York Minster, the Shambles and chocolate.

No trip to Yorkshire would be complete without a wander round the crowded, narrow streets of York, The Shambles. Most of the buildings are listed and many are timber-framed from the 14th, 15th and 16th century.

The uneven ‘wonky’ buildings make the narrow streets even stranger. It’s worth a visit, however avoid shopping in this area as the prices are geared towards the tourists and Harry Potter. However this area was not used in any of the films and J K Rowling has denied any links between The Shambles and Diagon Alley.

Whilst wandering the streets you can’t fail to notice the ever present York Minster. A huge, imposing Cathedral towering over the city. A truly spectacular building, both outside and in. Although you are encouraged to take photographs, the size, colours and scale of this building, especially the windows make this very difficult and photo’s just don’t do it justice.

Inside there are several side chapels dedicated to the army regiments, also the astrological clock was installed in 1955 as a permanent memorial to the airmen who died during the second world war. Below ground you can visit the Crypt and see the foundations and how the building started cracking and sinking due to the weight and the works that were carried out to underpin the structure to secure it for the future.

Our last few hours were spent visiting the York Chocolate Story, many people will have eaten this chocolate without realising it all started in York. The Rowntree and Terry’s families lived here and started making both chocolates and sweets that are still sold all over the world. From polo mints, Chocolate orange, to Kit kat and York fruit jellys. The tour and guide was fun and informative, learning everything from plant to chocolate bar, with plenty of hands on and tasting for kids and adults. We made and decorated our own chocolate lollipops. The shop not only sells there own handmade chocolate but also locally produced chocs and sweets, which of course we had to bring home to sample.

Join me, same time, same place next week for more fun, games and chaos.

Ingleton Waterfalls

Lets go for a walk, a simple statement and one I make often without thinking too far ahead. Quite often we set off and I realise we need equipment, clothes, food, drinks. So this time I planned a little. Towels, drinks, change of clothes and shoes in the car and off we set. It was a cloudy but warm day, an hours drive and we arrived at the car park. It was fairly busy but they had a one way system in place and everyone was respectful of space and distancing.

We set off at an easy pace, no rush just a gentle stroll but it was steep with lots of steps, up and down rough tracks and the clouds had cleared so it was much hotter than expected. We arrived at the first waterfall and the cooling spray and breeze was much appreciated.

After a brief rest for photo’s and to catch our breath we set off towards the second waterfall, once again going up and down steep tracks and stairs. This time it was mostly open land, not much tree cover and it was hot. The second waterfall was easily accessible and we quickly stripped off shoes and socks and waded into the cold waters, it was bliss. A half hour of playing in the water and cooling off, even with the sun beating down was a relief. Then it was time to get going again.

The walk to the next waterfall was only short thankfully, then it was a lovely walk across farmland with access to toilets and a small cafe selling ice creams, drinks, sweets and chocolate. Although we had brought water with us grabbing a chocolate bar for a sugar boost was very welcome.

The final three waterfalls were all in wooded areas and the shade was very welcome although the humidity made it tougher.

The final half mile was through the tiny village of Ingleton with a few small tourist shops and pubs.

Harewood House and gardens

Harewood House is a place I visited often with my grandparents, so I was looking forward to taking my own son and seeing what, if anything had changed. Our journey was a little eventful with a couple of wrong turns. Eventually we arrived at the large gated entrance that I remembered from my childhood.

The long, sweeping scenic drive to the car park was very familiar, although previously I was in the rear of the car instead of the drivers seat. The house was built between 1759-1771 in the Palladian style, designed by architects John Carr and Robert Adam, with around 1000 acres of landscaped gardens created by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown for Edwin Lascelles. John Carr designed the main house and exterior then Robert Adam was employed later to design the interiors. He made a few minor changes to the exterior including internal courtyards. It remained unchanged until the 1840’s when Henry Lascelles, the 3rd Earl of Harewood employed Sir Charles Barry to add a second storey to each of the flanking wings to provide extra bedrooms to accommodate his 13 children. He also added the formal parterres and terraces.

In 1922 Viscount Henry Lascelles married Princess Mary, daughter of George V. They moved permanently into Harewood on the death of Henry’s father in 1929. During the second world war the house was used as a convalescent hospital but by 1940 the Princess Royal and family moved permanently back into Harewood and they regularly opened the house and gardens to the public. When the Princess died in 1965 her eldest son succeeded his father and resides at Harewood. The Grade 1 listed building is still home to the Lascelles family.

