Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Town and Country

Hello. How are you all? Is the weather also completely awful where you are? We've been battered with rain and high winds for what feels like weeks but has actually only been a day and a half. 

Half term already feels like a long time ago. We had such a good, busy week, and were here, there and everywhere; up to Yorkshire to stay with friends for the night, then on to Durham to see my mother and father-in-law, then back home for a couple of days before a weekend in London with different friends. We travelled and had fun, laughed a lot, ate and drank too much, went sightseeing and shopping, walked a lot. 

Yorkshire was beautiful, even under grey skies. All that local stone made me a little nostalgic for Leeds, which I wasn't expecting. Our friends, who we've known since University, live in Holmfirth and fans of the TV programme The Last of the Summer Wine might recognise the cafe above. I never really got that programme, I have to say, but I remember my Grandma found it hilariously funny.

The weather during our time in Durham over the bank holiday weekend wasn't great, grey and wet, and much cooler than it had been. We spent a lot of time relaxing with family but also visited the Durham University Botanic Garden (above and below) which was a lovely place to while away a couple of hours. 

I really like Durham. John, having grown up there, does not view it so favourably, but it's such a pretty place, with the castle and cathedral almost always visible up on the hill. 

During our brief 48 hours at home, we were blessed with beautiful weather which was extra nice for John's birthday and just made life a little bit sweeter. I unpacked, did seven loads of washing, gardened, baked a birthday cake (Victoria sponge), coordinated play dates for both children, ironed all the washing, made a moussaka, and then packed again. Such a whirl, but with all the doors and windows open wide, and dinner in the garden in the evening, it didn't feel too hard.

I also thinned out my sweet peas, put in bigger stakes, and gave them a good water, and I now have lots more sweet pea planted in pots all over the garden, and they are just about clinging on for dear life in the high winds.

On Friday we dropped Bella and Angus at my parent's house and drove up to London to stay with our friends. Part of the reason for the get-together was to celebrate John's birthday, which is why we spent Saturday morning in the Imperial War Museum, at his request. John's a bit of a history nut, and I wasn't expecting to get all that much from it if I'm honest, but it was excellent and I think the children would have loved it too. We only had time to see a fraction of what was there but I will definitely visit again.

We spent the rest of Saturday in London with our friends walking, shopping, stopping for drinks, just generally relaxing and enjoying ourselves. 

We had planned to go out for dinner that night in central London but, as we were all tired, we decided to head back and get a take away instead. When we heard the dreadful news about the attacks in London on Saturday night we were glad we did, and when I think of those poor people caught up in it - people like me, just out and about, enjoying the weather, having a meal and a drink with friends, relaxing, just living their lives - I could cry.

I didn't know what to do with myself when we got back from London on Sunday afternoon. The children were still with my parents and I'd done all the washing and ironing before we went, and ordered a shopping delivery to come later on. I'm not very good at having nothing to do so I weeded the lawn in the back garden. (It's 90% dandelions so this kept me busy for a while.) Then the children came back and it was all noisy and lovely again. 

I'm feeling a bit flat today if I'm honest. It's not post half-term blues - actually I was glad to get back into some routine after all the travelling - but more a general anxiety about recent events, the state of the world, and of course about the general election on Thursday. I can't switch off from it, it's too important. Work is very busy. This last half term (and the first half term in September) are so busy in the school office, with all next year's new admissions and such a packed school calendar. I am at once wanting the next seven weeks to fly by, ready for the long summer holiday, but not wanting them to come too quickly as I know how manic it will be at the end.

One day at a time. 


Vikki B said...

I recognized the café from Last of the Summer Wine program right away. It was a lovely program--just homey and comforting and simple. Thank you for all of the photo tour; I enjoyed it all. The world is such a mess now--I'm glad you and your family are safe.

CJ said...

What gorgeous photos, I bet the botanic garden was wonderful. I hope John had a good birthday, the museum sounds brilliant. It was the littlest boy's birthday here so we have had cake too. He usually requests the exact cake you have made, but this year he decided on lemon which was good too. I know what you mean about the last few weeks of term - completely mad. CJ xx

Jennifer Hays said...

I think you have the right attitude about one day at a time. It's all you can really do. I haven't felt like myself for months now, it's just one thing after another and the state of the world is not helping at all. So I'm just trying to enjoy each day as it comes and look for the little things that make me feel uplifted and peaceful. I enjoyed seeing your photos from the break, the botanic garden looks wonderful and I would love to visit any of the cities you were in. You and John look great.

VeggieMummy said...

It sounds like you had a fantastic half term. I really like Durham and I love the Imperial War Museum, although some of the letters always make me cry! You couldn't come and weed our lawn while you're on a roll could you?! xx

Gracie Saylor said...

