|Kath and Phil's Yorkshire stone Victorian house|
|All wrapped to go out for a walk on Sunday morning|
|Phil and Eladio walking in the snow|
|Eladio and Phil outside his childhood home, Hollins Cottage in Keighley|
|True British roast dinner - pork roast which we had last Sunday night|
|Shopping at Sainsbury. Love it.|
|In Malham on Monday morning|
|At Janet's Foss|
|With Eladio on our wet walk in Malham on Monday to Janets Foss|
|The dog friendly pub in Malham|
|The sign at The Buck in Malham|
|Towels for dogs at the pub in Malham|
|Fish and chips at The Buck in Malham|
|Sticky toffee pudding, what a treat. At the Buck in Malham|
|The stile with the lambing season warning on the path to Malham Cove|
|Love the signage not to disturb the lambing season in the Yorkshire Dale national park|
|Cliff Castle, the main landmark in Keighley|
|The toy section of the Cliff Castle museum|
|Kathy and Phil at Cliff Castle by the small lake|
|Eladio and I by the small lake at Cliff Castle|
|Playing with Freddy. Notice how his Grandmother plays with him while enjoying her gin and tonic hahaha.|
I fell in love with this little boy. You may know that babies do not interest me at all but I love toddlers when they can walk and talk. Freddy was a laugh a minute too with his "Man United" football shirt on. Apparently he won't wear anything else but football kit haha. I loved the way he talked, making typical mistakes for a child his age. So instead of saying "I fell", he would say "I falled". He was very well behaved by the way, something to appreciate in this day and age when children are pampered and over protected. His mother picked him just before we sat down to dinner and I was rewarded with a huge hug and cuddle when he left.
|York Minster, as magnificent as ever|
We set off a bit late after a lovely breakfast together and believe it or not it wasn't raining and didn't do so all day. However it was bitterly cold when we reached York. In fact we were so cold Kathy and I rushed into the first clothes shop we saw to buy a jumper each to go over the ones we were wearing and a scarf and hat. It was H&M and it was one of those times when I go there that I like nearly everything I see. Kathy did too. In fact we liked and bought the same jumpers haha. One of them was orange as you can see in the photos and we looked like sisters!!! It was rather a hilarious moment and we had other people laughing in the store.
|At H&M buying jumpers in York|
|Eladio and I at The Shambles in York on Wednesday this week|
|Kathy and Phil at The Shambles too|
|The fishmonger who sold us the dressed crab at The Shambles Market|
|Buying bread in York|
After a quick glance and photo taking of the Minster, we wandered into another famous street in York, "Stonegate". We were on our way to Betty's, the well known Yorkshire tea rooms, and came across a Betty's there which we didn't know existed. We learned there are 2 tea rooms in York and this was the smaller one. The advantage of going into the smaller one was that there was no queue, at least when we went in.
|The Betty's we had lunch at in York|
|Lunch at Betty's in York, the highlight of our day|
When we finished and walked outside, it was sunny and not so cold. But it was nearly 4 o'clock and it would be getting dark soon. It gets dark here at this time of year at 4.30 when it gets dark in Madrid two hours later. Our friends took us up the Roman walls for a walk around the city but we couldn't complete the walk as we wanted to leave before it was too dark. One day we must go back and walk all around the walls.
|Walking along the walls of York|
Later we sat by the open fire in our friends' cozy lounge. They drank beer and wine and I had some lovely Rekorderlig cider which I adore and can't find in Spain. We weren't hungry but soon it was time for dinner. I helped Phil make our delicious meal of king prawns with thousand island sauce, a salad and of course the dressed crab, all accompanied by the delicious bread we had bought in York.
We went to bed early that night as the next morning we would get up really early as we had a full programme and wanted to make the most of the day, as the daylight hours are so short here. The plan was to visit my Mother's grave at Charlestown cemetery on Baildon Road and then drive to Ripley, one of the most beautiful villages in England, have lunch there at The Boar's Head and afterwards visit Fountains Abbey which, although I had lived in Yorkshire as a child and teenager, had never visited.
I was up at 5 believe it or not while the others slept until 7 in the morning. We left quite early and by 9.30 or so were at Charlestown cemetery. It took a while to find my Mother's grave. While I was looking for it with the help of Eladio, I got some very good news via an unexpected email. It felt like a little miracle coming from my Mother. It's a coincidence I know as I don't really believe in miracles. However, thinking about it, whenever I have had some trouble something good has always happened as though I have a lucky star. Who knows if it's not my Mother looking after me from above? I like to think it is. I finally found it and it is this. I touched it and reached out to my Mother, shed a tear or two and once again realised how much I miss her. She was so special. All of you who knew her would agree I know.
|My Mother's grave at Charlestown cemetery|
This is the verse in Russian and below Andy's translation into English.
But it's still a mystery why the poem is there. It must have meant something special to her and I have to ask my Father. I hope he is able to clarify the mystery.
From the cemetery we set off on our way to Ripley. However we had plenty of time on our hands and decided to stop for a short visit to Otley (yet another town in Yorkshire ending in "ley" which I think means a field or meadow). Otley is a "posh" market town in West Yorkshire and was always on my bus route. You see, my parents never had a car and my knowledge of the area is only from the bus routes or the occasional trip out with friends. Otley was definitely on my bus route and I remember it well. It's a beautiful town, very unspoiled and I especially liked the main square which I think is called market square.
