Monday 31 December 2012

Our 2012

Well we all had the Queen's Jubilee,followed the Olympic Torch around the country and then watched with pride the Olympics. But for us here 2012 held other memories too. There were highs and lows. Our biggest low was losing Quozzi our beautiful cocker spaniel. In May, Jack celebrated his 60th birthday. He was a youngster compared to my Dad who was 90th birthday in September. In June we went to Canada -the first summer holiday in 34 years of doing bed and breakfast. We travelled from Vancouver to Calgary. We had 3 days on a ranch rounding up cattle in Alberta on horseback. As neither of us had ridden for 15 years it was a bit of a shock to our bodies. In Jan it was announced by BBC Countryfile that we were in the top 10 places to stay in the UK for a rural experience. We had a great breakfast party at the end of Jan and raised over £8.7000 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. The year was topped off by being in a Finalist in the Deliciouslyorkshire Awards for Best Use of Local Produce on a plate. I couldn't have done this without the great support of my wonderful friends and family. My main prop in all of this show is Jack as without him it just wouldn't have been possible. So here I am summing up the year,Jack is is bed as morning will soon be here. We wish you all ...
.. A Very Best for 2013.We wish you Good Health and Happiness as money can't buy these.But also little wealth too as it makes the world go round and also buys a few bars of chocolate too .

Monday 17 December 2012

Tour de Yorkshire

Well #BackLeBid has paid off. Last Friday it was announced that Yorkshire is going to host Tour de France on the 5th and 6th July 2014.It is thanks to Gary Verity and his dedicated team at Welcome to Yorkshire that the deal was clinched. Although the routes have not been disclosed yet I would be very surprised if Sutton Bank is ridden up which would mean Tour de Yorkshire will be on our doorstep. To celebrate this from Spring 2013,
we are buying 2 brand new cycles for guests who will be staying with us for 2 or more nights will be able to borrow these free of charge. Here you see the type of bike I have my eye on. Dawes is a well known British made bike. Hopefully this is what I will be getting. I can buy them locally and they can also service them for me.Above all I want ones which will have baskets on the front.We hope to carry a stock of Yorkshire produce which you will be able to take to picnic on your ride and take in the scenery that you see going at a leisurely pace. Safety hats.waistcoats and routes will be there for you too.

Saturday 15 December 2012

Freezing weather...

When did -2 degrees every stop you from doing what you like to do?. Here is my Dad with Alan another die hard fisherman on Wednesday.Togged up to keep the cold out it was carry on regardless. The fog wasn't nice and it was bitterly cold but it didn't deter us from having a few hours over at Filey on Wednesday. It is good to have the Beach hut to go into to get a hot drink and shelter from that bitter wind. With fish and chips and Sterchi's chocolate inside us for subsistence we brave the bad weather.High tide was around 3pm but the tides were high and there was plenty of swell in the water. A few people walked their dogs but there was only Dave and Alan with us fishing. They were luckier than me and caught a flattie apiece
. They kindly gave them to us . My mum and dad share one for the tea and Jack has the other as a starter. All said it was very tasty . I had the pleasure of gutting them and cooking them .

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Nunnington Hall

Welcome to Yorkshire held its Christmas event at Nunnington Hall this evening. I used to pass the Hall every day when I was going to Malton Grammar School 45 years ago. The Clive family lived there along with their St Bernard and it was very much a family home.Now run by the national is home to the Carlyle Collection of rooms in miniature. There was reindeer, outside to welcome us, and a green sleigh but no sight of Santa Claus. Indoors a huge fire and decorated Christmas tree. I had a chat with "the butler" about days gone by. In the dining room, he served us sherry in his tailed jacket. The table was set for dinner. Upstairs they had reconstructed what rooms would be like in the 1920s. A
bedroom with metal bedsteads and very sparse dressings. There was also a collection of wild life photographs on display I saw the Canon camera had been used by many entries. There was a raffle in aid of the Yorkshire regiment. I was lucky and won a voucher to be spent at ebony Interiors in Pickering. The staff as always from W2Y where working hard. Jo Kendall in the forefront wearing her never ending smile -such a happy soul. Behind her Sarah Barrowby was doing a sterling job selling raffle tickets. Janet Deacon gave the welcome.It was nice to see Jo Francisco back to work after having her little boy.Hopefully Santa was back at his workshop overseeing the elves making something for Jo's little boys first Christmas.

