Spring Bank Holiday

Monday the 26th May is a date etched rather deeply in my memory.

Today the 26th May falls on a UK bank holiday, six years ago it also fell on a bank holiday Monday, the next time this happens will be 2025…….. I wonder if my memory of that date will still be as vivid.

I won’t go into detail again, as I have written about it before here

But I will post this short video again.

Miss you Big Lad :-(

Parlez-vous Tyke

Anyone with the slightest interest in cycling will have heard of the Tour de France, but I wonder how many will know that the first three stages this year will be held in England. And where will two of these three stages will be held?

Yes, Yorkshire…..but I guess the blog title gave that away ;-)

Every year T and I are glued to the TV, watching the race filmed from the motorbikes and helicopters and drinking in the amazing scenery, this year we’d planned to stop at my mum’s and see it all in the flesh, but it doesn’t look like that will happen now.

As I mentioned in an earlier post mum’s house went on the market in April, and sold within a couple of days. Although contracts have yet to be signed, if everything goes to plan, I don’t envisage still owning the house in July when the race takes place.

Stage 1, July 5th, After leaving Leeds and travelling through some of Yorkshires’s magnificent scenery, there will be a sprint finish into Harrogate. I can imagine the whole town will be bubbling over with Tour fever as the riders descend on the town, especially as Harrogate is home town to the mother of Mark Cavendish.

Stage 2, July 6th The riders leave York en route for Sheffield. Some 17 miles after leaving York, they will pass through Knaresborough, then a mile uphill into Starbeck and a couple of hundred yards from my mums house.

All the information about the two Yorkshire stages, plus the stage 3, Cambridge to London, can be read here

Tour fever has also gripped Knaresborough. Those of you who read my blog will know we’ve spent quite a lot of time in this old market town over the last few months. I wrote about the Knaresborough windows, or Trompe l’oeil to give them their proper title in an earlier post.

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A new window has appeared depicting Beryl Burton and Brian Robinson, two cycling greats from Yorkshire.

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Theres a commemorative section of drystone wall.

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and some carved wooden sheep.

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There are yellow flags, union flags and French flags flying from almost every building.

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and yellow bikes everywhere.

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The countdown, this photo was taken on 6th May, so with my reckoning it will say 50 today.

I love the knitted bunting jumpers. Harrogate Borough Council had put a request out for knitters to help them with their bunting a few months ago, and had added the knitting pattern here.

It appears everyone wanted to have a go as they now have over 23,000 :eek:

We may have a couple more visits to mum’s house, before the sale is completed so I’ll try and get into Harrogate next time for photos of the bunting there.

 

 

A day of normality?

Since my mum died in January, we have been doing a 320 mile round trip between Yorkshire and Worcestershire every other week. There was so much work involved in clearing mum’s house in preparation for sale, I found spending more than a week there emotionally draining, so the long drive there was the lesser of the two evils.

Finally,  on the 10th April the house was put in the hands of an estate agent, and we returned home for a longer break.

We had left a few bits of essential furniture there for when we visit, but basically this can be removed as and when, which will be sooner than I expected, as the house was sold, subject to contract on 15th April.

Last Thursday (24th April), T decided we needed some normality back in our lives. Normality being, a bus (free pass) or train (senior discount) ride to somewhere nearby.

I think we’ve been spending too much time in Yorkshire, I’m a tight Tyke by birth, but it’s rubbing off on T now, so the bus won and we whooshed to Worcester on the Woosh Bus.

Once there we headed down towards the river for our normal stroll along the bank.

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The River Severn was at a more normal height, unlike the last time we’d travelled to Worcester on 7th January, when our stroll was curtailed by floods. I wrote and posted a short video about it here.

Believe it or not, the floods got even worse, and in early February eventually took out the rivercam.

Check out 11th February on this website by Farsons Digital Water Cams showing the lock gates underwater and compare to my photos below from 24th April.

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We continued along the footpath.

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T does concern me sometimes.

On towards the new Diglis Bridge, we followed our footsteps of a previous walk I’ve written about………creatures of habit we are ;-)

But wait, these metal men weren’t here before:

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Just standing there, by Diglis Bridge, without any rhyme or reason as to why.

I took a few photos and we continued on our way.

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Past the new and I’m guessing rather expensive apartments, now occupying land where the famous Royal Worcester Porcelain Works once stood.

After sharing…….yes, I did say sharing (tight Tyke syndrome)…..a bag of chips, we both decided a pint of real ale at King Charles House would help wash them down……no we didn’t share a pint ;-)

I’d found the metal men sculptures totally fascinating, especially when photographed from a low angle, so once home I had to find out a bit more about them.

