The Yorkshire Dales

Thursday, 5 December 2019

In August, we went to dog sit my aunt's new puppy Luna, whilst they went to do some hiking in Switzerland. Whilst our views weren't quite the Swiss mountains, we managed to do some nice walking of our own. Luna is a very busy dog, and she's happiest - and causing least mischief - when she's on a walk. We caught a beautiful day up on Ilkley Moor, a nice respite from the drizzle the rest of the week. A climb to the top of the Cow and Calf, finding the oldest graffiti (1852) on the rocks, following little streams, smelling the heather: a lovely afternoon. We finished off with a quick pint at the pub (at the bottom of their garden, since Luna disapproved of the fact she wasn't allowed cider, and voiced her disappointment. She's lucky she's so cute.)

The next walk which I brought my camera out for was a totally different story. This is the Yorkshire I'm more familiar with. Dark greys, bright greens, a generous helping of fog. We wrapped up - me in my old raincoat, Chris in the pac-a-mac I'd forced him to buy earlier in the week - and headed out anyway. Luna had hated her raincoat when I tried to get her into it, so she made do without. The water at Grassington was roaring through, so much so that the stepping stones over to the old church which we'd planned on visiting were covered with the rushing water. After a few tester steps, we decided we didn't want to risk a ducking, so we carried on down the footpath instead. Once all of us were suitably soaked and Luna had had enough of trying to catch stones in the river, we piled back into the car, found the towels, and headed home to warm up on the sofa.

A weekend in Cornwall

Thursday, 28 November 2019

After my short stay in Dorset, I had an even shorter stay in Cornwall with my dad, brother and his girlfriend. We stayed in a house in the beautiful village of Mousehole; so tiny that we nearly scraped off the car's wing mirrors on the houses on each side of the road (tip: bring the smallest car you can.) The weekend we arrived was a local festival, so we were treated to a sweet setup on the harbour beach - a little donut stand, local crafts, a bar and a dance tent. We wandered round the harbour and took in the lights, before an early night. The next day we headed down to grab breakfast at a local cafe, and found ourselves in the midst of a procession to the beach, complete with marching band and tiny children in fancy dress on miniature floats. The top billed activity was a sandcastle building - and destroying - competition. That afternoon, we headed out to St Michael's Mount to meet my friend from school, Robyn, who's living the good life down in Cornwall now, with her two little boys. We walked around, admired the tractors (they're Rudy's favourite), played in the sand and got ourselves a big scoop of Cornish ice cream each. Back at home, we had a big barbeque, and finished our evening with gin and tonics and a walk to the harbour. On Sunday my dad and I took a trip on the train to St Ives. What started as a beautiful day turned into an incredible downpour, but after hiding out in the Tate for a couple of hours, we came out for an ice cream (what says 'British summer' more than stubbornly eating an ice cream on the beach in the pouring rain?) The next day, straight after breakfast, I was back on a train to London and reality - but what a lovely weekend.

Slow summer in Dorset

Thursday, 21 November 2019

This summer I grabbed every opportunity to spend time with my family. I couldn't set aside whole weeks to join them on their holidays, but a couple of days here and a meeting in a random town to hand me over to the next group for another couple of days, meant I got to have a little quality time. My mum's family have been going to this little village in Dorset since my grandfather was a child, and after a bit of a gap in visits, my mum, nan and aunt began going back again to revisit some of their childhood haunts. I've never been, so it was lovely to take walks my family have done for generations, and learn about the time they've spent here. I got the train down and we went straight out on a walk to blow out the cobwebs. For the rest of the afternoon I worked from the cosy low-ceilinged living room of our cottage, and popped up to the pub for a pint of cider and to listen to local bands playing to a room filled with tipsy, happy people. The pub combines my favourite things (pints, and museums) - it doubles up as the local museum, filled with fossils and bits and pieces found over the years.

My mum and I walked around the village, talked about who used to live here and how people still remembered our family. My nan has been swimming in Chapman's Pool for decades, and it was perfect last year during the heatwave - unfortunately it was too cold for anyone to want to strip off this year, plus a big storm had pulled up a lot of seaweed on the shore. Still, we watched the waves, hunted for fossils in the debris, and ate packed sandwiches and chopped apples on the beach. On our walk, we pointed out plants we didn't know and had my nan identify them as she's done forever; we guessed bird calls; we counted butterflies. At the pub for dinner, the dog got fussed over by every person who walked past and got sneaked treats by the bar staff.

The next day, we went to Corfe to look at the Castle (from the National Trust tea shop, with biscuits and tea) and picked out houses in the village we'd like to live in. I hunched over my laptop for a few more hours before we took a final walk out to a point up the coast, watching the sun set over the bays up the coast. We all got cold, and so we headed home ready to wrap up in blankets to sit out - you can see the milky way in its glory out here, instead of the light fog that you get in London - and I saw my first shooting star.