to a tub of Yorkshire ice cream, have a quick stroll around the shops (both of them!) and it's time to go home.

19 miles, including detours - doh!, done in about 9 hours with a fair amount of climbing and descending. We (Steve and myself) are supposed to be attempting the Three Peaks on Sept 2nd, I am a little worried about my knee though, I'm now wearing a great big sports support and taking ibruprofen, I've only one more chance for a traing walk before we go for the big hike, let's hope it holds up.