Friday, 30 May 2008

Friday's Finale

Well, it's been a busy blogging week but we've come to the end of the saga that encompassed the humble weeks holiday. After the wild excesses of Forbidden Corner, we opted for a little fresh air and excercise at nearby Bolton Abbey. It's been over ten years since we last visited but it's certainly a lovely spot, peaceful and versatile with plenty of stopping spots en route so you can do as much or as little walking as you want. We saw modern art...
...and architecture (or rather the ruined remains of the abbey even though the other end is a fully functioning local parish church).
I surprised myself by walking all the way to this bridge (with a lunch stop along the way), the aforementioned aqueduct though there was no water up above.

We walked alongside the river for what seemed like miles and miles, uphill and downdale, through fields and forests on the right side of the bank and returned on the other side which looked (deceptively) more straighforward, it was less undulating than the other side anyway!

The modern art was provided by these, coins hammered into fallen logs at various parts of the route, given a stone you could easily do the same as we saw some less full versions further along, pre-scored to accept them.

It's funny to think of all the walkers participating in this open-air spectacle and have to admit that we may have added an extra coin or two on our travels ;-)

On our return trip, we passed thru a forest which had painted masks attached to the trees, it was a green man exhibit and obviously the handiwork of a number of people. Unfortunately, blogger in its infinite wisdom has been a true pain in the bum this evening uploading pictures and plain refused that one so you'll have to settle on this little scene which we happened upon almost at the ned of our travails...
...For the brave (or foolhardy), there was an alternative to the bridge to cross the river...more stepping stones! You can just about see a small black and white blob which is a collie attempting to trip up it's master in it's haste to get across...what happened next?

Here is the dog further ahead having pushed past its human, happily trolling along; but as they say....

...Pride comes before a fall (or a dip in this case!). You can almost see the indignant expression on his face a) that he's found himself in such a predicament and b) that he's not so confident about the rest of the trip...

...And here's another human tempting him out of the water to regain his perch...He managed the rest of the stones a little more thoughtfully than before and found a sandy dip on the opposite bank to roll around in which appeared to cheer him back up again, you can't keep a collie down for long!

After a brief stop at a gift shop for a wee tub of ice cream, we returned back to Grassington for our final time, pausing to grab a few minutes internet time, download the latest pattern from the Sock Madness crew and buy a posse of cows but maybe I'll leave that story for another time...

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Holiday Thursday...the big one!

Actually, it's quite nice that I get to talk about holiday Thursday 'cos today's not been so hot. In a fit of "why me?" it appears that either I've picked up yet another virus or lumpie the lump is making an unwelcome appearance with throat inflammation and general all-round crappiness.

But hey! This post's not about now, it's about then, the Thursday of the holiday, when in the morning, I cast off my socks and tried to get artistic shots...this was meant to take in the panoramic view of the hills (we had a fab view from the front), a fair amount of gymnastics ensued and it wasn't exactly good but you can certainly use your imagination as to where I was positioned to photograph them!
Then around 11ish we headed out on our great adventure, Tom-tom doing its usual trick taking us along access only roads, steep gradients and across moor roads that were narrow and winding to the Forbidden Corner. It was a somewhat weird scenario, the day before I'd picked up the leaflet (which tells you pretty much nothing except what seems a high price for something you know nothing about AND the fact you have to pre-book); it sparked a want that I'd had for four or five years to go despite knowing very little about it. It was that type of holiday whan you go "to hell with it" and just go for it, we were as close as we were ever going to be in location (under an hour's drive) and out of season, there was no problem ringing and reserving places. We arrived a little early (12pm start) with a fair amount of trepidation....

Here's what we found....

...A little odd, but this was the entrance to the place, hidden behind a stout stone wall. It had a giant tonsil (all rubbery and punchbaggy) hanging down in the centre of the mouth and as you passed, it gave a giant belch, it made Bro jump which was really funny 'cos it takes a lot to shake him but he was surprised a few times that day!
We were given a leaflet with things to find (so you didn't miss anything), this was amongst them, one of the saner exhibits...
We happened across these cute figures halfway thru a deceptively difficult maze...
...look who else was getting in on the act!
We found this towards the way out though we couldn't find the real way through...for a while. It was that sort of place, sometimes you had to tread the same path numerous times to find everything but I'm leaping ahead here. Not long after this, I stopped to read a poem near to an exit and got an unpleasant surprise...

...A statue of pan came to life and squirted me (quite thoroughly) with water! The air was blue!

A little further on, we found this giant chappie...

