Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Sugar Frost Socks

The Sugar Frost Socks by Marianne Heikknen are the latest pair of socks to make it in to my Christmas gift pile. These will be a gift for Eleanor.

Made from West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply in the Sherbet Fizz colourway, I used Candyfloss for the contrasting cuffs, heels and toes. I wasn't really feeling it as I was knitting them up. I wasn't sure if I liked the colour of the stripes, how they worked together or how the yarn worked in this pattern, I'm not really sure what it was.

I'm glad I persevered though as I'm really pleased with them now that they're finished and they actually look even better when they're being worn, the stripes stretch out a bit and give a more pleasing effect overall. There's just one thing that I'm not convinced about and that's the toes. I followed the pattern but I much prefer a more wedged toe which is grafted together, whereas this toe is more rounded and the remaining stitches at the end are gathered on yarn which is pulled through them. It gives a bit of a pointy end, but they look okay on. I won't use this toe pattern again though.

The gift pile is growing steadily.

I'm on track for having all my Christmas gifts made in good time this year.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Sophia's Secret

I received a free book on my Kindle a couple of years ago called The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley and I really enjoyed it, so when I saw another of her books, Sophie's Secret, offered for just 99p I decided I'd download it. I'm really pleased I did as it's one of the best books I've read for a while.

I mentioned recently how hard I was finding getting into a book, well it wasn't a case of that with this book, I was hooked right from the start. Both of the books I've read by this author have covered two time periods and it's a style of writing which she executes very well.

As well as telling the story of Carrie McClelland, a best selling author, the book slips back in time to the beginning of the eighteenth century when Queen Anne was on the British throne and James III of England, James VIII of Scotland, was attempting to regain power. I know nothing of this period and although this is a work of fiction, there's lots of historical fact included which was very well researched. It had me googling names and places as I found I wanted to learn more.

It's a bit like a book within a book as the historical part is told through the pages of the latest book which Carrie is writing, I found this rather clever.

This is a book I'd definitely recommend, I didn't want it to end.

If you want to know what else I've been reading lately, you can find a list in the sidebar. This shows all the books I've read this year and there's also lists of the books I've read right back to 2012.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Let's Go Fly A Kite

We woke up to a beautiful sunny day last Thursday so we thought we'd make the most of it and head off to the coast.

We love the Yorkshire coast, it's a wonderful place to be on a sunny day.

Our first port of call was Whitby, home of Whitby Abbey, Bram Stoker's inspiration for Dracula. We never head for the beach at Whitby, there's so many interesting shops both in the new part of town and along the older streets, it's the perfect place for a wander.

Not the best picture because of the reflections on the glass, but I couldn't resist taking a photo of this crocheted teddy bear sitting on a deck chair in a shop window.

After a good stroll round we decided to head on up the coast to Sandsend where's there's a fabulous dog friendly beach.

Although it was lovely and sunny, there was a bit of a breeze, so I thought it would be the perfect day to get number 11 crossed off my 50 Before 50 list and Fly a kite. We'd bought one when we were on holiday in Lincolnshire but never got the chance to use it, here was my opportunity.

Mick and Eleanor looking very puzzled, it's a good job I knew what I was doing.

I had to show them how it was done, though Eleanor says she hasn't laughed so much for a long time after seeing me running down the beach trying to get the kite airborne.

I managed it though, up it went and up it stayed.

The kite casting its shadow on the beach.

Archie was more than happy to amuse himself whilst we were busy with the kite. He loves spending time on the beach, he has a little paddle, plays with other dogs and dries off whilst sunbathing.

I think it took it out of him on Thursday though, he was a rather tired dog in the car on the way home and he slept very well that night.

The journey home takes us over the North York Moors where I just managed to catch the tail end of the train which had recently set off from Goathland station.

It's a stunning area.

The scenic route certainly beats motorways.

It was another lovely day out and it was actually sunny enough for me to catch the sun on my face. Mind you, I only have to look at the sun and I turn a nasty shade of pink.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Yarn Bombing

After visiting the white horse of Kilburn on Wednesday, which you can read about in my Horsing Around post, we decided to visit the nearby market town of Thirsk. You may know Thirsk as the home of Alf White, or James Herriott as he became known.

We had a little wander to the Cod Beck River. It looked rather muddy to say the least.

Back in 2015 when the Tour de Yorkshire was coming through Thirsk, a local lady put a message out on Facebook asking for volunteers to help decorate the town with knitting and crochet. On a dark, cold April night a week before the race, the Yarnbombers of Thirsk, wearing dark clothing and balaclavas, 'bombed' the town. Since then, the group have gone on to decorate a carriage on a Grand Central train at Kings Cross Station in London, been on the Welcome to Yorkshire stand at The Great Yorkshire Show and 'bombed' an articulated lorry and a tractor. The Market Place at Thirsk has also been decorated a few times now. We didn't realise that there was yarn bombing in place when we decided to visit Thirsk, but the Market Place is yet again adorned in knitting and crochet celebrating Yorkshire Day, which was on the 1st of August. I thought you might like to see some of the decorations.

The white horse of Kilburn and a mouse representing Robert Thompson, a furniture maker from Kilburn, who carved a mouse into the furniture he made.

Yorkshire air ambulance.

A good old Yorkshire breakfast, complete with a pot of Yorkshire tea.

I believe this chap is the Yorkshire cricketer, Jonny Bairstow.

