Hooray! At long last, after months of staying at home for our own good, Mr D and I left our home for a whole two nights. No pup and no kidults either. Just us, our car, and the open road. Oh, and a boot load of wellies and waterproofs. You see, here in the UK we’ve had one of the coldest and wettest Springs for decades… just the thing to help when you’re locked down!
However, things have been moving forward nicely to the point where hospitality opened up for indoor as well as outdoor entertainment. As soon as the dates were announced, I booked a couple of nights away in our favourite little country inn. Oh my! The thought of someone else cooking dinner and breakfast and doing all the washing up, has kept me going. It’s important for ones mental health to have something on the horizon that makes you sigh with contentedness. Dry weather would have been the icing on the cake.
Alas, our cake remained undecorated. True to form for the UK, the rain clouds gathered and dumped what felt like a whole month of rain in one morning. I tried to remember the saying:
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, simply the wrong clothes!”
Waterproof trousers, jackets, boots and gaiters were the fashion choices for the weekend, but not all of it.
Having a Friday off is fabulous, especially when you get to wave bye bye to both Cost Centres (kidult 1 and 2) as they head off for work and you’re still in pjs, supping the first coffee of the day. Judging by the look on their faces, they would have gladly stayed home. As the last car left the driveway, the house felt strangely quiet… until we cranked up the volume on our smart speaker and did a small victory dance round the kitchen.
With the car packed with a variety of clothes, wine, bubbly, and spare champagne flutes, we headed off for our first destination. By this time, the worst of the rush hour traffic had passed but the rain decided to step it up a notch. Dodging puddles and floodwater we made our way to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden. By now the rain had reached biblical proportions but we were suitably clothed and determined to enjoy our time together no matter what.
The river running through the grounds had reached the top of the banks, threatening to overwhelm the water garden features. Some of the overflow sluice gates had been opened to let the excess water drain off. Goodness knows where it drained to! It made a spectacular scene, watching the overflow cascade down the valley. Unfortunately it wasn’t draining fast enough for a family of moorhens. Their nest, in the middle of the lake, was almost washed away. We watched the parents valiantly lead their chicks to safety on the banks as the floodwater rose, washing the top of their nest away. I hope they survived.
Our original plan had been to take an old fashioned picnic hamper with us, complete with posh sandwiches, cakes and small bottles of Prosecco. We abandoned that plan the day before in favour of just carrying the small bottles with us and having a sneaky sup as we walked around. Lunch would need to be indoors. We may be hardy but we’re not masochists. And it would have been rude to miss the opportunity to have our first indoor pub lunch in months.
Divesting ourselves of our soggy walking kit, we consulted the old fashioned paper map and decided where lunch should be enjoyed. Next stop Masham, home of Theakston’s and the Black Sheep Breweries. The chances of fresh ale to sample were high. We weren’t disappointed. Our first indoor pint and a toasted sandwich went down a treat. Amber nectar of the gods!
By now the rain had stopped so we took the pretty route to our final destination, the Black Horse in Kirkby Fleetham, home for the next two nights. The village is reached by two single track roads. You have to know it’s there because you wouldn’t accidentally find it unless you took a wrong turn! As soon as we arrived, we were welcomed back (we’ve been so often they recognised us, even with face masks on), given our favourite room (Red Rum) and invited to relax beside the fire in the lounge bar. Needless to say, we took them up on the offer. They may have been closed for months, but their service was second to none and the food simply divine.
In next week’s Friday Menopausal Muttering I’ll tell you all about our second day, almost off-roading across the Yorkshire Dales! I should have known better than to let Mr D do the navigation!
Hoping this finds you all safe and well.