Banks………? Killing Us

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Living in Alston


It’s been over a year since I decided to come back to Alston to live. And I have no regrets that I decided to come.

I love this place. I love the community here, the nearness of the town, the oldness of the buildings and cobbles and the sense of just being home.

I was worried about coming back as far as the weather is concerned, but so far this year it has been great. We had loads of snow around last Christmas and then since then it has really been quite ok. We have even had days of sun and it’s only April!

Interestingly though, I think that we have had good weather, because one of the assets to the current house I am living in is that it has a sunroom. And it is a well placed sunroom. It gets the sun from early morning to late afternoon. And even if it is windy and a little drizzly, the sunroom warms up quickly and is a lovely place to work on my computer.

I have just planted a tomato plant in here, and basil, parsley and coriander. I hope my gardening skills are up to it.

Location:Alston, Cumbria

New iPad

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I have wanted an iPad since they have come on the market, and sillylike I decided to buy on just last month. And of course the new iPad 2 has come out since.

However, actually, despite there being a “better” version since buying this one, I am really really pleased with it.

Good points about it……

– It fits in my bag
– it is much easier to type on it both more accurately and quickly than on any device or computer that I have had before – ever!
– the screen gives a great “look” to everything
– there are some great apps for the iPad
………. Dragon Dictate – dictation software which ass long as you are connected to the Internet it works really well and is very accurate.
………. Flipboard – which is a news app for all your news – rss feed, facebook, the beeb, tech news – or any “news” that you would like to configure

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Can anyone tell me what an ID ten T error is?

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Did the title get you to click on this page?

This came to me as one of those emails that do the rounds……. it is good!!

So here goes
I was having trouble with my computer. So I called Eric, the 11-year-old next door, whose bedroom looks like Mission Control, and asked him to come over. Eric clicked a couple of buttons and solved the problem.
As he was walking away, I called after him, ‘So, what was wrong?’  He replied, ‘It was an ID ten T error.’
I didn’t want to appear stupid, but nonetheless inquired, ‘An, ID ten T error? What’s that? In case I need to fix it again.’
Eric grinned…. ‘Haven’t you ever heard of an ID ten T error before?’
‘No,’ I replied.
‘Write it down,’ he said, ‘and I think you’ll figure it out.’
So I wrote down:
I used to like Eric, the little bastard!!
I like that one… now where can I use it…….. ummmmmm……lol!!


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5 MinTips – What do you know and could share in 5 mins?

I’ve started another blog called 5MinTips.

I’m making and collecting 5 min tips on all sorts of subjects. My personal expertise is in NLP, Apple Macs and the Web so I am creating tips about these.

What are you an expert in? I want your 5 min tip. What could you tell other people about that would be useful for them to know.

It doesn’t matter if these is a tip about removing stains from clothes or making an antennae to extend the range of your wireless network. What do you know how to do that you could share with others? Get in contact with me and lets put it up as a 5 min tip!! (And if you are not great with putting a video or a post together, I’ll help you!!)


Check out the Blog here

Alston Moor – wild places of England

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Having started writing this blog about Alston Moor, I went scouting around the internet to see what information, pictures or videos I could find and I came across the “header” above. It is a panoramic view of Hartside – the place that you can see for miles and miles.

The site that I found the picture on had several really beautiful photos. The site is entitled John’s Pics. But I couldn’t find a “John” to ask if I could use his picture. So I guessed at his possible address and I’ve emailed him to ask permission and to tell him how beautiful his photography is! Update: I got the correct address and John has very kindly said I can use his pictures here on my blog. His site can be found here

The River Nent

There's silver up that river!!

Both the header and the picture above are copyright to as yet an unknown John!

Alston Moor really was a wild place when I went there in the late 70’s. From the moment I came over Hartside I knew that it was somewhere in the world that I wanted to live and that going back to city living was something that I would never do again.

Of course, back then mobile phones were not the accessory that they are now. Making the journey to Hexham in the North East, Penrith in the South, Carlisle – North West or Durham to the East (the 4 nearest towns) was not to be taken lightly, either because of the weather or that maybe the old banger cars that we used to drive might very well not get there. Paying attention to how far back or forward the nearest phone box was, was really important. There were many times that I broke down on one of these roads and had to walk several miles to get help. Or indeed the time that I was driving up Hartside in a blizzard and fortunately I noticed the snow plough at the top, flashed my lights at him and he came down to get me, clearing the way as he came! A night in the car would not have been pleasant!

This is not the actual incident, but it might well have been. more soon!!

Just chatting about my Life

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Well I’m currently in the US for Xmas and the New Year and then I am back to the UK to start a new phase of my life in a place that I used to live 18 years ago!! It’s called Alston and is in Cumbria, UK.

The town itself is classed as England’s highest market town at 1400 ft. (I know, my US friends – that is nothing to places in the States) however, for England it is high and remote.

When I first moved there in 1979 it was wild, and considered the middle of no-where, as it is placed at the highest point in the hilly backbone that spans the north of England.  It had just had an influx of “hippies” who were living in benders and tents, not realising exactly how inclement the weather could be to outdoor dwellers! After all this was damp England at it’s best …and up on the top of the Pennine Chain the weather can be bitter and tumultuous a lot of the year round. In fact, back then we used to have a saying about Alston Moor weather….. “There is winter and there is August!!”

Back then if you applied for a job in the nearest larger towns of Penrith, Hexham or Carlisle as soon as you said that you lived in Alston they would look at you and say……. “Ok, we will be in touch, but we are looking for someone who can get here all year round, not just in good weather”

People of spirit live in Alston Moor. You had to be. You also had to make your own work…… work and jobs were hard to find. The pits had closed down, and despite soldiering on for quite a while the foundry closed too. Alston was in the news with predictions that it would become a ghost town very soon.

That never happened. There were (and still are) many small businesses there. Most business came to make alot of money with their “idea” and left soon after having struggled with the harshness of the environment and the long distance to “civilisation!!” However, a number survived and new and old blood worked hard at keeping the place from fulfilling the ghost town predictions.

Despite (or maybe because of) being remote and inclement, Alston Moor is for me  one of the most beautiful places in the world. That’s why I lived and loved the place from the moment I drove up the long, winding  and steep road over Hartside ( where on a clear day you can see forever- or at least 100 miles) to discover it. And that’s why, now I am returning. It has beauty, community, depth and vibrance! Now it is going to have me too, back home again.

To be continued….

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