50 Things part 9

30 Cheerful chilli 30 CheerfulChilli_Logo

Walk on Otley Chevin then eat delicious veggie food is my kind of day. Though the servings were so big I should’ve saved the walk till after. The ‘experimental’ gig in a Bradford cellar was not the best followup to a vaguely romantic meal. I had to leave C there after 10 minutes of earsplitting noise, er, music. I destroy my hearing for no man, even if it was our first gig together.

31. Fewston Reservoir

Sunny walk around Fewston reminded me of my free festival days. I used to come wild camping here with a bottle of whisky, a manboy and a sleeping bag. What else would we need? We also came to a tiny festival here once, where I was nearly driven off the side of the road by an irate local, who objected to lots of dirty crusties having fun. 3 bolts of lightning hit each other a few feet away from my tent. Exciting times.31 fewston

32. Castlerigg

My favourite stone circle by far, just outside Keswick. The views all around are so amazing I don’t attempt to capture them on film. 360 degrees of mountains and sky, usually with all weathers featuring somewhere. The Bald Hiker has some beautiful pics, including this one.

Castlerigg by The Bald Hiker

Castlerigg by The Bald Hiker

I was a bit surprised to see an ice cream van up here. I’ve come for several solstices over the years and more recently the rangers have been very keen to get rid of us as soon as the sun’s up. Maybe paying customers are different.

33. Solfest glamping

Solfest is a nice little festival in the NW which has a great healing area I sometimes work in with the Travelling Homeopaths Collective. THC logoI decided to treat myself to a squrt (tiny yurt) with bed and bedding supplied. It saved a lot of faffing, but cost a LOT and sadly couldn’t dampen the earthshaking qualities of the allnight dubstep bass. My earplugs didn’t either.

34. Reflexology

34.  reflexologyOne of highlight of Solfest was a session with Edie ‘In Safe Hands’. It was wonderful lying back in the sun having my feet massaged. We then had an hour or so chat which was more like therapy. I was surprised to find myself telling her about my (dead) mum, an old betrayal and many other things. She said she could feel I was holding on to something and later that night I decided to just stop and go with whatever came along. I then spent an idyllic weekend feeling in lurve with C, which is NOT like me at all. Was great fun, but not sure I can keep it up. My critical parent is never far away, which reminds me of ‘Games People Play’ by Eric Berne. Great book.

50 Things part 6

14. Spa Finally made it to a Champneys spa, which was lovely but my heart remains at Ragdale Hall. There’s sommat about being told to dress for dinner that gets my back up. I spent 2 nights with my remaining friends from school. We all lead very different lives from each other, but an underlying friendship remains. Yoga, meditation, steam room, massage, I feel incredibly relaxed. Mmmmmm

15. Kneehigh Theatre show I love Kneehigh and they didn’t let me down. Lovely afternoon shopping in Manchester then wandering Salford Quays. Rebecca had the usual ingredients of fantastic musicians and high drama mixed in with essential laughs. Beautiful. If you ever get the chance to see anything by them go! One day I’ll see them at home down in Cornwall (maybe on my 60 list).

The Wild Bride by Kneehigh Theatre (my fave)

The Wild Bride by Kneehigh Theatre (my fave)

16 Tharavadu with Calderdaleites Old vegan mates from over the hills, there’s only one place to take them in Leeds for coconutty goodness- Tharavadu. 16 TharavaduTotally delicious. Conversation ranged from gnomes via fracking to the death of an old friend. Getting old is not all good. Our mutual friend the male whore was MIA, which meant we missed out on his usual outrageous stories. The lunch offer here is amazing value at £5. Yes, £5! 17. WHC I’ve been staying at the Women Holiday Centre in Horton-in-Ribblesdale since the 80s, when I was an idealistic young feminist hippy. I’ve not changed much TBH. The holiday centre was set up in 1980 as a charitable co-operative, to provide affordable holidays in an old Rectory, with a sliding scale for payments according to income. The lowest charge for one night, including food, is kept at the daily rate of benefit entitlement. For my ’50’ visit we booked the whole house for a group of friends and chilled, cooked and shared meals, laughed hysterically, shared X rated stories, gave each other ‘advice’, did the silliest Pilates session I’ve ever seen and even managed some countryside walks, some up Pen Y Ghent.. There’s something magical about women only space and I don’t get enough of it these days. I’m not going to post any pics because what happens there most definitely stays there.

18 Luxembourg

Lovely pic of downtown Luxembourg by my sis

Lovely pic of downtown Luxembourg by my sis

Trip with my sister to visit cousins, Aunt and Uncle, who live in and around Luxembourg.It’s hard to keep up with family when they live so far away. What a lovely place- clean, green, spacious and comfortably wealthy. Hal the workforce come over the borders every morning. In one afternoon we went to France and Germany, then mosied up the Moselle to Trier, an amazing place full of history and UNESCO sites.