A block of Wensleydale cheese, direct from the creamery at Hawes.

Afternoon tea at Bettys, complete with a Fat Rascal and macaroons.

I believe this may represent the animals at Cannon Hall Farm in Barnsley.

There were a few decorations which I liked but I'm not sure what they've got to do with Yorkshire, perhaps someone else knows.

My personal favourite, but yet again, not sure what it's got to do with Yorkshire. Flies round errrrrr.

These were just a few of the decorations, there were many more and if you're in the area, it's definitely worth a trip to see them.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Horsing Around

You may remember The White Horse Of Kilburn post which I wrote back in 2014. Here is a photo of the horse, which is cut in to the hillside, which I took when I last visited.

I said in that post that we would return to take a walk right up to the horse itself, and I also included Touch the white horse of Kilburn on my 50 Before 50 list, so we went back again yesterday to do just that. I didn't manage to actually touch it, but we got pretty close to it.

There's a car park right below the horse so you don't have to venture too far in order to reach it.

You can take a moderate one and a half mile round walk which brings you back to the car park, a longer strenuous six mile walk, or do as we did and climb up and then down again.

The white horse was cut in 1857 by a local schoolmaster and his class after being designed and financed by a native of Kilburn, Thomas Taylor, who was a Victorian businessman.

It doesn't look it here but the path at the start is very steep, all my huffing and puffing shows just how unfit I am.

We kept getting a glimpse of the horse as we walked further on.

As we turned and looked from where we had come, we got a fantastic view over the Vale of York. This didn't do anything at all for my fear of heights.

After the initial pathway, you come to some steps, 151 to be exact.

We'd let Archie off his lead at the start of the walk but even though he's very good and doesn't usually wander off, we thought it would be safer for him to be on his lead, there's some steep drops, so he was put back on.

This is the view behind us as we neared the top.

The white horse which we'd come to see. I couldn't actually touch it but I got pretty close.

There's a bench at the top dedicated to Fred Banks, Guardian Of The White Horse.

Fred Banks was a Yorkshire farmer who died at the age of 81 back in 2007. He was a rural historian and president of the Kilburn White Horse Association. His maternal grandfather, Thomas Goodrick, was amongst the school children who helped cut it out and his father, Tom, "took care" of it. Fred followed in his father's footsteps in looking after it.

There's a fantastic view from the bench.

Archie had a little trouble with the steps on the way down so he was more than happy to be a pampered pooch and let Mick carry him.

That's number 22 crossed off my 50 Before 50 list but it wasn't the end of our day out, more photos to follow in another post.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Back To Haworth

Did you watch To Walk Invisible, the television film about the Bronte family, which was shown over the Christmas period last year? I really enjoyed it. Much of the filming took place in Haworth, a village in West Yorkshire, where the Brontes grew up. If you didn't manage to catch it, I can highly recommend it if you get the chance to see it.

We often have a drive out to Haworth, it's a lovely little village and a nice place for a stroll. We decided to visit again yesterday and I'm pleased to say that although it started spitting with rain just as we arrived, the rain held off and the sun kept making an appearance.

This is the parsonage where the Brontes lived and wrote their famous novels, it is now the Bronte Parsonage Museum. We didn't go inside as we had Archie with us, but I believe that there's an exhibition of costumes, props and photography from To Walk Invisible on until the end of the year which is free with admission to the museum.

From the parsonage garden, you can look across the graveyard and see St Michael and All Angels' church where Patrick Bronte was perpetual curate. The Bronte family, with the exception of Anne who is buried in St Mary's churchyard in Scarborough, are buried in a crypt beneath the east end of the church.

Patrick Bronte was responsible for the building of the Sunday school.

As the blue plaque shows, Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne all taught here and Charlotte's wedding reception was held here in 1854.

Haworth Main Street is set on a steep hill, it's fine walking down but it's a bit of a challenge walking back up it again.

It was nice to see some new businesses had opened since we were last there, selling all manner of things.

The Souk has been here for a long time, it's a treasure trove of vintage items and jewellery and is always very popular.

The old apothecary at the top of Main Street is well known for being the place where Branwell bought his laudanum. It's still owned by the same family who bought the shop over thirty years ago but it's been rebranded since we last visited and it's now known as Cabinet of Curiosities. The beautiful cabinets and units which have been salvaged from chemists, grocery shops and museums still hold handmade candles, soaps and bath powders but now there's also a new range of gifts, inspired by the Cabinets of Curiosity or "wonder-rooms" of Renaissance Europe.

I love how attractive some of the shops are.

There's also cottages on Main Street and some of these are beautifully decorated outside too.

Haworth is very dog friendly, they can't be taken in the museum, of course, but many of the shops allow dogs inside and so do the pubs.

If you're ever in the area, Haworth is a lovely place for a day out. We didn't venture further than the parsonage and on Main Street, but there's also the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. You can take a ride to Oakworth station where The Railway Children was filmed, or if you enjoy walking you can take a hike to Top Withens, a ruined farmhouse which is said to have been the inspiration for the Earnshaw home in Wuthering Heights. About two miles from Haworth is Coldspring Mill, an old soap mill which has been restored and now sells outdoor clothing and equipment as well as one floor being stocked from floor to ceiling with knitting yarn. We did stop by on our way home but I didn't buy anything on this occasion.

It was a lovely day out and as Mick is on holiday again this week, I'm hoping that we can have some more nice days out during the week. Weather permitting.