I am treating January as I usually do. It’s my month of keeping snug and cosy inside, with a healthy dose of fresh air and exercise. I also like to plan holidays and weekends away at this time of year, so have been researching our little holiday in North Norfolk during May and weekend walks in the Eden Valley, for when we can get back up to the caravan.
Continuing Winter cheer with my window display. The Robins mimic my real life robin visitor. The hyacinth plant I found in Sainsbury’s for a bargain 65p is now flowering and giving off a delicious scent, resembling woods of bluebells.
I’ve been looking for more walks from home. Although I thought we had been just about everywhere on our doorstep, I was proved wrong last weekend, when we discovered new to us footpaths. I’m sure there are more to explore!
There will be another place to wander when Clitheroe’s new Nature Reserve opens. It is very local indeed. I have nosed over the fence a couple of times and I spied several Teal on the water. 🙂 Can’t wait for a proper look.
The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is all set for the last weekend of January. I have signed up as usual and am looking forward to seeing which feathered visitors turn up in the hour.
Incase you are looking for some on screen escapism, here is a list of what I’ve enjoyed watching recently. Most are series and there’s one film. But let me say this, my list is one of mostly guilty pleasures. 😄
Bridgerton. Netflix. Regency romance with lots of drama, comedy, gossip & scandal.
Derry Girls. All 4 / Netflix. Coming of age comedy set during ‘ the troubles’ in nineties Northern Ireland.
Ghosts. BBC I Player. Spirited comedy about the ghostly inhabitants of a haunted house, from the creators of Horrible Histories
Winter Walks. BBC I Player. Join well known faces as they film their favourite walks in Yorkshire. I miss Yorkshire. ❤️
Eurovision Song Contest : The Story Of Fire Saga. Netflix. Very cheesy but enjoyable musical comedy film set in Iceland and Edinburgh.
The Masked Singer. ITV/ ITV Hub. Addictive crazy singing competition.
Home For Christmas. Netflix. Norwegian rom com series.
Sneaky Pete. Amazon Prime. Crime drama about a con man who assumes the identity of his cellmate to escape from a vengeful mobster.
The Queen’s Gambit. Netflix. An orphans rise against the odds to become the Worlds number one chess player.
All Creatures Great And Small. My 5. Heart warming 1940s comedy drama about a young vet who accepts a job in a Yorkshire Dales Vetinary practice. This is a remake of the original series, and just as good. ❤️
It’s nice to find a nice cosy read and I did in Winter Holiday from the Swallows and Amazon’s children’s book series by Arthur Ransome. I am immersed in a world of frozen lakes, snowy igloos and secret signals. Thanks to the What is it about books ? blog for the recommendation. ❤️
So this is my first foray into using the new WordPress editor. I hope it turns out okay.
Do leave me your own thoughts on how you are spending January?
Hey I’ve been ever so decadent recently and indulged in my second afternoon tea in just eight days. I really can’t resist an afternoon tea invite though, plus it was epic to meet up with friends in lovely Leeds. 🙂
After shopping and cocktails in the city we headed for our reservation at The Ivy. Nowadays The Ivy collection of gorgeous art deco restaurants has spread North from London and countrywide , three having opened in Yorkshire at York, Harrogate & Leeds. The Leeds Ivy is situated in the ornate Victoria Quarter on Vicar Lane.
I have to say I immediately fell in love with the stunning interiors in the Victoria Quarter restaurant. Theres definitely a wow moment as you enter and the upstairs area where Gill had booked us a table is just as stunning. Eye-catching images wherever you look!
Afternoon Tea at The Ivy comes served on a three tier cake stand. This and the crockery and napkins are embellished with a single green ivy leaf, a lovely attention to detail. A choice of hot drinks are included and I chose Peppermint tea.
And what of the tasty treats? We were definitely all impressed with the sweet selection , though maybe an extra sandwich would have been nice. There are three savouries included in this Afternoon Tea. My favourite was the chicken and truffle in a brioche roll.
The cakes were plentiful ( with two scones each, served with jam, strawberries and clotted cream) and I especially enjoyed the chocolate dessert in a plant pot. 🙂
I would definitely recommend The Ivy in Leeds as an afternoon tea destination. And Leeds itself as a great day out with the girls. 🙂 🥂🍰
Thanks to Arwen and Gill for their photo contributions.
