Monday, 6 August 2012

Thirsk Holiday

We have just returned from a lovely week away in Thirsk, Yorkshire. We rented a cottage with Mark's parents at Thirkleby Hall. It was a lovely cottage, maybe a little dated compared to cottages we've rented in the past but it was comfortable and clean and the setting was perfect. Lots of outdoor space for Charlie and Courtney to play, a miniature golf course which was fun and peacocks!

Day 1: Saturday 28th July.

We set off late morning and has a stop in Embsay, near Skipton. It was a good place to have a light lunch and has a craft shop which was fab for me! I needed a piece of evenweave for the Jubilee cross stitch which I wanted to start on holiday. We arrived at the cottage shortly after Sylvia and Hughie and settled in. We all then went into Thirsk for some dinner then came home to watch the Olympics. 

Day 2: Sunday 29th July.

There is a really good selection of leaflets in the cottage. After having a look through them we decide on a trip to Monk Park Farm. It's only just down the road from the cottage. Oh my goodness, this place was fabulous! It was so well set up, the animals were living in good surroundings and there was nothing pretentious about it. What I mean is that the animals weren't confined and it was their choice if they came to see you! Of course with a bag full of food, they didn't hesitate! First of all we went into the small animals habitat, guinea pigs, rabbits and ducklings lived in here and over the other side there were some goats, pigs and lambs.

As we are in there we realise that it is soon time to feed the lambs. This was an experience I will remember for a very long time! We were asked to form a semi circle and hold the bottles in front of us. We then had to call 'wakey wakey' to the lambs and all of a sudden a load of lambs came running down the slope towards us. These lambs are not so little any more so it was quite a sight!! They quickly latched onto the bottles and within a few seconds it was over!

We then wandered around all the other animals there, including cows, donkeys, goats, llamas and pigs feeding each as we went along, one cheeky goat even ate Charlie's paper bag! At the bottom there is a lovely lake with lots of ducks, swans and geese.

We made our way back up to the up to the top when it just started lightly raining so we ducked into the cafe for lunch. Just opposite the cafe there is a huge sandpit and play area, Charlie and Courtney spent quite a bit of time there.

There were still quite a few animals for us to see and also a nature walk that we could do. We set off and took our time, there were benches every so often for a rest and Charlie and Courtney had shoulder rides and piggy backs! They loved it! It was whilst on the walk that we first saw the barrel ride, that became Charlie's incentive to walk back! It was great fun on the ride, it was sooooooo bumpy! Charlie and Courtney giggled so much!!

We left the farm and went back into Thirsk for dinner, we ate at the same place as last night as the food was so nice!

Day 3: Monday 30th July.

We have only been in Thirsk so far to eat so today decide to explore our holiday town. We know that James Herriot lived in Thirsk and that there was a museum dedicated to him. We ask at the tourist information place and it's only a short walk away. It's actually the house he lived in. Charlie and Courtney were given a little worksheet where they had to find the animal shapes and write the letters on them down. (just to note at the end it spelt out James Herriot.) They took this activity very seriously and both did well finding the animal shapes.

I think we all enjoyed the museum, it was set out as it would have been when he lived there. Courtney wasn't too sure about the model humans in the house though, LOL! Once you work your way through his home you are then guided through to a video presentation about him. His name was actually James Alfred Wight, he was referred in the museum as 'Alf Wight'. When he wrote his books he wasn't allowed to use his own name so took his name from Birmingham's goal keeper at the time, Jim Herriot. The second part of the tour takes you through the television series and his writing career.

The tour concludes with an interactive room, we all played along with the games in there. At the end Charlie and Courtney are presented with a little bug for their efforts in the worksheets.
After the museum we had a little wander around the shops. I had seen a pair of navy shoes in Clarks that went in the sale and have never been able to buy them in my size. Lo and behold there they were in a shop window! I enquired and yay, they had a size 7! I tried them on and they fit great, that was me very happy! We didn't really buy much else but enjoyed looking through the shops. On the way back to the car we had a few minutes play at the grass park next to the river. We had a mini Olympics, running race around the tree, star jumps and roly poly's, LOL!  We saw these lovely duckings and promised we'd come back later in the week to feed them.

We decided on the way back to the cottage to go in search of the white horse on a hillside, we later find out it is call the Kilburn White Horse. We had asked for directions in Thirsk and was told it was on the right as we drive out of Thirsk. We drive for a few miles and can't see it. We turned around and asked someone else, it seems we were told wrongly and it was indeed on our left when leaving Thirsk. As we drive back we see it very obviously on the right side! It covers about 1.6 acres so would have been hard to miss!

