Daily archives: August 27, 2010

Ennerdale Show 2010

Ennerdale Show 2010- Fell running

It’s been a long time since I went to Ennerdale show. So long, in fact, that they don’t even hold it in Ennerdale any more. The show has moved from the lakeside field I remember and headed up the hill and over the border into Lamplugh. If you climb far enough up the fell running course, which I, foolishly, did, then you can look down and see the showground and Ennerdale lake at the same time.

Ennerdale Show 2010

The show is really for the locals, it’s not dressed up for outsiders, though tourists and blokes who ran away to the city 20 years ago are still welcome (and, remembered). The displays and competitions revolve around agricultural pursuits. There’s livestock, sheep in particular.

Ennerdale Show 2010

But also poultry.

Ennerdale Show 2010


Ennerdale Show 2010

There were a number of vintage vehicles including, of course, tractors.

Ennerdale Show 2010

I missed the hound trailing, but did see some of the dogs being judged beforehand.

Ennerdale Show 2010- judging the hounds

No doubt the hounds and the horses are a legacy of hunting, though my memory is that hound trailing was still a big part of the show long before the hunting ban.

Ennerdale Show 2010

As well as the fell running there was also Cumbrian wrestling.

Ennerdale Show 2010- Cumbrian wrestling

I attended the show almost by accident. I was up in Cumbria delivering a mountain bike I’d put together from bits to my parents and they were manning a stall. I test rode the bike on the road up to the showground and then around forestry trails back to shake out any issues. As far as the bike is concerned there was only one problem- the lever for the front brake doesn’t work. The rider, however, is another matter. I’m sure those hills have become steeper since I was a kid.

More pictures can be found at my Ennerdale Show 2010 set on Flickr.

Moscow has activated the sleeper agents!

Numbers stations are a mysterious phenomenon possibly related to espionage. They are radio transmitters in Russia which broadcast seemingly random numbers or sounds. Recently one of them, UVB-76, changed from its normal buzzing to garbled messages. Theories abound about what they could possibly mean. If this was part of the prologue to a piece of spy fiction it would signal the activation of a sleeper agent or cell intent on killing key members of the British establishment (or US government if you must insist on not being parochial). They would have been called out of retirement by reactionary forces within the Russian government intent on taking the world back to the uncertain certainties of the Cold War or creating a neo-Soviet empire.

Another real life event which sounds like the opening of a thriller is the gruesome and bizarre murder of Gareth Williams a specialist in codes who worked at GCHQ and had been seconded to MI6. The conspiracy theories are already being formulated on that one, and everyone’s calling him a spy when the label is almost certainly inappropriate, just to sex the story up.

The Irwin series of stories (I have ideas for a few more after Tiger has finished serialising) feature a former MI6 analyst, so stories like this are of great interest to me. The reality will be much more mundane than the imagined reasons behind them, of course, but they fascinate for alittle while.

Tiger- Part Twelve

“If we carry on going around the block they’ll spot us and get suspicious.” the young Detective Constable commented.

“I guess so, James.” the DI agreed, “Pull in over there and get the A to Z out. We’ll play at being lost for a while.”

James turned the unmarked car smartly into the spot the DI had pointed out. He killed the engine and fished in the door pocket for the street guide. Flicking through to the appropriate page he mused, “Do people still use these? I can get all the maps I need on my phone.”

“Some of us don’t like technology. I can hardly use text.”

“They’ve opened the shutters over the personnel door, but not the loading bay.” James observed.

“That’s not going to be easy to enter quickly.” the DI leant forward in his seat and stared upwards to see the helicopter he’d just heard. “The eye in the sky’s here. You get through to their controllers and I shall find out where the men with the guns are.”

Four armed officers were in an unmarked van one street further on, waiting for an entry team- with their battering ram to clear the door quickly- to turn up. Meanwhile, the helicopter was making wide, circling passes of the tram stop further down Eccles New Road but keeping its cameras focused on the industrial unit. Their infra red camera told them there was a huddle of bodies just inside the loading bay and another two or three in the room farthest from the road.

James and the DI passed information back and forth between the armed officers and the helicopter until the entry team turned up. “Okay. Go when you’re ready.” the DI ordered.

A minute later two vans pulled up in the car park of the unit next to the target. Armoured and helmeted officers jumped out of the vans and formed up on the largest of their group, who hefted a large tube with handles at one end and in the middle. They sneaked along the wall to the door, where the officer with the club took a step back and swung it. As the door gave way on the second swing James and the DI stepped out of the car and headed for the action.

By the time The DI and James had reached the shattered door of the unit the armed officers had swept through it and subdued all the occupants. Five men were sat at a long table in the loading bay with their hands on their heads. An officer escorted three young women from another room. “No sign of the hostages?”

“No sir.” responded the man with the hammer.


James was by the table, turning over items of paperwork the men had been working on. “I don’t know if it’s any consolation, sir, but…” he held up a passport, the space where there should have been an image of the subject was empty.

“Collateral success.” the DI sighed. He took out his phone and called up Kay.