Where has the year gone?

You’d think with all the to-ing and fro-ing between Home and Harrogate we’d done over the previous months, that when my mum’s house sale was finalised, and the dreaded drive up the M42/M1/M18/A1 motorways were behind us, we’d choose a different direction for a holiday.

June

T had decided I needed a holiday, the last year had been a stressful time to say the least, so after arriving home on 19th June, he booked us onto a campsite for a week from 24th June.

We’d had a glorious week at this site in May 2012 that had left us with some wonderful memories -

Yes, anyone who has read my blog will realise this was Whitby Holiday Park, and yes, it meant another dreaded M42/M1/M18/A1 again – but I’d got to the stage I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do anymore, I didn’t want to go on holiday and I didn’t want to stay at home.

I know T had meant well when he booked the holiday, he knew how much I’d enjoyed it before and he also knew how I’d felt my Yorkshire roots had been severed when I finally pulled the door to on my mums house, which is why he’d decided on Whitby.

The 24th arrived, but I still couldn’t summon up any enthusiasm for the holiday, I felt as if I was trapped in a bubble, so apart from putting my clothes in the motorhome, T did everything else. IMG_0401_1 Four hours later we pulled into the holiday park.

Everything looked exactly as it was the day we left in 2012, even the sun was shinning as it was then, my mind immediately drifted back to Jasper, had his spirit joined us I wondered.

This holiday followed almost the same pattern as our previous visit, though we didn’t venture offsite with the van this time.

The walk down onto Saltwick Bay was easier, as both Sal and Cindy took the steep slope down in their stride. IMG_0409_1 Looking down to Saltwick Nab from the Cleveland Way footpath. IMG_4990_1 We walked into Whitby a couple of times, along the Cleveland Way. IMG_4994_1 Parked just outside Whitby Abbey, this was just screaming out to have it’s photograph taken, an old series ll/llA Land Rover ice cream van :-) IMG_4997_1 A monument to Captain James Cook, b.1728, the famous Yorkshire Explorer looks out over Whitby harbour.

On the Saturday we decided to visit the picturesque fishing village of Staithes.

So another walk into Whitby along the clifftop, then down through the town to the bus station.

Im sure every dog and his person had decided to do the same thing, I counted seven dogs (with their people obviously) waiting in the queue with us.

It was certainly worth the trip, as I got my first ‘Big Hairy Dog’ fix while sat outside the Cod and Lobster pub, from an enormous German Shepherd Husky cross.

This dog could moult for England, and after a ten minute cuddle, he had donated most of his coat to me, the rest was floating around the harbour  like snow :eek: IMG_2075_1 Staithes Harbour. The Cod and Lobster is the cream building in the centre of the photo. IMG_5002_1 An artist at work in the harbour. IMG_0402_1 We were treated to the wonderful east coast sunsets again, and by the end of the holiday, I’d started to unwind a bit, typically, just in time to go back home.

July

A month later we were packing the motorhome again for another holiday revisit.

This time it was Charmouth in Dorset.

I had bitter sweet memories of this holiday, last year as it had been Jasper’s last holiday, so I wasn’t sure if it was a good thing or not. Last year’s holiday site was fully booked sowe’d decided on another one just outside Charmouth. IMG_2150 A beautiful well maintained site, but a major drawback with its location.

We usually hook the motorhome up, then either walk or use public transport to get about. We knew we were a couple of miles from the beach via road, but had hoped there may have been a shortcut via a footpath, but no such luck, and the nearest bus stop was over a mile away.

The walk wouldn’t have bothered T and me, but the temperature was in the 30’s and Little Sal, who had recently been diagnosed with kidney disease, had slowed down considerably.

So the next day, we unhooked the motorhome and set off for Charmouth

Could things get any worse, our holiday last year had been in June, and we’d spent some quality time on the beach with the dogs, but here we were, confronted with big signs everywhere NO DOGS allowed on the beaches July and August.

We went for a short walk along the cliff path, but both dogs were struggling, so we went back down and sat on the grass at the edge of the River Char.

IMG_5051_1 Looking down at the dog UNfriendly beach.

Luckily Michelle our elder daughter and Louis her son, had arranged to join us later in the week, so the next day we decided to just chill on the site.

Michelle arrived on the Friday morning.

After enquiring at the reception for the location of a dog friendly beach, we all piled into her car and set off for Eype. No wonder this was dog friendly, there was hardly any in sand in sight, it was full of big pebbles. Great for an athletic young dog, but not for a tiny Yorkie, who kept falling between the pebbles. Poor Sal was struggling to keep her footing too, so we called it a day and went to the pub.

Louis wanted to go onto the beach, so the next day, T stayed onsite with Sal and Cindy, and Michelle, Louis and I went down to Charmouth. IMG_5053_1 Louis befriended a young boy with a dingy, so at least someone enjoyed their holiday.

The next day we left the site early to go home. We decided August would be a no for holidays, so the next revisit was West Runton.

September

Laburnum Holiday Park really has made a mark on our holiday destinations. This was out third visit and it certainly won’t be our last.

