Sunday, 13 April 2008

April Already!

I was in all honesty going to try and post ever month at least but at this rate I might just make 4 a year.

Easter came and went with a few flurries of snow but not the drifts and travel disrupting weather that was forecast. Over doing the severity level of the weather forecast is becoming more common. I often use metcheck and have noticed this year there seems to be many more severe weather warnings, even if it is just going to rain. Yesterday I was reading an old publication called "Preview of Lakeland" Which had an article on the great frosts of 1895, 1907, 1929 and 1959, during these winters the cold lasted long enough to freeze Windermere for several weeks.
This brought tourists from all over the North West to see the spectacle. I guess that the government of the day did not issue warnings not to travel and as many came by train they must have been able to deal with ice on the lines!

Windermere became a massive skating rink with all sorts of events including cars driven on the ice, ice dancing, races and fires lit for parties. This sort of behaviour would not be allowed today, a police cordon would be set up around all frozen water to keep us off and millions would be spent advertising the danger. Maybe this over-protection is not a bad thing, walking on thin ice can be very very dangerous but we all used to have common sense to tell us what was dangerous, in future generations this will have been eradicated and this country will have lost its spirit of adventure.

Rant 1 over.

I had a lovely walk up to Cam Spout on Tuesday last, I had hoped there would be some snow in the gullies onto Long Green but alas it had all melted away by 10am. There was still some on the tops but by then my boots last worn in 2005 had caused some blisters, so I put my slippers on and walked back home. Took a few nice piccies though.

The Beer Festival is fast approaching and it is time to think about our beer list, unfortunately the Government has struck again and increased beer duty etc so this year I am going to look for good value beers to have on during the festival. Hawkshead bitter is still on sale at £2.10 but Tim Taylors Landlord has now gone to £2.70

The general pub going public are once more being chastised for on the whole doing nothing wrong. The press coin the phrase "Binge Britain" and the government jump aboard like a child onto a roller coaster and up go the taxes on alcohol. I am just a layman and have no fictitious statistics to back my ideas but it does not take a great leap of faith to connect cheap beer with drunken behaviour and where sells the cheapest beer? supermarkets of course. So has the Government tackled the consumers heroes, our benevolent givers of cheap milk and alcohol, or is the beer in your local shopping giant still cheaper than bottled water? still cheap I would guess.
The Pub is a highly regulated place to drink where rules are adhered to, as demonstated by last years high profile campaign against landlords selling alcohol to drunken customers - only a handful of convictions from the 30 or more police forces involved. Quite rightly you can do pretty much what you please in your own home, but it is cheap alcohol which fuels binge drinking. Responsible publicans sell beer etc at a reasonable price to make a living, supermarkets sell beer at below cost price to entice customers into the shop.
Supermarkets make our hectic lives easier, there is no doubt about this but once upon a time everyone had a milkman, a village shop, a local baker and a local pub.

We are very lucky in Eskdale because spring, summer and autumn is full of holiday makers so business is good, but I feel sorry for the village and town pubs who I am sure feel they are bearing the brunt of the governments whims from smoking bans to taxes and I wont even go into the new rules and regulations which seem to appear nearly ever day!

Rant 2 over

What we want is a little sunshine and a breath of warm spring air.