On The Prime Meridian Day Four

Say Cheese

Whilst I might proclaim that for us, geocaching is not all about the numbers, we decided to complete a trail this morning.  Not a power trail, of which Lincolnshire boast several with over fifty caches. We cannot imagine completing one of those in a day, to us that’s the waste of a good walk. No, today’s trail had a humble seven caches placed around Snipe Dales Country Park.

Snipe Dales is, as the crow flies, less than five miles south of our cottage, so only a short journey. On arrival we boot up and set off in search of treasure. Which doesn’t take long because, by pure chance, we have parked less than one hundred yard away from cache one. Himself finds the little blighter (it was as tiny as a Lusby churchyard pony – see Day 2 post).

These caches have been aimed at children which means no shinning up trees or stretching too high (some require a little ducking down low, which falls to me, being more diminutive). It also means that we do not spend too long searching and can enjoy the country park walk. We come to a clearing where there is a special landmark:

Meridan Stone in Snipe Dales

Meridian Stone In Snipe Dales

 So here is our proof of at some point being on the Prime Meridian. We note the reference to a Lincolnshire local. It seems everyone wants a part of the meridian action. We took a little time to  stand in the place where we were and faced North, then faced South. It doesn’t feel any different to any other point in the park. Not that I was expecting this.

It’s a pretty little spot and we soon complete all but one of the caches on a ‘circular route’ with surprising changes in gradient in the final few sectors. As we leave, a coach full of small school children appear, wide-eyed and excited to be outside the classroom. I bet that they find the cache where we failed.

Snipe Dales Path

Snipe Dales Path

 

Next we head to nearby market town Spilsby. It isn’t market day so we find it easy to park and head to purchase some Lincolnshire Poacher  cheese from a shop which doesn’t sell any. We are told that the butchers would be able to sell us some if it wasn’t half day closing. It’s not even half eleven, so we are thwarted by the moveable feast of Spilsby half-day closing and depart the town cheese-less.

Our next attempt to purchase the Poacher is at one of two petrol stations which are situated on roundabouts at either end of a relatively short stretch of A-road. I am surprised that this can support two such enterprises, especially so for “petrol station one” which has a paucity of working pumps. We play musical chairs with other punters and secure some fuel. But no cheese in the attached ‘mini-mart’.

We put our cheese obsession on hold for a while and revisit Claythorpe Water Mill and Wildfowl Gardens. We pull up in the spacious grassy parking area and decide that this would be a good spot for our lunch. When we finish and stroll over to the admission desk we spot the sign “Picnics In The Car Park Are Strictly Prohibited”. We glance around furtively, decide that we haven’t been rumbled, brush the crumbs from our faces and try to act hungry.

The wildfowl area has been given a makeover, there are better footpaths, clearer signs and new additions, some of  which are hiding and are only evident by a vague murmur from their nest. Or is it a recording? The birds prove difficult to photograph, so this is the best I could do without holding up other visitors’ access.

Claythorpe Cockerel

 

Back on the Cheese trail, we locate a sizeable garden centre (“It’s bound to have a local produce section”), where I get a little claustrophobic as I have left my retail head behind. The only produce we find to our liking is some asparagus which we purchase from a woman who insists on telling us about her visit to the dentists that morning: “He completely numbed my face” she says. This hasn’t prevented her from giving us a blow-by-blow account of her treatment. I might sound unsympathetic, but I need to leave, now.

We turn our attention to searching for briquettes for the BBQ which we have no idea how to use. Ironic that we do this just after leaving a garden centre (home of all things BBQ). I think that the need to get out outweighed and temporarily obliterated all other items on our agenda. The BBQ is different to the one back home, but as the weather is half decent, we will burn some food tonight. With this in mind we head to the Not Much Better Petrol Station which sits nearest to ‘petrol station one’. Its fails to creep above the mediocrity of its rival by attempting to overcharge us. It has such a complicated refund system that the assistant has to call for managerial help twice. There is of course, only one till and we can feel the eyes of an angry queue building behind us. With the correct change we make a quick exit, avoiding eye contact with anyone.

Our afternoon coffee stop is in a windy but very pretty spot on a minor road close to Tetford.

Big Big Lincolnshire Skies

 

We chill and are chilled by the breeze. Again, I am very taken with the big skies.

We could head directly home, but we have one last attempt at purchasing cheese and are rewarded at an organic farm shop in High Toynton. Sadly, we are too late in day for the best cuts of meat and leave with leeks, cheese and two greetings cards. At least we have our Poacher which we enjoy with a wee dram later. At this point we are not sure how we will use leeks and asparagus on the BBQ.

