Ainsdale beach car park entrance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
After a poor night’s sleep I still woke up feeling refreshed and ready for the day though it was nine o’clock before I got out of bed. I was going to skip breakfast and take a long walk. I did however eat a banana before setting off. Actually I didn’t much feel like eating but thought it best to have something. For a change I walked to the beach entrance (in picture) at Ainsdale which is about three miles or so south from home though it is further when taking the route along the beach as I first have to walk to the beach of course. That is approaching three-quarters of a mile away. However, rather than going directly on to the beach I decided this time to walk through the dunes to my destination and then make the return journey along the beach. The dune paths meander all over the place so the walk is made more strenuous because of that. As the route is also sheltered from the sea it is warmer too, especially when the sun is shining as it was on Saturday morning. It was beginning to be uncomfortable because of this but soon I was more in the open as I approached the beach where I would turn back to walk home. There isn’t much to see along the beach to be honest, sand dunes on one side and the sea on the other but it is essentially flat all the way.
Ainsdale Beach and Sand Dunes. This photo was taken on New Years Eve in 2004, looking north along the sands toward Birkdale. Behind the dunes lies Ainsdale National Nature Reserve, home to Natterjack Toads. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Now I was on the beach heading northward (roughly) it was much cooler in the strong breeze that was blowing. As I reached the point where I needed to get off the beach I couldn’t locate where it was. There is a path of sorts as I have explained in previous posts, it is often muddy and wet, in fact more often that not which makes it difficult to see as most of the terrain around there is similar. I had walked passed it without realising yet though I retraced my steps the path eluded me. On reflection I hadn’t retraced my steps far back enough. The path is far easier to spot from the other end of it! I decided to take a chance and wade through the tall grass which covers the area even though it hides many pools of water and muddy places. It took me about twenty minutes to step gingerly across to the firm ground only a matter of metres away from the path’s other end. The rest of the walk thereafter was straightforward and soon I was back home feeling a little more tired than usual. I thought it strange that I found the path quite easily one morning before sunrise a few weeks ago when it was pitch black!
A day like this would have been better don’t you think?
Ah, Sunday morning and all tucked up under the duvet made me feel so secure and warm, The curtains drawn back allowed me to see the new day outside and it wasn’t a pretty sight. Rain was pelting against the glass of the windows forced relentlessly by the strong north-westerly winds. I tried to close my eyes again but it was now too late, time to get up and face the day. I was going for a walk, down along the beach and back along the coastal road this time. It was around eight-twenty as I stepped through the front door, I was well wrapped up to face the elements and needed to be, it would get worse before it got better! I walked the half-mile or so to the coast road and crossed over to walk through the sand dunes and onward to the beach. There was the watery and muddy paths to negotiate before I reached the sand and soon after I arrived there the wind picked up and became stronger, then the rain began to fall again. It had ceased raining by the time I set off but now it was back with a vengeance. Have you ever stood in a waterfall? I have and there on the beach it felt just the same. I stooped down to the sand to minimise the drowning I was being given but thankfully it lasted only a few minutes before easing off to be just light rain for ten minutes. I looked heavenward to see a bright blue sky, the clouds had blown over, well most of them. I made it to the point where I was to turn off the beach and as I did I saw several police, coast guard and ranger vehicles with their crews standing close by. I wondered if there had been an incident along the beach for as I had approached the turning off point I could see flashing amber lights in the distance ahead of me further along the beach. Whatever the event was about it looked as though it was all over. I continued with my walk and homeward bound. By the time I reached home the sun was shining, it was warmer and most of the sky was blue. It didn’t last too long however as by one o’clock it was cloudy again, then sunny, then cloudy…..a day of two halves.
