Richard's Retirement Blog

From July 2011

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25th January 2012 - This site seems to have become moribund. That, I think, is because it's so much easier to make odd comments on Facebook, and my photos (no significant new ones recently - it's wintery, grey and grotty) are on Picasa. Maybe it's time to call it a day?

14th December: Oops! The next three entries should have been posted weeks ago, but I forgot!

The Old Knotty Railway at Leek: Earlier in the year I explored this line from North Rode (Macclesfield) past Rudyard Lake to the northern ouskirts of Leek. A couple of miles south of Leek the track of the Churnet Valley (Steam) Railway starts. This is the bit in between. On day I'll ride the CVR, and one day I'll see what's left from Froghall to Uttoxeter, where the Old Knotty ended.

21st November: The Caldon Canal, photos taken over several days. This canal runs from Etruria (Stoke-on-Trent) to Froghall (Staffordshire), 19 miles.

19th November: The Leek Branch of the Caldon Canal. A grey day, but warm and pleasant for a six-mile walk.

17th November: La Traviata was excellent: and a Verdi opera at a proper opera house is surely something one should experience once in a lifetime. Since then I've been exploring the Caldon Canal, and photos are in preparation.

Rant: I'm sick to death of people trying to tell me what to do, not by reasoned advice, but by the emotive use of langauage. A professor of nutrition, who ought to know better, encourages us to eat less salt (fair enough, perhaps), because "it's a chemical (sodium chloride)" and it's "not natural and we don't need it". Grrrrrrrr!

Sodium chloride, in a solution in hydrogen hydroxide (a chemical we call "water"), makes up far and away the commonest liquid on the planet (we call the solution "sea water"). The same solution circulates in our bodies, transporting other chemicals such as those hydrocarbons we call "proteins"; in this case we call it "blood". Not natural?

Everything is chemicals, from the hydrocarbons in coal and oil to the carbohydrates in potatoes and bread. Etymologically, hydrocarbons and carbohydrates are very similar. Now I'm no chemist, but I know that both are carbon compounds, and that "organic chemistry" - the chemistry of carbon compounds - is the chemistry of living things. We don't need chemicals? Rubbish, we are chemicals!

The issue with salt is, that in common with many other things we need a balance; too little is, literally, fatal: you die. Too much, is also bad for you, and may cause or exacerbate various diseases, notably high blood pressure; this too may be fatal. Instead of playing games with words, the good professor should indicate how I can tell when I have too much, or too little, salt in my system.

Sorry. Rant off.

13th November: lazy day, catching up with myself. La Traviata at Buxton Opera House this evening - tell you about it tomorrow. But I'm not promising updates every day for the future!

12th November: Stafford Operatic lighting gig at a school. Went as well as it could - I was limited to the small and rather randomly directed lighting provided. Half an hour and a ladder (and permission) would have improved things considerably - by pointing the lamps where the diagram in the control room said they did point.

11th November: after moving to Leek, drove through thick fog to Chesterfield to see the Mills and Chimneys concert, including Lucy Ward, and Sarah Mathews from Cupola - had a great evening.

7th - 10th November: Uttoxeter.

10th November: It's been a good while - exactly a month - since my last update. I spent the month back in Telford, as MD for a show (Top of the Ops). We had a proper band (5-piece: flute, 2 keyboards, bass, drums) for the first time in years, and it went very well. Now I'm vagus again.

7th - 9th October: Banbury. No photos from the Festival - "strictly prohibited" - but some from a walk in this very attractive town.

5th October: London Paddington. I went to see Wicked.

2nd - 6th October: Winchcombe in the Cotswolds.

25th September: Youlgreave, Derbyshire.

8th - 11th September: Bromyard Festival 2011

9th August: Leintwardine

5th September: All my stuff has moved to new servers. I think it's all still working, but if you know different, please tell me.

2nd September: This all seems to be working, so I've tidied up the album names. Hopefully it all still works!

2nd August: Picasa seems to be working well. I'll persist with it.

23 July: having had trouble uploading to facebook, and because it's impossible to edit and caption albums offline and then batch-upload, I'm experimenting with Picasa and Google.

26th - 29th August: Shrewsbury Festival 2011. Up-and-coming Star of the Festival: Lucy Ward

17th August: Kidderminster, St Mary's Church. A flying visit which doesn't really do it justice.

17th August: The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal through Kidderminster.

11th - 13th August: Cropredy Festival

9th August: Loch Katrine

8th August: Hill House Helensburgh

4th August: New Lanark Mills

3rd August: Milngavie Reservoir near Glasgow.

2nd August: Ullswater. Dalemain, being a mansion house, and Ullswater itself.

1st August: Penrith. Two castles and a fortified house, and two prehistoric henges. Oh, and a railway station and signal box.

21st July: Erddig

19th July: Chirk and Chirk Castle including the Ceiriog Valley aqueduct and viaduct and Chirk canal tunnel, and Chirk Parish Church.

I'm experimenting with Facebook, and this page is a link page to photo albums there.

10th July: Attingham Park I went to Attingham Park (NT) for a walk - found the army in residence, military police on the gate - trust me to hit "1940 Weekend"!

10th July: At Salop Leisure, a duck is nesting in a flower basket slap-bang in the middle of the caravans for sale!

3rd July: Loch Lomond

2nd July: Edinburgh

1st July: the Forth and Clyde Canal from Spiers Wharf to Switchback Road, added to existing Forth and Clyde Canal album.

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