...With oak treetrunks for legs, it towered over the scene.

There were quirky things..

...Like this...or
...this, Caliban from that Shakespearian classic "The Tempest", the water bubbled as you got near, but after a while, we got wise to the less savoury aspects, as soon as there was water trails on the ground (it was a sunny day), we were wary, looking for the culprit! Considering that here was a peeing boy, a malevolent crow, and gobstones to look out for, we were on our guard a lot!

We went up stone steps; (not as many as last Monday!) and found this spectacle, a glass pyramid...and around the corner from there...
...Truly evil stepping stones! No, really, step on the wrong one and a curtain of water shoots up, catching you mid stride, wetting you where you really don't want to be wet!

To lead you here via a grecian columned; greek soldier statue guarded entrance and inside that...

...The doors of DOOM!!!! It was funny actually, 'cos there was a loo in amongst the winding passageways; for anyone who got a bit scared along the way!

It led to a circular room with an imposing statue in the centre...

...Seven doors leading in different directions, some of which started music and the fountains in the centre. Some were dummy doors with painted scenes behind, but two were real, one led to a weirdly opulent red-carpeted stairway with bizarre poirtraits that led into an outside courtyard of a tower. then it was round again to explore a different route...those evil stepping stones again, this time me getting an unfortunate soaking (thanks to hubby's footwork), to explore the other door...
...The giant door led to both a fake and genuine passageway but what you see in the distance is a double passageway choice...leading to a teensy circular chamber with a revolving floor and seven doors! Again, some were fakes but there were still two choices, one of them led this way...
....down the mousehole! There was an exceptional tableau (really quite gruesome) with a HUGE cat head, I still can't get the rhyme out of my head " The cat...the cat...the cat is coming...the cat". It had a weird backlit display hence no pic's, back around again to the other choice, this time heading up into the tower to a bizarre crowded "forest", it was well creepy, I'm telling you! That time, bro got a second soaking so to save further moistness, we retraced our steps and found the other exit, through another curtain of water! If you waited, the centre water jets parted but we were so hopped that some of us got it...again!
This was the other entrance that we didn't have the heart to do...those stepping stones had claimed too many victims! There was another weird entrance/exit that we never saw the other side was so narrow that only kids could have got out of it but the other end was meant to be normal! We spent hours but at the end, it beat us, we needed to beat a retreat homeward...via the ice-cream farm, of course!

In a twist of fate, we arrived back to Grassington with just 30 minutes to use the internet services of a local cafe before they closed and squirt my photo to flickr back in the days when I gave a damn about competitions. That last photo was just for me, just for laughs. Still, it was a fab time, and a wonderful day that exceeded expectations in every concievable way. Let's face it, when you have no idea of what's going to happen, you don't really have expectations, do you?

Tune in tomorrow when I'll wrap up this enterprise and (thank god!) I can get back to once or twice weekly, and get back to crafting!

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Organization - Thief of Time!

I'm the first to admit that I'm not the most organised person in the world...I do the things I have to, and leave a fair bit to do when I have the energy (which isn't often). But, I started to realize that the computer was way past being sorted out; pictures backed up, files organised, you know the drill, it was a mess and it's taken me all day!

Hence no pic's of the haul...yet. You'll have to imagine the beauties I picked up at Coldspring Mill; another hank of that gorgeous blue Noro Cash Iroha (now I'll have enough for 2 sweaters!), 2 x 500g hanks of a blue mixed soft Aran pure wool yarn (nice!), another hank of the red mix wool 4ply, a purples and blues too and 6 skeins of Noro Ganpi Abaka (no, I don't have a clue what to do with it it was just CHEAP!); more unbanded packs of Freedom Wool, plenty now to make a vibrant purple sweater and a fiery mixed combination...and I got my discount despite having no KCG i.d. (it appears my application was lost in the post but it's all in hand now).

You'll have to imagine the 2 x 500g hanks of autumnaly/camouflagey browns chunky pure wool I picked up from The Skep along with some more variegated 4ply that was too cheap to miss in blues and greens and a little purple..for a little while, anyway!

I had planned to take myself off on my yarny expedition but as the men decided to tag along, hubbie drove and in a weird quirk of Tom-tom calculating different routes on the return trip to the outward one, we passed a rather excellent indian Buffet restaurant called Habib's on the outskirts of Bradford...I think the day perked up for them both after that!

On our return, somewhat stuffed from the excellent meal, we decided to go for a gentle stroll along the riverbank in the other direction.

We walked past the big bridge that marks the entrance to Grassington and came across this charismatic chap...

