Jun. 9th, 2012

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I was tipped off by an entry in [livejournal.com profile] clytemenstra's blog that Hilary Mantel's follow-up to Wolf Hall has now been published.  Since it was available at the fairly modest sum of twelve quid, I was hopeful that this time, her publisher would NOT be going through the rigmarole of releasing a massive hard-back edition a year before the paperback came out...

So I went rushing headlong into Waterstones today and more or less said to the hapless assistant: I NEED Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel and I need it NOW!!! Gimme, gimme, gimme, PLEASE!!!!!!! 

The assistant duly obliged, and led me to the best-seller shelves, where I found that the princely sum of twelve pounds could buy me a hardback edition the size of a small breeze-block, which would neatly double up as a murder weapon, if so desired, which considering the subject matter, is probably quite appropriate.

I spent thirty seconds deliberating.  I'm desperate to read that book, but...  In my view, books are for life, not for Christmas.  I don't have the space on my shelves for a hardback, and since it's a book I'll probably be re-reading on a semi-regular basis, I really don't see myself lugging the damn thing across the world in a plane or a train or whatever.  So I left in on the shelf, and now I guess I'll have to wait it out until the wretched publishers finally get around to releasing the paperback.

I WISH they wouldn't do this.  It's really annoying.  I mean, who actually buys hardbacks, anyway???  Am I in a minority here, or what??? 

On a lighter note, I am delighted to report that our bee box, which was placed carefully in the garden near where my beloved Clematis montana used to live (sob!!) several winters ago, has at last got residents.  It is currently occupied by a colony of bumbles - I couldn't tell you what type of bumbles they represent, though they are rather tiny.  I like to call them 'mini-bumbles' for this very reason...

I'm delighted by this turn of events.  In a time where bees seem to be under attack on every quarter, it's wonderful to see them buzzing in and out doing their bumbly things and generating more and more bumbles to populate the garden.  It means that as far as my stakeholder gardening system is concerned, I must doing things right! 

I'm so impressed that I might invest in a second bee box for next year, which I can place a discreet distance away.  I'm assuming the creatures aren't too territorial...
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Anyway, as I intimated previously, I never made it to the summit of Bidean Nam Bien.  To those of you who are accomplished high level walkers, I salute you.  To those who've never ventured up to the high levels before, believe me, things start to get pretty serious after around 3200 feet.  Could I work up to this??  Probably.  A couple of years back, I would never have dreamed that taking on such a challenge was possible.  Even Helvellyn seemed like an insurmountable challenge, and believe me, compared to this one, Helvellyn was fairly easy...

In Thursday's blog post, I left you with a view of the Lost Valley, looking up to the route which led up to the ridge and the summit.  Here's a view of the Lost Valley from the start of the ascent onto the ridge.  After this point, when the scrambling began, photography was pretty much impossible:-




At last the ridge was reached.  Here are the views, which speak for themselves.  The Lost Valley is a mere speck in the distance now, and for those who are wondering, the big body of water in the middle distance is Loch Etive:-












So...  After all the effort, and the trauma of the ascent...  Was it really worth it????

I'd say 'yes!', even without the bonus of adding another summit to the palmares.  Because views like this are a rare treat which make the ridge a worthy goal in its own right.  On the strength of them, I'd do it again tomorrow - I think!!!

Have a great weekend, everyone!!

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