I am back in Chester after cycling 100 miles (should be less but got lost) over the Pennines to Nottingham to loan son my spare bike. Thanks to Ilam Hall Youth Hostel chef for the vegan dinner and brekkie! That’s even though the nut roast he first offered had milk in the recipe and he had no soya. However, he made vegetable fingers and vegan gravy that just melted in my mouth. Having said that I was so hungry after cycling off 6k Calories I’d find anything vegan delectable!
There were 50 junior school kids at the hostel with their amazingly calm teachers, but I was put in a family room in a separate building so wasn’t disturbed at night. In fact I slept in a double bed with quilt, and the room had an en suite shower room. No chores these days.
Ilam Hall was originally built many centuries ago but rebuilt in early Victorian days as a mansion with gothic towers and crenallated battlements set in beautiful grounds in a picturesque limstone village in the hiking honey spot of Dove Dale in Derbyshire. I felt as if I was on holiday even though I was really on a family mission. Here’s their webbie.
Whether I am hiking all day with all my staying-over chattels or stamping on pedals with all I need in my panniers I have a dire need to keep everything to a minimum. My toothbrush is sawn in half, laptop – if brought – is tiny, and I’ve done my best to lose a kilogram before hand – not always successful. So I often don’t take a book to read, hoping that there is something SF or interesting on the games and books shelves in the hostel lounge. There usually is, however, they are often too big to read overnight. Wouldn’t be great if short story anthologies were acquired by hostels and guest houses? Good examples, of course would be any of the ones I am in or edited – haha – Escape Velocity: the anthology, Dimensions, Northern Lights, Monk Punk anthology, M is for Monster, and many more. Many of them are listed on my Amazon page here. I should really have bought some thin anthologies that slip into my pannier. They don’t have to be science fiction and fantasy. I love the writing of A.L. Kennedy and Julian Barnes and they produce shorts. Perhaps you, dear blog reader, can suggest slim anthologies I should buy to take on my trips.
Of course I could get an e-book reader but would I risk it bumping over cattle-grids at breakneck speeds?
I would have benefitted from having a Kindle or Sony e-reader, Kobo, etc on the homeward journey by train. I expected to see some as I usually do but not today. The cheapest train journey from Nottingham to Chester was via Derby and Crewe. At Derby the train filled with naked legs… until I looked up and saw it was just high hemlines. Must be a big wedding, I thought, but they’d brought aboard bottles of champagne and copies of Racing Times. Yep, they all disembarked, giggling, at Uttoxeter race course. At Crewe, the passengers were more track suits and even Shell suits. Oh well.
Tags: Ilam Hall