Thursday, 27 November 2008

Shopping :)

Coming back to Milton Keynes is like coming home in a way. There are many reasons why I like it here and to name just a few...
  • I know where things are and how to get there...mostly.
  • I have 'almost' family here.
  • The shopping centre.
  • The pretty folk.

I went shopping today, I spent the whole afternoon at the MK Centre and I bought everything except for what I actually set out to buy...a new pair of boots.

By yesterday morning, walking to the bus stop, half of the sole of my boot was flopping behind me. When the quick fix of chewing gum didn't suffice I ended up having to glue the sole back in place whilst sitting on the coach. It's still holding...for now. I tried on many pairs of boots, but was undecided, so I bought none of them. I did, however, buy a lovely charcoal t-shirt dress, a black woolly cardigan, some make-up and black nail polish. After buying my purple hoodie in York, I feel that I've had my colour fix for a goodly while and have reverted back to black. more important things, like booking my stay in Liverpool.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

York - a tourists take

I arrived back in Milton Keynes this afternoon. I was 8 weeks in North Yorkshire, the last four days of that in York itself. I loved the isolation of the country, but I was excited to be back in a city again when Bertie drove Ellie and myself to York on Saturday. Those four days were full and wonderful, I may even love York more than London. Here are my photos, all scrambled up and with no order whatsoever.This is what is left of Saint Mary's Abbey in the museum gardens. I walked past these gardens every day for three days without realizing there was an abbey. The garden is filled with pigeons and grey squirrels and is very pretty. The museum I was told, is crap.
A much better museum is the York Castle Museum by Cliffords Tower. It was a very big museum which also had the best souvenir and gift shop in the whole of York. The last display is themed 'The Sixties', and I thought it was awesome.
At this time of year, York has an outdoor ice skating rink below Cliffords Tower. It was freezing and I bought myself a Peruvian style hat. It was all very pretty and festive.
Another angle of York Minster from the sight-seeing bus. Such a tourist :)

A festive shop window at Betty's Tea Room.

The's Wikipedias explanation, so much more articulate than my own: The Shambles is an old street in York, England, with overhanging timber-framed buildings, some dating back as far as the fourteenth century. It was once known as The Great Flesh Shambles, probably from the Anglo-Saxon Fleshammels (literally 'flesh-shelves'), the word for the shelves that butchers used to display their meat. As recently as 1872, there were twenty-five butchers' shops in the street, but now there are none.
The Shambles again. The second most visited street in England besides London's Oxford Street. Carissa believes that this isn't intentional at all, but due to the fact that all streets lead to the Shambles and whenever lost, you always seem to end up there. I do agree, though, mostly, all of my trips there were intentional...I do like a shambles...

I visited the National Railway Museum nearby the station. It was pretty big, apparently the largest in the world. Naturally, there were a lot of trains. This display was in one of the halls, the entire length of the hall was all display cases like this. I thought it was rather nice.

A street in York, all decorated and lit up for the season.
The great big clock on the street. It was a good street with some of my favorite stores - New Look, H&M, HMV and Zavvi. There were also some pretty cool gargoyles on the wall by the clock.
Inside of York Minster. Very impressive and decorated which only goes to show that people back then had far too much time on their hands. No one ever bothers to go to so much trouble with buildings these days. Which is quite a shame.

York Minster again.
A total rip off at £1.50 per tiny plastic mug, I went back twice though as it was so warm and comforting, so maybe not such a rip off after all.
The shop windows were really done up so prettily, I had to have photos of them...and of me admiring them.
I had lunch at Betty's Tea Rooms. It is the done thing to do when in York. It was well worth the both visits and the queue outside in the rain.

Tea at Betty's.
The first morning in York it snowed, by the time I got out of the hostel though, most of it had turned to muddy sludge. It was very cold and the average temperature was 3 degrees Celsius, which was more like -6 with the wind chill. Each day I had to wear at least 3 warm tops as well as my heavy duty coat just to stay warm enough to keep my organs functioning. I was like the Oros man, barely been able to bend my arms and legs. I had great fun though and did pretty much everything that a tourist can do in a city. The open topped sight-seeing bus, the museums, city walls, tea rooms, dungeons, minster, shopping, ghost tour, the viking centre, abbey ruins, gardens, made some friends, drank a lot of beer in pubs, including the Golden Fleece, York's so called 'most haunted inn' which features on all these 'Most haunted' programmes on the telly every so often.

The Dungeons. Not recommended for those of a nervous disposition or under the age of 15. From the moment we entered, I can't be sure who grabbed whose hand, but Peta and I clung to each other the whole way through. It was a real comfort having her there! It was very well done, and although I knew it was all fake, it was tense not knowing who was going to jump out at you and when. The lights kept going off, doors slamming and actors coming out of trap doors unexpectedly. I had to 'stand trial' accused of witchcraft and Peta was 'operated on' by the plague doctors assistant. It was all very gory and nasty, but fun. I was relieved when I found myself walking through the last doorway, which led to the dungeons gift shop and then, back out onto the street.

But now, I have a whole lot of things to do and sort out, such as laundry and suitcases and the like...

Thursday, 20 November 2008

On leaving the moors.

My time in Lastingham has come to an end and on Saturday I will be arriving in York for a few days of sight seeing and shopping. Last night, as it is the end of season, the staff of the Grange all went to Malton for dinner.
I discovered the joys of Pimms.
We got chocolate.
These are the people I spent the last 7 weeks with, Paul, Little Amy, Ellie, Jess, Jenny, Sandra and Robert. All our goodbyes have been said, email addresses swopped and promises made to write and send postcards. Nice and good folk. I will have fond memories of North Yorkshire.

