Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A Magnet For Romans & Countrymen

An ancient Roman road marks part of the route to Rosedale and one can only imagine the discomfort of the Legion as they trudged the high moors with a vicious Yorkshire wind whistling through their skirts! The contrast between the rugged moors and the pleasant pastures of the dale can be seen in this photo. The village of Rosedale Abbey itself is simply beautiful and I cannot believe I have never been before. Magnetic ironstone was mined here during the 19th Century and one can still see the oxidized 'blood' of this precious industrial ore seeping from the moors onto the road after heavy rain. The small gate leading to the tiny churchyard of St. Lawrence is like an invitation to a secret garden and one can only feel a sense of blessedness for those at peace in such tranquil surroundings.

We signed the visitors book in the Church (Look it up if you ever find yourself on 'The Leodensian Trail'!) and then set about seeking spirits of a different kind....

'The White Horse Farm Hotel' is situated about 300 yards up a steep hill and has some breathtaking views from the beer garden.

(I know this entry reads a little like one of those dreary 'Travel' sites - but Rosedale Abbey really is worth a visit....cheers!)

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Sadly our Song Thrush has abandoned her young and fled the nest. She guarded her eggs with her very life and refused to move even though her eyes were sometimes wide with fear. None of the chicks survived. Sometimes nature can be very bemusing. It has been a day of changing skies with intermittent sunshine and blustery winds. Whitby is packed with tourists, eager to drink in a forgotten England and bringing with them a happy ambience to the town. But it was nice to come home here away from the crowds. The wind has died and as the sun slipped below the promentary of Runswick to the North, it sent its last spectacular rays upwards as if to demonstrate that, whatever its mysteries, the sometimes unfathomable architect somehow knows what is right...

Monday, May 22, 2006

A Brief Stop In Udders Field

A cloudy day with intermittent drizzle - its hard to believe that the south of England has a severe water shortage! No plans today so we just took off in the car and meandered around the country lanes around Sandsend and Mulgrave. There are a multitude of calves in the fields and if one stops the car and gets out one soon has an attentive and inquisitive audience (above). Many of the lambs born just weeks ago are growing fast and are gaining the confidence to stray briefly from Mum and the countryside seems alive with moos, bleats and Baahs. We stopped briefly in Mulgrave Woods to take another look at the bluebells - I could stand and admire them till..well, till the cows come home..

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Bridge Of Sighs

It certainly feels like spring this morning. There is a warm breeze and the birds definitely seem to be enjoying the early morning sunshine. They sound like a million little stockbrokers discussing whether to invest in worms or ladybirds! I took a walk into Mulgrave Woods. The bluebells are coming along nicely but I expect it will be a week or so until they are at thier best. I stopped briefly at 'Sam's Bridge' - a rickety log bridge spanning a small stream. My dog Sam used to have serious misgivings about traversing this ramshackle pontoon. He would sooner plunge into the freezing brook or attempt a death-defying leap accross it rather than risk a short pad accross the 'timbers of death'. My beloved pup passed away eighteen months ago - but the bridge always brings a smile. As I crossed the bridge today I half listened for the patter of paws behind me but, alas, it seemed I was alone - although I'm almost certain I heard a distant splash from somewhere...

The song thrush in the garden seems to be getting used to our presence and stays put atop her precious eggs even when we approach with a chugging lawnmower.There has been stray cat prowling around of late - which is a little worrying as the nest is only five or six feet above the ground. They say you should let nature take its course - now, where did I put that pepper..

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Queens Head In The King's Arms? - Not This Time!

Its been one of those oddly English days of grey skies and thin drizzle. It could be November, it could be August - just one of those 'inside- looking-out-of-the-window' days. We took a ride out to Danby, a beautiful little hamlet with a notable former resident. The record books at first seem fairly unremarkable - until marriage number three! - shows how keen this lady was to get ahead..

Marriage 1. Edward Borough, 1526

Marriage 2. John Neville (B.Latimer), 1533.

Marriage 3. Henry VIII Tudor (King Of England) 1543.

Luckily for Catherine Parr, she outlived the ailing King and went on to marry again. The 'Duke Of Wellington Inn' (above) also did its duty for King & Country - it was used as a local recruiting centre during the Napoleonic Wars - But today it served only fine ales and good cheer to this weary traveller. Cheers!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Young & Younger

There is something about looking in shops when they are closed. The pressure is off and one can muse and mull 'till ones heart's content. There is a tiny antique toyshop in Market Square in Whitby called 'Curios' which is crammed with all manner of childhood nonpareil. Each item with its own little history, and each radiating a feint residual joy from the pleasure they must have brought to the tiny hands and eyes of little boys and girls past - It's easy to get maudlin as the eyes refocus from the wonders within to the reflection in the shop window! The Sun is still battling it out with the north east wind, which seems determined to cling on to winter. But at least one little madam is ahead of the game - she has built her nest close to our back door and directly above the bird-feeder. Life it seems is too short, and way too beautiful, to wallow in matters past...

It seems our new neighbour is a Song Thrush - and she has had a busy day...

Friday, May 05, 2006

Pebbles Goes Nuts In May

Today has been the first warm day of spring. The cool North east wind has been replaced by a warm Mediterranean breeze and all of a sudden things seem brighter and everywhere there is the cheery glint of yellow as the daffodils wake to take a brief glimpse of the World. The dramatic and hazardous approaches to Runswick Bay (above) would be small beer to todays High-tech craft, but the smugglers who frequented these shores up until the mid 19th Century would have certainly earned a flagon or two of foaming ale after negotiating such venturesome passage in the dead of night in a howling gale. But tonight in the Royal Hotel bar, set in a majestic setting overlooking the bay, the only booty of interest to 'Pebbles' - the Landlady's ambrosial Border Terrier, was the timeless allure of salted peanuts. A battle of wills was fought right until the very end, and we resisted upsetting his delicate constitution with cholesterol-serried legume.....that is, until he gave us 'The look'. Did he get his peanut? Could YOU resist?