Category Archives: Yorkshire

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.

 

 

Puffins – up close and personal

After leaving Flamborough Head we drove for ten minutes and ended up at Bempton Cliffs, where we were even luckier with the Puffins. From our first viewpoint we managed to pick a couple out but someone told us the try the next one down. That proved to have some excellent views, and we didn’t even need binoculars. The blur in one picture is a blade of grass.

We also saw the usual suspects (Rock Dives, Herring Gulls, Jackdaws, Kittiwakes, Fulmars, Razorbills and Guillemots) and there were good numbers of immature Gannets, including chicks.

As you can probably tell, the day was becoming dull again after the sunshine so we didn’t hang around too long.

We rounded off with excellent fish and chips at the Fishpan in Scarborough. It’s never disappointed us yet, unlike some of the posher places we’ve tried.

We were home for 8.30 pm and exactly 12 hours later I dropped Julia off at work. She’s salvaged an old PE bench from the school skip and we restored it to live with a drop of glue and half-a-dozen screws. It’s nearly as good as new now, though there’s quite a bit of chewibg gum to dislodge from underneath.

After that it was off to the doctor for a blood test and on to blogging. Which brings us bang up to date.

Flamborough Head

Flamborough Head is a chalk outcrop on the Yorkshire coast. It is the site of the UK’s oldest complete lighthouse (dating from 1669), which is built completely of chalk.  It is also a site with an impressive variety of seabirds, plants and chalk habitat.

We haven’t been there for over 10 years, and it’s a good place for puffins so we thought we’d make the North Landing our first stop on the coast today. We were rewarded by a small flock of Puffins on the sea and several more on the cliffs. The photos were small and hazy but we got better ones later at Bempton, so will add them to that post.

I was luckier with close-ups of insects.

I also saw an optimist staring out to sea, and a wooden statue of a smuggler.

It started off overcast and hazy, but became warmer and sunnier as we sat there. Well, I sat, Julia walked down to the shore.  You can see this from the brightness of the later (insect) photos and I could also tell from the sore feeling on the top of my head, which is a lesson to all bald men.

Looks like I’ve missed another day (it’s now 00.17 on Thursday) – sorry about that. I really must try harder.

Robin Hood’s Bay

Yes, it’s more photos from the trip to the seaside. Robin Hood’s Bay is nowhere near Sherwood Forest – it’s between Whitby and Scarborough. It has a very interesting history, but to be honest, we tend to park in the viewpoint at the top of the hill.

It was a bit hazy on the day, so I used the “pop-art” setting on the camera to brighten things up. It isn’t very realistic, but it’s cheerful. It’s also as realistic as most of the 60’s postcards I remember from childhood.

There was a good variety of plant life in the grass around the parking area, and it was very easy to access as you had tarmac to walk on.

I’m not sure about the species of  the spider in the featured image, but the beetle is a soldier beetle, bit I won’t push my luck by being more precise as there are 530 European species and many of them look alike.

This, by the way, is my 800th post. I think I must be getting a little blasé about blogging because it’s not as exciting as it used to be when you hit a big round number.  However, I just prodded the dashboard at the top of the screen and found that I can put an accent on the final e of blasé. It’s only taken me 800 posts to find that out, but then I didn’t need it in the first 799. (It’s the Ω sign).

I’m going to write a post about Schrödinger now I can spell his name properly.

 

Scarborough, Sandwiches and a Broken Phone

This morning (Thursday)  I broke my phone. It slipped from my hand and hit the pavement face first. I’ve dropped it many times before but this time the screen shattered. In itself it’s annoying, but the full importance will be revealed later…

The weather on Wednesday lived up to its forecast so we swung into action with a trip to the coast. It was Julia’s only day off of the week so I thought I’d treat her to a day at the seaside.

We drove further north than usual and visited Wetherby Services for elevenses (breakfast had been toast, which I don’t actually recognise as a meal). We’ve stopped there once before and were impressed by the architecture.

Sadly, having decided to have a bacon baguette from Upper Crust, the architecture remained the only impressive part of the visit. Too late, we remembered that this was the situation after the previous visit. The bacon tasted of fish.

From there we turned towards Teeside, dropped down through the moors and emerged on the coast at the top end of Whitby near the Rugby Club.  A few years ago Nottingham U15s went on tour to Scarborough. Scarborough Rugby Club, with their £10 million facility, didn’t reply to my enquiry about a match.  Despite it being last minute, Whitby stepped in and hosted us.

They made us welcome and lent us several players (including a full Yorkshire player) to augment our squad. By “squad” I mean 11 forwards and a scrum half who had spent the previous day and night on a training diet of seaside rock, chips and Red Bull.

All in all, I always feel a warm glow when driving past the club.

We had crab sandwiches at Mrs Botham’s. They were excellent. The photos are currently stuck on my camera. Attempts to extract them, trying to swipe the shattered screen, did not go well.  At quiet times of the year you can park outside the shop, obtaining a parking disc from the newsagent.  There are some very interesting shops along the street.

Finally, we went to Scarborough.

The vessel in the featured image is the MV Coronia, the second excursion ship of that name to sail from Scarborough. Built as the Brit, she cruised the Norfolk coast from 1935 to 1939 befire being taken up by the Admiralty and renamed HM Tender Watchful. She spent the war in hard but unglamorous work – boom defence on the Humber, resupplying destroyers in Yarmouth Roads and working on PLUTO (Pipeline Under the Ocean).

For a short time in 1940 she was one of the ships that rescued troops from Dunkirk, bringing 900 home. One of the crew at that time spoke of clearing body parts from the deck and having to beach the badly damaged ship on the return to Dover.

The other shots show the castle above the town and a painted bicycle – probably from the recent Tour de Yorkshire.

 

Bowie, Bears and Staxtonbury

There’s been an outbreak of bears in Yorkshire.

We were coming back from a day out on the coast last year when we first spotted them. It was twilight at the time and too dark for photos. This year we were better prepared and managed to take some photographs.  There is another group about 200 yards away, but that would involve parking by the side of a fast bit of road, obstructing traffic and putting my life at risk for a picture of a teddy bear made from straw bales.

They are advertising Straxtonbury. Follow the link for more information and a video including pictures of last year’s bears.

They are at Staxton, in case you want a look. Or pretty close to Staxton, I’m a bit hazy on the geography.