Packing up and a little excursion to Heptonstall

We have commenced packing up and at the moment it feels like I have less stuff with me than when we came here. But, I still have things out, it’s probably going to seem quite different by 10ish to,or row when we are picked up by the taxi to take us to the station. We’ve become quite adept at getting around locally by bus, but having three suitcases this time we felt it is justified to get a taxi. The weather is looking pretty wet.

Our outing fulfilled a number of objectives. Stephen was looking for Sylvia Plath’s grace, and found it. He agreed that he probably wanted to do this because he likes the celebrity status rather than as someone who reads her poetry.

Her grave is the little one with flowers.

Eversley wanted to see the Octagonal Methodist Church which is the original place that the Methodists began. Her family has history in this area and it was a family connection that motivated her.

The interior is similar to the Wesley Church in Perth.

I hadn’t brought a raincoat, silly me, so was prepared to wait in the car. In time I got bored and walked out in the light rain. Almost the first thing I noticed was a snug looking little cafe. I had a coffee and when the others found me we had scones with jam and cream. It’s a great favourite because here in England we have clotted cream, rather than the thin, artificial stuff.

Heptonstall is a dear little village of steep, narrow streets, cobblestones and traditional Yorkshire houses. It’s really a part of Hebden Bridge, tucked nicely above and away from the tourist area. The small buses have to cope with driving through this type of village. We have this type of bus coming up to Cragg Vale where we are staying.

On the way home we filled up the tank on our borrowed car and Eversley got a shock at the price as she had offered to pay. The tank was only just under half empty. It was also an opportunity to do a little shopping. I think we all have a thing about grocery stores as it a way of spending money that’s justified. Plus we like supporting the Coop.

We all took photos and I’m including Eversley’s photos of the church and Stephen’s photo of the grave.

Todmorden in the Rain

Stephen had a thought to visit the neighbouring village of Todmorden. To travel there we caught the bus to Mytholmroyd Train Station. Stephen had a hair cut nearby, then we caught the train. As the train was arriving our payment for tickets at the machine failed for some reason, but we got on the train thinking we could could buy them from the conductor. The conductor ignored Stephen’s signal and went and sat with the driver and we didn’t actually pay for the ride of two stops.

At Todmorden it was raining fairly consistently. Eventually we gave up waiting for it to ease off and went down the road to the Visitor Centre. We have noticed the Town Hall from the train and there are some other interesting buildings in the town as well.

We had timed our visit well and arrived on their monthly market day, so had a wander around the indoor and outdoor stalls. The food stalls were tempting, but there wasn’t much seating indoors and none outdoors, so we went to a local cafe recommended to Stephen at the visitor centre. There we had a full English breakfast, shared between two of us for £5, a bargain as there was lots of food. Hot chocolate went well with a rainy day. It wasn’t cold enough for getting a bit wet to be a problem.

We left earlier than planned as the rain did not look like clearing in the slightest. The bus was closer than the station so was our first choice for getting to Hebden Bridge. As we boarded the ticket machine wasn’t working and all of us who got on at that point were told to sit down without paying.

Eversley had chosen the Hebden Bridge Library as her place to visit for the day. We joined her in a rather nice upstairs section with comfortable sofas where we could pretend to read whilst we actually napped.

Our plan had been to have tea at a Trades Club, but when Eversley checked it out she found it not really comfortable and very noisy with a brass band practising. Instead we went to a very nice pub and shared our usual 2 between 3 to have an interesting and varied two course meal, with cider to drink.

Then it was back to the bus stop and home.

Today is a day of cleaning and packing in preparation for our departure tomorrow morning, but we will take the car out later to fill with petrol for our hosts and do some last local sightseeing.

To Leeds for the day

When we arrived at the station the ticket machine was out of order. Someone suggested that we photograph the out of order notice to show officials when we arrived in Leeds. So we did.

When we arrived and went to buy our tickets we were told that many of the machines were out of order due to the heavy rain. We were charged £5 each for our return journey, possibly a special price due to the problem.

