Monday 31 July 2017

Almost Done!

This year's Yorkshire Holiday posts, I mean.
The 17th of July is covered, now let me tell you about the 18th. It was a Tuesday, and Tuesday nights all through the months of July and August mean one thing in Ripon: Organ Recitals at the Cathedral!
My sister and I went to that the previous week, and enjoyed the experience greatly. We did not have to think long and hard to decide we'd go again the following Tuesday, which was the 18th.
But before it was recital time, we had a leisurely day of visiting book shops (not leaving empty-handed, of course), other shops and the two remaining museums we had not yet been to but which were part of our Museums Pass: The Courthouse Museum and the Prison & Police Museum. 
As you can imagine, neither are particularly cheerful places, but nonetheless fascinating and interesting. Both are relatively small and within easy walking distance from each other, so one can easily "do" them in a couple of hours. The website of all three museums is here.

Eventually, we became hungry, and since I "have to" have fish & chips at least once every time I am in England, we walked over to Duke's Fish & Chips. Only one young lady was in front of us, so we thought, hooray, this is going to be quick!
We were wrong...
The young lady was obviously getting herself and her colleagues a late lunch for the office, as she was ordering 7 portions of fish & chips with peas, salt and vinegar.
Two people worked behind the counter: one youngish man was busily frying the ordered fish and chips, while a rather young lady who obviously had spent a coniserable amount of time on teaming her lipstick with her hairband wrapped up the orders.
In fact, she wrapped up each portion so lovingly and carefully, first having taken her time to tenderly sprinkle them with a bit of salt here and a splash of vinegar there, and her paper wrapping would have done any origami teacher proud. After she had finished the first three of the ordered 7 portions, the man took over. With well-practised hands, he added salt and vinegar at the same time and then wrapped the reamining four portions in a very efficient manner, finishing four portions in half the time it had taken his colleague to wrap three.

The office lady left with 7 (probably cold) portions of fish and chips, and we were next. The man said "Thank you for waiting", which was the next thing to an apology - the young lady who had taken so long to complete her task was nowhere to be seen by then.
My portion of fish & chips (no peas, no extra salt and definitely no vinegar) was delicious- juicy and tender, hot, crunchy and greasy at the same time, the way it should be.

Before we needed to get ready for the recital, we spent some time in our pretty garden. I wanted some more walking and took a very brisk one to almost Studley Roger. Here are the pictures I took.

One of my favourite houses in Ripon:

The path to Studley Roger you have seen before, on my post about our walk to Fountains Abbey. The point in the picture is where I turned round in order to be home in time for a quick meal before leaving for the recital.

Once more, we were in for a marvellous experience. When music and architecture come together in such a manner as is the case when listening to the organ being so beautifully played in the middle of Ripon Cathedral, it is close to perfection.
Afterwards, it was wine and nibbles again, like last week. Hopefully, we'll be able to catch a concert or two at the cathedral next year, too.

Friday 28 July 2017

Ripley - Castle Grounds and Village

My previous post ended with us leaving the church. We finally entered the castle grounds via the shop (where I made an unexpected find - more of that in a future post). Admission to just the grounds is free - the family charge only for visiting the castle itself, which is understandable. And "just" the grounds sounds a bit diminuitive, but it isn't - the grounds are vast and consist of beautiful parkland surrounding a lake, equally beautiful walled gardens and greenhouses.

You've seen the castle, park and garden on my blog before, but here they are again, the way they looked on the 17th of July:

Sweet peas in the walled garden. The picture does not half do them justice!

And, for good measure, some pictures of Ripley, the village:

Eventually, we took the bus back to Ripon; that took about 20 minutes... what a difference to our adventurous walk earlier that day!
Ripley is, in any case, a place well worth visiting. We've been there before, and I am sure this was not our last time, either.

Thursday 27 July 2017

Off to Ripley!