Monday 3 December 2012

Country Living Fair with Halinka's Fairies

A drive over to Harrogate to take a look at the exhibitors at the Country Living Fair. Stalls displaying the most amazing gifts to buy for Christmas.Amazing Christmassy smells filled the air .The first exhibitors were selling their wares of garlands -cones trimmed with oranges and cinnamon sticks. Pine cones and ribbons. All those things that stir your senses reminding you of Christmas past. Sophie was there with Sophie loves paper decorations like what we had when I was young -very much the vogue at the moment. My favourite stall was Halinka's Fairies which I visited twice. Such a talented lady who makes these delightful little figures that look that at any second they are going to fly through the air. Halinka started making these fairies to help fund her daughters dream to study ballet in Russia. Halinka is so proud of her very talented daughter and even though she was very busy she had time to show me her daughter's graceful poses on her phone. Halinka herself has travelled the world and is very talented -it shows in her work. I bought the rabbit with a balloon to go on a Easter /birthday cake.I couldn't resist buying a pair of ice skaters too -Christmas present to myself.There is a fairy for the top of the most well dressed tree.
They are just so delightful. You must visit her site.

Autumn or winter

It has been a funny old year so far. I think this photo sums it up very well. I took it as I was going to York shopping. The straw was still laid baled up in the field. Too wet for the tractor to be able to get it gathered in. More than a heavy frost on the ground. It was a slight covering of snow. We have roses still blooming. Bulbs are starting to sprout through. Beautiful sunny day followed by the greyist of grey days.It must be a very hard job being a weather forecast. So do we rely on the like of Mr Fish that gave that famous no hurricane
forecast or the signs of nature ...

Christmas shopping with the tinies

Friday morning was very frosty and the roads were like glass
. It didn't not deter us 4 girls going to do our early Christmas shopping. Rubi-Sue is now 3 and Martha is 1. So here you see them with their mum Claire. Talk about double decker buses-this is a double decker pushchair. I did a bit of steering but actually it is easier to drive a tractor with a 4 furrow reversible plough. Negotiating around people and display rails ...We stopped for lunch but Rubi-Sue was wanting to get back to the farm as new little piggies were arriving. Mention piggies to Martha and she cracks a smile too. Laura Ashley's turned up trumps to having the best deals and nicest clothes for the girls.We will wait until Monsoon starts their sale...Now they have been packed off for Santa Claus to deliver on Christmas Eve.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Thanks to Alison of Crakehall Water Mill

Despite lots of fields been flooded by the River Swale I managed to get through to a Herriot Country meeting this morning. With Ian Ashton and David Shields at the helm we learnt of interesting things which are going to happen in 2013.After the meeting I went with Alis
on Barnes and two other ladies who run bed and breakfast business for a lovely lunch. A farm shop on the road just out of Leeming Bar heading towards Northallerton. No wonder it recently had won a Flavour of Herriot Country award - Spring House Farm Shop.They were very obliging and they put some pineapple in a ham and cheese toasted sandwich for me -above and beyond what was on the menu. It was clean and warm and an ideal stopping off place so a bite to eat There were some lovely Christmas decorations to buy along with a vast array of Yorkshire goodies. Thank you to Alison of Crakehall watermill for treating me. My turn next time.

Water,water everywhere and not a drop to drink

Sympathy goes to all those effected by the floods. We have our fair share of standing water in the fields but as we are over 990 foot above sea level we are luckier than most. As I was going towards Byland Abbey this morning 2 people were exercising their horses. Memories of 35 years ago when I first used to ride out with Jack when he had point to point horses. Until then I had only been a fair weather rider. We were riding out every morning in all weathers. A 6 mile rising trot was fair more pleasant on a crisp sunny autumn morning than what these riders were having this morning. But they still had a smile for me. Dedication to getting their horses fit for racing.I expect they would then head up Wass Bank. A mile long climb certainly tests the horse's stamina.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Apple and more apples

We went to Rodgers Roses at Pickering to pick up the 2 rose bushes I had bought my Dad for his birthday. besides selling roses and bulbs they also sell fruit trees. My Dad must have 150 fruit trees but there is always room for another . Here you see we got to see what the end result hopefully will be . Armed with pen and paper we walked round twice to make sure we had chosen the right trees. How often do we buy an apple tree and not be able to see what fruit it produces.An apple tree is an apple tree to me - a cooker or an eater. But for my dad the professional we was in his element making sure he choose apples that will see him through the winter .At the farm we have a bedroom called the Apple bedroom and that was what it was used for .A north facing room cooler than the rest of the house the apples were put under the bed. This year there is very few apples about so we wont be walking up the stairs and getting that lovely apple smell drift through the

New arrival

We have had a new arrival. A baby llama was born on the farm recently. As we have had a lot of rain he and his mother has come indoors. Now he has a fluffy coat. He remains unnamed at the moment. No doubt the children will think of a name to call him. He often hides behind his mother and she has a habit of hissing. I tend to keep my distance as I am not sure of her diet. Having shown her teeth to me on more than one occasion.

