Yes, it’s been a while. Far too long. Well, we haven’t disappeared off the face of the earth since November, but we have been very busy. Hopefully, things are once again settled down.
It’s not just the blog that’s been neglected either. We just haven’t been out. Not even for a day trip.
Well, last weekend we put our foots (feet!) down and decided to have a couple of days off … hmm, and still I ended up working for half of Saturday and half of Sunday. Sacrilege! I didn’t give up the rat race to work at the weekend!
On Sunday morning we woke to snow. The poet knew I had work to do, so he ummed and ahhed about maybe mucking out the chickens. We had to go out for milk, and we wanted to go before the snow got very bad.
And so I suggested we grab his camera and his new video camera and take some pictures of the snow while it was here. The video camera was a Christmas present and he’d not really had much chance to give it a try.
We went to Langsett Reservoir, a favourite haunt and one that looks lovely in the snow. We didn’t walk all the way around it. We didn’t really have the time, we had to go and get the milk, and I had to get back and do a little work at least. So we parked in the barn car park and walked across the dam head.
The poet took some scenic video images, then he set up the tripod at the opposite end of the dam. There were road works in the middle of the dam, so the road was closed to traffic.
Rufus thought it was bostin (boss-tin – Brummie for “a bit good, like”) as he was allowed off his lead. He had lots of fun galloping up and down.
We had a few funny attempts at a team photo. The poet had left his remote control behind and the timer was somehow set to 2 seconds. He worked it out in the end, though, but we had so many goes at it I think you can see in our faces which number shot this one was!
It was as cold as it looks, and so we didn’t stay for very long. Just long enough to get some reasonable footage and a couple of shots.
Back home, the poet edited the video film, and he made quite a good job of it too. It looks just like the old cine film people used to take in the 1970s, but a bit more modern.
A long time ago – well, it was August – we went to Mabelthorpe on the east coast. It’s a place I’d never been before and one to where the poet had long promised to take me. And so, one breezy Saturday, we headed over there so he could at last say we’d been.
I can’t remember much about the day now, other than it was warm enough to eat our picnic outside on a bench. Oh yes, and we looked all over for a letterbox and the only one we found didn’t seem to be in use any more.
He took a few pictures, though. So here, for your enjoyment, is a small and colourful selection:
I wasn’t sure what to call this one. It wasn’t really a “day out”, but nor was it a “holiday” or a “walk”. It could be classed as an “event”, but as I’m not really reviewing the event, I thought that would a bit of a misnomer too. So I called it a “day out”, even though it was really almost two days out.
We did have a house/pet sitter booked, but at the last minute we decided to take the dog with us and ask the farmer next door to see to the chickens. The cats are fine for just one night. They have and use the cat-flap and we were able to feed them (and the chickens) before we left.
Fortunately for us we were staying at the Grand Hotel, which is very pet-friendly. It only cost us an extra tenner to take the dog, and we were even allowed to leave him in the room while we had our breakfast the following morning.
Our room at the Grand was up on the fifth floor in what they call “the circle”. I’d seen some pretty dire reviews of this wonderful old building, but we didn’t have any complaints whatsoever, other than it was a bit warm in the room. But on the hottest weekend of the year so far, that wasn’t a huge problem, and anyway, the Grand has windows that even open and everything.
We also have a picture of the view from our room, but I think it’s still on the poet’s phone … if he sends it to me, I can add that here …
For tea we dropped down into Scarborough, parked on the quay, and found cheese burgers and chips.
While we were at the show, we hired a pet-sitter, Pet Assist, a lovely couple who were happy to take Rufus at short notice. We dropped him off at teatime, and they said they’d be back at the hotel when we got back from the concert.
It took a while for them to find our tickets at the box office, but it was okay, they found them eventually. The show was supposed to start at 7pm but we got in at 7:10pm and there was hardly anyone there.
The support band was the Slow Readers Club. They were okay, but we were a bit concerned that we couldn’t see a keyboard player yet keyboards featured on almost every song …
We went for an ice-cream, but before we knew it, the main event was on. So we dashed over to see the Charlatans, and we had quite a good view.
We thought the large screen was great, though. And I thought that Tim Burgess had a lovely smile when he was singing.
Of course, we couldn’t go all that way to a Charlatans gig without bumping into an old friend of the poet’s. These two have known each other for a long time, since they worked together.
The friend and his wife have been married for only a little while longer than us and it’s always nice to see them. They live a bit further south to us, but they try to come to Monkey Dust gigs when they can too.
There followed much drinking, singing, dancing and general merriment, and we even grabbed an unsuspecting bystander to take a team photo – she did a good job!
We had a lovely time, and the dog was pleased to see us when we got back to the hotel – not too late for the dog-sitter, we hoped! The following morning, we had a hearty breakfast, packed the car (which was in the multi-storey car park), and had a walk along the front. It was very hot, though, so I stayed in the shade while the poet did our shopping, and then we headed home.
We were back by lunchtime, but what a lovely time we had.
