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The Catstycam Blog

  • Tech Care, Lambs Ont Menu and the Second Law Of Thermodynamics.

    Pretty soon it will be February half term then a hop, a skip and a jump will take us into the Easter holidays, the campsites will open, the BBC will wheel out the 'Blue Peter for grown-ups' presenters and we'll get 'Springwatch' with all those cute little birds, badgers and otters...again.

    We'll see the fluffy little lambs pogo-ing among the daffs and onto the menus of the local hotels, and HOORAH the days will get longer than the nights!

    It's about this time of year when the less disciplined of us, and that's probably a significant section of the population, sheepishly recall (did you get what I did there?) all those good intentions of getting fitter and healthier by communing with Nature and braving the elements, aided by all that outdoor gear that promised to keep us warm and dry...whatever the weather.

    That outdoor gear, so carefully selected and researched for its breathability, its insulating properties, its sheer weatherproofness, waits patiently for the call to protect its owner...and it is still waiting faithfully, dutifully.

    But wait, I hear you cry, that gear was the best I could afford, I may not have got out and about for a little while but neither has it! It'll be there when I get the chance to plan a walk, whatever the weather; a couple of rainy day walks over Christmas, an odd weekend in the fells, where's the harm in that? It'll all be as good as new, a bit of dried up mud on the boots, the odd scuff on the overtrousers, the jacket carefully chucked in the back of the airing cupboard after its brief holiday in the back of the car, at sub-zero temperatures, what could possibly affect its performance?

    To which one would have to retort, the second law of thermodynamics!

    Clearly, with such an educated and informed readership one hardly needs to go into too much detail, suffice to say that, whether we like it or not, it's all been downhill since the Big Bang. Like a massive clockwork mechanism, fully wound at the start of the universe, the second law tells us that everything is gradually winding down... don't worry, there's still a way to nothing remains stable, on any level, and will eventually achieve equilibrium like a pendulum which simply runs out of energy and stops...forever.

    But, it's just a theory based on observation, deduction, experimentation and hard evidence...if you prefer not to believe it you can always pop into your local church, mosque or synagogue and get another version.

    Anyway, to get to the point, it's probably a good time now to invest a bit of time, after having invested a lot of dosh, in spring cleaning your kit. At Catstycam, The Outdoor Shop we stock a whole range of cleaning and waterproofing products.

    Nikwax Tech Wash will pamper your breathable garments and wash out that grit and dust that is slowly clogging the micropores.

    TX.Direct will restore that waterproof layer that makes the raindrops cascade off your clothing.

    Your boots, whether fabric or leather will benefit from Waterproofing Wax for Leather, and cleaning products to get rid of that dried up mud that is clogging up the natural breathability are also available at both our shops in the Ullswater valley.

    Just call in any time if you want a bit of advice on keeping your gear at the top of its game...

    maybe we all need to get out a bit more!

  • Dogsbody required, full training provided.

    Standing in the queue for my Friday night fish and chips with the usual crowd, I overheard a heated discussion between the local vicar and the Catholic priest about the point at which life could be said to begin, and its implications for the Church's stance in the abortion debate.

    Clearly unable to come to any agreement on the matter (quelle surprise!), and noticing Rabbi Goldstein also in the shop waiting quietly for his supper, they decided to bring the world weary Rabbi into the argument.

    "So when would you say life begins, old chap?"

    The Rabbi smiled and replied,"Ah, that's when the kids leave home, and the dog dies."

    Please note this story is entirely fictional, and no holy man, wizard, witch doctor or shaman, or anyone else claiming access to the true purpose or meaning of life, or special relationship with any God or gods, past, present or future, natural or supernatural, was hurt in the telling of the tale... nor was any human or animal hurt, abused or humiliated in delivering the punchline.

    If you have been affected in any way by this and feel you need counselling, log onto for advice.

    At Catstycam, The Outdoor Shop, we are always happy to welcome visitors to the area, and many of them like to bring their dogs with them to get out there in the hills where they can enjoy the freedom of the natural environment, with very few restrictions.

    We stock a good range of  'Mountain Paws', 'Rugged Pets' and 'Outhwaite' pet products...see our online catalogue.

    We are particularly happy to see local mountain rescue volunteers and their fantastic search and rescue dogs

    The Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dogs, a canine elite force at the service of the local and national emergency services needs your support, and deserves everyone's admiration and respect... but they can't live on fresh air and kind words.

    How you can help.

    Well, apart from giving them that lottery win that you've been trying to keep quiet, you could become a 'Friend'.

    A 'Friend' of the LDMRSD enables the group to have a reliable and predictable income based upon a steady income from a regular donation via a direct debit from you. In return you receive a regular newsletter, invitation to training sessions and open days, a car sticker and access to a 'Friends only' section of the website.

    If you want to get involved in a hands-on kind of way, you can become a 'Dogsbody'.

    A Dogsbody is a volunteer who gets out there in the hills on training sessions and acts as a casualty to be found by the dogs... usually cute border collies, not hungry foxhounds!

    In both our shops we carry collecting boxes for the LDMRSD, their web address is...


    they'd be lost without you!

  • A Tale Told By An Idiot

    "Life's but a walking shadow... a tale told by an idiot... signifying nothing."

    I sometimes wonder about Shakespeare - not that often, I must admit- and the words he put into his characters' mouths.

    That was Macbeth, by the way, Polanski's movie version of the play is well worth watching.

    Shakespeare just seemed to 'get' the human condition, he held up a mirror for us to look into and see ourselves.

    Maybe he wasn't human himself, maybe he wasn't just one person, maybe he was an alien intelligence... maybe I''ll get to the point soon.

    That could be the point though, that there is no actual 'point', no pre-determined goal or destination to be aimed for in there's a thought.

    That doesn't have to be a bad thing, does it? That could be a tremendously liberating realisation.

    "For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."  Hamlet.

    There he goes again!

    Imagine living a life where there are no expectations of you, where nobody expresses disappointment with your efforts, and you don't feel guilty for being yourself.

    OK, so Macbeth was feeling at bit down in the dumps at this stage in his career; his wife had just gone mad and died, a hostile army was approaching his castle, and he was just about to get his head cut off...enough to get anyone reaching for the paracetamol and whisky, really.

    Even so, it's worth stopping and taking stock from time to time.

    It's not the easiest thing to work out; how much of what we do and think is us, and how much is what someone else has sneaked in there, maybe to make their life a little easier.

    If you read some of the stuff that could loosely be called 'New Age' or 'Alternative', and I don't recommend it really, you come across the concept of an ' authentic' life(style). ???

    Nice to know somebody's worked it out... apparently!

    In the meantime until the little light bulb (energy-saving, of course) goes on in my cluttered head, I think I'll try to be authentic in a simple kind of way, although the simplest things can be the most difficult to do.

    It's the back end of December 2012, I've just finished the last of the turkey but I've still got a foothill of chocolate to climb. It will soon be January, named after Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and transitions.

    So there it is...

    Beginnings and transitions.

    Life as a work in progress...

    not such an idiotic idea after all?

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