Sunday, 24 July 2016
Friday, 22 July 2016
So we've somehow managed to get to Thursday in our holiday already. The week is flying by.
Today we decided to take things easy and mostly chill around the cottage. My phone is warning me it's almost out of storage space so Simon downloaded my photos to his laptop and cleared my phone of the unnecessary apps and other bits and pieces that were slowing it down. I did a bit more embroidery.
We decided to venture out mid afternoon to go look at Jervaulx Abbey which is just this side of Masham so about a 15 min drive away. We've passed it every day whilst out and about so had it on our list of places to visit.
As you enter the grounds from the roadside, and walk over the grass to the ruins the small part of the Abbey you can see from the wrought iron gate barely prepares for what is to follow. The site is way larger than first impressions show and is a meandering wander through ruinous rooms carpeted with grass and walls adorned with wild flowers. It truly is a magical place and so romantic. The perfect place for an outdoor summer wedding.
That the Abbey is privately owned and not administered by a heritage organisation is apparent by the arbitrary use of crumbled wall and pillar sections stacked upon each other to make the boundary wall of the site. It's as sacrilegious as it is enchanting. As a civil engineer Simon was appalled that some of the remaining great walls of the Abbey are supported with very little in the way of weight bearing stones with very thin sections supporting gigantic pieces of wall above. The site is free to visit and open from dawn til dusk. The literature about the Abbey says that it's the proceeds from the provision of an honesty box that is the only source of funding for the upkeep of the Abbey which is much in keeping with the promoted air of romance, although I did read somewhere that grants from English Heritage have been forthcoming in the past.
A true spectacle in the Yorkshire countryside, this corner of the county has produced daily delights which had made our holiday truly magical and a perfect foil to the distressing events reported around the world on a daily basis at the moment. Next week I will be back to reality with my job at the hospital and unprecedented political debacles abounding but for now it's good to unwind, relax and partake in some much needed recharging of the human batteries.
After our lovely walk through the Abbey we visited the tea shop adjacent. I had the most wonderful piece of sticky toffee cake. I'd have bought multiple slices to bring back with me except I don't want to blow my weight loss efforts completely this holiday. Washed down with organic Dandelion and Burdock whilst discussing with Simon alternative ideas for the distribution of land and hereditary laws, which was quite amusing.
On the way back we stopped off at Holy Trinity, Coverham another little ancient church we'd passed daily. It's set back from the road amongst a cluster of trees, it's approach by foot hidden until you almost touch the stonework. Norman built with its square tower it has some amazing stained glass windows but the surprise and piece de resistance for me was the pristine tiled sections behind the altar and under one stained glass window. The tiles looked as new as anything yet the border declared they were installed in 1878. Stunningly beautiful and well worth the visit alone.
On leaving the church and wandering around the graveyard I noticed that my necklace had come undone and the small hand made heart pendant had fallen off. I was upset as it was a present from Simon on my last birthday. It took some doing but we eventually found it nestling amongst the grass. I was so relieved. The silver chain had snapped close to the clasp so I'll need to replace that when I get home.
I spent a lot of time in the conservatory this evening just watching the rabbits playing in the field their little white tails bobbing up and down. The swallows and swifts swooping and gliding outside the window are enchanting. I will be sad to go home on Saturday. I'd love to see these views in the different seasons so hopefully we can book a long weekend in the autumn. Despite getting out and about every day it has been the most relaxing holiday ever with so much to do just a short distance away. We will leave having a list of things we didn't get to do but that's ok because we will be definitely be back.
Today's soundtrack was Pauline's shuffle including Future Kings of Spain, TV Smith, The La's and Jason Isbell.
Thursday, 21 July 2016
We've had a brilliant week so far but today was the day I had really been waiting for. Forecast for light rain we packed our Kagools and suncream and set off in a southerly direction on the hour's drive to York.
We used the park and ride and got the bus to the station then wandered down to the National Railway Museum. The museum is a great resource housing some amazing trains and carriages. The Mallard, an engine and carriage of a Japanese Bullet train, old Royal Mail train and a Euro Star carriage amongst them. There's loads of memorabilia too, signage, furniture, stained glass panels and even a decorative cast iron toilet screen. We enjoyed wandering around although it was very hot and we only lasted about an hour before heading into York for some light refreshments.
We had a leisurely lunch at a small cafe called Burr which I'd highly recommend. The falafel wraps were lovely and they have an extensive home made cake section which Simon partook of.
We did a bit of browsing and some clothes trying on but that didn't last too long as it was way too hot for those sort of shenanigans so we found a pub and indulged in more liquid refreshments. It had greyed over and looked like rain and the covered courtyard of the Old White Swan was a perfect choice.
On one of my solo visits to York a few years back I'd done the Snickelway trail which follows around 3 miles of ginnels and alleyways throughout the town. Some of them had revealed hidden gems and the pub was right next to one which housed a 12th Century church that I had happened upon on that visit. Holy Trinity on Goodramgate is one of 45 mediaeval churches in the parish of York and has rare stained glass windows the oldest dating back to 1470. It's the closest you will get to a post-reformation church. Since my last visit there has been the addition of a huge bell situated outside the main entrance with the words 'Ring for peace' carved into its wooden frame. I must investigate how and why it's there.
