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


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.