Wednesday 30 June 2021

Matlock Bath

Last Wednesday, while Mick was still on holiday, we decided to head off to Matlock Bath in Derbyshire. We really like this quirky village which was one of the country's first tourist destinations.

We last visited Matlock Bath a couple of years ago and we retraced our steps along the pathway at the side of the River Derwent. This riverside path is known as Lover's Walks.

Again, we had lovely sunshine for our day out, we've been really spoilt with the weather each time Mick's taken time off this year. Both rowing boats and motor boats can be hired on the river and though we did consider taking a boat out, we decided against.

There are some beautiful places in Derbyshire and I feel a close connection with the county as my mum was born in Derby and generations of her ancestors were born and bred in various villages here.

After our walk along the river we had a look in some of the little shops which line the main street. There's quite a few which sell knick-knacks and touristy merchandise and though I never buy much from these type of places, I do enjoy looking around them.

On our way home we stopped off in Matlock, the county town of Derbyshire. It's not touristy like Matlock Bath is but we came across a small market so we had a bit of a mooch around.

Again, the River Derwent flows through the town.

It was a nice day out, made all the better by the lovely weather.

Saturday 26 June 2021


Mick's been on holiday this past week, we've had some lovely days out. We've been to the coast a few times just recently but with the weather being so nice again we decided another visit was in order. It's Scarborough we usually choose when visiting the seaside but this time we decided on Bridlington, or Brid as it's affectionately known, about eighteen miles south of Scarborough, so that was our destination on Tuesday.

A dog ban is in place on many beaches around the UK, they usually run from the 1st of May to the end of September, and Bridlington is no different. There's usually somewhere on the beach where dogs are allowed though and at Bridlington it's only the main section of the beach which is out of bounds to dogs. This is the south beach which runs right the way to Fraisthorpe and beyond. It was lovely and quiet, just a few dog walkers about.

Although it was sunny, there was a keen wind down on the beach. It wasn't a cold wind though. Just look at Archie's ears blowing in the breeze.

Mick seems to have had quite a bit of time off work just lately, he's been using up holidays that he carried over from last year's entitlement. He just never got round to taking much time off last year, for one thing we didn't go away anywhere on holiday, and another, he's just been so busy at work. It's been nice that he's been able to take all this time off when the weather's been so nice.

I've said before how much Archie loves the seaside. I think this photo demonstrates his absolute pleasure. He's getting an old boy now at eleven and he's slowing down a bit, but he can still act like a puppy at times.

Looking towards the town. There's been a lot of improvements made to Bridlington in recent years and the regeneration of various areas is still ongoing. The sky really was that blue, no adjustments have been made to these photos.

One of the Land Trains which run along the promenade stopping at various locations. It's a good way to get about if you don't want to walk but want to see all the sights.

We walked around the harbour. Although the fishing fleet has declined, Bridlington is the largest lobster port in the UK and is known for its shellfish. The harbour is also busy with sea anglers and pleasure cruises.

Wherever we visit on the coast, there's always seagulls waiting for someone to throw them a crumb or two.

Bridlington was the main holiday destination for my parents and brother and sister before I came along, they enjoyed many happy holidays there. In fact, I took my first steps in Bridlington. Here I am walking on the beach. I was born in 1968 so this will have been taken in 1969.

Another photo of me, this time with my sister. She was twelve years older than me.

Bridlington holds many happy memories for generations of people. Its first hotel opened in 1805 and people still flock there for their holidays today.

Tuesday 22 June 2021

Fly Away

It's a while ago now since Maggie from BlackCountry Wench blog sent me Fly Away by Kristin Hannah. She'd just finished reading it herself and thought that I might like it. She hadn't realised at the time that it was the sequel to another book, Firefly Lane, but she enjoyed it as a standalone book nevertheless. I decided that before I read Fly Away, I'd borrow Firefly Lane from the library and read that first but I had to order it and it's taken such a long time for my name to reach the front of the queue. It was worth the wait though.

"In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the social food-chain at school. Then, to her amazement, the 'coolest girl in the world' moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all - beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be, but they make a pact to be best friends forever: by summer's end they've become TullyandKate. Inseparable.

For thirty years Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship, jealousy, anger, hurt and resentment. Tully follows her ambition to find fame and success. Kate knows that all she wants is to fall in love and have a family but what she doesn't know is how being a wife and a mother will change her. They think they've survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart and puts their courage and lifelong friendship to the ultimate test."

I loved this book, it's such a rollercoaster ride of friendship and you're carried along with the story of TullyandKate.

When I finished Firefly Lane I wanted to know what happened next and so the very next book I reached for was Fly Away.

