Thursday, 26 May 2022

Persuasion

Thank you to everyone who left such lovely comments on my last post, wishing us well with our house move. Everything went smoothly, apart from being kept hanging around waiting for our keys on the day, and though we're nowhere near straight yet as there's a few small jobs we want doing, we've settled in well. There's still lots of boxes hanging around but they'll get emptied eventually as we tackle each room. We're having new carpets fitted and we've got new furniture on order so it's pointless emptying all the boxes just to have to pack everything back up again when we're moving things around. We've got all our necessities to hand though.

I'm hoping to catch up on all your news very soon as I work my way around Blogland.

Anyway, on to this month's book.

Although I've seen a fair few Jane Austen adaptations, I've never read any of her books. I've had a couple bought for me so I thought I'd start with Persuasion.

"Persuasion concerns Anne Elliot, a young Englishwoman, whose family is moving to lower their expenses and get out of debt. They rent their home to an Admiral and his wife. The wife's brother has been engaged to Anne in 1806, and now they meet again, both single and unattached, after no contact in more than seven years. What occurs when they meet each other again is vividly captured in Jane Austen's last complete novel. Persuasion clears the path for many humorous encounters as well as a second, well-considered chance at love and marriage for Anne in her second 'bloom'.

Persuasion is the last novel fully completed by Jane Austen. It was published at the end of 1817, six months after her death."


I had no idea what Persuasion was about so I had no preconceptions whatsoever. I found the writing style quite hard going at first but I soon got used to it and thoroughly enjoyed the story. A will they - won't they love story. There are some great characters in this book and a number of unlikeable ones, but they certainly add to the story. This being the first Jane Austen novel I've read, I have nothing to compare it to, but I think it was definitely a good book of hers to start with.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Moving House

I'm going to be taking a short break from blogging as we're moving house this week. 

It's been on the cards for quite some time. The house went up for sale over three years ago but we took it off the market again when my mum died. Then we put it back up for sale and had to take it down again when my dad died. Then we got another sale and the housing market slowed down because of the pandemic and we just couldn't find a house we wanted to move to. Finally, something came on the market which we were interested in and we put in an offer in November but there was a problem at the top of the chain which has taken all this time to sort out. We've been living in a kind of limbo not wanting to do much to the house we're in now or spend money on it because we knew we'd be selling it at some point.

We've lived in our present home for over twenty eight years, we've spent most of our married life here, so it's going to be a big change for us. I'm happy to be moving but I'll be taking some happy memories with me, times we've spent in the house with loved ones who are no longer with us, and of course, bringing our new born babies home from the hospital to this house, and the memories of them growing up here.

The last few weeks have been a frenzy of packing boxes and all the admin associated with a house move, but we've still got lots to do and I know I'm going to be very busy when we get to the new house.

I'll be back when we get settled in.

Friday, 22 April 2022

Nineteen Eighty-Four

The phrase "Big Brother" or "Big Brother is Watching You" has become known because of the television programme of the same name, but it actually originates from George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, with its theme of continuous oppressive surveillance. This book isn't a genre that I would ordinarily choose to read but I was curious.

"George Orwell's terrifying vision of a totalitarian regime has become a touchstone for human freedom ever since its publication, and is one of the most widely read books in the world.

Ruled by the Party, controlled by the watchful gaze of Big Brother and punished by the Thought Police, no one is free in this dystopian world. But, hidden away in an office in the Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith longs for liberty, and starts to rebel."


I knew little about this book really. I had a vague idea of the theme but as it's a genre I wouldn't usually read, I wasn't sure it would be for me. The beginning was a little hard going, but I read on a little more and was surprised to find myself enjoying it. It has a well thought out plot and is well written, you find yourself rooting for Winston Smith and reading on because you want to know what happens. It's a book which certainly makes you think, especially in the world we're living in at present. Another one I'd recommend.

Monday, 18 April 2022

A Trio Of Blankets

Back in January, I did a post about Blankets From Stash. I'm on a mission this year to use up some of my yarn stash and as I have rather a large stash of leftover sock yarn, I decided that I'd crochet it up into blankets to give to charity.

