Category Archives: Yorkshire

Back to Bempton

We went to Bempton Cliffs today.

It’s the first time I’ve found myself going through the motions. There are only so many Razorbills, Guillemots, Gannets, Kittiwakes and Tree Sparrows you can photograph before the novelty wears off. As for Jackdaws, I can see them any day of the week in Nottingham.

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Tree Sparrow (Male)

I did get a photograph of a Whitethroat, so that cheered me up. I’ve not photographed one before, though it’s not exactly rare.

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Whitethroat

There weren’t many Puffins about, but what’s new? There are rarely many Puffins about when you want them. At the moment they are mainly involved with feeding their young. I can identify with that.

It was a fairly dull day, and I couldn’t use the magic settings to liven the colour up as they limit the zoom to 40x, You need every bit of the 80x zoom to get a decent shot, and you also need steady hands, as any wavering is also magnified 80 times.

To make things worse, it was also windy.

The first Puffin shot was, I thought, only a shot of a half-hidden bird with bright orange feet. Imagine my surprise when, looking at the photos later, I found I’d been photobombed by another, much clearer bird. At 80x zoom, with a dull day and lots of concentration, I’d completely missed the obvious one!

Wetherby Services

I have so much material from the last few days, I’m struggling to get it all down. However, as promised, I am having a rest from scones.

I need more time for the Harlow Carr post that I’m going to move to the next day. The first stop on the way to the Yorkshire coast was Wetherby Services.

On looking it up for the link I was amazed to find that it’s now ten years old and scores highly for customer satisfaction. I’ve always found that it scores highly for being crowded and uncomfortable. I don’t know why, I just don’t feel relaxed there. The crowds, I suspect, are evidence that other people like it. On Wednesday a lot of the crowds were university sports teams.

We had coffee there, and the barrista put a heart in Julia’s coffee. I got a blob.

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Coffee at Costa

Then we bought a vegan sausage roll on the way out and photographed it. Last time I had one I didn’t get a photo. It was equally as good as the last one and, like the last one, I ate it in the car. I am very predictable.

We would have had one each but they only had one left. Yes, massive service station – just one vegan sausage roll. Strange.

 

The Scone Chronicles – Number Nine

We went to Harlow Carr garden today – the northern garden of the Royal Horticultural Society. It was a lovely spring day and the gardens were quite crowded as every pensioner in Yorkshire seemed to be having a trip out.

I’ll cover the gardens in more detail later. For now I will talk about the first scone of our day.

The queue for scones at Bettys Tea House (which is a shed in the garden rather than the posh cafe at the entrance) contained around 30 people when we joined it. Well, when Julia joined it. I have a bad knee – I can’t queue.

(Note – Bettys was originally Betty’s but they have now become Bettys. The increasingly cavalier disregard for apostrophes seems to be mirrored by a general decline in standards and I wonder if the two may be linked.)

Despite the decline in standards and the deficiency in apostophes the staff were absolutely top class. They were quick and accurate and kept smiling as they coped with a constant queue, which averaged 20 people long for at least half an hour. My research method was to count the queue three times while I was sitting there. I can be scientifically rigorous when the occasion demands.

They served Julia with two cups of tea and two scones in boxes (with the jam and cream already applied), and only took £10 off her.

The tea was excellent, despite being a teabag in a vending cup. It probably tasted better because I was drinking it outside on a sunny spring day as a robin sang from a neighbouring tree.

Tea, scones and sunshine. Bettys, Harlow Carr

Tea, scones and sunshine. Bettys, Harlow Carr

The boxed scones were convenient, though they were still rather chilly from storage. They were also, and I’m sorry I can’t come up with another description, a bit tight in texture. Fresh home made scones have a nice open, crumbly texture. Well, mostly. I have had one or two disasters in my time. Commercial scones tend to be closer in texture and come with neat, even air holes.

So, staff, tea and surroundings – excellent. Scones were good, but not as good as the rest of the meal. I felt they weren’t quite as good as some of the other scones we’ve had this year, either. They must be doing something right because they have been going for 100 years this year.

