Thursday, 2 December 2010

What to do on a cold winter;s night!



There has been a little lightening of the sky today and for about three hours around mid-day the sun came out and a slight thaw set in. The farmer and I took the opportunity to go down to our feed merchants in the little town of Masham, about ten miles away; we went mainly for feed for the wild birds - we have fed them all summer and must keep feeding now that the winter has set in early. The pictures show the road to Masham and also the very pretty East Witton church, which we pass.

As readers of this blog will know only too well (I do keep going on about our holiday destinations) the farmer and I spend a lot of winter evenings looking at photographs of past holidays abroad, poring over maps and brochures and deciding where to go next, booking our next holiday and then reading up about the place. This process starts around now, with the long, cold nights.

This year, of course, everything has changed after my recent collapse. No longer is there any possibility of getting insurance cover for the trip we intended to make through the Rockies by train and then up the coast of Alaska. From now on we are stuck well and truly in The British Isles.

Of course we are a little bit sad, but we knew it would come eventually and speculated each year that it might be our last long haul holiday. So now a different kind of planning is taking place. Where shall we go in the British Isles, how shall we get there, where shall we stay, how shall we plan our itinerary?
The questions go on - and as the farmer quite rightly says, we can plan a holiday where we can stop off exactly where the mood takes us. I have already got out the map, marked possible areas for touring, put out a few feelers. The other thing I have done is got out my favourite book. I quote you a passage here:-

"When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years describe me as mature the remedy prescribed was middle age. In middle age I was assured that greater age would calm my fever and now that I am fifty eight
perhaps senility will do the job.
Nothing has worked. Four hoarse blasts on a ship's whistle still raise the hair on my neck and set my feet to tapping. The sound of an engine warming up, even the clopping of shod hooves on a pavement brings on the ancient shudder, the dry mouth
the vacant eye. Once a bum always a bum. I fear the disease is incurable."

I quote of course from "Travels with Charley" by that wonderful author, John Steinbeck.

So this is what we plan to do. We plan to set off some time in late April, early May and follow our noses, staying in nice little bed and breakfast pubs, or nice country hotels, looking at villages, at churches, at gardens, chatting to the locals, walking along the beach, dipping our toes in the water and all the time reminding ourselves that there are so many places we have not seen near to home.

Where would you fancy doing this in the British Isles - or if you live in another country, in the country where you are. And how would you go about planning it - or would you indeed plan anything or go where the mood took you? I am a fanatical planner and list maker - perhaps it would be time to leave the lists at home. What do you think?

32 comments:

Bonnie said...

Your post is a great example of how when a door closes, if we but look around we can find there are many still open to us.

So much can be discovered and enjoyed right in our own backyard, so to speak.

Sometimes the planning is almost as much fun as the trip! Enjoy!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh, you just know I'd tramp around Scotland. The Highlands, specifically. I never tire of it. From Glencoe to Glenfinnan, and all over Skye. I am going to Morocco in February and am quite thrilled about that upcoming trip. I'm afraid Steinbeck's words ring true with me.

I'm so sorry I'm late in my visiting, and only now am hearing of your recent illness. I so hope you are much better now. Perhaps the snow is a good thing. Nothing to do but hunker down and plan trips with your sweet jigsaw working farmer. Your April journey sounds wonderful.

Take care of yourself!! Much love and good wishes your way, from both Edward and me!

Tess Kincaid said...

Your drive past East Witton church is just lovely. I like the idea of travels into the nooks and crannies of your neck of the woods. A "Merchant Ivory" trip in the UK has been tucked away in my mind's eye for some time now.

Stay warm. I'm right behind you at 54, btw.

Shirley said...

You live in such a beautiful country, as witnessed by the photography on your blog, that I am sure your travels will be what dreams are made of. I am a list person. I love to check off items as they are accomplished. If not on paper, I have a list going in my mind for various things to be done. I'd love to say just go on a whim, stay where chance takes you, enjoy the spontaneity of it all. I wish I were a bit more like that myself. I look forward to reading of your travels.

Masia Mum said...

Although like you I love to travel far and wide and only like going to an Airport if I am the person flying off, however, we have had some wonderful holidays in the UK. I particularly like discovering Cities which would make a change from your country base and perhaps you could link stops to Theatre visits - what do you think? For scenery and the sea, our favourite is the Gower Penisular in Wales - if the weather is with you it takes some beating. Try Oxwich Bay.

Gerry Snape said...

Oh Weaver ...what a lovely thought. And I agree with you I want more than ever to travel and see things and places that i might like. We are going to Goa, which in my wildest dreams never even entered ...but my lovely romantic niece has decided that she will be married on the beach.so offf we shall go! Hope that you are feeling much better.

