Tuesday, 4 August 2015

camping in Yorkshire

We have just come back from a weekend of camping in Yorkshire.

Unfortunately it was during this summer, so it was rather cool and rather damp, but it was lovely to catch up with old friends, and meet up with family, and to stay on our lovely campsite.

None of the pictures I took could do justice to the amazing view from the campsite. Each evening we just sat and watched it. There are also 12 birds who do awesome flying displays for your delight.
The campsite we stayed at was at Ghyll House: a working farm, run by Mike and Chrissy Flesher. It has amazing views across Wharfedale, and we were looked after incredibly well. Mike took all of us to meet the lambs, piglets, and ducklings, and we even got to feed some of them.
Mike, the farmer, is happy to chat about farming, and would be an amazing source of information for anyone thinking of writing a book set on a farm. The kids loved feeding the lambs, and I am currently intrigued with the idea of converting a raw fleece into something woven. Did you know they can barely sell black or part black fleeces, because they don't take colour, and yet they can be beautiful in themselves. There's an article in the Daily Mail (sorry) about 'rare' black sheep's wool jumpers, which look utterly beautiful. I want one! Let's drive the price up!
It has electrical hookups for those that can use them, and is really well priced, plus it's in Wharfedale! There are nice, clean, well provisioned toilet blocks, and the shower blocks are being built right now. If it was really wet it might be a bit tricky getting a car out of the field, but I'm sure you could park by the loos instead.

The campsite is 20 minutes walk from Addingham, a friendly village with a well-provisioned Co-op. We had fish and chips from Old Station Fisheries, which were delicious and also incredibly cheap, so I'll let the woman that served me off for thinking I was a cockney! I went to the pub in Addingham on Friday night. The Swan is a lovely, old fashioned pub with good beer and a live band most Friday nights. They also do food, have a beer garden, and a surprisingly enormous car park.

Addingham also has a really good play park (just by the Medical Centre).

Don't tell anyone about the park in Addingham, no-one seems to know about it!
There are also good parks down the road both ways in Ilkley, and in Skipton. Skipton boats a wonderful castle, busy market and some lovely walks, while Ilkley has some fancy shops, Ilkley moor, Ilkley lido and lots more walks.

Also, recently opened nearby is Billy Bob's Parlour - an American diner and play barn. We neglected to book a table inside (it was a showery day and we didn't think we'd need to), but at 11am when we arrived there was no room. Happily there was still room outside, so we sat there. The food was good, if a little pricey, but that's made up for by the fact it's only £1 per child to play in the play barns. There's one for little kids, and another for big kids. It can get a little boisterous in the big kid barn, but everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Billy Bob's is at Calm Slate farm, which is the home of Yorkshire Dales Farmhouse Ice Cream. Having seen the ice cream I ditched the diet and had a double scoop cone. The scoops were generous, there was caramel sauce, and the ice cream was divine. Well worth a gain, if I get one!

Miss 5 playing in the Under 7's play barn. She did this to herself.
What would you recommend doing in the Wharfedale area?


Monday, 3 August 2015

on a dream holiday

Today on the gratitude challenge I'm talking about my favourite holiday.

The first thing that springs to mind is a dream holiday. The place(s) where I would go if someone gave me £1million which I could only spend on holidays.

I'm thinking of a massive campervan (and perhaps someone else to drive it) in the USA, to go to Universal Orlando Resort, Florida, and to take my husband to the Superbowl; to visit those giant weird things they have in the middle of nowhere in the US (it must be true, Neil Gaiman says so). To try bacon cupcakes, and just be somewhere very different where they still speak English (after a fashion).

Saturday, 1 August 2015

grateful for what we've done

I'm still playing catch-up on the gratitude challenge, and today I'm talking about the things I'm grateful for in my past.

So much to be grateful for!

I'm going to start with my parents. I think they were pretty awesome parents. They gave me a really interesting childhood. We went for walks, hung out in beer gardens, got told off for doing homework in front of the TV, etc. But we also got to meet lots of interesting people. 

My parents had lots of friends, who'd come around often, on top of that they fostered teenagers, and we had lodgers, so I spent my early years in busy houses, with lots of interesting adults in them.

Our household in 1981 (plus a boyfriend). Don't tell my kids I've got my fingers in my mouth! Dad is taking the picture.
My parents marriage didn't last, sadly, but they were/are good people, and good parents, so even after they divorced they worked together to look after me and my little brother (he's wearing his favourite hat in the picture, he'd still be wearing it today if his head would fit in it). That taught me a lot about cooperation, and about weathering storms.

After my parents split up my Dad would occasionally take my brother and I to buddhist communes, which were awesome. I particularly loved communal meals (not saying I liked the burnt dahl, made by a gawjuss young man called Zaphod who should have stuck to looking pretty), but I loved the community coming together to eat, and I already noticed how it freed up time for everybody. If I could live like that (and be near good schools and work, and family), I would.

When we lived in rainy town I would take the kids to Samye Ling for their open days, which was a good way to get the feel of the place. My boy especially enjoyed sitting in the gompa (I am probably spelling that wrong), and the monk not blinking when he asked what he does if he needs to pee while meditating (he goes before).

Visiting Samye Ling.
After all that good stuff came teenage years *shudder*, which led swiftly into 1st marriage. From all of this I am grateful for the friends I made and the people who stuck in there. I am grateful for surviving it, and that it put me on the path that got me here, with a great family, and the chance to write.

I hope there are more good things in store.

What are you grateful for?

Friday, 31 July 2015

listening in: 5 programmes worth listening to


This is a thing isn't it? I love listening to podcasts; it's the way that fits around my life that I can learn stuff, follow up my obsessions, and get excited about things. I mainly seem to listen while doing laundry, and with three children, there's plenty of laundry!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

doing our best

This week on the gratitude challenge I'm talking about a core value of mine.

So here goes. I believe that we are all doing our best. I remind myself of this all the time, because it's easy to forget. But we all do the best we can in the circumstances.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Weather Project: Summer holiday edit


We went on holiday - all of us - abroad! We went somewhere where it DID NOT RAIN EVEN ONCE THE WHOLE TIME, where the temperature rarely dipped below 30C and occasionally topped 40C, and this Goth survived.

In fact, I loved it.

I am profoundly grateful to my in-laws for taking us all to stay in Mallorca, and to Mallorca for being so beautifully hot and sunny.

We went to a lot of beaches, the children swam in the sea, and were delighted to see fishes swimming alongside them. I was not so delighted, but instead freaked out when some seaweed touched me and after that looked after everyone's stuff!


The heat made us change how we spent our days. The afternoons were too hot to do anything, so we would 'chill' out in our villa, playing in the pool and reading books, and then go out to do more exploring, and to eat dinner.

The kids were up to about 10pm every night, and that worked wonderfully. We all got plenty of down time in the afternoons (it totally helped that there were lots of adults on hand, which again, I'm very grateful for), and exploring picturesque places like Pollenca and Alcudia in the evenings was lovely.


It was weird to me that there were very few types of plants growing, but things did grow, even without much rain (it does rain in Mallorca, but hardly at all in July - peak rainfall comes in October, when it rains around half the days (which sounds like an amazing summer in Scotland)).

Let us not discuss our Scottish summer weather any more. We could maybe do that next time.

The good news is that we people of the United Kingdom are free to move elsewhere in the EU, and some of it is lovely and warm. 

We have less ants though.

Our next holiday involves camping in Yorkshire. Cross your fingers for us.

Where have you been on your holidays? And were the weather gods kind?