Monday, June 18, 2012

Springtime in York, North Yorkshire - April 2012

It's been months since I've updated the site -- sorry.

I recently spent 10 wonderful days in York.  My old friend Dave and I flew over from Houston into Heathrow and directly to York by train.  Dave says I've spoiled him for flying -- I've been able to offer him companion traveler's coupon which enables us to fly in business (BA's Club World) and we booked first class on the train.  To tell you the truth I think he enjoyed the train ride(s) the most.

Here's Dave enjoying the complimentary drinks and nibbles in the BA lounge pre-flight.

Although the weather had been beautiful and warm the previous week(s) it was not so during our visit.  After a day or two Dave and I got real tired of people "apologizing" for the weather -- and hearing "if you had been here last week...".  Truth of the matter is, both Dave and I were enjoying the area so much that the weather was of no concern.

Since Matt and John's place is rather small for 4 people (what with only two bedrooms and one full bath) we opted to stay at a little hotel just 2 minutes away in Tadcaster Road -- the "Knavesmire Manor".  A lovely little hotel created from one of York's large old homes.  Our room was spacious and clean, but the place, on the whole, reminded us a bit like "Faulty Towers".  After some expectation adjustments we actually felt a little like being home.

Below is a hotel photo from their website.  Superimposed are our two rooms -- Dave's (the pensioner's discount accommodations) is on the top, while mine is the bottom photo...

Only joking...however, that is the hotel in the background.

Our first venture out was to The Mouseman of Kilburn -- an old established, still family owned and operated cabinetry shop making incredible items from English oak (if it's in England is it JUST oak?) -- I think Dave was impressed. 

Then over to Castle Howard just a few miles outside of York.  We seemed to have caught the gardens post-mid-pre bloom -- the daffodils were still hanging on, the trees were beginning to bud, but that was about it.  I was a little disappointed for Dave.

Saturday was spent in and round York with a visit to the beautiful Museum Gardens.  Saturday was the Queen's actual birthday 21 April and there had been a artillery salute in the gardens -- which we missed...

Oh, and a windmill -- in York -- Really???
New restored and working windmill in York -- just minutes from the town centre!

On Sunday Matty and John collected us for Services in the Minster.  After there was coffee in the Minster's Chapter House...

Then it was a drive into the Yorkshire Moores with stops at Hovingham, Helmsley, the Hole of Horcum, Goathland and eventually Whitby and Scarsboro.  Our true destination was for dinner in Whitby at the famous "Magpie" restaurant.  I think it was fish and chips for most of us.

Oh, I did not realize that in Bram Stoker's Dracula, Whitby is where the ship carrying the Count's coffin is wrecked and the remains are brought ashore.  Why, I do believe this might be the Count doing a little shopping...

On the Tuesday, Matty and John again spent the day driving us thru the Yorkshire Dales.  The Tan Hill Inn is the highest (in elevation) pub/inn in Great Britain.  It is also famous because a couple of winters ago about a dozen employees and guests were snowed in for about a week.  Hey, beer, liquor, food, beds, toilets, etc. - could have been worse -- they could have been at the Knavesmire Manor!

We drove down into the little village of Askrigg -- this is where the series "All Creatures Great and Small" was filmed and below is the house used as the vet's office and home.  Directly across from this building is a private home -- we all commented on what an un-inspired door and trim colour the owners had selected.  Well, that evening, Matt popped in a DVD of the old series -- we laughed because that very house was in one of the scenes with the same trim and door colour!!!

The little village of Reeth...found a wonderful photography gallery -- made a couple purchases...

On the Wednesday (day before our departure) our friends Caroline and Mark dedicated a full day to us.  Dave was eager to ride the North Yorkshire Moores Railway.  This is a small system run completely by volunteers using old steam engines and various old style carriages.  The line runs from Pickering to Whitby.  So, we all had lunch in the station tea room then Caro and Mark drove to Whitby to meet Dave and I at the other end.  The drive is about 20 mins, but the train takes about an hour and 20 mins.  It was a wonderful experience and one that I believe Dave really enjoyed.  Upon our arrival in Whitby Caro and Mark were at the station waiting.  We strolled thru Whitby (yes, Whitby twice in one visit) and had some lunch...during lunch Dave had us all in stitches by doing his impressions of some of the Houston/Southern locals...

And finally, Thursday morning -- our day of departure.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Am presently in Houston, Texas spending my holiday with my old friend, Dave.

Caught a 9:35 flight from Philly on 23/12/11 and arrived into Houston about 13:00 (1:00 P.M.).

Friday evening Dave prepared a lovely dinner of Deep-Fried turkey, stuffing and the trimmings.  We were joined by Allen, Louisa and Dave's neighbor Gary.

Saturday was spent doing some last minute shopping and then dinner at Annie's home with her children Allen, Louisa, Voleria and Dave's neighbor Gary.  Both Dave and I bought Annie and her family gift cards and thought that the kids would be disappointed with being handed an envelope with a card.  So, we stopped at a local grocery store and bought cans of sardines, mussels and packages of Ramin noodle soups and we taped the cards to the backs and/or bottoms of the cans and packages...the kids' expressions were priceless -- then they turned the cans over to find the gift cards!!!

Dave surprised me with a beautiful glass vase.  Actually, I had asked him to bid on it for me at the local auction, but he claimed he left his seat and when he came back the vase had already been sold!!!!

Well, Dave is preparing lunch right now, so will close until later.

Happy Holidays to all!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Arrived into London on Thanksgiving Day.  Had the most bumpy flight ever -- we had tail winds of approx 240 miles per hour which made for a short flight, i.e. a short, but BUMPY flight.  It was one of the rare times while flying that I've actually started checking for the "little bag" -- and I don't mean "doggie bag".  Now, mind you, that didn't mean I didn't eat my dinner, drink my champagne, nor eat my brekky...!!!

Anyway, the holiday shopping season is in full swing here in Olde London Town and it's very exciting.  The high streets are teeming with shoppers, the streets are aglow with holiday decorations and lights and the shops are incredible.  That said, Harrods (not one of my favorite shops) was soooooo crowded that one could not move -- and I only went there in search of lamps for a certain person -- you know who you are!!!

Well, here are a couple of photos...I hope you enjoy...

The atrium at Fortnum and Mason (F&M)

Truffles at the Candy Counter of F&M

More of the F&M candy counter -- am I fixated???

The Main Food Hall at F&M

Another photo of the Main Food Hall...

An F&M street window -- mmmmm, Candy, Food, Wine -- what could be better....!!!

...and the madness which is Harrods at Christmas...