...He was whinging and wailing on the other side of the stile gate and as we opened it to go through, he scooted to the other side to roll on the gravel and soak up the sun!

Further along (we went further than expected...again!), we saw this group on an island in the middle of the river (there's another little 'un hiding behind mam).

We ambled along for a while then seeing a steep upward path, I decided to make that our turning point (I'm actually no good on the hills, and I'm still suffering from Monday's exertions!).

On our return trip, we saw another family traversing the rocks, stopping for a drink...
...And scooting right past us, mam even stopped for a photo-op!

Considering there were so many babies about, most mothers steered well clear of us so I couldn't get any reasonable shots but this one seemed to have a gammy leg so maybe she just couldn't go so fast?

Ah well, another day over; quite how I'm going to fit in the tale of the Forbidden corner tomorrow I don't know but it has to be done!

See you soon.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Tuesday's Holiday Snaps

Phew! Well, with reiki in the morning and knitting in the afternoon, I knew Tuesday was going to be busy but when the whole of Wallasey's power supply was off for half-an-hour, it was quite interesting to be in the town centre watching everyone being ushered out of the shops and milling round aimlessly. Car drivers were realtively restrained as all the traffic lights were out but they mostly worked around one another and waited to let people across the road when queues built up. Being a knitting addict, all I could think of was..." that power cut sweater from inspired cable knits takes on a new dimension!". That led me to think how I could bend time to knit one, alongside all the other commitments I have, obviously...briefly...then come to my senses again!

Anyway, you want to know about Tuesday of the holidays? Well, on Monday, on the way back from our exertions we popped into a farm shop at Cracoe and had a two (or was it three?) scoop ice-cream...very nice it was too with the sun just about out. Well, the lady owner had waxed lyrical about the origins of the ice-cream, Brymor and the farm where it was produced around an hour away.

Guess where we went first thing Tuesday? To gthe ice-cream farm, of course!

There's no pic's 'cos a) I forgot and b) there wasn't an awful lot to photograph (except reams of tubs of ice-cream of course!) but suffice to say the choice was plentiful, we all had 3 scoops each, flavours of which I can't quite remember though I do recall a rather nice praline creation, yummy!

On the way to the farm, we'd passed Stump Cross caverns and as it was officially bro's day and he'd expressed an interest in doing one of the numerous caverns in the area, we popped in on our way back. Being out of season, it was a kind of do-it-yourself affair which though off-putting at first actually turned into a real scream!
This was the entrance to the caves with its great range of both 'tites and 'mites.
One thing that kept us in pleats was the restricted head-height at certain points, bro kept knocking his hard-hat on the roof (which made me laugh) and poor Pete had to bend pretty low being such a lanky soul which was hilarious at the time, I think part of the hysteria was the somewhat spooky setting which is far more prevalent when you're a group on your own.

Here are some of the attractions, can you guess what this is? Would it look more like if I put socks on it's feet?
Yup, it's a dog! There were cute little Victorian plates with names on them at some points, you'll see some further on.
This didn't have a name, I just loved that weird lunar landscape and had to share it with you. Of course the other advantage of being a lone unattended group was that we could be as snap happy as we wanted and not irritate anyone else!
...Errm, can't quite remember this one, two towers maybe?

....More lumps on a rock? (okay I didn't take notes, bad girl!)
..Oh Yeah, you can just about see the label, imaginatively titled "chamber of pillars" (maybe my descriptions were better) can you think of anything more creative (and not rude)?
...Okay, this one DID look quite rude, so they decided to call it "Policeman's Truncheon!"
You might want to click on this one as it's a bit dark but what sent me into further rounds of mirth was the cheezy wooden reindeer in the's reindeer cavern by the idea why!
...And this one was called the butcher's shop, absolutely no idea why!
That was the best of 'em anyway, we surfaced again and munched our yummy butties in the car park looking over the hills, olive bread from the fair on Sunday and gorgeous smoked ham from the not-cheap-but-fab butcher in the village.
After tea, we were feeling a little overfed and in need of excercise so we took the footpath at the bottom of our road to do the gentle 1 mile walk over the hills to Hebden. It was nice to be out in the open air, the day had been hot and sunny but it was more bearable as the sun was going down, we traipsed over fields, through woods, saw loads of rabbits lolloping around the place and arrived on the road at Hebden. Bro suggested an alternative return route that he'd done with my parents and though he wasn't quite sure and we did go through a rather muddy patch we walked along one river side until we picked up the one that went through Grassington. A somewhat longer walk (around 4-5 miles) but it was extremely pretty.

