We've been away. For ages. Well, for about 10 days, but in our world it seems like ages.
We should've been updating the Twitter and the blog during our little sojourn but a combination of big hills, posh hotels, sheep and country pubs distracted us enough not to bother. We spent the week in Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Cumbria and it was utterly lovely.
Firstly, thanks to the blog hijackers for the birthday message. I was being pampered and preened at a spa hotel that weekend having the stress build up of 3 years of running a knitting shop beaten and squeezed out of me buy the lovely Sarah at the Losehill Hotel and Spa. Three days of fresh air and luxury; gin and tonics, smoked mackerel and scrambled eggs and lots of cheese. A visit to the local Spar for a midnight feast and the new James Bond DVD were a highlight! Pampered and preened and full of the joys of Spring we headed north into Yorkshire...
Although we were off from IKL, we were still trawling charity shops for knitting books, and visiting local wool shops to see what joys they had to offer. It was a disappointing trip to Holmfirth when we discovered that Rowan have neither a mill or any kind of visitor facilities. We were turned away at reception and sent in the direction of their local stockist down in the town. Still, we did see the caff from Last of the Summer Wine and found the cutest little button / haberdashery / vintage knick-knack shop called Winnie's, up a cobbled lane from days of yore, so quaint you'd think it was fake!
A leisurely drive through t'country and we stopped for the night in Skipton, which really took me by surprise. Lovely place, local market, shops etc and a gorgeous old cinema, The Plaza, where we had some M&Ms and watched Frost/Nixon. It felt like 1959 for a couple of hours and that's no bad thing. We spent the night in the Woolly Sheep Inn, on Sheep Street (we couldn't resist) and headed off in the morning, onwards and upwards. Tea and scones, with jam and cream saw us on our way. (I think I had more creamy, jammy scones last week than the rest of my life added together).
Two reasons why we extended our trip were invites to a pair of weddings....one in Burnsall, Yorkshire on Friday last, and one the next day in Cumbria. So it was off to Burnsall, where we stayed for three nights in the Red Lion and took advantage of the free days to take in Sheffield, Harrogate, Bolton Abbey and the open space. We couldn't spend time in this part of the world without dropping in to see Ann and Ruth (and David) at the Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop near Leyburn. We've been stocking their wool for a couple of years now but haven't had the chance to call by. It was a glorious sunny day and coming upon the farm in the back lanes around Garriston was quite exciting. What a perfect little shop! Full of woolly stuff and more.
This is Beryl who is one of their avid knitters, happy to while away the day, needles clicking, making the most beutiful Wensleydale jumpers and cardis. The hospitality, and the soup, were top-notch and we spent a good couple of hours putting the knitting world to rights and in great company. We were prvileged to see Ann's collection of knitting sticks too! It felt like the best place in the world to be hanging around. If you are ever close by it's worth dropping in.
Of course, if there's one place to visit when in Wensleydale it's the Creamery at Hawes. Home of the Real Yorkshire Wensleydale, we made it along after the sheepshop, but sadly they'd stopped creaming for the day due to the amount of milk they had delivered that morning. We couldn't watch the cheesemaking, but we consoled ourselves in the gift shop and have bought enough Wensleydale to last a lifetime. My favourite has blueberries in it.
Driving back across the moors was spectacular. We took the scenic route from Hawes back through Wharfedale and over the hills. There was a chilly wind blowing and the views were astonishing. There's something reassuring about a vista like this that hasn't changed for centuries; the winding lanes; the farms and sheep; the stone barns peppering the landscape. Back at Burnsall it was a pint of local ale and fish and chips to warm us up.
So the week ended with the wedding double bill! On Friday we attended our first ever I Knit London wedding! That's the first wedding for someone we met through the knitting group. Tom first joined us about 2 years ago at a pub in Soho one Wednesday night. Always up for trying new things he thought he'd give the knitting a go. Famously his first scarf took over a year, but what's the rush?! We've been seeing him ever since, and some of you might remember him as part of the IKL Eggheads team too. Congratulations to Tom and Claire, currently enjoying Malaysia!
A late night, then an early start to drive the Settle-Carlisle route for wedding number 2 in Wetheral. For a short time we were running alongside the Duchess of Sutherland and it was like 1959 all over again (again)! (If only we were on the train instead of driving). Ann and John were the happy couple this time, Ann's been a friend for 18 years and I thought this would never happen but she stalked John so much he finally gave in. We danced til morning and Ann's particular taste in music was confirmed at the first wedding I've been to where we had Rammstein, Gene Kelly and The Good Life theme tune. Congratulations to Ann and John, now enjoying the Isle of Skye!