I had all manner of plans for this summer which disappeard the moment that Cris was hospitalised with appendicitis. I am glad he recovered quickly and am sorry for him that he had to go through the pain.
The weather throughout August was fairly desultory, warm and wet for the most part, so the countryside and gardens have been full of colour and foliage. Then, just as Cris left the UK the weather changed and since then we have had many magical days out in various parts of Yorkshire visiting relatives, historic houses, national trust houses, some gardens, and always enveloped by the huge scenery of this county.
My favourite day out was to a reunion with Glyn's relatives high up on the moors above Kirbymoorside. This came about purely by chance. I have not met this part of the family since I remarried and always intended to go back but never did so. I don;t think there was any reason for this - just one of those things as they also said when we all met up. J and I had been out to visit Nunnington Hall which was delightful and holds a special place in my heart because it contains an attic FULL of dollshouses and little rooms furnished as shops or greenhouses or with period furniture. I really really want to do up a dollshouse before I get much older!
Anyway - we came out and I decided on a whim that we ought to go and see either Vickie or Karen (my nieces by marriage, almost as old as I am) as neither of them lived particularly far away. Vicke's home near Kirbymoorside was the nearest so we decided to drive there and then up to Gillamoor which is a tiny village further up the hill.
Vickie herself was out but Pete was home and showed us all round the farm and took us to his claypigeon shooting range so high up on the North Yorkshire Moors that we could see most of the county of Yorkshire from there. The sun was shining, the corn was ripe in the fields and purple heather was out on the moors so the world glowed golden and purple. Pete told us who owned the land and farms around - it was amazing that so much was owned by so few people - this country is still so dominated by class! We had waited so long that it was getting dark and still Vickie hadn't arrived home, so we decided to leave without seeing her. As we drove away a car went past us and I knew instinctively that it had to be Vickie and her daughter Helen returning home so we turned back and sure enough - there she was and we just hugged each other tightly . So many emotions, so few words to describe them!
Later, Vickie told us that there was actually a family party up at Gillamoor the following week and we said we would try to be there. We finally left at around nine thirty and were lucky enough to be served at an Indian resteraunt in Kirbymoorside (we were their last customer and ate as they were actually shutting up shop) before the drive back to Leeds in the dark.
Although we had booked to go to Cambridge before Cris was taken ill, we decided to go to see all the family up at Kirbymoorside instead.
So J, Cris Me and Martha Dog set off for Kirbymoorside at around eleven in the morning. The sun was shining and it was actually hot. We drove up the A1 turning to climb up Sutton Bank with its huge view over the Vale of York. We stopped at Riveaux Abbey (photos to come later) which is one of my favourite places, the Abbey itself set in a deep wooded valley, its white stone gleaming against the green of the background. I still remember the first time I visited the place and how moved I was and how thrilled by its beauty.
We arrived up at Gillamoor at around three - just as everyone else was arriving too. It took a while to sort everyone out. My late sister in law had 6 children Ruth had her 3, Glyn and Sandy had their 5 (?!) Linda was there with her new husband and then my erstwhile brother in law arrived with his new wife, their children including new ones of his wifes but also of his wife's daughter.....it all became incredibly confusing, trying to match people with parents and so on. There was a mountain of food, there was a river of conversation, people grouping, regrouping. At one point I wandered into the kitchen and found Vickie Karen and Ruth in a huddle - I wondered if there was something wrong but they just said, tears in their eyes, that Cris reminded them very much of his father (their uncle). They also commented on the fact that J and I openly talk about our late partners and both of us wear two wedding rings - well neither of us got divorced so why should we?
The afternoon just glimmered in the sunshine. The fields and the moors were so beautiful, the air so clear, the views so enormous and I just loved it up there, it felt as though we were in heaven almost literally.
Just before we left I thought we had lost Martha - but no - she was just locked in someones bedroom silly dog. She had been playing with the other dogs (Vickie and Pete have 4 lovely labradors) and we thought that she had followed them down to the field where they had gone with Pete to do some work. But no...she was in a bedroom. Typical. Mind - it took half an hour to actually find her.
I had a wonderful day there - it was the highlight of my summer really. We drove back via Pickering and visited my first mother in law's grave there. The sunset that night was spectacular and I took lots of photos which I will post later - in fact it was so beautiful that we stopped in a layby so that I could get some pictures and someone else was there doing the same thing.
I have spent all this summer in Yorkshire although we had intended to make Wallasey our summer base. I thought I would miss the sea more, but maybe because I know we can get back the urge to go the seaside has largely died down. Strange because I used to just want to be at the coast. Now I know it is the open countryside, the high wild places, the big views that give me my sense of wellbeing.
Unfortunately, having Cris here somehow stopped me from all my creative endeavours! I don't know why that happened, something to do with having ones adult children around and also the shock of getting his phone call saying he was going into hospital. I need to get back to work now as the evenings begin to draw in, and maybe that has also been a part of not somehow getting going. I have felt the need to be outside as often as possible, to enjoy the warmth and worship the sun whenever it popped its head out. Maybe autumn and winter are the better times to huddle indoors, keep warm and create - for me anyway.
I have made some new friends as well over the past few weeks and hopefully they will also prove inspirational. H used to teach City and Guilds embroidery and machine knitting, her work (mixed media but with a lot of stitch) is just amazing and I am going to spend a day with her in a weeks time where she has promised - quite literally - to kick ass and make me produce something. I also met M a lovely woman around my age, also with health issues, who knits, reads, gardens, and thinks....now there's something! A thinker! We should have lots to talk about hopefully.
This week we also went up to Haworth with J's nephew and his new, dramatic and very sudden love of 3 weeks! It was all very intense, and funny as they seemed so vulnerable. Haworth was too busy for me - there were so many tourists it was hard to get a feel for the place and the weather was too nice - it has to be cold and "wuthering" to have any true meaning to me.
We have been to lots of houses, driven down many country lanes behind tractors, we have walked up Almscliffe Crag, explored the few miles around where we live and found places that I never knew existed. But summer is turning slowly to autumn, the trees are putting on their autumn finery, golds, ruby reds, purples, pale yellows and deep browns...all my favourite colours, deep rich and mysterious. I would love a wardrobe of clothes to match! I hope I don't get depressed this winter as it gets colder and darker. I need to remember that summer does come bringing warmth and light and long days. I want to have a holiday in the longest days next year to celebrate them. And I will try my best not to give in this winter, I promise I will try.....