Chosen by the people of Worcester, they are representative of Worcester’s past.

A Royalist and a Parliamentarian from the Civil War, Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist, Ernest Payne and  Sir Charles Hastings, founder of the British Medical Association.

More images of them in the slide show below.

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Pistol packing Mama

After the last two sad posts I am going to try and lighten the mood now ;-)

As anyone who has dealt with the death of a close relative will know, there is an awful lot of private and personal things to sort out.

I knew my mum kept anything of importance in the desk in the back room. So bracing myself for what I expected to be quite a tearful time, I plonked myself on the floor in front of the desk.

The desk in question is a fairly modern teak one, she’d got rid of the solid oak one (and matching table) that we’d had in the family for as long as I can remember, not long after my dad had died, stating that oak was too dark and she preferred teak.

Anyway, what I am getting around to, is that everything in that desk had only been in there since 2000.

I turned the key and opened the drop down flap. It was full of stationery of one sort and another, paper clips, sellotape, pens, pencils, erasers, bluetac, envelopes………… and the list goes on. if I didn’t know better, I’d have sworn she was running a stationery shop from her back room.

I discarded what I didn’t need, closed the flap and moved onto the first of three drawers.

This drawer was easy, it was obviously the keeping in touch drawer, full of unused christmas wrapping and cards, christmas decorations  and birthday cards.

My mum bless her, was highly organised when sending birthday, anniversary and Christmas cards.

The second drawer was full of folders containing old utility bills, plus receipts and guarantees for items purchased.

The bottom drawer had instruction books for almost every item she’d ever bought. An old pipe of my dad’s, two silver cigarette cases and a rolled up plastic bag containing what looked like some silver, bone handled serving cutlery.

I unrolled the bag, reached inside and ……………

“F***ING HELL”…… I shouted out, which made T, who had been quietly reading the paper, jump out of his skin.

 “What ever’s the matter” he spluttered.

“I’ve just found a gun” I replied, as I pulled it out of the bag.

We both stared in disbelief at what I was holding in my hand……….What on earth was my eighty five year old mum doing with a gun rolled up in a plastic bag along with some cutlery.

For anyone who doesn’t know, the UK has one of the toughest firearm laws in the world. Here for anyone interested is the Home Office Guide on Firearms Licensing Law

I knew it had to be reported, but how?

Should I phone them up and risk having a cop car pull up outside my mums house the day after her funeral?

Should I just walk into the police station with a gun?

What if something happened to me on the way there and I was found with it in my possession?

After much deliberation, we decided it was probably best to go to the police station (without the gun), explain what I’d found, and ask them what I needed to do.

A very helpful woman officer put my mind at rest ” Don’t worry, we get all sorts from old folks houses, Lugers are the most popular.

“Just bring it in and I’ll get our firearms officer to take it off your hands”

Walking back into my mums house, T, full of concern  jokingly announced “Oh, they let you out then”

Later that afternoon, after T had offered to go with me for protection (so he said LOL) we returned to Knaresborough.  Sitting on a bus with a gun in my bag, I’ve never felt so conspicuous in my life.

Handing it over to the firearms officer, he took one look at it and said….

“It’s a six shot Belgian Pinfire pistol, dating from the mid to late 1800’s.  As it is an antique, and ammunition is rare or non existent, you are OK to keep it”.

We had a good chat about it, and he gave me his card, to carry with it, in case anything happened on our drive back to the midlands.

One thought did cross my mind, which I mentioned to the officer, Could it possibly have belonged to a woman in the French Resistance, who my nan had contact with during the war.

His reply, “it would be a typical type of pistol carried by a woman for protection”.

If only it could speak, I wonder what it could tell us.

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Marks on pistol

A good send off

Well if that is at all possible for a funeral, I have to say I think my mum had one.

T and I had travelled up to Yorkshire on Sunday 9th February ready for her funeral on Monday 10th.

Walking into my mums house, was to say the least, very emotional this time. All previous visits had been a total whirlwind of trips to the hospital, constant phone calls to various folk and visits from carers etc.
Looking around this time, I found myself fixating on her treasured collection of ornaments, paintings and photos, that were ‘my mum’ They’d always been part of her home, though I’d never really noticed them before. Now here they were, crying out for her to look at them and dust them. In an odd sort of way, they looked lost and alone.
Deb, our younger daughter arrived soon after, breaking my thoughts.

We’d booked the Travellers Rest for after the funeral service, so decided we’d pop there for something to eat, and to make sure everything was in hand.
I’d also done a montage of photos of mums life, and wanted to make sure they could display them somewhere.

