THE YORKSHIRE DALES…familiar scenery from childhood.

In mid September John and I headed off for a week in Richmond, North Yorkshire.

This is our third trip to the same cottages on the outskirts of this lovely Georgian market town. We normally don’t stay in the same place again but this area of the UK is rich in scenery and the walks are magnificent.

Westend Cottages were once upon a time a derelict barn but now there are four lovely holiday lets. They are dog friendly and within easy reach of the centre of Richmond.

We, of course, no longer have a dog which was very odd as for the past 27years we have had canine companions on all our UK holidays. Being dog-less meant we could go into cafés and castles…together, which was a bit of a novelty and we agreed that was a positive. We also agreed that it was easier on our backs as we did not have to pick up a small but perfectly formed and slightly rotund dog and haul her over stiles and drystone walls!! A lot of walks are really not that dog friendly unless you have a young and very flexible model….

However, certainly for myself, I missed her vibrant presence and absolute commitment to the chosen route…Biscuit like all my dogs had a very straight forward walking philosophy, that of ‘I just keep on going until Gill and John pop me into the boot of the car and then I can collapse and sleep in a deep and peaceful way so as to prepare for whatever happens next!’

In amongst the various feelings of sadness, nostalgia and loss there was very definitely a sense of relief and acceptance of what we had decided to do for our lovely dog.

Time moves forward and off we took ourselves
on various jaunts which we thoroughly enjoyed and for most of the time the weather was kind and gentle to us.

Going away for however long a period of time feels really good to me. I am always glad of the change in scenery and abode. There are none of the normal daily tasks and we keep our eating simple and easy.

Interestingly, this most recent trip was obviously identified by the universe as being a time for me to have a complete break….my five week old iPhone simply shivered and died on the second day!  Done deal, no way of communicating using up to the moment technology. We had vaguely organised to meet up with my sister and brother-in-law and I realised that I would now need to find a phone box! In the UK there seem to be very few and yet just a few steps up the main road there was a phone in a box!! Next challenge, how in heavens name do they work…does one need coins like in the ‘old days’ or would it be slightly more up-to-date and require a credit card. Gosh so much stress which was really not the point of no longer having a mobile phone.

And so, there I was one lovely evening clutching a plentiful supply of coins (no idea how much a call costs) and a piece of paper with the necessary number. After much fumbling and faffing I did manage to dial, insert coins and connect. They were not there!!

Another lovely evening and this time I really seemed to know what to do AND joy of joy there was a sister speaking to me. Arrangements made, details sorted and all while standing in the fresh air watching two little boys leaping in and out of a large plastic council container of grit. They joyfully flung grit all over the surrounding area and in a few weeks time the council will discover they are grit-less when the first frosts arrive!

Ok, perhaps I should have stopped them, after all I was once a Primary School teacher and The Voice is still there but do you know, they were completely happy and free and there was that beautiful sky above them…..I recall that kind of freedom when I was young. We roamed far and wide and only went home when the hunger pangs reminded us that a meal was needed.

We have been home for some weeks now but the memories of our week away are still with me and will help carry me on into the winter and eventually we will plan our next jaunt. There have been so many in the 37years of knowing each other and some have been more memorable than others but they have all added texture and colour to our lives together. Times of silence, chat, deep thoughts and hilarity…there seems to be lots of the latter in the Slater family!!

Love to all, Gillx

We stayed at; WESTEND GARDEN COTTAGES.
Kath and Trevor Teeley       Tel; +44(0)1325 722494

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