Wednesday, 20 June 2012

A Jaunt In The Countryside...

Hello! How are you? I hope you're well. Did you like my cryptic(ish) message on my last post?

I'm off work this week, so I thought I might've managed a flurry of blog posts like I usually do, but it's already Wednesday and this is my first one, so I'm not doing too well with that, am I?

Anyway, what have I been up to? Well, yesterday Chris and I decided to have a drive into the countryside, North Yorkshire to be precise. We're supposed to be tiling the kitchen, but I spoke to my mum on Monday evening who advised me that it was going to be Very Warm, and that we should go out instead. We didn't need much persuading! I remembered a place I'd been to a while ago with my mum, called Darley Mill, which is just a nice little place to visit, so we headed there. As you can see from the link, it's a bit of a gift shop type of place, with gardening and outdoor products, kitchen and homewares, clothing, food and a restaurant. We spent quite a long time wandering around looking at everything, and in the end we bought some fudge and chocolate on the way out. We hadn't really thought about where to go next, so I suggested Grassington, as we've driven through it loads of times, but never actually stopped and had a walk round. So Grassington was tapped into the SatNav, and off we went.

As we drove along, I gazed out of the window at the beautiful scenery, wishing we could stop so that I could take some photos (I'd brought my camera along specially with this in mind). But I didn't really like to ask Chris to keep stopping, and he seemed to just want to get to Grassington, so I didn't say anything. We got there eventually and had a walk up and down the main street. There were signs up saying that Grassington Festival was on, and although we didn't really see anything (I think a lot of the events might've been evening ones), there seemed to be a lot of people about, but perhaps that's normal. We popped in a couple of shops, and had sausage rolls for lunch from a bakery, and then headed back to the car, thinking about where to go next. In the car park I went to powder my nose (!) and when I got back to the car, Chris was on the phone. I've mentioned he's a beekeeper, haven't I? Well, he's also a regional 'swarm collector', and he'd received a call about a swarm near a primary school. So that was kind of the end of our day out. I think we were both ready to go home, and it was just as well because that's where we were going, as he needed to get his things to go and collect the swarm.

On the way home I started thinking that maybe I'd be as well going for a day out into the countryside on my own. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't annoyed with Chris about our day being cut short, but I just thought that if I was on my own I could do what I wanted, go where I felt like, stop and take as many photos as I pleased, without worrying about someone else.

So today, that's what I did!! I borrowed Chris' SatNav and decided to basically do the same trip as yesterday while it was still fresh in my mind, but if I felt like veering off course, then that was fine too. I wanted it to be more about the journey, rather than the destination (ooh, profound!) And yesterday evening, I read a post by Lucy which mentioned a road near Hubberholme, and I thought, I know that road!! Or at least, I think I do!! And it's somewhere we've driven along, but never stopped, even though I've wanted to. And as it wasn't far from Grassington, I had a vague plan in my mind that I'd head for there. So off I went. Called at the Co-op for provisions, then the petrol station to juice up, and then the open road beckoned!!

I got to Darley Mill first. I was specifically thinking 'toilet break' at this point, but I thought it might be cheeky to go in just to use the facilities, but I didn't really want to buy anything, so I just drove back out of the car park and headed for Grassington. Yesterday there were loads of places where I wanted to stop and take photos, but today I realised just how difficult that is. All the nicest views are while you're travelling along quiet, winding, single-track lanes where it's not really safe to stop for a photo opportunity. I got to Grassington, parked up and used the facilities  withoutpayingforaparkingticketnaughtyme! (Chris later informed me that there is an area where you can park free for 10 minutes for that very purpose, which I didn't know about, but I do now) and then put Hubberholme in the SatNav and set off again. On the way there, I passed through Kettlewell. There was an incident with some cyclists (stuck behind them, uphill stretch of road, no passing places, you get the idea). As I got to what I think was the road to Hubberholme, where the SatNav was directing me to turn, the whole road was closed for roadworks, so I carried on and followed the diversion, which took me down a terrifyingly narrow lane, which thank god had a one-way system in place, because if I'd met something coming the other way it would've been game over! After a couple more narrow roads where I was beginning to think I was completely lost, I realised that I was near the river, and then suddenly the road kind of opened out, and I was there! I think. Somewhere between Yockenthwaite and Deepdale. I found a spot to park up, and then had my lunch, and this was my cafeteria:

Beautiful! Just the sound of the river, which is more of a 'babbling brook' here, and the bleating of the sheep in the field opposite, so peaceful and tranquil.

Think it must've been a bit too hot for these ones!

