Saturday, 30 March 2019

A Week in The Yorkshire Dales #1 - Rain!

Hi there everyone ๐Ÿ˜€

We have been pretty much basking in warm sunshine back at home this week. It's hard to believe that two weeks ago today we were just starting our week's holiday in The Yorkshire Dales, staying in the warm and cosy Woodside Cottage

The weather forecast for the Saturday was spot on ... 100% chance of rain according to the BBC and that is what we had ... from the minute we woke up to the minute we went to bed.

After having a leisurely lie in listening to the rain we got ourselves up and spent a good while looking out of the back bedroom window ... just watching the weather and the babbling Malham Beck become more of a raging torrent ...
The village was pretty quiet, though we did see the odd dog walker braving the rains and a few intrepid ramblers, all waterproofed up and striding out purposefully.

Our plans for the day were sausage sandwiches, then a drive out to Settle, where we hoped to find a garden centre for a bit of an indoor mooch.

We drove across the moors to Settle, passing Malham Cove on the way and having a bit of a detour to find the car park for Malham Tarn, two walks we had on the cards for later in the week once the weather had improved.

As we were coming down off the moors and through Langcliffe into Settle we could see the River Ribble flowing across the valley floor. It was running pretty swiftly and looking fairly high.

As we actually came alongside the river on the main road we just had to stop and take some photos and video clips, it was looking pretty fierce and wasn’t far off bursting it’s banks.



We managed to find our garden centre, which was tiny but did have some lovely bits and pieces. We picked up a few bumble bees which we were sure we would be able to find homes for in the garden back home ...

From the garden centre we headed into the town centre and decided it definitely looked worth a return visit for a bit of a mooch later on in our stay.

For now we headed back the way we’d come, calling in at The Watershed Mill craft centre, which sat right on the banks of the Ribble. As the river was so high the car park wall was in danger of being breached so they were shutting up early.


It was then back up and over the hills with frequent photo stops, starting with this impromptu waterfall over the dry stone wall where the run off of the rain had found its own way ...

We passed pretty stone bridges ...

 ... and plenty of mossy stone walls ...

The water had certainly risen since we’d made our way out earlier on ...

We did manage a few pull ins for pictures of Malham Cove in the distance, through squeeze stone stiles ...
... and field gates ...

It was a pretty impressive site, though I am hoping we will manage to get to see it again with some blue skies and sunshine ... that's not to say the weather was deterring visitors ...


As we made our way back into Malham we noticed that Malham Beck had risen considerably and the first of the three clapper bridges was suffering the consequences ... it may look like a weir but, trust me, it is most definitely a bridge ...

We made a quick visit to the cafe in the village for chip butties before making our way back to Woodside cottage to cosy up for the rest of the afternoon and evening ...
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Thursday, 28 March 2019

Woodside Cottage - Malham, Yorkshire Dales

Hi there everyone ๐Ÿ˜€

As you may be aware, we are just back from our first week's holiday of 2019. We stayed in a cosy traditional stone cottage in the tiny village of Malham in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, with plans to get out and do a bit of 'proper' walking, as well as exploring a bit further afield, whilst hoping to fit in in some cosy chill out time too.
We normally prefer a cottage in the midst of the countryside so it was quite a change for us to be in the heart of the village and we were both interested to see how we got on.

When did we visit?
15-22 March 2019

How many does it sleep?
4 - in two roomy double bedrooms, one of which can be made up as a twin if needed

How much was it?
£447.00

Who did we book with?
Sykes Holiday Cottages

First impressions ...
The cottage was in a lovely spot, backing on to Malham Beck with, what felt like our own personal ancient clapper bridge leading to The Lister Arms, well within walking distance.

There was good off road parking to the side of the cottage and we entered via a back doorway leading into a small stone flagged porch area, which would be great for taking off wet boots and coats.

The porch leads through to the downstairs living area, which is all open plan ...

There was some serious lime green going on, which isn't really our thing, but it did all kind of work well together and it grew on us throughout the course of the week.

The kitchen area is at the back of the cottage and had a stone flagged floor ...
There was plenty of empty storage space to house our own provisions and a nice big fridge freezer.

The dining room is also across the back of the cottage.

At the front is a very spacious lounge area with two huge very comfy looking sofas set around an open fire which was all laid ready to light ...

The stairs lead off from the lounge and upstairs there are two very spacious bedrooms, one at the back and one at the front, both with huge comfy looking beds ...

There were fab views out of the back bedroom window, across to The Lister Arms and the hills beyond ...
The front bedroom had a huge ensuite shower room with a double size shower ...
... and there was a family bathroom, with a separate shower cubicle and a big roll top bath next to the rear bedroom ...


