Thursday, 25 August 2016

Read in 2016 - 27: Through Glass Eyes

"Through Glass Eyes" is the second book in the trilogy "Yorkshire Grit" by Margaret Muir. (Click here for my first review.) 

I liked the first one ("Sea Dust") a lot, but I loved "Through Glass Eyes" - maybe because there was more "Yorkshire" in it? That, too, but I think it was more because of the story spanning a longer time (25 years from 1895 to 1920) and went into more detail about the family members and friends of the main character, making some of them "main" characters in their own right.

By providing more detail about the people and accompanying them for a longer period made for a very good pace of the story, and a feeling as if the reader "knew" the people and places involved. There is both a sense of continuity and of change (some rather dramatic) to the book; maybe you think I'm contradicting myself here but that is the impression I had.

We first meet Lucy Oldfield when she is a maid at a big house. Coming into the possession of a very expensive doll, this doll stays with her for the next 25 years - being witness to all the changes, the good and bad times Lucy goes through.

The way the doll is always somehow part of Lucy's life is very cleverly written into the story. I also liked how realistic everything that happened was - no "happily ever after", but real things that happen(ed) to real people, such as friendship and love, loss and grief, crime and war, work and travel.

Just like with "Sea Dust", the reader can not guess from the start what the outcome will be, just like real life keeps throwing surprises at us - some pleasant ones, some less so.

I highly recommend "Through Glass Eyes". If you want to know more, you can read Margaret Muir's own blog entry about the book here.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Yorkshire Holiday 2016: Middleham Castle and Mummers

The last stop on this 1st of August (yes, we're still on the same day!) was in Middleham, where the impressive ruins of Middleham Castle are.

We were a little too late - the gate was closed for the day, and so we could only walk around the old walls and admire them from outside.
There is not much I know about this castle; J and B told us it was supposed to be Richard III.'s favourite home and where he spent his childhood and youth. The rest I have looked up on wikipedia: Work began in 1190 (although there had been a fortification at this site before), and most of the walls we still see today are 13th century.
In the 1500s, the then occupants of the castle turned it into a splendid residence with all "mod cons" of the time, aiming for comfort rather than for security.
It will be interesting to return one day and take a proper look round.

Back in Ripon, we went for a meal at the Royal Oak (where I'd been for some really good food and friendly service before). On our way home across the market square, we spotted a group of Mummers. This was the first time ever I'd come across them in real life, but I knew what they were because I'd read about them.

Actually, I found them a little scary and didn't want to get close, but Aunt J is not so faint-hearted and went right up to listen to their short rendition of how Ripon came to have a Wakeman and Hornblower.
We then chatted a little with the group, and they told us that they had been in Ripon for 2 or 3 days to catch the crowds coming in for St. Wilfrid's Parade.

By now, I was getting really cold, and we were all rather tired (in a pleasant way) after our great day out and good meal, and so we all said good-night - we had another full day with J and B to look forward to tomorrow!

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Yorkshire Holiday 2016: Leyburn and Aysgarth

Leaving Richmond, Uncle B drove the four of us to Leyburn, a typical Yorkshire market town, where we had a short walk around the market square. 
We then went on to "The Shawl", which is (according to the wikipedia article about Leyburn) "an escarpment of about 1.5 miles in length which provides panoramic views of rolling Wensleydale. According to legend, Mary, Queen of Scots, upon fleeing captivity in nearby Bolton Castle, dropped her shawl en route to Leyburn. The Shawl is the start of several circular walks taking in the nearby village of Wensley, from where Wensleydale takes its name."
How I'd love to go on one of those circular walks!

It had just begun to rain, though, and we only stayed a short while on The Shawl to take in the views before going back to the car. Accordingly, I took only a few pictures in Leyburn:
N Y stands for North Yorkshire. NYPD here does not mean the same as in the US :-)
View from the start of The Shawl

By the time we arrived at Aysgarth, the rain had stopped already, and we enjoyed walking down from the parking lot to Aysgarth Falls and spent some time down by the river, which was very relaxing.
Maybe you remember my "Live Blogging" from there - the post from the beginning of August with a short video of the falls is here.

A quick look around a former mill (now a tea room and several artisan shops), and up the hill to see the church and churchyard.

I found the churchyard very unusual in its layout; I've never seen one so hilly. It doesn't really show in the pictures (as up- and downhill paths often don't really show properly in my photos), but believe me, it was so.
The church itself was, according to information I found on the internet, rebuilt in 1536 after the original building dated back to the 10th century. The interior shows some fittings that were rescued from Jervaulx Abbey at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, including a rood screen.

This was not yet the end of our day out with J and B - there was one more place we wanted to see. But that will be in one of my next posts.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Yorkshire Holiday 2016: Richmond

Only a week before my sister and I started out on our Yorkshire Holiday, Mike at "A Little Bit About Britain" posted about Richmond Castle. You can read his very interesting and highly entertaining post here.
In my comment, I said that I had been wanting to go to Richmond for some time now and was wondering whether I'd make it there during this year's holiday.
Well, what shall I say - we did!

On Monday, the 1st of August (Yorkshire Day!), my Aunt J and Uncle B kindly took us to Richmond. It was only the first stop of two full days we spent with them - they are always great company, not only because they are so active and take us places, but because they are simply very lovely people, and one can have a lot of fun with them but also deep conversation and exchange of well-thought out opinions. Here's to J and B! (raising my coffee mug to them)

Now, off to Richmond. Again, just like with Littlethorpe Manor in my previous post, I took too many pictures for me to decide which ones to leave out - and therefore, you'll get them all!

Some views are nearly exactly the same as the pictures on Mike's post, mentioned above. Of course his photos are in a different league - not like my more or less clicking away with no particular plan. But I hope they will still give you an impression of how I experienced this impressive place, with the massive keep at one end, the vast expansion of green behind the old walls and the fantastic views from the top of the keep across Richmond and the surrounding countryside.

Richmond Market Square:

 The gate to Richmond Castle:

Climbing up into the Keep, the views from the windows changed as we got higher and higher:

What the world looks like from the top of the Keep:

Back on the ground, there is still more to explore:

This was, as I said, only the first stop on this day. It was early afternoon now and we walked back to the car park and moved on. Where to, will be one of my next posts.