This site is a perfect location. Five minutes walk into the village of West Runton, where there is a regular bus service into Sherringham, Cromer or further afield if you wish. IMG_5091_1 Pitched on the clifftop overlooking the North Sea. Just across the tarmac and standing at the fence…… IMG_5115_1 …..this was the view. IMG_5146_1 A ten minute amble and we were on the glorious Norfolk beaches, where, if the tide is out, it is possible to walk into Sherringham or Cromer.

We did the walk into Sherringham three times, catching the bus back to the village to save Little Sal tiring too much. IMG_5151_1   An amazing Trompe l’oeil on the seafront at Sherringham, depicting the crab fisherman for which the area is famous. IMG_5152_1 This was a puzzling sight on Sherringham beach. Had the sea lined up all the pebbles in a straight line, or perhaps it was the sea fairies.

The sun shone the whole week, we ate some good food, drank some good wine, and came home feeling rejuvenated.

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Here are a few more photos, from what is fast becoming my favourite holiday location.

Little did I know, it was going to be Little Sal’s last beach holiday :-(

 

Goodnight Miss Goody Four Paws

Little Sal, what a total sweetheart she was. Gentle, affectionate and extremely well behaved.

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She was a good car passenger, never pulled on the lead, didn’t run away when off the lead, didn’t chase livestock, she loved being brushed, never objected to her teeth being cleaned. I could go on and on singing her praises, but I think you get the picture.

I adopted her in September 2007 from the Border a Collie Trust (GB) at Rugely. She’d only been there a couple of weeks, so I guess if I hadn’t adopted her, someone else would have snapped her up pretty quick.
But the story of her life prior to that really shook me, things could have been oh so different if it hadn’t been for a dear old lady with a heart of gold.
Anne Fowler (R.I.P.) lived in a small cottage near Barmouth in Wales.
She would visit local dog pounds, where dogs that had been found or handed in waited their allotted time on death row. Anne would take whatever dogs she could away from their death sentence and give them a safe haven until a space could be found in a rescue centre with a no kill policy. Anne worked closely with the Border Collie Trust.
Little Sal was one of these dogs, aged at approx six years, she was on day six of her seven day sentence when Anne took her in.
When I adopted Sal from the Border Collie Trust, I was given the letter that accompanied her from Anne Fowler.
This is what she had to say:

Sal letter
I respected Anne’s wishes and wrote to her a couple of months later explaining I was the person lucky enough to have adopted Sally and enclosed a few photos of her with HugehappyhairyHarry my other dog.
I received this lovely reply, from an obviously very caring person.

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A few months later, on a trip to Wales, we made a point of finding Anne.
We found her little cottage hideaway and I knocked on the door. A sweet old lady, wearing wellies and clothes covered in dog hairs answered. I explained who I was and that Little Sal was outside in my motor if she’d like to see her again.
Eagerly she came outside, saw Sal and smothered her in kisses. She’d remembered her, and went on to tell me all about how attached she’d become to the gentle sweet little dog she’d rescued within one day of death.
I wrote to Anne again several months later, explaining how Sally had been distraught at the death of Harry, but she now had a new friend called Jasper and I enclosed some photos of her with him.
I never received a reply, and it was only months later when chatting with the staff at the Border Collie Trust that I was told Anne had sadly passed away.
Such a sad loss for the dog rescue world.

Little Sal was diagnosed with kidney failure earlier this year, and after suffering a massive seizure late Friday evening, we took the heartbreaking decision to have her put to sleep.

Seven years after Anne saved her from that fate, I think this time she was ready to go.
I hope she enjoyed those extra seven years with us and her two hairy friends Harry and Jasper.

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R.I.P. Little Sal.

1st August – Yorkshire Day

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HAPPY YORKSHIRE DAY to all Yorkshire folk wherever you may be living :-)
Very patriotic us Tykes!

I don’t think there is another county in the UK that has a special day.

Yorkshire Day was initially celebrated in 1975 by the Yorkshire Ridings Society, as a protest to the local government re-organsations of 1974.

I had been living in Worcestershire  since 1969, but I remember how incensed I felt when suddenly Beverley (my birthplace) Hornsea (where both maternal and paternal grandparents lived) and Bridlington (where my uncle lived) had suddenly been moved from the East Riding of Yorkshire to North Humberside.

How dare someone, sat in a government office mess with ‘Gods Own County!’ ……….so I set about my own little protest (not alone I doubt) and made a point of addressing any correspondence to my family, in bold, underlined, capital letters EAST RIDING OF YORKSHIRE.

The county of Humberside was abolished in 1996, though sadly the title is still in use with the police, fire brigade and a radio station to name but a few.

The symbol of the white rose has a long history, dating back to the civil wars of the 15th century when it was the symbol of the Yorkist forces.

1st August is also the Battle of Minden, when in 1759 soldiers of the 51st Regiment of Foot, a Yorkshire regiment, were said to have picked white roses to wear in memory of their fallen comrades.

I’ll leave you with the Yorkshire motto.

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and anthem.

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