The Dower house was leased out in 1947 as an independent school. The House and gardens transferred to a trust and is opened to the public most of the year.

The gardens include a small farm and bird sanctuary with penguins. There are several walks around the grounds and a ferry across the lake and a cruise. Since 1996 part of the grounds have been developed as the village in the soap opera ‘Emmerdale’. The house was used for filming Downton Abbey and also Mary Berry’s Country House at Christmas.

Walking round the house and gardens brought back so many happy memories of my childhood and grandparents, sharing these with my son was lovely.

Join me, same time, same place next week for more fun, games and chaos.

On the doorstep

Some weekends have been quieter and calmer but I’m so lucky to live a few minutes walk to this wonderful view and historic skyline.

It’s a walk I take often, sometimes alone, occasionally with a dog in tow and less occasionally with a teenager. The beauty of it never fails to impress. Although my favourite view actually isn’t the ever popular 3 Graces buildings on the Pier Head at Liverpool but the cranes along the docks. Seeing these makes me feel like home.

Of course we have a choice of walking along the prom or on the beach, when the tide is out. Also along here is Vale park where local artists have been creating a wonderland for children to explore and enjoy.

It’s always fun to go and have a look at what new things have appeared and seeing young children and families enjoying the park.

A longer walk, or short drive takes us along the coast through Moreton shore, on to Meols, Hoylake and West kirby. The Wirral Coastal Walk is a charity event that is run yearly to walk the full length from Seacombe Ferry to Thurstaston Common, a lovely 12.5 mile walk on a warm, dry day but a gruelling challenge in wind or rain. The teenager and I walked the 7 mile round trip from Meols to West Kirby and back again, thankfully the weather was beautiful and with the tide out was walked along the sand and rocks on the beach. It was lovely to have some mum and son time, a good chat and a spot of lunch along the way.

Join me, same time, same place next week for more fun, games and chaos.

Much Wenlock

We had a brief but very interesting visit to the tiny market town of Much Wenlock in Shropshire, close to Shrewsbury. The main attractions here are Wenlock priory and the Guildhall.

Our first stop was the Guildhall, a grade II listed building which was built in 1540 as a new meeting place for the civic leaders to conduct town business after the dissolution of the monasteries. The ground floor was initially a prison, however these were dismantled in 1869 and converted into a covered arcade marketplace with a passageway for carriages to enter.

The upper, internal two rooms consist of a courtroom for more serious offence up until 1951 and petty offences until 1985 and the council chambers.

The council chamber was fitted out in 1835 in a Jacobean style at the expense of William Penny Brookes. The council chambers is still in use today and is the meeting place for the local town council.

William Penny Brookes was a magistrate, a botanist and an educationalist and the founding father of the 1850 Wenlock Olympian games, which inspired the modern Olympic games. He was a great supporter of physical education and promoted this as a method of personal betterment. He campaigned ‘for every grade of man to expand his knowledge, to become physically and mentally fit’ As a social reformer he opened the door to the working classes to enter competitive sport, previously only for the privileged elite.

Unfortunately, because it was late afternoon, we didn’t get time to properly explore the Priory but just had a very brief walk around. Something to explore if we’re back in the area.

Join me, same time, same place next week for more fun, games and chaos.

Ironbridge

Ironbridge is a village in Telford, Shropshire on the banks of the River Severn. It became a ‘famous location’ in 1779 when a bridge was erected to allow access across the river Severn.

The bridge was the first cast Iron bridge built in the world and was designed by an architect called Thomas Farnolls Pritchard, who was a stonemason by trade. He was influenced by Abraham Darby III who was an experienced iron worker.

The bridge is a single span bridge, 30 metres (around 100 feet) long. It has 5 semi-circular ribs beneath the bridge and used 378 tons of iron and cost around £6000 (this would be around £1.5 million if built today), it went over budget and the construction cost was funded by Abraham Darby III out of his own pocket. People travelled from all over the country to see this new wonder and the town of Ironbridge grew up around the bridge. The bridge went into the guardianship of English Heritage in the 1970’s and the area around the bridge was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1986.

There was a toll house at one end of the bridge and everyone had to pay to cross, including Royalty, soldiers and wagons even animals were charged to cross. The full list of tolls can be found here.

It was in full use to traffic from 1781 until 1934 but pedestrians still had to pay until 1950.

The bridge was eventually closed to all traffic other than foot passengers and was designated an Ancient monument. Strengthening and repair works began in the 1970’s and were completed in time for the bicentenary in 1981 and further repairs and repainting took place in 2017-2018.

