A Day Out in Yorkshire

Today was Easter Monday, a bank holiday here in the UK, and Kevin and I decided we were going to Do Something today. We are forever telling ourselves that we will Go Somewhere, or See Something but don’t usually get round to it, but today was different and we enjoyed a fantastic trip out over the hill to Yorkshire.

The weather hasn’t been great for the past few days but – as the seasoned campers that we are always know – there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong coat and shoes. So we prepared for a typical British bank holiday day out and packed butties, crisps, a flask of tea, some waterproofs, hiking boots, sun lotion and money for an ice-cream and set off up the M62.

We didn’t encounter any rain at all, but it was a bit cold even when the sun did break out. We were heading for Rievaulx Abbey and Terrace which is about 16 miles out of Thirsk, near a little town called Helmsley. Now then, Kevin and I have already encountered Helmsley and it brought back some rather mixed emotions and memories being there again today. It was the place on our Coast to Coast bike ride 8 years ago where we found our morale at rock bottom and where we simply couldn’t go on with our ride, until we had a cup of tea and some meat and potato pie (I swear there were magic herbs in that cup of tea) and it restored us to the extent we were able to carry on and finish the ride to Scarborough.

I’m glad to say that today’s visit was infinitely more comfortable and happy for us, and it was a lovely drive from there up to Rievaulx Terrace.

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Our visit was very nearly spoiled by another family – why do parents these days seem to think that their little darlings have the right to shout and carry on disturbing the peace of others?? – but a muttered exclamation from me (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) and they soon realised that not everyone appreciates a 3 year old and a 6 year old “expressing themselves” at top volume in a peaceful garden. Isn’t it funny how the “look” I perfected with my own two children 20+ years ago works perfectly well on other people’s children now too?

Anyway. Rievaulx Terrace is a lovely place and well worth a visit. It is looked after by the National Trust and the staff there were very helpful and cheerfully welcoming.

We moved on from the terrace down to the abbey ruins at the bottom of the steep slope. You might not be able to see from the photos, but there is more or less a cliff edge separating the terrace from the abbey grounds. Too dangerous to walk down so we drove round instead.

Rievaulx Abbey was founded by Cistercian monks in the 12th Century, and over the next 400 years or so saw its fortunes rise, fall, rise and then completely fall again when Henry VIII got fed up with Rome. It is a beautiful place, and even though its many buildings are now in ruins, there is still a feeling of spirituality and peace there.

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And so to the journey home. Back through Helmsley and off towards Thirsk.

On the way up, we had driven up Sutton Bank, a notoriously steep part of the A170 where the road climbs at a rate of 25%. Caravans are banned from that that stretch – up AND down! – and I have to admit that our little car did struggle a little bit going up. We thought we would stop on the way back to check out the view from the top, which we did. The sheer drop of Sutton Bank was formed with the retreat of the last ice age, and you can see the flat bottom of the valley that was formed between the bank and what is now Thirsk on the horizon. Further in the distance there is a line of (black) hills, where the mighty Whernside and Ingleborough were also formed by the forces on the earth by the advancing then retreating glacier.

The view was magnificent, and no photograph of mine could ever do it justice, but here’s a couple of pictures I took from the top of Sutton Bank.

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You will notice that the sky was changeable to say the least. It’s one of the things I love about Yorkshire in general, the fact that the skies are so big and wide, and so changeable all the time. Beautiful and a fantastic reminder just how small we all are.

So, that was our day. A lovely day out in Yorkshire with a bit of history and geography thrown in for good measure. Well worth a visit and I would love to go back again. And again, to be honest. It’s a lovely place and it’s no wonder people refer to Yorkshire as “God’s own county”.





Musing Monday (7th October)

I’m linking up with another blog today. The original post is found by clicking the picture below. Why not have a go yourself?



Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…I’m in the mood for chatting so I’m answering them all!

Describe one of your reading habits.

I like to leave the ending of a book at a point where I can finish it all off in one go, usually before I go to sleep at night. It’s very rare that I finish a book during the day, even though I read pretty much any time, and it has been known that I will read until the early hours if it means leaving an unacceptably short bit of the book to read in the morning. I don’t know how I manage to do it, I guess it’s from years (and years) of practice!

Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).

“The Fellowship of the Ring”. Yes, yes I know I claim to be a book nerd but for some reason this one has slipped by me until now. I read The Hobbit about 30 years ago and loved it but never really fancied reading the Lord of the Rings. I was about to try it when they went and made a film of it, which put me off. I don’t like seeing films that I intend reading the book of and out of stubbornness I didn’t watch the film (still haven’t) and waited for the hype to die down to try the book again. And then they went and made the Hobbit. Oh well, I’d better get it read soon so I am up to speed with everyone else because no doubt the conversations will be turning to Middle Earth again soon.

