F 1 D 0 -- 02 05 26 at 11 45

Backaches.

I have had a few of them. 

Before actually arriving in Manchester,
I was succombed to something in my middle
back, where there was a spasm like a knife
in my ribs. Normally we think of a back
ache affecting action, but mine affected
how I slept, and how I was able to use
my right arm.

In Thunder Bay, I brought on the spasm
by slicing onions. I'm serious. Nothing
harder than that.  I was so overcome by
the pain that walking was a chore.

Here in UK, at Manchester airport, I 
did myself in by putting down two styrofoam
coffee cups. Again, it was not heavy duty
work that made the difference, but a certain
pose.

I will beat this pain, somehow. But until
I do, I'm slower than I like to be.

I have a bad knee, and that goes bad. Not
by running and jumping, but when I'm at
rest, a certain imperceptible motion will
make the knee jump the track, and then I'll
be fidgity and irritated until I can get it
back in place, hopefully before I have to use
it. My knee goes with a loud click.

Here in Great Ayton, we have been experimenting
with how to sleep.

The house is *amazing*. It isn't the old
fashioned kind of cottage that people oooh
and aaah for. Instead it is all on one level,
with three bedrooms, a den, a living room, a
dining room, a kitchen. It has a back yard 
complete with a glass shed, ready to become
a green house. There is a large garage here,
full of things in storage; that's a lie. Nothing
here is Full of anything, but it has some
stuff in it.

The bed in the master bedroom is fine, but came
with a very very soft 3/4 double bed. This bed
is ideal for someone who likes the bed to them
selves, and wants extra room. Also for someone
who needs soft rather than a hard bed.

I figure that I'm a tuff guy, so I separated the
3/4 bed into box spring, and mattress. I slept
on that. I can't say it was a good idea. It had
some very soft spots, some very hard wooden beams,
and some persistent springs. So much for bright
ideas.

Two nights ago, we switched the box spring for a
single mattress from the next room. I think this
is satisfactory.  I'm still waking up with back
ache, but I'm sleeping in between.

The new ache is not a spasm at all. I feel unable
to turn my head. It has a preferred place: looking
forward. Trying to look (say) left without turning
most of me in that direction causes a warning pain.

Interesting, that's as bad as this new ache gets.
Warning pain.

I was soooo certain I'd packed the Entrophen.
That is a pill with Robaxacol in it. I've had
good luck with it in the past. They team it up
with aspirin (Robaxasol), tylenol (Robaxacet),
or motrin (Robaxaprophen).  Anyway, I can't
find them. They don't put me to sleep, but stop
the spasm pains, and the warning pains, without
dulling anything else. 

I'm wearing a canvas bag full of Marrowroot
Peas. It was hard for us to find some kind
raw bean! It isn't hard to make this kind of
bag, if you can find the goodies. Put about a
pound of beans into a canvas bag, and nuke
it in the microwave until it is very warm.
If you've never done it before, then check
every 30 seconds. If you have, then you already
know how long it takes for your unit to warm
but not fry the poor bag.

We managed toasting (literally) a towel. Ann
made me a warm towel, and it now has these
burn holes. It happens, all too easily.

Things are smaller here than elsewhere. So
Great Ayton isn't a big place, but it is 
bigger than Little Ayton, which is nearby.

Both seem to be villages. Great Ayton has
it's main street right next to a stream or
river. There are a few cafes here, a pub or so,
a library, a couple of food places. There is a
bakery here, a bike shop, a bank, a pizza place,
and more too. Little Ayton has about a dozen
buildings. One is a farm, another is Ann's
brother John's place. 

So let me try to remember the places I've
seen. Yesterday Ann had stuff to do in Stokesley.
That's a nice town with a lot of town square
stuff in it. Like a main street organized 
around a parking lot. 

After that, we found our way to John + Inez,
where we did a walk. There were some bright
bluebells they wanted us to see in the forest.

When we got there, John was sad by how the season
is winding up, and how they're just not as bright
as a week ago. We got to the forest by following
the signs to Faceby, and walking along side a farm
until we got to a yellow arrow, suggesting a foot
path.