Stephen wanted to visit Leeds because he had been told that there are wonderful Indian restaurants there. He checked out an special exhibition celebrating 300 years of immigration in the city museum and E and I thought it sounded interesting, and indeed it was. But, we didn’t go to an Indian restaurant, basically because we don’t like spending a lot of money on lunch.

We went first to the gallery/library where there was a Visitor Information Centre. First after tracking down a Three shop to get vouchers to top up our mobile accounts. It took a bit of searching. We had a look at the gallery as well.

The city has some impressive public buildings. Unlike York, they are mixed in with modern buildings of varying styles. It is still a city with great cultural diversity and we felt quite at home, of course, since this is what it is like in Perth.

I noticed some kids with health problems as we walked around, and I think there may be a children’s hospital in the city.

There was some rain during the day, but not enough to get us wet. We took a walk to the river and canal before catching the train home. The river runs under part of the station. The canal has the usual collection of canal boats, but there was one that was unusual.

At the bus stop in the morning we ran into a local woman we have met before at the bus stop. We will miss her as it is nice to have contact with one of our neighbours.

Visiting the Yorkshire Dales National Park (NOT)

In fact, we explored lots of options of a day or overnight trip in the Yorkshire Dales, and it was just too challenging in terms of transport and finding accommodation that wasn’t really expensive. This morning, we concluded that there were things to explore in our local area.

First, we drove up a road we have been on before with the idea of stopping a few times to look at possible walks (all downhill, with a promise of uphill later), but mainly to enjoy the views.

Cragg Vale - 1


up to reservoir (1 of 1)

farmhouse (1 of 1)


moorland (1 of 1)


cleft with trees (1 of 1)


drystone wall (1 of 1)

Then, we drove further on to Hollingworth Lake in Smithybridge. The walk around the lake is probably about 4.5 kms. We stopped at a cafe to enjoy a light lunch, then on return to the start of our walk we had a cafe visit for tea, coffee and cake.

lake walk begins (1 of 1)


cafe half way (1 of 1)
First Cafe
bridal cafe (1 of 1)
Second Cafe

lake boats (1 of 1)


gulls (1 of 1)


bridge (1 of 1)

I was able to get lots of photos on that walk as well. The last time we went to the lake we only walked part of the way and it felt quite an accomplishment to walk all the way around, including past some wetlands. The day was cloudy, but it didn’t rain until after we got in the car to drive home at about 2.30 p.m.

We’ve identified another possible walk, with parking on the side of the road and a path that stretches across the moor (not up or down). We have a bit more local exploring to do in the next few days before we leave here on Sunday morning.

flower (1 of 1)


Rainy Tuesday in Cragg Vale

Fortunately the morning got a good kick with the handing down on the Supreme Court judgement on the legality of Boris Johnson’s prorogue of the UK parliament. Of course, we all feel that the unanimous judgement is a triumph for democracy, but there are dissenting voices.

At least now they can get back to business and work on a deal or a referendum or an election, whatever.

Knowing that today would be a very wet day I have checked on movies in iTunes and we have one that none of us have seen, but which promises to be interesting called ‘Never look away’ about a German artist.

Another small project was to photograph some of the artwork in this house. At first I found it very confronting, but I’ve gradually got over the sense of it being very spooky. Stephen, of course, doesn’t mind that nude women feature quite a lot, even though they are not painted or sculpted in a realistic style. The artist, our host Michael, was a music academic before retirement, but a visual artist as well and the house could well be a sort of gallery as he has worked on many different types of art. Overall, the feeling is of a dark, demonic mood, though I can also sense that it isn’t for Michael, and that some of the pieces are purely for fun and meant to evoke laughter.

Here goes:

This is one of the nicer ones which is on a ceiling beam in the kitchen.

Spiders and snakes in the downstairs bathroom. The overall effect of the room is rather nice, with attractive tiling around the bath. However, real spiders sometimes come into the house and sit in the upstairs bath tub for Eversley to gently force out the window.

These four photos some just some of the artwork in the main bedroom that Stephen and I use. It is a large room that takes up the whole side of that floor, with windows on either side.