I've lost my crafting mojo a bit this year, to say the least. I haven't picked up any knitting or cross stitch at all, but I do like something to do with my hands once I settle down for the evening to watch TV, so a bit of mindless crochet has fitted the bill well. I've been using two strands of fingering weight, or 4 Ply, sock yarn held together and have managed to make three blankets.

I've made no effort in colour matching, or using colours in any particular order, the aim has been to just use up as much of this leftover yarn as I can, but I love the marled effect which holding two strands of different coloured yarn gives.

They're all decent sized lap blankets which I had intended giving to charity, perhaps to a care home or something along those lines, but this commercial sock yarn feels quite rough to the touch in comparison with the hand-dyed merino yarn I often use for socks, I'm not sure it really fits the bill for a blanket you'd like to snuggle in, so I thought perhaps I could take them to the Dogs Trust. The yarn I've used is wool so the blankets will be nice and warm and I'm sure the doggies won't mind them not being quite as soft as I'd like.

So that's just about all the commercial sock yarn used up, next I'll be on with all the leftover Stylecraft Special DK, of which there's a fair bit. This is an acrylic yarn and though not quite as warm as wool, the blankets will be much softer and snuggly. It's good to be using up all the oddments of yarn I have left over after completing different projects.

Thursday, 14 April 2022

After The Daffodils

The first flowers I usually buy in the new near are daffodils but after the daffodils come tulips.

The daffodils are coming to an end now, the last ones I bought from the supermarket were a pale variety and quite disappointing to me when I love the bright yellow, 'in your face' ones. So now I'm filling my vases with tulips.

It's quite a decision when it comes to choosing the colour, there's so many beautiful jewel tones so I'm spoilt for choice. This week, this dark pink variety caught my eye.

I love to pop a bunch of flowers in the trolley when I'm doing my shopping. It really cheers me up to choose something beautiful to bring home with me, and it's nice to have some colour in the house too.

Sunday, 10 April 2022

Gentleman Jack

The last day of Mick's holiday from work was gorgeous, probably the hottest day of the week. We have some fabulous places to visit within Yorkshire, this day we stayed in our home county of West Yorkshire as we travelled to Halifax to Shibden Hall.

Shibden Hall was built around 1420 and the Lister family owned it from around 1615 to 1926. Anne Lister, 1791-1840, was known in Halifax as Gentleman Jack because of her masculine appearance and she became the owner of Shibden Hall after the death of her aunt.

Anne Lister was known as a well-off Yorkshire landowner as well as a traveller, mountaineer and diarist. Her diaries were detailed and exceeded four million words. She wrote about her life, including her financial concerns and her work improving Shibden Hall. A portion of the diaries were written in code and when deciphered in the 1930s, it was discovered that she'd written about her deepest emotions, her private affairs and relationships with a number of women.

Suranne Jones stars as Gentleman Jack in a programme of the same name which was broadcast in 2019. The series is based on the diaries of Anne Lister. I didn't realise at the time of our visit but a second series has been filmed and the first episode is due to be broadcast on TV tonight.

The hall is surrounded by beautifully restored gardens and estate that forms Shibden Park. It's a lovely place for a day out with the family as it has a number of attractions.

There's a woodland which Archie would ordinarily have enjoyed but it was such a warm day and the parkland is rather hilly so we didn't walk him too far.

The boats were still tied up, too early in the year to row on the lake, I don't think anyone was expecting such beautiful weather in March.

The cafe was doing a roaring trade. There were plenty of people out enjoying the sunshine.

Shibden Hall and Park is a lovely place for a day out with a bit of history thrown in too. One of these days I'll take a look inside the hall but it's always a bit difficult when we visit places such as this when Archie's with us.

Wednesday, 6 April 2022

Knaresborough

Another place we visited when Mick was on holiday was Knaresborough, a market and spa town in the borough of Harrogate, on the River Nidd. The town is famous for Mother Shipton's Cave & Petrifying Well and though we didn't visit these attractions that particular day, we have done before. You can read all about them in my Knaresborough And Mother Shipton post from back in 2011.