Exercising outdoors is healthier than working out indoors. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was up early on Monday morning but didn’t dress for the day at that time. Instead I put on shorts, a vest and my runner’s shoes and spent some time on the treadmill….running. I had neglected my treadmill exercise routines to the point that I was using the treadmill very infrequently and I had to correct that. For the past couple of weeks therefore I have disciplined myself to spend more time on the treadmill as I had been doing previously. In just a short time I found myself improving with each session, pushing myself just that little bit more each time and feeling the benefit for it. For quite some time I have been taking walks and here too I have noticed a steady improvement, walking faster and going further is the trend but I knew it would be. After my stint on the treadmill I went for a walk later too. You see for many years exercise has played a major part in my life and I know the benefits regular exercising can provide. The key word here is ‘regular’, it is of no use exercising sporadically because that can be worse than not exercising at all. Sudden exercise for someone not used to it can cause heart failure in some people as well as other physical problems. If one is to take exercising seriously then it should be planned, short periods of light exercising at first then progressing to harder regimes over a period of time. Marathon runners and sprinters, swimmers and cyclists didn’t start at the peak of their disciplines but gradually built themselves up over a period of time by exercising regularly and improving slowly along the way. There is only so much a person can do when exercising and much of that is affected by their weight, size, capability and age not forgetting their health status. Know your limits should be your motto. Your body will tell you if you are overdoing things and if you are you must take note. Improvements and benefits are gradual but they do happen eventually for those who exercise on a regular basis. As I am fast approaching my 72nd birthday I know I can no longer run as I used to and neither do I want to. There are those who at my age and even older will think nothing of running a marathon or two and if that is what they want I am happy for them but for myself I don’t think I need to aim that high in order to benefit from exercise. All I know is the exercising I take gets better each time, gets longer each time and I feel good each time I do it.
On Saturday through to Sunday afternoon we felt the effects of the latest storm to grace our shores and it was even worse than the previous one we had endured merely a matter of days before. You might say we were fortunate as it didn’t pass too close but it didn’t need to.
A map of the Irish Sea. Major ports shown in red; freight-only ports shown in blue. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The eye of the storm passed over the Irish sea between England and Wales on the east and Ireland on the west. That meant the highest winds encircled it and guess where I live, right beneath them? On the map Southport is located just above ‘Liverpool‘ on the straight piece of coast before the next inlet above it. The eye of the storm passed over ‘Anglesey‘. The previous storm passed further to the west and we were less affected by it. The wind and rain were relentless and for hours we were bombarded with it. The driving wind forced some of the rain beneath the lead flashing over the bay window in a room at the front of the house. It found its way into the ceiling space and on to the floor in that room. When time and weather allow an investigation we will see what can be done to prevent it happening again.* I put off going for a walk on Sunday until after eleven o’clock. The rain had ceased but the wind was still strong at 35 mph (51 Km). I managed to get to the beach but it was hard-going though very refreshing. Surprisingly it didn’t feel very cold despite the wind. I walked a little on the sand before returning nearer to the coast road to walk there instead. I returned home ready for lunch an hour later, a little windswept! Around three o’clock the sun began to shine, the sky began to turn blue and thankfully the wind had dropped to a more respectable level. I actually found time to potter about in the garden!
* Post Script: I carried out the repairs which had caused the leak the following day having found a loose brick and some holes in the wall. They were hidden from sight behind the guttering. At the same time I replaced some of the plastic sheeting beneath the roof tiles which had become worn exposing the timbers behind.
On Friday morning I had a chance to sleep in until ten o’clock but was awakened by a phone call asking me to do a small electrical job. It was from an elderly couple for whom I had worked before and they insisted they would call me in preference before anyone else. He is a little senile and set in his ways whilst she had a stroke a few years ago which left her in difficulties with her speech. She couldn’t phone because of that and he seemed not to notice that I was trying to tell him I had retired as he kept on talking about the electrical problem. They live around three miles from me so how could I refuse to help? I dressed and went there immediately. As is sometimes the case with older folk they worry about potential electrical faults. As it happened there wasn’t a fault at all. What had happened was he had placed a piece of half-toasted bread into the toaster but somehow had wedged it in between the metal guide and the elements consequently short-circuiting the toaster.
