The Haunted House

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Kinder Scout and Jacob's Ladder

Last night Martin came around and we all went out for a Curry and some beers. Today Me and Amanda had planned to go on a nice long walk, and I felt I needed it after the amount of curry we got though last night. We decided to do a walk around Kinder Scout and Jacob's Ladder in the dark peaks near Edale. There is only one word I can use to describe this 9 mile walk, STEEP!!!!!

We left the house around 9.30 and drive to Edale for the start of the walk, this took around an hour. We got ready and set off. The first 40 minutes of the walk was quite difficult as you basically have to climb Kinder Scout to the top of the ridge. Again we was using the AA book, and it was about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

We already have the white peak OS map, but I am now going to get the dark peak OS map and maybe treat myself to a GPS locator. One guy tried to give us some directions and sent us off on the wrong way, even though he had a proper map, but luckily someone else who knew the area well put us on the right track. The weather was pretty good for most of the day. Overcast and cool, but this was good as the other week it got a bit to hot. It was very windy on top of the ridge though. Good job we had lots of clothing layers with us to break the wind.

The scenery was very stunning, similar sort of wow factor to Yosemite in California. Lots of rolling hills and rocks. We made sure we took lots of sandwiches with us today as walking 9 miles (and alot of it walking up hills) meant we would be peckish fairly often :-)

I thought we were doing really well walking along there, until we saw a load of nutters who do hill running come bombing past and running up the hill. I felt like collapsing just watching them. There were lots of mountain bikers out too, especially near Jacobs Ladder Path, although we did see one guy fall off his bike at high speed. We went over to check on him, but he seems OK, just a little dazed and confused. He soon got back on his bike and went racing off.

By the time we got to the bottom of Jacobs Ladder we were knackered, but we still had about 2 miles left to get back to the car park. This was a difficult 2 miles as alot of the ground was very uneven, but we got there in the end.

My legs feel like they are about to drop off at the moment, but it has been a great day. The weather was mostly good. It started raining at one point, but only a little bit. Nothing heavy enough to ruin the afternoon. This walking malarkey has been doing wonders for the waist line. Lost over half a stone over the past month. We just need to keep it going all through the summer.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Walk Around Chatsworth House and Grounds

To keep going with our current fitness routine, Me and Amanda embarked on another walk today. This walk was actually 2 different 4 mile walks out the book which we combined. Once they had been combined we probably lost about a mile of each walk, so the total walk was 6 miles, which was just about right for a day as hot as this.

Today's walks were around the grounds and surrounding area of Chatsworth house near Rowsley. We set off about 10.30, and before getting to Chatsworth house stopped at the outlet shopping centre. I needed to get a new walking pole as my one had ceased up and I couldn't retract it properly anymore. So I got a new pole for £20 and a wicking t-shirt, which keeps moisture and sweat off your skin to keep you dry around the walk.

We got to the car park about 11.30 and set off on the walk. We first walked though some parks and then through this very quaint little village that is on the Chatsworth estate. The walk then took us down to Chatsworth house itself. This is where we switched to the 2nd walk and that takes you up to the children's petting zoo, and up into the hills. One part of the walk you had to climb 144 stones stairs which where very steep, and because all the steps were un-even it made it harder. Still good exercise.

At the top of the stairs is an old battle lookout tower which I think is someones house now, but it looked really interesting, and tourists were sitting around it anyway, so I got a photo.

As we carried on walking we got to this little waterfall, which feeds another man made water, which in turn trickles down to feed the waterfalls in the Chatsworth house gardens.

From here the walk took us through some moorland and through some fields which eventually led us back to the car park. Unfortunately some twat in a black Ferrari blocked in Amanda's car, but there was just enough room for her to manoeuvre the car to edge it out of another space. It's a pity we didn't prang the Ferrari, would have served him right for parking in a dodgy place and blocking in cars. The idiot!!

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Saturday Afternoon Walk Around Elton (With An Alien)

Today the weather has been stunning. Very unusual for April, as it is normally pissing down with rain, but it looks like summer has arrived early. To take advantage of this weather Me and Amanda went on another walk in the country. We didn't leave the house until 2 in the afternoon as Amanda had to go to Derby in the morning, and that took a while with traffic etc, so whilst she was out, I did a bit of house tidying.

We decided to do a walk around Elton which is near Cromford. This is a 5 mile walk from a new book we bought a little while ago. Once we got there and parked the car we set off. The walk started near the village church. Naturally it didn't talk long until we messed up the instructions and went a little wrong, but luckily we didn't stray too much off path.