As I said in my previous post, we gave up on our original plan of walking all the way to Ripley and took the bus from Wormald Green instead. Walking would have been possible, but not very nice (and dangerous) along the road; also, it would have taken us at least another 2 hours, which would have timed our arrival there so late the castle grounds would not have been open for much longer.

First, we had a walk outside the castle grounds. Then, we went to the beautiful church. I have blogged about it before; you can find the old post with some more information here. The castle grounds were next.

There was this little fellow - I think he lives in the church, always there to give people a bear hug!

Next up will be more of Ripley castle and its beautiful park.

Monday 24 July 2017

Markenfield Hall

Markenfield Hall is a place we have had on our bucket list for a while, but it is very much a family home and not often open to the public - and so far, it has never been open when we had the possibility to go there. But I have been following their blog (click here if you are interested in it) for a couple of years or so, and there is also a "proper" website (click for that one).

Anyway - this post contains pictures from Markenfield Hall, taken on July 17th. My sister and I intended to walk from Ripon to Ripley - it looks all very doable on the map, but proved much more difficult than anticipated. But although we did not manage to walk all the way (more about that later), we DID walk to Markenfield Hall and around it, as even when the house itself is not open to the public, one is allowed to walk around the moat.

But see for yourself. First of all, look at that wonderful blue sky! It was really warm (hot in Yorkshire terms) on that day, and we set off from Ripon via Whitecliff Lane past farms and fields, pastures and woods.

The same view as the one above, only zoomed in - Ripon Cathedral is never far away!

 First glimpse of Markenfield Hall:

Coming up past outbuildings and the drystone wall surrounding it:

Moat, gate house and car park. We were polite enough NOT to fall in the moat!

Now follow me on the path that leads around the moat:

Isn't this wonderful? You expect to stumble across Sleeping Beauty or some other fairytale character any moment (we didn't)! Next year, we are going to plan our Yorkshire Holiday so that we can catch an open day here.

Walking further on, the public footpath lead across a field of cows. It is an official path; walkers/ramblers are allowed to walk there. But on the gates to the field were warning notices, advising people to keep to the perimeter of the field and generally use caution, as the cows were with calves. Also, the notice said NOT to bring dogs onto the field. 
I don't mind a few cows at the other end of a large field, when I know I can walk across at a safe distance and all looks quiet. But I do take such warnings seriously, and when we did indeed dare to go through the cow-proof gate and walked slowly and quietly along the  perimeter, I felt uneasy. Then, some of the cows started looking our way, with one of them appearing particularly interested in us. I thought, better safe than sorry, and quickly climbed over the wire fence, from where I took the picture below. 
In all likelihood, nothing would have happened, but I did not want to risk anything.

There was no path this side of the fence, and we struggled for a rather long stretch of field amidst nettles, thorns and thistles at the outer rim of a field of wheat. It was very difficult walking, as the growth was so thick we could not really see where we were putting our feet. Emerging at the other end of that field, where the footpath across the cow pasture came out by another gate, we needed a break - taking a good ten minutes just to get off the worst of the prickly and sticky plant bits that had made their way into our shoes and socks.

From that point on, walking became a little easier. And all cows were - although still interested - on the other side of a fence.
Eventually, we found ourselves in Wormald Green - a small village/hamlet halfway between Ripon and Ripley, where we have come through many times on the bus to and from Harrogate. My sister's mobile phone had only just informed us that by now, we had been walking about 12 km (7,5 miles); we were sweaty, thirsty (we did have water with us, and something to eat) and still many plant bits clinging to our feet. Guess how we felt, then, coming across a road sign that said "Ripon 4 miles"...! It was about the most discouraging sight imaginable.

Therefore, we decided to have a nice cold drink at "The George" in Wormald Green and take the bus for the rest of the way to Ripley.
It was a very good decision, because we had our energy and spirits restored by the time we arrived in Ripley, ready to have once again (as in previous years) a walk around the pretty village and the castle grounds. That will be the subject of another post,