I noticed a couple of ducks in the river, and as I was getting ready to take a pic another bird arrived. I'm not sure what it was, but it looked like some kind of dipper. I zoomed in on it, but then my camera decided to focus on a nettle, and by the time I'd re-focused, the bird had gone. So it was only Mr and Mrs Mallard who made it into the photo:

There were one or two Lesser-Spotted Ramblers around too:

It's not that obvious on the photos, but it was really sunny, with a lovely blue sky, and lots of fluffy white clouds, although there were a few slightly grey ones too:

I stayed for nearly an hour, and then set off again with no particular destination in mind. And then promptly got very lost! Well ok, not lost - you're never lost, are you, all roads lead to somewhere. I was just, um, temporarily misplaced... I found myself driving along lots of very remote roads, out in the middle of nowhere, and when I stopped to take some photos I panicked ever so slightly because my car started making a strange noise, and I thought it was overheating, and then I thought it was going to die on me and I'd have to ring the AA and I didn't even know which road I was on so I wouldn't be able to explain where I was!!! Aaaaaand, breathe! It didn't die on me, I took the pics and then carried on.

When I was looking on Google Maps yesterday, I remember noticing that the road next to the river, where I stopped for lunch, wasn't all that far from Hawes, and thinking, ooh, I don't want to go that far really. So where did I end up?

Hello, Hawes!
At this point, I decided I should start heading back, which is where the day became less fun and the act of just getting home became something of a chore. I ended up going through Aysgarth (as in Falls), Leyburn (brings back happy memories of family holidays from years ago), Bedale and various other lovely little villages, which I wish I could've spent time in. Then somehow I found myself at the 'wrong side' of the A1, and I didn't actually want to go on the A1 but Mrs SatNav wanted me to. I over-ruled her, and eventually worked my way across to Ripon and back towards Harrogate and Otley and then into Leeds. I was driving through Leeds at around 4pm, which is just about the time I'd be coming home from work, which is a coincidence I didn't particularly enjoy.

So overall I had a really fun day, and I'd do it again, but maybe with a bit more planning (and I probably should have a map in the car next time). I know it might not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but I don't often go places on my own, just for a day out, so the fact that I did it and went all that way is quite an achievement for me.

* * *

In other news, last Sunday was Open Farm Day, which is a national initiative where people can visit local farms and see what goes on. Chris has some beehives on a nearby farm which was participating, so the farmer asked if he'd set up a stall all about bees and their produce. As part of his display, he borrowed an observation hive from a beekeeping friend; he picked it up the day before, and it spent the night in our kitchen. He opened it up so that I could have a look.

It's a narrow box, just two or three inches wide, with glass on either side, and inside it are a couple of frames of wax/honey, and several hundred honey bees. He assured me that they couldn't escape. When I say he 'opened it up', I mean that there are two pieces of wood covering the glass, so he just moved one aside for me to take the photo. When I'd done so he put it back in place and then the whole thing had a white sheet over it all night:

It was quite unnerving to be able to hear a very loud, constant buzzing coming from under the sheet, but like I said, they couldn't escape. On Sunday morning I came down into the kitchen and look what I found on the windowsill:

A honeybee! Yes, those are bare bricks, no, we still haven't done the tiling!
Thankfully there was just that one, and Chris thinks it was probably on the outside all along. Anyway, he used the observation hive on Sunday and it attracted lots of interest, and then we took it back to it's owner that evening. The village where he lives had a scarecrow festival on, these were the only ones I managed to photograph:

This was my favourite!
Chris hasn't had much honey so far from his bees, they take a while to get established, so he's started making other products from the beeswax. So far he's made his own lip balm, and he's just had a go at hand cream. I jokingly said that I should try and crochet something 'bee-related', and then thought it would be a good excuse to have a go at some amigurumi, which I've been wanting to try for ages. So I knocked this together last night:

I gave up on the legs!
Not perfect, but not bad for a first attempt!

Mischief gives it the sniff of approval!
Well, I think that's about it for now. Apparently it's going to tip it down tonight and for the next few days, so we are really really going to maybe do some tiling in the kitchen tomorrow. We bought the tiles on Monday, so that's a step in the right direction, at least. We don't like to rush things, you know. Good things come to those who wait. And take their time.

Right, I'm going to buzz off!


  1. I love the fresh green photos! Gorgeous. Buzzing with nature! The humble bee is amazing. Need to google what amugiriminumiugu is.....or whatever it's called!!! X x x

  2. Bumble I meant, not humble!!! Although they might be humble bumble bees! X x

  3. I might start calling them humble bees from now on!!


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