Sunday 11 November 2012

A night out at the Deliciouslyorkshire Awards

We had a great night at the National Railway Museum in York. Made a change from wellingtons and Barbour jackets to get dress up as it was a black tie occasion. I am on the advisory board to Deliciouslyorkshire and look after the interest of the hospitality side of things. I was also there as I was a finalist -in the top 3 for Yorkshire for the Best Use of Local produce on a plate/menu. I had been judged a few weeks before by the well known columnist and foodie - Elaine Lemm. Although I didn't win I was very pleased to have got as far as I had. Local friends and business were on our table amongst them Jessica Barker and her husband Phillip. They have self catering near Thirsk called Thief Hole Cottages. She had been in a similar position to me a few weeks earlier when she had been short listed in the White Rose Awards. A good night was had by all.I think Jack enjoyed it even though he started off having to wear a dickie bow and having to have his collar fastened
. Surrounded by beautiful ladies,Jessica,Rachael and Emily whose joint ages more or less add up to his.

Saturday 10 November 2012

National Sausage Week

and what better to celebrate it with but with David Lishman's official Yorkshire sausages. And a bargain too. Buy 5 lb and get 3lbs free. As I was in the area I went along to buy my way around the shop. I don't think I have ever been to Ilkey before and didn't realise it was as big or as busy a place. Friendly locals told me where it was and after a bit of careful negotiation I managed to get parked in one of the crowded side streets.not a job I would like to do day in and day out.Back to the shop,there was so much choice.Not only did I come away with nearly a ton of sausage there was a pork pie for the shooters the next day Some home made pate for toast. Then I spied the lamb Henrys which are a favourite of Jacks. They were next into the bag. Shame David wasnt there -he was in London picking up yet another award. Back home the sausages have gone down well. Four generations here give them the thumbs up and a German guest.Wonderbar

Monday 5 November 2012

The Grand Finale - Yorkshire food finder [part 5]

6.30pm and we were ushered into the glass conservatory for supper. Eighteen hungry mouths sat down to a fine 3 course meal. We began with a pork terrine with a layer of tasty pork fat on the top delicious along with spelt toast. Not counting the calories we tucked in to the main course which was beef from James White's the butchers where we had been earlier in the day. Topped off with a three way apple dessert. Shame I had to drive home but then all good things come to an end sooner or later

Into the stock pot of the great - Yorkshire Food finder [part 4]

The next part of our day out before dinner was a tour of James Mackenzie's kitchen and the dining room he has upstairs for private parties. It comes complete with sitting room and bathroom. The set up in the kitchen was amazing with the £50k+ oven. Chefs were hoovering around and trying not to look disturbed as our nosey party peered into drawers.It is all about preparation . Everything waiting to be popped on a plate to garish and enhance. The Michelin star has to be earned and attention to detail is what it is all about. The highlight of the kitchen for me was a huge stock pot bubbling away on the stove. Veal and pork cooking for 2 days I think James said.It looked as if there was leek and carrots in there too. I guess a lot more besides.

Yorkshire Food Finder [part 3]

Then it was back to the Pipe and Glass, time this afternoon had going quickly and it was now 4.30pm. There was a welcoming log fire as we settled down in squashy settees to listen to a very local character -Rob Gibbbon. And what a character he is. Rather than bore you with details you can read all about him on Rob retired and is now bottling thousands of bottles of cyder as well as apple juice.he started off with it in the back bedroom then as the business grew overtook the bathroom until he had a few explosions.By this time Rob's long suffering wife said outside from now on. and so the story unfolded. he got started with the help of Father Rainer. With the glow of the cyder inside us and the glow of the fire on my cheeks I could have quite happily gone to bed in one of the Pipe and Glass' bedrooms which we were allowed to peek in prior to guests arrival.

