Some of you might be wondering “Why is she wasting her holiday blogging when she should be just relaxing and not thinking about work?”
If you could see me now you would understand.
I’m sitting on a little sunny terrace on the west side of the cottage bathed in evening sunlight. I’m sipping a cold Mojito, listening to the sound of swifts coming in to roost in the barn, watching young pheasants scuttling round the field beneath me and feeling utterly relaxed.
This kind of blogging doesn’t feel like work to me. It’s a kind of catharsis, a therapy. At home, much of the work I do is to timescales and jobs have to fitted into time slots.
I enjoy writing at any time, of course, but here it’s a natural end to the day and a way of consolidating my experiences and the joys of the day.
We called at Helmsley this morning for coffee and wifi and had the usual friendly service and excellent buttered teacake at the Sugared Butterfly.
By the way – have any of my Yorkshire friends heard of a Sally Lund? Apparently it’s a local teacake type thing but I’ve yet to try it, so I’ll keep you posted.
Driving round Rievaulx Abbey was a trip down memory lane for me. I spent my College days in St Johns College, York, studying Medieval History. That’s why I love this part of the world and have always had a strange interest in medieval monasteries. Sadly most of them are ruins after Henry VIII had his way with them in the 1500s.
Rievaulx Abbey is especially beautiful. It’s hidden away in a river valley just below Helmsley and takes your breath away when you come around the corner of the little country road and it appears in all it’s majesty in front of you! Yes, there’s still majesty in ruins – you just need a little imagination.
The mojito is going down very well in case you’re wondering and there’s just time for me to tell you about Castle Howard. Its just a short drive from York, close to Malton.
Castle Howard is the Chatsworth House of the North and every bit as splendid. Of course, it’s famous for being the filmset of Brideshead Revisited, quite a few years ago. Today as well as being a magnet for visitors of all nationalities, it provides a stunning backdrop for all kinds of musical concerts, festivals, and firework displays.
We didn’t visit the house, mainly on behalf of Little Legs, but we managed a mooch round the very nice Gift Shop, the mouthwatering Farm Shop and Butchery and a restful Afternoon Tea in the Cafe.
They must have had a run on scones as she informed me they were all out! So we opted for a Raspberry and Apricot Frangipane Tart which led to the inevitable conversation of whether Claudia Frangipane has what it takes to win Strictly. The conclusion was yes, although I’m secretly hoping for Greg Rutherford – yay for the gingers! Oh, and the Tart was a winner too.
The sun is just dipping behind the tree line now and the air cooling a little, quite refreshing after another very hot day. I can see at least 12 pheasants very close to where I am sitting, pecking their way across the hillside.
Tonight I want to gather up all the sights, sounds and smells and put them in a bottle to keep and take home with me so I can remember this moment.
I can’t do that very easily, so I’ll put them all in this blog instead and share it with all of you.
Stay tuned …