We only had two or three hours to spare on this particular day so we didn't want to travel too far. We thought Knaresborough, which takes less than half an hour by car, would fit the bill, especially as it was market day. We started off by the castle.

We didn't go in the castle, it was a beautiful day so we, like many others were doing that day, had a stroll around the grounds.

The castle is set overlooking the River Nidd. It's an iconic view with the viaduct straddling the river below.

Knaresborough's market is one of the oldest in the country and is held every Wednesday. 

The market is held in the centre of town and there's a good range of stalls.

There's plenty of independent shops to look round in the town too.

As I was walking up the street I saw a sheep hanging above a shop. I hoped it was a wool shop, and it was. Knitting Pretty is a little gem of a shop which stocks a good range of commercial yarn alongside some hand-dyed. 

I couldn't resist bringing a skein of George & Rose yarn home with me. This is the Woodland colourway, it's not showing very well in the photo but it's a green base with darker green and purple speckles, it's really pretty. The George & Rose yarn is hand dyed in Knaresborough so it's a nice memento of our day out.

I also treated myself to another classic to add to the bookshelf, Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Castlegate Books is a lovely bookshop right by the market. I like to support independent book stores where I can.

It would have been nice to take a walk by the river while we were there but we just didn't have time so we've promised ourselves that we'll return soon to do just that.

Saturday, 2 April 2022

Emmerdale Farm

After visiting Last Of The Summer Wine Country, we decided we'd head out to take a look at some other filming sites, this time the places where Emmerdale Farm was filmed.

Emmerdale is a British soap opera which is now filmed at a purpose made set in the grounds of Harewood House, but prior to 1989 it was known as Emmerdale Farm and the outdoor scenes were filmed first of all at Arncliffe and later at Esholt. The Emmerdale Farm farmhouse itself can be found in Leathley, a village in Harrogate so that's where we headed first. When the series first started it was about farm life so the farmhouse featured heavily.

Next we visited Otley, a market town on the River Wharf, which is used for filming in Emmerdale as the fictional market town of Hotten.

We visit Otley fairly often and used to bring the children when they were young. It's a lovely walk by the river and I remember days out here as a child myself, it used to have a lovely paddling pool where families would flock to when the weather was nice.

What do you make of the name of the park though? I always have a little snigger when I see the sign, childish, I know, haha.

Archie's legs were getting tired after our walk so we headed back to the car and set off for Esholt. The name of the pub in Emmerdale is The Woolpack. This one in Esholt was called The Commercial when filming took place there but its name was changed to The Woolpack as the landlord at the time tired of the inconvenience of the frequent pub sign changes.

The Post Office had a sign outside advertising that they sell Emmerdale merchandise but apart from that, and the name of the pub, you'd never know that Emmerdale had once been filmed here.

It's a picture perfect village, tranquil, stunning scenery and pretty cottages.

We took a walk through the churchyard. It looked well kept. I actually love a walk through a churchyard, I find the gravestones so interesting to read and look at.

St Paul's church was built in 1839 for use as a private family chapel. It was not consecrated until 1853. We didn't go inside, we had Archie with us.

What a stunning view from the church door, overlooking the River Aire.

Another lovely day out, somewhere a bit different.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Worsbrough Mill And Country Park

The Saturday before last, we decided to cross the border into South Yorkshire and visit Worsbrough Mill and Country Park. 

The mill is a 17th century working water mill set in 240 acres of parkland.

The first recording of the mill is in the Domesday book of 1086, though the oldest part of the mill still standing today dates from about 1625. This is the part which houses the waterwheel.

You're able to go inside and see all the workings and there's great information boards which tell you about the process.

Water power comes from the River Dove. The mill now produces a range of premium quality organic flours and associated products for trade and retail customers. There's a new shop on the site where flour and gifts can be purchased.

We were lucky with the weather when we visited, beautiful blue skies and just look at the blossom waiting to burst.

It seemed the world and his wife were outdoors enjoying the sunshine but, as the country park is so large, we had plenty of space to ourselves.

We took a walk along the side of the reservoir. As you can see, it was rather muddy. We passed a few dog walkers but it was so tranquil with only the sound of birdsong breaking the silence.

