Tuesday 30 August 2022

A Mixed Bag

Mick's had the past fortnight off work, with the extra bank holiday tagged on to the end to extend it a little. We'd hoped that we might get out and about a bit but the first week was a bit of a right off. Poor Archie had developed a limp again, something he's suffered with on and off since he was a puppy. We've had him at the vets numerous times but the only thing which really helps is rest, so that's what we did for the first week of Mick's holiday, rested Archie's leg. Mick was glad to have the week off anyway, it's actually quite nice just pottering at home when you're used to working, and we managed to get a few jobs done in the house.

This last week has been a different story. On Monday, the weather forecast didn't look so good, rain was forecast at home but as we looked further east, the forecast got better, so we headed off to the coast. We started off in Whitby. The photos are a little dark, the weather wasn't too bad, it was rather windy but very warm.

Archie's leg was much better but we didn't want to walk him too far, mainly because we didn't want his limp to return, but also because he's an old dog now and even a short walk tires him out.

After a couple of hours we headed back to the car and drove along the coast to Scarborough. Dog bans are in place on the main parts of the beach here in the summer months, and the tide was in covering the area where we usually take Archie, but we found a different part of the beach where dogs are allowed so Archie got his paddle.

It had got a bit chillier by now, though you wouldn't say it was cold, and Archie had enjoyed his time on the beach. It started to spit with rain just as we were leaving Scarborough so we definitely made the right decision spending the day at the coast. Apparently it had rained in many parts of the country but we managed to miss it in Whitby and Scarborough.

On Tuesday we decided to let Archie have a day at home. We thought the day at the coast would tire him out and it did. While Archie had a good sleep at home, we visited St Mary's Church, Lead, which is less than five miles away from our house. It's somewhere I've often wondered about and at last, I now know more about it. You can read my previous post all about it by clicking the link. We also went out for a late lunch, so even though we were close to home, we enjoyed our day and we did things we wouldn't ordinarily do.

It was forecast rain the next day so we hadn't made any plans, however, when we woke on Wednesday morning, it was bright and dry so we decided to head off to Northallerton to have a mooch around the shops. Wednesday is market day and there was a good selection of stalls by the side of the road. The shops in Northallerton are a mix of high street stores and independent shops but the thing we love most is that Northallerton is a dog friendly town. There's so many times when one or the other of us goes into a shop while the other waits outside with Archie, it makes a change to be able to go in shops together, and Archie is always good. Even shops like The Works, Lakeland, Wilko's and Waterstones allow dogs inside in Northallerton, and I believe more and more shops around the county are beginning to do likewise. 

We spent Thursday in the Yorkshire Dales, I won't go into detail here as a post is coming, suffice to say we had a lovely day.

Friday was going to be a relaxing day at home, mainly to give Archie a rest again, but you know what it's like, you stay home expecting to put your feet up but in reality it was all about getting some jobs done. It was a lovely day so I washed some new bedding I'd bought, stripped our bed and got that bedding washed too, and once it was all line dried, I got it all ironed and the bed remade. We popped out to do a bit of shopping and later on, Mick ran Eleanor and Jacob into Leeds to catch a train to Lincolnshire. It was Jacob's sister's birthday on Friday and Jacob's birthday on Saturday so they spent a long weekend away with Jacob's family, returning home yesterday. Friday night is sometimes fish and chip night in our house, but I haven't been so keen on the fish from any of the fish and chip shops around here for a long time now, so we just got the chips and had chip butties for tea, with scraps of course.

Mick usually plays cricket on a Saturday but his game this week was cancelled as the other team didn't have enough players available. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and warm, so we decided to head off to Kirkstall Abbey Market. Again, a blog post is to follow.

We were really lucky with the weather over the start of the bank holiday weekend, another mini heatwave. Sunday was gorgeous again so we decided, on the spur of the moment, to do something we hadn't done for years, we visited a car boot sale. We don't have any very close to where we live so we went to the one which is held at Wetherby Racecourse. We didn't buy anything but we enjoyed looking round, then it was home again for a cooked breakfast which Mick made, he does make a good breakfast.

Yesterday was the bank holiday and true to form, the weather wasn't up to much, though it stayed dry so that's something. The roads can be quite bad on bank holidays, especially when the A1 is clogged up with traffic going home from the Leeds Festival as well as bank holiday traffic. It's lucky we know the back routes, travelling through the villages, which is nicer than driving on the motorways anyway. We decided to head out to Ripon where an artisan market was in full swing.

There's some lovely little streets in Ripon. 

Most of the independent shops were closed with it being a bank holiday.

Ripon Cathedral was open though so I decided to pop in to take a look around. There were guides on hand to answer any questions and they were so friendly.

It's a beautiful building, the fourth to have stood on this site, and was built between the 13th and 16th centuries.

Jacob was on a night shift last night so Eleanor came round to tell us about her weekend away, and Daniel and Jasmine came round too. It was a lovely way to round off our staycation.