Our likes over the course of our stay ...
  • Coming in and out of the cottage by the back door ... it was just so easy to dump all the wet boots and coats in the porch and not traipse muddy boots throughout
  • The squishy sofas ... they were so big and comfy, lovely to curl up on for a night in front of the TV after a good day out walking or exploring
  • The heating ... worked really well and was easy to regulate, both up and down
  • The big powerful shower in the en suite
  • The nice big fluffy bath sheets
  • The Wifi ... which was totally reliable throughout the course of our stay
  • The huge comfy beds, which were a real treat to snuggle down into
  • The view out of the back bedroom window ... in all weathers, we spent a good while watching the rain and the Beck get seemingly higher and higher
  • The location was perfect ... we had plenty of walks right from the back door, with no need to get the car out, it was nice and quiet, though I'm sure it would be busier in the summer months and The Lister Arms fast became a firm favourite
  • The log fire ... we only lit it the once but Martin said it was one of the easiest to light that we've come across and it burned lovely with no messing about whatsoever ...












What would make it better?
  • For us, a downstairs toilet would be lovely, but we can see that there just wouldn't be room for this
  • More storage in the front bedroom would have been useful as we ended up having to use the drawers in the back room, but we managed ok
Would we recommend this cottage to our friends and family ?
Most definitely ... it was good value, in a brilliant spot and very comfortable

Would we stay in this cottage again?
I think we most definitely will. We fell in love with the cottage and Malham. We loved having so many walks on the doorstep and having The Lister Arms so close was a real treat and made a real change for us.

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Monday, 25 March 2019

Joy in the Everyday Ordinary - March, 11-20

Hi there everyone ๐Ÿ˜€

Welcome to the second of my Joy in the Everyday Ordinary posts for 2019.

We are just back from the loveliest week tucked up in a nice warm cottage in the village of Malham, in the very lovely Yorkshire Dales.

We didn't get to see a lot of sunshine but in the main it was dry and we did manage to get out and about more than we expected. We even did some proper walking, with walking boots, a rucksack and everything ... a real trip down memory lane it was and we both loved it.

I have plenty to tell you about over the coming weeks, with lots of photos, but for now ... here are our next 10 days of March ...
Day 11 - It may seem odd but it was a beautiful sunny day and the sight of the sunshine catching the zesty green of the moss on the planter drew me into the garden. I just had to try and capture it. 
Day 11 - Yes, I know it's cheating a bit, using a second image for the same day, and a collage at that ... Once drawn outside by the lure of the sun shining through the moss I had to have a bit of a wander round the garden to see what else was happening. I am pleased to report that the anemones we planted in the fruit tree pots last year are doing well as is Martin's spiky, but pretty, chaenomeles, which was also planted last year. We also have the first buds started to flower on the summer snowflakes. I am hoping that we won't miss these whilst we are on holiday.
Day 12 - The weather could not have been more different from yesterday. It was blowing a hoolie, destined only to get worse, and the rain was really lashing down, all courtesy of Storm Gareth. I wasn't complaining though. There is something really nice about being tucked up inside all cosy and warm and safe from the elements. I love watching the rain from the landing window and listening to it hammer against the windows and trickle down the pipes. I spent the day just doing some gentle indoor pottering ... a bit of tidying, a bit of blogging, a bit of paperwork, a bit of cooking, a bit of ironing, finishing off my book and a bit of holiday preparation. 
Day 13 - Martin was at work and I had a sneaky piece of cake at the garden centre before a quick pop in to see my good friend Jackie on my way back, which ended up being pretty much the whole afternoon curled up at either end of the sofa chatting about all sorts ... from holidays to Brexit and retirement plans to life goals. It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon and all the more lovely for being completely out of the blue ... not much housework done for either of us though ๐Ÿ˜€
Day 14 - Somehow and most unusually, I seemed to be feeling really organised in the run up to our first holiday of the year. I even had time to press some fabric and do a bit of cutting out for a very special project. I can't wait to get cracking on with it ... hopefully the sewing machine will be back and raring to go very soon.
Day 15 - Yay ... off on our first holiday of the year and this would be our home for the next seven days. It was so lovely to be back in the Yorkshire Dales.
Day 16 - The forecast promised between 89% and 100% chance of rain pretty much all day and that is exactly what it did. It was lovely waking up to the sound of the rain coming down and the 'babbling brook' rushing past the back of the cottage. We stood for a fair while at the back window of the cottage just watching the weather and the odd dog walker braving the deluge before heading out for a drive across the hills, which I will tell you more about in a separate post.
Day 17 - We walked from the cottage to Malham Cove today and saw all kinds of weather, from blue sky and sunshine, to pouring rain and snow. We loved being back out in the proper countryside and were well chuffed with ourselves for making the effort to climb the 400 steps to the top, but ... you've guessed it ... I will tell you lots more about our walk in a separate post ๐Ÿ˜€
Day 18 - It was a day for kind of resting our legs and we had a drive over to Skpton where we had lunch in the quirkiest cafe ever ... Martin described the decor as Alice in Wonderland meets Damien Hurst and I don't think he was far off the mark. 
Day 19 - Another day walking from the cottage. This time we did a Geocaching walk which explored all the nooks and crannies of the village ... ending up with a lazy afternoon in The Lister Arms, which is definitely becoming a firm favourite.
Day 20 - We didn't do much walking today. We went to a local farm shop for breakfast before having another drive over to Settle for a wander about and a quick visit to Booths, our favourite supermarket when up this way. We came back early and lit the fire and just generally chilled out with a crossword and a book.