Rebecca said...

That sounds like a lovely holiday trip. I am all in favour of holidaying in the British Isles. However, I am not a tramping about person really. I like to have somewhere to come back to that's familiar at the end of a hard day's exploring! Somewhere I can cook some food, light a fire, and curl up with a good book. But I like the idea of a tramping holiday - walking from one place to the next. I would have it all booked up in advance though.

The Solitary Walker said...

That's a great quote from Steinbeck's wonderful book, Pat. One I very much identify with. I'm afraid I tend not to plan very much at all. In the Springtime you should easily be able to turn up in places and get a room for the night, I'd guess.

Heather said...

A perfect way to spend a cold winter's night Pat. My husband doesn't like to travel abroad and countryside down to the sea is my favourite holiday location, with a few historic sites or buildings to hand if possible. We usually stay in self-catering accommodation and my husband likes to plan days out while I am lazier and like to meander more gently. There are still hundreds of places in the UK that we have not yet visited. I suppose a well planned holiday is more sensible - time is not wasted and opportunities to see wonderful things and places are not missed. Happy planning and April/May is a perfect time of year.

Totalfeckineejit said...

I would like to go to St Ives, Tintagel,Polperro ,Stonehenge, Haworth ,Llandudno,Aberystwyth and Lindisfarne. I'm sorry your rockies holiday has hit the rocks, but I'm sure you'll have a grand old time a bit nearer to home!

Jinksy said...

I'm alll in favour of following my nose, and seeing where that leads! :) Lists make me cringe...

Reader Wil said...

The British country side is so beautiful! I would start in the south, maybe Lyme Regis! Then I would go once more to Cornwall and Dorset, after this up to Wales or the Lake district. And what about Scotland? Oh I wish I could do that once again!!!
I hope you feel fit enough to have a great holiday.

Penny said...

Ah so many places to go and see, you are so lucky.I loved the coasts of Northumberland and the
border country, but then, Scotland, the South, Wales I could go on and on.
Cant fault your photo of the church in this post.

Helsie said...

To us, travelling around England is a dream holiday and a couple of years ago we spent three months starting in April doing just that. There are so many great places to see and armed with membership of both English Heritage and National Trust our days were full.
The only thing is I think you will quickly tire of living out of a suitcase, packing and unpacking the car each time you stop for a night. We found that a lovely cottage in a nice position where we could spread out, cook sometimes, and wash our clothes was the way to go.A week or two in each place gave us time to get into the local nooks and crannies.
Cornwall is delightful with so many lovely places to visit and if it's walking you love, the Peak district has some lovely walks.
Enjoy your research
Cheers
Helen

steven said...

weaver! masham. home of old peculier. a beer i haven't tasted in years. a trip to brew pubs, lovely little places, it's a heart's dream, a heart's desire. i would love to visit the dales of yorkshire again. nip down through derbyshire, through the lake district, even the border country. it's an incredibly rich world i've just described and you weaver know that better than i. you have given yourself the freedom to really get inside the lovely part of the world you live and love in. steven

Titus said...

Having lived and worked in the West Country for over a decade, it has long been a dream of mine to drive the whole of the A38, stopping off en route exactly as you describe, and really discovering its history. Parts of it Roman, parts of it Saxon, all of it fascinating!

Pondside said...

I just wouldn't know where to start! I'd love to visit the Welsh border areas, the Scottish Isles, the Lake District. How about a ramble along the Yorkshire coast? I'd love to do it all! As for Canada - well, I love my maritime roots, and a drive around the Cabot Trail again would be a treat.

Elisabeth said...

It sounds as though it's time to plan for the unexpected Weaver, and not plan. That way you leave room for all those pleasant surprises. I'm glad to hear you're up and about again.

George said...

Nice to hear the quote from "Travels with Charley." Though I haven't read it in years, I remember it as a great book. My philosophy is simple: Any path is a great path for the adventurous spirit.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Ah, Weaver, like you, I am a great maker of lists! But then I usually lose them, and follow my neck!

I'm sure you will have a wonderful holiday. I too would love to tour the UK and visit all the little villages and wonderful gardens.

Cloudia said...

This post was True Travel

for me!



Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

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Hildred and Charles said...

I am sorry that you are not going to be able to come within a stone's throw of the Similkameen, but I do envy you, Weaver, the opportunity to explore your beautiful countryside in the UK. Take care of yourself so that you will be in good health to set out in the spring on your 'home adventures'. And have fun in the planning....

