Here I am snug as a bug in a rug. The radiators are piping hot , I have numerous throws to wrap round myself and two fur babies to snuggle up with. Bliss !
Friday night though was spent ( mostly shivering!) In a little B&B in the Yorkshire town of Haworth. I won’t say it was our accomodations fault. I couldn’t properly get warm anywhere at all. I think Yorkshire folk must be alot hardier than us Lancashire lot. The heating was on everywhere but didn’t seem to make much of a difference. I layered myself up and was tempted to keep my coat and hat on….even in bed. I have turned into a right softy!
Wil and I ( minus the pets) stopped over in Haworth as we were attending a talk in nearby Keighley by the Arctic adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes. It certainly seemed touch and go whether the event would take place. But of course ‘ the world’s greatest living explorer’ was easily up to the challenge of travelling from Exmoor to bleakest Yorkshire, whatever the conditions. 🙂
Despite my whinging, we did have a lovely time. The snow gave the cobbled streets of Haworth a wintery charm. The town is of course, famed for being the home of an extraordinary literary family, the Bronte’s. Writers Charlotte, Emily and Anne lived in the parsonage with their father the Reverend Bronte and brother Branwell. We had the Bronte Parsonage Museum all to ourselves on Saturday morning. Photography is no longer prohibited inside the museum,so I took a few pictures and imagined the Bronte siblings sitting at the dining room table, scribbling away. How frozen must their fingers have felt in the perishing south pennine winters.
We ended our visit to Haworth with a winter warming lunch in The Hawthorn on Main Street, whilst browsing our purchases. I bought ‘The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne by Catherine Reef ( Can’t wait to start it! ) and Wil had purchased a signed copy of Ranulph Fiennes appropriately titled ‘Cold’, the evening before.
A few weeks ago we spent a couple of nights in the Yorkshire spa town of Harrogate. This charming town is the ideal mini break destination , boasting elegant architecture, beautiful parks, art & theatre, olde worldy pubs, over 130 restaurants and shopping galore. Whats not to love!
From the cobbled streets and boutique stores of the historic Montpelier Quarter to the chilled 70’s vibe of Major Tom’s Social, we discovered some fab places, yet there is still so much left to explore. Which of course can only mean, we shall have to return. 😁
Wil had booked us into one of these lovely apartments , quite centrally located, off Cold Bath Road. Because we had planned a morning at the Turkish Baths Hugo did not accompany us on this trip. But just in case your wondering, our accomodation did turn out to be pet friendly, so he could definitely come with us in the future.
I’ve made a little list of some of my personal favourite places that we came accross in Harrogate. 😁
Major Tom’s Social. Describing itself as a ‘ Youth Club for grown ups’ this laid back hangout above a retro vintage shop specializes in selling craft beer and real ales. Also on the menu are fantastic stone baked pizzas made freshly on site. We spent an enjoyable couple of hours here one evening chilling out on a comfy sofa and soaking in the 1970’s flavour of the place. Dotted around Major Toms are allsorts of retro memorabilia and like it’s name suggests it’s a very sociable bar, welcoming everyone including families with children and dogs too. www.majortomssocial.co.uk
Covet. A few doors down from Major Tom’s Social is an eclectic gift and interiors emporium called Covet which has a sister store in Ilkley. Packed full of unique pieces this quirky independent is a treasure trove of the unusual. I wish I had gotten a photograph of the ground floor as some of the more unusual items for sale included wire moose heads and taxidermy butterflies. Well worth a browse for a thoughtful gift or interesting pieces for the home.
Baltzersen’s. Sometimes it’s good to try something a little different and Harrogate certainly caters for all tastes. Balterzen’s on Oxford Road uses Yorkshire sourced produce in its Scandinavian inspired menus. This place was buzzing when we arrived on a Saturday lunch time so it’s probably best to roll up early to miss the queues. I tried a delicious open sandwich with maple and mustard roasted root veg , houmous and pickled baby carrots. Was soooo good! Other goodies on the menu include Lentil and root veg Lapskaus ( Norwegian Stew) , Gravlaks on potato cake with poached duck egg & sweet dill dressing and Mackerel Pate with rye toast, gooseberry chutney and feta salad. www.baltzersens.co.uk
Betty’s Tea Rooms. No visit to Harrogate is complete without a trip to Betty’s. This Yorkshire institution blends the county’s friendly hospitality with elegant surroundings and a distinctly Swiss flavour. It’s founder Frederick Belmont was born and raised in Switzerland almost 100 years ago. Bettys is renowned for its delectable cakes and chocolates and of course Afternoon Tea ,which has been enjoyed here for nearly a century. One way to avoid the crowds ( Bettys is extremely popular) is to treat yourself to a Betty’s breakfast early in the morning. My Swiss Rosti set me up the day. Make sure you check out the gift shop too with it’s dazzling array of baked goods and confectionary. www.bettys.co.uk
Turkish Baths. Harrogate is home to Britain’s most fully restored Turkish Baths, dating back to the 19th Century. I have long wanted to discover them for myself, so I booked us both in for a Saturday morning session. 🙂 The Turkish Baths experience begins in the elegant Frigidarium above, where you gradually become acclimatized to the warmth. Next it’s a case of braving The Steam Room, The Tepidarium ( warm room), Calidarium ( hot room) and Laconium ( hottest room) with showering and immersions in the invigorating plunge pool in between. And then…. simply…repeat! What I treasured most about my visit was admiring the stunning moorish architecture. The Baths are so beautiful and definitely worth a visit. Make sure you book, take some flip flops ( the terrazzo flooring gets quite hot) and drink plenty of the free water that is provided. www.turkishbathsharrogate.co.uk
The Little Ale House. A very happy discovery , the Little Ale House on Cheltenham Crescent is Harrogate’s first Micropub. Cosy and friendly with a great selection of real ales and gins, this bar is run by a young husband and wife team , often accompanied by their gorgeous collie cross rescue dog. 🙂 A tiny pub but well worth a visit if you can squeeze in. Oh and the pork pies are to die for!