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Monday, 18 March 2019

A Week in Somerset #6 - Stourhead NT

Hi there everyone ๐Ÿ˜€

Whilst we were spending our week in Somerset back in November we managed to take in two of the local National Trust properties. Our first visit was to Montacute House, and our second found us at Stourhead, described by the National Trust as being a ...
"Palladian house and world-famous landscape garden"
I had visited the gardens before, many years ago, but it was a property which was brand new to Martin, so we were both looking forward to exploring.
We were only spending the afternoon here so the focus of our visit was totally on the gardens, where we were hoping to find the last bits of autumn colour before the winter really set in.

We knew it was going to be a bit of a walk so we decided we would head for the lake and see how we got on. The walk to the lake is well signposted and we headed down a zig zag footpath, which had just been decorated for the Christmas season ...
The footpath took us through a courtyard past the Spread Eagle Inn, which looked like it might be getting a visit on our way back, past some estate cottages ...
... and the Bristol Cross ...
The weather so far was good, with glorious sunshine and clear blue skies, though rain was forecast.

The garden at Stourhead is not your normal everyday National Trust property garden, if indeed there is such a thing. There is a more traditional walled garden up near the house but that was not for us today. The National Trust describes Stourhead as being one of England's greatest landscape gardens ...
"With hills, water and classical architecture overlaid by a fabulous collection of trees and shrubs, Stourhead was described as ‘a living work of art’ when first opened in the 1740s. Meandering paths offer vistas through trees to classical temples and surprises at every turn. Stourhead is breathtaking in any season but on sunny spring and autumn days, the flowering spring shrubs and the flaming autumnal colours of the trees reflected in the magnificent lake are breathtaking."
The first view we had of the garden was that of the Palladian Bridge, totally unnecessary as a crossing point but beautiful all the same ...
There is a well defined footpath leading around the lake which ensures you get to enjoy all of the best views.

We made our way along to the Temple of Flora from where the views across the lake towards The Pantheon were just stunning ...
We also had good views of the Boathouse, right on the edge of the lake, almost hidden amongst the trees ...
We carried on along the path towards the viewpoint at the far end of the lake ...
... passing plenty of autumnal colour along the way ...
At the viewpoint we were both blown away by the views. Whilst we couldn't see right down the lake, the colours of the trees against the blue of the sky were amazing ... there was just so much depth to the planting, it seemed to stretch away for ever ...
The trees were just majestic and looked even more colourful when reflected in the lake ...
Looking back away from the lake was just as good ...
Whilst there were mature trees of all kinds in abundance, we did come across the odd new shoots, really zinging out with fresh growth amongst the backdrop of darker autumn colours ...
We carried on along the other side of the lake, heading for the grotto where we could look right back across the lake to see the Temple of Apollo on the top of the hill ...
Heading further towards grotto was like walking through a set of shark's jaws ...
The way in to the grotto makes it look like the kind of place that fairies would live ... all covered in moss and ferns, with the entrance hidden amongst the greenery and the rocks ...
Once inside it is pretty fascinating, with statues, engravings, fountains and a floor embedded with pebbles, so pretty uneven ...
One of the best bits for me though had to be the view back across the lake to the Palladian Bridge, both from within the grotto itself ...
... and from just the other side as you emerge from the darkness ...
Looking back at the grotto from the other side it is just as well camouflaged and blends in really well with the landscape ...
Once past the grotto and back onto the main path we came to the Gothic Cottage ...
... where we had more fabulous views back across the lake to the Temple of Flora, the Palladian Bridge and St Peter's Church ...
There were some good views to be had through the leaded windows inside the cottage too ...
Our next stop was to be The Pantheon, but not before I have to bore you with yet more photos of the sheer beauty of the landscape and the colours of autumn reflected in the lake ...
The Pantheon was pretty much our last stop ...

... before we started to head back ...
... past the cascade and waterwheel ...
... with views of the obelisk on the hill back across the lake ...
The rain could hold off no more ...
... so we made our way as swiftly as we could, past St Peter's Church ...
... and back into the warmth of The Spread Eagle to dry off, thaw out and partake of welcome refreshments before making our way back up the footpath to where we'd started ...

It was starting to get dark and the twinkly lights were all lit up to show us the way. There would definitely have to be a return visit at some point to look round the house ๐Ÿ˜€

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