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Monthly Archives: February 2010

Another of Kendal’s hidden secrets: Watercrook Roman Fort

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One of the things I love about Kendal is all its hidden nooks and crannies… alleys… ginnels… call them what you will.  Even now we continue to discover new aspects to the town despite having lived here for a number of years. And  I frequently come across long-standing residents who are blissfully unaware that Kendal once had two castles and that the earthwork remains of Kendal’s older motte and bailey castle (Castle Howe) can be found on the western side of the town.

Anway, today I came across something new yet again by stumbling upon a link on the Kendal section of Wikio.  This took me to Matthew Emmott’s highly informative Cumbrian Castle Blog which covers not only castles in the county, but also other sites of historical interest. I had seen this site before and have even corresponded with Matthew in the past but was interested by one of his latest posts about a Roman fort in Kendal which I’d not previously been aware of. In my defence, Watercrook Roman Fort isn’t actually all that visible (what is left is buried) and it’s on ground that is not accessible to the public, but it is there nonetheless and various finds from the site can be seen at Kendal Museum.

Rare bird spotted in Kendal garden

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Today our local newspaper, The Westmorland Gazette, has reported on the sighting of a rare bird in a garden in Kendal.  They claim that the juvenile rose-coloured starling is the first to have been seen in the area since 2006.  Curious as to what this bird looked like, I headed straight for Google Images and through searching on there, I dug up this blog which records a similar sighting as recently as November 2009. Is this likely to be the same bird or could we have a number of them in the area?  The blog entry makes for interesting reading as it suggests that some birds are genetically pre-disposed to migrate in a different direction to the majority in order to help the species spread.

Another busy day!

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We were at the apartment early today and by just after 9am we had three different trades in attendance.  An electrician was busy working on moving a light fitting into a more central position in the ceiling of the living area; a Bose installer was trying to figure out why one of the speakers in the system he installed on Friday wasn’t working; and a seamstress met with us to collect fabric for the curtains and blinds that she is making throughout the apartment.  At the other end of the day, a plumber called to change a washer on the kitchen sink, and we took delivery of several items of solid oak furniture (which we’re very pleased with) for the living room and dining area, and one of the bedrooms.  It’s great to finally see things coming together – for the past six weeks we’ve spent a lot of time deciding on layouts, furniture, TVs, sound system, curtains, etc. but had little to show for it all, but now we are gradually starting to see things come together.  Exciting times!

National Parks on our doorstep – more than ever?

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We are lucky in Kendal to have easy access to two National Parks – the Lake District National Park, the boundary of which likes just a mile or so out of town, and the Yorkshire Dales National Park which actually extends into Cumbria at Sedbergh, a few miles away.  It might sound odd that part of the Yorkshire Dales lies in Cumbria but this is simply down to changes in county boundaries; all of the Yorkshire Dales lies in ‘old Yorkshire’.

However, proposals by Natural England are considering extending the Yorkshire Dales boundary further into Cumbria, as well as into Lancashire.  I don’t suppose the Yorkshire Dales encroaching into Lancashire will go down with many residents from both counties and The Telegraph is describing it – somewhat over-dramatically – as a new War of the Roses.  Still, it’s certainly causing a stir.

Meanwhile, plans to extend the Lake District National Park affect areas – a little less controversially – to the north-east (Whinfell) and south-west (Brigsteer and Sizergh) of Kendal.

A mixed day

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We had a bit of a mixed day yesterday. The good news is that we have now completed on the property and we have the keys!  This means we can now really get to work on sorting a few things and we’ve already made many a trip over with various items that we’ve purchased over the last few weeks, from kitchen utensils to decking furniture.  It’s great to be able to finally ‘get cracking’ as it were.

On a more frustrating note, we met with someone from Hammonds who was going to take some measurements and provide us with a quote for a custom fitted wardrobe in the second bedroom.  It was only a small job so I didn’t imagine he would need the two hours that was previously hinted at.  Well anyway, having failed to turn up for an appointment at the weekend, he agreed to meet us at 9.30am.  It was 10am before he showed up which was a minor irritation but no huge deal.  Anyway, roll on the clock and he was still with us come 2pm!  And his quote for this one wardrobe came to… [make sure you're sitting down!]… £3,400.  That was the ‘special’ price (ahem…) he could do for us having spoken to his boss and provided us with a 20% discount.  I hate to think what the figure would have been if we’d not been granted these special terms!  Anyway, that was that… a morning frustratingly wasted and with us no nearer to getting that bedroom’s furniture sorted.