Two slices of electrically toasted white bread (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
That had caused the RCD to trip which cut the supply to other circuits too. He had already corrected the fault himself but it appeared he wanted to be sure. As E and I wanted to go shopping in the afternoon I missed the opportunity to go for a walk. I didn’t wish the same thing to happen on Saturday. I arose early on Saturday for two reasons, first of all I had to go and collect my medications and secondly, I hardly slept at all during the night so was awake anyway. It was a dull morning and threatening to rain, in fact that had been the forecast as we were expecting the tail-end of yet another storm to head our way. Again, although we were at the fringes where I live it got very wet and windy throughout the afternoon and evening. I wanted to go for a walk and fortunately was able to in the morning before the rain fell in earnest though it did rain for about twenty minutes while I was out. After lunch E went to her monthly meeting and I was left at home to hang out the washing, indoors of course for the rain was belting down!
I had managed to do a spot of clearing up of moss on the ‘secret garden’ flagstones and pathway as it was getting out of hand (compare to photo in yesterday’s post). Soon after the rain began to fall. With nothing better to do I spent a half-hour on the treadmill working out.
We had been informed that warmer and drier weather was coming our way for a couple of days, an ideal time to be doing any outdoor work that was necessary. It was Saturday (14) and I had plans to do some patching up of the garage floor, completing the ramp I had put there many years ago and filling in a couple of holes with concrete after the recent work we had done. First though I wanted to go for a longish walk as I hadn’t been able to do any walking other than the two miles I had walked a couple of days earlier. I hadn’t been too well and had remained more or less indoors for a few days. I arose early and went out as soon as I was downstairs. I walked south along the coastal road to Ainsdale and onto the beach there turning northward to walk back home. I was surprised how many folk were out and on the beach so early on a Saturday morning. It was about eight forty-five when I arrived there. The round trip from home on that route is just over seven miles. I have to admit to feeling a little tired but that was probably due to my not eating breakfast and not having been out for a while. I did take a banana along with my bottle of water. Anyhow I ate breakfast on my return home and after a short time donned my overalls and got on with the concrete mixing. For this work I used 6 mm granite chippings in the mix rather than using grit which would result in a finer concrete as it would have to withstand a vehicle passing over it. These are the holes which required filling after the old wood frame was removed and the existing floor ramp which was never finished years ago…
The ramp exists because the garage floor is almost level with the concrete drive leading to it. When we had heavy downpours of rain it sometimes ended up inside the garage so I constructed a ramp to prevent that happening. It does the job but it needed the back edge finishing. Here are pictures of the finished work.
The van wasn’t going anywhere for a couple of days! Rain water flows into the grid shown which is lower than the surrounding concrete drive. The drain pipe actually runs beneath the garage floor to connect with the main drains at the rear of the house. That work had been done when we built the garage back in 1988/9. Much has changed since then. After lunch I added an extra fixing to secure the new bird box I had fitted a week earlier then carried on with some gardening work. Who said retirement would be boring with nothing to do?
What a couple of rough days we had since the weekend and basically all due to the high winds. The temperature has been reasonably fair for the beginning of October, hovering around 15 deg C, though some say it could be warmer. The wind didn’t prevent me doing those small jobs yesterday and perhaps now they have subsided for a spell I might be able to work some more in the garden. I went for another walk on Tuesday, this time going north once more to end up on the now overgrown beach north of the town at Marshside. The area is the white portion of the map nearest the top of the picture… The tide had been in an hour or two before I had reached the shore and all that could be seen was a covering of green far out to sea. I was at the high tide mark merely a few metres from the road where the ground is a mixture of sand, crushed seashells and flotsam and jetsam washed-up onshore. At this end of the shore the path is separated from the road by a small bank covered in grass and shrubs but as one walks south toward the pier there is just a metre or two of sand alongside the sea wall which begins at that point. I didn’t walk far in front of the wall as the sand began to turn to mud after a hundred metres or so. It isn’t until the pier is reached when the whole beach becomes sandy again. Anyway the other reason for getting off the beach was the wind-blown sand in my face! I decided to turn inland and walk the rest of the way home away from the shoreline, stopping off at the pub for a soft drink before continuing home. It can be very pleasant walking along the sea front even in the colder months but it can also be the opposite when the weather, especially the wind, turns nasty. It is at times like these I take to walking the more sheltered routes through the town.