Here we visited the magnificent castle and grounds, Ripley Castle, home of the Ingleby family for 700 years. It is a Grade 1 listed 14th century house and the seat of the Ingleby baronets for centuries.
|Ripley Castle a stately home in North Yorkshire|
|In the grounds of Ripley Castle|
|The Boar's Head in Ripley|
|The grounds surrounding Fountains Abbey|
|Oli filming in Manchester on Thursday|
|Our friends house in Keighly, it's the one on the far right of this row of 4 houses|
|At Keighley station café saying goodbye|
|At Keighley station saying goodbye|
|On the platform at Keighley train station|
Leeds was the station from where many of my journeys began to trips abroad when I was young and it was funny to be back. I love train stations as for me they are always symbolic of the start of many adventures. Well we had a bit of an adventure there when we arrived as we had just 8 minutes to find the platform for the Manchester train, the Trans Pennine Express coming from Hull. The station is huge and rather bewildering but we made it, just I should add. It took just under an hour to reach Manchester Piccadilly station which I think is not the one we would arrive at when my Father used to accompany me to see our dentist there, Mr. Carr. It was here that my Father gave me one of the best lessons in life. I used to find Manchester very ugly which is not so anymore as there have been many improvements since I was last there. I used to tell my Father how ugly the streets and terrace houses were. He told me that wherever there was something ugly that I should always look and find something beautiful. He was right and it has been one of my mottoes in life.
We walked the short distance to our hotel in Piccadilly Gardens using the sat nav on my phone which I'm sure would have impressed my Father had he seen me. The Mercure Manchester Piccadilly, not my choice but where Oli was staying, is a modern and yes ugly building at Piccadilly Gardens by The Arndale Centre and bang in the middle of the town. My expectations of the hotel were low but it's fine, not luxurious but good quality and our room is very large. We were starving when we got there so had lunch in the restaurant with great views over the square. Eladio had chicken tika massala, apparently Britain's most popular dish today. It would have been banger and chips when I used to come to Manchester with my Father hahaha or something similar. After a lovely meal served by two very friendly waitresses, one from Ghana and one from Portugal, we went up to our room to unpack and settle in. Just as we had finished, Oli, who had stopped work for the day - she could only film before sunset which is at 4.30 here - came knocking on our door. It was super to see and hug her. Her room which she would share with Suzy was just 3 doors away which was good news as we would be in and out of each other's rooms all weekend.
Soon we were outside again in the busy and sunny square and made our way on foot to the train station. We were going to complete our group when Suzy arrived from London. I couldn't wait for the 4 of us to be together. Her train was arriving from Euston at 4.30. We didn't have to wait long. Here are Oli and her Father happily waiting at the station.
|Oli and Eladio at Piccadilly train station waiting for Suzy|
Before heading back to our hotel we went in search of fruit and milk to have in our rooms. Well I needed the milk to make coffee as I need one the moment I wake up and there was a coffee making facility in the room but no milk. The 4 of us walked happily together through Piccadilly Gardens and around the Arndale centre and were amazed at so much life, people and music all around us. Manchester is a very lively city and the atmosphere was great. It was sunny but not quite as cold as in Yorkshire, although Suzy said it was colder than London. But we were well wrapped up and didn't care. We were soon back at the hotel and Suzy was able to settle in. The girls were hungry and it was my job to find a nice restaurant nearby which served fish and chips that Oli wanted and vegan or vegetarian food that Suzy wanted. That was not easy. The ones we did find and which had been recommended were fully booked. So I went downstairs to see the Concierge and get his help. Harry was young and sweet and very helpful. I kept remarking to the girls just how friendly, open and helpful people from this part of the country are and it's true and we experienced it all weekend. Harry told me he had been on his first ever date the night before:-) He was a darling and found the perfect place for us, Browns, quite a famous chain of brasseries dotted all over the UK. I had been to one of them in London many years ago and liked it. What I didn't know though that the one in Manchester would be spectacular because it is housed in what was a branch of the old Parr's Bank later bought by Westminster Bank. The red sandstone building was built in 1901 and must have been one of the most opulent banking halls in the country. It was truly beautiful and a lovely place to build to house a restaurant.
|Browns in Manchester housed in the old Parr's Bank|
|A great meal at Browns on Friday night|
|The old Shambles pubs in Manchester|
|There are many homeless people begging and sleeping on the streets like this man in Manchester|
On Saturday we all had breakfast together. Oli had to leave at 9.30 to go off filming and we wouldn't see her until she had finished in the afternoon. Our plan was to visit the Museum of Science and Industry where we would learn about the history of the Industrial Revolution. It was a 20 minute walk in the rain but well worth the effort as the museum is splendid.
|The Manchester Museum of Science and Industry|
|The world's first computer invented in 1948 in Manchester|
|The Rocket locomotive|
|The world's first railway station is in Manchester|
|Eladio with Suzy at The Alchemist on Saturday in Spinninfields|
|Suzy in China Town|
|The Town Hall in Manchester|
|Kids getting wet in the fountains at Piccadilly Gardens|
|Outside the 1870 pub last night|
|Great street music|