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.


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 😮 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.


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.


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 😦


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.


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


Theres a commemorative section of drystone wall.


and some carved wooden sheep.


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


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and yellow bikes everywhere.


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 😮

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.



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.


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

Not quite what it appears

Following on from a recent Weekly Photo Challenge post on my other blog Pic a colour 4 me I set myself the challenge, that on my next trip to Knaresborough I would try to locate and photograph as many of the other trompe l’oeil ‘windows’ that I could find.

Leaving Harrogate hospital after visiting mum, we hopped onto the bus back to her house. We I decided instead of getting off at my mums stop, it would be a good idea to stay on the bus and pop into Knaresborough for my ‘challenge’

Dragging T- rather reluctantly with me – for moral support and a second pair of eyes, we jumped off the bus in the quaint Yorkshire market town.

I knew the location of a few of these amazing artworks, so not too hard a challenge, or so I though 😕

The first we found was easy, in the High Street and facing the bus station, I’d seen it many times.


This ‘window’ represents the zoo that Knaresborough once had. Not a very pleasant place, I can remember my parents glee in telling me the zoo had finally closed.

Next we set off down High Street towards the River Nidd, as I knew I’d seen two just off this main street.


This one is in the alleyway leading to the Frazer Theatre, which is just off the High Street next to Tesco. The figures are life size and rather spooky  when first seen.

I then dragged T down one side of the High Street and back up the other, looking for another similar painting of some people entering an open door, which I knew I’d seen somewhere.

After about twenty minutes without any luck, I got the usual……… ‘Are you sure you haven’t dreamt it?’ ….. ‘Are you sure they weren’t real people going through a proper door?’ …. ‘Had I been to the pub first?’

‘Never mind’ I replied ‘perhaps it wasn’t in this street at all, let’s go to Blind Jacks, I know there’s one there’

T’s eyes lit up ‘Now you’re talking sense’ he replied………. Blind Jacks by the way, is T’s favourite pub in Knaresborough.

We headed off towards the pub in the Market Place. It was market day, and the centre of the town was alive with the hustle and bustle of all the stall holders.


While I took a photo of the painting of Blind Jack entertaining the pub clientele, T walked towards the door of the pub hoping to join the real drinkers for a pint, only to find it was another three hours before it opened.

Oh dear, this certainly dampened what little bit of enthusiasm he had with my search.

After checking on the internet before leaving home, I knew others were to be found in the vicinity of the Market Place, and the small streets leading off.

We must have looked a very odd couple, not looking at the stalls, but carefully picking our way between them looking skyward at the surrounding buildings. The odd person we passed, did look at us and then up to see what we were looking at 😀


This one of King John in Castlegate was the only other one we could find, it depicts the first Royal Maundy which apparently took place in Knaresborough 5th April 1210.

‘Aha!’ I suddenly had a brainwave, ‘let’s go and check with the tourist centre’ I said, as I dragged the now totally fed up T with me. Only to find it closed for lunch 😦

‘That’s it, I’ve had enough, I’m going back to your mums house’, he announced as he headed off towards the bus station.

I decided to wait until it opened up, so to kill a bit of time, I grabbed something from a local bakery and went to sit in the castle grounds, overlooking the river to eat it, by which time the tourist centre had re-opened.

The assistant in the tourist centre was extremely helpful, she gave me a leaflet with information about the windows and their whereabouts. She also confirmed there were several temporary trompe l’oeil painted for the annual Feva festival, which confirmed my memory of the ‘door and people’ painting I’d been searching for had not been a figment of my imagination.

Armed with my information and map, I set off in search again, but I only managed to find two more before the light started to fail.


Local Hero, James”Ginger” Lacey, one of the best know fighter pilots of World War II.


Plus a self portrait of Julie Cope,  the artist who painted the zoo and the Guy Fawkes themed one on my Pic a colour blog mentioned above.

Later that evening, when we returned to Knaresborough for something to eat (and a drink in Blind Jacks), I asked the location of ‘I can see the world’s end from here’ painting. No wonder I didn’t find it earlier, it was three storeys up.

The next trip to Yorkshire, I will get that photo and hopefully find the rest 🙂

Below is the leaflet I have scanned (hopefully not illegally) with all the information. I haven’t reduced the images of it too much, so they info should be legible.