On Sunday 30 April 2017, the Tour de Yorkshire came through our village. Well, I say village, but we’re actually in between two villages. Both villages had decked themselves out with bunting, banners and bikes, all in blue and yellow.
At the same time, a number of amateur events were taking place with cyclists raising money for charity and having the chance to cycle the route before the professionals came through.
Earlier in the day we took the dog for a walk, and we saw some of those amateurs pass by. “We’re not the main event!” shouted the leader. But they all smiled for the camera anyway.
We got back from our walk in good time to grab some refreshment, do some work around the garden, and then give the dog a treat – another walk on the same day, this time to the end of our driveway.
One of the stewards drove ahead of the race to let us know roughly what time they’d be coming through. She also said the first we’d see would be the team cars and motorbikes, and the police making sure the road ahead was clear.
They were due to come by at about 4:15pm and we’d set it to record on the telly before setting out. But they were quite a few minutes later than that – we found out later there had been an accident three villages up and someone was being taken to hospital, but was fine.
Then the advance cavalcade started to come through.
We still had a good wait before the leading breakaway group came by. But the helicopter flying overhead gave us a clue when they were on their way.
The chopper hovered above us for quite some time as first the leaders and then the main group came through.
We waved and cheered, in case they caught us on the telly!
It seemed an age before the rest of the group started to come along, but it must only have been a matter of minutes. Still the helicopter hovered, still we waved our arms at it.
Then as the peloton passed us, we turned to wave at the motorbikes in the front with the television cameras. The poet had to take the camera off the tripod so he could follow them.
They whooshed by in a matter of seconds … and then they were gone (apart from a lone cyclist coming up the rear, but the camera buffer was already full by now), followed by numerous cars with spare bikes on the roofs.
The “crowds” started to disperse (we didn’t realise so many people lived in the area, although some had come on foot from elsewhere), and we headed home ourselves.
The first thing we did when we got in was skim through the recording on the telly, but just as they were reaching us, the channel skipped to a commercial break.
When they returned, it was just above us where the bikes were headed in that last picture.
So all that waving at the cameras had been for nothing! But we had fun anyway.
There are walks and bird hides and other places of interest and things to do and see. But, more importantly, it’s right off the M42 motorway, so when we’ve been to visit my parents, it’s easy enough to bob in and have a visit.
We had planned to do a walk around one of the lakes. It was a lovely day and the poet wanted to try out his new polarising filter.
So we made sure we got to my parents’ in good time to drop in on the way back home …
… but as we approached the roundabout leading to the park we had second thoughts. Everyone else, it seemed, had had the same idea, and the traffic was backed up a loooong way.
We had a picnic with us, though, and it was time for us to eat. So instead of going to the water park, we headed to the old village of Kingsbury, which is just around the back of the park.
There we found a church car park with a nice view, and we had our picnic. Then we put the dog’s lead on and explored the churchyard to see what else there was to see.
Well, imagine our pleasure when we realised that one of the footpaths led right into the back of the water park – and we didn’t have to pay a car park admission either! Result.
So we had a stroll along what looks like a new-ish trail beside the sand martin bank. This feature was only completed in February, in partnership with the Tame Valley Wetlands.The martins aren’t here yet, though. But we may drop in again when they’ve arrived.
Fortunately, not many people had the same ideas as us in approaching the park from this side, but we did catch up with the crowds when we decided against an ice-cream as the queue for the ice-cream-van was almost as long as the traffic queue into the park.
The poet exercised his camera muscles with a few scenic shots, and then we made our way over to a lake where there were jet-skis in action. Oh joy! Here was where he could try out his new filter.
Once he was happy with the day’s product, we went back to the car and headed home.
It was very sunny and this new trail has very little shade. It will probably get very hot – and very busy – in the summer months. Maybe next time we’ll get there a little earlier, but at least we know where to park if we bump into traffic again.
The Cribs were formed in Wakefield in 2002 by three brothers: twins Ryan and Gary Jarman on guitar and bass, and younger brother Ross on drums.
To celebrate their award-winning achievements, a small display has been set-up at the library in Wakefield.
There are three display units containing the bands’ instruments and memorabilia, some of which will be left with the library at the end of the display.
Drummer Ross Jarman unveiled the display on Tuesday 14 February in front of a small crowd, and he subsequently carried out interviews with the press before chatting with visitors who had come to see him.
You can find more photographs on Diane’s Gig List’s Facebook page, and this report also appears on Diane’s Gig List’s reviews page.
The exhibition runs until July 2017. Entry is free.
We were supposed to be going for a walk on New Year bank holiday Monday, only a short one, around 2½ miles. But there was a LOT of traffic on the way, with traffic on the A64 just starting to build up on the opposite side of the road to us.
By the time we got to Whitby, found a parking space in the marina car park, and then wasted 30 minutes or more queuing at the car park meter and then trying to get it to work, the light was already going. (The meter wasn’t letting anyone use their payment cards, including us, and we were going to pay by phone until a kind soul with a pocketful of change came to our rescue with five pound coins in exchange for a fiver.)
When we started out, it was a gloriously sunny day. By the time we arrived, we could see the rain clouds creeping in from the sea. And the town was already very, VERY busy. It was past lunchtime and I was starving.
