Friday, August 22, 2014

Whitby - costumes, walks and salad!


Long walk up to the Rugby Club in the morning for a talk on traditional dress in the North East. Never quite sure what you're going to get in these talks, but this was really interesting. It was about the fisher women of a village in the North East called Cullercoats, and the lady giving the talk had researched their costume. Lots of petticoats, thick skirt, blouse, shawl and bonnet. And of course, open drawers. Called either easy access if they were in two pieces, or harvesters if they were in one piece. As in all is gathered in :-). Very interesting talk.

After that we headed for a rather fine crab salad at The Shambles

And then a walk to the Spa. The sun was shining and got some great views of this beautiful town.

On at the spa was a concert from John Kirkpatrick who was doing "Tunes from the Trenches" in commemoration of 100 years since WW1 started. He sang a mixture of songs from both wars, some of them music hall based, some from the soldiers, some funny, some very sad. Excellent concert.

After that it was Family Folk Tunes where a 100 folkies really are asked an assortment of questions - I know, I'm one of them :-) - which the two teams have to guess the answers to. Another fine event MCd by Stanley Accrington,

Then back home for a very nice beef stew cooked in the slow cooker, and a bit of a rest before setting off to the spa again where we had a few dances and watched Mortimers Morris do the floor spot.

It was also the annual Speed Ploughing Championship were various people see how fast they can play 2As and 2Bs of the speed the plough. Winners are normally around 15/16 seconds, with additional prizes given for humour!

We'd agreed that this was going to be our annual seafood salad day so I started by going shopping. Very few lobsters or crabs to be got, probably the seas were too choppy. But I managed to hunt some down, and some other tasty things. Then a walk up Caedmon's Trod which used to lead us to our holiday cottage. Quite a trek but it did give us amazing views every morning and evening.

Of course the cottages fell down a couple of years ago, which is really sad

Then onto the abbey where I had a great ice cream. Not the wisest thing to do when you've walked up three to burn off some calories.

Great view from up there, and I watched the Bark Endeavour being tossed all over the place on the choppy seas. Glad I wasn't on it - felt sick just watching 

Then walked down and discovered that the Abbey steps had a marker on every 10th step. Who knew???

On my way down I discovered a lonely Morris Dancer dancing his way up to the Abbey, and he made it to the top. The others cheated and walked!

Cheeky pint in The Angel and then to the Coliseum to here Graham Pirt give his excellent history in slides and songs of the Miners Union in the North East which although we've heard it before is excellent.

Back for tea!!

It was quite a salad and Beka, Paul and family came to help us eat it. Lots of good food, fizz and wine.
Then a few dances at the late night extra, and back for the usual nightcap.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Whitby part 2

Lovely bright sunny morning, and we went to a workshop on songs of the North East. Ably and hilariously compared by Johnny Handle, it featured several singers from Tyneside and Teeside explain gin how they'd got into singing local songs, and giving us some examples. The Mighty Wilsons were there again, and it was a great concert. At the end they gave a joint rendition of Union Miners, a great way to finish.

On the way out we spotted our local dance team, Sheffield City Morris Men who were dancing at what used to be called the Scoresby Monument until it blew down a couple of years ago.

With them were Mortimers Morris, another of my favourite teams

So I stayed and watched and chatted to friends in the sun. then off to the Station for a pork pie and a pint!
After that I did a bit of concert dashing. Up to the Rifle Club to see Jim woodland, a singer songwriter who I remember from many years ago when he used to come to the Hefts and Blades folk club with the Salami Brothers. he was an absolute joy to listen to.

Then a dash to the Spa Theatre where I caught Tich Frier, who was excellent and gave a passionate tribute to the centenary of the First World War singing some great songs from the trenches, including When This Lousy War is Over, and At The end of The Road.
The Foxglove Trio were up next, and I really enjoyed them. A singer, and guitar and melodeon player, and a wonderful cellist.

Then it was back to the flat for dinner, and then out to the Spa for another dance.