When we finally got to the river, there was at least a little play opportunity, the bendy bridge! It's a typical suspension footbridge that he further you get towards the centre, the more it bounces with every step only this one had the added extra of twisting a little from side to side, fun but a teensy bit scary too!

I loved snapping this shot along the river as the sun was going down, particularly the reflection of the trees in the water.

We passed the stepping stones again, this time there were exhuberant youngsters trying to cross and getting wet feet in the process with mum waiting with a towel on the other side, plenty of screams could be heard as we continued on our way!

The figures in the distance were two lady walkers who we met briefly at the bridge. They had walked all the way from Bolton Bridge and were looking for their B+B in Grassington. It must have been at least ten miles and they were footsore and weary. Unfortunately, as we were visitors, we couldn't point them in the right direction but we did point them to the local Spar for hopefully local knowledge.

We returned back home tired but relaxed and knowing that Wednesday would be more travelling. It was MY day and boy, did I have plans...Coldspring Mill, the Skep...lots of lovely yarns, but you'll have to wait 'till tomorrow for that one!

See you then.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Bank Holiday Special and more Holiday Snaps

Serendipity.. .a happy coincidence. Or in today's terms, if we hadn't visited Forbidden Corner on holiday (for that day, you'll have to wait 'till Thursday), we wouldn't have known about Hawkstone Follies...

And if we had believed the bad weather reports, we'd have never taken the chance and driven there today, Me, Hub and Bro...

Well, it was a truly unique experience, if extremely tough on the legs, the site was over a large area and there was LOTS of uphill steps...and downhill steps, and more uphill steps, you get the picture!

At the top of the first hill, there was the White Tower (actually a redstone folly), and there was this little tableau inside, a memorial to the original owners who created the folly back in the 18th Century. Some of the stone steps were so worn, you could see the imprint of thousands of feet etched inches into them, not a place for those unsteady on their feet but an amazing playground for the more able amongst us.

We traversed Rhodedendron Jungles...
Snake Walks...
... To get here to the monument. There was a door and windows so I guess in higher season you can get inside, the view higher up must be really amazing.

We could see across to a wacky outcrop, little did we know we'd be there...after an adventure or two...
...across the bridge...
...Through the tunnel, (you really need to bring a torch, some of these passages are pitch black!)...
...Up a great cleft in the rock, more worn stone steps, this path had to be cleared from feet of earth, it's a really atmospheric spot.
And then into the Grotto...actually the remains of tunnels of a Roman Copper mine but with a few romantic twists thrown in by those 18th Century owners, like fake stalagtites and a tableau as King Arthur was rumoured to have been there at one point.

Here, there was some light, as well as natural light from these unusual grated openings, this was the weird building you saw on the headland earlier.....
... And this is outside looking down to the floor below, waaay down...
It was a mass of tunnels, this was just one small segment. But for the flash, it would have been nearly pitch black.
And outside, up above is the arch...
...With the "awful precipice" and raven's lodge at the back.
We must have spent 3+ hours scrambling up and down hills but as bro had kindly provided ample sandwiches and we provided drinks and crisps, I don't think it'll be much of a weight-loss issue...particularly with the ice-cream stand near the grotto! Still, a great Bank Holiday was had by all.
Anyway, Monday on the holiday also involved walking, this time in Malham.
...It also involved steps...lots of steps!
This is the view of Malham cove just before the steep incline, it led to the limestone pavement above which unfortunately I can't find a photo of. Suffice to say, it was tricky to navigate, va natural phenomenon where the water washes away the limestone creating uneven slabs with dips and hollows.
You can see some of the steps we came up, beyond the hill the steps were even steeper and many, I was quite red-faced by the time I came to the top!
Once on the top, the walk was much easier, following through fields to come to a handily placed roadside cafe, after a brief stop by the side of a babbling brook then another mile to the impressive falls at Gordale? scar. the pluckier members were doing the walk up it...we didn't... It also seemed to be the place for rock climbers...yeah, like I need to frighten myself half to death!

We retraced our steps to the road and on to Janet's foss before heading along the river back to Malham, footsore but feeling like we'd all achieved something. We had the treat of that yummy pork pie that night too so an easy cook night and boy, did I sleep well!
With a little luck and timing, I should be able to tell you about Tuesday's adventures tomorrow and so on through the week, it's the only way to do it without spending hours typing ;-)
I see the Furry Dogmother socks went down well with all concerned, it's the entrelac pair on Thursday so lord knows when I'll finish that pair!
See ya tomorra