"Celebrity news reporter and presenter Tully Hart has hit rock bottom. Kate Ryan had been her best friend for more than thirty years. They'd  lived, laughed, danced and cried together. Kate had been her anchor, and now Tully was cast adrift - not knowing how she was going to survive.

Kate's daughter, Marah, was only sixteen years old when her mother died. Consumed with guilt over the fights they'd had during the last months of Kate's life, Marah runs away and drops out of society - even withdrawing all contact with her family.

Tully's mother, Cloud, a child of the Sixties, has lived in a world of her own, dependent on drugs for most of her adult life. She now wants to prove that she can help her daughter. But what will it take for Tully to forgive?

And then something momentous happens which causes each one of them to realise what they've done, and what they have become."

Another fabulous book which answers a lot of questions left hanging from the first book and ties up all the loose ends.

To be honest, I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy Fly Away when I started it, it just seemed different to Firefly Lane, the dynamics of it were different somehow but as the story unravelled I enjoyed it more and more. There's some great characters in the book, I didn't always like them, but by the end I understood them.

I'd definitely recommend both books. Read them in order, they're great stories.

I thought I'd just mention that Firefly Lane has been turned into a drama series on Netflix. After enjoying both these books I thought I'd give it a go. I managed to get half an hour in to the first episode before I turned it off, it was awful. Perhaps I should have watched longer, perhaps it would have got better, but after enjoying the books so much I just couldn't stand another minute longer. Have you watched the series? What did you think?

Friday 18 June 2021

Back To Fairburn Ings

We used to visit RSPB Fairburn Ings often when Daniel and Eleanor were small, they used to love feeding the ducks and it was the perfect place to take them where they were guaranteed to encounter some hungry birds. It's only about five miles away from where we live but we don't go so often these days so on Saturday we thought it was about time we paid another visit.

Unfortunately, we were a bit disappointed. Firstly, some of the pathways are one-way. I'm presuming that this is because of coronavirus restrictions, however, others are not, so what's the point? Secondly, we didn't even venture near the hides as they were choc-a-block with people. I'd have thought there'd have been a maximum number of people allowed in them at any one time at the moment with the times we find ourselves in. I may have had both my jabs now but I'm still taking precautions when I'm out and about and I wouldn't want to be in such close proximity to all those people.

The other thing I noticed was that various areas were blocked off, such as the pond dipping platform and the duck feeding platform, I'm not sure if this is down to coronavirus restrictions or something else, but there's no consistency when so many people are occupying the hides at one time.

So it turned out that we weren't to see any birds on our walk except for a crow and three ducks. Oh, there was a robin too which a crowd of people had gathered to see, all huddled together and blocking the path. There were quite a few damselflies about though, I had to be quick to get a photo as they don't hang around for long.

There were some lovely flowers to admire. 

I think the wildflowers have gone mad this year, perhaps it's down to all the rain we had in May.

There were probably some birds on this lake, though they were too far away for me to see.

Perhaps we'll leave it a while before we return, I'm not really in any hurry to visit again at the moment. We did have a good walk though and Archie was tired out when we got home, I think it was the distance we walked coupled with the heat, it was a scorcher.

Monday 14 June 2021

A Year Without My Dad

It's a year today since my dad died. It seems like only yesterday in some ways but then I think of everything that has happened since then and it seems a long time. It's funny how the same amount of time can seem to pass at different speeds.

My dad's death has been a different experience from my mum's, mainly because after my mum died I was still taking care of my dad and so I couldn't slow down, take it easy, or even grieve properly, and I think I've done some of my grieving for my mum as well as my dad in the past year. I miss them both so very much.

We'll visit the memorial garden at the crematorium today and take some flowers to lay at the memorial stone we have for my mum, dad and sister.

I'd like to buy a rose bush in his memory like I did for my mum but I've only just hit on the one I'd like so I shall be ordering it soon, I'll tell you more about it when it arrives. 

Wednesday 9 June 2021

The Yorkshire Dales

I've written about The Yorkshire Dales on my blog many times, it's a place we return to again and again as it's somewhere we love and it's close enough for a day trip. Mick took another day off work last Friday so as the nice weather was holding up we decided that a trip to The Dales was in order.

I never tire of scenery like this.

We started off in Leyburn where it was market day. Thankfully it wasn't very busy. It's not a huge market but there were a good mix of stalls.

Another place we often visit when we're in The Dales is the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes. We can't resist bringing some of their cheese home with us, I'm very partial to Wensleydale. It was much quieter than it usually is, but they do have a queueing system in operation if it does get busy.

My main draw to The Dales is the scenery. Everywhere is looking so lush at the moment after all the rain we had during May. 

There's lots of lambs in the fields just now but this sheep looked very fat as though she still had to give birth. I don't know very much about sheep but I thought they'd have all had their lambs by now. Perhaps I'm wrong.