This morning's workshop was on Songs in South Yorkshire Customs from Ruaridh Greig. He'd done a lot of research on "house visiting" customs including the Tup, Old Horse, Wassailing and Caking. Unfortunately most of them have died out know, but I was surprised how prevalent they used to be in villages around Sheffield, and how local they are. I'd always assumed they were fairly national ones. A great talk.
Up to the Rifle Club again for lunch, and then down to The Coliseum to Cath John Kirkpatrick, who gave a great performance as always.

I came straight out and got in the queue for the next concert which was the April Verch Trio. A Canadian fiddle player and step dancer with a bass player and guitarist. Wow, they were fantastic. Lots of bluegrass, Appalachian, old fashioned swing, and some amazing step dancing. Have a vide which I'll post when I get home, too hard on the iPad!

Back into the queue again for Dance Adversity Challenge, two dance teams in a spoof of University challenge.

Back to the flat for a rest and some fish and chips ( second so far, good job we get plenty of walking in!), then we all went our different ways to concerts, and I went up to the spa to see April Verch again. Unfortunately as I left the flat, the heavens opened and I got thoroughly drenched. My jeans were soaked, and were still wet four hours later. Despite sitting steaming int he audience, I Really enjoyed it, and her step dancing was some of the fastest I've seen, even whilst playing the fiddle!
The the Welsh band Calan were on, who were also very good.

And they had some clog dancing to accompany them

All met up in the late night extra for more dancing, and a spot from another Sheffield team, Boggarts Breakfast, who had decorated themselves with blue lights for the occasion.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

It's Whitby time again

It's Whitby time of year again, Folk Week is something we don't like to miss! As usual, it took us 2 days to get here :)

Set off with our fiends Andrea and Donald, stopped for coffee in Tadcaster, home of many good breweries,where we learnt that the water, so important for brewing, comes out of "popple wells".
Arrived in Pickering at lunchtime and checked in to our lovely but rather quirky hotel where there were sweets and biscuits in the rooms, and the tea and coffee were in empty herb and spice jars. Lunch in the Black Swan, and then a walk round town which is really pretty.
Dinner in the evening was in the White Swan.

Up bright and early, and off on the steam train to Goathland

Half way there we heard the engine getting slower and eventually it stopped, having run out of steam. We had to wait for about 20 minutes whilst presumably more coal was shovelled in and steam built up again. Goathland of course was the setting for Hogsmeade, and is also Aidensfield in the Heartbeat series.

We had a pint in The Goathland Hotel, aka The Aidensfield Arms, and then walked to Beck Hole, where there is the wonderful pub, The Birch Hall Inn, home of good beer and pork pies and pickle. To our delight, this time we were treated to a corned beef and pickle sandwich!

A lovely walk then to Grosmont, which involves a bit of hill over a tunnel, but you get a great view of the town.

Train back to Pickering, this time a diesel, and dinner was a curry in a local Indian restaurant which was very good.

Checked out , and drove to Thornton le Dale to get some chocolate from the lovely little chocolate factory in the village, and then off over the moors to Whitby. Normally the heather is bright purple, but a lot of it looked dead this year. Still got the wonderful view of Whitby as we came over the moors though.

We have a bit of a routine from this point:-)
Coffee in Sherlocks

Shopping in the co-op, lunch in the Duke of York

Which for me, has to be a Whitby crab sandwich

Then pick up the tickets, which this year a wristbands, horrid!! Have to fasten mine so it's easy to remove. Can't abide wearing them all the time.
Then of course the parade of all the dance teams. Gog Magog Molly were the most colourful

And Sheffield City Morris the rudest!

Back for Whitby fish and chips in the cottage, then out to the Spa Theatre to see the Doonans and The Wilsons in concert together. Missed the first bit because it was full, but managed to get in to see The Wilsons, and then the best bit, both families together. What a sound!

Into the ceilidh for the last hour, where the band were Steamchicken, excellent. Then the shortish walk home for a nightcap before bed. We've got quite an assortment of night caps in our drinks cabinet this year.