Worsbrough Reservoir was built in 1804 to supply water to the new Worsbrough spur of the Dearne and Dove canal.

I'm not sure if you can walk the whole way round the reservoir, I'm sure you can, but we doubled back on ourselves as it would have been much too far for Archie's little legs. He doesn't walk very far these days before he gets tired.

The reservoir is now home to many different species of insects, mammals, birds and flowers.

We stood for a while watching a cormorant, he was diving for fish but I was much too slow to get a photo, so I'll leave you with this photo of a juvenile swan instead.

It was a lovely way to pass a couple of hours on a sunny day.

Friday, 25 March 2022

A Whistlestop Tour Of The Yorkshire Dales

Mick's holiday year at work runs from the 1st of April to the 31st of March and he still had sixteen days left to take before the end of this month. He's added ten of those days onto next year's allocation but that still left him with six days to take, so he decided to take last Friday and all this week. We struck lucky with the weather, it's been glorious.

Last Friday we decided to head off into the Yorkshire Dales but instead of sticking in one place, we drove around and spent a shorter time in a number of places. We started off in Ingleton, known as the Land of Waterfalls and Caves. Ingleton Waterfalls Trail is a 4 1/2 mile trail through ancient oak woodland and Yorkshire Dales scenery via a series of waterfalls. We didn't follow the trail, preferring to wander through the village. St Mary's Church dates from 1886, though it's possible that there's been a place of worship on the site since the 12th century.

The viaduct with eleven arches is an imposing structure in the village and was designated a listed building in 1988. It's been redundant since the closure of the Clapham to Low Gill railway line in the 1960s.

It's always good to find a yarn shop on our travels. Amanda Bloom who runs Little Box of Crochet used to be the owner of this shop but it was taken over and reopened last year with new owners. It's a lovely shop stocking both commercial and hand-dyed yarn. I didn't make a purchase on this occasion but it was lovely to have a look around.

After a mooch around Ingleton we headed off to the much larger market town of Settle. The market is held each Tuesday, but there's lots of independent shops to visit on other days of the week. There's an abundance of lovely cafes and places to eat here too.

Malham is a village a little over six miles from Settle so that was our next destination. The white area in the photo above is Malham Cove, a huge curving cliff formation of limestone rock. The vertical face is about 260 feet high and the top of the cove is a large area of deeply eroded limestone pavement. The scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows where Harry Potter is camping was filmed on the limestone pavement. There are steps which you can climb to the top of the cove onto the limestone pavement and though we didn't visit Malham Cove on this occasion, we have climbed the stairs up to the top of the cove previously.

Wherever you are in the Yorkshire Dales, the scenery is stunning. Acres upon acres of land and miles upon miles of dry stone walls.

Sheep can be seen grazing all over the Yorkshire Dales and there's lots of newborn lambs too at the moment.

Malham is only a small village but it's picturesque and Malham Cove, Gordale Scar - a huge gorge, and Janet's Foss waterfall are all within walking distance.

A stream runs through the village and Archie always likes to have a paddle. He had a little more difficulty getting in and out of the stream on this occasion and it's at times like these that we can see how he's becoming more unsteady as he gets older. He'll be twelve in a couple of months.

The ducks were enjoying the stream too.

Our last port of call was Grassington, another market town and also the fictional market town of Darrowby in All Creatures Great and Small. When we arrived there was a film crew getting the village ready for filming. The house you can see above is Skeldale House in the programme where James Herriot lives and works. The man in the photo was dressing up the exterior with fake flowers.

Grassington's Devonshire Inn had been converted into Darrowby's Drovers Arms. Apparently, scenes from inside the pub are actually filmed in The Green Dragon Inn in Hawes as the interior of the The Devonshire is too modern.

Many of the shops in Grassington were all ready for filming. Darrowby Ironmongers is actually Walkers Bakers and Chocolatiers and though the exteriors have been changed, the shops themselves are still trading.

I never tire of my days out to the Yorkshire Dales, I've been visiting the area since I was a babe in arms when my parents used to take us for days out and it's somewhere we've taken our children too.

So that was the first day out while Mick's been off work, but we've visited other places too, blog posts to follow.