Friday, 31 October 2008

Internet...for a few minutes only.

I've been busy and on top of that, I've had no internet. It seems that Elizabeth used it all up with youtube, but hopefully, with tomorrow been the first of the new month, I will be connected once again. Right now, I'm at the library in Kirkbymoorside...I was getting desperate!

Things seem to be nicely back on track again at the hotel and I'm having a great time. The guests are all lovely and all want to talk to me and ask me questions, and well, I really enjoy the attention :) Ellie and I have been doing late night work-outs in her room with an excercise dvd as we've been indulging in far too many cream cakes, profiteroles, cooked breakfasts and roast dinners. We're having a great time in Yorkshire! My hostel is already booked for the end of November and I'm really excited about York.

I've been catching up on my reading in my days off and have just started Hemingways Green Hills of Africa and it's making me have delightful pictures of game parks, sunshine and dust in my mind :)

Time is up and I've been sent on a very important mission of finding camomile tea for Ellie.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Lazy day

After work last night, Elizabeth and I stayed up past one o' clock chatting in her room. She's really cool and I like her a lot and I went to bed really happy. It was great, because yesterday was a slightly ugh-y day. Paul, the chef was irritable and arsey with me, I was crazy busy and I just started feeling like I wasn't having fun anymore. (I blame my paranoia and other socially unacceptable behavior I tend to display on occasion.) So this morning I got out of bed just before one o' clock, went through to the pantry in my pjs and got myself some tea, two profiteroles and some cereal for breakfast and went back to my room, only to emerge and hour or so later for my customary walk in the moors. I lasted all of ten minutes...the wind was icy and my ears started to burn immediately, so I turned back to the hotel, more tea and my heater. What a great day of lounging around with numerous cups of tea and absolutely no responsibility for the whole day.

Around 2 miles from the Grange is this stone cross. Crosses like these are scattered all over the moors. Another 2 miles or so from here is Rosedale Abbey. There is actually no abbey at Rosedale Abbey as I discovered a few days ago when I ambitiously decided to walk there. I did find some very pretty scenery along the way though, some old limestone kilns, a pretty rainbow (after I got rained on) and a pretty young boy all in black with a backpack.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Yet another 'historic market town'

Most towns in the UK seem to be 'historic market towns'. Which just means that one day a week, they set up market stalls on the main road and sell veggies, woolen hats and scarfs and fresh fish. Pickering had a nice little flea market going on, and I liked that about Pickering. I didn't buy anything. Pickering castle. It was so windy and cold. Actually, all a little bit uninspiring. It's not my favourite castle.
Here is me, standing by a very dated medieval toilet. I'd hate to have to run up the stairs every time I needed the loo! Plus, the lighting was very bad and I saw no holder for the loo roll. I think it was probably a little unhygienic and a bit uncomfortable. At this point I was cold and very windswept.

Ok, I had this picture taken just because Elizabeth had one. I spent most of the day running after her with a camera and taking pictures of her in front of everything. It's rather refreshing to find another person as obsessed with photos...and well, vain really.
This is the main road of Pickering. It's a small town, but compared with Lastingham is very big and populated. It was just great seeing some people milling about on the streets, and young folk drinking coffee in the coffee lounge.
Me, Lara, Elizabeth, Christina and Kerstin in the lounge at the hotel. The last photo opportunity to get all of us together before Lara, Christina and Kerstin leave and go back to their home countries on Wednesday. From now, Elizabeth and I are going to be very busy!
I felt a wave of home-sickness today while going around the museum. Today I've been less than inspired and I'm hoping that the feeling passes quickly. I'm going to put it down the the Bloody Marys in our room until late last night and the colder weather. That must be it.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

A day at the Whitby seaside!

I was out of the hotel by 8am yesterday. Bertie drove me to the Royal Oak in Pickering where I caught the 840 Coastliner bus to Whitby. Whitby is a gorgeous touristy sea-side town on the North-East coast of England. It was the inspiration for the Dracula book, has a goth festival every year and is also famous for Captain Cook living here during his apprenticeship in the mid 18th century.Whitby harbour. It was here that the ships Captain Cook used in his voyages across the world were built.A statue on Fishburns' shipyard, where 200 years ago, whalers, fishing craft and trading ships were built.
A ship in the harbour. It was open for tours, but I didn't go on.

