Tuesday, 25 May 2010

We're all going on a Summer Holiday......

Actually, we've BEEN on a Summer Holiday - and come back.  I finally got the packing done and,  left at 7.30 last Saturday morning to drive to the Yorkshire Dales.  I was staying in a cottage in Buckden, which was a converted Chapel (yes, I could see the irony in that too).   My sister and brother in law had already arrived - and we got the holiday off to a good start with these .............

My sister had stopped off at a food fair in Clumber Park.  I had the pink one, she had the one with Jelly Beans and Mark had the macho yellow one.  (Yeah, that's what he said, too)
The cottage was lovely, with this view from the kitchen window ...
And from the garden -
We went for a long walk on Sunday, over 11 miles with fantastic views (necessitating steep climbs)

and went to Kettlewell, where they did a lot of the filming for Calendar Girls.  Recognise this? Its the hall they all walked into when they were going to their WI meetings.

On Tuesday I had arranged to meet my Yorkshire friend Betty in Harrogate.  Well, I thought I had, but when I sent her a text to say where I'd parked, she rang me in a panic to say she was in the middle of bathing one of her old ladies (it's a job, not a hobby) and it seemed that ONE of us (I think it's her, she thinks it's me) got the days mixed up, so we arranged to meet at Bolton Abbey the following day instead.  Which meant I had the day to myself, shopping in Harrogate.  They had some great charity shops and an even better button shop...
How about this for a selection of buttons ...

I spent a small fortune,  for which I hold Betty wholly responsible. Even though I was on my own, being a right Billy-No-Mates didn't stop me going to Betty's (no relation) for afternoon tea.

I asked for a pot of tea and one lemon macaroon, but they don't sell them individually, you have to have a selection.  The girl assured me they were very small, but she did give me a bag to take the others home in if I really couldn't manage them.

Oh, in case you're wondering, I folded the empty bag up and hid it under the empty plate.  They WERE only small.
The next day I went off to Bolton Abbey, as re-arranged.  Betty rang en route to suggest that we meet at a village called Burnsall for lunch, and then walk it off in Bolton Abbey afterwards.  She told me to look out for the Red Lion pub.  So I did, and I found it and I parked in it's expansive car park.  And waited.  Then waited a bit longer.  After 45 minutes and two answered texts I was getting a bit concerned.  It should only have taken her 5 or 10 minutes from when she rang.  Fearing the worst,  I pictured a scene of carnage, with Betty being cut out of her upturned Mini , surrounded by paramedics.  I left my car, intending to walk up the road and stop a passer by to see if there had been a problem on the road - and just as I did who should stroll into the car park but a completely unharmed Betty.  Turned out she had been sitting for 45 minutes in another car park.  I think we need to make better plans.
Anyway, we had a bit of a walk around Burnsall, then a very pleasant lunch at the Red Lion, after which we drove to Bolton Abbey

and had a longer walk there,  including across the Stepping Stones.  Or at least I did, Betty declined as apparently every time she's done it in the past she's ended up falling in.  Now do you see why I was concerned about her earlier?

I don't usually include photos of me, but I look deceptively skinny in this one.  Must make a point of only having my picture taken from a distance, in the middle of a wide river.
On the Thursday I went out for a drive with Linda and Mark, and I managed to talk sis into sitting in this chair.  Not sure she would have agreed if she'd properly read the sign behind it, and realised how I was going to crop it ...

On Friday my brother in law talked us into walking up Buckden Pike, behind the cottage.  It did LOOK steep, and the book SAID it was a strenuous climb, so we should have known, but we still weren't quite prepared for HOW steep.  To give you some idea, there were a couple of RAF jets whizzing back and forwards on low level flying manoeuvres in the valley, and at one stage we were looking down on them. Anyway, we got to the top and at 702m it's just a bit higher than Pen-y-ghent, which at 694m is one of the three climbs in the "Three Peaks Challenge" - so we were quite inpressed with ourselves. 
With hindsight, we probably should have taken a better lunch than the three apples I put in Mark's rucksack. Good job we found a tea shop in the village when we got back.

It was a lovely holiday, with lots of laughs, and great weather. 
Certainly beats sitting at an airport waiting for the volcanic ash to settle.
Stopped off in Kettlewell on the way home, so I could pose on the "Calendar Girls" bridge.  With my top on.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Busy Doing Nothing

It was off to Baldock for City and Guilds on Wednesday.  I only have two classes left, and can't believe how quickly the last two years have gone.  It's round about now that I begin to wish I had done my homework as I went along.  Still, I've finished all my samples and experimental pieces, and two main projects, and I've ALMOST finished the third, which means just one more project to go.  I was going to include photos of my latest offering,  but the photos didn't look too clever, so I'll wait until its completely finished and try again.  Instead, for a bit of visual distraction, I'll include pictures of Days, the very nice bakers in Baldock High Street -  they always have beautiful window displays.