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sheffield peregrines in Provo

Woke up on Tuesday to a familiar sound, I though it was one of our peregrine falcons from Sheffield outside of the window. Looked out, and there it was, tearing a smaller bird to pieces. By the time I'd got my camera, the smaller bird was gone and the falcon was having a rest. Got a reasonable picture of it on my camera, this ones not so good form my phone. From a quick glance at Wikipedia, I think it's an American Kestrel.

Went for a walk along the beach. Really busy, as you can see.

And the sea really is that colour. A pelican thoughtfully stopped to fish right by us.

Then back to the pool for Stuarts daily 40 lengths. Went to see Helen for lunch and delicious tuna sandwiches, and when Owen woke for his nap we tried out their pool which is lovely. Owen enjoyed kicking around and splashing.
Lots of fun time playing with Owen later, who loved Grandpa's car keys.

Another fab meal cooked by Toby at the BBQ, mohito chicken, washed down with mohitos of course! Came back and thought we'd have a nightcap at the resort bar, but it was shut. They obviously go to bed early here.

Wednesday we went for an adventure, and drove to North West Point, most of which is down an unmade road, and the last couple of miles down a sandy track. Probably best if we don't tell the hire car company where we've been. Luckily the tyres stayed undamaged and we didn't get stuck in the sand. Another glorious beach.

And more bird life, an egret and an osprey. The osprey has made its nest on a pole which had think has had a light in it in the past, and the nest is made from all sorts of rubbish it has picked up, including some bright blue rope from Fisherman's nets.

On the way back we stopped for lunch at Da Conch Shack.

Stu had conch, I had jerk chicken and rice and peas, washed down with local beer. Another day, another beach, another beer.

I bought a conch shell from a local seller, and also found a couple in the sand which will look good somewhere at home. Not sure where yet.

Back for a swim and a read by the pool. Then off to see Owen again before bedtime, and dinner at the Tiki Hut with Toby. It was chicken and ribs night. So, we had chicken and ribs. Plus a couple of mohitos of course.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Provo adventures

Off on our travels again. This time back to Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands to see Toby and Helen. Drove to Heathrow Saturday afternoon, with our suitcases and big box of assorted stuff, mainly presents for Owen and some treats! We did get comments when we posted this on Facebook that it looked like we'd packed a light sabre.

Decent meal at the Sofitel and an early night and early start. Great news on the plane, headsets are allowed during takeoff and landing. I.m not a brilliant flyer, and hate takeoff, so to have loud music in my ears while we took off was great, drowned out the noise of the engines.

Bizarrely we got our first gin and tonic at 1030, and lunch at 1100, but I always think time isn't real in a plane! Then I fell asleep listening to random songs from my iTunes. Everything for folk to musicals, classical to reggae. Think I slept on and off for about 4 hours. Then read and watched TED talks. An hour stop over at Nassau, and we arrived.

Met by Toby and Owen, a short drive to theirs where we met Helen, and unpacked the box. Owen loved his new chair sent to him by his Granny

And all of his birthday presents form is, including his first bike

Had a lovely meal of BBQd chicken, cooked on the communal gas BBQs they have, great idea, and then checked in at our resort, very tired we intended to go straight to sleep, but realised the Oscars were on, and we were for once in the right time zone to watch them, so we did!
Then a very long jet lag induced sleep.

Woke up to glorious sunshine, and had breakfast by the beach. The view whilst we were choosing breakfast was pretty impressive.

It was nice to see the resort in sunshine, having arrived in darkness last night.

Stuart needed to get him swimming, a good 40 lengths, whilst I watched and listened to music. And floated in the pool occasionally.

After a quick lunch. Helen and Owen met us on the beach where we had a fun time building sandcastles so Owen could jump on them, and even made it for a paddle. The sun was going down by now but it was still warm and the light was fabulous.

After a quick swim in the pool to get rid of the sand, we ate in the restaurant on the beach, where Owen was completely transfixed by the live music, and amused the whole place by dancing to the reggae music. Finally, my favourite drink of the islands, a mohito.

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