So before we could even reach the start of our walk, we also had to eat – and the first restaurant is already half a mile from where we ended up parking.
Suitably sated, we strolled through the town to the beginning of our walk, the 199 steps up to the abbey. On the way the poet was able to try out his new camera and his new lens.
The dog was very well-behaved, considering the amount of pedestrians that were out in force. He was more than happy to let “all these people who had come to see him” fuss and stroke him. And he “helped” me up those 199 steps.
We posed on the first stage with the sea behind us while the poet took a picture (not here, but it will be on FB when his picture is ready too), and I had to keep the dog on a tight lead in case he fell to the ground beneath us – it must be a fifteen-foot drop from that first “landing”.
At the top we had a breather while the poet wandered around taking more pictures. Then we made an attempt on the rest of the 2½-mile walk, having already completed a mile before we started.
The guide book we have is an older one and when we couldn’t find the path alongside the “last farm building on the left” to the Cleveland Way, we changed tack anyway. (The path that is indeed alongside the “last farm building on the left” has a shiny new “private” sign on it, so we’ll take a look at the OS map and see if it’s still a right of way before attempting it again.)
Because the clouds were rolling in now with a vengeance, we knew there wouldn’t be very much more “good” light for the photography. Plus, the traffic jam had meant that we were, and would continue to be if it was the same on the way home, a long time away from the house.
We wanted to get back to the chickens before the fox got there, and while they’re very good now at taking themselves to bed once it’s turned dark, we still need to close the door to keep the fox out.
So at the English Heritage car park for the abbey, we decided to head back to the car via Caedmon’s Trod. This is an easier staircase and it meant we wouldn’t be re-tracing to many steps.
I felt a bit over-dressed in all my walking gear and with a rucksack containing water for us and the dog if all we were doing was a short town walk. But at least we were warm.
As we walked around the other side of the abbey, the clouds did indeed pile in around us, and all of a sudden it was as dark as night. The banner picture below was taken seconds before the picture on the left.
The English Heritage visitor centre was closed yet the abbey grounds were packed – English Heritage missed a trick there, although I’ve heard of other English Heritage properties that were closed despite being advertised as open over the New Year weekend. (Whitby Abbey wasn’t advertised as being open, by the way, but other closed properties apparently were.)
The first part of Caedmon’s Trod from above is just a footpath, but it does join the steps before coming out in the town. There are some horses in a field halfway down, but the light had already gone for pictures of these to be any good.
On our way home we headed via Thirsk as the A64 was still very blocked, and there had been an accident on the A1(M). It took just as long to get home as it did to get there – but the chickens were fine. Next time we go we’ll leave the house even earlier in a bit to avoid this common problem. And next time, it will be the walk.
And there were lights everywhere – on the lampposts, around the stalls, even for sale on the stalls.
Several stalls were selling Christmas decorations. Some of these were baubles and tree ornaments, some were tea- and night-lights, and some were just traditional wooden toys and ornaments.
The Nutcracker is my favourite ballet, so it was nice to see some wooden nutcrackers there too. But we didn’t buy any.
It was already very busy, and we knew we were headed in the right direction as we fought through the crowds coming back from the market. (We’d taken the train in and parked the car at Barnsley Station.)
When we first arrived, it was still empty enough to relax, stroll around, take pictures. But by the time we’d had something to eat and done a couple of circuits – it wasn’t one of the biggest Christmas Markets – it was starting to get too crowded for stupid even.
One of the reasons for the trip was so that the poet could try out the new lens for his camera. He’s not snapped lights at night before, really. Or not since he’s been learning to be a “proppa snappa”. So these were his first.
He’s getting quite good at the bokeh, though – even if he does say so himself! This is where the foreground – or any part of the subject – is in focus but the background blurs. For those who want the scientific explanation, I think you can find it here.
The hot dog he bought was a bit big for just one of us, although I’m sure he would have managed it all had I wanted a whole one too.
But he put ketchup all over it, and then mustard on his (big) half. It was very nice, and just spicy enough.
Aside from the chocolate marshmallow on a stick (each), we also bought some fudge, some vanilla fudge for my dad (for being a big brave soldier and going to the hospital last week), and some clotted cream fudge with jelly babies for me (so that Dad didn’t have to share his).
We took the gingerbread heart home to have with a cup of tea later in the week.
Before we left he had one last practice with his camera, taking moving shots of the carousel and the other roundabouts. There isn’t room for all of the pictures here, though, so I saved a static of the carousel for the bottom.
We had such a good time, and the weather was very kind, so we’re thinking about going to another Christmas Market later in (what’s left of) the year. There’s one at York this weekend and there’s one at Sheffield at the end of the month. They’re all probably the same market, but it’s nice to see them in a different place, and Leeds, York and Sheffield are all close enough that the dog isn’t left on his own for too long at home.
And now he has a brand new camera as well (courtesy of his recently late father), he’ll want to be trying that out soon too. Plus, he has another new lens coming on Monday, so that will be another excursion.