Two and three quarter cheers for public transport

As much as I love my native Yorkshire, I loath the journey getting there. Of the 155 miles, almost 140 are on the rat race of Britain’s clogged, roadwork strewn motorway system.

We’d driven up to visit my mum, through torrential rain and motorway spray on November 11th, our plan was to spend a few days with her, and hopfully she’d be well enough for us to leave Cindy, her Yorkshire Terrier who has been lodging with us for almost twelve months, back with her permanently.

Our optimism was soon dashed, some new medication she’d been prescribed was leaving her feeling quite weak and light headed and certainly not capable of looking after Cindy.

So after spending three days with her, making sure she was improving and promising we’d be back at Christmas, we returned home.

At least the weather was OK for the return journey, and everything was going well until we hit the outskirts of Birmingham. Well know for snarled up traffic, the final normally twenty minute stretch of our journey took almost an hour 👿

We’d only been home a week, when I received a phone call from Harrogate hospital telling me my mum had fallen and broken her hip, and that they would be operating on the Saturday morning.

I knew I had to go and visit her, but the thought of doing that journey again, so close to the previous one and alone this time, was starting to stress me out.

‘Why don’t you go by train’ T said.

Hmm, I don’t know what was a worst thought, driving up, or my memories of the last train journey I made home from Harrogate several years ago, when we were all packed like sardines with folk standing in the aisles.

In the end the train won though, a packed train was more appealing.

With my senior rail pass which I will add is worth every penny 2800 pennies, I can get a third off the cost of the standard fare. So handing over my £39.60 for an almost door to door open return I set off on the Monday morning.

A change of train at Birmingham and another at York, I arrived stress free at my mums house just over four hours after leaving home.

Over the next three days I made numerous visits to the hospital with my free bus pass via Harrogate’s excellent bus service.

I had written down the train times for my return journey.

From Starbeck, my mum’s local station I had a choice of two trains, both at 11.08hrs.

The train to York, which linked up with the Cross Country Newcastle-Southampton train, or one to Leeds which would link up with the Cross Country Newcastle-Penzance, both these called at Birmingham, where I needed to be for the train to Redditch.

IMG_1665So as I walked on Starbeck platform, I did an eeny meeny miny moe, deciding to use the York route, mainly because calling at Doncaster-Sheffield-Derby-Birmingham, there were less stops.


Typically the train to Leeds arrived first 😀

Hopping onto the train to York, which arrived seconds later from the opposite direction.


 We pulled into York station at 11.44hrs.

I waked over to the departure board to see which platform the 12.34hrs Southampton via Birmingham was arriving on……..

…….. 12.34hrs to Southampton – CANCELLED

My eeny meeny miny moe had gone a bit pear shaped.

I scanned the departure board to see if anything else was heading via Birmingham, earlier than the next one that I knew of which was at 13.34hrs, but nothing was listed.


Before heading out of the station to kill some time, I decided to enquired at the information desk.

‘Oh yes’, she announced, ‘the Newcastle-Penzance is due at 12.45hrs, platform 9, just over the bridge’

I checked the departure board again, by which time the 12.45hrs was listed:


😕 Ha, I had to laugh, if my eeny meey etc had chosen to travel the Leeds route, I would have caught the Newcastle-Penzance train in Leeds at 12.11hrs, which had left York at 11.45hrs 🙄

By this time I only had half an hour to kill, so I decided to stay in the station and have a wander round.

I think York station is one of the nicest stations in the country, very clean and spacious, with an aura of its past history oozing out of the brickwork.


Remove these carriages, the digital clock and modern seating, put some old steam engines on the tracks, and an image of the hustle and bustle from the Victorian era immediately springs to mind.

I had visions of the train being packed with all the passengers from the cancelled train, but it was pleasantly uncrowded.

Not having the faintest idea what time I would arrive in Birmingham, nor being able to remember the times of the Birmingham-Redditch service, I tried connecting my phone to the internet for some information…….typical 🙄 …..no signal!

Never mind, I knew the train to Redditch ran every thirty minutes so I wouldn’t have to wait in Birmingham too long, and isn’t that half the fun on travelling.