It is well worth a visit.

Himley Hall and the car meet

Simon had been invited to exhibit his car on a stand during the British Mini meet at the beautiful location of Himley Hall in Dudley. I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to see these stunning gardens and parkland.

The 18th Century Hall is a moated (now drained) manor house which can be toured during normal times, however due to the current Covid restrictions they have taken the decision not to do this until next season and only to allow private functions and weddings. Under normal circumstances it is used for arts and craft exhibitions, antique fairs and tours.

Himley Hall was a regular weekend retreat for Royalty in the 1900’s, including being used for honeymooning by the Duke and Duchess of Kent in 1934 as it was very luxurious and fashionable, it included indoor plumbing, central heating, a cinema with ‘talkies’ and a swimming pool with water chute and cocktail bar !

During the second World war it was used as a Red Cross Hospital and after the war was sold to the National coal board, who used it as their headquarters. However it wasn’t looked after and a fire broke out and engulfed the south wing. Shorty after this it was purchased by Dudley District Council and they began restoration in 1992 to bring it back to it’s former glory.

The Hall is set in 180 acres of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped parkland. He created the very beautiful great lake, which is well used today for boating, fishing and walkers and we saw many different types of wildlife, including birds, fish, dragonflies, crane flies and frogs.

Capability Brown also created the carriage approach to the Hall, which included planting clumps of trees and individual trees of different species to allow glimpses of the Hall on the approach and also re-designed the parkland around.

Whilst part of the concourse was covered in cars it was easy to see the beauty around the lake and Hall. There was an old fashioned funfair for the children and fireworks in the evening, however we left before these due to the long drive home. We will definitely be returning to see inside once everything fully re-opens.

The planning begins…

By now you will have seen the list, if not then see the previous post. So what do you think ? What would you add, change or remove ?

So the one causing the most talking points, ride a Segway, seriously this wasn’t the one I expected to cause the most talking points. I only added this because it was on my previous list and something I’ve never done, but always wanted too. So, what do you think, should it be changed ? Simon thinks so, he says Segway’s are out dated and everything is e-scooters now. But they’re no fun. I still think it’s doable, just have to think outside the normal, city adventures. Maybe one through the forest and combine a couple of smaller adventures into one. Although with me being so accident prone maybe a visit to A+E or a broken bone should be on the list also.

We have actually started planning our first real adventure and it’s exciting. I may have mentioned Simon’s car obsession. Well he has been invited to a car meet (number 54) and to have one of his cars on the stand. So we are going on our first weekend away together ! But more about that nearer the time and we’re organised. My mission for the weekend is to stop Simon from trying to complete the whole list and limit it to 2 or 3 things only.

Which brings me to another question, what do you consider a B+B ? The traditional guest house style, a pub with rooms, or basic hotels without restaurants ? The definition is ‘a small lodging establishment offering overnight accommodation and breakfast, typically a family home, with between 4 and 11 rooms. They usually have the hosts living in the property’. Depending on the answer, we might need another weekend away…..

Until then, its on with the daily grind, work, home, kids and enjoying time together while the sun is still shining. Having someone to plan adventures with really does make the daily grind more enjoyable and the mundane pleasurable.

Join us, same time, same place, next week for more fun, games and chaos.

