Wednesday, 28 October 2009


That's what our wee holiday was, according to First Born who seems unable to plump for either immaculate or impeccable, preferring a mix of the two. The word has stuck and is now in common use in our family. Much to the confusion of the boys' Headmaster who was greeted with it today by FB in the school reception. I am expecting a call to come in for a quiet word about our parenting skills any day now.

So, yes, Yorkshire was lovely. Not a part of the country we had ever been to before - we pretty much picked it off a map as being within a few hours drive of Edinburgh and having lots of stuff to do nearby. We stayed in a lovely little cottage on a dairy farm, so were woken up most mornings by slightly irate sounding cows heading in to be milked. There were also real honest-to-goodness roosters - the boys were pleased and astonished to find that roosters do actually do that cock-a-doodle-doo thing. Here we are, looking at chickens (this was sneakily snapped by Husband from our bedroom window.)

We visited Dalby Forest (very tree-y) and Scarborough Sea Life Centre (it was raining that day and it was both indoors and really cool. The boys spent some time in front of the Great Barrier Reef tank trying to hypnotise two small sharks, with what appeared to be some success).

We visited Whitby which I was personally quite excited about, given my slight fascination for all things vampire. The Dracula geek in me got a kick out of pretending to be Mina, sitting on a bench in the churchyard up on the cliff by the Abbey, overlooking the bay where the ship was driven in by the storm, the black dog jumping to shore before the townspeople discovered there was no crew and a dead captain lashed to the wheel. Gave me goosebumps. Or it might have been slight palpitations after climbing 199 steps to get up there in the first place. Ooh, I should also have mentioned that on the way to Whitby we stopped off in Goathland which is famous as the village which doubles as Aidensfield in "Heartbeat". Which I have never watched. But its railway station is also used as Hogsmeade Station in the Harry Potter films, so that's quite cool.

We also visited Castle Howard - just the grounds, as there is little point in making 11 and 9 year old boys tour round a stately home looking at furniture. You are just asking for trouble and having to spend most of the tour hissing "Behave!" under your breath. We opted instead for lots of walking and a lengthy sojourn in the adventure playground. Very fortunately, the aforesaid adventure playground was situated next to the Great Lake, right alongside the Lakeside cafe. Now the cafe itself was shut, but the terrace was open so while the boys threw themselves around on various contraptions fashioned out of timber and rope, Husband and I got to use our favourite wooden leisure equipment, ie chairs. We spent a long time being boring adults, sitting down and gazing out over the lake, watching ducks do that upside-down in the water thing that is so oddly rivetting to behold. The boys thought we were boring. We thought we had died and gone to heaven.

We did join them in the adventure playground and then we walked through the woods, to the Temple of the Four Winds and on through the grounds back around the house to the Atlas Fountain. Here are the boys, considering whether or not it is the done thing to go for a paddle in the Atlas Fountain.

At one point, Second Born came running up, breathless with excitement, saying "Mum! Mum! You'll never guess - do you know what film was made at this castle?"

"Why yes," said I, beaming with pride at the literary knowledge of my precocious offspring. "Actually, they filmed both versions of Brideshead Revisit....."

"GARFIELD 2!!!!!!" he gasped, absolutely awestruck. "This is the castle in GARFIELD 2!!!"

I'm going to have to take his word on that, as I have never managed to watch more than 5 minutes of Garfield 2 before wanting to scratch my own eyes out with a nail file. Mind you, I'm sure the TV series of "Brideshead Revisited" would have the same effect on the boys. So here you go: two small boys on the set of Garfield 2

Incidentally, are there any other Scots reading who get slightly annoyed by references in the media to Yorkshire and similar areas as "the north of the country"? Given that we had to drive SOUTH for four and half hours to get to North Yorkshire? Just me and Husband then.


  1. I went touring through that countryside in 1991, or thereabouts. Loved all of it except the damned sheep on the road who stared down the poor quaking colonial trying to shift gears with her left hand. Beautiful country. Castles eye-popping.
    My Scottish SIL once addressed a letter to us
    like this:
    street address
    "Country north of the USA"
    We got it.
    I think it was revenge. He also calls Canada the'world's best kept secret'. Yeah.

  2. Ah, North Yorkshire.... God's country.

  3. No no, me too. Gargh. Annoys me every time.

    Gosh, your boys are like you!

  4. I LOVE Heartbeat!! I watch it every Friday night that I'm home. People who used to be on Coronation Street keep appearing on Heartbeat. It's very confusing. At first I thought the show was really old and actually made in the 1960s, but then when Coronation Street people showed up on it I realized it was just pretending to be 1960s. I want to move there - to Heartbeat, not Yorkshire

  5. Ooh that drives me mad! I also hate that Scotland is referred to as a region. It may only be little, but it's still a country! I feel sorry for Luxembourg.

    Impeculate is actually brilliant. It could be in the OED this time next year.