Category Archives: Longridge


Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.
SAD is sometimes known as “winter depression” because the symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe during the winter. The symptoms often begin in the autumn as the days start getting shorter. They’re typically most severe during December, January and February.

Symptoms of SAD can include:

  • a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
  • irritability
  • a persistent low mood
  • feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
  • feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
  • sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
  • craving carbohydrates and gaining weight.
The exact cause of SAD isn’t fully understood, but it’s often linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter autumn and winter days. The main theory is that a lack of sunlight might stop a part of the brain called the hypothalamus working properly, which may affect the:
  • production of melatonin – melatonin is a hormone that makes you feel sleepy; in people with SAD, the body may produce it in higher than normal levels
  • production of serotonin – serotonin is a hormone that affects your mood, appetite and sleep; a lack of sunlight may lead to lower serotonin levels, which is linked to feelings of depression
  • body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm) – your body uses sunlight to time various important functions, such as when you wake up, so lower light levels during the winter may disrupt your body clock and lead to symptoms of SAD                                                                                            
  •   Treatments for SAD

  • lifestyle measures – including getting as much natural sunlight as possible, exercising regularly and managing your stress levels
  • light therapy – where a special lamp called a light box is used to simulate exposure to sunlight
  • talking therapies – such as therapy.
  • antidepressant medication.


Why am I telling you all this – well most winters I disappear to sunnier climes as I’ve found over the years that it prevents all of the above. As well as the improved climate I am usually involved in some semi-challenging walk giving me loads of exercise. This year I’ve been grounded because of my hip problems brought on by excessive exercise. Recent posts will have shown how I’ve partially dealt with it, sorry for the maudlin tone to those. Why don’t I just go abroad for a couple of weeks you say – well I’m not good at ‘lazy’ holidays by the pool, would probably just eat and drink too much.

Thus I’m still battling on, physio next week. So when the sun shone this morning I needed to get out. Luckily JD, of GR131 fame, phoned and within 30 mins I was at his house with a plan to do a relatively easy walk to Ribchester and catch the bus back. Off we went with bus passes at the ready.

The watery sun shone, as planned, whilst we walked past the extensive Longridge reservoirs.

The stroll down the quiet Hothersall Lane was a pleasure, as it warmed up I could feel all that lovely Serotonin fighting off the nasty Melatonin. The usual  juxtaposition of irreverent [me] and intellectual conversation [JD] bowled us along and soon we were dropping down the steep escarpment to Hothersall Lodge an outdoor centre run by Lancs County Council. Nobody was about but signs of activity were everywhere, climbing wall, zip wire, grounded canoes, archery ranges, nature walks etc. A great place to introduce people to the outdoors. We were now following the Ribble Way, a flawed route due to private fishing interests unnecessarily diverting the path higher up stream.

Further on was Hothersall Hall, a Gothic style building refurbished and providing privileged accommodation to some persons.  I tried in vain to relocate the Hothersall Boggart – a slightly grotesque stone head in the fork of a tree with associated legends. No luck today but I know its there somewhere.

All was going well with the walking until now, a good surface and fairly flat going. I had forgotten the little hill to be crossed on muddy fields – it was not a pretty sight as I struggled to cope with the terrain. Thankfully I’d brought my tracking poles, not to be separated from them these days. There were good views down to the River Ribble.

That hill!.


We had time to look across the Ribble to the extensive Osbaldeston Hall on the south bank. A path led off towards it and presumably some ancient ford crossing. JD remembered wading the river here on some previous walk but not today thank you.After that it was a stroll to walk into Ribchester, were we on a Roman Road?

Eschewing the Roman artifacts and other attractions of the village we headed past the now closed White Bull with its ‘Roman columns’ to the friendly Black Bull where we enjoyed a quick slurp of Bowland Brewery’s Buster before catching the rattly bus to Longridge.

Needs must so SAD can SOD off.  I’ve plans for the next week or so if the weather is good.