Close to the cottage is Belchford. Locally famous for hunting, thankfully now drag hunting. It also has a pretty (and locked) church surrounded by a peaceful churchyard, where we take a short walk and gather our thoughts.

Belchford Chuchyard

 

Back at the cottage we are thwarted by not knowing exactly how to use the BBQ (it’s gas, not like back home) and eat indoors. Despite our meanderings from plan, or perhaps because of them it has been another good day and we look forward to more tomorrow.

 

MinG

On The Prime Meridian, Nearly

And breathe. The out of office is set, Min the cat is in her holiday home, and the car is just about packed.

The title refers to our position relative to acknowledged time lines. Tomorrow we will be holidaying in Lincolnshire, an undervalued county in our opinion, but we’ll not complain. We would not want everyone to descend upon our peace.

Our base for the week will be a hamlet called Little London. There are several other Little Londons in the UK. They are on the Greenwich Time Line, giving their connection to our capital city, hence the name. The similarities just about stop there.

I thought that I would look a little into how and why Greenwich became recognised as longtitude zero, otherwise know as the Prime Meridian and I give you a Wikipedia fuelled nutshell:

– The Greek Eratosthenes developed the notion of longtitude;

– Ptolemy developed this further suggesting a Prime Meridian running approximately through The Canaries;

– Increased long distance sea travel and the development of the naval chronometer demanded a more accurate method of mapping and the agreement of the line of longitude zero.

– In 1884, the International Meridian Conference held in Washington, D.C. voted to adopt the Sir George Airy’s Greenwich  meridian as the prime meridian.

– The French wanted a neutral line, abstained and continued to use the Paris meridian until 1911.

– Many Prime Meridians are listed by Wikipedia, surely a contradiction in terms?

– The Airy Meridian is at GPS   0° 00′ 05.3101″ W.

As far as I am concerned, for the coming week, we got ‘tude zero!

MinG

60k On The Clock

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Ephemeral.”

60k

I make no apology for the quality of the image. This was taken when I was a passenger in my husband’s car, and the milometer had just done that magical thing and moved on from 59999 to 60000. Not everyone gets so excited about that moment but we did. We patted the dash and said something like “Good old Dave, 60k and still running well”. All our cars have had names. At least since I decided they should. Now that is a whole new thread….

Reading the title of the photo challenge, my mind was initially pulled towards clouds, sunsets, magical views glimpsed by chance. I then started to consider the definition:

 Lasting for a very short time

And I thought about our place on earth. We each last a very short time, relatively speaking. As I trawled through old photos, looking for a moody graveyard shot, I came across this, and I thought “Ahh, yes.”

It’s a pretty poor example of digital photography (I think that I used my then phone, the trusty HTC Radar), but it captured that moment. Actually, it didn’t. A single shot couldn’t capture the exact moment that 60k showed up. You would need two shots, before and after. Better still, a short video clip.

But why did I bother? Why were we so hung up on capturing that moment? It was meaningless. Just a number. Made less significant by the fact that we didn’t buy the car from new. So this didn’t mark 60,000 miles together. We were on our way back from a short holiday. It seemed appropriate at the time that our automotive buddy had hit the Big Six-O on a journey home. Why? I honestly have no idea.

On a related note, the break had been postponed because we had been caring for our sick cat when first planned. He wasn’t well enough to stay in a cattery, so the holiday company let us reschedule. Said cat died the following new year.  After a good innings, but relatively ephemeral existence. We are accustomed to marking significant anniversaries. Birthdays, weddings, important events in history. I understand that.

What I don’t understand is my need to sigh wistfully at about ten past six on a Sunday evening, and think about that cat.

I might raise a glass, or mug of tea, sometimes, “To our dear lost friend. Never forgotten”. The time varies, I can’t even get that right because at on the original Sunday evening, I was more consumed by the sadness of the situation to take note of the exact time of departure. Why the ritual?

I can only assume that I, like many others, do this to not forget. It’s a practice that was instilled in many of us at a young age. Remembrance Day, St George’s Day, Christmas. Each on their own set day of the year. Why should we be forced to feel grateful, patriotic or celebratory at these times? I can be paralysed with grief over the loss of the cat at the unlikeliest of moments. I can also be minded of his traits and I will smile. I won’t forget. The Sunday ritual only serves to keep the wound fresh and do I really need that?

As I write this post, it is the first Sunday of British Summer Time (yes it’s all ours folks!) The clocks have been moved forward.

What could more ephemeral than an hour taken before it has started.

I wonder at what time I should raise the glass?

MinG