We decided to drive right up to it, that was when the fun really began. We couldn't find it at all, let's just say we appreciated quite a lot of beautiful Yorkshire landscapes on the way there! It was only sign posted about a mile before we go there! We were told that the gradient of the hill to it was steep, they weren't kidding! I thought my poor car was going to pass out, LOL! I was so glad we weren't walking it! Close to there really wasn't a lot to see but I was pleased we went, we got to read all about it whilst we were there. When we arrived back at the cottage Sylvia and Hughie had been home a while, they'd seen the horse from a distance and then went home, maybe in hindsight we should have done the same!
It's a beautiful evening and there is a un ploughed field on the left of the drive down to our cottage. I decide I'd like to try and take a photo of Charlie and Courtney in the corn field but alas, they are tired and really don't want Mummy pointing a camera in their face. They decide they will however enjoy a game of peepo! :D

Day 4: Tuesday 31st July.

Today we had a trip out, just the 4 of us. Sylvia and Hughie were going to go to Castle Howard but unfortunately Sylvia was feeling unwell so they had a quiet day, they went off to Knaresborough for a run out. We headed off to Ripon, to Lightwater Valley. I really wanted to go there as i'd been when I was little with the Girl's Brigade! I don't remember much about it really but wanted to go back! Mark isn't a great one for funfairs but did go on a few rides, we all really enjoyed our day there. It was well spread out so the rides weren't on top of each other. There were rides for every age and although we hadn't paid for Courtney to enter she got to have a nice number of rides. Charlie was a real mini adrenalin junkie, I think he'd have ridden everything had he been allowed to! It was great for me though because I was able to take him on quite a few rides that normally I'd have had to ride alone (there's no way I'd have ever persuaded Mark to go on them with me, LOL!!) One ride that I really wanted to do but unfortunately Charlie couldn't as he was just too small was called 'The Ultimate.' It's a wooden rollercoaster and reminded me of the one we used to have in Morecambe. I decided to relive my youth! It was very exciting as I climbed up the track in the long train, only this train was going higher and higher, far higher than it ever did in Morecambe and when you're all that way up there's only one way down!!! Aaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh!!!!!! Ok, so it was NOTHING like Morecambe's! Morecambe's went up and down, this one did that but also spun in circles and was a lot faster!! I really enjoyed it though, I even didn't mind my bruised knees after, LOL!!

After our fun day we headed into Ripon and had a wander around, Charlie has a real fascination with London, particularly at the moment whilst the Olympics are on. He was delighted to find these 4 red phone boxes all in a row!

We also saw the Cathedral.

We found a chippy with an eating area so had our dinner there before heading back to the cottage.

Day 5: Wednesday 1st August.We decided we needed a quiet day, we stayed local. Mark had read about a place called Easingwold in the travel guide provided in the cottage. We had a trip there with Sylvia whilst Charlie and Courtney stayed at the cottage with Grandad! It was a very pretty village with lots of nice shops and a couple of cafes. It had said in the guide that there were lots of antique shops, we did see a couple but not lots. The shops there though were definitely my cup of tea! I really love chintsy type shops, home decor shops that are my taste and fresh homemade produce, we spent a nice amount in the bakers, LOL! I also bought some cute Jubilee wrapping paper that I will use to craft with and some bookends for Courtney's room. After visiting a cafe we then went back to the cottage for lunch, we ate the things we'd bought from the bakery.
In the afternoon we stayed at the cottage, we played snakes and ladders (Fireman Sam version!) and when Courtney had her nap I played a game of miniature golf with Charlie. 

Whilst we were playing golf we got a really good view of the peacock chick, we had noticed a couple of days ago that there was a chick and I had been trying to photograph it but these birds can move pretty fast and obviously didn't want to be photographed! I had my camera with me so attempted again, this was the best photo I got of it in the end, it's just a shame I cut the beak off the adult!

I spent some time in the afternoon on my cross stitch too, it's going well and I'm hoping to finish the girl by the end of the holiday. Around 4pm Mark and I set off for York. We have booked to go and See 'Ted' at the Vue cinema. I really looked forward to this film! We ate dinner out first, that was so nice, it's rare we get to eat out on our own, which is how we like it but just occasionally it is nice to just be the 2 of us. We finished sooner than we expected so go over to Vue to see if we can get into the earlier screening. We do and take our seats. The film turns out to be disappointing, I have since heard mixed reviews of it but our opinion wasn't that good of it. I expected the bear to be a little crude as it is written by the makers of 'Family Guy' but Mark summed it up perfectly, it was actually vulgar! Never mind, it was still nice to be out and we had a little drive around on our way back to the cottage.

Day 6: Thursday 2nd August.

