The Duke of York

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August has been a mixed bag of rain and sun and ever-cooling temperatures.  The clouds come in fast here, rain and move off a few times a day. It is far brighter and sunnier than I ever hoped Lancashire could be though too, so packing both sunglasses and the umbrella has quickly become de rigueur.  ‘Changeable’ and  ‘the chance of rain’ seem near permanent conditions, and it does seem to focus one in on What the Weather is Doing, Hence this near full paragraph explaining this months meteorology to start this post. You can consider it a new feature. 🙂

I think I am the only one in the neighbourhood who optimistically continues to use the outside clothesline. Our neighbour often comments over the fence on how game I am to hang the washing out. What can I say? I must just be incredibly brave or perhaps foolishly wild.

Hopefully both.

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The rainy days have emptied my hands of activities to keep Albie entertained – playdough, baking, baking, baking, hutmaking, paper mache, lego, lego, lego, leaf paintings, reading, reading, reading, Pingu, chalk drawings, bubble fun, cooking, cooking, cooking, The Octonauts, indoor tents and wet weather walks. It has been a veritable episode of Rainbow over here I tell you. Thankfully, the summer holidays are finally ending and Albie will start at Montessori on Tuesday for three days a week.  It will give us both a chance to meet some new people and make some new friends – something Albie is as excited about as I am I think.

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We took off to Yorkshire for a few days over the last Bank Holiday weekend. With sunshine upon it, it was absolutely gorgeous. We took a walk along the top of Sutton Bank which is on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors National Park.  The ridge provided a very pleasing view out over Herriott Country, how I do love a good vista. The track idled for quite a while right alongside a runway at a very busy glider club. You can probably guess who amongst us was most stoked about that…

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We’ve got a family English Heritage  pass and so we hunted out castles, ruins and priories as we came near to them –  Helmsley Castle, Saint Grace Priory, Whitby Abbey, Kirkham Priory and Riveaulx Terraces all with fantastical histories and wondrous tales.  The extraordinary sense of time, and of the people that have come and gone with it, is so tangible here. I can’t imagine tiring of it.

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Albie isn’t yet the most engaged of English Heritage visitors, but he is generally entertained enough by a run around searching for monsters. He hasn’t yet found one which is, at times, disappointing. This was his disappointed face at Helmsley Castle. How he makes me giggle.

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Whitby Abbey was a  highlight. An incredible Benedictine Abbey ruin facing the North Sea and part of the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. There was a summer programme on the morning we visited and Albie got to ride a ‘horse’ and slay a ‘dragon’ with a sword and then be knighted Sir Albert of New Zealand. All great fun.  Each child was asked what their horses name was before they started the course. Other children previous to Albie had named their horses rather sedately – names like Bill and Blaze. When it was Albie’s turn he declared  with great cheer and certainty, “Pommymop! His….name…..is… Pommymop!””

He makes me giggle.

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We travelled down the coast through Robin Hoods Bay, which was biscuit-tin beautiful, to Scarborough and stayed there the night.

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Scarborough was the first resort town in England. It has this wonderfully charming, slightly shonky, aged feel to it. We partook in a beachfront promenade in the afternoon. It wasn’t long before Albie saw and wanted a donkey ride. I was a little ho-hum about the idea as I feel a bit of sympathy for the poor donkeys walking kids endlessly up and down the sand. But then I remembered all the beasts of burden we’d seen around Morocco who are loaded up to the gunnels and have their feet tied together at night so they don’t go anywhere and thought, well actually, being a donkey at Scarborough beach can’t be that bad a life right? Anyway…….. we said yes.

There was a whole pack of lovely looking, very agreeable donkeys like this dear chap called Dash.

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Albie chose Simon instead.

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Simon was the Eeyore of the group – as unimpressed with the whole arrangement as I would be if I were a donkey on Scarborough beach. Poor old Simon. We ate some truly artery clogging fish and chips and took the cliff lift back to our glory-days-are-gone bed and breakfast.

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The next day was York. What an incredible walled city it is with a beautiful cathedral, narrow cobbled streets that transport you straight to times gone by – a stunning place.

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We stumbled across a great bistro on Gillygate  for lunch, sat outside for some delicious food and then traipsed happily off to the National Railway Museum.  Yes, OF COURSE, we would have gone there if we didn’t have a three year old boy. Of course we would have.

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Albie’s Happy Dance is possibly even better in photo format than in real life. Needless to say he was pretty pleased we were at a Train Museum. He hasn’t forgotten the Plane Museum we went to in Kuala Lumpur and now wants to go to a Space Museum. That’s going to be a much taller order buddy.

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I have to say, the National Rail Museum was great – a happy few hours spent there before a fire alarm went off and we all got evacuated into a parking lot. We took it as a sign to hit the short road home.

We got back to our place and Albie declared as we opened the door, “It’s nice to be home!”

I had a pause and agreed with him.

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