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Yorkshire Food Finder [part 2]

We boarded the bus and soon arrived at Hutton Cranswick to be met by the jovial butcher -James White. We were ushered first to see the incinerator.I couldn't believe how easy it was to access and with the push of a button it was all fired up ready to go. We then saw the area which would become the last few steps for the animal. This was too much for some,but for the nosey and blood lusty of the rest we listened to how the process from living animal to sausage meat happened. I actually knew and have seen it many times before.I listened just to check he hadn't missed anything out.The highlight here for me was having a go at making sausages. To tie them together is a bit like a knitting pattern. Once you get the hang of it you can do it easily.Before then it is mind boggling.I set off well but then got gradually worse. James was very patient and we laughed until tears ran down our faces. We were allowed to bring our sausages home .James' wife Ria has just been on a chocolate making course and is setting up shop selling chocolates. What a kind gesture we were all presented with a couple of the most delicious truffles.I am sure you will be hearing about Ria's chocolates

Tuesday 30 October 2012

A day out with Yorkshire Food Finder [part 1]

A kind invite from Sue and Aidan Nelson via Vikki Harris brought me to the Pipe and Glass to start the day with a delicious sausage sandwich - I should say 4 sausages and in very soft bun made for a very good start. This more than made up for the terrible foggy ride I had going across the Wolds at break neck speed so not to be late. More on the Pipe and Glass later.Our first stop was the Wold Top Brewery at Wold Newton. We were given a talk by the new owner,Tom Mellor. We looked down on the stainless steel vat and inhaled the rather warming smell of brewing beer.It was the brainchild of my dear friend,Katrina Gray who with husband Derek
had set up the brewery. Katrina who is never afraid of hard work told me how she had varnished all the woodwork after Derek had made a brilliant job of making this sky high walk way round. There was even chocolate flavoured hops. We were kindly given a bottle to bring home. I choose Fisherman's reward and gave it to my Dad. We had a magnificent lunch that had been prepared by James Mackenzie -all Yorkshire produce which was first class seen here with our generous host Aidan.

Autumn Colours

Autumn has made up for the summer and a very early start to winter. The trees this year have been a picture. \\\\\Amazing colours that the camera hardly does justice too. The trees behind the house are russets,yellows and burnt orange. Here in a photo, as the road approaches Ampleforth College from the east. It stands 50 ft high and is the largest cross in Britain. It is the memorial to Cardinal Basil Hume made of steel and pine. Ten years ago I
saw it coming to Ampleforth. It was brought from Westminster through the sky .Flown here by a RAF Chinook. Most of us who saw it thought we were dreaming .It is not every day that something like this happens.It weighs 4 and a half ton and stained blood red. It was intended to be a symbol of peace and unity and created for the New Millennium.

Monday 22 October 2012

Get on your bike...or borrow one

Fancy going for a bike ride and haven't got a bike.Maybe you don't want the hassle of bringing them with you .We have the answer.We have a couple of bikes you are welcome to borrow. A leisurely route with not too steep hills around Wass, Byland and Oldstead. For those who want to to challenge them selves there is always Sutton Bank a few miles away. We take no responsibility for how many good pubs and eating places you find on the way to waylay you. There is photo around every corner.A view to be admired and a memory to take home with you. The roads are well signposted and there are also a network of cycle routes for you to enjoy.

How many days to Christmas....

However many days it is now, 65-
it will soon be here. I nipped into Fletchers the butchers in Norton the other day. My uncle always maintained they were the best traditional pies around. It was 3 years to the day since Fred had died.He was 92 years wise so as I was in Malton I made the pilgrimage across the bridge into Norton. Peter Hogg runs the shop. It is well supported by locals and likewise Peter supports local too with 3 charity boxes on the counter.A right meeting place as Joanna Carr came in to get her mum some meat.I went to school with her 45 years ago. Peter piled us with pork pie which was delicious. I have always been impressed by Fletchers as not only do they buy from local farmers, the cattle's passport numbers are up on the wall too.If you were so minded you could track the animals back to their place of birth. My uncle was born at Spring Gardens on the outskirts of Norton and family rellies still live there so I suppose I feel a bit of going to the family's butcher when I go to Fletchers. I could have done with my grandmother's butter basket to carry my goodies in rather than doing a balancing act with them. Lots of home made extras on sale here- coleslaws,salads,meat pies and pates. The jewel in my hands was some rather delicious black pudding