LESSER SPOTTED DOGFISH Scyliorhinus caniculus M. Ir. Freangach; Fr. Petite rousette; Ge. Kleiner Katzenhai; Du. Hondshaai; It. Gattuccio; Sp. Pintarroje, Gato marino.
Small, slender, sinuous, rough-skinned shark, with two small dorsal fins placed far back and close together. Thickly sprinkled with small dark brown spots. Nasal flaps simple, continuous and touching mouth. Anal fin ends under or in advance of the origin of the second dorsal. Grows to about 2.5 feet in length.
In all the years I have lived in Southport I had never seen a stranded fish on the beach until Sunday morning whilst out on another walk. I seldom take a walk every day, usually every second day is enough but I am beginning to feel like going more often lately. Exercise is addictive and for all the right reasons. I like being out in the fresh air and that is one thing we have plenty of on the west coast. Most of the time the wind is from the west and it is very refreshing. So it was that I went for a walk on Sunday after taking one on Saturday too. I never walk less than a five-mile distance. I chose to walk southward along the beach toward Ainsdale. The tide was out, about a half-mile out, though it can get much further to around two miles! Less so the further south you go from Southport. My favourite line is to walk along the high tide mark rather than nearer the sea unless the tide is in so it was unusual for me to see a stranded fish so far from the water and at the high tide mark. It is the fish in the picture above. I am pretty sure it is a dogfish though I am not an angler and nor am I familiar with fish types. I did a search on types of fish found in The Irish Sea on which coast Southport is and came up with the description above. It was as long as the description indicates (two and a half feet or around 750 mm). I often see dead gulls or sandpipers on the beach but never fish. I just wondered how this one came to its end.
E was going to the hospital for her first physiotherapy session early on Monday morning. The appointment was connected to her having problems with one of her feet following a recent suspected accident. As she suffers with her motability because of her other condition too I had suspected part of the treatment was for that also but it wasn’t. Meanwhile I was going for an early morning walk. On Saturday I walked a different route to my normal routes, going south along the beach for a change. It had been more of a case of not being able to walk my usual route because of the annual air show being held there. Anyway I enjoyed the alternative route but really wanted to do it mostly on the beach. The terrain had changed so much since I last went that route and I was unable to find my way to the beach until I had walked quite a distance. On Monday therefore, although I could have taken one of my usual routes I wanted to make another attempt at reaching the beach directly. I walked directly out toward the sea, the tide was out so at some point I could turn and walk along the sand. However the path was muddy and full of pools of water and being the same one that is used by the ‘cockler’s vehicles who use it every day to get to the water it is not exactly an easy path to walk. Marram grass and other plants grow either side of the path and they hide numerous pools and small streams of water making walking that way almost impossible. As I was wearing boots I could stay more or less on the path until I reached the open sand. It would be impossible to walk that route if the tide was high but on the day, the morning, it was far out. I reckon I had to walk out 300 metres before I could turn left to walk south along the sand.