The Captain Cook statue and the Whale bone arches.Seagulls and an old anchor.

Whitby - the cliff with Saint Marys, the abbey and the old town.

Saint Marys. (They're all St Marys aren't they?) Whitby Abbey at the top of 199 steps. Some very impressive and dramatic looking ruins over-looking the old town and the ocean. The arches.
This is how it looked before the bus load of school children on a day trip took over and started running amok all over the site.

I had a wonderful day spent walking around, visiting the Captain Cook memorial museum, looking in to the little shops on the narrow, cobbled streets in the old section of the town, eating fish 'n chips and finishing off with a custard and rhubarb flavoured ice-cream and taking photographs. It was dark by the time my bus arrived and when I returned the Royal Oak, I still had half an hour to kill while I waited for Tim the taxi driver to arrive. I braved the pub by myself, had a pint of Spitfire ale, and busied myself wrapping up the large stash of Fair Trade chocolate I found for Nols at the Co-op. It was a lovely and memorable day :)

Monday, 13 October 2008

A waitress and housekeeper

So far, still so good. It has quietened down substantially over the last few days and last night we had only two bedrooms occupied. We've been busying ourselves with cleaning random things around the hotel, just to keep ourselves entertained. I got my first pay slip this morning and I'm pretty happy with what I got for what I am doing.

Kerstin and me in the pantry after our supper shift. Kerstin's in England to learn how to speak English, she's German. Such a sweet pretty girl :) All of the girls are nice. Lara is Spanish, she seems so patient and steady. Christina is wild and emotional and looks like she wants to start crying a lot of the time. Elizabeth is more quiet and I really like her.
Me in my room getting ready for breakfast shift. All I need is a feather duster and I'll be a French maid. Almost. I'd never have thought that I'd be wearing skirts and stockings every day. I actually rather like it. Freakish.

I'm loving been out in the middle of nowhere. I have Saturdays off and I walked for three hours over the moors. I found a small clearing near the top of a hill, where I laid down my extra top on the grass and lay down and closed my eyes and nodded off for a while. That probably explains why on Sunday morning I woke up with no voice, but at some point in the day, it came back to me. I managed to get over a little river without falling in, climbed up some hills, chatted with locals I encountered along the way...The Yorkshire folk are super friendly and welcoming! I even met the neighborhood watch lady who pulled me aside and told me all the local gossip, which nasty old man to watch out for and the scandalous going ons at the house down the road which has just been sold. Aah, small town life :)

Friday, 10 October 2008


I had a day off yesterday. I took myself off on a walk to Hutton-le-Hole, one of the closer villages to Lastingham. Hutton is pretty much a long street consisting of two tea rooms, a museum a chocolate shop and a small crafts shop, oh, and a pub. Still, it was a pleasant day out and a very pretty 2 mile walk. I have every intention of returning there on another day for another ice-cream.
The mist was this thick at 11 o' clock still. I believe that there is even less to be seen at Spaunton and Appleton-le-Moors than there is at Hutton-le-Hole. If you're going to go anywhere, it should be Kirkbymoorside or Pickering. They are the places to be :)

Some houses in Hutton-le-hole.Look at meeee...
I never the leave the house without my camera crew.
Well, tomorrow is another day off and I intend walking in the moors, sticking to the path and not getting lost. I have the whole day stretched out ahead of me and it is a lovely thought indeed.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Tea and scones

Well, I am now a waitress. You can look forward to pictures of me dressed as the part, but later.

My second day in to the job, and things seem to be going well. The hotel is lovely, the people who visit are all old and chatty and the staff and owners are all very nice.