Friday 26 August 2022

St Mary's Church, Lead

I've lost count of the number of times we've passed by this church, standing alone in the middle of a field adjacent to the B1217, and wondered what its story was.

St Mary's Church is in the hamlet of Lead, less than a mile away from the village of Saxton in North Yorkshire. A redundant Anglican chapel, it's generally referred to as a church.

The chapel stands very close to the site of the Battle of Towton which took place in 1461, part of the Wars of the Roses. I've written about this a couple of times when we've visited various places associated with the battle, A History Tour In Four Parts and Towton Battlefield Trail. You can enlarge the information board above by clicking on it, it gives a little more information and shows the points of interest.

On Tuesday, we decided to finally take a look at the church. It's less than five miles from where we live yet it's taken us all this time to take a closer look.

We wasn't sure if the church would be unlocked as it's suffered from some vandalism in the last couple of months. Vases have been smashed, the cross broken and litter strewn everywhere. To add insult to injury, a note was left apologising with a fake phone number. What's wrong with people? This church was saved from neglect back in the 1930s by a local group of ramblers and has since been known as The Ramblers Church.

The tiny church is only 18 foot long and has a simple interior. The benches date possibly from the medieval period.

The chapel is believed to date from the 14th century, though there may have been an earlier church on the site. After being rescued by the group of ramblers back in the 1930s, repairs have been recorded on the back of the church door. This door is now in a poor state of repair and funds have recently been raised for it to be renovated. A temporary door will be installed while the work is carried out.

The cross stands on the altar.

Tombstones near the altar.

The font. I wonder how many babies have been Christened here.

You can read more about the church by clicking the photo above and reading the information board.

There is a bellcote at the west end of the church. St Mary's is looked after by a group called the Friends of Lead Church and there is an annual service.

Looking back towards the road, you can see how remote this little church is.

By the roadside is the Crooked Billet. We didn't pop in on this occasion but if you're partial to Yorkshire Pudding, this is the place to be as it's famous for its Giant Yorkshire Puddings with a choice of fillings.

I'm really pleased that we've finally visited the church at Lead, and it just goes to show that there's always something new to discover on your own doorstep, you don't have to travel very far for an interesting afternoon out.

Monday 22 August 2022

Agnes Grey

With the success of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, the third Bronte Sister, Anne, sometimes gets overlooked. I've actually only read one book by the Brontes and that's Wuthering Heights, I chose Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte as the second.

"When Agnes's father loses the family savings, young Agnes determines to make her own living - as a governess. Working for the Bloomfields, her enthusiasm is soon dampened by isolation and the cruelty of the children in her charge. Agnes hopes for better in her second job, but when the scheming elder daughter Rosalie makes designs on Agnes's new friend, the kind curate Mr Weston, she feels herself silenced and sidelined. Becoming a governess is one thing, becoming invisible is quite another."

I was engaged in this novel right from the very first page. They do say write about what you know, and as Anne Bronte was a governess herself, she did just that. Although a work of fiction, various aspects of Agnes Grey's life mirrors that of Anne Bronte. The book highlights the huge differences in class in 1847 when this novel was published, and what is expected of marriage. A predictable ending but I don't mind that. It's a shame that the book was published a couple of months after Jane Eyre, as Charlotte stole Anne's thunder, otherwise I'm sure that more would have been made of this book than was.

I shall definitely read more from Anne Bronte, in fact I'd like to read more from all three of the Bronte Sisters.

Thursday 18 August 2022

Shopping For Houseplants

I'm a recent convert to houseplants. I've had the odd one or two over the years, and I've had a few orchids for some time, but over the last couple of years I've increased my collection. I didn't bring them all with me when I moved house, just a money plant, a couple of Christmas cactuses and a teeny tiny poinsettia which I bought last year. It's dropped its flowers since we moved house but it's still going strong. Oh, I brought an orchid with me too and though it's not flowering at the moment, it is growing a new leaf.

Mick's got a fortnight off work at the moment. We thought we might get off for some days out here and there but Archie has, yet again, developed a limp so he's on enforced rest at the moment. He does seem to be on the mend though so we're keeping our fingers crossed that we'll be able to head off somewhere soon. In the meantime, we're staying close to home as we won't leave Archie for long, so we're trying to get some bits and bobs done that we keep putting off at home. There are areas in my new house where I'd like a plant or two so yesterday, we had a look around a few local garden centres.

There was limited choice in the first two, the third was a little better, though the prices were extortionate.

Our last port of call was a local florist who we've used many times over the years and their prices are really reasonable. They had quite a bit of choice and though I didn't buy anything yesterday, I'm going to go back and buy a Ceropegia woodii (string of hearts) and possibly a pilea glaucophylla. I thought I'd better read up on their care before buying them, I'm no expert when it comes to house plants.

Do you grow houseplants and if so, do you have any particular favourites?