Ainsdale Beach and Sand Dunes. This photo was taken on New Years Eve in 2004, looking north along the sands approaching Ainsdale. Behind the dunes lies Ainsdale National Nature Reserve, home to Natterjack Toads. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There were no other people on the beach until I reached the Ainsdale turn-off two to three miles away. Once there I could walk inland to take the coastal road north and back home. I have to say I am not impressed by the way the local authority has abrogated its responsibility to maintain the beach south of the town, the north side was left to its own devices many years ago and it has become marshland. In fact the local area is named ‘Marshside’, a great place for those who like watching the many birds who visit or habit the area. I suppose one day the whole of the beach will be covered in grass and sand dunes and the sea will be further to reach. According to studies the coast at Lancashire is already encroaching further out into the Irish Sea, whilst on the opposite side of the country the North Sea is eroding the land.
From anywhere north on this planet going south means getting warmer but in my case, at least on Saturday morning , it was due to my not being able to go northward on my walk. The Air Show was taking place over the three days from Friday which meant road closures for a while. It might seem odd but it had been many years since I walked along the beach or even through the sand dunes in a southerly direction. In any case I was usually running, not walking. In the intervening years the area had changed somewhat, different paths, the old ones lost in the shrubbery meant I was led away from my intended route. I remembered the time I could walk or run along the path and still be able to see the beach and the sea, in fact the path ran alongside the beach. Either I had taken the wrong path initially else the original one had simply become lost. I should have walked as far out toward the sea to be able to turn and then walk along the beach but I had thought the path would eventually take me to the beach instead. That was my mistake for I ended up walking along this path with sand dunes on my left and the coastal road beyond that and with dense shrubbery and trees on my right beyond which were more sand dunes and the beach. There were no paths leading off to the beach until I had walked two-thirds of the way to my destination where I would turn left and back toward the coastal road for my return home. I finally found the path leading to the beach so I was able to walk the last section on flat sand. Having turned from the beach I walked along till I reached the footpath on the coastal road to get back home. I doubt I will ever use that path again because I found it boring. Next time, and there will be a next time, I will make sure I follow the beach route. From my access point to the beach if I go north I pass the town’s seafront but if I go south I can walk on the beach for miles depending on how far I want to walk, even as far as Freshfield where I used to live….
Sand Dunes and Beach, Freshfield. Sand dunes and the beach at Freshfield. Blackpool tower and the Big One rollercoaster could clearly be seen from the top of this high sand dune on this day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Southward the beach is lovely and many use it in summer for all kinds of water activities but northward the beach, apart from directly in front of the town, turns muddy and is covered in grass. The sea covers it all when the tide is in and it hides it. Some years ago the local authority decided against defending the beach from the build-up of grass and has allowed it to grow for a short distance to the south. Consequently sand dunes have and are taking over more of the beach to the north but not south. Because of tidal action the trend is for the sand to drift northward leaving the south clear, clean, flat and sandy. Further north toward the next river, the River Ribble, there are large sandbanks due to the action of the tide. A few years ago I was on a yacht with two others when we were marooned on a sandbank for a few hours because the tide receded faster than we could make it to deep water. Our ‘captain’ thought we could make it. How wrong she was. That is another story which perhaps I’ll post one day. As for my walk, I might just go south more often, it all depends on the tide.
In yesterday’s post I mentioned in passing that I would be doing some work on Monday, today, well one week ago really as I am at this point eight posts ahead. The thing is I didn’t do any of the suggested work but something else instead and that later in the day. I had gone to bed very early on Sunday evening, that is early for me and after a quick shower I was in bed at nine-twenty. I fell asleep almost immediately so I suppose I had been very tired though I don’t know why, I had been relaxing throughout the day. I did awaken a couple of times but only for a toilet visit and the second of those times I didn’t return to sleep. It was five o’clock. That gave me a golden opportunity to go for an early walk. The morning was balmy, warm, high humidity and almost no wind. I guess the temperature was about 14 or 15 deg C. At six o’clock as I left the house it was approaching twilight time, my favourite times of the day when it is betwixt night and day and can only be experienced fully in the temperate regions of the planet. In tropical regions there is hardly any time between night and day or darkness and light. Anyway I walked about five miles before returning home for breakfast. E was still in bed. After breakfast I had it in mind to start the work I had mentioned but simply couldn’t be bothered so I rested a while. Having eaten breakfast early I was beginning to feel a little hungry earlier than usual but delayed eating until after one o’clock. I suddenly thought of something I wanted to do in the garden but I needed to purchase a plant. There was a space I had pencilled-in for planting another fan palm.
