Saturday 21 April 2012

A Walk in the Country.

Hi Folks,

Those of you who follow this post.  Will know that one of my biggest soap box rants is the lack of public transport in rural areas.  It really makes my blood boil that we have no bloody buses.  There you are.  I'm even swearing now.  Anyway I have decided to get myself fit and WALK everywhere.  Well at least four miles a day any way.  I started my fitness regime on Thursday.  One walked seven  and half miles along road, moor and mountain.  Then I washed it down with four cans of stout and I have never felt so good in donkey years.  The experts on the old T'web and T internet (that's for the Lancashire and Yorkshire readers like myself) reckon walking is good for your eyesight and depression (sounds like me) and your brain releases the endorphins that make you happy and feel good.  Yesterday I cycled (walked up a hill) four miles and today I rode four miles on my exercise bike listening to some good old heavy rock music.  I also walked to see my big cattle:  Toffee, Lucy Black and Yankee (he was born on the 4th of July).
"Shall we sing that Star of the County Down Song?"

"What again?"

"Well we do have Bantry Bay in the background don't we?"
Here's  a much better version for you.


  1. Yeah, get into practice on the bike and shanks pony as we say. I can't see rural bus services expanding much, the companies are all accountant-driven now, and services not showing a profit are no longer offered, they can't have profitable services subsidising un-profitable ones, can they? Absolutely no social consience at all.

    Think of the better eyesight and non-depressive state of mind. And the 4 cans of stout.

    Handsome-looking lads, love their ear decorations.

    Raggy cat's sleeping, been out for 12 days.

  2. Hi Cumbrian. Welcome back. We raised the trio from dropped calves and they are not doing bad are they? Cattle are still making incredible amounts of money.

    You're right about thinking of the the better eyesight and non-depressive state of mind from walking. The 4 cans of Murphy's (Cork brewery) help also!

    It really annoys me though that the powers that be are always going on about tourism and yet they can't even provide some public transport be it boats or buses or trains or horse and carriages. It seems that the city's get all the infrastructure and the rural areas get nothing.

    I don't really like the ear decorations myself but I suppose it's better than the branding iron?

    Raggy cat sounds like a real cool character.

    Thanks Cumbrian.

  3. Dave! I know donkeys can pull carts, so what about those little cow chaps of yours?? I have definitely seen oxen type things pulling carts abroad, so I wonder (no, really!) if mebbes cows can pull carts?? I know it sounds completely bloody ridiculous but I reckon there must be a little business in country-side transportation, even if of the donkey/cow/cart variety - you know just going into town and back type thing. Am I mental? (don't answer!!!!!)

  4. Hiya Carol. Glad to see you back. Hope things are great in London and they have stopped building any more of the Olympics on the allotments - I have read all about it!

    The black lad on the right (Yankee)is a bullock - he's not a bull any more. They (who are they?) usually used bullocks for ploughing and pulling carts, especially in the Third World (no Monty Python jokes about Northern English counties) and developing world. My father tells me that people used to keep bullocks (Oxen)up to five years old. They would be built like a proverbial outdoor water closet or a rugby league prop forward.

    If we could manage to get an oxen to pull a cart along the country roads (no John Denver songs please) we would probably have to get the car speed limits reduced. It's 80Km (about 50 mile an hour) here on lanes made for horses and carts.

    Thanks Carol.

  5. Food for thought there Carol, it's not that long ago, in the scheme of things, that country people used horses almost exclusively for farm work and travel (if they ever went anywhere) and haulage of goods. As you say, that was before the motor vehicle was in genereal use.

    And some of the old gypsy folk still rely on horse-drawn caravans for their accommodation.

    But there may yet be a return to the horse and cart, agreed most of the rural roads were made for them, not some of the juggernauts on the roads now.

    It'll just take a lot longer and be a bit quieter.

    1. Hello Cumbrian and Dave! What about this (mebbes it's a bad idea, I dunno): how about paving the bridal paths and foot paths and allowing horse drawn traffic along 'em??? I mean, in London and other cities they've got special paths and under/over passes for bicycles. I don't see why (in principle) there could be something done for horse-drawn traffic like there is for bikes. I mean, it's gotta be good for the old global warming AND it promotes the 'big society' (ho!) cos it could help people in rural communities get to the shops/doctors/pub(!), thereby creating community cohesion and extra jobs with zero carbon footprint!!!!

    2. It's not a bad idea at all. I once met a new age English hippy type lady who told me she had walked all over England walking on ancient trackland and leylines etc. I wonder how many old tracks and trails like Watling Street (the Roman legacy) and The Pilgrims Way are still in existence. I would also like to see the canals used again even if it's just the tow paths. The old railways would also make great bridle baths. It would create lots of jobs also.

      Great idea Carol!!