Bettys - 100 years this year

Bettys – 100 years this year

This is not a criticism of the scones, just an observation. You can’t serve thousands of scones without making some compromises.

Harlow Carr Garden

Harlow Carr is the Royal Horticultural Society Garden just outside Harrogate, a town which is home to Betty’s Tea Room and a Sainsbury’s supermarket that has a sushi bar. In Yorkshire the only dead fish you normally see has been fried in batter.

Just a few photos for now.

 

Well, maybe a few more…

There will be more when I have time, plus two more scone reports.

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Views from a Hill in Scarborough

On Wednesday we went up a road we’d never used before whilst following the advice of the sat-nav. I’m beginning to hate that thing. I swear it took me somewhere via the 18th Century this morning.

However, it proved to be a good place to take some photos of the North Bay.

I’ve been trying to get a photo of this sculpture for years but there are always people around it. This time I made them part of the story.

Freddie Gilroy Statue and some artists

Freddie Gilroy Statue and some artists

 

Sorry it’s another short post. Hopefully I’ll be back to normal in the next couple of days.

 

Bempton Cliffs and the Truth About Puffins

It was a nice day at Bempton, being pleasantly sunny and with a nice breeze. There were dozens of people about, many of them wearing jackets and a lot of them wearing shirts, hats, shorts or trousers of various hiking wonder-fabrics.

Me? I had a ten-year-old shirt on, with the sleeves rolled up in casual manner. Julia noticed that the edges are starting to wear through, so I’ve been banned from wearing it again.

I had my normal trousers on. I was just getting where I wanted to be, with seven pairs of identical navy blue cargo trousers when Julia bought me two pairs of khaki for my birthday. At one time all my trousers were khaki, but I changed to dark blue as they are more serviceable for a man with a bladder problem.

They are also better for funerals.

Khaki, I feel, is a bit frivolous for a man my age.

I think it’s a woman thing, having all your clothes different. I’m quite happy for them to be all the same; it cuts down on the chances of making a bad fashion choice.

Women also prefer, it seems, clothes where the buttons match, the colours aren’t faded and the edges aren’t fraying. As indicated above, we had quite a discussion on this subject.

Then we moved on to my hat. That was not a comfortable conversation either.

The reports of hundreds of Puffins on the cliffs and hundreds more at sea proved to be an exaggeration. There were two burrows where birds had been seen flying in and out, and we spotted three Puffins out at sea, though one did dive and disappear within a couple of seconds of being spotted. They are like that.

Fortunately I’d been half-expecting this, as it was what had happened last year, so we weren’t particularly disappointed.

The two we saw at sea were quite cute, so it wasn’t a wasted day.

Anyway, even without Puffins, a day on the cliffs with my wife and a decent breeze is never wasted. There were other birds, a number of flowers and a seal eating a massive fish while gulls tried to steal it.

I’m not sure what sort of seal it is – apparantly being grey isn’t a sign that it’s a Grey Seal. You need to look at the nostrils. It was in the sea, I was on top of a cliff – I was struggling to see the head, let alone the nostrils. Anyway, the nostrils are situated quite close to the teeth so I’m prepared to exist in ignorance. When you go to Donna Nook they warn you about the teeth.

I’m afraid I didn’t do well with the photographs – there is no excuse apart from lack of enthusiasm. I just couldn’t seem to get things right.

 

Part Three follows…

We appear in the Local Paper…

Yes, we’re in the paper, though there is more coverage, including pictures of all the staff, online.

You’ll never guess what I’m doing on the video clip. That’s right, I’m sorting shillings.

It’s my day off today. so I took Julia to lunch at Pizza Hut for the all you can eat buffet. I’m capable (as you may guess from the unflattering pictures in the link) of eating quite a bit of pizza. I also had a bowl of salad to keep things healthy. Tonight we are dining on soup.

Anyway, while we were there a lady with a child sat on the table behind us. She also ordered the buffet, then, when asked what the child would like, said just an extra plate. I suppose it was worth a try. The waitress politely pointed out the range of items on the menu specifically for children.