Sunday mornings unpromising weather predictions didn’t put us off our intended trip to Haworth. Our plan was to take a walk from the town, over the surrounding moorland to Top Withens . The wild location of the ruined farmhouse is thought to be where Emily Bronte pictured ‘ Wuthering Heights ‘ in her novel.
We put Hugo in the back of the car, picked up my sister and niece and made our way to Yorkshire, wind screen wipers on the go. Amazingly the rain seemed to clear up once we arrived in Haworth. A walk over Haworth Moor was still on the cards.
Raincoats on, we set off from the Brontë Village Car Park, and would you know it within five minutes, the weather could definitely be described as wuthering! We were blown past the ‘Literary Landscape Sculptures’ two sets of five stone books peering up from the heath. The sweeping rain prevented me from getting any photos. At this point we decided to only walk as far as the Brontë waterfalls, and save Top Withens for another day.
The Brontë Waterfalls lie some 2•5 miles over the moor. A well trodden path leads all the way there and is clearly signposted too, surprisingly in Japanese as well as English. Described by Charlotte Brontë as ‘ a perfect torrent racing over the rocks, white and beautiful’ the falls on Sunday were definitely more of a trickle than a torrent. However the setting is lovely, even on a dreich December day. As yet,shades of copper bracken add colour to the rugged scenery and a babbling beck gives drama to the landscape. You can see why the Brontë siblings enjoyed walking here.
Below the falls a stone footbridge known as the Brontë Bridge crosses the stream and the path continues onwards towards Top Withens. We posed in the rain for a quick selfie and were soon joined by a group of hardy ramblers who chose this glorious spot for a lunch break. It was amazing how many other walkers we had seen along the way, despite the dreary weather. Our tummy’s rumbling and feeling rather like drowned rats, we decided to retrace our steps back to Haworth, where the promise of a hot meal somewhere warm and dry beckoned.
Haworth is definitely somewhere that feels incredibly festive at this time of year. After warming up in a welcoming ( and dog friendly) cafe on Main Street called The Cook House, we went for a wander along the cobbles, listened to Christmas carols, visited some lovely independent shops and found a bustling Christmas market in Central Park.
I’m sure we will return in the Spring, for another stride over the Moors, in the footsteps of the Bronte’s.
Back in March when Wil and I spent a particularly Ice Cold Night In Haworth , I picked up a Railway children’s Walks leaflet from the train station. We eventually returned one showery ( but much warmer) day in September and tried out the longer of the two circular walks, which is six miles long.
The Railway Children is a 1970 dramatization of E Nesbit’s Classic novel about three children whose lives change dramatically when their father is sent to prison, and their mother takes them to live in rural Yorkshire, uprooting them from their middle class London life. Their new home backs onto a railway line , which brings unexpected adventures and also new friends, when the going gets tough. The film is an endearing family favourite, and one that can still be enjoyed today. 🙂
Although Howarth is definitely more well known as the home of the literary Bronte family, it’s cobbled streets, old-fashioned railway stations, surrounding buttercup meadows and even the Bronte parsonage itself, made for inspired location casting in the film. Hopefully Author E Nesbit would have been pleased with the result!
The walk starts at Howarth Station ( we parked in the main car-park , not far from Haworth Centre), where we were lucky enough to see a steam train puffing into the station:)
Before I could so much as wave a white hanky, we set off from Haworth Station forecourt, crossing the main road and turning right , before turning left up Brow Road. After a short distance we spied a footpath sign on the right and followed a well trodden path through farmyards and passing Oxenhope water treatment works as we walked along side Bridgehouse Beck and Worth Valley Railway, almost to Oxenhope Station.
This section of the walk wouldn’t normally take very long, but we found ourselves caught up in a Fell Race, and had to keep stopping and grabbing Hugo, making way for Fell Runner after Fell Runner. Talk about bad timing on our part! One poor runner nearly tripped over the dog! We were relieved when our paths finally divided and we crossed the railway.
We had packed some lunch and after our fraught run ins with the fell runners we decided to sit a while on a bench overlooking the railway line, watching a few straggling runners appear now and again. The race did remind me of the paper chase in the film though. 🙂
After our impromptu picnic we carried on over the stile in the wall behind us and up the meadow where Bents House appears on the left. Better known as Three Chimneys, this is the Yorkshire home of The Railway Children. 🙂
By now it had started raining heavily, so we changed into our waterproofs after passing the stone gap stile which “Perks the Station master” has difficulty squeezing through, whilst delivering a basket hamper to Three Chimneys in the film.