Once we got our bearings we sat down for lunch. Amanda bought a huge bag of pita breads from Costco this morning, so I made up some of them for lunch. After we had eaten I got out the compass that Neil and Caroline had given us. After I found North, Amanda asked to have a look, so I passed the compass to her. Surprisingly the needle span around and faced the other way. This was odd, surly North doesn't move. I took the compass back and the needle span around again to point to the original direction I found earlier.

There are a few explanations for this, they are:
  1. The compass is faulty.
  2. We were sitting in some strange magnetic vortex.
  3. Amanda is an alien.
I think point 3 is the most likely, she is an alien. My reasoning is thus. A few years ago when we were lying in bed we witnessed a huge, fast flash of light. Amanda initially thought this was an alien space ship, as you do. I thought it was either someone with a huge flash gun or a sudden burst of lightening. Anyway, ever since then Amanda has been different.

When ever we go on holiday, Amanda used to have our bags packed 2 weeks before hand, with clothes split between 2 cases in case one case got lost. She would write multiple lists of things we need to take with us. This doesn't happen anymore. On our last holiday to Greece last year, she started packing 30 minutes before we were supposed to drive to the airport.

So, from this and the strange magnetic phenomenon, I can only surmise that Amanda is an alien android with a nuclear powered heart that is playing around with the compass. My real wife is on a space ship somewhere and they put this robot in her place who is 80% the same as the real Amanda, but acts differently every now and again. Strange eh??!!??

Anyway, we carried on walking for a while until we got to the next town of Birchover, and we went to the Druid Inn for a drink. I had a most excellent pint of Druids Brew. It was a great, light and fruity ale. We tried the compass again. This time no matter who held it, north pointed in the same direction. I still think Amanda is an alien. I think the mother ship detected my suspicion and realigned the dilitium matrix of her reactor heart so it wouldn't disrupt the compass and arouse my suspicions.

From Birchover we carried on the walk for a few miles until we got back to Elton. All in all this was a fairly relaxed walk which was made more difficult as the weather was very hot. Can't complain though, not like we get loads of sunshine in this country.

BTW, I don't really think Amanda is an alien in case some UFO conspiracy nut job reads this post and goes, 'AHA!!! They do exist, I must go to Belper and snare this alien beast'.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Album News

"MECHANICAL bring to the lovers of electronic music sixteen tracks of music influenced by bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Boards of Canada, and Hybrid. Stephen took exams with the Trinity College of Music in London but his will to explore new sound solutions made him tweak old electronic toys by rewiring the insides to create new sounds. His music is always driven by rhythm but he likes to create dark atmospheres and ambient pads. The result is evocative and sometimes cinematic."

Maurizio Pustianaz for Chain D.L.K Magazine

Firstly the album Mechanical is available to purchase on CD from CDBaby and aswell as the Haunted House Records shop. Which is good if you prefer your music as a solid plastic product.

Also Mechanical has been reviewed in the US plublication Chain D.L.K. They gave it a respectable 3.5 stars out of 5. The full review can be read here. It's kinda cool to see I got the same score as the new Zombie Girl album, which is a great album :-)


Monday, April 09, 2007

Walk around Belper and local area

Today being the last day of the Easter break, Me and Amanda went on another country walk with Neil and Caroline. This time we stayed more local and started the walk off in Belper. We left the house at 10.30 and started walking into town to meet the others at the bridge by the mill.

On the way I took a few pictures around the town centre. The picture below is of the new bar, 'The Green House' that has just been built. It's quite a nice building and has been nicely decorated inside. We all went to the opening night last Wednesday. It's ok, typical lively town pub where the kids can go on the pull. If you like a good pint of real ale though avoid this place as you will not get a decent pint of beer in here. On Wednesday I had my 2 worst pints of bitter ever. But if you like wine and spirits, then the place is ok, although it's pretty expensive. Not tried food in there yet, but from looking at the menu, it looks to be the same sort of thing you would get in a Weatherspoons pub, so good for snacks, burgers, etc.

Now the picture below is of a proper pub that cares about their beer. This is the 'George and Dragon', and Me and Neil like to go here fairly often as they do care about the beer they serve and also have at least 2 different guest beers each week :-)

Anyway, that's my beer rant over with :-) We met the others near the mill at 11am and started the walk. The plan was to walk up to the Bulls Head at Belper lane end, have a pint, then carry on with the walk until we got to the Blue Bell Inn, naturally where we would have another pint. This was more a leisurely walk involving beer than a hike.