Sunday 14 August 2022

A Wedding Gift From Down Under

I've made lots of friends through blogging, some I've already met in person, others I've yet to meet in the flesh, but Susan from Granny Smith's Quilting is the friend I've met up with the most, which is rather funny as she lives the farthest away on the other side of the world in Australia. We met for the first time back in 2014 and I wrote a post about our Bloggy Meet Ups. We've met up a few times since then when Susan and her lovely husband have been over here visiting family. 

When Eleanor and Jacob announced their wedding plans, Susan contacted me and asked if she could make a quilt for them as a wedding gift. She didn't have to ask twice, I drool over the quilts that Susan shows on her blog, she's such an accomplished quilter.

The quilt has arrived in good time, the wedding isn't until October but Susan made sure to send it with plenty of time to wing its way right around the world. I did ask her if I should hold onto it until the wedding but she said that seeing as they already have their home, I could pass it on to them straight away, which is perfect as they're just in the middle of decorating their bedroom and it will make a wonderful addition.

Isn't the quilt beautiful. Susan's always been very generous sending lots of lovely gifts from Australia. I have a bed runner that she made for me and I love that, but this quilt really does have the wow factor.

You can see the quilting a little better on the reverse of the quilt, just excuse the creases, remember it's travelled all the way from Australia so it's done very well, I'm much more crumpled when I've been on a flight.

Thank you so much, Susan. Eleanor and Jacob are thrilled with it and I know it's something they're starting married life off with which will be treasured for a lifetime.

Wednesday 10 August 2022

Summer Makers Market

We saw that the Halifax Piece Hall was staging a Summer Makers Market last weekend so on Sunday we decided to have a drive over.

This Grade I listed building is the only remaining Georgian cloth hall in the world. It dates back to 1779 and was built as a hall where 'pieces' of cloth (a 30 yard length of woven woollen fabric produced on a handloom) were traded.

The link at the beginning of this post takes you to a post I wrote back in 2011. The Piece Hall was rather run down then, but in 2014 a £19 million restoration project commenced and it reopened in 2017. Since then, it's welcomed over eight million visitors.

There are various exhibitions held at the Piece Hall, as well as live entertainment. I'd hoped to visit earlier this year when there was an exhibition of Sophie Ryder's sculptures in the courtyard but I missed that.

The Piece Hall is now home to a huge selection of independent shops. There's everything from toys and collectables to homeware, fashion and accessories to arts and crafts, on sale here. There's even a Christmas shop which is open the year round. There's also plenty of places to eat and drink with a selection of cafes, restaurants and bars.

There were 34 stalls making up the Summer Makers Market focusing on local produce alongside arts, crafts and gifts. There were quite a few speciality alcohol producers selling flavoured gin, rum, liqueurs and spirits and quite a few stalls selling baked goods, but there were many other things on offer too.

This sculpture, called Contemplation, is of Anne Lister, also known as Gentleman Jack, the owner of Halifax's Shibden Hall.

Created by Diane Lawrenson, it's the first public sculpture of the famous lesbian diarist and businesswoman.

There's always some Yorkshire merchandise for sale featuring Yorkshire humour when visiting touristy places in the county.

It was an enjoyable, well-attended event, and it was also nice to look around the Piece Hall again. We visited a little while after it reopened after the restoration project was finished but many of the shops were stood empty at that time. It seems very popular now with most of the shops fully occupied and the amount of visitors it's attracted speaks for itself.

Saturday 6 August 2022

Eleanor's Hen Weekend

Eleanor and Jacob get married in October. It used to be tradition that the hen and stag events were a night out, just before the wedding, to celebrate the bride and groom's last night of freedom. These days, the nights out have turned into major events which go on for a weekend, or even longer, are held long before the wedding, and see some groups heading off to far flung places. Last weekend, Jacob and his stags headed off to Newcastle where they went go-karting, played zorb football and had some nights out. I believe a good time was had by all.

Eleanor's hen do is this weekend. The hens are currently in Manchester, what they're up to is anyone's guess as it's all a closely guarded secret, however, I do know that there's some pampering sessions, fancy meals and nights out, and fun for all. The weekend actually started yesterday when we all headed off to the Sky Lounge in Leeds for afternoon tea. I think Eleanor wanted to kick the weekend off doing something which the oldies could be a part of too. As well as the hens, me, Jacob's mum, Jacob's grandma and Mick's auntie were invited.

The Sky Lounge is where Jacob proposed to Eleanor and She Said Yes. The afternoon tea was delicious and rather substantial, we all took doggy bags home with us.

There were cocktails too, a Cosmopolitan for me but everyone else had something different.

I'm looking forward to hearing all about the weekend on Eleanor's return, and then it's the countdown to the wedding. It's less than two months away now, it's come round fast, and we've still got some last minute things to organise. Eleanor and Jacob had to postpone their menu tasting evening at the hotel where they're getting married, as well as their pre-wedding photo shoot, because they both had covid at the time they'd been arranged, so they've still got those to come, and there's still some minor details for the wedding to organise but I think we'll be saying that right up to the big day, there's always some little extras to add.