England in Spring – Yorkshire 1

On our way north we stopped for lunch in Leicester, my old university town and the place where Marlies was born.

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We were very excited to spend a few days with our good friends, Diane and Nobby from sailing days, now living back in her home village in Yorkshire. When I was growing up in London my nearest relatives  were across the North Sea in Holland so we usually saw them only on our annual visit there. In contrast, our friends live only three or four doors down from her parents and across the road from a favourite uncle and aunt. Not far away are her two sisters and their families. It wasn’t long before we’d met them all!

Despite the cold, our friends showed us many of the local sites. At Wentworth Woodhouse we dodged the severe squalls to view the house frontage – apparently longer than Buckingham Palace! Opened in 1741, it is Europe’s largest privately owned house.

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We had a picnic lunch along the river at Bakewell in the picturesque Derbyshire Dales, the riverbank awash with daffodils. Luckily the sun was out but it was still VERY cold.

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Our toilet stop proved a winner…

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…and we encountered some interesting signage at the local market.

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Nearby Chatsworth House is is surely one of England’s grandest stately homes, filled with artwork, Old Masters, expensive furniture and neoclassical statues. It is the seat of the Duke of Devonshire (though not in Devon at all!). ! I did love the chinese silk wallpaper added in the 1720s. Apparently the owner felt there weren’t enough birds when it was hung and had some added. All very extravagant!

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One day, still during the COLD spell, we went for a lovely long drive across the Yorkshire moors to Whitby and Scarborough on the east coast. I grew to love this area in 2002 when I did the Coast to Coast Walk from St Bees in the Lake District to Robin Hoods Bay just south of Whitby.

We had the best gluten free fish and chips in Whitby and the most amazing dessert in Scarborough at the Harbour Bar, surely a relic of the 1950s. I learned during our trip that many English sea side resorts seemed to have changed little from my childhood days, complete with Sooty and Sweep shows and donkey rides on the beach. All rather surreal!

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We drove further south down the coast to see puffins battling the fierce wind and cold (just as we were!) and then progressed back home across the Humber Bridge, a 2,220 metre single-span suspension bridge, the longest of its type when it was opened in 1981 and still the seventh longest in the world.

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And from time to time we were amused by random signage….

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