Last week we spent the week in Yorkshire, zipping around quite a bit packing lots in but also managing to find some time to relax, which we discovered was much needed. As most of the week was in Yorkshire - we arrived home at 2.45pm on Saturday in perfect time for the match, which felt quite strange, as while there were nerves watching there was none of the normal dread. Tomorrow night could be a whole different thing though.
But anyway this post will also be a bit of a highlights of Yorkshire post, which is no bad thing and it'll give you a taste of what's to come over the next few weeks too. There were gardens (quite a few), a big house and plenty of local produce along the way. MOH continued with his shorter bike rides on all but one occasion when he missed a turning and ended up in Pateley Bridge with not enough legs to get back, so the support vehicle (me!) was called into action.
Our original plan was to visit Castle Howard on Monday but once I realised that you could get 10% off if you booked online, our plan was quickly revised so we visited on the Tuesday. The discount wasn't huge, but it seemed a waste not to take advantage of it. So instead we visited the RHS partner garden, Parcevall Hall gardens which is nestled in a valley in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
The scenery on the drive there was stunning, so much so that at one point I pulled the car over to enjoy the views without the windscreen and take some pictures.
The gardens were stunning too and quite free form. Walking through the woods we weren't sure we were heading in the right direction, then suddenly a more manicured garden appeared, it was quite surreal.
The borders and terraces, the woods and the hostas in the Chapel garden were all amazing, in fact I don't think I've seen such large hostas before.
The rose garden was full of scent and the rock garden was interesting, as well as the rock (obviously!) there were some quite every day plants happily growing. There'll definitely be more of those gardens to follow.
All of these individual gardens explored and it was only just past lunchtime. Next on the list was RHS Harlow Carr in Harrogate, where we planned to have lunch. When we arrived we were seduced by Bettys and ended up with a steak sandwich and a Yorkshire tea to share, before we explored the gardens. Sustenance!
We didn't walk around the whole of the garden as we were hoping to come back later in the week - we didn't in the end - but we did enjoy the kitchen garden, the alpine house, the borders and the scented garden, and a very nice scone and a cuppa.
The next day we were back in the car and on our way to Castle Howard. It's somewhere I've wanted to visit for a while and couldn't quite manage on a weekend visit to York a few years ago, so I was making sure this time round. There's plenty of gardens to wander around, and the house of course, which I remember most from Brideshead Revisited from the early 80s.
I'll tease you with a couple of photos, I'm still editing these and there are quite a few:
Our first glimpse of the house reminded me of arriving at the French chateaux on our Loire cycling trip as they often had the large picture frames around the grounds encouraging you to capture the view. MOH couldn't be persuaded to step into the frame and it's painful directing him for the shot I want, so here's an unadulterated view instead.
In the house I was taken with plenty of mosaic table tops, the turquoise room and the Brideshead Revisited exhibition. Walking around that I was surprised at how many names appeared in the show, but more on all of that another day.
We couldn't go all the way to Yorkshire without sampling some of the local produce so we made it our mission to visit the Black Sheep Brewery and the Wensleydale Creamery, it was tough, but needed to be done. In fact on the way to Hawes I managed to sneak in a stop at the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep shop (a wool shop) in Leyburn and left with wool for a new crochet project, which fortuitously I'd seen that morning in a crochet magazine.
As ever after a relaxing week away it's been a bit of a shock to come back to the rush of everyday life, hence the lateness of this post I'm sure. It's nice to be home though, even if we're missing waking up to the frankly amusing sound of sheep baa-ing at the bedroom window.