We arrived at Birmingham’s New Street station at 15.07hrs. (according to the station clock).

Walking slowly through the confusion of the building site that is currently New Street station while it goes through a total re-vamp, I just happened to glance at an information board……. Yikes!!!! departure to Redditch 15.13hrs.

I took off like a scalded cat, looking for platform 11b. Following the arrows pointing to platforms 11a/11b, I ran down the concrete stairs and jumped onto the waiting train just as the doors were closing.

I suddenly had a panic as the train moved slowly out of the station. Was this train departing from platform 11a or 11b 😮

The driver soon verified I was on the correct train as he announced over the speaker system ‘This is the 15.13hrs to Redditch, calling at ………

I had intended to get a photo from each station, but with my quick exit out of Birmingham it wasn’t possible to get one.

But here at 15.50hrs is the last of my journey, and literally the end of the line, if Mr Beeching had got his way, even this wouldn’t exist.


The modern building in the distance is the bus station with the Kingfisher Shopping Centre and a cinema above.

I thoroughly enjoyed my adventure to Yorkshire and back, and the next visit I make, if I am travelling alone, will certainly be by public transport.

Perhaps the two and three quarter cheers, should be two and seven eighths…… 😀

Are you sitting comfortably?

Phew, where do I start.

Almost a month after mum was discharged from my local hospital, my TLC didn’t seem to be working, she was out of her comfort zone, and there was human and dog tension in the air, so on 10th February we made the decision to return her to Yorkshire, in the hope she would feel happier in her own surroundings.


The three hour journey north went without incident, though the weather was lousy. T drove, mum a passenger in the front with Cindy (her little Yorkie) on her knee, all the luggage (mum doesn’t travel light) behind the dog guard in the rear, which left……..


……..the rear seat for Jasper, Sally and me. All I can say is it was a good job for Dougal disco, as it was all very cosy to say the least 🙂

The following few days were spent sorting doctors appointments, care workers to visit, prescriptions to be delivered, a dog walker for Cindy, shopping, and anything else I could think of to make mum’s return home as smooth as possible.

Our plan was to leave around lunchtime Friday for the journey home. Feeling quite pleased with myself, at everything I’d managed to set up, I crashed into bed around 10.30pm Thursday night. An hour later I found myself calling the out of hours doctor out to mum, she’d taken a turn for the worse, and after a brief examination, he wanted her admitted to her hospital. I sat up with mum until the ambulance arrived at 5.30am. One ambulance to cover the whole of Harrogate and surrounding area, I felt so sorry for those poor paramedics, they were shattered.

Returning to bed at 6.30am, I slept till 9am, then started the mad panic to contact all concerned, to delay everything I’d set up.

A visit to mum at 2pm a further visit at 5pm, we decided, after chatting to the doctors, there wasn’t much point in us staying in Yorkshire, she was in good hands, and selfishly or not, I needed some ‘me time’ so we set off back home at 7.30pm.

T drove again, and we dined on a rather unusual diet of fruit scones and water during the journey.

Almost eight weeks of caring for mum and only two and a half hours sleep the previous night had started to take its toll. I collapsed into bed around 11pm, and T informed me, was away with the fairies within seconds.

With constant phone calls to and from the hospital and mum, the ‘me time’ still hadn’t materialised. I still needed to escape, so finally on Tuesday, after blowing up at T, I grabbed LS and J and took off for the hills.

After driving a couple of miles I realising that my seat wasn’t in the usual position, the seats are electrically controlled so I toggled the switch forward to bring the recline up a tad, but nothing happened 😮 I toggled the switch back, aaargh!, it started to recline even more.

Now the last person to drive Dougal, was T on the journey back on Friday. During this journey, he had forced wedged his bottle of water between the centre cubby box and the drivers seat. Whether this was the reason the seat controls weren’t working, who knows, but I was cussing him under my breath for the rest of the journey.

IMG_1285seat control

I pulled into the car park at Cleeve Hill (usually my total unwind place), and tried the seat controls again, every other seat position was working, so thinking it may have been a glitch, I tried the recline again……OMG, still no upward movement, but even more recline……… I decided to leave well alone because at this rate, I’d have ended up with a fully reclined seat, and no means of driving home.

IMG_3862The car park, minus the floods of my previous two visits.