What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 

I cannot wait for the next Bridget Jones installment to be published. The press have been publishing extracts recently but I don’t want to read any of them until I can read the whole thing all at the same time. I remember laughing hysterically at the first two – way before they were turned into films – and just can’t wait for the next one. As ever, my fear is that it won’t be up to the quality of the first two, but I’ll still be reading it!

Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.

clean cut book coverI recently bought “Clean Cut” by Lynda la Plante. It’s the third book in the Anna Travis series and I bought it because I loved the first two and wanted to carry on with it to see how the characters develop and if the author has kept up the pace and depth of great writing.  I have to say that after about 25% of the way in, I’m a bit disappointed to be honest. There doesn’t seem to be much of a plot yet and the characters are very one dimensional. I saw a review on Amazon that said that this book was very much “tell” and not much “show” and I have to agree. I just hope that it picks up soon or else I probably won’t be reading the rest of these. I’ve not read any Lynda la Plante before but I am guessing that they must be well received because they have been adapted for TV and she has a great reputation.


Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!

Something that annoys me about the industry is that some authors can make millions and squillions of dollars out of pretty mediocre work yet others can turn out real quality time after time without much recognition at all. I think it’s possibly because those who have a new idea but can’t write it up properly sell themselves out to Hollywood and their money is made on the back of hype and merchandise rather than talent and hard graft. J K Rowling, I’m aiming that comment at you! The first Harry Potter book blew me away – it was unique and refreshing and a totally new idea in the world of children’s literature. It was well written and was well followed up with the second. But by then, the hype machine began its work and Hollywood came sniffing round and what was a natural ending suddenly became a major blockbusting series of FILMS and the book quality dropped as quickly as a failed expelliamous spell.

septimus heap book coverBut here’s the thing, J K Rowling’s work wasn’t new and unique and refreshing at all. I have read a series of books about a character called Septimus Heap by Angie Sage that is far superior to the Harry Potter books both in terms of plot and characterisation and yet they haven’t had a fraction of the exposure JKR and HP have had.

spooks apprenticeAnother example is the “Spooks” series by Joseph Delaney. What a cracking series! The central character is Tom, apprenticed to a Spook, and together they fight the forces of darkness. Really imaginative, identifiable historical characters and locations, well written, full of meaty substantial plots and would lend themselves completely to the big screen. But I would hate to see the books suffer as a consequence of putting them on the silver screen until the author has definitely finished with them. JKR made a big mistake by writing the 3rd to the 7th book purely for the screenwriters and not her readers, but financially she’s not made a mistake at all. I suppose my rant is against the authors who put making money above keeping their readers satisfied, and the industry that encourages that sort of thing.






Sunday Stealing – The Wish List Meme, Part 2

Here it is, the long awaited part 2 of the The Wish List. For part 1, click here. Why not give it a go yourself? Send me a link to your answers if you wish to steal from me. After all, it’s in the spirit of the meme that we steal from each other so go for it!


26.) If you had to order from a kid’s menu, what would you get? 

Fish fingers

27.) Do you speak any other languages?

I can get by to order food and find my way about in France, but I wouldn’t profess to be a “speaker”.

28.) Do you use Twitter? 

Occasionally. My WordPress posts are notified on there and I sometimes like to follow hashtags when we’re watching something on TV like the final of X Factor or something.

29.) Do you go onto YouTube? 

Yes. I get a bit of music ideas from there, especially to accompany my prayers in church and for some praise music too.

30.) Do you play Angry Birds? 

I used to but I got to the point where I couldn’t go any further and gave up.

31.) Do you like theme parties? 

I don’t mind them, depends on the theme!

32.) Do you like current cartoons? 

They seem to be incredibly dumbed down to the point of insulting, so no, I don’t. I remember when we were kids and we watched Scooby Doo there was an element of intelligence about it, whereas now the current ones are banal and so one dimensional they are just pap and aren’t worth watching. Things like Spongebob annoy me too, so again, no, I don’t like current cartoons. I love old ones though – give me Tom and Jerry any day!

tom and jerry

33.) Have you ever cried because you were so happy? 

Absolutely. Who hasn’t?!

34.) Who would you like to see in concert? 

I’d love to see Big Bad Voodoo Daddy in concert, but I’d want to get up on the stage and jam it up with the trumpet player!

35.) Can you swim well? 

I can swim well enough to save my life. I enjoy swimming lengths and can go for hours and hours but I can’t swim the front crawl with my face in the water so you decide, is that well enough to be considered a good swimmer?