The walk then took us to the hamlet of Hole after passing through a farmyard and a large field full of very frisky cows, who were a bit too interested in Hugo. After much shooing we managed to negotiate ourselves around the cattle and the mud. Even though I grew up on a farm and don’t usually mind walking through livestock, these ones were a bit lively, even for me! After this adventure we got a bit lost ( which does usually happen on our walks ;0) ), so we were very glad when the Railway Children Walk signs re-appeared, and we found ourselves walking the short way from Hole into Haworth, via Haworth Churchyard and the Bronte Parsonage Museum, the Doctor’s house in the film.
Various houses and shops in Haworth doubled up as locations in the film. We had a wander down the Main street and shared a ‘ Yorkshire Scallywag’ in the Bronte Boardwalk Café, before continuing with the walk.
The next part of the walk took us to Oakworth Station, which is the railway station used in the film. We headed down Main Street , turning left opposite The Fleece Public House, crossed over the busy main road and walked down the cobblestones of Butt Lane ,before following a diagonal path over some playing fields onto Mytholmes Lane. We then ambled down hill and the route re-joined the footpath after a row of cottages on the right. The path follows the railway and in the winter when the views aren’t obscured by foilage, you can apparently get a better view of the embankment where the landslide was filmed and the children waved the girls red petticoats to warn the driver of the 11.29 train of the danger.
We then encountered some danger ourselves, when two curious ( and very mahoosive! ) horses came cantering up out of nowhere, as we were giving Hugo a drink from his portable water dish. The gigantic beasts probably thought food was on the menu, and chased us to the nearest stile. Presently we found ourselves walking down a main road toward the station , and noticed some unusual little houses painted into the wall.
Oakworth Station is an Edwardian Railway Station with a very olde worlde charm. We purchased a platform ticket for 50p and had a quick wander round. Much of the action in The Railway Children movie features on the platform and in the station rooms here.
The station even has a ladies waiting room, decked out as a perfect replica of the Edwardian one in the film. There are also Railway Children merchandise and mementos on display.
Its a nice thought that you can actually sit in such a nostalgic lounge and wait for your train. I wonder if the fire is lit on cold winters days? I did spot a couple of burly British Rail workers in the station enjoying a tea break at a tea clothed table , complete with doilys and vintage China. 🙂 Both steamers and diesel trains pass through Oakworth Station on a regular basis. 🙂
We continued the walk, crossing over the level crossings and passing Station Cottage which is Mr Perks home in the film. We kept following the road past Vale Fold Cottages and crossed a stile onto the footpath which runs parallel to the railway line again.
It was fun to see another Steam Train puffing its way towards us as we followed the footpath over a road and watched it chug under the bridge below us. We then walked up a main road again ( Ebor Lane) and back into Haworth.
I really enjoyed our Railway Children Walk despite the rain, run-ins with fell runners, frisky cows and hungry horses. ; )
Time for another Scavenger Hunt with Kate & co , over at I Live, I Love, I Craft, I am Me. The words that kate chose are Brightly Coloured, Pattern, Ink, Upside Down, Bag & My Own Choice.
Brightly Coloured ~ Not my hanging basket unfortunately! Mine did not do well at all this year, so here’s one of the lovely brightly coloured ones at The Aspinall Arms in Mitton, a pub we occasionally walk to, across the fields . I love the vibrant pink fuchsia.
Bag ~ Not exactly a bag, but more of a picnic basket ! The above items are on display at a lovely olde worldy train station I visited recently. And they are from a film. Can you guess which one? Blog post to follow. 🙂
Upside Down ~ We managed to take a wrong turn on a walk near Haworth in Yorkshire a couple of weeks ago and ended up walking past this great kids Welly storage. 🙂 It was however the perfect photo opportunity for upside down.
Pattern ~ I always think Speckled Wood Butterflies wings are adorned with a very Autumnal pattern. 🙂
Ink ~ Didn’t really know what to photograph for Ink, but then I thought, well I am writing most days in my Nature Diary. I’m jotting down all the wildlife that I see when I’m out and about ,walking the dog, walking to work etc ,and I have being doing so since April. It has encouraged me to ID various insects and flowers and is a useful way of recording the changing of the seasons, and what wildlife lives where. I’m quite addicted!
My Own Choice ~ Whilst walking to nearby Mitton recently, one of the fields we walk through was full of horses, including these two little Shetlands. They were too busy munching to be bothered by us. I just thought they were so cute!