I set off over the hills with LS and J. It was bitterly cold, which may explain the remains of the snow from the previous week.


Jasp loves eating snow, and every patch we came across he had to sample, there is total silence up there and it was quite funny that all I could hear was him crunching away.


We reached the trig point, which is just to the left of this direction map, and let the wind blow the cobwebs away.


I then plonked myself down on this seat to admire the stunning views across the valley, LS and J by my side and giving me the occasional nuzzle, at last I started to unwind.

Making our way back to the motor and feeling fully refreshed, I was brought back to earth, almost literally as I sat myself in the driving seat. I’d totally forgotten about my seat controls. So by the time I got home, I was a fully wound up spring again.

T enquired if I’d had a good walk……………. he got all my guns blazing……….

‘you ******* you’ve knackered my seat controls with your water bottle, you can pay for the repair’ He went silent, as I stormed upstairs to my computer to see if I could find any info on a land rover forum anywhere.

I searched for the price of a switch………at well over £200 a new one was out of the question, second hand ones were as rare as rocking horse s**t, my anger was growing by the second. Eventually I did find some extremely good information about possibly repairing mine.

There were several forums with advice and photos Land Rovers forums.com, LR4x4.com, Landyzone.co.uk. So flicking between them, I set about trying to repair mine.

The main point made on all these links, is to be extremely careful when opening the switch, otherwise I could expect an explosion of  16 ball bearings, 8 springs, 8 rocker contacts and 4 switches.

I removed it from the centre console, and as suggested, sat at a solid table with the switch on a tray (to catch the bits).

All went well, I cleaned it and put it all back together again, sorry no pics, it was far too fiddly to even think about taking any. Though this is and excellent pic of everything in its correct place, borrowed from AK Rover on Land Rover forums.com.

Two or three attempts later at putting the switch case back together without dislodging the ball bearings, I gingerly connected it back to the electrics of Dougal.

Yeah!!!!!, the recline was now working 🙂 but ………………the tilt wasn’t 😦 it would tilt forward, but not back, so each time I toggled the switch, the seat tilted me closer to the dash, to the extent I was almost sliding off into the footwell.

Back to the drawing board.

The last thing I wanted to do was take the switch apart again as the forward/back and recline were working fine. I suddenly had a brain wave.


If I remove the passenger seat switch (which was fully operational), attach it to the drivers seat electrics, I may be able to tilt my seat to the position I wanted. I wouldn’t be able to swop it permanently, as they were handed, but at least I could get my seat to the correct position before putting the switches back in their rightful places.

Hey presto!!!! it worked, so I am now sitting comfortably………and T is under strict instruction NOT to alter my seat again 🙂

A change of direction – part two

With mum improving daily, we decided Thursday would be a day in York.

The Leeds/York train calls at the station in the area of Harrogate where my mum lives, so a five minute walk and we are standing, rail passes in hand, waiting for the train.

The next stop is Knaresborough, the train trundled across the high rail bridge (photo in part one), I tried to capture a photo of where I’d been standing to take the bridge photo……..sorry, I wasn’t quick enough 😦

It wasn’t long before we were pulling into York station.

Where shall we go? what shall we do?

When we’d been chatting to the landlady of  the Dropping Well Inn, she’d mentioned an excellent real ale pub in the city, so that was on T’s priority list. I was just happy to wander around the streets with my camera.

We headed towards the famous walls, that surround the city. A walk of over two miles completely round, we’ve done it before (well I’ve done it several times), so we didn’t plan on doing it this time, but hopping onto them gives easy access to all parts of the city. There is an interesting PDF file on the walls.

The Ouse from Lendal bridge

Jumping off the walls (well not literally, as they are rather high), near Lendal bridge, we crossed the river Ouse and headed into the centre.

We located the pub, but decided we’d call back later for refreshments, so continued to wander around the narrow streets.

They were bustling with people shopping, buskers on street corners and sightseers with cameras (ooops, that was me :eek:)

The Shambles

One of the famous streets is The Shambles, where in parts the building are so close at the top you’d be able to shake hands with the neighbours opposite.

I wanted to take a photograph of Cliffords Tower, that my uncle Gerald had painted, see here so we headed back onto the walls again.

