Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Away days…

Whenever we can we like to get to the coast or the hills – we don’t really mind which but living in a valley makes you long for both! Sometimes we have a destination but mostly we just drive and see where we end up, safe in the knowledge that Lady Satnav will bring us home again.


We always get a little thrill when we pass the sign announcing our arrival in the Howardian Hills, and are greeted by true green rolling hills and lushness. At least it always seems like that.


This is Yorkshire Lavender near Castle Howard. It’s a wonderful garden laid mostly to lavender but with other perennials too. They have a tea room too, and a little garden centre where you can buy lots and lots of different types of lavender. It’s lovely, and free to get in, but at this time of year boy is it full of bees!


I love stopping at the top of the hills to marvel at the flatness of the Vale of York. Since it’s a glaciated valley (thank you Mr Hooton for my GCSE in geography) it’s very flat and very wide, so wide you can’t see the other side except on a very clear day.


I love finding the unexpected. This is the (allegedly) ancient City of Troy maze near Dalby. You could almost miss it since it is the smallest example in Europe.


I think this is the most unexpected thing I’ve every found and since I've been made aware of phone-box libraries I’ve seen quite a few of them in rural villages. These are places that usually don’t have a shop or a pub they are so small. I love this example in Foston especially though because somebody has taken the time to mosaic the floor.

So here’s to a few more away days before work starts in earnest when the students come back next week!


Saturday, 10 August 2013


When we were in Wales we spent a gloriously hot and sunny day at Portmeirion village.

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If you’ve never heard of it, Portmeirion is basically a folly occupying a peninsula. No-one lives there permanently but half the buildings are holiday cottages.

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The whole village was built by Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1976, and a lot of the materials were recycled from other buildings.

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In the photo below, the huge white decorative arched section on the front of the domed building was originally a fireplace.

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It’s amazingly beautiful, and very easy to spend all day there.

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The village is actually quite small, but there is so much to see and when you’ve finished there are beautiful mapped walks into the wooded hills above.

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There are also shops where you can buy Portmeirion pottery and other gifts and several cafes, restaurants and ice-cream parlours.

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It’s a wonderful, magical, mad sort of place and extremely good value for money. If you are ever in North Wales I strongly urge you to visit!