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.
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. 🙂
On Saturday the girls were in Leeds doing some serious shopping! After hitting the end of Summer Sales we needed a well earned break and some of that famous Yorkshire hospitality. What better place to go than an eclectic Vintage tea room. The interior of Just Grand in the Grand Arcade is the perfect mish mash of decor from different decades and quirky touches, there are pretty teacup light fittings and menus on retro record sleeves. The staff wear clothing from other eras. Pretty 1950s style dresses, colourful Hawaiian shirts and Rockabilly pin up frocks.:)
When we arrived it was very busy ( Its a popular place! ) so we were seated out front in the arcade. My friend Arwen ordered a very marshmallowy Hot Chocolate that came served in a pretty vintage teacup. She also chose a ham sandwich and a rocky road cake. As for myself and Gill, we decided that yes , everything does start with tea, Afternoon tea. 🙂
The Just Grand Afternoon Tea arrived on a vintage cake stand and on the bottom tier there were four delightful finger sandwiches each, on brown and white bread. The fillings were egg, cucumber and cream cheese, cheese and ham. On the middle tier was a generous slab of homemade cake each of our choice. This was instead of the usually served fruit cake and Wensleydale cheese. Its up to you which you would prefer. And the top tier held our scrumptious scones which came in two varieties. Gill chose a fruit scone and I went for the apricot and ginger . It was pretty darn good! The scones came with strawberry jam and clotted cream. All were washed down with either Yorkshire tea ( of course 😉 ) or filter coffee.
All in all our dining experience here was Just Grand indeed. A must if you visit Leeds. 🙂
On Saturday we headed off to Saltaire near Bradford for the afternoon.I have posted about this former mill workers village before, but hey its so lovely its deserving of another mention. The wonderfully named textile factory owner ‘Sir Titus Salt’ designed and built Saltaire for his workers in the 1800s. The location was inspired.Away from the crowded and unhealthy conditions of Bradford , yet close to railway and canal links, Saltaire was built next to the river Aire and benefited from a church, a school, allotments to grow food,pleasant greens and squares, a hospital and even a large park. Many of the buildings were designed in a classical style , influenced by the italian Renaissance. For the times, Titus Salts workforce were very fortunate indeed. Today the village is a UNESCO World heritage site and Salts Mill houses several shops including Salts Book and Poster store & All terrain Cycles, as well as a huge David Hockney Art exhibition. On Victoria road there are several fab independant shops and cafes.
At the moment I am quite addicted to……….rhubarb. The tangy pink stalks can be turned into all sorts of captivating creations, including a mouthwatering recipe I found in The Simple Things magazine. Of course I completely cheated and instead of making the luscious looking rhubarb and ginger pavlova, I just made the topping and scooped it into a shop bought meringue nest with a generous dollop of whipped double cream. For the original recipe look Here. 🙂
The topping involves rhubarb,honey,juice and zest of an orange, vanilla pods and star anise baked on a tray in the oven for 30 minutes. As you can imagine the aroma was gorgeous.
I loved the tangy tart taste of the rhubarb offset by the added sweetness of honey and vanilla. The aniseed flavour of the star anise seems to go perfectly with it.
I recently came across a book that celebrates Northern food…and I admit that I didn’t even know that rhubarb was ( and still is) grown widely in West Yorkshire. According to the book the heavy clay soils and rainfall contribute to the area being the ideal place to grow the fruit. It thrives in the county , where the land is unsuitable for growing most other crops. The area is known as the Rhubarb Triangle.
The book is called ‘From Eccles Cake to Hawkshead Wig’. If your interested Hawkshead Wig is a type of bread baked in the Cumbrian village. I can just see myself tucking the book under my arm as I galavant around the countryside trying out all the Northern England delicacies. 🙂
Anyhew, back to rhubarb!
Oooops the wrong rhubarb. ;))
My favourite beverage of the non alcoholic variety is Mr Fitzpatrick’s Rhubarb & Rosehip cordial. Seriously, I cannot get enough of this stuff.Its divine! Mr Fitzpatrick’s Temperance Bar in Rawtenstall, Lancashire is one of a very few Victorian temperance bars left in the whole country, its quirky vintage cordials such as Blood Tonic, Blackcurrant & Liquorice and Rhubarb & Rosehip hark back to a time when the movement sprang up to promote abstinence from the ‘demon drink’. Actually the rhubarb variety is very good with prosecco. 😉
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