36.) Ever won a contest? 

Yes – I’ve won solo prizes as a youngster and have won many contests with various bands over the years. My favourite was winning the National Finals in 2007 and we were promoted up a section. Happy days.

37.) Ever won a giveaway? 

Not that I can think of.

38.) Do you get a full 8 hours of sleep every night? 

Not nearly! I usually manage to sleep in 2 or 4 hour cycles before I wake up. Occasionally I sleep through but it’s not often.

39.) What tea do you like? 

Good old Tetley tea. Milk and half a sugar please.

tetley tea folk

40.) What mixed drink do you like? 

I like mixing fruit juice with a shot of vodka and topped up with soda water. This afternoon I had a cranberry and raspberry juice that way and it was refreshing and relaxing all at the same time. Nice!

41.) Do you shop at Walmart? 

We don’t have Walmart in the UK. I shop at Asda though, which is a sister company.

42.) Do you shop at Target? 

We don’t have that here either.

43.) What do you order at your local coffee shop? 

If I have a shop-bought coffee I’ll either have it just as coffee or as a treat now and again I’ll have a cappuccino.

44.) Do you drink bottled or tap water? 

Both. Lots of tap water but sometimes buy a bottle if I’m out and about. Also keep topped up bottles of tap water in the car too.

45.) Do you like homemade meals? 

That’s my preference but I can’t always do it so we eat out of the freezer or get by with beefed up snacks. Not the healthiest but it’s all we can manage at the moment!

46.) Do you like homemade baked goods? 

Absolutely, who doesn’t??!

47.) Do you shop online? 

I do.

48.) Name 3 stores online stores you would like to shop at: 

Amazon, eBay, Asda

49.) What holiday don’t you like? 

This would mean something different to UK people because “holidays” are what we do in the summer when we either fly off to the sun somewhere or head out with our tents and camp it up in Great Britain. I am guessing that the question is asking about Halloween, or Valentines or something? If so, then I don’t like any of the over-commercialised ones. Oh hang on, that’s most of them isn’t it?!

50.) What do you eat more when you’re sick? 

Probably I eat more soup. And toast. Can’t beat toast when you’re ill.


Blog-hop, Share Your World

Share Your World – 2013 Week 16

This is a new meme for me, and I’m joining in for the first time. Thank you Retired Ruth for the heads up on this!!

The way it works is Cee will post new questions each week and you answer them on your own blog, linking back to her and her other readers. Click on the badge to the side here and you will be taken to her page for this week. Come and join in!

share-your-world2Are you awake before dawn?  Or are you awake before noon?

I am sometimes awake all night, so technically yes I’m awake before dawn. If I do stay awake all night and am awake as daylight breaks I usually fall asleep shortly afterwards and then wake up groggy a couple of hours later and drag myself towards noon. I feel at my best when I wake up naturally early, and at this time of the year I love that golden sunlight we see around 5/5.30am. It makes me want to make the most of the day ahead and it’s a great feeling.

Are you usually late, early, or right on time?

I detest being late, and being right on time is stressful to me because it has the potential to make me late so I try to be early for everything. My husband, however, believes that the car is a time machine and we don’t have to leave the house until a minute or so before we are due to arrive somewhere. It’s a constant source of tension between us but after nearly 22 years of being married to him he hasn’t sussed out yet that when I’m in charge of timings, I deliberately tell him the wrong time we have to be there mwahahaahahahaaaa!

For your potato chips do you prefer ridged or flat ones?

Ridged ones hold their flavour better than flat ones but they tend to be thicker, which hurts my mouth if I’m not careful so I tend to go for flat ones.

If you could inherit a vacation home anywhere in the world in which you could spend two months a year, where would it be?

I would choose somewhere remote, near a beach with crashing waves and plenty of rocks to go and explore. It could be absolutely anywhere in the world so long as there was plenty of sky, sea, wind and nature. The Shetlands or Anglesey would be nice, but so too would be Maine or Massachusetts or anywhere in New Zealand. I would use the time to write, paint, walk, dream, meditate, relax and refresh.


rugged coastline


My Autumnal Top 10

Thank you to Beth at A Work In Progress for this idea. If you want to join in with her meme please click the button below and link up to her there.

My Autumnal Top 10

1. Smells: I love the way the air changes smell with the onset of Autumn. I love the way the woods smell dank and earthy, and as the falling leaves pile up the air is caught up with the smell of bonfires from time to time. The earthy smell reminds me of my place in the natural world.

