Counting our blessings on the highways to Hell

We should ‘try living in the real world’, said our detractor, via the Letters page of the Cockermouth Times and Star, winding up for his punchline. ‘In a city!’ Clearly it was heart-felt. And aimed full square at me and my co-contributor of many a letter to our local paper, regarding our on-going concerns about…

Stormtroopers and sandbags

Our newish neighbours, across the way in what used to be loosely called ‘the view’ from our living room window — essentially wild green verge, hedgerow, field and cows, in that order — last week erected what appeared to be an eight-foot stormtrooper in their front bay window. As in shiny white-panelled foot soldier of…

Sir Chris Bonington, mountain rescue and misrepresentation in the media

‘Rival mountain rescue teams are competing to get to stranded climbers’, said Sir Chris Bonington on Friday morning, in both The Times and The Telegraph, adding that he considers mountain rescue ‘a sport’, in which the volunteers engage because they ‘enjoy the thrill’. None of these contests have ‘quite got to fisticuffs’, he said, despite getting…

Killer Hamsters return in a hail of ‘fire and furry’

Well it looks as though the KN-08 waving has escalated after all, what with the most unlikely set of identical twins since Danny de Vito and Arnie Shwarzenegger taking their Killer Hamster act on tour for the summer. Killer Hamster Un brags his newfound ability to nuke the US — although let’s face it, that’s…

Senior moments and lost credit cards

Ever lost a credit card? Turned the house, car, garage and multiple handbags upside down searching for that lost credit card? Forgotten password? In fact, just ‘enjoyed’ a good old fashioned ‘senior moment’? Well, join the club!

Girl jobs, boy jobs and Doctor Who

‘I want a bin fairy too’, said my friend, in her best mock snivel, in between slurps. Wine or tea, I can’t recall now which stage of the evening we were at. But there was definitely chocolate, I do remember that. Considering we’re all supposed to be ‘gender-fluid’ now (yeah right), it shouldn’t be an…

Secretary of State says ‘maybe’

Given that nuclear war hasn’t yet commenced, despite a further attempt to launch Mr Kim’s deadly KN-08, and that Orange Bloke just generally being one, this week I’m back focusing on Strawberry How. Well, if we’re not about to be nuked any time soon, may as well concern ourselves with pasture-pillaging property magnates closer to home. And there…

An apple a day…

President Trump’s executive order, barring nationals from seven countries perceived as a threat to the US from entering the country – whilst continuing to allow in those from countries whose track record on the terror front leaves a lot to be desired – continues to excite all manner of debate on and offline. As you might expect. It reminded me…

Training the trainers

I’m thinking of establishing a ‘One in: One out’ policy at Strawberry How. Aimed primarily, you understand, at the Fell Shoe Gremlin. We’d already reached peak ‘approach shoe’ and the route guides have long since multiplied beyond any hope of redemption, but yesterday we hit peak rucksack too. Incidentally, I didn’t know they were called approach shoes…

Talking conkers

Today I am talking conkers. Yeah, yeah. I know. I’ve been talking conkers for years. Funny. But, seriously, I’m worried. Because things have changed at Strawberry How this autumn. And, for once, it’s nothing to do with Strawberry Swamp. It was only a couple of weeks ago I remarked to the Gremlin, whilst taking a stroll round our front…

No newts is bad news… and other thongs… er, things

Campaign groups, I learned last week, have taken to planting colonies of great crested newts (Triturus cristatus) on proposed development sites, in a bid to scupper the likes of Story Homes and Persimmon. The diminutive newt, you see, has ‘the power to halt bulldozers in their muddy tracks’. Or so said Conservative peer Lord Borwick…