Yorkshire


Bleachmill house with St George’s and Yorkshire flags flying

Bleachmill house

A perfect day to meander down to Bleachmill House, our favourite short walk from our village, Menston in the Wharfe Valley, one of Yorkshire’s beautiful dales. ‘Icing on the cake’ is a mug of tea with extraordinary friends Sue and Simon in their ‘farmhouse kitchen’ and the crazy “very free-range” chickens, picking up some “very free-range eggs” before we left.

Having baked Yorkshire teacakes earlier Sue was just about to make a lemon drizzle cake. So too early – dammit; it’s one of my favourites! No cake but the usual laughs which will last me at least a week.

No need for more words. I hope the pictures, all taken on iPad except for Petronela’s pic of me delighting in a robin singing his heart out high in a tree, say enough.

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Today is going to be full of chores so it’s a good opportunity to post something about our walk yesterday, our favourite short walk around our village of Menston. Cold with a biting wind coming up the valley but a  beautiful sunny day. I had hoped to catch Petronela’s namesake but she refused to play and hid herself somewhere in the bushes.

When we arrived Sue our friend was preparing Sunday lunch so we had a wonderful ‘catchup’ sitting in her cosy farmhouse-style kitchen while she peeled potatoes. Her son and his lady have just moved in while they renovate the barn next door to be their home (it’ll take a year) so we made new friends too. P enjoyed chatting with him, also a teacher, while I enoyed chatting with his lady (who said “of course”?). My camera for some reason refused to play ball too so unfortunately no pix of Sue or her offspring (man of the house Simon had lost himself in ‘the garden’) but I must at sometime do a post on this amazing couple, who always have us laughing. P was still giggling about one episode in bed last night!

 

 

 

 

 

Daniel’s cafe/bistro Ilkley is not run by Daniel but by his daughter Miruna and her husband. The name is a tribute to Miruna’s father who runs a hotel in our other favourite place, the Romanian Bucovina, specifically in the spa town (a bit like Harrogate) of Vatra Dornei.

We decided to visit this small but cosy coffee shop by day, a ‘bistro’ in the evening, yesterday afternoon. The cakes are ‘interesting’, yesterday’s were with butternut squash or pumpkin, but neither is ‘my cup of tea’ as we say so I opted for the Romanian sponge with apple and plums, the only truly Romanian cake on offer. With the first taste it took me back to my ‘honorary grandmother’s’ house near Câmpulung Moldovenesc, about 30km from the spa town, where we twice stayed for a while during our summer break. She makes an identical ‘cake’ (in fact it’s more like a pudding).

If a new visitor to Ilkley don’t stop at the Cow & Calf rocks and a walk on Ilkley moor but continue on the moorland road for some wonderful views. Here’s as we decend into our village

Romanian chocolate cakes

Unfortunately, not liking anything with fruit Petronela settled for just one of the excellent coffees. It’s a pity there are not more Romanian cakes, particularly chocolate cakes of which there are many: chec negru (black cake), amandine, mascota and others. All excellent and any one of them would have suited Petronela. There had been brownies, sold out, but for me the Romanian version is better: boema, chocolate cake soaked in a caramel syrup and topped with a ganache and ‘frișcă’ – sweetened whipped cream. It’s certainly more indulgent for any chocoholic.

But the main reason for a visit to Daniel’s if you are in Ilkley is the Romanian (more exactly Bucovinian) welcome. You will not find a more hospitable, friendly people anywhere and it hasn’t been diminished at all by being transplanted in Yorkshire.

Something I particularly like is Miruna’s tribute to her father, posted on a window. That also is very typically Romanian. Having been lucky enough to meet him on a previous visit, we can confirm he’s a great guy.

Daniel’s cafe/bistro has a website:

https://www.danielscafebistro.co.uk/

Don’t miss it (not open every day – see website) if you visit this lovely small Yorkshire town. If you’re lucky Miruna will have taken my hint and have more Romanian chocolate cakes!

I’ve changed first-thing-in-the-morning weekday roles with Petronela since school finished for half-term. When she was going to the school at which she taught for eleven years she was generally up first and made her coffee and my tea and I stayed in bed, out of her way, until she came back into the bedroom to get ready for school. At weekends and holidays it was usually I who got up first and took her coffee to her much later.

I did manage to stay in bed till 5.30 this morning, half an hour later than yesterday, but as I want to drink my tea before I do anything the roles have reversed and now I take P her coffee at 5.45. I think it’s going to settle down like this as she likes that 15 minutes more in bed.

Jobs piling up

As it now looks as though I’ll be driving her to school for a while longer, as the school asked her to go back and she cannot realistically get there on public transport, I’m going to have to think about coming home for a few hours on some days; there are jobs now piling up which I cannot do in Wetherspoon or the library. I have to come back on a couple of days next week for medical appointments so I’ll probably do a trial run this week to see how it goes.

Not a lot to say about today. Monday seems to be exceptional in Wetherspoon as there were not as many people in as yesterday. The male half of the couple I mentioned yesterday arrived at 9.05 and I had to tell him that I had not seen the lady. I had thought they were man and wife but evidently not. I saw her later on the way to Wetherspoon.

I was surprised to see a young mother feeding her baby with a beer close by at 9.30 in the morning.

Didn’t make the Brontës’ moors

I had thought of going to Haworth today and brought a camera with the intention of trying to capture the moors behind the Brontë sisters’ home as they evoked it. It didn’t work out; perhaps another day.