The weather was nice all day. A little cooler than previous days, but still very nice and sunny. There was quite a lot of hilly bits to this walk, but nothing to difficult. We got to the Bulls Head about 12 and got a pint and some lunch. Once we had finished here we carried on walking up to the top of a big hill. Once their Caroline handed out more of her Apple Cake. Yummy :-)

As we got to the last half of the walk we reached the Blue Bell Inn. We was looking forward to another pint here, but unfortunately it was closed. Why on earth they closed on a bank holiday Monday is a complete mystery, as this is the sort of nice eatery that is ideal for a lazy afternoon. We rested here for a while and loads of people turned up expecting the pub to be open, but were disappointed to see that is was closed. I wonder how much money they lost out in trade today.

Once we were rested we carried on with the last part of the walk. This part of the walk was easier as we had to go down hill back into the valley. When we got back to Belper we stopped off at the George for a couple of pints.

With all the beer we had during the 3.5 hours this walk took, I very much doubt our calorie burn was that impressive, but it doesn't matter really. It got us out of the house. After our beer at the George, Me and Amanda walked home, and I started the dinner.

It's been a good Easter break. Been to Alton Towers, done 2 nice long walks, and got a bit of gardening done too. A very healthy long weekend indeed (trying not to think about all the beer and wine consumed over past 4 days).

Well I guess it's back to the rat race tomorrow. At least it is only a 4 day week. We just launched a new product I have been working on at work, so hopefully this week will be a little quieter as we support the new release. Of course, now I have said that, it will probably be bedlam. :-)

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Alton Towers And Curbar Edge

It has been quite a busy Easter so far. On Thursday night Jane and Johny drove up to visit us and on Friday morning we went to Alton Towers as Jane had never been before and Johny had only been once when he was a kid. Being Alton Tower veterans Me and Amanda (well Amanda mainly) navigated the optimum route around the park, so we got to go on loads, some rides twice. It wasn't too busy on Friday luckily which helped also. The whole day was really good. The only ride that was crap was the Charlie and the Chocolate factory ride. Although this is aimed a kids, we decided to check it out, as it was the newest ride which opened last year. But in all honestly, don't bother with it. It was really dull. Even the children in there looked really bored. It consisted of a small boat ride through a warehouse and then a simulated elevator ride.

On Saturday Me and Amanda went for a walk around Curbar Edge with Neil and Caroline. They came around to pick us up at 10am. Although Me and Amanda were running a little late. We got back from Alton Towers so late that the shop had shut, so Amanda had to quickly drive to Morrison's and get stuff to make sandwiches for our packed lunch.

We got to the walk just after 11am, got our boots on and started. This walk is around 8.5 miles, and was quite hilly, so was going to be a good bit of exercise. The views from the top of Curbar Edge were stunning. It was a very clear and warm day, so you could see for miles around.

We walked for a couple of hours and then stopped on some large rocks to have lunch. Caroline had baked an Apple sponge cake the previous day and brought loads of it along, and it was very nice too :-)

After our lunch stop we continued the walk along the cliff edge and down the steep hill into the nearest village. Once in the village we found a small pub and the temptation to go into it for quick pint was too strong. I only had 1 pint of bitter, but felt quick numb afterwards. This was a good thing, and the last part of the walk, as Neil informed us, goes up a very steep hill back to the car park.

The next part of the walk was down by the river which was shaded by tree's. This was good as it really was quite hot at that point.

Down by the river there were some really nice houses. There was also a huge mill that had been converted into to flats. Neil mentioned to us that the old mill was also used as the set of the TV series Colditz in the 80's. Which was quite interesting. Will have to see if I can find any old episodes on the internet.

After the river, we got to the start of the hill leading back up to the car park. Neil wasn't kidding, it was very steep and very tiring walking up it. The path went up through a wooded area, so the path was quite un-even which made it more difficult. Neil being a photographer made quite a few stops to get pictures, read that has a few stops to have a rest ;-)

I never thought I would be so glad t get back to the car. We were all totally knackered. But as they say, no pain, no gain, so the walk should have done us a load of good.

We drove back to Belper and went to Morrison's. We thought it would be a good idea to get a little more shopping as it would be closed on Easter Sunday. Once we got home I started making dinner, fish and chips, which was lovely :-)

We just chilled out in the evening with a beer and watched some TV. Amanda was absolutely exhausted so she went to bed fairly early. I stayed up a little longer and watched Borat on DVD. One of those films best watched by my self as I don't think Amanda would have liked it.

We are planning on doing another walk with Neil and Caroline on bank holiday Monday. This walk will be more local as it starts off in Belper and goes around the local country side. But this route has a couple of pubs on it, so it will be a long walk / pub crawl. Can't wait, as long as my legs have recovered. Today I am going to do a little gardening. Started off with trimming the hedge around the house. Then I will pull up a few weeks in the garden. I think that will be all I can manage at this point.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Funny Music Video

Amanda just sent me a funny music video featuring cut out clips of Tony Blair on TV. It's a rendition of 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go'. You can watch the video here.