It was a lovely day. I'm never disappointed with my choice of destination when I choose The Dales for an outing, it's one of my favourite places.

And if you were wondering, Mick chose Wensleydale and Fountains Gold in the creamery, and of course doubled up as Eleanor is a cheese lover too. Now that she's got her own house it's costing us a fortune!

Saturday 5 June 2021

Hardcastle Crags

With it being a bank holiday on Monday, Mick decided to tag a days holiday onto each end of the weekend. On the Friday we had a day out at Fraisthorpe and on Tuesday we decided to visit Hardcastle Crags. It wasn't the brightest idea really, not only was it one of the hottest days of the year but I've been suffering with sciatica and plantar fasciitis so I really didn't want to be walking far. Nevertheless, we did manage a walk.

Hardcastle Crags lies about two miles north of Hebden Bridge and ten miles west of Halifax. It's a wooded Pennine valley owned by the National Trust and there's over fifteen miles of footpaths to explore.

There's different walking trails, from gentle strolls to rugged hikes, and at this time of year the bluebells are covering the woodland floor.

It was a blisteringly hot day but the canopy of the trees kept us shaded, it was a welcome relief from the heat of the day.

There's wildlife to see along the way. This squirrel posed obligingly whilst I took his photo.

We passed sheep who seemed very interested in Archie, though he wasn't a bit interested in them! I felt very sorry for them in their woolly coats, they must have been red hot in the heat.

Archie found a way to cool off, he found a small spring so went for a paddle. He's feeling the heat at the moment too, he's ready to go to the groomers again, though it's not that long since he went last time. He's just so much more comfortable with a short coat during the summer months.

We could have stayed much longer had it not been for my painful back and foot but I'm sure we'll go back when I'm feeling more up to walking further.

Afterwards, we drove to Hebden Bridge where we ate our lunch.

I'd taken a salad with me but Mick bought a steak & ale pie from a local butchers. It was nice by the river.

It's really lovely to be getting out and about a bit now after all the time we've been under orders to stay at home. We're still being very careful when we're out and we're due to have our second vaccinations this afternoon. Let's hope that this is the first step to getting back to living normally again.

Tuesday 1 June 2021


Mick took a day off work on Friday and as some better weather had arrived we decided to head to the coast. We weren't bothered about the hustle and bustle of a seaside resort, just a nice beach where we could walk Archie so we thought that Fraisthorpe would fit the bill nicely.

Fraisthorpe is so convenient, this is the view from the car park. As you can see, the beach is a stones throw, literally, from where you park your car which means you don't have to carry picnics and other paraphernalia around with you.

How lovely is this. Just at the entrance to the beach is a box containing balls and other dog toys which you can borrow in memory of Fanny. Such a lovely thing. Thank you, Fanny, though Archie isn't one for chasing balls and toys, he much prefers spending his time in the many rock pools which can be found on this beach.

There's lots of concrete tank blocks and large rocks left on this beach and rock pools form around them, much to Archie's delight. He always makes a beeline straight for any standing water.

28000 pill boxes were built during WWII as a defence against German invasion, only 6000 remain today and along with the tank blocks, there are pill boxes on the beach too.

I always seem to find beach treasure wherever I go.

We stood for a while and watched the sand martins flying to and from their nests in the cliffs. I wasn't quick enough to get a photo of them, I definitely wouldn't make a nature photographer, I haven't got the patience.

Fraisthorpe is about four miles south of Bridlington, which you can just see in the distance in the photo above. You can see how quiet the beach was, most of the people there were walking dogs with just a few families with children. We'd have taken a walk along the beach into Bridlington but it's a bit far now for Archie.

This is a photo in the opposite direction. There wasn't any facilities at this beach when we first started coming here but there's now a dog friendly cafe and toilets. The car park is pay and display and at £1 for an hour, £3 for 3 hours or £5 all day, I think it's very reasonable. The cafe looks nice but as we always take a picnic with us we've never tried it but it's good that there's somewhere you can eat which is dog friendly after time spent on the beach. This beach is dog friendly all year round, whereas many beaches have restrictions in place during the summer months.

There may not have been many people enjoying the beach but the seagulls were having a paddle.

After a good walk we settled down in a couple of chairs like an old married couple. Oh, we are an old married couple. I took my lovely Moomins flask which was one of my gifts from Daniel and Jasmine for Christmas 2019, it hasn't had many outings since then as we haven't had that many trips out but hopefully, it will see some action this year.

Just time for Archie to have a play in the rock pools again before we head home. It was a lovely day, so much so that we returned again on Sunday with Eleanor and Jacob. I'm determined to make the most of the good weather while it lasts.