Cliffords Tower

The sky was becoming very dark, as rain threatened, so we dashed over to shelter in the nearby Castle museum. This was a regular school trip during my childhood, I remember being totally fascinated with the old Victorian street inside the building. The Olde Worlde sweet shoppe had a distinctive smell about it, and to this day I can still remember it.

More info on the street here

I’d fancied a walk along the river bank, but as the rain looked like it was in for the day, we headed back into the centre, past the queues waiting to view the Jorvik Centre. This is well worth a visit too!

With time to kill before our train back, we decided to have a look in the National Railway Museum. Again, this is an excellent museum, housing some of the famous stream engines of yesteryear. It is free to enter, all they ask for is a donation.

York big wheel

We didn’t get as far as the museum though, walking past this big wheel, we both decided it would be good fun to have a ride on it.

view across York from the wheel

So that is how I managed to get an aerial shot of the city, complete with raindrops.

When we got off the wheel, it was too late for our planned train back to Harrogate, so having well over half an hour to kill, T decided we’d have a drink in the pub we’d found earlier.

Sat there discussing the days events, we almost missed the next train too. Speed walking through a crowded city is not recommended, but we made it with seconds to spare, flopping into the train seats just as the whistle blew.

Visiting my mum later that evening I found even more improvement with her out of bed and sitting on the chair beside her bed.

Whenever I return to Yorkshire, I never seem to get chance to visit my home city of Leeds.

Friday I’d woken in the early hours with a flash of inspiration, I’ll catch the train going in the opposite direction, and I can spend the day there. I didn’t for one minute think T would be interested.

Waking in the morning, almost the first thing he said was “Shall we go into Leeds today”………….talk about reading my mind!!

So a similar pattern emerged to Thursday………walk the dogs………..grab a quick bite to eat…………then a five minute walk down to the station……….

…..and we find ourselves on the opposite platform waiting for the York/Leeds train.

A journey of a similar distance, I was getting quite excited at the prospect of reminiscing as the train pulled into the city station.

I don’t know what I expected, as time obviously doesn’t stand still, but I’d conjured up a romantic vision of the steam engines that used to whisk me off on holiday, the machines that my dad would stamp my name onto a metal strip, the ‘ladies waiting room’, the old guards in their smart uniforms, the trollies with the old leather cases on, but more than anything that nostalgic smell of the coal smoke………..this station we’d pulled into wasn’t the Leeds station I remembered from my childhood.

Walking out of the station, even that didn’t seem right, my memory had convinced me the first thing I’d see would be the statue of The Black Prince in city square, but all I could see were buses, even they were different……. blue buses…… purple buses……. white with flashes of colour buses…… where were the green buses? Leeds always had green buses!!  😦

I was starting to feel cheated, like a stranger in the place I’d grown up in.

We started to walk to the left away from this alien place, when suddenly I saw him.

The Black Prince

The Black Prince, still on his horse, with the Queens Hotel in the background.

I left Leeds just before I was eighteen, I guess at that age, architecture was the last thing on my mind, but I do remember the very imposing Town Hall situated on The Headrow, so we set off up Park Row in search of it.

Leeds Town Hall

Wow, it was even more imposing than I remember, I’m so pleased we had blue sky for that photo, a grey sky wouldn’t have done it justice.

Continuing along The Headrow, I went in search of the old department store Schofields, my best friend used to work there on the perfume counter, and I’d often go in for a free squirt of the latest smelly during my lunch break. I didn’t really expect to find it, but I didn’t even see any buildings that looked familiar.

Back down into Briggate, the main shopping area, which is now pedestrianised, losing all the hustle, bustle and old charm, that the city had.

I was extremely pleased to see the arcades were still there, totally restored to their former glory.

County Arcade

Above is County Arcade

Thorntons Arcade?

I may be wrong, but I think this is Thorntons Arcade.

Walking down through Briggate, and turning left, I spotted the building on the corner of Call Lane where I used to work, now divided into what looks like several small premises, it once housed W.H.Smith (Wholesale).

Tetley’s Brewery is just down that road, and I remember the dray horses clattering down the side street.

Past the impressive Corn Exchange building, which was impossible to get a photo of, due to all the traffic,  we made our way to the Market Hall, now this is some building for a market hall though I can’t say I ever took much notice of it in my youth.

