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Friday, 3 November 2017

Two trips

Thursday 2nd November 2017 - Thursday walk with Pete

Eight o' clock, breakfast time; I go out to the garage to get bread for toast from freezer. Coming back I trip on the only step, it's not serious, but I skin a couple of fingers.

The cause: Crocs!

Not long ago I had a bad fall caused by wearing Crocs, slipping on wet tiles outside Aldi documented here:

Crocs are going in the bin.

I have worn them for years, but enough is enough. They are lethal in the wet, and because they are bulky and floppy they lead to slight misjudgements. I have read that they are banned for staff in some hospitals, especially in operating theatres.

This was Thursday walk day with Pete, but walking for me is not so good, and Pete is struggling with age and arthritis. I had thought we would go to Ambleside on a shopping trip, but the day was glorious and that was aborted and we managed to walk about three miles (there and back) north of Witherslack on a minor, grass-in-the-middle road with views down to the river Winster, and more distantly of the Lake District hills. I particularly enjoy these areas on the fringe of the Lake District with little ups and downs, rich green fields with rocky outcrops and largely unspoilt 17th/18th century cottages and farms. In those days they seemed to have a proficiency for nestling these buildings, oh so cosily into carefully selected havens in sympathy with the landscape, something that is not always achieved these days.

Returning to the car, which I had parked on the grass only two feet off the unfenced road we found we we were bogged down and all attempts to get back on the road just dug us in deeper. "Never fear" I thought, I'm a paid up member of Green Flag. Out with the iPhone - no signal with EE - a remote location with no passing traffic, and the cottages across the road unoccupied - doomy! BUT, Pete had two bars on Vodafone.

We got a guy at Green Flag with a strong Scottish accent who seemed unable to assimilate anything I said, but in the end we were fairly sure that we had been able to appraise him of our location, but then he would need to pass that on to another risking dilution - fingers crossed.

In this country we have Ordnance Survey mapping, the best in the world, which includes the OS Grid Reference system which positions a point on the map to within a few yards, but organisations seem reluctant to use it. I did try but I think the guy had no idea what I was referring to. The cottages opposite the car were named on the 1:50000 OS map which would have identified our position with no further detail required, but I suspect the guy was looking at Google Maps or some other inferior system. Why oh why?

We waited for an hour and three-quarters. That annulled our usual visit to Café Ambio, but I was back home in time for tea.


The car was parked just two feet off the road near here

Here and next - distant Lake District hills

There and back - south to north


AlanR said...

Beggars belief why they cannot relate to os grid references. As you say, its the best.
I was in an EE shop in Manchester recently and they had a sign up saying they are the biggest and best network in the UK with 99% coverage. (thats not exactly accurate because i cannot remember the exact figure). But, i said to the chap that it was a very bold statement and he replied that "i would be hard pushed to find somewhere that didn't have a signal."
I mentioned that there was loads of areas that EE phones don't work but he insisted that if they didn't then it would only be a short time before they had coverage. I just said we will see.
In the Duddon valley they have no signal from any provider. They have even tried pulling rank and going straight to the top of BT but still nothing.
In the wilds of Mongolia i see on documentaries that they have a phone signal in their Yurts. Do you know a Mongolian company that may be interested in supplying the UK?. said...

Lovely area.
Was it Green Flag that eventually rescued you?
Have you no photos of the car stuck on the verge - or were you in 'panic' mode by then. I recall lots of situations when I've been in difficulties, usually of my own making, and only afterwards think why did I forget the camera in my pocket.
The new iPhone goes on sale today for £1000, we've lost touch with making a simple phone call.

Sir Hugh said...

Alan R - Not using such a valuable national resource like the Ordnance survey reminds of people I know who have dishwashers but don't use them - but don't get me going on that one...

...oh, and people with mobile phones who save the battery by not having them switched on.