19 Germaine Greer

The lovely Germaine

The lovely Germaine

At last I saw her in the flesh speaking at Otley Courthouse. I love her outspokenness, her public changing of her mind when she feels like it, her thoughtful musing on the lot of women. She’s definitely mellowed, which is allowed at 76 I think. Perhaps matured is a better word. I dunno, she might hate that. She was talking about women disappearing worldwide, where are all they all? Aborted, killed as babies, even worse? Or is there something causing more males babies to develop than females? Is anyone looking?

50 Things part 4

  1. ‘Making’ by Thomas Heatherwick

I treated myself to a beautiful book by the man that designed the Rolling Bridge at Paddington Basin. It’s so simple, effective and beautiful. Free to visit if you have a bit of spare time in London. You can walk across it, watch it roll up and marvel at the geometry.

Making book

Making book

The Rolling Bridge.

heatherwick_studio_lightbox_rolling_bridge

  1. Krakow visit.

What a lovely place. Poles seem very proud of their country, which makes a pleasant change from English cynicism, my own included.

I can’t recommend Travelzoo enough- really cheap offers in decent hotels. We also got a trip round Auschwitz which I’ve been meaning to get around to. There’s nowt I can say to express the impact and my sheer inability to believe what humans can do.

Anyway, on our tourist itinerary were the salt mine- very impressive; many churches and Nowa Huta, the Brutalist social realism dream.

Detail from St Francis church

Detail from St Francis church

My favourite church was Church of St. Francis of Assisi which is covered with Art Nouveau wallpapers. I thought one of the stained glass windows featured a man with a huge afro, but on reflection I think that was a shadow inside his halo. I’ve no idea- there’s no guessing what Polish words mean. The Lord’s Ark is pretty special too, built by volunteers, with it’s bit of moon rutile, shrapnel and a stone from the tomb of St. Peter in the Vatican.

I won’t bore you with meals we had, but there’s plenty of very good veggie food in Krakow, particularly at Pod Norenami and Czerwone Korale.

  1. Sowing seeds seedlingsI mean to do this every year, but April comes around and I’ve not flexed my green fingers. So this year I’ve sowed some sweet peas courtesy of Katie JH and some poached egg plants and they’ve germinated! It’s like magic. I am the proud nurturer of some baby seedlings. I sincerely hope I don’t kill them.
  1. 1965 is a fine vintagetree 1965I treated myself and a few fine friends who are 50 this year to necklaces made from 1965 pennies.My friend Stuart has been making jewellery from old coins for many years and selling them at festivals, but he’s finally got a shop in Hebden Bridge- shameless plug for ‘Not a Full Shilling ‘.

    All handmade by a lovely man.

Afternoon Teas remembered

There’s not much I enjoy more than a good high tea: whiling away an afternoon with a good friend, drinking gallons of tea and eating delicious morsels. If only I was in an Agatha Christie film and could dance the day away.

It’s rarely cheap, but for a birthday treat I think an afternoon tea is perfect. Most offer glasses of champagne if you’re really feeling decadent.

Here’s my personal reviews over the last couple of years.

The Queens Hotel, Leeds

2 or 3 tiers of lovely food each. Pics from 2 of my visits to the Queens.

Image

Image

Variety of sandwiches sometimes open sometimes not, scone with clotted cream and strawberry preserve, selection of pastries, pot of tea.

Drawbacks: Feels like smokey dive as there are no windows.

Anthonys at Flannels, Leeds

Small but perfectly formed. Presented on slate, looked beautiful. Jam in tiny kilner jars. Lovely upstairs empty room, but leather seats a bit sweaty. Not enough food though! Scone was tiny. Good tea. Would go again, but have brunch earlier.

Quebecs, Leeds

The round Oak Room was great and we had it to ourselves.  Really disappointing food though- we had to send the curling dry sandwiches back- they’d obviously been sat around for a while in a hot kitchen. I had no reply to my email afterwards either.

Betty’s, Ilkley or other places in Yorkshire

Allround deliciousness.

Midland Hotel, Manchester

Delicious. Art deco room. 3 tier trolley.

Unlimited tea. Glass of madeira. Sandwiches, scone with butter/cream/jam/preserve. Cakes. Way too much to eat, but everyone took stuff home.

Only slight grumble- sultana scone, apricot/cream cheese sandwich filling.WRONG!

Radisson Leeds

Hardly anyone in there, so lovely quiet place to lounge on comfy sofas for hours and eat at leisure. (BUT the TV screen is a terrible idea- we managed to sit behind a pillar to avoid).

Medium priced cream tea, on a 3 tier stand: very fresh finger sarnies- egg mayo, mozzarella n pesto, feta n tomato, cucumber n cream cheese- veggie as requested. Then warm scones (well, not by the time we ate them) with jam n cream, tiny chocolate mousse tarts (would’ve been better without the pastry) and gallons of earl grey. Took my fruit cake home.

A special mention for the Marvellous tealadies at their newly opened tearoom in Leeds- delicious homemade cakes, gorgeous collection of  vintage teapots and cups, a quirky little slice of 50s heaven. They don’t do the whole afternoon tea stand thing- yet!

I’ve managed all these words on afternoon tea without mentioning  ‘quintessential’. Well done me.

STOP PRESS The Marvellous Tearooms do indeed offer tiered hight tea. Ill be trying it soon- looked delicious.