The 100

  1. St Paul’s Cathedral
  2. York Minster
  3. Houses of Parliament tour
  4. Stonehenge
  5. Loch Ness
  6. Clifton suspension bridge
  7. Ironbridge
  8. Salisbury and the Magna Carta
  9. Explore the New Forest
  10. Walk the trails in Delemere forest
  11. Exmoor
  12. Pendle hill and the witches
  13. Lost Gardens of Heligan
  14. Peak district
  15. Lake district
  16. Royal pavilion of Brighton
  17. Eden project
  18. Glastonbury
  19. The Capitals, London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast
  20. The Giant’s causeway
  21. The UK rude city tour
  22. Drink cider in Somerset
  23. Eat Pasties in Cornwall
  24. Taste haggis in Scotland
  25. Find a tart in Bakewell
  26. Enjoy pies in Melton Mowbray
  27. Grab a Fat Rascal from Betty’s
  28. Eat sausages in Cumberland
  29. More cheese in Wensleydale
  30. Eat fish and chips on a pier (Blackpool and Southport are excluded)
  31. Drink tea at a UK tea plantation
  32. Tour an English vineyard
  33. Cook a meal together
  34. Eat takeout by candlelight
  35. Make, light and cook using a campfire (BBQ’s are excluded)
  36. Sleep under the stars
  37. Go glamping
  38. Stay in a B+B or guesthouse
  39. Enjoy luxury in a hotel
  40. Stay in a log cabin
  41. Stay in a caravan
  42. Travel in a campervan
  43. Enjoy the quiet of a cottage
  44. Hire a canal boat
  45. Go on a ferry (Mersey excluded)
  46. Take a cruise (Mersey excluded)
  47. Enjoy a scenic train journey
  48. Romantic punting/rowing on the river (no swan pedalo’s allowed)
  49. Horse ride together
  50. Fly in a hot air balloon
  51. Fly in a helicopter
  52. Attend a drive in movie
  53. Kiss on top of a Ferris wheel
  54. Go to a car meet
  55. Take an unplanned road trip (open map, close eyes, point, go)
  56. Take a selfie at John O’Groats and Lands end
  57. Start a new tradition
  58. Create a music playlist
  59. Leave your mark somewhere in the world (legally)
  60. Have a movie night (no distractions)
  61. Stand under a waterfall
  62. Roleplay
  63. Visit a nearby city you’ve never been before.
  64. Do something you are afraid of.
  65. No internet/social media for 24hrs (being the parents of teenagers we will keep phones on for emergency calls only)
  66. Fly a kite
  67. Kiss/dance in the rain (drizzle is not rain)
  68. Play board games
  69. Play card games
  70. Play mini golf
  71. Play pool
  72. Play games at an arcade
  73. Go bowling
  74. Tour an expensive show home – dream big
  75. Tour a factory
  76. Explore an underground cave/gorge
  77. Ride a Segway
  78. Visit a farmers market
  79. Visit an art or craft fair
  80. Enjoy the stars at a planetarium
  81. Spot animals at the zoo or safari park
  82. Go to a comedy club
  83. Visit a theme park
  84. See a band
  85. Watch a live sporting event (in person not on TV)
  86. Attend a festival
  87. Visit a botanical garden
  88. Go to a nature reserve
  89. Climb a lighthouse
  90. Do a sponsored walk
  91. Attempt an escape room
  92. Skip stones on a lake
  93. Shoot a bow and arrow
  94. Jump into a pile of leaves, or kick leaves on an autumn nature walk
  95. Do a scavenger/treasure hunt
  96. Go on a picnic
  97. See the sunrise and set on the same day together
  98. Visit the Lavender fields of Lordington, York or London.
  99. Swim in the fairy pool on Isle of Skye
  100. See the Northern lights

And there it is. Some easily achievable and others will need time, planning and a little saving up to complete.

Although it does seem that Simon sees this as a challenge to complete everything as quickly as possible, so my biggest challenge may be slowing him down and not doing 17 things in one weekend ! Once the novelty has worn off and the enjoyment of planning some adventures kicks in he’ll get the hang of it.

So what do you think ? Anything you would have added ? Anything you wouldn’t ? Varied enough ?

Thoughts, ideas and encouragement are always welcomed.

Hello and Welcome

My blog life started 7 years ago with a crazy bucket list and an attempt to enrich my life, getting me out of a rut and pushing boundaries. It certainly did that. I caused me headaches, anxiety and to push myself out of my comfort zone on more than one occasion. It also lead to some of the best memories but unfortunately also some of the worst.

But things have all changed over the last few months with the arrival of a tall (greying) stranger into my life, who has a quiet determination, patience and a willingness to listen but also interesting to talk with. Simon drives me mad with his dad jokes and car obsession but makes me laugh every day and I haven’t felt this happy in a very long time. So full of hope for the future. Finding someone, like me, who enjoys art, museums and local history is a huge bonus. However, like me he has also been in a rut and so it’s time for us both to get out and start living life and pushing those boundaries again.

And so our new blog begins, once again, with a bucket list. We have put together 100 ideas to add a bit of adventure to our middle age years, since our teenagers now want nothing to do with parents and are enjoying their own space and lives, mostly. It’s time to put us first and have some fun. We aren’t putting a timescale on things but just going to enjoy completing it in our own time. Who knows we may even add extra’s or adapt as we go along the way.

I will keep you updated with our fun, adventures and travels but will also throw in some family posts, as and when they are appropriate and since I have an allotment I’m sure there’ll be the odd update about how that is getting on.

I’ll post the full 100 list in the next post.

Thanks for reading, Claire