Weetons Food Hall. My browse round Weetons was all to brief ,but if you are a foodie you will definitely enjoy perusing the many goodies on offer in this attractive Food Hall. Overlooking the Stray ( one of the town’s many green spaces) Weetons also has a restaurant , an award winning butchers and lots of mouthwatering displays. www.weetons.com
Have you ever been to Harrogate? Where would you recommend me to visit on a future trip? I am sure I will return. 🙂
So here is what I have come up with for the prompts this month. Most of these pictures are from last weekend. Wil booked us a couple of nights in Harrogate for my birthday and on the way home on Sunday we visited the nearby town of Knaresborough.
Blue. I was delighted to actually manage to take a photo of a Kingfisher recently, on the river Nidd in Knaresborough. I saw a gleam of Blue fly up into a tree and used my camera to investigate. I was thrilled especially as photographing this iconic bird is on my 25 Before 45 ~ A Bucket List.
Me. And here’s another bird I found in Knaresborough. This is Me with Hedwig the Owl and Harry potter on the other side of the window. There is lots of street art like this in the town.
Starts with W. And more Street Art at Blind Jack’s Public House. Look who is leaning out of the Windows.
Rainbow. Rather lucky that I came accross this gift shop called Rainbow’s End. Those colourful glass rainbows are rather effective.
Arch. Knaresborough is famous for it’s impressive Victorian viaduct and it’s splendid Arches are widely photographed. Four 78ft high arches span the river Nidd and carry trains across to this day.
Toy. Well if you know me by now you will probably see why I was drawn to this room , absolutely devoted to Dogs! It’s in the Orvis Countrywear store in Harrogate and is chocca full of dog toys, dog beds and everything a discerning pooch could need. A visit with Mr Hugo is on the cards. 🐕
Swirl. A trip to Harrogate is not complete without a visit to Betty’s Tea Rooms. If you want to avoid the daytime queues get there early for breakfast or why not bob by for dessert in the evening. A decadent Icecream Sundae with a swirl of whipped cream and a blueberry on top does the trick. 😃
Brush. I hunted in the archives for this one and found brush to be broomsticks! This was taken 3 years ago on The Pendle Sculpture Trail in Barley, which tells the story of the Lancashire Witches.
Nail. Found this prompt quite difficult, but you can see my toe nails in this picture I took whilst relaxing in the Frigidarium in Harrogate’s wonderfully ornate Turkish Baths.
My Own Choice. Back to Knaresborough again where we met Isabella the Raven! She is one of several gorgeous ravens who are brought to Knaresborough Castle every day by their keeper to charm visitors. The Castle is actually a royal castle and ravens were brought here to celebrate the Millennium, their popularity meant that they have stayed here ever since. Isabella though, has to be kept on a jessie due to having an Asbo! Her mischievous nature has got her into trouble for stealing mobile phones and taking selfies. She also swears like a trooper!
I’ve just realised whenever I post a Sunday Sevens ( 7 or more pictures from the past seven days) I seem to average about one per month, not one per week! But anyway I have just had a week off work…and that seems a good enough reason to join in. 😁
Last weekend it was my Birthday get together so here I am on a Night out with the girls. I’m holding an Espresso Martini , which does look more like a Guinness!
A week off means more time spent walking with this gentleman of course. It’s been pretty muddy and squelchy in the fields. But that doesn’t stop Hugo’s enjoyment. Whilst I am busy pulling myself out of bogs , he whizzes round like a whirling dervish! Here he is in a rare still moment.