When last seen, the lady was on her third plate of pasta and the child was carrying his second bowl of ice cream back from the ice cream machine.

I’m constantly amazed at what people do with the buffet offer. We once saw another family group pile their plates with pizza slices and ask for a doggy bag. They were most annoyed to be told that it didn’t work that way with the buffet and they had to eat it or leave it.

It takes all sorts…

Back at home I had two letters, one told me I’d passed the blood test from yesterday and don’t need to go back for three weeks.

The other was from Rotherham. I nearly threw it away unopened, as I often do with letters that come from unknown sources. They are usually of no importance and, so far, no harm has ever resulted from this practice. However, I did open it this time, and found it was from the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Constabulary.

“That’s nice,” I thought, “he’s writing to me to thank me for all the safe and careful driving I’ve done in my years of driving through South Yorkshire.”

But I was wrong.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

Some people have no sense of gratitude.

Nottingham Post in the morning, Police Gazette by the afternoon.

Ah well!

Some Pictures of Slaidburn

There were plenty of sheep about, as you would guess, plus a nice car park with toilets (because it’s a great centre for walkers. There was also a large gathering of Starlings and crows – mainly Jackdaws and a Blue Tit flitting about.

 

It’s a lovely village in the right weather, though I’d hate to live here on a miserable grey day. I often think about that when thinking of my family working on farms round here, with rain and woollen clothing. They must have hated Autumn and Winter.

The pub in the pictures is the Hark to Bounty. In the late 19th century it was run by William Stead – blacksmith and innkeeper. He was there in 1871, married to my great-grandmother’s aunt, and died in 1893, leaving £808, which was good money in those days. In 1871 my grandmother was working for them, having come from Leyburn, about50 miles away. That’s presumably how she met my great-grandfather.

 

 

 

 

Garden Centres, Disappointment and a Widow

We  went to two garden centres this morning. The first one was disappointing, with a closed cafe and a definite lack of things worth buying. The second was equally poor, despite promises of 50% off. At least the cafe was open, even if they did serve the cheese toasties with salad on a breadboard. Not even a traditional British breadboard either, but a modern pressed bamboo monstrosity.

Both of them seem to be plagued by thieves, judging from the notices stuck up around the centres. Hampson’s in Wakefield have gone as far as to install a security shed and employ two people to write signs telling you that “Your on TV” (sic), or in the case of the second person “You’re on TV”. I’ve never had the opportunity to write (sic) before; blogging is really expanding my horizons.

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Security shed ay the Garden Centre

The garden centre at Ackworth takes a different approach, having a sign up to ask customers to report each other if they see them stealing.

So there we were, with hardly an item purchased, nothing of interest seen and not much of a back-up plan. At that point we found the Ackworth memorial to local quarrymen. I’ve driven through the village dozens of times before Number Two son’s enforced retirement from Rugby League and never knew it existed.

It lists 15 men of the area who died between 1878 and 1935.

I had a quick look for John Desborough on the internet – it’s a reasonably uncommon name and it produces several results. Born in Lincolnshire in 1843, spent some time in Holbeach Workhouse with two brothers and a sister. He was an agricultural labourer until 1876, when he married in Ackworth, worked as a quarryman and had five children before being killied in a quarry accident on 17th  May 1889.

His wife Susanah did not remarry, and his three sons all went to work as quarrymen. Susannah died in 1916, and is buried in St Cuthberts churchyard.

Tough times, and an interesting memorial.

 

Bridlington Harbour

I was looking at some old photos yesterday when I found these from the end of May. Things were a bit hectic then and I hadn’t used them. They are from Bridlington Harbour, where a dredger was working.

I always thought dredging needed a purpose-built dredger, but it seems a digger on a ship is all you need.

It’s an interesting place, with at least one statue and a windmill based on the idea of white horse sculptures on hillsides. Ah, I just checked – it’s a lighthouse. I suppose it makes more sense. They cite the White Horse at Kilburn as an example.

There is a wide variety of boats in the harbour, from traditional cobles to trawlers, and the obligatory gull on the prowl for chips.