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

In 1998 we were in the UK for a month and did something Susan Allen Toth calls the "thumbprint school of travel". I had the sefl-catering guide for that year and we stayed a week in each of three places: an apartment in Eastleigh, a trekking place in Bailey Mill in Roxborough. In each place we stayed for a week and each day went off in another direction to see what there was to see.(There is so much!) We had a car loaned from my husband's brother who lived in Ravensburg. It was wonderful.We did spend a night in Shrewsbury on the journey north, and investigated the Brother Cadfael sites. Our favorite place was a week in the small suffolk village of Hepburn, where we spent a day with my D.E. Stevenson friend Alison. In each area we went to the tourist place and gathered all the information we could and planned our days. There was usually only one important site to visit per day. We also had a day in Canterbury, our first day from the ferry. B & Bs are fun, but we wanted to have our own place with a kitchen, too. The United Kingdom is astonishingly full of interesting places to see and learn about.
You might enjoy reading Susan Allen Toth's books about traveling in the UK, or Joan Bodger's book How the Heather Looks about traveling with her husband and children in the early 60s to children's literary sites.

ChrisJ said...

Reading all the above comments made me realize there are 'way too many areas in the UK I would like to visit.. I like to take a side road and then just follow it to see where it might lead. Did some of that in North Wales once. North Wales, Derbyshire, Devon and Cornwall off season, the Lake District Scotland and the far far, north -- even the Shetlands all appeal to me, not to mention my beloved Yorkshire which I have not even begun to explore!

GWILYM WILLIAMS said...

I would buy Hebridean Island Hopper tickets. With these you can go on the CalMac ferries to 23 different islands in the Inner and Outer Hebridies. Of course you might not want to go to so many islands in which case you could go to Ardossan and buy an Island Hopper for Arran, Islay and Jura.
In Arran I would stay in Lochranza and go to the pub in Catacol bay for a pint and a pizza, in Islay I'd stay in Port Ellen and buy a bottle of sprakling white in the village shop and watch the sunset on the beach, in Jura - well there's only one hotel and one small bus with carpet on the ceiling, in case you bang your head as you speed over the little hump back bridges, driven by a mad woman who thinks she's Jackie Stewart ... :)

MorningAJ said...

OK... couple of technical pints here. Yes - you CAN get insurance - but it'll cost you. You might be as well to wait six months before you book the trip though. As long as you've had no more problems in teh mean time you can get a letter from your doctor that says you're low risk. (We had already booked our US trip when I had my little wibble a couple of years ago. The insurance cost tripled but I still got to go....)

You don't have to stick to the UK. You can travel by sea to the Continent and do The Netherlands or Belgium. It's usually if you're flying that rip you off because the risks are higher. Hull-Rotterdam is a fun crossing.

Where in the UK? Practically anywhere you like. I'm like you and I do lots of research before I go - I just do it about the UK. Don't pick the obvious places. Avoid central Lakes, (Bardsea was brilliant though.) Skip the Cotswolds. (And Stratford!) Try somewhere less well known. Staffordshire's lovely. Wiltshire? Somerset? (The Levels are amazing) Suffolk. Around Southwold and the beer's great too.

What about a city break? We had two marvellous days in Cardiff this Spring for K's birthday. We'd never been before and it's an amazing place. (K's a Dr Who fan so we did a bit of location spotting) I treated him to dinner at Carluccio's to recreate the meal we had in Rome last Summer.

The world (well the UK) is your oyster. Enjoy the research!

MorningAJ said...

Make that technical "points"!

Crafty Green Poet said...

We almost always have holidays in the UK, actually almost always in Scotland, there are so many wonderful islands and places in the Highlands. We usually plan our places to stay in advance and then leave planning activities until we get there though we do research to find out what there is to do in the area we're visiting. Enjoy the planning and the trips!

Rachel Fox said...

Come to Scotland - but when we're here!
x

Arija said...

Chuckle, chuckle, I just go where the spirit moves me. I have learned from experience that if we make plans, the good Lord changes them so now it is go when you can get away and wherever the spirit moves us.

Golden West said...

I've always been intrigued by the thought of renting a canal boat and traveling England by water. The pictures I've seen are fascinating, and the towns along the waterways ripe for exploring. Or driving the the coast, all the way around the entire island - sure adventure!

Planning your trip and the growing anticipation will be grand, Weaver! And April is so near, you'll be on the road in no time!

thousandflower said...

Well, if we manage to make it back to England we want to go to Yorkshire. I've been twice and just loved driving up on top of the moors and getting out and just breathing. And then down into the Dales. I love your part of the world.