Tag Archives: Harry potter

Edinburgh.

When Wil and I visited Edinburgh recently ,we decided to leave be the usual touristy venues such as the Castle, the Camera Obscura, Mary Kings Close and the Scottish National Gallery. All these wonderful attractions are definitely worth visiting ( and we will again, I am sure), but we wanted to explore some other parts of this beautiful city.

The Scottish Capital has extensive parks, extinct volcanos, hidden bars, Harry Potter inspired locations and the most listed buildings in the world. Here are a few images from our trip.

View of Arthur’s Seat from Edinburgh Castle. The peak is an ancient volcano, sitting 251m above sea level.
A William Wallace performs on the Royal Mile.
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A fairy on the Royal Mile.
The colourful curving Victoria Terrace is full of quirky independent shops, and happens to be the main inspiration for Diagon Alley, apparently. J. K. Rowling lived and wrote in the city, so could indeed be true.

Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden is just one mile from the city centre, and well worth the walk, if your feeling active. I must admit I was dying to visit the ornate glass houses, of which there are ten. The Victorian Temperate Palm house below is one of the tallest traditional Palm houses ever built. Because it was quite nippy, it was nice to keep warm inside for a while, so I recommend a Winter trip. Look out for the Gardens cat, a handsome black Tom, called Milo. I didn’t manage to get a picture, but he’ll be the one being fussed over by the tourists. 🙂

You can enter the Palm House for free, and there is a charge to explore the other glass houses.
I think we are in the Cacti Glass House here.
There are lots of quite tame grey squirrels in the park.

From the Botanic Gardens it is a pleasant walk alongside the Water of Leith into Stockbridge, an area of Edinburgh with lots of green spaces and a friendly village atmosphere. It’s plethora of independent shops and cafes makes Stockbridge a great place to linger.

Entrance to Stockbridge Market, a popular Sunday Market.
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Little Free Library.,
A lovely independent bookshop we found called Golden Hare Books on St Stephen Street.
Golden Hare Books.
Cheese and wine in Smith & Gertrude.

Edinburgh is a walkers city! We followed the Dean Path along the waterside to the Dean Village, a beautiful Edinburgh suburb. An Instagrammer’s delight , the Dean Village is incredibly picturesque, but bring a picnic if your planning to eat here. There are no shops or cafes, though plenty in nearby Stockbridge.

St Bernard’s Mineral Well. A statue of Hygeia ` Greek Goddess of Health’ resides here.
Dean Village.
Well Court, Dean Village.

One place we reserved a table for dinner was ‘ The Witchery By The Castle‘ near the castle gates. Fine dining in a gothic setting, this restaurant may set you back a few quid, but it is in a very atmospheric setting and the food is mouth watering.

The Witchery By The Castle.
Dessert at the Witchery. Yummy!

We also discovered some almost hidden bars on our explorations round Edinburgh. Venture down any ginnel off the Royal Mile, and you will find a traditional real ale pub such as The Jolly Judge ( look out for the nearby Writers Museum) and The Jinglin’ Geordie. If your preference is cocktails, The Devil’s Advocate in the Old Town and Brambles in the New Town are both quite hidden from the hustle and bustle, but can get busy even so.

On the Sunday before catching our train home, we took a stroll up Calton Hill which is home to several skyline monuments. From here there are far reaching views over the city and some quite interesting structures, including a building that was once called ‘Scotland’s Disgrace’. It is in fact a half finished replica of the Athens Parthenon , a tribute to the fallen of the Napoleonic Wars. The money ran out and building of the National Monument was never completed. I quite like it though! Other iconic buildings include The Nelson Monument, The Royal Observatory and Rock House, which you can actually rent as a holiday let.

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Nelson Monument.
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Dugald Stewart Monument.
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Royal Observatory.

National Monument.

So there you have it, a weekend in Edinburgh.

Where do you like to visit in the city?

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Janet’s Foss and Malham Cove.

What marvelous hot and sunny weather we are experiencing lately!  The perfect weather for a waterfall walk followed by a climb up an amphitheatre shaped cliff formation, made from limestone? Of course. 🙂 We set off early on Sunday morning and crossed over the border to the gorgeous Yorkshire Dales and headed for the pretty village of Malham. It was before 9am as we walked up through the village towards Gordale Scar and found the footpath sign for Janet’s Foss.  Janet’s Foss is the enchanting name of a waterfall that carries Gordale Beck into a plunge pool below. It’s a pretty enchanting spot as well.mallham 004

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Janet’s Foss is named after a Fairy Queen called Janet ( or Jennet)  who apparently lives in a cave behind the waterfall. Foss is a  Scandinavian name for Waterfall. It is a truly beautiful tranquil place, but we did not have it to ourselves for long. Soon Hugo was joined by a very vocal little staffie called Lill and they enjoyed   dashing about and jumping in and out of the water.  In days gone by the pool was a meeting place for the villagers at the annual ‘Sheep Dipping’ day. It certainly looks very inviting. ;).