If you remember I had recently split two that had been growing in the same pot and had put them in the garden, one in the front garden and one in the rear garden. At that time I had wished I had purchased another so after lunch I drove to Dobbies and purchased one for £17.99. That was after my member discount of £2. I placed it in the rear garden as planned. It is just above and to the right in the top picture and centre in the second picture. I knew I would have to do the electrical work on Tuesday instead.
I got the chance to test the effectiveness of the coat I had purchased a month or so ago when I went for an early morning walk on Thursday. Although I have worn the coat several times since its purchase and some of those times in the rain, Thursday’s walk was a real test. Rain had been forecast to fall at around four o’clock but by the time I started out a couple of hours later it had stopped. I took the long route on my way to the coastal road and the sky to the west looked very menacing, so dark the clouds were almost black in colour and then I heard the rumble of thunder out toward the sea. To the east and south it was slightly brighter, that is the clouds were a lighter shade of grey! By the time I had reached the sea front it had begun to rain and it appeared I was walking in the same direction to where it was falling. It got heavier and heavier as I went along. Out to sea the horizon had almost faded into the sky and visibility was cut down so much the town of Blackpool, normally visible across the bay twenty miles away was nowhere to be seen. It wasn’t so much the rain that was the problem but the persistent wind blowing on-shore. The scene looked pretty much like that shown in the picture, water, water, everywhere..
The coat stood the test as expected which was just as well else I’d have been soaked through. On my chosen route there was nowhere to take refuge, nowhere for respite and to be honest I really didn’t wish to stop walking anyway. I doubt I will deliberately start my walks during a heavy downpour but it is nice to know that if I get caught out in a storm I can have the assurance of staying dry, at least under my coat. My feet didn’t fare so well, though not soaking wet they did get wet. I had been in two minds as to whether I should have worn my boots but chose my trainers instead. I think I should have worn the boots! Thursday did however turn bright and warm with wall to wall blue skies after lunch.
I am not sure why cardigans are so named, perhaps a connection to Cardiganshire, Wales in the UK?
Cardiganshire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Anyhow I got to wearing one such garment on Tuesday afternoon as the day became decidedly cool in the wind at around 15 or 16 deg C. Monday had been quite warm at around 20 deg C but it appeared we were going to have a couple of days with lower temperatures. It is as though we are at the end of September rather than the end of August. Knowing the UK weather it could change again to warmer conditions in a few day’s time. I had been out for an early morning walk when it was even cooler at 13 deg and felt cooler still because of the wind blowing from the north west. I didn’t mind that as I was suitably attired. The humidity had dropped down a few pegs too so I didn’t end up sticky and uncomfortable by the time I had returned home. When I did return home I brought with me a few apples I had picked from a tree growing wild near the footpath on public land, a tree I had not seen bearing fruit in the past. That was probably due to my not passing by the tree before when it was bearing fruit. E and I spent a little time in the rear garden and we planted the other Fan Palm in the long flowerbed.
We are still waiting for the shrub behind it and to the right to finally shed its leaves (it is deciduous) so we can plant the Olearia shrub in it’s place. Meanwhile it stands lonely in a pot..
The removed plant will be planted elsewhere at the same time. It is getting cool enough for me to be getting on with some of the outdoor projects now so watch this space. After lunch I mowed the lawn for the first time since I spread the lawn weed killer. There may not be many more times I need to cut the lawn this year but it isn’t a problem to cut it, taking only twenty minutes.