Keighley ‘picture house’

I would have liked to get in to ‘The picture house’ to get some pictures but it doesn’t open at a time I can do that so I had to be content with the outside. When I was a child we still called the cinema “the picture house”. Later, as a young teenager I didn’t do the usual ‘job’ delivering newspapers but was, at 14, ‘assistant projectionist’ at a local ‘picture house’ after school. It no longer exists.

Just opposite the picture house is St. Anne’s primary school. I used to go there not long after I came back to the UK after Romania to help Romanian immigrant children who didn’t speak English to settle in. I park the car close by now while I’m in Keighley.

Looking across the room past the ‘pumpkin’ shape applied to the window towards the former site of my former school and the technical college behind

Did that horrible pumpkin gobble up my old high school? In a much more interesting building, it used to be in front of the grey and blue thing, the technical college

Half-term holiday is over so it’s back on the school run this morning, frosty (-4degC) but  a delightful run over the moor under a clear blue sky. Also, as the clocks went back an hour at midnight Saturday the sun was up. Still no sign of the ‘Arctic conditions’.

It was quite a bit colder when I took the header photo (on film) in one of the wilder parts of Yorkshire – so a favourite for me – several years ago.

That means I’m beginning to write this post back in ‘my corner’ in Wetherspoon in Keighley, with the log fire burning close by. An ugly pumpkin face, a ‘ghost’ and two skulls are glaring at me. I’ll be glad when it’s Wednesday and the horrible ‘halloween’ will be over for another year. I really dislike what has been done to it by big commercial interests.

Even cheaper coffee

One of many ghosts, made of a mask and a thin white textile, hanging around the place The coffee system has been changed. It’s now extremely dangerous. The price has gone down – yes down! – by 10p to £1.20 and for that you can have as many refills as you like. So I could sit here all day and kill myself with 100 double espressos for £1.20. I’m not suicidal so I’ll limit myself to two.

Yorkshire dialect

I’ve stayed here a bit later than before and it’s clear that this pub becomes a sort of social club after 9.30-10am. More than half of the clients are men over retirement age, the majority drinking beer which is also cheaper than other places; alcoholic drinks are not served before 9am but few arrive before ten. Listening to them talking I would guess many live in the countryside around the town and take advantage of their free bus passes, which can be used after 9.30am (after rush hour). It’s fascinating listening to the broad Yorkshire accents and even a sprinkling of local dialect.

Gambling

A favourite activity seems to be picking potential winners of today’s horse races. There’s a couple sitting next to me, I’m sure well over 80 years of age. With a coffee and a large brandy in front of him, and a more modest small beer in front of her, he is going through a racing paper and telling her the horses and betting odds for each race. I’m pretty sure her eyesight is not good enough to read the paper. They then discuss the race and he makes copious notes on one of a small pile of notelets then transfers something to a bigger plan on a large sheet of paper. I guess that this is the betting plan for today. That seemingly finished he’s got himself another coffee and her a glass of white wine. He was despatched, presumably to a nearby bookie, with £40 from her, so I guess she is the gambler.

On another table three men had a lively discussion about one race after which one, clearly the most mobile of the three, was despatched to the bookie with an instruction “Put £10 on ?? to win”. I didn’t catch the name of the horse. One of them just got his third pint of Guiness from the bar; how they can drink that in the morning is beyond me.

… and Ayala champagne

Gambling is not one of my vices. I’ve placed a bet on a horse only once in my life, with quite spectacular results. I posted the story on this blog some time ago; if you are interested search for ‘Ayala’. The first post to come up is password protected but the second, ‘Gambling and champagne’, tells the story.

Now, 11.30am, approaching lunch time, the pub is beginning to fill up with, generally, a much younger clientelle. Breakfast menus are being taken off the tables, to be replaced with the lunch menu. Having had my second espresso it’s time to retire to the library next door, where I can recharge the iPad and battle with the HTML to change the text font. The default is not good for anyone with a sight problem.

The sun was so bright it chopped a slice of my head off; I think this is the first ever ‘selfie’ of the two of us, in the deserted pub.

Today is Petronela’s and my 17th wedding anniversary. Why the 17th is ‘special’ I won’t bore you with except to say that in Romania we lived at number 17, we bought our present home before we knew it would be number 17 (it didn’t exist when we reserved it) and there are a few other occurences of the number too.

On our anniversaries we usually do something ‘special’ – eg, go somewhere more exotic to eat or to stay. This being a more than usually ‘special’ day we decided to do nothing ‘special’, and so it became special.

The more so because the pub we chose to visit, just for a drink, on the other side of the valley, usually crowded on a Sunday lunchtime, was deserted. We were the only people in it (other than the barman). That was pretty special.

Then, having been warned of “Arctic conditions” by the weather forecasters it turned out to be a beautiful day, one of the best of the year. We reckon mother nature turned on her magic just for us.

 

High above Malham Cove on the way home – definitely ‘God’s own country’!

A beautiful day for the final day of the half-term holiday, with “Arctic” weather threatened for the weekend by forecasters. Where to go? We decided on Malham, about 25 miles from home, with an energetic walk from the village to the cove. The days when I would climb it have long gone. Back in Malham village a sandwich and tea (coffee for Petronela), in the delighful ‘Stream side cafe‘, with an equally delightful young Hungarian receptionist/waitress, went down a treat. Seemed a pity to go directly home so we climbed the long twisting single track road then descended into Settle before turning east to go home.

A lovely day.

As you see, I took a camera but all the pictures other than Petronela’s of me are on the iPad.

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