Tuesday, 31 January 2012

January Stay at Homes


It has been a strange few weeks.  The weather has been so unseasonal with high winds and drizzle.  There have been days when it has never seemed to get properly light and we’ve had the lights on all day.  Even cars have been driving around with their lights on in day time.  We’ve been kept busy with working on photos and websites so we don’t waste the good weather.

Jon came to lunch as he was seeing a client in Bradford and then driving on to Manchester for a meeting.  It was great to see him and catch up on news.  I suppose it’s a sign of the times that he just logged into our network and checked his work emails and dealt with queries.  Keeping in touch is so much easier nowadays.

We have booked our flights to the USA for the summer holidays.  We are staying on Cape Cod in a lovely traditional house.  It looks as if there will be eleven of us with the possibility of another two.  Rosie and Mike will fly over on the same flight and stay on an extra week in the Boston area.  Dave, Tara and Simon will fly up and so will Vickie, Jay, Darvik and Danika.  It is going to be great, especially as we thought we wouldn’t manage a family holiday this year.

We’ve been diving out the door whenever it has been fine and not too windy to get in a few walks.  We’re lucky round here with a lot of public parks.


This one is just over the main road from us and you can see the back of Bankfield House, once the home of Colonel Akroyd who built our village, and it is now a museum.


That is winter heather above, flowering on a bank in the park and below is Pule Hill, which we can see from our house as well.


One of our favourite parks is at Lightcliffe, about three miles away.  It is known as The Stray and is a very open area of 11 acres of grass with trees.


I had always assumed that an area called ‘The Stray’ – there is one in Harrogate as well – would be associated with the gathering of stray sheep.  Apparently I was wrong and the one at Harrogate was set up to protect the springs.  Why this is called ‘The Stray’ I have no idea and Mr Google offers no clues that I can find.


The church shown above was the Congregational Church, though it is now offices. It is unusual, as a Congregational Church, for having a steeple and also a full ring of bells.  The park makes for a pleasant walk all through the year and the criss-cross of paths make it easy to get back to the car if the weather suddenly closes in.

We’ve made one longer trip in the second half of January. Last Saturday (28th) we woke to find a thin carpet of snow and bright sunshine so we decided to try and find some more snow by driving up to the the Lake District.

There was no more than at home as we climbed up to Ovenden and, when we started the run down to Denholme, there was none to be seen.  Not deterred, we drove on and, eventually saw snow on the hills in the distance and we chased it with the determination of thirsty travellers following a mirage in the desert.



Crossing Lake Windermere at the Hawkshead Ferry – the last time we shall make that journey at £4.30 for about 5 minutes of crossing! – and drove up narrow lanes to Hawkshead with the snow still a glint on the horizon.  When you meet a bus on a lane like the one below, you swing in your wing mirrors, snuggle up to the wall and think thin thoughts!


We only go to the Lake District in the winter as it is just too crowded in the summer.  This was perfect with plenty of room to swing the proverbial cat and we headed for the Queens Head for lunch.


An Inn since the early 17th century, it is welcoming and cosy with an open fire, low ceiling beams, and warm wood panelling.



Enormous pieces of beer battered fish and thick, perfectly cooked chips were consumed with no regard to cholesterol or calories.

Eventually, replete and in no mood to take the exercise we so desperately needed after such a meal, we staggered back to the car and resumed our search for snow.


Still it eluded us and we decided to take the Kirkstone Pass.  Surely there would be snow on the highest pass in the Lake District?

Alas, the pass was closed – whether to snow or for some other reason the sign did not say – so we metaphorically shook the snow of Cumbria off our car tires and set off back for home.  We were rewarded by a lovely view of Ingleborough, well covered in snow and arrived home at dusk, needing only a sandwich for supper.


Now we wait to see what February brings.


  1. I loved reading this Pat...photography is great, the green in winter, the countryside looks beautiful, brings to my mind the stirring song, “Jerusalem", with the words on ‘England's pleasant pastures seen!’ Do you remember singing this at school?

    Quiet honestly both of us are addicted to Inspectors Linley and Lewis partly because of the beautiful [most of the time] countryside shown. Also the ‘Brits’ know how to make good shows without all the violence! Another that I enjoyed because of the stately homes was Rosemary and Thyme. We bring these with us to México and watch all the time. Just started watching Wish me Luck, but I digress!

    Going to USA you say… Why not Eastern Canada? I have been to Cape Cod and Boston and agree they are beautiful, but it’s not the colonies you know! [Chuckle, with tongue in cheek] What time of year are you going?

    We too are travelling in the summer to Europe, Prague, Zurich, Constanta, then a river cruise from Bucharest to Budapest.

    So thanks dear ‘old’ friend for sharing some of your life with us that are interested.

  2. Thanks, Barbara.

    I do remember singing Jerusalem at school. We're off to Massachusetts because it is a compromise. When you have to accommodate 4 kids + their spouses + some grown up grandchildren, you take what you can get. Anywhere we can gather together is OK with us!

    It is tantalising that you are in Europe this year. Dates????

  3. We leave for Toronto which I didn’t mention as the beginning of the journey around late May, hopefully fly to Prague from Toronto around 4th May. Conference Zurich May 14-16th , River Cruise 22 to 2 July…
    When do you go to the States?

  4. We are there last week in July.


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