BC - Green Flag sent out Furness Car and Commercials from Askam-in-Furness twenty five miles away. I was never in panic mode, just a bit annoyed with myself, and then bored waiting. I thought of a photo, but was not sure at that time if I could be self-deprecating enough to do a post about it, and in any case there was nothing very dramatic to see, but you are right about our predilection for taking endless photos of rolling countryside and avoiding the really interesting five inch gash in the leg.

Gayle said...

When I found a stray dog in distress on the Welsh coast a couple of years ago and Mick called the RSPCA he offered a grid reference. The response he got was "That won't work. We probably use a different grid to you"!

Sir Hugh said...

Gayle - I have sent a message to OS about this and querying why the Grid Ref. system is not more widely used - I said I thought it ought to be as familiar to all as 999.

Alan Sloman said...

There's nothing like a bit of schadenfreude to brighten up a dull morning!

It's good that you manage a walk, Conrad. I agree with you abut that are - I've spent quite a few weekends staying in Cartmel at a lovely restaurant with rooms. The views of the Lakes from hereabouts are gorgeous.

Roderick Robinson said...

I cannot understand the locution: "but don't get me started, etc, etc" Why then refer to it in the first place? Incidentally, there is at least one entirely legitimate reason for buying a dish washer and not using it oneself. But don't get me started...

I too intended to comment (sarcastically, as is my wont) about the lack of a photo of the stuck car. Especially since you were hanging about for a long time. Your rationale (not self-deprecatory enough) seems a little suspect. A straightforward photo with a balancing caption (eg, "It may not look like much but it was enough to immobilise my substitute Lamborghini") perhaps with a poignant reflection ("Would this have happened with the Yeti?") would have delivered all the self-deprecation you needed.

Two things about advanced location. The OS grid is hardly intuitive; I was taught it once but I'd hate to have to use it for something serious. Which comes first? I'd be asking. Also is Google Maps that inferior? When I used it on my smartphone in Cardiff it showed footpaths across parkland. In fact you neglected referring to a further option: shooting the sun with a sextant at a certain time of the day and then doing the necessary trigonometry. Green Flag should be fully prepared; the defunct car could well be under the waves. Speaking of which might AA or RAC use OS?

Roderick Robinson said...

One further detail. You refer to OS as "a national resource". Hasn't it been sold off by the government? Isn't it a purely commercial operation these days?

Sir Hugh said...

Alan S. - I'm glad my slight embarrassment has provided fun for you, at least I know there's somebody out there reading this stuff. For the last few days Blogger has been telling me I've been getting over 1000, yes, one thousand hits per day, but where they all come from I have no idea, and they are not giving rise to a proportional increase in comments.


RR - You have my motivation wrong. At the time I was in two minds whether I would post about it or not BECAUSE I hadn't decided whether I could bear the embarrassment of baring my soul. There was no question in my mind of it being insufficiently self-deprecatory, rather the opposite. But, as you rightly say that is no excuse for not taking the photo, because I would have had no need to use it if I didn't want.

Getting an OS Grid reference by estimating the tenths in the kilometre square and remembering to do Easting before Northing is a little tedious, but with digital OS mapping on a smartphone, which is now easily available, merely involves you placing a mark at your location with the touch screen and it reads out its OS Grid reference automatically - easy peasy. And, as I inferred, the amount of detail on an OS map at 1:50000 is always sufficient to enable a precise location to be conveyed to someone else looking at the same map thus obviating OS Grid reference for the less technically enabled.

Here is the current set up of OS from Wikipedia, so I reckon they are still more or less a national institution, or near enough to relate to my spiel.

"Ordnance Survey (OS) is a national mapping agency in the United Kingdom which covers the island of Great Britain.[1] It is one of the world's largest producers of maps. Since 1 April 2015 it has operated as Ordnance Survey Ltd, a government-owned company, 100% in public ownership. The Ordnance Survey Board remain accountable to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. It is also a member of the Public Data Group."

Phreerunner said...

Ho hum, these things happen. At least you didn’t have a rendezvous commitment like we did when I locked the keys in our Canadian hire car recently.
I still use crocs - with great care (hoping those are not ‘famous last words’), but when my mother was in hospital with her hips a significant proportion of the patients were there having slipped wearing crocs. Perhaps we should bin ours and strap plastic plates on our feet. They could go straight into the dishwasher afterwards.
Chin up!