On my actual Birthday my friend Lisa took me to Manchester and we had a great time mooching round the Northern Quarter. This is a colourful area in the city full of quirky bars, cute cafes and independent shops. Just my cup of tea! I am sure I will blog about it soon. 🍰🍫🍸
My Guilty pleasure at the moment is watching Grimm, a supernatural series about a homicide detective who inherits the ability to see monsters.Those goblin, witches and werewolf types inspired by Grimm’s fairytales. And there are a lot of monsters in Portland for sure! I have also finally finished watching Son’s of Anarchy with Wil. All 7 seasons! When he first started watching it I thought it wouldn’t be my thing, a drama about an outlaw motorcycle gang. But hey it became an addiction! What TV shows are you enjoying at the moment?
Presently I am stopping in an apartment in Harrogate with Wil ( my Birthday present! ) and yesterday I got to cross something off my Bucket List. 😁 I had booked us into the Turkish Baths which are Britain’s most fully restored Victorian Turkish Baths. As you can see , I took one very sneeky pic in the Relaxation Room aka the Frigidarium. Photography is not allowed but I wanted to prove I visited this beautiful building with its gorgeous ornate tiling. Bliss..
We also had early morning coffees before our spa experience in a Harrogate institution Betty’s Tea Rooms. I think having breakfast there maybe before 9am , is one way of beating the queues!
But I will post more about our stay in Harrogate very soon. 😊
In the past when Wil and I have driven to the Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge, we have arrived there completely frazzled, because our old sat nav loves magical mystery tours. Or we just couldn’t find the place at all! Happily on Saturday the Gods did not conspire against us, and we pulled up in a sunshiney Hebden before ten in the morning.
Hebden Bridge is a market town in Calderdale. , famed for its independent stores and creative community . Artisan shops and pavement cafes adorn the cobbles and Victorian terraces cling to the steep hillsides. On a bright September morning, it really did look like we had arrived in the ‘Happy Valley’.
As we were accompanied by a certain ‘ hungry black labrador’ , I suggested we stop by at The Lamppost Cafe for coffee and flapjacks for us…and a pup cake for him. On the Lampposts facebook page it says ‘Because every dog deserves to feel special and be treated so! Don’t tie your best friend to a lamppost, bring them in The Lamppost!’
Hugo and new friend ‘Lucky’.
Waiting for a Pup Cake.
Help yourself to water for your doog.
We loved the rustic decor in this very dog friendly cafe, and it was fun choosing Hugo a mouthwatering muffin from their impressive pup cake collection. It’s a pity he wolfed it down before I could get a picture ! His new friend Lucky was most happy to pose though. Isn’t she adorable. 🙂 Lucky is sat on a hessian coffee sack , which you can help yourself to, if your dog doesn’t want to lie on the wooden floor. I really enjoyed my fruity flapjack and the coffee was good too.
After a wander round the shops and the market ( I found a lady who makes felt fairy lamps ~ Christmas present sorted for one goddaughter! ), we had lunch at Green’s ( a veggie cafe) and then went for a walk by the canal.
We headed in the direction of Hebden Bridge’s neighbor Mytholmroyd, where poet Ted Hughes was born. Along the way there were were many barge businesses and floating homes.
On the outskirts of Hebden Bridge a rust coloured sculpture of a hawk, roosts in memorial to the Yorkshire born poet. I’m not sure it looks hawk-like enough. What do you think? Hughes first wife writer ‘ Sylvia Plath’ is buried in the churchyard at nearby Heptonstall.
Mid afternoon and Hebden Bridge was crazy busy , so we left the town and headed for nearby Haworth, another Yorkshire parish with famed literary connections. But first we stopped off for a walk on the rolling moorland above Oxenhope. Hugo decided to leap onto this wall and nearly ended up in the steep ravine below, tangled with the purple heather and brambles. Luckily he decided that running amongst the rushes was just as much fun!
Beautiful Haworth is still so evocative of its famous residents, the Brontes. Surrounded by wild moor land , Haworth’s cobbled streets are brimming with old fashioned shops and is little changed from the days when Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell lived with their father in the parsonage , now a museum.
I love the cute shops in Haworth and make no apologies for buying a couple more Christmas gifts. I just couldn’t resist and ‘ Wave of Nostalgia ‘ especially, really drew me in.
There are lots of Tea shops on the cobbled main street, but Wil can certainly recommend the Jamaican Peaberry Coffee from 10 the coffee house, where all coffees are freshly ground to order. As you can see the African Lime cake we shared is tiny! But I’m kind of glad, as it has been my only cheat in a fortnight of abstaining from cake, pastry, crisps , bread and chocolate …..so far. 😉
It’s been a few years since I have wandered round the wonderful Bronte Museum, and on this visit I contented myself with a stroll in the garden and a quick glance in the museum shop.
I’ve already decided that I would like to return soon and follow in the footsteps of the Bronte’s ,up onto the South Pennine Moors, via the path that passes the parsonage. Watch this space. 🙂
Because I am a traveller I can look down on the birds and up at the fishes. I collect moments and can venture back in time to lost worlds. I seize life and simultaneously escape it at will. Because I am a traveller I envy no man at home.