Leeds City Market Hall

Leeds City Market. I’ve spent many a shilling in there, but one memory that really sticks in my mind, was going there with my mum, she used to buy all her material for making clothes from a stall in there, and just opposite the material stall was a pet stall, selling puppies and kittens 😦 😦 where I’d spend ages looking and longing.

Time was getting on, so after a quick coffee and a bite to eat, we made our way back to the station for the train back to Harrogate.

We hadn’t been in long, when the phone rang, it was my mum, they’re were discharging her at 6pm and could we pick her up.

We stayed in all day Saturday to keep my mum company.

On the Sunday her friend paid her a visit, so I joined T in Knaresborough at a pub called Blind Jacks.

Blind Jacks pub in Knaresborough market square

Blind Jack  was a civil engineer who lost his sight at the age of six, an amazing character, the wiki link is well worth a read.

statue of Blind Jack in Knaresborough

T sat with Blind Jack…….a little too much ale there T 😉

The oldest chemist shop in Britain

Finally another bit of history, the small building in the middle is the oldest chemist shop in Britain, dating from around 1720, it can be found in Knaresborough market square.

Monday afternoon, after making sure everything was sorted for my mums continued care, we set off back to the midlands.

A strange, unexpected but still enjoyable break……was it fate that the campsite was full on the Sunday? I think so, as the hospital would not have been able to contact me if we’d been on a campsite down south.

A change of direction – part one

Sunday night 21st October, the campsite was booked and the motorhome all prepared for our planned holiday to the south coast, to visit our eldest daughter.
We had originally planned to set off on the Sunday morning, but as the campsite had been fully booked for that night, we had to delay the trip by a day, so hence everything was ready for an early start on the Monday……or so we thought!

The early hours of Monday morning, I was woken by the phone ringing, it was Harrogate hospital, my mum had been rushed in with chest and stomach pains, she was waiting for a scan, and they would let me know as soon as they had more information.
At 10am, with no news from the hospital, I phoned them, to be told they suspected my mum had had a heart attack, it wasn’t a bad one, but the doctors still recommended it would be a good idea to travel up to Yorkshire to see her.

To make matters worse, my mum was panicking as she’d left Cindy, her Yorkshire terrier home alone, and the hospital wanted to send the police in to collect her and take her to a rescue centre.

Here started my mad panic!
Frantically searching directory enquiries for neighbours phone numbers, I eventually located one of her friends (S) who offered to pick up mum’s house key from the hospital and collect Cindy.
30 minutes later I got a call from S, she was at my mums house, but Cindy wasn’t there. 😮

OMG, all sorts of things were flashing through my mind, had Cindy escaped as the paramedics had taken my mum out, how on earth would I explain that to mum, with her heart in a fragile state.
S said she’d start knocking the neighbours doors to see if anyone knew anything.
In the meantime, T and I unpacked the motorhome, and loaded up the discovery ready for our journey north.

It seemed a lifetime, but was probably only about fifteen minutes, S phoned back. Cindy was with D&K (mums neighbours opposite), they’d noticed my mums curtains closed, and fearing the worst, had let themselves in (they have a key) to see if my mum was OK, found Cindy alone, so taken her back to their house.

After a three hour drive, we arrived in Harrogate, collected Cindy (and a very welcome lasagne that K had cooked) from D&K, and settled into my mums house.
I visited her that night, and was quite relieved to see her sitting up in bed, and quite chatty.

Tuesday, with visiting hours twice a day, we did the afternoon and evening, with mum looking better by the minute.

Wednesday, we felt happy enough to venture further afield.

The morning we decided we take the dogs to Swinsty reservoir for a walk, we also wanted to check my dad’s seat was still in good repair.

T, Sal, Jasp and Cindy checking the seat, well I don’t know about Sal, she appears to have found something more interesting the rabbits have left.

My dad’s seat overlooking Swinsty reservoir

The seat looks out over Swinsty reservoir, the walk around the reservoir is just over three miles, and was a favourite walk for my mum and dad for many years. In fact, my dad totally astounded me, when he walked the whole way round only four months before lung cancer took him.

