Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Whitby Holiday

Early in December we went to Whitby in Yorkshire for a week - the week of our anniversary.  The cats went on holiday to a lovely cattery and Bertie came along with us to enjoy the bracing cold of the North.  Our apartment we stayed in was really lovely and the owners had put up Christmas decorations which made it really nice.  It was right on the west cliff area of Whitby, so Ken got to take Bertie for lots of walks along the beach, which of course they both loved.

For those that don't know, Whitby is famous for Dracula - Bram Stoker lived there whilst writing the novel and lots of the town inspired his story.  Because of this a lot of the town and cafes have a bit of a Dracula theme going on, as you'll see from these two pictures.

Ken being attacked by Dracula

In case you can't tell, it's a bulb of garlic in the box!
  Whitby is a lovely place, dominated by the ruins of an abbey on the hill overlooking the town.  Fortunately there are lots of coffee shops so on the days when it was a bit miserable we had plenty of places to go for coffee and cake.  One of our favourites allowed dogs and was also a second hand bookshop - really nice.

Here are some views from around Whitby.

Whale bone arch

On our anniversary (13 years) we went to York for the day - I love York, it's such a beautiful and magical city.  We had a really nice meal, a wander round the Christmas market, evensong at York Minster, and a lovely afternoon tea in Betty's Tearoom.

Christmas market by day
Market by night

My afternoon tea - fruit scones with jam & clotted cream
 To get into York we parked in a park and ride and got the bus in - when we got back to the park and ride we discovered that someone had left the lights on and so the battery was dead!  Luckily the rescue people only took about half an hour to come - how we laughed.

Ken calling the rescue people
 My other favourite day whilst we were away was the day we went to Fountains Abbey - it's a National Trust property with the ruins of a huge abbey.  The day we went it was freezing, literally, and very misty which made it very atmospheric.  Here are a few pictures from our day there, along with some great shots that show how cold it was.

Icy cobwebs

One of the best tearooms we went to was on a farm on the way to the abbey - fabulous local food in a wonderful environment.  I was taking a picture of the tractors and the farmer noticed so came over to chat to me - I told him that we had a Massey Ferguson on our farm, and he told me all about how they had developed the tearooms and shops on the farm to help with income generation. 

A very cute sheep on the farm

I loved this sign - especially the last one.
Now before I finish, I have to share a couple of pictures of our beloved Bertie - he was totally spoilt on our holiday and I'm sure he bragged about it to the cats when we got home.

Ready for his walk in the cold
Thoroughly spoilt - he's not allowed on the furniture at home!
 We've been very lucky this year, having some lovely holidays around the UK - and every self catering place we stayed has been fabulous.

That's it for now - stay safe and keep smiling.

Pamela & Ken

P.S: Final photo is lights in one of the trees at Fountains Abbey.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Scotland Family

I am so behind with my posts - fault of a rotten cold/cough that has lasted for over a month now - so lots to catch up on.

During November we went to Nairn (in the north of Scotland, not far from Inverness) and spent a three day weekend with the clan McCamon - Ken's sister Jean and her three men (husband and two boys, not a very weird menage a quatre). 

When we left Gatwick airport our plane was delayed due to thick fog, but once we flew past the border of England with Scotland the skies cleared and we had beautiful weather - really clear which was nice as we could see the snow on the mountains.

Even though it was a flying visit it was still lovely as it's nice to get out of the rat race and spend time in the proper country, or as Ken would say, God's own country.  We went for a couple of walks whilst there, one where we ended up at an adults outside exercise area - I think these are such a good idea - free to use and the benefits of fresh air.  We all had a go on the various machines, though I'm sure you all know my aversion to exercise so I didn't do too much.

Jean - watch out the rowing team at Rio 2016


Ken looking very determined
Jean - looking way to happy to be doing exercise
Murray & Uncle Ken
 Further on in our walk we came across some very unusual animals for the Highlands of Scotland - I think they're a rare breed that they are trying to introduce to the area.

Fergie trying to tame one of the beasts
Now of course we did manage to do some shopping and I'm now going to share with you one of my favourite things to make shopping into a day of fun - dressing my beloved up in silly hats and taking photos of him!!  Try it yourself sometime - it's a great laugh.

