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In North Yorkshire without a blanket

I’m back from outer space! Well not quite outer space, but I’ve been busy. Since I last posted I have, all in the same weekend:

1) handed in Book 2 after a few weeks of round the clock writing and working and generally being a hermit

2) had a birthday – very nice, celebrated with breakfast at Ottolenghi, dinner in the Feng Shang Princess and by seeing Damsels in Distress (which unfortunately wasn’t great – definitely not a patch on his Metropolitan, which is one of my favourite films). The weekend also featured two other friends’ birthdays, which was a shock to the system after my weeks of being a Hermit. On the Friday I stayed up til 1 am for the first time in weeks and on Sunday I had pizza and wine for breakfast. Confusing.

To recover from all this, I headed off with A for five days in North Yorkshire. We went from moors to dale – first stop was the Star Inn, a very very nice place on the edge of the Yorkshire moors:

We were delighted with ourselves having rung up at the last minute and got a great deal (£99 for the night, which is good considering it’s quite a fancy place). After a gorgeous meal, and a game of scrabble with champagne, we went for a lovely walk the next day and saw some of the local wildlife:

We then drove to Masham (pronounced Massam) where we attempted to look around the Black Sheep brewery but got lost in some farm yards, shivered a bit in the market square, had a cream tea and then ate at the excellent Bay Horse pub before heading back to our hotel room to watch The Apprentice (I know, I know, but it was a great one. Azar and his Strategy!)

The next day we went to Fountains Abbey to have a look around, and then to the Yorkshire Dales. My favourite village was Arncliff, which had chickens on the village green and a calf gambolling around like a pet dog on the loose. Arncliff was too tiny to stay in so we went to Kettlewell, which is apparently where they filmed Calendar Girls. Having experienced the weather up there, I take my hat off to those ladies even more for stripping off. It was absolutely freezing. In Fountains Abbey and I ended up buying a blanket from the National Trust shop just to keep myself alive:

Finally, we went to Saltaire to visit the Hockney paintings at Salts Mill (though it’s an impressive enough place even if you’re not a Hockney fan like me). and then Harrogate. We nearly stayed at the hotel Agatha Christie disappeared to, but found a cuter, cheaper option. We had tea at Betty’s and spent the afternoon in the beautiful old Turkish baths before heading to Leeds and home. Our train home from Leeds took FIVE HOURS. It was meant to take two and a half hours – in fact it should have been even shorter but the journey time was already ‘extended’ which it seems is different from being ‘late’. Matters weren’t really improved when an announcement went out offering free cake for all the passengers in First Class.

It was a great holiday and I’d love to go back to Yorkshire. I may have to console myself with an online purchase of possibly the cutest Jubilee-themed biscuit ever from Bettys of Harrogate.

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