Knaresborough was on the cards for the afternoon, so leaving the dogs behind, and being extremely lazy ourselves, as it is only a mile away, we caught the bus at the end of the road into the town.

The East Gate

We explored the old castle ruins, something I’ve done many times before, and still enjoy doing.

Knaresborough castle is steeped in history, I won’t go into detail on here, as there is a website on Knaresborough which is full of information.

The Kings Tower toilet shaft

This is the toilet shaft from the Kings Tower, it leads from the room called the garderobe. I guess hundreds of years ago, everything coming down this shute, would go directly into the river Nidd below.

rail bridge over the Nidd

We continued walking round the castle grounds, which tower above the river below, and looked down onto the famous rail bridge. This bridge is a well know landmark of Knaresborough, always found on postcards, often on jigsaws……..

Roughseas painting of Knaresborough

…….and paintings………  Roughseas kindly sent me this photo of the painting that is mentioned in her Art for arts sake (2)

Stone steps lead down from the ruins to the narrow road below which is just visible in the photo above. Once down the steps, we set of towards Low Bridge, where there is an amazing pub called the Dropping Well.

This pub is truly steeped in history,  with royalty from many countries taking it’s ales over many hundreds of years.

Just to the rear of the pub, is Mothers Shipton’s cave. Ursula Southeil (Mother Shipton), supposedly born in the cave during a violent storm as lightening crackled, is a well know prophetess of the area.

A little more info is here: Mother Shipton

The interior of the pub houses an old oak table, belonging to Guy Fawkes, T insisted I took a photo of his pint on the table.

After being suitably refreshed, we set off back into the town, ready for the bus back to my mum”s house.

Walking through the town, we noticed many of the buildings have had windows painted on them with famous people looking out. These painted bricked up windows were probably a throw back to the window tax which wasn’t abolished until 1851.

Here’s a snippet from Wiki, regarding this odd tax:

The window tax was a property tax based on the number of  windows in a house. It was a significant social, cultural, and architectural force in England, France and Scotland during the 18th and 19th centuries. To avoid the tax some houses from the period can be seen to have bricked-up window-spaces (ready to be glazed at a later date), as a result of the tax. It was introduced in 1696 and was repealed in 1851, 156 years after first being introduced. Spain and France both had window taxes as well for similar reasons.

more info can be read here.

I visited my mum that evening to find she’d been moved out of the cardio ward and into the general ladies ward, so everything was going in the right direction.

To be continued…….

The old lead mines

Prompted by the wonderful post from Walking with a smacked Pentax about an area very close to my heart. I have spent a couple of hours digging out some old negs I took over twenty years ago. The quality isn’t as good as I’d like, but scanning negs is never going to be perfect.

I spent many a happy weekend up here with my parents. My mum would get the picnic out, while dad and I would go scrabbling through the rocks, looking for gems, it was only fluorite, but I became rich with these gems.

It appears very desolate, but there was always something to do……….an only child can always make a big adventure from nothing, and I had hundreds of adventures, and there was always the odd sheep to talk to.

As I said, these pics were taken just over twenty years ago, I was well into adulthood then, but a recent tragic accident my close friend had suffered, had made her desperate for a break and to get away from everything for a while.

So driving up to Yorkshire I took her to my ‘secret place’. I hadn’t been back since childhood, and it took me a while to find it, but driving down the track and opening all the gates, nothing had changed, it was as though time had stood still, and my memories of gem hunting, and the adventures I had all came flooding back.

I left my friend alone with her thoughts and wandered off with my camera, oddly enough, this was a Pentax too.

the gated track down from the main road

buildings still standing

Parts of the old buildings still remained, probably a few more stones had fallen, but still exactly as I’d remembered it.

Arch on the opposite side to the track

This archway is on the opposite side to the track down. I was never allowed to go further than here as a child.

stream from mine entrance

One of the mine entrances, and the stream where I found my gems.

old abandoned machinery

Plenty of old machinery still lies where it was abandoned all those years ago.

more abandoned machinery

more old machinery.

Mine entrance

Another mine entrance. I used to shout echo! echo! into it, and the voices of the old miners replied echo back to me 🙂

I’m afraid I can’t give much information about the area, but from the location described in Smacked Pentax post, it’s sound very much like it’s in the same area.

His blog post is WELL worth a read.