After my last post I feel I need to end the year on a more positive note. Today was sunny and dry, ideal for a hill walk but I’m still confined to flat roads. I had a plan to visit some wetlands created by United Utilities [if that is their most recent moniker] on the outskirts of Longridge. Threading my way through streets, alleys and lanes I came to the observation hides overlooking the site. I had the foresight to bring binoculars [but not a camera] – there were lots of ducks, geese and lapwings visible but nothing more. The lapwings were en-mass and looking in prime condition feeding on the marsh.  So despite the doom and gloom of yesterday’s post on Longridge being swamped with housing developments here we have some more environmental positivity.  Sadly the majority of the local population are probably ignorant of this scheme.

I will return again in 2018.

Oh! to be on those hills.



You may remember if you live locally a post of mine from  2014. So long ago?

Well the fears have become fact. The planners have failed us and the developers have destroyed us. That outline development map has become reality.

A walk around the outskirts of Longridge this week produced these pictures of ‘rural idyll’

As the cars queue up outside my house in this evening’s rush hour I have no further comment.


                                       HAPPY NEW YEAR!



Well I made it through the year with my garden diary.

Today is the winter solstice, seven hours and 49 minutes of daylight if you are lucky. Its pretty grim here today in Lancashire with drizzle and mist. I missed the classic photo of the robin in the snow last week. Not much else to show in the garden at the moment.

Picea koraiensis

Helleborus foetidus






Another month has flashed by…

As i wandered round The Royal Horticultural Society’s garden at Wisley last week I was making a mental note of any colour for this time of year. To be honest not a lot stood out. The trees were resplendent in autumn colours as one would expect, there were some unidentified tall white grasses near the glass house but you had to look closer to spot anything that would be of use in my small northern garden.

Red Dogwoods were brilliantly coloured but more suitable for an urban park than my borders but there may be room for a couple at the back of a shrub bed. Pyracantha, Firethorn, seemed more colourful than the Cotoneaster in my garden, though with their thorns maybe a position against a wall would be best.  So that is two to buy in for next year.

But what about now, Last week we had the deluge for a few days and now morning ground frosts have become established.

Leaves continue to colour and then blow around the lawn and into my pond, which needs a good clear out.

Euonymus alatus.

Spot the fish.

Nerines are flowering still, as last month, but little else. My Mahonia Charity has started flowering and will do so over winter.


Hydrangea heads are drying out and showing pastel shades, I should get round to picking some.


The seed heads of Phlomis are worth leaving on the plants over winter for their intricate structure.


The holly berries have been eaten by the blackbirds but red berries on the Berberis shrubs are lasting well.

The trees are almost bare of leaves and this has enabled some lovely low sunsets on the last few clear evenings.



Yesterday morning there was a heavy dew, the temperature had dropped to 6°, today it is wet and windy again.  I’ve just returned from La Palma where the temperature was in the high 20s – what a shock.

Wandering round the garden there is little to see, a few Asters and Japanese Anemones are giving some faded colour. Round the corner the Nerine bowdenii is suddenly in flower. The delicate Fuchsia magellanica Alba is hanging on.

Autumn colours have only just started but the strong winds, whilst I’ve been away, have already stripped some trees. The blackbirds are eating the holly berries so by Xmas there will be none left.

The clocks go back tonight. Little else to say really.


I’ve been away most of September and the garden is looking neglected, but to continue my year’s diary…

Hedges need trimming and plants cutting back. Not a lot has changed since the end of last month and we are now slowly drifting into Autumn.

Sedums come into their own at this time of year.

As do Michaelmas Daisies [asters]The Monkshood [Aconitum carmichaelii] seem to have grown taller this year, they are probably the most poisonous plant in the garden.Cimicifuga simplex racemona brightens up a shady cornerand a late flowering Phlox paniculata Norah Leigh does the sameThe less showy Physostegia virginiana, the Obedient Plant named because it will stay in any position you twist it to, makes an effort to flower.

Otherwise it is seeds and berries.

The Cornus kousa fruit soon goes off but apparently can be used for making wine – next year.The birds love the Cotoneaster berriesand my Monkey Puzzle tree has started producing ‘cones’

But really we are heading into Autumn.