We reluctantly left this local beauty spot and followed the path through the woods, where wild garlic bloomed in abundance and the busy songs of dippers and wrens guided us to the buttercup meadows beyond. No wonder Charles Kingsley took inspiration from the area for his children’s novel ‘The Water Babies’. I could almost imagine fairy folk fluttering amongst the trees.

 

 

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Dipper.

Before we left I noticed several of these ‘Book Nests’ in the branches. If we had walked to Janet’s Foss from the Smithy  in the village, we would have seen the sign below, explaining all, before entering the woods. The Bee Library is a collection of bee-themed books converted into nests for wild or solitary bees, installed in ash trees. What an intriguing idea…..

Once back in Malham it was still only mid morning. We decided to take advantage of the sunshine and enjoy a coffee , sat outside The Listers Arms. I was amused to find a pub bearing my family name. Yes I was christened a Lister. And yes I like making lists. 🙂

After our coffees we decided to walk to Malham Cove. By this time the area was getting busier and lots of other folk had the same idea. It was also getting quite hot. Luckily Gordale Beck was always on our right if any of us needed to take a dip! And we took plenty of water with us.

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The farmland on the way to the cove was rocky and covered in sunbathing cows. 🙂

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Malham Cove.
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One of the caves where peregrine falcons nest. 🙂

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Malham Cove is a curved limestone formation just North  of the village. It was formed by a waterfall carrying meltwater from glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age.  It’s wide rock face makes it popular with climbers. Luckily for those of us not inclined to hang around in mid air, there are jaggedy stone steps to struggle up instead. 😉  Something I did not know about Malham Cove, is that it is actually home to a pair of Peregrine Falcons and their two juvenile chicks. The RSPB are at the Cove every Saturday until 31st July, with their telescopes trained on the birds. We were very honored indeed to catch a glimpse of this majestic Falcon family.

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I’m not sure how many steps there are to the top of Malham Cove, but I think I heard some incredibly fast sprinting child count to 400. I could be wrong ,I was so busy hyperventilating my hearing may have been impaired!  But once at the top it is really worth it. There are far reaching views of the dale below and a fantastic limestone pavement running across the top.  Infact the limestone pavement appeared in the film ‘Harry potter and the Deathly Hallows (part one)’, as one of the places Harry and Hermione travelled to.

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Limestone pavement.

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The heat was pretty intense by this point so we headed back down to the bottom where Hugo especially was glad of a paddle in the stream. We then walked back to the village and enjoyed some lunch in one of the cafes there.

All in all we had  a fun morning in Malham. Have you ever been?

 

My Favorite Film Felines. ~^^~

There’s been an awful lot of the aloof yet outgoing O2 cat on the telly recently , embracing his inner dog and all that. Made me think about some of the Cool Kitty’s I have spied in the movies over the years. Most of them are purrfectly aware they are the actual Film Stars! They don’t need to Be More Dog. Here are just a few of my fave film felines.