Friday, 14 November 2008


...and if you believe the former part of the last blog entry you clearly have not met me. Of course I am going to harp on about it, rehash it and talk, think and analyse it to death, just, only when I feel like it.

So all is going very well at the Grange right now and I'm very happy to report that I have all of one day left of guests before the hotel closes for the winter. Oh yay oh yay. I have met some very colourful characters, but I will leave them for a later entry when I have more time to go into more elaborate detail on them.

But right now, I'm going to bed.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Serious self-indulgence

I need to take a moment to bitch and whine. Here it first emotional meltdown after months of been so well. It was a small glitch, a little hiccup and I'm (almost) over it now as I type.

A little thought...many years ago, a sangoma told a certain someone that he would die in his 27th year (he also gave the identity of that someones so called 'soul mate'). Though it is unlikely that he would properly die, just as it is unlikely that I am somehow cosmically tied to this person, I have pondered this suggestion. No, though he is not dead...he is dead to me and somehow, this makes the prediction real and true. What insight this man had all those years ago. And so, in been dead to me, this is the last mention he shall effect from me. Right, I'm done.
I hate feeling like a lunatic, and maybe I am one, in fact, I probably am. Here are some pictures from the last few days...far more cheery than what is above them!
Ellie and I set out looking for a stone cross over-looking Lastingham, we went in the entirely wrong direction and ended up in a very muddy field, but had fun sliding in the mud, laughing until our bellies ached and enjoying a little bit of sunshine.
We eventually found the cross just before the sun started to set and were rather disappointed that it was just an ordinary cross, and nothing special in particular. We took photos as proof that we found it.
In a field above Lastingham, close to Spaunton. I love how green it was here.
The bridge in Lastingham looking towards the Blacksmith Arms. I love the autumn colours.
Added for pure self indulgence - I look thin.
Hmmm, I'm remembering my old feelings of been like Miriam in DH Lawrences Sons & Lovers. I always hated seeing myself like her. And Clara Dawes...I pictured her so round-faced, with full pink lips and soft shoulders, wide hips and strong ankles, sweet and silly. I hated her for what she stood for. I hated Miriam too, but I should have hated Paul Morel, why didn't I? I think I pitied him more. Hmph, so period drama.
Oh, speaking of drama, I'm loving the BBCs adaptation of Dickens' Little Dorrit...I will have to buy the series so I can watch it in full! Matthew Macfadyen and Claire Foy are the leads, and are lovely to pretty :)
Ooh ooh! Pretty...I'm totally in love with Chris Addison...his boyish face, British accent, wit, curly hair...sigh.

Rainy day at the seaside, and no Scarborough Fair

The song is very misleading as there is no actual fair in Scarborough...not that I was expecting one, but it would have been nice, you know? I was greeted by rain and fog when I alighted the bus at the railway station yesterday morning, and it didn't clear the whole day. My first stop was, obviously, the castle. The castle is positioned on a headland over-looking the ocean and allegedly, on a sunny day, it has some very pretty views. The pictures below were all that I could see...

Approaching the castle, trying to find the entrance - the big colourful poster should have been a clue where to go in, also, the line of school children out on a day trip.
Like a ghost castle standing up out of the fog.

Messing about a little with the camera settings.
Just outside of the castle and down a few steps is Saint Marys church and a grave yard where Anne Bronte is buried. I felt I should pay my respects and take a picture of her grave.

On leaving the castle, the grave yard and St Marys I went to meet Christina in the town centre and happened upon this lovely window
A street in Scarborough.
Scarborough harbour by the South Bay.
The south bay of Scarborough. It's all a bit run down and seedy and it reminded me a bit of Durban, only colder and rainier.
After a cup of coffee and a tour of Christinas flat I was left free to explore the North Bay of Scarborough and found it a lot quieter and more scenic.
A view from the north bay looking towards Scarborough castle.
I had the beach pretty much to myself except for a few old couples and a man with his dog. It started to get dark by around half past four and I started to walk back towards the town centre and the railway station. I found this cafe on the beach front selling cheap fish 'n chips and got a take away to eat on the beach, by this point, it started drizzling again and I walked back in the dark and the rain with my hot plate of food, frizzy haired and thoroughly happy :)

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Tough choices

You know what the best bit about travel like this is? It's the lack of responsibility. Right now, my toughest decision is where I should head for next. I have a few options for after York:

a) Leeds - I'm pretty sure I could find a few things to keep me entertained there for a few days, and I know which bus to get on and from where (which is a bonus).

b) Manchester - I've already found a cheap hostel there, and on the map, it's only a few centimeters away from York.

c) Edinburgh - I know I love this city already and there was loads to see and do...

Decisions are tough, especially for someone who can't decide what drink to have in the evenings after work. It's the same every night. I always know that Tom is going to offer and I have more than enough time to prepare an answer, but when he does ask, it's so much easier to tell him to surprise me. And we have the same conversation most nights too "Dandelion and Burdock then?" The stuff is vile and the work of the devil.
Yesterdays moor walk. My boot finally sprung a leak whilst fording this little river. They have been excellent boots, and are thankfully still good for rainy days, just not large puddles, streams or rivers.
I got back to the hotel after dark and had to warm up with several cups of tea drinking has just become ridiculous of late...I must be averaging ten cups a day. I like the sky in this picture.

A view of Lastingham. From this angle it looks rather extensive. Don't be fooled!

An open field outside of Spaunton.

Tom is pretty handy with a sharp knife and a pumpkin. Lit up, this is hugely impressive.

Anyway, I still have three weeks to make my decision and weigh up all the pros and cons of each city. Hmph, and if I have another day off this week I have another decision to make...Scarborough, Thornton-le-Dale or Hemsley? Ah bugger.