BB1234 : Who's That Knocking At My Door?

Thursday 18th October 2012

This is BOOTboys outing reference: 1234.  

One Thousand, Two Hundred and Thirty Four.

A number with an obvious feature, namely monotonic increasing digits with a constant minimum integer difference.

It's a structure unrepeated until the year twenty-three forty-five (sounds almost like the Zager and Evans classic).

It's simply: one, two, three, four.

"What's so good about that?" I hear you ask.  

Well, nothing really, it's just the odd sort of thing that appeals to mathematicians or actuaries, even lapsed ones like me.

However, this led on to something else that amused me, perhaps influenced by the onset of grandchildren (or, maybe, by my return to childlike behaviour), namely, the old nursery counting rhyme:

One, Two, Three, Four
Who's that knocking at my door?

That was as far as I could remember so, naturally, I consulted Google and had a bit of a shock.  There, I found what I had hoped to find:

Five, six, seven, eight
 Hurry up and don't be late

Nine, ten, eleven, twelve
Got a secret I can't tell
Flap your fins, flip your tail
School is out, ring the bell!

But there were two other references that were new to me.

Firstly a film:

Who's that knocking at my door?

This was Martin Scorsese's debut film as a director, made in 1967 (so why don't I remember it?)  

It explores the themes of Catholic guilt in which a young Italian-American man in New York cannot cope with his discovery that his would-be bride was once raped.

The second surprise seemed more like a 1967 Summer of Love LSD induced version, given its advocacy of altered states of consciousness in order to encounter and interact with the Spirit world:

One two three four
Shaman knocking at the door

Five six seven eight
Close your eyes for inner space

Nine ten eleven
Destination heaven
Numberless reality
Vision of infinity

If you want to have your own private Shamanic experience, click on the picture above and listen to The Shaman's Journey with its hypnotic drumming intended to change your state of mind.  I had to switch it off - all that knocking on the door business was too much like being inside a MRI scanner. But you never know- one could be transcendentalised!

"Get on with it!" I hear you say.  Quite right. It's time to stop waffling and start reporting on today's expedition.

 One, Two, Three, Four

Not four.  There were going to be three of us but Tony had to drop out at a late stage so we were not three either.  Just two.

Who's that knocking on my door?

Who is that knocking? Whey-hey, it's James!  In his vroom machine. Taking us to Kirkby Lonsdale.  We had talked about catching the bus but as James does not have an old person's free pass, he preferred to vroom.

Five, six, seven eight
Hurry up and don't be late

No chance of not hurrying with James at the wheel.  But there again, to be late you need a due time and that we had not!

Nine, ten, eleven, twelve
Got a secret I can't tell

We discussed many things through the course of the day.  Even if I could remember them, I couldn't possibly tell. What's said on t'boot, stays on t'boot.  Unless it's particularly juicy, of course! 

Flap your fins,   flip your tail

After parking in Kirkby Lonsdale, we headed towards Underley Park.

The gates

The Gate House

Underley Hall appears

Although we were on a public footpath, it turned out to be rather wet in parts. Had we fins to flap or tails to flip, the going might have been easier.  

We passed the Home Farm buildings - clearly a major factor in the servicing of the hall in days gone by with smokeries, dog houses, coach houses, hanging rooms and all the other buildings needed by country gentlemen.  

Nowadays, they seemed to be mostly holiday cottages. In the distance we could see the gothic styled Underley Hall.

The Hanging House

School is out,  ring the bell!

Underley Hall

The Hall has had many incarnations from Gentleman's Residence, Roman Catholic Seminary, a boys school, a girls school and until very recently a special needs school.  

Now the Hall was empty.   School was definitely out.  No bell to be rung.

The site is used by the police for dog training. We were reassured that, today, it was sniffer dogs only, not big Alsations with huge teeth and gargantuan appetites for human flesh.

Spires and chimbleys, Underley Hall

Underley Garden Shool

Within the grounds, but not visible from the path, is another school that, although it has words common in its name, should not be confused with Underley School with which it has no association.  Located in the old walled garden is the appropriately named Underley Garden School and Children's Home.  This is an independent special school and home for young people with complex learning disabilities.  To find out more, visit its website: Underley Garden.

At the bridge over the River Lune we stopped for the team picture and to watch a couple of fly-fishermen.

Fly-fisher number one

Comitibus :  Underley Bridge

Fly-fisher number two

At Beckfoot Farm there were two bridges over Barbon Beck.  One was an old narrow pack horse bridge.  The other, a more modern bridge that had obviously been seriously damaged in the storms a couple of years ago and had been massively reinforced.

James insisted on me taking a photo of him on the new bridge then he one of me on the old. Was he trying to tell me something?

James on the new

Don on the old

We had planned to have lunch in the Barbon churchyard but James had forgotten to bring a flask so first we entered the Barbon Inn for a coffee.  Yes, you read that right.  We went into the Inn for a coffee!!  

The Barbon Inn fireplace

James and the barman

It would have been rude to eat our butties in the Inn so we then reverted to the original plan and ate in the churchyard, sat on a bench protected from any breeze and in the unexpected direct sunlight.  Delightful.

Barbon Church

Casterton Church

Our route south to Casterton and down to Devil's Bridge took us past several very fine houses and, at the bridge, several very fine motorbikes that would have really excited Tony. Indeed James was waxing lyrical and debating the merits of Ducati with one of the leather-clad clan.

Inspecting the bikes

Devil's Bridge

Down the Lune

Ruskin's View

No-one was risking life and limb by jumping from the bridge today, so we continued along by the river then up the steps to Ruskin's View.  The multi-coloured barn, painted in protest against a failure to be granted planning permission, is well faded and consequently its effectiveness is now rather diminished.  After crossing the churchyard, we entered the Orange Tree Hotel where we enjoyed a fine pint of Kirkby Lonsdale's own brew.

Kirkby Lonsdale Church

The Vicarage

James needed some cash so we moved on into the town where he negotiated with a hole in the wall before taking me into the Red Dragon, a Robinson's house.  Robinson's is a Stockport brew and I well remember from my youth the smell that hung over the town when the vats were being cleared out.  A smell not unfamiliar to Edinburgh residents as I recall from when Jamie lived there.

Here, to our surprise, we discovered the Shaman who incanted his summation of how the day would have been if only Tony had been able to join us.  

One, two, three, four
Pints he'd sup or maybe more

Five, six, seven, eight
Tony's meat pies on a plate

Nine, ten, eleven
Delhi belli heaven
Infinite ecstasy
Tony's twelve more pies for tea

We were so moved that we raised a glass to Tony and all other absent BOOTfriends.

We lift up a glass in your honour

Catherine merges into her painting

Although I was close to an altered state of consciousness, James hadn't had enough to drink which was just as well as whom should we see on leaving the pub but his wife, Catherine, carrying a very remarkable picture.

Don, Thursday 18th October 2012




Thursday 18th October

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:




Other Features:

Barbon, Kirkby Lonsdale


Don, James



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