... where the ducks play football
04.03.2016 - 07.03.2016
What a wonderful weekend! We have done some serious adventuring and exploring, and we are now all fluent speakers of French (and I use the term ‘fluent’ very loosely).
We started with a job interview in Ripley (believe it or not) for Andy, where the rest of us explored the vast number of charity shops available and practised our fish faces. We visited our fourth Wetherspoon’s (Rosie’s sixteenth in eight months), and then drove through Derwent pencil country. There were some beautiful villages covered in snow on our way to Barnoldswick, and somewhere along the line Simon acquired the nickname of Fish Boy (garçon poisson) and I ended up with Mud Flaps. I think I actually preferred being “Simon’s wife”, but apparently you don’t get a choice in these things.
James, Annice and the entire town of Barlick provided the perfect setting for a very happy birthday for Simon. Between wishes from home and wishes from Lancashire, I think Simon was feeling sufficiently celebrated (which is lucky because I failed miserably at Wife-ing and didn’t get him a card or a present). We saw the markets in the morning (complete with town crier), and then went venturing in the Yorkshire Dales with Parky and his parents. Rosie seemed to enjoy the opportunity to see the sights of Janet's Foss and Gordale Scar and Malham Cove from the safety of her backpack thingamy, and was the only one who didn’t have to worry about getting her feet wet. The view from the top of Malham Cove was stunning, and generated a bit of photo faffing and #suckonthataustralia-ing. Simon commented that it looked like something out of a Harry Potter movie, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that it actually was (the bit in the last movie where they disappear and reappear and have to keep moving and such apparently). We rewarded ourselves for our efforts with a pint at the Buck Inn (where else would you go on Buccas’ birthday?) and sang Disney classics all the way home to Barlick for birthday cake. We ventured out to Barlick Raj Balti for birthday dinner at seven thirty (‘you mean half-seven?’) before investigating the evening economy. Fountain Inn good, Crossed Keys less so.
Sunday’s mission was to explore the sights of Lancashire – so where better to start than a car boot sale? Clitheroe provided us all with our £1.50 worth of entertainment, but it was the people rather than the sale items that amused me the most. People watching at its finest. Next stop on the agenda was Pendle, home of the Pendle witches. We were unsurprised that the first thing we saw on getting out of the car was a black cat. Totes approps. Haworth gave us our fix of Bronte buildings, and the winning combination of cobblestone streets, spectacular views and interesting shops. Well played Haworth, well played. We braved the cold for photos with a moor-ish backdrop and then tootled back home for a warming meal and introduction to the world of mystery television shows.
Monday morning brought more French lessons and the repeated singing of “On Ilkley Moor bah tat”, until we decided to merge the two skills and create “En Moor d’Ilkley sans chapeau”. Ilkley Moor turned out to be well worth singing about, but mostly we decided to be avec chapeau due to the cold winds. I always appreciated Grandma’s knitting skills, but since arriving in England the appreciation of my beanie and gloves went up a level.
We all developed a terrible ice habit up at the Cow and Calf. The shallow lake had frozen over which led to skating on thin ice (literally), skimming rocks across the ice and shattering ice. More fun than it sounds – don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it.
In Saltaire (the town, not the person we met at Annie and Andy’s wedding) we earned our good karma by eating at a pay-as-you-feel café, and then perused The Salts before ending up back in Leeds. We celebrated the successful Tour de Thornshire by popping into the post office to collect our biometric residence permits, thus enabling us to remain here legally and continue to eat mangetout for the next year. I may never go back to snow peas again.
We finished the night with 'A Game of Scruples' (49p well spent) and Metaxa (Greek brandy) and managed to keep all three marriages in tact despite ferocious arguments over wigs, red sequinned dresses, heckling men in parks and other such moral dilemmas. One heck of a boardgame!