Blog-hop

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”.

 

 

 

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General/Journal

Stamford Military Hospital/Dunham Massey


We had a trip out today (it has been Easter Bank Holiday Monday here in the UK) and we visited the stately home and deer park at Dunham Massey, which is owned by the National Trust. We went because the weather was promising to be good (for once) and there was a display that I was particularly keen on seeing.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, the House has been turned into a museum. It was a military hospital during the conflict, run and staffed by Lady Grey, the widow of the 9th Earl of Stamford whose family had owned the property for hundreds of years previously.

It was fascinating to see just how stately homes such as these were turned into military hospitals at the time and to see what kind of medical treatment was actually available then. As you may know, I’m studying the history of medicine and society for an Open University module towards my degree, and as military medicine is a part of that study, to actually see it laid out before me helped me make sense of what I have been reading about recently.

As today was a public holiday there were also some “living history” actors performing in the museum, which I thought was fantastic. They helped bring the human side of the story to life, and the “nurses” also managed to portray what a change in the prospects of young women had been brought about because of the war.

Here are some photographs I took of the museum part of the day today. I will post some more of the rest of the house another time.

Also known as the "agony trolley", the men used to get anxious when it was time for the dressing trolley to do its rounds. Understandable when you think that this was in the days before antibiotics and wounds would have been putrid with infection without the agonising cleansing they received
Also known as the “agony trolley”, the men used to get anxious when it was time for the dressing trolley to do its rounds. Understandable when you think that this was in the days before antibiotics and wounds would have been putrid with infection without the agonising cleansing they received
A jar of anti-parasitic powder for military use.
A jar of anti-parasitic powder for military use.
Fascinating insight into the tools of the nursing trade here. The feeding cup on the right shows how invalids would have drank their tea or soup, and the inhaling bottle on the left is an ingenious contraption to help patients with breathing difficulties breathe easier.
Fascinating insight into the tools of the nursing trade here. The feeding cup on the right shows how invalids would have drank their tea or soup, and the inhaling bottle on the left is an ingenious contraption to help patients with breathing difficulties breathe easier.
The rules of the Stamford Hospital. Note that the patients were expected to assist the nursing staff with other patients, and that each day prayers were said at a set time.
The rules of the Stamford Hospital. Note that the patients were expected to assist the nursing staff with other patients, and that each day prayers were said at a set time.
A view of the arrangement of beds in the ward. This would have been one of the family's function rooms when the house was not being used as a hospital, and I counted 16 beds arranged round the room and in the window bay. Can you imagine what it would have been like to have had all those patients crying out in pain or with shell-shock in the night and being so close together?
A view of the arrangement of beds in the ward. This would have been one of the family’s function rooms when the house was not being used as a hospital, and I counted 16 beds arranged round the room and in the window bay. Can you imagine what it would have been like to have had all those patients crying out in pain or with shell-shock in the night and being so close together?
Detail from the inhaling bottle.
Detail from the inhaling bottle.
One of the living history actors. Here the nurse is hand-rolling bandages for future use. They would  have been delivered by the Red Cross in huge long lengths and one of the nurse's jobs was to shorten them and make them ready for use on the patients.
One of the living history actors. Here the nurse is hand-rolling bandages for future use. They would have been delivered by the Red Cross in huge long lengths and one of the nurse’s jobs was to shorten them and make them ready for use on the patients.
A view of the operating "room". Actually, the space where this young man was having open brain surgery was in the gap at the bottom of the stairwell. There was a small room to the side with a sink where the surgeon would have washed his hands but that was it as far as infection control went here. It was basically in a corridor between to rooms and at the bottom of the stairs where anyone (and everyone) could see. No dignity here!
A view of the operating “room”. Actually, the space where this young man was having open brain surgery was in the gap at the bottom of the stairwell. There was a small room to the side with a sink where the surgeon would have washed his hands but that was it as far as infection control went here. It was basically in a corridor between to rooms and at the bottom of the stairs where anyone (and everyone) could see. No dignity here!
A typical patient record at the end of the bed. This poor chap had trench-foot in his right foot. You can't see here in the photograph but he had a nasty infection too because his temperature was all over the place.
A typical patient record at the end of the bed. This poor chap had trench-foot in his right foot. You can’t see here in the photograph but he had a nasty infection too because his temperature was all over the place.
This contraption was set up at the end of a bed to feed an antiseptic solution into a wounded leg. It would have been painful and extremely restrictive for the patient to have been treated with this, but as it was the only way to keep the wound free from infection there was no choice about having it done. Horrible.
This contraption was set up at the end of a bed to feed an antiseptic solution into a wounded leg. It would have been painful and extremely restrictive for the patient to have been treated with this, but as it was the only way to keep the wound free from infection there was no choice about having it done. Horrible.
Another view of the operating room. You can see the doorway to the next room in the background, and the small tray of sterilised instruments to the assistant's side.
Another view of the operating room. You can see the doorway to the next room in the background, and the small tray of sterilised instruments to the assistant’s side.
A typical supply cupboard on the ward. There were two of these in the museum with medical supplies in - you can see bandages, cups, linament and bottles for the male patients to urinate into. The other one had blankets and linen in it.
A typical supply cupboard on the ward. There were two of these in the museum with medical supplies in – you can see bandages, cups, linament and bedpans etc The other one had blankets and linen in it.

 

I found the visit really useful for my studies, and it brought it a lot closer to home, making me realise that this was literally only a hundred years ago. The set-up at Dunham Massey and the Stamford Military Hospital was typical of what would have been replicated in stately homes all over the country for young men recouperating and healing after horrific injuries in the war. I hadn’t realised that military hospitals like these were for a very select few – the ones who had a chance at being healed and cured, and who could withstand the 3 or 4 day journey from the front-line. Those who were considered too far injured weren’t even given the chance to get back home to hospitals such as these.

What amazed/surprised/astounded/disgusted me was that in many cases, once they were patched up here they were sent back to the front line to fight again.

The museum and the house were fascinating and I would heartily recommend you go and see for yourself if you can. The display is on til November I think, but if you’re studying A218 with the OU as I am, then try and go and see it before June 3rd. It is helpful revision!!

 

 

Family

Camping Day 2 – Photo of the Day


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Today’s photo is brought to you courtesy of the south bay in Scarborough. We had a lovely drive out to the seaside and after a lunch of fish and chips ( well it would be rude not to wouldn’t it?!) we went on a boat ride out into the open sea. Might have been a mistake that…. Anyway, we had a great day out and a fantastic drive back to the campsite. Yorkshire is looking resplendent and it really is a joy to be out and about enjoying is big open skies… Even though they are mostly filled with rain!! Back for a brew now and maybe a game of something before bed. No plans yet for tomorrow, but that’s the way we like it’