I was so relieved to see your post and know that you and yours are safe, but at the same time I mourn for those that have been lost around our world by illness or accident or evil intent. In my 66 years joy has always been challenged by those three in my view looking back. Sometimes,as now, I want to retreat from blogging, and the joy I find in the domestic arts, but then I remember the ancient wisdom of "overcome evil by doing good." Thanks for publishing your pst, Gillian. May we know joy one day at a time. Xx

Mac n' Janet said...

We love The Last of the Summer Wine and that definitely looks like Ivy's cafe. Saturday's disaster is just so incomprehensible. We stayed in that area of London last year and ate in the Borough Market area.

Librarian said...

Great pictures (as always on your blog), and I honestly can not believe how many activities you manage to pack into a few days! I'd probably be fit for nothing but bed after only two days with you :-D
So glad you were out of harm's way while in London. The events in Manchester and London (and in many other places around the world) leave me speechless. I know there is no "one size fits all" easy solution to the underlying problems. I live here in my happy little bubble and can not fathom what goes on in the warped minds of those who order and execute such terrible deeds.
Of course we here in Germany are also closely following everything that has to do with your upcoming election. And soon, very soon (July 9th), my sister and I will be on our way to our annual Yorkshire holiday - a week and a half in Ripon, to be with family and friends.

Christina said...

I am glad you got to enjoy your holiday, despite all. It sounds like your week was really really busy, in a good way. Your children would love the Imperial War Museum. Mine did very much. I have to admit, I prefer the V&A myself.. I particularly enjoyed seeing photos of Durham, not a place I am familiar with at all. I am dreading the elections tomorrow and feel particularly powerless because I cannot vote. The outcome will impact our own family very much. I am glad I live in Scotland, that's for sure. As for terrorism, I am at a loss for words. I mourn for the lives lost and forever changed, not just here in the UK but all around the world. The unspeakable atrocities are a daily occurrence in some parts of the world and I feel selfish for feeling more affected by those happening on my doorstep. I find that I have become very good at distracting myself with small pleasant things. In a few minutes, I am taking Jack for a walk in the woods as I am working in the afternoon today. I'll be checking out all the bird boxes, collect elderflower and see if the wild raspberries are doing ok.... xx

Susan Smith said...

Sounds like a lovely half term, marred at the end by recent events. When we heard about it, the thought that crossed my mind was that you were staying in London, so glad that you've posted & are OK. I can see what you mean by being at a loose end with all that is happening throughout the world & in your own life. A few deep breaths, take time to smell the roses, a bit of craft to relax and enjoy your family. Take care & huggles from Oz.

Sol said...

I am sorry that John's birthday weekend ended as it did. It is truly horrific what keeps happening.

I have also been to the Imperial war museum and was blown away by it. I did get upset about the perspex box with all of the shoes from the Jewish Holocaust. I sat down on a bench and the woman next to me was also crying. She just reached out and held my hand. Did you see the enigma machine. I think it should have been in a more prominent place.

We just need the election to be over now and we can all move on.

I hope that work is good to you for the term. I bet you have some good things planned for the school holidays. I think France is calling me!

Have a good week.

mrsrobinson said...

Yours looks like a fun and lovely halt term. The winds have continued here today which wasn't expected... feeling battered. Come back sunny and warm! Though a good excuse to hide away with some knitting...

Beverley said...

What a lovely holiday, so sorry you are feeling out of sorts. My Mum used to say, only worry about the things you can change. It's hard though. x

Ksunshine52 said...

A few hours ago, I read the obit for Peter Sallis and now here is the cafe. The Last of the Summer Wine is such a hoot! You might be amazed at the number of us here, in the US that watch it! Such lovely photos! I feel as if I just had a mini vacation! World events are just so sad right now! My heart breaks for the victims and their families! In truth for everyone. I think we are all on edge ( I live just outside of Washington, DC, just minutes from the Pentagon.) even when you think you are not. Just waiting for the other shoe to drop!
So friends, good luck with your election! Stay strong!

Sarah said...

I totally identify with John about Durham; I went to university there and, while it is very picturesque, it is 100% the coldest place I have ever lived, is full of hills and is very far away from London, where I lived at home! I never went to the Botanic Gardens, but I had friends who did and they enjoyed it. I probably should have gone there because Durham can feel quite 'bricky', if that makes sense; as if there aren't very many plants so far North!

Lisa said...

Just catching up with your posts. It sounds like you had a busy half term, good to see friends and relatives, spending time with those you love is just the best.
I know nothing about Durham but the little snippets you shared makes it look very picturesque.
Belated happy birthday wishes to your husband.
Having worked in a school office for a year I know exactly what you mean about the busyness of that environment. I only hope yours is a much better managed place than the one I was at!
Lisa x

Lisa said...

Just catching up with your posts. It sounds like you had a busy half term, good to see friends and relatives, spending time with those you love is just the best.
I know nothing about Durham but the little snippets you shared makes it look very picturesque.
Belated happy birthday wishes to your husband.
Having worked in a school office for a year I know exactly what you mean about the busyness of that environment. I only hope yours is a much better managed place than the one I was at!
Lisa x