I have never been a beachcomber as some would describe or imagine the activity to be though whenever I am on the beach I do keep a sharp eye for anything that might be interesting. I was up early on Wednesday so that I could go for a walk. E had kindly left a wad of envelopes the night before near to the door which she evidently wanted posting and probably in the hope that I intended to go for a walk and would post them. Well naturally I did post them. I took the direct route to the sea front and along for a mile or so before deciding to get off the concrete and on to the beach itself. Although there is plenty of sand along the shore from further south and to the north of Southport there is only a short stretch where the sand comes right up to the sea wall. The stretch you see below….. Everywhere else is either covered with marram grass and other salt-resistant plants and in places it is very muddy too. Even so there is a sandy pathway near to the sea wall for much of the way and it is nice to take that route as long as the tide is out. Once down on the sand the noise of passing traffic quieted down considerably and depending upon the wind direction it is often less windy too. Apart from the debris left by inconsiderate people there is little else of interest to be found lying about for any would-be beachcomber. On this day I found two new hair bands and a small silver-coated knife. Nothing to write home about to be sure though I’ll wager greater things have been found by others in the past. As I walk along I think about how the beach would have looked say a thousand or two-thousand years ago and who might have been walking there at that time. I suppose not many people in the day would be out taking a leisurely stroll but would be out fishing or collecting cockles (an industry still thriving in these parts and along the coast) or maybe hunting for rabbits of which there are still plenty even down on the beach! I walked a mile or so along the sand before setting foot on concrete once again to make up the mileage before returning later to walk back along the sand until I had to get back on the street and on homeward.
In a similar vein to the words of the well-liked but now deceased comedian Spike Milligan who had written on his tombstone.’Dúirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite, Irish for “I told you I was ill.”…….I told you I’d get bored once I retired!
Spike Milligan’s Headstone, Winchelsea, E.Sussex. The epitaph reads: “Duirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite”, Irish for “I told you I was ill”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Spike was a favourite of mine along with comedians such as Tommy Cooper, Marty Feldman and others who never failed to make me laugh. They had my kind of humour. Anyway, to the point, I laugh and joke about anything and everything these days serious stuff included. Life is too short to be walking about looking as if the troubles of the whole world were on your shoulders. Speaking about retirement, I am getting used to it but very slowly indeed. I have had the good fortune to have found things to do over the last few months, that is since the beginning of April when I declared myself to have stopped working as an electrician. Even so some small jobs have since come my way. I get to go for walks which I like for two reasons, the exercise and the fresh air. The air around here certainly is fresh coming off the Irish Sea and walks along the seafront are very refreshing. So it was I went for a slightly later than usual walk on Monday. I don’t know about you but I get a little wary of people following me even though their intentions might be completely innocent and most folk’s are. I was walking along a local street on my way down toward the sea when I sensed there was someone following me or rather walking in the same direction as myself. Peripheral vision is wonderful especially if the head is turned slightly in the direction behind you. I could see that it was a middle-aged guy dressed as you would expect from someone out for a walk and complete with rucksack too. He made no attempt to pass by but kept his distance behind me. The trouble was that distance was a mere ten metres and it made me feel uncomfortable. For a half-mile it continued that way until we reached the seafront where he decided to walk on by. Now it was my turn to repay him the compliment by walking behind him. He must have thought he could outpace me but I kept pace without even trying, in fact it seemed a little slow if anything. He kept looking back to see if he had left me behind but I was still there. I sensed he was by now feeling a little uneasy himself but that was my intention. About another half-mile and we would reach a point where there were three routes to choose from all in the same direction. I waited to see which way he would go then I chose another path. I ran a little way (I was wearing running shoes) to put some distance between us then began taking the route homeward. I bet he didn’t think I could run! I could have chosen to walk along the pier but chose the road over the bridge which spans the lake instead. I walked the last few metres on the pier and as I looked back toward the sea guess who was walking toward me? I carried on through the town centre before turning toward home. It was probably all in my imagination but when I am out alone I take great care in keeping my wits about me and a careful eye on those who are around me.