Roderick Robinson said...

Two points. This is not the first time you have used "inferred" when you intended to use "implied". A quick reminder, it is not exact but will suffice: inferred means deduced (like Sherlock Holmes), implied means suggests.

As to the OS I seem to remember a Guardian article, probably dating back to 2015, that seemed to imply (ie, suggest) that turning the OS into a commercial company, even if it was ultimately government-owned, would change the OS's ethos. That the government would require it to be a cash-cow whereas, previously, the OS's lodestar had always been scientific and technological integrity. That the OS would eventually be forced to cut corners. In fact government interference had been apparent before this, notably when Windscale became Sellafield (or the other way round) and then an indeterminate and unnamed blob on the map.

Yes, gloomily, I recognised the steps involved in arriving at an OS reference point. I have done it but was never at my ease. You say the OS map offers unparalleled detail at 1:50,000 but how much does the software cost? (GoogleMaps being free). Also is this detail necessary for mere car drivers, as opposed to rabid walkers who are regretfully having to use a car? Surely a car that breaks down or gets stuck is going to do so somewhere near a road of some description. And of course there's the cost of a smartphone. Plus the possibility of being out-of-signal.

Incidentally the "corrupted" maps that GoogleMaps employs may be aesthetically displeasing to you with their adverts for pizza parlours and hair salons, but this info does help identify locations unequivocally.

Crocs! Hmmm. All that preaching going back at least a decade. Eventually I bought a pair although my innate parsimony ensured they were imitation not the actual (and more expensive) true brand. Used for two trivial reasons: (a) to protect my oh-so-soft foot soles when walking to the pool at various rented French villas, (b) taking out the wheelie bin-when I'm often in pyjamas. I think I'll continue to risk them for a while.

Sir Hugh said...

Thanks for the definitions. I was certainly deep in a hole with inferred.

Whatever has been said about the re-born commercial version of OS doesn't detract from the comments in my post.

If you search around I know you can get OS mapping free (certainly for selected areas) but since I've had it for years I'm not sure of details. Below is a link to Dropbox for an image of the relevant area on Google Maps with our location marked with a red dot. The location marked "Cook" is, I believe, a private house running a small business for frozen meals who must have paid for the privilege. There is little on the map to identify our exact spot easily, whereas on the OS 1:50000 (see map on my post) you will see we were parked exactly at a farm called Middle Low Wood on the other side of the road. OK, you have eliminated an unmeasured portion of the population that don't have smart phones (very few I would think) and the now rarer no signal problem, but those examples still don't annul the advantages of using OS Grid Ref which would be feasible in the large majority of situations, to say nothing of the undoubted advantage for businesses using it on their websites to pinpoint their location - I speak from experience trying to find out exactly where a b and b is situated - when you are walking every 100 yards matters.

If I was of that persuasion I would pray for you with your continued use of Crocs.

Link to Dropbox -

Ruth Livingstone said...

I’m guessing many services use postcodes instead of grid references because that is what satnavs use. Agree, grid references are far more precise, especially in rural areas where a single post code may cover a large geographical area. If you want to use free OS maps on a smartphone, there are a number of apps you can use, but you can also get free access via Bing Maps.

Sir Hugh said...

Ruth - thanks for that. I thought that was the case with free OS maps but since I bought the whole of Great Britain, 1:50000 and 1:25000 years ago from Memory Map I've never bothered to investigate. The Memory Map package does have many other attributes for route plotting etc. There is mo reason why organisations which have visiting clients shouldn't use OS Grid alongside Google Maps or Post codes or whatever. OS Grid is the only one that caters for someone who is walking, or cycling. I have walked much extra distance at the end of a long day trying to track down the exact location of a b and b or campsite. Both the Caravan Club and the Camping and Caravan club now use OS grid - I would like to think that I had some influence on that having written to them both about it before they took it up.