Sassy the Himalayan cat is one of three pets who find themselves experiencing adventures in the wild as they make their way home to find their owners in The Incredible Journey. Sassy by name and Sassy by nature!
Sassy the Himalayan cat is one of three pets who find themselves experiencing adventures in the wild as they make their way home to find their owners in The Incredible Journey. Sassy by name and Sassy by nature!
Pyewacket ( I love that name) is Kim Novaks Witche's siamese who helps her cast a spell on mortal James Stewart in romantic comedy Bell,Book and Candle. Pyewacket was the name of an actual witch's familiar in 1647.
Pyewacket ( I love that name) is Kim Novaks Witche’s siamese who helps her cast a spell on mortal James Stewart in romantic comedy Bell,Book and Candle. Pyewacket was the name of an actual witch’s familiar in 1647.
Crookshanks is Hermoine's cat in the Harry Potter books and films.  He is half -cat/half -Kneazle. Therefore has the magical ability of recognising untrustworthy persons. Always handy    at Hogwarts !
Crookshanks is Hermoine’s cat in the Harry Potter books and films. He is half -cat/half -Kneazle. Therefore has the magical ability of recognising untrustworthy persons. Always handy at Hogwarts !
Blofelds Cat always gives the James Bond Villain more of an air of menace,don't you think ??
Blofelds Cat always gives the James Bond Villain more of an air of menace,don’t you think ??
Baby is the young leopard  in the screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby ,starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant.  In real life Cary was not as fond of Baby as Katharine who put a stuffed leopard in his dressing room as a joke, he apparently ran out very quickly.
Baby is the young leopard in the screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby ,starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. In real life Cary was not as fond of Baby as Katharine who put a stuffed leopard in his dressing room as a joke, he apparently ran out very quickly.
Jones or Jonesie the Ginger Tom  is the only company Sigourney weaver's Ripley has left when the Alien slaughters the crew. He provides almost as many scary jump out of your seat moments as the Alien.
Jones or Jonesie the Ginger Tom is the only company Sigourney weaver’s Ripley has left when the Alien slaughters the crew. He provides almost as many scary jump out of your seat moments as the Alien.
who doesn't want to snuggle in Aslans majestic mane ,even if  he is a powerful and wise battle scarred lion.X
who doesn’t want to snuggle in Aslans majestic mane ,even if he is a powerful and wise battle scarred lion.X
Angus really does have to suffer for his art in Angus,Thongs and Perfect Snogging.Our heroine's little sis just wants him to look his best at breakfast.
Angus really does have to suffer for his art in Angus,Thongs and Perfect Snogging.Our heroine’s little sis just wants him to look his best at breakfast.
The Cheshire Cat looking a little toothsome in Tim Burton's adaptation of Alice In Wonderland. This cat creation obviously has good taste in tea. :)
The Cheshire Cat looking a little toothsome in Tim Burton’s adaptation of Alice In Wonderland. This cat creation obviously has good taste in tea. 🙂
And here's my favorite movie moggie 'Cat'  in Breakfast at Tiffanys. The ginger tom lives with Holly Golightly. a new york socialite who doesn't want to get emotionally attached to anyone ~ not even  this adorable kitty. In real life Cat was played by Orangey,the only cat to win two Patsy awards ( the feline equivalent to the Oscars). :)
And here’s my favorite movie moggie ‘Cat’ in Breakfast at Tiffanys. The ginger tom lives with Holly Golightly. a new york socialite who doesn’t want to get emotionally attached to anyone ~ not even this adorable kitty. In real life Cat was played by Orangey,the only cat to win two Patsy awards ( the feline equivalent to the Oscars). 🙂

Hope you enjoyed my post. Who are your favorite Cat stars of the silver screen?

Otley, Ilkley and Betty’s.

Good Friday arrived and we thought we would have a drive over Yorkshire way. I had done some research and found out there was a good bike shop in the market town of Otley. My other half enjoys road biking and mountain biking so armed with this info, I can coax him to take me somewhere which might coincidently also have a lovely vintage shop say….or a pretty tea room. 😉

So off we sped over the moors along snow drift cleared roads ( My those drifts were high!), big blue sky full of puffy white clouds and Jake Bugg playing on the car stereo.Happy days!

Otley is a thriving market town in beautiful countryside only ten minutes from Leeds. The river Wharfe passes along the edge of Otley and there is a rather unusually named park which runs by its side. Titty Bottle Park was so named in Edwardian times due to nannies perambulating their charges up and down the river side path.
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In Otley we had a nosy round the market, found the bike shop ( which went down very well with the bf by the way) and I purchased a couple of gorgeous tea cups from a darling little vintage shop called ‘Browse time’ , a treasure trove of old books,mismatched crockery and even retro sweets. Then we went for a sandwich in a cute little coffee shop and gift shop called Heebiesnear the market.Children may enjoy Heebies as it is an official stockist of Harry Potter merchandice.It even serves Butter Beer.:)

Colourful cactus garden in Heebies.
Colourful cactus garden in Heebies.

Seven miles from Otley is the equally picturesque Ilkley. Ilkley is a spa and festival town under the wild and beautiful Ilkley Moor. It also has its own 1930’s built lido. The lido is unheated though so we thought we would give that one a miss! Maybe in the summer time hey……
My actual reason for wanting to visit Ilkley is that I had heard that there was a little vintage tea rooms there. Unfortunately when we got to where the tea rooms were supposed to be ~they had shut down. So sad 😦

Ilkley is however one of the homes of a popular Yorkshire institution Bettys bettys 016
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The first Betty’s tea rooms was established in 1919 in Harrogate by young swiss baker and confectioner Frederick Belmont who fell in love with the scenic Yorkshire countryside.These were eventually followed by others in York, Northallerton and Ilkley. Betty’s are a delighful combination of switzerland and Yorkshire. The tea rooms in Ilkley have an elegant interior with mirrored walls,art deco lamps and the waitresses wear clean crisp aprons,buttoned up blouses and vintage brooches. We did have to queue twenty minutes for a table but the delicious tea and cakes we ordered were well worth the wait.:)
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Rhubarb Crumble.
Rhubarb Crumble.
If you ever go to Betty's you must try a Yorkshire Fat Rascal. ;)
If you ever go to Betty’s you must try a Yorkshire Fat Rascal. 😉

HOpe you are having a lovely Easter weekend.X