Every week, at lunch time, we go out to get a sandwich, and say that we're definitely not having a cake.  But, it's a girl's perogative, and all that........

Yesterday I walked across the fields, and saw lots of bunnies and blossom ......
You'll have to take my word for the bunnies - they were too fast for me.
I was on my way to Val's to meet up with her and Lucy for a spot of knitting.  Well, I say knitting.
We chatted for a while, then we had quite a bit of 'diary discussion' planning various future events.  Val and I booked tickets for a comedy night, and also for one day of the Hop Farm Festival (I just love their website) to see Dylan, Ray Davies, Pete Docherty - who apparently has taken to turning up for some of his gigs these days - and Seasick Steve to name but a few. Having sorted that out, we then moved on to the purpose of our meeting.  I managed precisely three rows of a sock, before we stopped for lunch.  Oh, and a bottle or so of wine.
We didn't go back to knitting.
Then Book Club in the evening - with one or two politely raised eyebrows because I'd read the book for a change. We spent about five minutes discussing the book (well those virtuous few of us that had actually finished it), and then we moved on to more interesting topics.  And another couple of glasses of wine.

Today has been much the same, although without the wine. I've have spent all day doing anything to avoid what I really should be doing.  If ever I am canonized (unlikely, because I had to carry out a number of google searches in order to ascertain the correct term for being 'sainted'),  I wish to become the Patron Saint of Displacement Activities. Instead of packing - the one thing guaranteed to make me 'stressed' - I have done anything but. I had an unnecessary trip into town, went to the Library, and visited all of Hertford's charity shops.  I've cut the grass, and generally pottered in the garden, I've resited compost bins, repotted plants. I've flicked through the Country Living magazine, made about fifteen cups of tea, numerous phone calls, sent emails, checked websites.  And written this.  All in an effort to put off what is going to have to be done. 
I'd better go and do it - otherwise I'm scared I might resort to cooking just to put it off a bit longer.  And that really would be a step too far.
Oh and I nearly forgot - include "slight doctoring of a magazine advert" in the list of displacement activities.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Ramble On ....

As I said before, either I'm busy doing loads of stuff and have no time to write about it, or I'm not doing much and that gives me plenty of time to post.  Consequently this will be a brief ramble, as I've not got much to say (although that doesn't seem to impede Dave, Gordon and Nick - ooops, sorry -  didn't mean to mention the election)
So, one of my most exciting bits of news is that we now have one of these in Hertford .....

Apparently it's been there nearly a month and I've only just discovered it. And, so far, I've only had a quarter (or the current Euro equivalent) of raspberry bonbons -which, in case you're interested, were blue ?!?!   As you may remember, I'm partial to old-style Confectioners, on account of my Granddad running sweetshops when I was young(er).  This shop is a particularly fine example, as, like Grandad's,  it has a low counter for the "kids' sweets".  I think, though, that I'd better warn my sister that the proprietor is unlikely to be as amenable as Pop, if she does her old trick and nips round the back to bite heads off the Jelly Babies. 

We had Hertford Music Festival in the town on Monday - pity the weather wasn't a bit better, I was frozen by the time I came away at 8pm, despite nipping into the White Hart between bands, but it was a really good day with lots of venues taking part,  and a really wide variety of music. I managed to take a picture of one band while the sun was shining - the Bob Villains (guess who THEY'RE a tribute to?)

Then my final bit of excitement for the week was discovering this set of Devonware in a charity shop this morning.  Ok, so I'm easily pleased.  One of the saucers is cracked, as is the handle of the teapot, and it came without a lid, but it's not like I'm going to be using it for the intended purpose, and it was under a fiver.  It would have been a lot more than that in the vintage shops in Rye. 
The bargain price kind of offsets my other purchase today.  Not from a charity shop, but from a new shoe shop in the town.  A pair of boots beckoned me in, and it's not like you see a beautiful pair of bottle green cowboy boots every day, is it?

On a final note, it was the funeral of my friend's aunt Nora yesterday.  She had reached the great age of 90 and was a wonderful lady who lived life to the full, and saw the best in everyone.  In one of the many tributes to her, she was quoted as saying that she wanted to be remembered as a practicing eccentric.  How brilliant is that - and now, after many years of wondering, I know EXACTLY what I want to be when I grow up.