Don't try this at home...

Read the consequences at this website.

John Betjeman meets Les Patterson

Sir Les pops in for a chat with Sir John. Desperately funny.

Gary Puckett & The Union Gap - Young Girl

This reached number 1 in the UK charts in 1968. One of my favourite songs. If only a certain deceased DJ had taken note of the lyrics...

Friday 19 October 2012

A run this morning - it feels fine. The four of us breakfast together, then we head off to Odiham on our bikes. We lunch at the Bell, always good, and get soaked on the way home. D&T set off back to Dibden Purlieu at tea time. It's really pleasant to see them, the day was fun. It was good to hear about their trip to Portugal last week. Chris and Nigel are in Italy, everyone seems to be in the holiday mood.

Carol sent me another lovely poem, by Robert Frost:

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Thursday 18 October 2012

Homeward! We set off home at nine, no hold ups this time, and get back to Basingstoke at around two thirty. The house is still standing, so we unpack and do domestic stuff for a while. Dorothy and Tim arrive at ten thirty in the evening, having been in London with their daughter Cesca. We chat until late, then retire to bed.

Wednesday 17 October 2012

A wet day :( We laze around Endeavour Cottage until late morning, when suddenly the rain and grey skies are gone, and the sun shines brightly. We spend the day exploring Whitby, looking in the shops, lunching in a cafe, taking photos, and generally enjoying ourselves. In one shop Tina and I find some excellent waterproof jackets, and over trousers, so I let Tina flash her plastic around and wear my new, warm jacket out of the store.

One especially pleasing thing about Whitby - it's hard to see a shop with a name we know. No Starbucks, no Tesco, no McDonalds, no chains of any sort. By the harbour there is a Co-op, and I'm sure we could find a Boots if we looked hard enough, but in the main there is a wealth of local shops and cafes, all with fascinating fronts facing the lucky visitor. I try to photograph them all...

Although a small town, there are many different areas of Whitby to explore, and always marvellous views in all directions. As it is our last day, we dine on fish n chips from a shop in a tiny lane adjacent to ours. The portions in this part of the world are huge, it's a struggle to make an impression on our fried supper. I do manage, somehow.

Captain Cook


Tuesday 16 October 2012

The Magpie CafeToday we drive a couple of miles north to Sandsend, and walk to Staithes via Runswick Bay. Although the morning starts quite brightly, with even a little sun, before midday the rain has set in. The wind blowing the rain from in front and to the left of us makes walking difficult, and we keep a good distance from the cliff edge on the coastal path. Despite the conditions, I can't help feeling how good it is to be out in the open, striding along, looking forward to getting home and warm later on. Like banging your head against a wall, it's lovely when it stops. "Fight the good fight, with all thy might..."

Both Runswick Bay and Staithes are picture postcard villages, with tiny streets and colourful houses tumbing down steep hills to the sea. I regret not taking my camera out of my bag, but don't want to risk ruining another one in the rain in the space of a few weeks.

From Staithes we get a bus back to the car, and in our cottage in Whitby get the heating on full blast and dry ourselves out.

In the evening, we dine at the famous Magpie Cafe. Famous for fish n chips, they have a large menu of seafood dishes and we opt for something which was not deep fried. The food and service is excellent, but we feel the pressure to turn over as many customers as possible.

Monday 15 October 2012

Today Tina and I decide to drive to Grosmont, about eight miles inland, and walk either side of the Esk valley in a sort of circle. We are lucky with the weather, it only rains briefly, and enjoy a day of varied scenery, from bleak moors to lush river valleys - all in a manageable distance. A railway passes through the valley, and we miss a steam train by moments on a couple of occasions, so no railway photos for me.

"Onward Christian Soldiers" seems to be the song I can't get out of my head this morning. All together now: "With the cross of Jesus, going on before!"

In the evening we get a take away curry which is delicious. There is always too much and we gorge ourselves.

The Esk Valley Grosmont railway relics Overlooking Grosmont


Sunday 14 October 2012

Whitby is a jewel embedded in the North Yorkshire coast. Steep hills lead down to a working harbour, there is a ruined abbey to the south overlooking the town, and everywhere there are enticing streets and alleys weaving in and out of the steep hills. The town manages to strike a pleasant balance between "kiss me quick" and twee, despite being full of holiday lets, B&Bs, and all of the shops, cafes and tourist attractions which service the visitors.

Tina wakes me with a coffee - bliss. We breakfast in a local cafe, and then set off following the Cleveland Way along cliffs to Robin Hood's Bay. It's difficult to get out of Whitby, there is so much to see - and photograph. Eventually we leave the town behind, and settle into our strides.

As we stroll along I have the song "Wonderful Copenhagen" running through my mind. Where did that come from?? I haven't heard or thought about it for ages. Maybe it suits the pace we are walking at, but I try to banish it by walking faster to the Proclaimers "I would walk a thousand miles."

It rains briefly a couple of times, but it's sunny at Robin Hood's Bay. It's an amazingly photogenic place, with steep streets, lovely old buildings, and interesting alleys leading off in all directions. We sit for a while in the Bay hotel, but not in the Wainwright bar, which for some reason is closed.

Our walk back is away from the cliffs, following a disused railway line. We get good views over the sea to our right, and over the North Yorkshire moors to the left. Nearer to whitby we are walking well inland. We are both quite tired when we reach Endeavour Cottage.


Saturday 13 October 2012

Awake early, I listen to Clare Balding's wonderful Ramblings on Radio 4. She is walking with Sam West, son of Timothy West and Prunella Scales. He is a keen twitcher, and they wander Rainham marshes (very close to London) looking at the local avian population. One fly in the Balding ointment: whenever I used to listen to her program it featured members of the public, not celebs. Sam is a nice bloke, but an actor nonetheless. Couldn't the producer find a civilian who was keen on our Rainham marshes feathered friends?

There is an annoying tendency for all programs to go down the starry route. The ultimate example? Celeb Family Fortunes. Take an awful format whose only saving grace is that it gives members of the public their fifteen minutes of fame. Kick out the civvies, and install "C list" luvvies and their tacky families. And what was wrong with Mastermind anyway? How can it be improved with an over the hill footballer answering questions on the synoptic gospels (actually, I'd quite like to see that) ? But you know what I mean.

Later, Tina and I set off for Whitby. On the M1, we see signs warning of an accident ahead. For some reason, I don't take the next exit, and subsequently we spend two and a half stationary hours wandering up and down the hard shoulder chatting to fellow motorists. Judging by the number of emergency vehicles going past, and the helicopters in the sky, it's a bad accident. I'm glad to be safe, if a little pedestrian.

Our accomodation in Whitby is charming, a tiny cottage in a tiny alley close to the centre of the town. After settling in, we find a pleasant pub and eat dinner with a couple from Nottingham as space is limited. There is some sort of world war two week-end on in this part of Yorkshire, we noticed lots of spivs, ladies in fur coats, and military types as we drove toward Whitby, and our fellow diners fill us in on the details.