A Chrisssstmassssy Tale from Jan
It was a cold wet December day when we set off on our pre-Christmas lunch walk. We had cleared only four stiles (Katrina was keeping count) and maybe half a mile when we met Sid. He was curled up in a livid pink heap, ice cold and immobile until Jules gave him a gentle prod with her stick. At this, he reared his head and opened his little reptilian mouth and gave us an angry show of fangs.
Sid was obviously no native snake but a good guess at a North American Corn Snake (knowledge gained via an obsessed-with-creatures-six-year-old-grandson) put minds at rest that he was fairly harmless. It was also obvious that he would not survive long in the very cold weather and something must be done.
So it was that four women and a snake ended up in a veterinary hospital somewhere near Huddersfield. Sid had perked up during the ride thanks to being swaddled in a leg- warmer made from a recycled charity shop jumper – orders for this fashion item being taken. On arrival at the hospital he was considerably more active and ever so slightly warmer.
He was taken by a wonderful nurse to be slowly defrosted and his rescuers bid him a very emotional goodbye, even the one who is terrified of serpents!
A call to the vet at about 5pm revealed Sid was making good progress and looking forward to a nice mouse when it was defrosted. Visiting times were flexible and we were urged to call next day for further reports. Meanwhile said grandson was getting quite excited at the possibility of having a new friend – one who shared the same name in fact!
I would love to continue this festive tale of peace and goodwill to all creatures great, small and slithery in a similar tone but alas dear friends, that is not to be. A call next day was met with the sad news that Sid had “taken a turn for the worse” during the night and in the early hours of Friday 13th the vet had decided that on humane grounds this beautiful creature should be put to rest.
We can only hope we did the right thing for Sid and that if there is an afterlife he is now somewhere warm with a plentiful supply of fresh, not frozen, mice. May he rest in peace.
Photos courtesy of Jane J
Some of you will know that I am about to open a bookshop in Barnsley, with my son managing it. Anyway it is hopefully opening on Monday so if you are ever in Barnsley please drop in and have a look. No need to buy - just be nice to see you. The window in the photo has models in it - that will be removed tomorrow and the bookshop may open on Sunday for a couple of hours before it properly opens on Monday.
I hope everyone enjoyed their Xmas dinner! Best wishes for Xmas
Received this piece from Jayne W about Sunday's walk in the Kingdom of Elmet - thank you J.
"An interesting walk led by Margaret starting in Aberford and travelling through lanes, villages and fields to Barwick in Elmet. Two photos show us at the the top of the earthworks of a medieval Hill Tower fort and tramping across the muddy fields towards the end of the 8 to 10 miles? We also walked past Becca Hall home to Bear Grylls sister and once the National Grid centre for the UK – who knew? Just for good measure we saw three deer, many red kites and a flying Heron!"
Caroline led a 6 mile walk around South Hiendley, Havercroft and Wintersett ending up at the Angler's Cafe. Katerina had invited everyone, whether walking that day or not, to join her for coffee and cake to help her celebrate her 85th birthday. Yes, really! She's honestly 85 years young! Just how absolutely inspirational is she! I, and a few others have tried following Katerina up the odd hill or two, and she leaves us way behind! Congratulations on this milestone Katerina. and here's to many more.
Many thanks to Caroline for leading the walk, and also to Gillian W and Anne M for sending in their photos below.
Katerina enjoying her celebrations; cake and coffee with Enid
For Thursday's outing Joan was originally going to lead a walk around Sprotborough but the recent wet weather forced a change in plan. Joan still led the walk, instead taking in the Autum delights of Kirk Smeaton.
She sent these two delightful photos - which made me cry! I miss you so much - but I'm going to the Christmas lunch so look forward to seeing you then. xx
Gathering under the mistletoe in Kirk Smeaton churchyard. WWWN always optimistic!
Lunchtime. Halfway round and seats for all .... nearly.
This walk report came in from Jayne following her brave attempt to lead an 8 mile walk on a less-than-dry Sunday.
"A River not a Stream!
I’d only reccied this walk one week previously but the stream had turned into a river and there was no way round it. So it was ‘Team Building’ time and we all searched for rocks, pebbles, branches and any old iron to throw in and create a semblance of a stepping stone. Unfortunately none of it was enough and although we were only 45 minutes into the walk most of us had wet feet by the time we reached the other side. Sorry about that ladies. But everything else went smoothly despite the gloomy weather and lashings of mud around Shelf, Coley and Norwood Green. Thank you for coming ladies."
The two photos below show she wasn't joking about the lashings of mud!
Chrissie led the 8.5 miler on Sunday from Pateley Bridge to Brimham Rocks.
The walk started in sunshine and was uphill (of course) following old packhorse trails through tiny hamlets and leafy woodland paths. Glorious Nidderdale views began unfolding with Yorke’s Folly in the distance and the autumnal colours of Guise Wood.
Lunch was taken just below the Rocks and then we started descending (hooray) to the raging torrent that was the Nidd, following the riverbank all the way back to Pateley. Super walk and super company thank you Chrissie.