Spring in the Yorkshire Dales

My husband and I recently spent a few days in the Yorkshire Dales. We used to live in a neighbouring county, but never made it over to the town of Skipton. As part of our decision to get away more, now that both kids are at uni, he rented us the annexe of a cottage for a couple of days so we could spend some time exploring the town. Turns out the cottage had hills behind and a river out front so we did more sitting around and gentle strolling than adventurous exploring.

river out front

I love how the buildings in the Dales are built of local stone which helps them blend organically with their surroundings. I did mean to take more photos to show you, but indulged my fondness for shadows and reflections instead. I took the first one from a moving canal boat so it’s a bit blurry. The chair’s where I sat and had morning coffee.

Skipton’s very touristy, but deservedly so. It’s a bonny town, with hills, mills and woodland, a canal network, a castle, a market and cobbled backstreets reminiscent of Mediterranean alleyways. Unfortunately, its popularity meant it was almost impossible to take photos without dozens of folk in them.

We decided to take a trip on a canal boat to get away from the crowds for a bit. It’s a pace I could get used to!

We ended the day having coffee in the café cooperswhich felt like a pilgramage spot; it’s where a famous crochet blogger, Lucy from Attic 24 rents studio space and I had the naive intention of popping in to say thank you. (I crocheted this blanket by following her colour choices and her pattern and it brings me lots of comfort and joy.) However, sitting at every other table in the café were women chatting about how they were planning on attending Lucy’s crochet and chat session the next day; I suddenly felt like a ridiculous teenage groupie, wrote a thank you note on the back of a business card, ate and left.

I came back from our wee trip refreshed and ready to reprise my battle with technology. These photos represent the triumph of menopausal stubborness over the challenges of the digital age! In the days ahead, I hope to show you photos from trips nearer home and our last stay in Greece.

Holidaying at Home: The East Neuk of Fife

boat geraniumsThank you for returning, for understanding my absence. If you’re new here, I appreciate you taking the time to have a wander around the site.

I’ve had a lovely ‘staycation’ fortnight with my husband and kids, resting, gardening, going to the cinema, reading and cooking. For three or four days I even managed to resist the urge to log on. I stilled my panicky inner voice by reminding myself that we’re normally computerless if we spend our holidays in Greece, so logging off completely would be the final piece in the holidaying at home jigsaw.

We spent a day on the Fife coast a few days ago, and crammed so much in, it was like a holiday in itself. (Fife is actually called a kingdom, not a county; the Scottish royal family used to live there, before the union with England.) Its coastal villages are picturesque and popular, unlike the inland mining villages I grew up in.

Our first stop was the ancient  town of St Andrews, the home of golf and of Scotland’s oldest university. We parked and wandered through the narrow cobbled streets, with their stone houses and corbie gables, browsing in gift shops and looking for somewhere quaint to eat. One small Italian lunch later (we are on holiday!) we set off  for the beach, our wee gift bags full of gem stones safely stowed in the car boot.

Shell mirror 2We spent a few hours on a vast stretch of sand called West Sands, where the opening scenes of Chariots of Fire were filmed, decades ago. We had the whole beach to ourselves. The sea was warm enough for paddling and the salty breezes bracing enough to fly the ‘Bug’s Life’ kite we’ve had since my kids were toddlers. When the wind dropped, we read, played rackets and collected shells and driftwood to make a mirror frame like the ones we’d admired in a rental property in St Monans a few years ago.

I got carried away, taking photos of my windswept children, wave patterns in the wet sand, crabs in the water and piles of sandy white shells.

When rain threatened, we packed up and headed for Anstruther, a popular fishing village, whose harbour is circled by ice cream parlours, gift shops and fish and chip shops. One of those recently won the title of the UK’s Best Fish and Chip Shop. My kids laughed when I photographed the shop, my fish and chips and the box they came in, but I had this bizarre urge to share the experience with you in case you, too, are holidaying at home and enjoying cyber visits to other parts of the world! The geraniums above are planted in a white painted rowing boat on Anstruther’s harbour front, but they reminded me of Greece.

We drove home via the beautiful coastal villages of Crail and St Monans. In Elie, I stopped to capture a beautiful old mill and a typical Scottish sea-sky to show you.

Spending a day as a tourist in the holiday haunts I enjoyed as a child, determined to capture their essence to share with my kids and with friends all over the world, made me enjoy my home ‘kingdom’ with an appreciation I’ve never had before. I spent the day with a deep, warm glow of contentment and promise, peace and pleasure. I’m not the kind of person who’s permanently brimming over with positivity and happiness, but I am aware… present. Most of my days are good days.

I’m not a photographer, but I hope you enjoy these and that you share some photos of your own home state or town with us some day.

West Sands

beach day 1

beach day 2

wet sand

 

sandy shells

Anstruther 1

Anstruther 2

fish and chip shop

fish and chips box

fish and chips

St Monans rooftops

St Monans

mill

 

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If you’ve enjoyed this wee glimpse of my holiday at home, you might enjoy these posts:

Holiday Presence

Holidaying at Home

Patchwork Post: Jasmine, Fireworks and YES!

Rapt Attention, Gifts and Rain