Blog Posts, Menopausal Mutterings

Right out – part 3

… this is what happens when your brain needs a holiday. You prepare the final part of a series and forget to post it! Doh!!

Last week I filled you in on the delicious food of the first night and our epic, almost off-road, adventure through Coverdale and on to Grassington. I left off the tale in our usual spot, in front of the fire with drinks and a crossword puzzle.

The previous night’s meal was so good, I felt it was safe to order a steak with all the trimmings. I’m a fussy steak eater. I love it cooked to medium rare, but I rarely get a decent cut of meat, despite the write-up on the menu. But this chef, having passed the scrambled egg test, I felt was more than up for the challenge. Sourcing top quality beef is half the story to producing a tasty steak. The rest is in Chef’s hands.

A healthier version of my meal

He didn’t disappoint. Cooked to perfection, not a gristly bit in sight, and accompanied by salad and triple-cooked chips, Mr D and I tucked into our meal. Not one word was spoken between us, only appreciative noises again. Honestly, if the food were any more delicious we’d be in danger of sounding like that scene from When Harry Met Sally! Ooooo err missus! But we restrained ourselves, maintaining a modicum of decorum in the busy restaurant. As the cheese board was excellent we opted to sample it again… just to make sure the quality continued from one day to the next…. At least that was our reason (excuse) for blowing out on it again.

When our meal was over, we relaxed in the lounge bar with the last of the wine. It can be a fascinating pastime watching other tables, particularly if there’s a level of tension between one table and the next. We never did get the whole story, but it seemed that a fall-out between two ladies had caused a split in the friendship group. It was now a ‘them and us’ situation, judging by the barbed comments and passive-aggressive posturing. The more wine consumed, the more barbed the comments. All I could say for sure, is that there’d be a bunch of sore heads tomorrow morning!

It’s going to be a messy morning!

Our empty wine bottle was our sign to retire to our room for the night. We brough extra supplies with us so the night didn’t stop there… not with a large slipper bath and Prosecco to enjoy…

The following morning we were one of the first to arrive at our breakfast table. Our plans for the day did not include an epic walk so we chose a less filling breakfast. Mr D loves eggs benedict and I love smoked salmon, scrambled eggs on freshly baked toasted bread. Again Chef delivered tasty food in plentiful supply. All too soon it was time to check out and make tracks for home… but not by the direct route. As I was in charge of the map and navigation this time, I directed Mr D along some pretty roads, through tiny villages and on to Helmsley. It’s one of my favourite market towns, and a favourite for motorcyclists. We managed to park in one of the last remaining spaces in the center, right next to thousands of pounds-worth of steel horses! It almost made me want to buy one again… almost, but not quite. I prefer the safety of my four wheels.

Helmsley has an amazing castle to visit and is part of the Cleveland way. We regularly walk from the castle to Rievaulx Abbey, a 7mile round trip to the ruins one of the most powerful Cistercian monasteries in England. Not this time though. I was more intent on catching up with in-person retail therapy. Lucky me, I found some new walking trousers and gaiters. Next stop, ye olde sweetie shop where you can buy sweets from childhood days. I can’t walk past without buying some sherbet lemons, aniseed balls, jelly beans and dolly mixtures. Our final stop was for icecream. Rum and raisin for Mr D and mint choc chip for me. What a wonderful end to our first trip away from home, not just out, but out out! I hope it’s the first of many.

Naughty but nice

Next week the Dean household will be on holiday in Cornwall. Here’s to decent waves, decent weather, and fun in the sun. I’ll be taking a break and recharging the batteries.

P.s… the holiday was fun… pt 2 coming soon. Sorry for the confusion.

Until then… stay safe and well

Blog Posts, Menopausal Mutterings

Right out – part 2

Last week I wrote about our first foray out into the wilds, i.e. not being at home overnight for the first time in months. We’d had a soggy start to the weekend, but enjoyed our first indoor pint and checked into our favourite country retreat.

We pick up at the point of our evening meal, again a first for months. Mr D enjoyed a magnificent sea bass with seasonal veggies while I went wild and treated myself to lobster thermidor. Unusually our table was chat-free, only the noises of two people enjoying every mouthful of deliciousness, washed down with wine. Knowing our limited capacity for desserts, we opted to share a cheeseboard. We love cheese but rarely have it due to the need to be able to fasten waistbands on jeans! This weekend was the exception… we didn’t stint and slept like the proverbial logs.

Logs sleeping outdoors

Day two started with an epic full English platter: bacon, sausage, grilled field mushroom (the size of a small tea plate!), hash brown, fried bread, grilled tomatoes, baked beans, black pudding, topped off with a choice of eggs. I opted for scramble, while Mr D decided on fried. I like to choose scrambled or poached to test the chef. If you can do decent scrambled or poached eggs, you go right up in my estimation.

Just as well we planned a long walk after that gargantuan feast. All we had to do was navigate to Grassington. As Mr D drove yesterday it was my turn at the wheel. I love taking my car over the moors. The roads are more interesting than the main routes, and more scenic. Mr D didn’t disappoint, although I should point out his navigation skills are somewhat suspect at the best of times. Fortunately I have a great sense of direction and can read road signs!

Fortunately our road signs had more info than this!

Anyhow, he decided to take me the pretty way, through Coverdale. Had I seen the road map before, I would have been prepared for unclassified single track roads (a.k.a drove roads with tarmac on!) with the occasional passing space, cattle grids, free-range sheep and cows! Not to mention an uphill bicycle race. Those guys are tough. I had a few moments when I had to take evasive action when meeting these cyclists on hairpin bends! We hit one traffic jam… a cow that refused to get off the road, even when I honked my horn. I was on the point of heading off-road to get round him when he finally moved on… ever….. so….. slowly…. because….. well…. because….he….could!

Finally we arrived in Grassington, shifted some sheep out of our parking spot (they’re easier to move) and got into our walking gear. Hooray for dry weather! It made for a more pleasant walk. We followed the trail along the banks of the river Wharfe, accompanied by a variety of birdlife and the occasional sheep. The wooded section of the trail still had bluebells in bloom, mixed with newly flowering wild garlic. Normally that scent makes me hungry but our breakfast provided us with plenty of ballast for the walk.

Eventually we turned back, retracing our steps, still not hungry but ready for some liquid refreshment. I can highly recommend The Devonshire, which doubles as the Drovers Arms when filming for the All Creatures Great and Small tv program is in production. There’s plenty of outdoor space to enjoy a refreshing pint while watching the world walk past.

Our route home wasn’t quite so off-road this time as we wanted to visit some waterfalls which we knew would be running high following all the recent rains. So off to we Aysgarth Falls drove. We weren’t disappointed. The noise was deafening, the water brown and icy cold. Needless to say we stayed well back from the edge. Nobody survives if they fall in!

Towards the end of the afternoon we drove through Wensleydale and back to our base, just in time for the bar to reopen and a fresh cask of local ale opened. Mr D was in seventh heaven, while I opted for a local gin and tonic. It was great to remove the walking boots and rest our tired, hot feetat last.

Next week will be the final day of our epic minibreak, coming home via the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, with me in charge of the roadmap.

Until then, have a safe and healthy week.

Cath xx