2. Colours: I love watching the colours change in the trees. They always change at different rates – even on the same tree! – and there is such a spectrum of autumnal colour to look at and enjoy.

3. Feelings: I love the feeling of cosy-ness when the rain lashes against the window pane and we’re snuggled up warm and content inside. The feeling of security and love inside whilst nature does her best to get on with it outside is wonderful.

4. Fresh Start: I know Autumn comes in the middle of the year, but to me that sense of a fresh start comes from my school days. A new term, a new year group, a new classroom, a new teacher, new uniform, new shoes, new school at the age of 11, new books, new targets, new goals, new subjects, new friends…the list goes on really. Even now as an adult I love that feeling after the summer holidays have finished that it’s time to start again with a clean slate.

5. Food: With the onset of Autumn comes the onset in a change of menu! Out go the cold salads and in come the warming root vegetables. Soups, stews, roasts and casseroles are all back on the menu again. Bacon and lentil soup on a Saturday afternoon with freshly made bread; slow roasted sweet potatoes with lashings of butter and pepper; roast parsnips; mashed carrot and swede; hot spiced apple cider…. oh I’m hungry now!

6. Harvest: It’s something that has been forgotten about in recent years, but the harvest festival at school and in church when we were kids was a highlight of Autumn for me. We make a passing reference to it nowadays, and our church make it an occasion to made a mass donation of food to the Booth Centre at Manchester Cathedral, but it’s not the same. We used to make a procession of our giving and laid it all out as a display when we were children. Baskets were decorated, corn dollies were made and there was usually a salt-dough wheatsheaf taking pride of place in the centre of the display. We made a real show of thanking God for our produce, and we acknowledged the hard work of our farmers to grow our vegetables, fruit, wheat, meat, milk etc. Every church celebrated harvest at the same time, and generally, school celebrated it all in the same week. It seems to have become yet another moveable feast now though and has been sanitised to become a politically correct excuse to apologise to the homeless. Maybe the renewed interest in homegrown veg and organic farming may see a change in our attitude towards harvest and maybe one day it truly will become a festival again.

7. Remembrance Sunday: This is technically at the change of Autumn to Winter, but this another highlight of the season for me. My attitude towards it was formed in childhood (as most things are!) and as a bandsman from the age of 7, I have always been involved in celebrating Remembrance Sunday in cenotaphs and in churches all over the place. Like Harvest, attitudes have changed in recent years and I’m not sure I like the way it is now viewed. I think possibly because when I was a child, most of the attendees at acts of Remembrance were ex-servicemen and we were joining them in remembering their fallen comrades from the Second World War. 30 odd years later, most of those servicemen are now no longer with us, and there is a trend to “remember” those who are currently serving in our armed forces overseas instead. And it is a trend, a fashion almost. As is calling our armed forces the “military” as they do in the USA. Don’t get me started on that…

8. Bonfire Night: At the risk of harping on about the “good old days” as I’m starting to do in this post, I will say that modern bonfire nights are not the same as they used to be! I know, I know, I know…I’m starting to sound like an old dear, but bear with me. The best part of bonfire night is the excitement, and as children “excitement” roughly equates to “danger”. Modern day bonfire nights have been health and saftey-d to death and most of the danger excitement has been erased – fireworks are so tame they could be let off indoors now! Nowadays, as with my first point above, it’s the smell of bonfire night that I like most of all. The smoky air, the sulphur aftertaste of exploded fireworks, the heated dankness of the earth under fires, the smell of recently made treacle toffee, the bacon and lentil soup simmering on the stove….ah! Remember, remember the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason and plot!!

9. Temperature: As an – ahem – “larger” lady, I don’t particularly like warm weather and I don’t really like being out in the sun. Don’t get me wrong, I love good weather, but there’s something about Autumnal sunshine that is pleasant but doesn’t carry that extra factor of heat, if you pardon the pun. I like it cooler.

10: Clocks: I absolutely LOVE the day the clocks go back. That extra hour in bed is wonderful, but more than that, the quality of early mornings is changed. We see early morning mists; the light quality is different; there is a chill in the air as we go to school and work; there is a freshness to the atmosphere; the sunrise has only just happened and the birds are still flexing their sleepy beaks. It’s FABULOUS!

Well, that’s my Autumnal Top Ten. I hope you have enjoyed reading my list and have identified with some of my “likes”. Why not do your own list? Click on the button at the top of this post and join in with Beth. She would love you to hop over and have a look!



Tuesday Train

All aboard!!





This is my first time hopping on the Tuesday Train, so please be gentle with me!

If you want to blog-hop with me click on the train picture above and follow the instructions. It’s not difficult, come on, give it a go 🙂