Saturday, October 30, 2010

We have just returned from a wonderful week in the Yorkshire Dales. we stayed in a little village called Conistone. The photo above, taken by Phil, is a panoramic view of the area around Conistone. According to Wikipedia,

Conistone is a small village (population 117 in the 2001 census) in North Yorkshire, England. It lies 3 miles north of Grassington, beside the River Wharfe, in Upper Wharfedale.

The village is set in characteristic limestone scenery, including Mossdale Caverns, the dry gorge of Conistone Dib and the limestone outcrop of Conistone Pie. Above the Dib a Dalesway path connects Kettlewell, to its north, and Grassington, to its south, providing distant views over the Wharfedale. From the B6160 road, the Wharfe is crossed at Conistone by a stone-arch bridge, which is within easy walking distance of Kilnsey, with its Crag.

Our cottage was lovely, old and cosy with the most luxurious bathroom and extremely well-equipped kitchen. We especially enjoyed the novelty of lighting a log fire each evening. I adore Yorkshire. It is a very spacious county and you really feel you have room to breathe. I was awestruck by the magnificent scenery at every turn in the road.

We love the Lake District but I am starting to find it too crowded and too commercial. Every town and village is becoming a tourist trap, I like to visit places where there are still village stores and local amenities, instead of wall to wall gift/outdoor shops and cafes.

This was the holiday we were meant to share with my mum in law, June, so it had a certain poignancy to it. But we had Phil's dad with us, although not Kate for the first few days, who was staying behind for a party.

As we entered Skipton I was electrified by the sight of some orange sheep in a field. No one else saw them and I was skitted at the entire holiday...but I found THIS on Google and THIS on Youtube.

On the Saturday we went to Ripon and admired the beautiful cathedral and then stopped off at Fountains Abbey for a walk around the gardens. We were told that the Abbey was to be floodlit that evening so we decided to do a supermarket shop back in Ripon and then return to see the Abbey lit up. It was wonderfully atmospheric and we all had loads of fun taking photos. The night was clear and there was a full moon - very impressive! (see Phil's pic below!)

The following day we visited the falls at Aysgarth followed by Bolton Castle which was a lot of fun, even if the lady selling tickets did not at first believe that Sian was under 18! We picked Kate up from Lancaster Station that evening.

Monday was a bright and sunny day so we headed off to the amazing Malham Cove. We think Phil's dad thought we were trying to finish him off with the climb to the top but it was well worth it. After lunch we walked to another waterfall called Janet's Foss. Janet was apparently queen of the fairies...hmm, not sure about THAT fact!

Sian and I managed to go on a great ride each over the fells, although not together as I'm not up to her standard. The riding centre was in the village which meant we often heard the sound of hooves clopping past.

We also managed trips to North Allerton, Bolton Abbey (fab scones in the tea shop there!!) and Brimham Rocks and a place called Stump Caverns which was a bit boring, to be honest and not worth the entrance fee!

The weather was pretty good for October with some gorgeous sunny days and I'm already longing to go back there. We had such a lovely time being together and escaping from worries and cares for a time. Although as always it was nice to come home and see the cats again.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Reflections in a Rolls Royce

It's been a while since my last blog post and I have been really busy. We photographed another wedding and had those photos to edit, plus we've had a week-long literary festival at work and I've been working lots of extra hours photographing events for that. This afternoon Everton are playing Liverpool and Phil & Kate are out, Sian is in France on an exchange trip and I'm "home alone" which is actually quite nice as I'm able to do a bit of catching up.

So much is going on I don't know where to begin. For starters, every council employee received a letter last week offering us the opportunity to apply for voluntary severance and/or voluntary early retirement (if over 55).There was also the hint that if not enough jobs were shed this way, compulsory redundancies could be next in line. I'm not eligible for my pension yet so I'm not applying to go. We have no idea yet how many staff will be allowed to go or what our department will look like after this process is over. And when you add the cuts in public spending that are to be announced next week into the mix alongside the reccomendations of the inquiry into public sector pensions - it all adds up to a lot of uncertainty.

Then Phil arrived home last week with the news that Lloyds are intending to shed loads of IT jobs - I literally just put my head in my hands in despair!

It's ironic that we could both end up claiming benefits at the exact time that this government are cutting the benefit system to the bone!

University fees are set to rise just as our daughters approach the age when they'll be applying to go to Uni.

Well, I'm sure my worries about possible job losses are shared by millions of people up and down the country. I know I'm not unique.

I'm missing June so much. I keep having these vivid dreams where I go to her house and she's there. When she sees my astonished face she says "It was all a mistake, I didn't die!" i wake up and for a few moments I'm happy, then reality hits again.

In losing June I feel I've lost one of the few remaining people who really thought I was all right. For so much of the time I feel I'm failing at everything, but June would tell me I was doing a good job. I miss that reassurance at a time when i feel everything is slipping away.

I know I have good friends I can talk to but I'm afraid of starting in case the floodgates open and EVERYTHING comes pouring out, not just the grief for June but all the fears and anxieties that are tormenting me. No one needs to have all that dumped on them especially as I know my friends have their own worries and concerns to deal with. Hence this post, so I can at least get things off my chest a bit...send them into Cyberspace.

I recently had a night out with friends and although it was lovely to see them i felt very separate from them, as if I was behind a sheet of perspex. I don't feel part of the group any more - nothing to do with them,they are the same wonderful group of people they always have been, it's just me. I don't know why I feel like this. I'm lonely but at the same time I can't seem to bring myself to interact with people.

Well, so as not to be ALL doom & gloom I'll write about some positives - riding is going well and I had my first canter in 20 years the other week - wow, I absolutely loved it! RDA has restarted and I'm still loving that.

Our two latest weddings are completed although both couples want albums which is more work (albeit enjoyable!). They are both very happy with our services which is always wonderful to hear. We have some bookings for next year too. Phew...

We are going on holiday soon to Yorkshire. Fears of creepy crawlies aside, I'm looking forward to a change of scene and hopefully some riding!

Right, off to do some gardening. I do feel a mite better for this cyber-dumping. Isn't self pity a vile emotion?