Today we all headed off together to York. We took the park and ride in which worked out well but we realise when we get there that we've forgotten and nappy bag and a pit stop is needed! After a quick emergency visit to Boots and the parenting room we are ready to start our visit. Sylvia and Hughie go off to look at the Minster and we have a little mooch around the shops. One thing I've wanted to do whilst in Yorkshire is visit a Betty's tea shop. We decide to go there for a light lunch, we passed one on our walk into York but when we go back they are queueing around the corner for a table! We decide to visit the Minster first and go to Betty's after. On the way we spot another Betty's, it's a smaller one and to be honest looked nicer as it was smaller.

There was a small queue for a table but we are seated quite quickly. I decide to have a traditional afternoon tea, a lovely cuppa of Yorkshire tea and 2 scones! Whilst we were in here Sylvia rang to say they both weren't feeling well so were going back. (I hadn't realised that Betty's is a none mobile zone, whoops, LOL!)

York is full of unusual shaped quirky buildings and we point some out on our walk around. We made our way to the Minster and had a look inside.

Whilst there we saw a 'Noddy' train but it was just setting off, we went over to the stop and saw that they ran every half an hour. We decide to go back into town, maybe to return later. We headed to 'The Shambles,' a narrow street with very unusual buildings. Once back in the centre we give Charlie a choice, a boat trip on the river or the 'Noddy' train we had seen earlier, he chose the 'Noddy' train (we knew he would!) We headed back to the stop and had a little wait. Charlie was very excited, the 'Noddy' train took us to the Railway museum. En route we crossed the river and saw the city wall.

We departed near to the wheel so had a stroll to it and once there decided to have a ride as it was really quiet. We got a good view all around York, especially the Minster.

Just as we got off it started to rain, we have been so lucky with the weather all through the holiday, it has rained a few times but we have managed to avoid every shower! this was no exception, we noticed before we went on the wheel that the park and ride bus stop is just the other side of the road. There was a bus at the stop and thankfully it was our bus to go back! (we hadn't realised that there are 6 park and ride car parks, so the odds of that being our bus wasn't good!!) We get into our car and head back to the cottage.

Day 7: Friday 3rd August

We are tired, we are nearing the end of our holiday and Sylvia and Hughie aren't quite 100% We were thinking of another day out but the stately home that we thought to attend is fairly expensive so we decide to have another day in Thirsk. This time we visit Thirsk museum, the building was the birth place of Thomas Lord, the founder of Lord's cricket ground.

The museum was more historical more than local pieces. It was nicely set out and although the man who sold us our tickets said that it wasn't really interactive he was quite happy for Charlie and Courtney to touch things which was excellent, it meant we could relax as we looked around. It was very good and upstairs Charlie and Courtney found plenty of things to touch!

There was an old Singer treddle sewing machine up there too, my Grandma had one of these and I spent many happy times with her sewing, I'm pleased to say I haven't lost the knack and got up quite a speed, LOL! We left the museum and went to a cafe for lunch. We then called at a shop to buy a cheap loaf of bread to fulfil our promise of feeding the ducks. We spent quite a bit of time there.

......and we saw the ducklings again who looked like they were having a telling off, LOL!

Day 8: Saturday 4th August

We had quite an early start this morning, we had to be out of the cottage by 10:00am so had breakfast, got dressed and had packed up the car by 9:15. We'd done most of the packing late yesterday afternoon so it was just a case of packing the last minute things. We said our goodbyes to Sylvia and Hughie and left. We had arranged to visit my cousin in Leeds late morning so had a detour by a Tesco so not to be too early, we needed to pick up a few things for home so it wasn't a bad thing. We arrived at Andy and Jen's around 11:00, they had a baby boy called George at the beginning of June, this was our first time of meeting him. We took a gift we bought whilst in York. He is absolutely delightful, Charlie and Courtney were smitten and enjoyed playing with his toys too!

After having a drink we went for a walk in their local park, it's literally across the road from where they live (this was our first visit to their house, Andrew used to live in Earls Barton, Northants but moved to Leeds when him and Jen got engaged a couple of years ago, they married last year.) The park was really good, a great size and had a fabulous play area! I can see George will have many a happy hour there as he grows up! Andy and Jen have a dog called Trigger, it's a good job he had a long lead so both could take him for a walk otherwise we'd have had arguments, LOL!

We left around 1ish, had a quick bite to eat in the car before setting off home. Oh, and whilst I'm thinking about it, I did manage to finish Princess Courtney on the Jubilee cross stitch! I spent most evenings stitching whilst watching the Olympics plus some time on Wednesday afternoon. I will admit I forgot to stitch her arm and added that on Saturday evening at home!

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