The day before, we went to Whitby. It is a seaside
town, full of boats and small stores. I'm told in
the summer, the streets are full of people ready
to buy candy floss and be good tourists. And the
shops are ready to comply offering them postcards
and souvenirs.

Whitby is twinned with Whitby, Ontario in Canada.
I wish I understood what that really means. But
the sign said so.

If you don't mind climbing 200 steps, you can visit
the Abbey there. It is just a shell, really. It was
robbed hundreds of years ago, when England waged
war against its churches. But the real destruction
happened during World War 2, when Germany bombed it.
So we have these pretty walls, with grass on both
sides. Many new buildings, including a new church,
a new meeting hall, a new stone garden, have been
erected in a traditional style. So they look old.

It is hard to describe to you how high this place is.
So just take my word for it. You have to really 
climb up to get there.

We did fish and chips in Whitby. We wanted to 
eat at Haddie's place, but they closed just
as we decided it was time. The place across
the street wasn't as famous, but did fine.

We found a bench in the harbour that still
had some sunshine on it (That took some hunting).

The pidgeons got my attention. Oh, there were
seagulls and something like a magpie, and some
small birdies. It was the pidgeons who could be
trained to take food from my fingers. By the
time I finished eating all the fries I wanted,
I dropped many of them on the ground for the 
birds. But the pidgeons I'd been hand feeding
preferred taking them from my fingers. They
had the happy look of a fed bird, with soft
french fry all over their beaks. Ooop, maybe
they're called Chips here. But you know what
I mean.

The day before that we drove through the moors.
In particular, our trip was in the North York
Moors. This is a national park, protected by
the government. It is a very big place, with
25000 people living there. 

The history of the moors is long. Perhaps 1500
years ago, it was all forest. The people living
there didn't write any history, but cut down
many of the trees. 

Say 800 years ago, the monks moved in, seeking
quiet. They also found a place where they could
farm sheep, making money by selling the wool.

Around 400 years ago, lords owned the land, and
rented it out to people who farmed it as payment.
This created windy roads which led from the places
they worked to the place they were allowed to live.

And now? Now we see very winding roads between
isolated small villages. Farms spot the moor. 
Sheep are sometimes on the farm, sometimes just
running freely in the moor.

The road in the moor is very narrow. It is wide
enough for Exactly Two Cars, but not their rear
view mirrors. 

If the roads were straight, this would not be
any problem at all. But the path is exceptionally
twisty, with sudden blind spots and narrow bridges.

I figure the road is best taken at 20mph, but everyone
goes much faster. I found myself jumping in my seat
each time a car passed us. I mean that.

Dancing happens here, but we may not be able to 
connect with it for another week yet. We got a
hold of a contact just after having missed the
weekly dance. We'll be going to Exeter on Monday,
which has some kind of stuff, I'm sure, but I've
not found out exactly where yet.

Foreign Correspondents: Congratulations on your
new camera! I like the bunny. There are lots of
them here, but they don't commune with people
the way the ducks and the pidgeons are happy to.
I spent long time walking in the moors trying to
talk to some sheep during our Moor visit, but
the sheep were determined. I could only get about
20 feet from them, and then they'd start to run.
But if I stayed inside the car, they'd stay happily
in the middle of the road, leaving in their own
good time.

Also: the laptop computer is working, but for some
reason, I'm not hearing a dial tone when plugging
into the telephone line. I have a free internet CD
here, for FreeServe.com and it INSISTED on installing
MSIE version 6. And a new media player, and and and.
Grrrr. All I wanted was for it to connect to the host,
and take me to a sign up page. But after it installed
all of this stuff, it didn't actually connect to the
host. It has to dial the English Equivalent of a 1-800
number, so it can get me a local dialling number. 
My problem is that the phone is different, at least
a little bit. I'm not getting a dial tone. When I use
the handset connection, I get tone, but it won't actually
dial. When I handdial, it hears the modem training tones,
but doesn't grip them, so they get tired of singing, and
hang up. So this journal is being written on diskette, and
I'll go to John's place and upload it from there.

Today I'll go get the bicycle John has fixed up
for me to use. Today is the day to ride it, because
we are out of the area for a week after that.

That's all I know.