Doesn't he look gorgeous??

So a flying visit, but as always a wonderful one and hopefully it won't be too long before we're together again.

That's all for today, but I will be catching up with recent fun over the next few days in preparation for Christmas - the most wonderful day of all.

Stay safe and keep smiling

Pamela & Ken (aka beloved)

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Making Memories

Okay, those that know me well often say I'm a bit of a weirdo being obsessed with death - having graveyards as a bit of a hobby, being involved with Dying Matters, and working in Palliative Care, so to those people what Ken and I got up to last Sunday is going to be up there amongst the odd things I've done.

During October they held a festival in and around Oxford called the Kicking the Bucket festival - a celebration of life and death.  I booked Ken and me onto a craft workshop called making memories, not knowing quite what to expect.  We were told we could bring photos, poetry, or anything else we may want to use in our craft.  The session was facilitated by an art therapist, going for two hours, and there were only 4 other participants so it was a really safe environment .  I wasn't sure if Ken was just attending to humour me, but once we got there he threw himself into the experience being the first to introduce himself and talk about the death of both his parents.

We both used pictures, Ken one of his parents that we love, and I used two of Dad that were taken in the weeks before he died, including a picture of him trying an oyster for the first time in his life - better late than never!!

We both really enjoyed the experience and would recommend anyone who lives near Oxford to attend a session next year if able.

On the way home we got totally lost due to an accident at a major intersection causing us to be diverted through the countryside not knowing where we were heading - ended up at pub called the Pickled Ploughman in the middle of nowhere to have tea (I'm not sure if we could find it again if we tried).  My favourite thing about it, apart from the fabulous meal, was the milk jug they brought out with my coffee which was a cow (I know, small things amuse me).

The following Thursday - Nov 1st which is the Day of the Dead (festival held in Mexico - look it up as very interesting) I spoke at the National Celebrating the Day of the Dead event in London about what we did at work for Dying Matters week earlier in the year.  Needless to say I was extremely nervous but really proud of myself for doing it.  The whole event was so motivating and interesting, and the organisation was great - we had skull shaped biscuits on the tables, table centres designed by one of the local schools, margaritas and Mexican food after the event along with a wandering musician.

So basically the last week has been full of really different experiences but really great ones.  I promise not to mention death for a while, but I must be due to visit an old graveyard and take pictures of fascinating gravestones.

Hope all well with you and yours.  Keep safe, and keep smiling.

Pamela & Ken

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Portobello Road Market

Portobello Road Market is just what it says - a market that takes up the entire length of Portobello Road in Notting Hill, London.  It's a great place to visit with such an eclectic mix of stalls including antiques, food, clothing, fruit and veg, jewellery etc.  We went on a Saturday so it was very busy - you get to see such a wide range of society and it's really great for people watching.

Notting Hill is a really pretty area of London with lots of interesting old architecture still evident, along with some very pretty coloured houses - unfortunately as it was a little overcast they haven't come out quite as brightly as they actually are.

The food stalls were amazing, piled high with naughtiness (we didn't succumb though the chocolate puffs full of cream were very tempting) and the smells from the cooking stalls really transported you to another place.

Along the sides of the street there are also lots of interesting little shops, but this one I had to take a photo of as the shoes were very colourful and some look a bit like instruments of torture.

Of course I couldn't leave without buying something - a lovely hat for winter.  I was very upset as the woman on the stall wouldn't let me take any photos - there was a great hat that looked like a wolfs head that I made Ken put on, and needless to say it was quite amusing, just the look on his face was enough to make anyone laugh ( he does tolerate a lot from me).

We had a really lovely day just wandering around, stopping for coffee and cake, and enjoying some of the many sights to see in London.

When we got home we had to quickly scrub ourselves up as we had a fund raising dinner to go to that night with friends, and it was a great night, with an incredible magician that came round the tables, and fab food and company.

We scrub up quite well, dont' you think?

That's it for now - just to say that my ending photo for today's entry is what we did the next day - another car parts fair, so needless to say Ken was in heaven.

Stay safe, and keep smiling.

Pamela & Ken