Next day, we headed to Harrogate Crematorium for the 12.20pm service.
I had painful memories of my dad’s funeral cars doing the drive from house to crematorium fourteen years ago, so I’d chosen to meet the funeral car there. The journey still wasn’t pleasant, but I felt happier going at a more normal speed without the obvious stares that a funeral cortège attracts.

The crematorium was full, many faces I didn’t know, but all friends of mum who’s paths she had crossed during her lifetime.

The service was performed by Jim the hospital chaplain, a truly lovely person who I’d met for the first time at my mums bedside.
He’d asked me questions about mum a couple of days after she passed away, so he could get a feel for the type of person she was. The eulogy he spoke, in his gentle Geordie lilt was so beautiful and heartfelt.
I’d chosen a couple of songs from a Susan Boyle CD, who I knew my mum liked.
Wild Horses‘ (actually a Stones song) for the processional music and ‘How Great Thou Art‘ for the recessional music. With the firm favourite ‘Jerusalem’ sung by a choir mid service.

After the service we headed for the Travellers Rest for the wake.
The montages I’d made were displayed around the room and they’d put on a beautiful spread of food.
Everyone was mingling with each other and chatting with memories of my mum, even Jim the chaplain turned up. The atmosphere was lovely with a warmth of feeling everywhere.
Deb raised a glass in celebration of my mums life, and everyone reciprocated with a hearty and resounding ‘KATH’

Yes, if a funeral can be good, my mums definitely was.

Click on the four small images above to see the photo montages.

Mum&Dad 1Mum (1929-2014) & Dad (1920-2000) how I like to remember them

Cindy

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As a lot of you who read my blog regularly will know, Cindy my mum’s yorkie has been lodging with us for over a year, due to my mum’s deteriorating health.

Not too long ago (unknown to me), mum held T’s hand between both of hers and pleaded, that if anything should ever happen to her, would he promise her he’d look after Cindy.

On January 28th I got a phone call from Harrogate hospital, saying they thought I ought to be at the hospital.

We quickly packed the car, and set off in just over thirty minutes.

I stayed at my mums bedside until late Tuesday evening, and returned first thing Wednesday morning.

She looked very peaceful sleeping, occasionally appearing to be having a conversation with someone. She finally drifted away about 4.30pm Wednesday 29th January.

T only told me my mum’s wish on Sunday, so yesterday, I contacted the ID chip company and changed Cindy’s details from my mums to mine.

Cindy is now officially part of our pack.

R.I.P. Ella Kathlyn Teal……… mum………… I will keep T’s promise xx

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I have a lot of things to sort out, so there may be a lack of posts in the next few weeks – Vicky x

Dream on

With everything going on in my life recently I’m sure my subconscious must be taking a battering, which might explain some of the weird dreams I’ve been having recently.

I don’t seem able to remember most, except the fact that they have all been weird, but this latest one felt so real, I woke wondering if it had actually happened the previous day.

Any dream experts out there?

I’m a passenger in T’s car, we are in a queue waiting to exit an outdoor car park of a town near where we live in Worcestershire.

T suddenly says he wants a coffee, so he gets out of the driving seat and sets off on foot to see his friend who runs a cafe……… in Dorset (about 150 miles away), shouting back to me, if he’s not back before the queue moves, I’ll have to edge his car forward.

The queue starts to move, so I slide across the seat into the driving seat to keep with the flow of traffic, but I’m now sat in my Land Rover.

I suddenly realise I need a ticket for the exit, which I haven’t got, so I pull alongside pay machine, curbing my tyres in the process.

An old neighbour, who I haven’t seen for over twenty years is standing in the queue, we exchange pleasantries, as I lean out of the car window.

Although I am still sat in my motor, I note my position is between two women standing in the queue with dogs.

The queue is getting longer, so to save any arguments about me queue jumping, I get out of my car, and stand between the two women.

One woman has a big hairy dog and another a big smooth coated dog, I tickle hairy dog behind ears, stroke smooth dog.

The old neighbour morphs into my present neighbours who are there with their children, they’re waiting to get passport photos from the car park machine for their babies, I look at their babies and see they have big smiles with massive adult teeth.

The queue continues to get longer and longer because the machine is causing problems.

I eventually get my ticket, but machine gives me two.

An attendant suddenly appears, snatches both tickets off me, says there is a problem with them and I need to rejoin queue, which is now about 100 deep.

I have massive argument with him, demanding he gives me one of my tickets or my 50p (very cheap parking) back, he refuses, and points to back of queue.

The car park is now undercover and everyone is watching as our argument gets worse with pushing and shoving.

I then woke up, so no idea on the outcome.