Let Us Ruttle

I have been living in the North of the county for a while; in Loughborough, that gateway to the rugged outcrops of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.  Though only fifteen miles separate them, Loughborough and Leicester are quite different both geographically and – oddly – climatically: there’s a phenomenon which we call the Loughborough microclimate wherein the weather can change dramatically as you travel from Leicester to here: I have quite literally observed a line in the road around Barrow where on one side it’s dry (I won’t say sunny, but not wet) and on the other it’s raining.  This does not mean that Loughborough is wetter than the city; merely that the weather is often different here.  It could be another country…

Loughborough is also considerably rockier than Leicester.  Outcrops occur all around; poking through the earth in Beacon Hill and Bradgate Park and in odd places by the roads and footpaths.  This gives the area an altogether more rugged feel.

But this week I am exploring the southern reaches of the county which, though comparatively flatter, are no less devoid of beauty.  The village of Brixworth (just over the border in Northants) is built of the beautifully mellow-yellow Northamptonshire stone and the drive there features some terrific views of the Welland valley around Market Harborough.  But tomorrow we shall be Ruttling; for our itinerary takes in none other than the tiny county of Rutland, now restored to the county status of which it was previously stripped and featuring all the sudden valleys, dipping bends and pubs with views that one could ever require.  Rutland is greatly under-appreciated and in some ways I’d like it to stay that way, seeing that many tourist destinations are suffering these days from too much of what I suppose we must call footfall; on the other hand, things can fade away from too little attention and that would not be good either.  Rutland boasts some lovely little villages made from the local stone and many of these still have great pubs serving food and (of course) real ale.

I’ll let you know how we get on.

Kirk out








The Shopping Forecast

What with the anniversary of the shipping forecast happening right now, I thought it was time I put in my own tribute.  So here it is:

Here is the shopping forecast at one-four-three-five on Friday, the 1st of September.  Harry Potter has gone back to school near Malin where a storm is imminent.  Meanwhile we have a bight to eat; first we Finis the Terrine then to follow a Dover sole with some Wight wine.  Good.  Then we put some Port in our Mouth with a digestive Biscayt.  And then shopping!  We set out Doggeredly to Fish for a shirt that Fits roy, then going South East to Iceland for Baileys.  Good.

That’s enough silliness.  I could do a whole number on this but it would involve far more work than I’m prepared to do at the moment.  Anyway, the shipping forecast is so hypnotic that it could be a meditation; like a mantra oft-repeated I can reel off large sections of sea areas around Britain: Forth, Tyne, Dogger, Fisher; Humber, Thames, Portland, Plymouth; Viking, North Utsire (until recently I had no idea how that was spelled) South Utsire, Forties, Cromarty: Fair Isle, Faroes (I nearly spelled that ‘Pharaohs’) South East Iceland.  And so on.  Each section ends with an enigmatic summing-up like a teacher’s end-of-term report: good, fair, moderate, and so on – which I now know refers to visibility.

And here’s the current forecast:


Kirk out