  6. If only Cumbrian.

    Have you ever been to the Apple-by Horse Fair?

    You can go on holidays in horse drawn caravans over here - think it's county Mayo.

    My dad fondly tells me about the Tinkers (made things out of tin) who used to visit the farm during the second world war when everything was scarce. The Tinker chappy would ask you if you needed any buckets repairing or knive sharpening? Ten minutes later and he was back with your buckets shining and not leaking and your cutlery gleaming like Sheffield plate.

    Wouldn't it be great if the oil was rationed and half the cars disappeared and the horses returned?

    Happy St Georges Day England readers.

  7. I've passed the Appleby Fair many times, and seen the horses being washed in the river. Never actually walked round it though. About that time you can see a lot of the old traditional caravans with horses on the roadsides, all making their way there.
    Never seen one of their caravans up close or inside either, but I beleive they're masterpieces.

    Yes it would be nice to see fuel rationed, but it would only lead to a black market, and it's rationed enough by cost anyway. But it would be nice to hear the clip-clop again, and actually see some of the countryside as you pass, nowt much is noticed from a noisy vehicle, if any wildlife gets close enough to be seen that is. And hedgehogs would be a bit safer.

    Have a nice St Georges Day, we don't seem to bother so much, not like St Patricks Day, I was in Amsterdam 17 March one year, they were even selling green beer.

    Raggy cat fast asleep on my chair.

  8. I totally agree with you Cumbrian about you not hearing or seeing much in a car. You've got to get outside and smell the coffee.

    The Gypsy Romany Caravans are masterpieces. I would love to have a holiday in a Romany cart,canal narrow boat or fly in a Spitfire.

    Have a nice St Georges (Shakespeare's birthday also?) Cumbrian. I don't why the UK hardly clebrates it. I think it's sad and it should be a public holiday at least.

    Raggy Cat obviously works very hard. I bet he costs you a fortune in milk?

    Many Thanks Cumbrian for your thoughts.

  9. Just noticed Carols post about bridal paths, cycle ways and footpaths. Great idea, but there'd be so much opposition from people who don't either know anything nor care about global warming, and know even less about horses.

    Same as the canals, these used to move a massive amount of bulk materials about, as did the railways; all of which we now get stuck behind and swear at on the over-loaded motorways, and try and learn to love diesel fumes.

    No, not much in milk, just about an egg-cup a day, it's not a greedy soul.
    Gone out now, always asks to be let out.

  10. Yes Carols idea is a very good one. I can't believe that there are 33 Million cars in the UK. Something should be done but I don't suppose it ever will be.

    I wonder how many old railway lines and canals could be made into alternative transport routes. It would create lots of jobs hacking back the vegetation. Perhaps they could use horses to help?

    Archie our new bull calf will only drink milk from his own bucket. He doesn't (won't) share a trough. He reminds me of one of those pubs with a local who drinks from their very 'own' tankard!

    Thanks Cumbrian!!

  11. Don't know if 33 million is correct, probably is. And this doesn't include the HGV and PSV vrhicles which must number in millions as well. Something will be done about it when the oil runs out, there's too much money involved for too many people and governments for them to do anything yet.

    We have a redundant rail line, just a few miles, which used to connect the dock with a large ammunition dump which was an explosives development / testing facility in the war years and then an ammunition dump used by the US navy until about 20 years ago when they emptied it of ammunition with helicopters to navy ships, and it became a huge desolate no-go area, the fence is 12' high and 12 miles in length. The line is now part of the C2C cycle track from Workington to Wallsend I think it is on the East coast, they lifted the lines and tarmaced it, it's a cycling dog-walking place now.
    A small part of the Workington-Keswick line is now converted to use as the A66.
    But there must be an awful lot of miles un-used that could be brought back into use as cycle-ways or bridle-paths.

    Dunno about canals, we don't have them in our mountainous area, but I'm sure there must be a lot of disused miles that could be put to some use for transport or even pleasure craft.

    Yeah, the locals with their own tankard, used to be a popular idea, don't see it much now.

    Raggy cat just come in, fast asleep on kitchen chair.

  12. Thanks for that Cumbrian. I got the 33 million statistic from Google. It's interesting to see how many vehicles there where and are on Britain's roads. I wonder how many there will be in 20 years?

    Once watched a John Betjeman programme complaining about the urban masses getting the motor car and the building of the motorways. It sounded like he wanted the West Country to himself.

    Everybody wants their autonomy to get about, but at what price? I believe the Pony Express only lasted 40 years because of the railway being invented.

    Yes we seem to hear a lot of old railways being used for walking and cycling. It's a shame we can't see them being used for transporting people and freight also.

    Off to check my cattle down by the sea. I'll be using good old shanks pony.

    Raggy cat seems to have a different time-table to us humans?



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