We had another wander heading towards the Minister and found the entrance to the gardens of the Treasurer's House which are open to the public and truly are an oasis of peace and quiet. We sat there for a while soaking up the sun, the threatened rain showers having failed to materialise. We then headed off through the shambles in search of a needlework shop for some black embroidery thread as a finishing touch to the cacti designs. However that little quest was fruitless so we made our way to The Hole in the Wall pub for, yes, more liquid refreshment and an early tea. Its become my traditional evening meal pub whilst visiting York, and the food is good so was keen to take Simon.
We got back to the cottage around 7.30 so had a full day out with my York cravings satisfied until the next time.
Today's soundtrack was mainly alcoholic ramblings with a few ouches thrown in here and there.
Tuesday, 19 July 2016
Was up fairly early so finished the first of the cross stitch cacti. Didn't feel so good with a poorly tummy so we got off to a slow start and left for a planned trip to Richmond about 1pm when I started to feel better. We parked alongside the river which looked so welcoming on what turns out to be the hottest day of the year thus far.
We walked up the steep winding road to the castle passing lovely cottages. The castle was built just after the battle of Hastings by Alan of Brittany, a relative of William the Conqueror to strengthen the Norman hold on the north of England. Overlooking both the river and the town it afforded some cracking views of the surrounding area. I particularly loved the garden and it was easy to imagine courtiers relaxing there on a similarly sunny day in years past. The garden is still well maintained although full of flowers and the area which would once have grown vegetables to feed the residents of the castle and herbs for medicinal purposes is now a very neatly manicured lawn.
Afterwards we wandered into the town for a late lunch and settled on the Red House Hotel. I had a gorgeous halloumi in beer batter sandwich with roast vegetables, fries and coleslaw. I'm not too keen on the current trend to serve things in brioche buns which are too crunchy and not easy to eat. I'd have preferred a soft bap but other than that it was lovely and washed down well with a Golden Sheep bitter shandy
When we got back to the cottage we drove past to see what was further up the hill. The village is literally two streets at right angles to each other. Beyond that is glorious Yorkshire moorland full of sheep and nesting birds and we could see a lot of the route we'd travelled earlier in the day.
We turned round to come back to the cottage which is when I noticed the red telephone box we'd passed on the way up. The other side had a sign saying 'Book Swap'. I was very excited as I've seen these things posted on Facebook but never encountered one in real life before so once we parked up I picked up my phone and camera and wandered up there to take some pictures.
It was a delightful surprise and the perfect way to finish the day out.
We watched The Intern after tea with Ann Hathaway and Robert De Niro Alot of De Niro's recent films are about the challenges facing older people post-career and family raising and decry a bygone age of chivalry and snappy dressing. The Intern touches on those as well as the role the more mature person has to play in a society so geared up to youthfulness. A lovely gentle watch.
Today's soundtrack was the Pauline ipod shuffle which included Skinny Lister, Jason Isbell, John Fulbright and Don Henley.
Sunday, 17 July 2016
Saturday, 16 July 2016
After 3 months of work, study and house renovation we are finally on a week's holiday. I guess we could have chosen anywhere. A last minute break in Italy, Spain or the English Lake District did appeal but when I cleared my head and listened to my inner voice I was longing for some North Yorkshire countryside. No idea why but driving over to Wensleydale/Coverdale I was getting the big feels in my tummy which I'm taking as a good sign.
The non-working 'farm' cottage we have rented is delightful. Just the right size for the two of us although it sleeps 4. With a beautiful small entrance conservatory with stunning views over the nearby hills we're already planning our first trek from here.
This weekend there is a Steam Rally just down the road and we passed a few vintage lorries and tractors on the way here who were signing out for the night. I think that will be tomorrow's excursion. Hopefully it will include a beer tent :-)
Simon, who apparently can't live without music, cough, has bought some ipod shuffles each containing various play lists. Tonight we're chilling listening to Bruce Springsteen on shuffle and demolishing the 3 bottles of wine we picked up en route.
Monday, 30 May 2016
Tuesday, 10 May 2016
Can hardly believe how fast the past few weeks have gone.
I've been so busy.
My very final Heritage assignment was submitted last week amidst much jubilation on my behalf. Tomorrow I start revising for the exam my last hurdle to get over this year. Then I can assign all of these lovely books to the bookcase where they shall sit and look pretty gathering dust.
The end of April saw two wonderful gigs. The first being Richmond Fontaine at the Greystones in Sheffield, which, despite being about 7 miles away from me, is fast becoming my local in that it's the pub I've spent most time in this year. All band related I quickly add. I don't often go to gigs on my own but sometimes there is someone who I really don't want to miss so I bite the bullet. It's times like these that mobile phones and social media come into their own, something to do in the interval when everyone else there seems to be in a group and there's no-one to chat to. Anyway, back to the gig. The support was Fernando, a stocky grey haired troubadour originating from Argentina. He played acoustic guitar backed up by Daniel Eccles on electric guitar. A worthy support with some great tunes and lots of interesting banter between songs. Best part of the set was Fernando and Dan really digging into the music with an intense face to face play down.