Yesterday while taking a walk around the village church I got chatting to the lady who is staying in the self catering cottage down the road. She invited me for a cup of tea with her and her husband and they sat and chatted with me for a while. They live in Worcester and were very excited when I told them that I had stayed there for two weeks and then insisted that when next I am there, I come and stay with them so that they can show me around their small village. The English are very friendly! This afternoon, I got to serve them some tea!

Some sheep. There are a lot of sheep. Everywhere.
The North Yorkshire Moors...ever so pretty and large, but unwise to walk around alone, especially at this time of year. So I didn't go too far...yet.
One of the few places I can get signal on my cell phone. A lovely spot over-looking the grange to the one direction...and total nothingness in the other.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

On arrival in the Yorkshire Moors...

I have made it to the North Yorkshire Moors. The hotel seem nice, the people are pleasant and the village is tiny. If nothing else while I am here, I'll be able to save money! There is nothing around for miles. I'm excited and a bit nervous about starting work tomorrow.

Of course, I took a picture or two while taking a wonder around.

A side entrace to the hotel.

The North Yorkshire Moors look moody when the light starts to go.

My room - I'm sharing with a Romanian girl until the end of October. We're looking forward to finding a few pubs together. I think we're going to get on just finnne.

And then about an hour afterwards and a cheese sandwich later, I went back to my room and sobbed! It's just a settling in thing! Tomorrow I start work and will have lots of things to do to keep me busy for the next 7 or 8 weeks!

Friday, 3 October 2008

LONDON - A week

I have returned from five days of solid walking, sight-seeing (a lot of bars) and late nights. I’m exhausted and am starting to resemble Amy Winehouse…dark smudged eyes, bad hair and a really good chance I’ll either fall down without notice, or throw up on something. Slight exaggeration, but you get the picture anyway.

I managed to walk from Bloomsbury to Westminster on my first day, and I reckon that probably helped contribute to the pain I suffered for the rest of the days! I made friends straight away, which is freakish, but wonderful. On redeeming my free drink at the hostel bar on arrival, I met an American bloke who was very friendly and we drank beer and tequila and Jack Daniels together.
Bloomsbury - the dodgy end. To quote the guide book "In it's northern fringes, the character of the area changes dramatically, becoming steadily more seedy...where cheap B&Bs and run-down council estates provide fertile territory for prostitutes and drug dealers..." It wasn't that bad though, really.

My room was large and clean and comfy, I encountered no bed bugs, grime or filth of any kind and I was very surprised, given I paid so little!

Waiting in a line for pancakes near parliament. I waited for ages, but in the end it was worth it, an enormous hot pancake filled with banana and maple syrup.Tourist taking a picture of a tourist.
The friendly man bought me a pint at The Harp and we chatted a while. This looks a bit dodgy, but I think that we were in fact, dancing. This is Blake, the American guy I met on the first night at the bar. I love those jeans.
I love Camden and it's seedy air. I spent a whole day just wandering around the markets and I didn't buy anything, besides a few pins for my bag :)
Camden high street. So many shops. And people.

The beginning of our tour...and so began 6 hours of viewing pleasure...all on foot, through rain and wind and cold.
Buckingham Palace and the changing of the guard. Not overly impressive, but had to be seen.
Running away.
Walking around the large sun dial learning the history of London. We took it upon ourselves to be our own tour guides.I found Anthony on the tour. Together we walked a lot and drank a lot.
Pretty Saint Pauls.
This poor Mexican bloke, George...he joined our table, bought us drinks and then passed out after one pint and a shot of Jagermeister. He was giving Renee the ick. Eventually security had to come and remove him.
So we had a few jokes at his expense. Renee, George and Anthony. I met Renee on the second night I think. She's awesome, and we're basically the same person, she's just a tall version of me. Haha.
Pub crawl! Joan who shared a room with me, Pip, Renee, me and Anthony. We visted five bars and stayed at the last venue until 2 o' clock when they kicked us out and closed.
Renee and I were so excited at Belushi's...with all the band posters, excellent music and less polished people :)

The bar at the Generator Hostel.
Last night at the Generator. It seemed appropriate to take photos with random strangers. What fun.
It was good, all of it was. I have a day to rest and pack and on Sunday I'm off again.