Eversley has a smaller bedroom, but there is a nice sunny little sitting room next door which she uses for reading and writing. The following photos show part of some of the many artworks in that room – not necessarily contributing to the comfort. Best ignored.

Finally, there is the lounge room. It has lounge chairs, not very comfortable, a TV and a piano that is in tune. My beloved is having a play on it at the moment. The lighting is a bit dim for reading music.

Imagine having this confronting you every time you walk into your lounge room. We go there fairly often because the downstairs bathroom is reached by walking through this room.

This photo is of a sculpture in the rear garden. We can see it from the kitchen window.

Not all of the artworks are ugly, I like this one. There are some musical instruments hung from ceiling beams.

We are not sure that all of the pieces throughout the house are Michael’s work, some may be bought because he likes them. There is an attic with oil paintings spread out and stacked to dry, which would be more of his art. The kitchen has a great deal of pottery – fairly conventional designs and I didn’t bother to photograph them.

We can smell the paint used in the paintings and have some concerns about the toxic effects.

We were glad to get away to York to a house which was more conventionally furnished. But, even there, the owner had got carried away with movie themes. There was a large jukebox in the kitchen dining room – annoying because it wasn’t a large room and who really wants a jukebox at home. There were posters and bits in the smaller bedroom featuring weapons, etc., which made it not as comfortable for a woman to sleep in as it could have been. The main bedroom was not particularly quirky.

We didn’t take a photo of the large, black creature to the side of the house, holding a weapon. We don’t know what movie it is from. Our host was formerly a policeman and perhaps feels that guns are a normal part of life. My advice to people on Airbnb generally is to go for neutral furnishing and artwork as themed decorations may not sit well with some of your customers. We didn’t say anything to him, of course. He was very kind to us, the kitchen was well equipped, and the lounge furniture and beds were comfortable. The house was spotlessly clean. Hence, we found it far more comfortable than here.

So, the thing we love about being here in Cragg Vale is the locality. Our surroundings are beautiful and the local villages very quaint. We were talking to a young business owner at our local cafe yesterday. She is from Hebden Bridge, but has travelled a lot. She has come home because she feels that this is a very beautiful place to live and can’t be bettered anywhere she has seen. She said she might be tempted to move to Australia, but has a daughter to a man who lives here and doesn’t want to separate them. She has a friend in Sydney and will be visiting next year.

We are constantly finding that people we talk to here in England have some connection to Australia, whether having family or friends living there, or they have travelled to Australia and often visited Perth. It feels surprising to us because Australia has such ethnic diversity that we could be forgiven to thinking that there is no longer such a strong connection with the UK.

Let us acknowledge the artist, Michael Wilson, who might or might not have created all of the artworks featured in this blog. For his original works, he owns the copyright, of course. However, it does seem to be acceptable to photograph artwork, as often happens in galleries, as long as the artist is acknowledged. Hebden Bridge is well known as a place where artists like to live and there are artist’s workshops in the town. I noticed something of a theme of skeletons, which also feature in this house.

My photos were taken with the Sony A6400 and a Sony 50mm 1.8 lens to allow for maximum light hitting the sensor. On a cropped sensor camera this meant I was working at about 85mm, a long lens rather than wide angle. Hence showing parts of paintings rather than the whole. This house is not particularly well lit and on a grey day we are not getting much light from outside.

The photos were transferred wirelessly to the iPad using compression to take them from full sized to about 2mb each. This works well for the web, but wouldn’t hold up for enlarging them for a big screen. I haven’t processed them in any way or added a watermark regarding copyright, but they are too small to be useful apart from in the blog.

York: summing up

Our stay in York began with booking accommodation and train tickets. Because we are now three people we were able to consider having a small house with two bedrooms. We stayed at an older house that has been renovated to a high standard. Our host provided everything we could possibly need, even to supplying a French press as I requested when we arrived. Eversley took a free tour with him, which basically consisted of walking from the house into town, with history points on the way. He contacted us last night to ask if we wanted a lift to the station today, and of course we said yes. Stephen had checked out a left luggage place near the station where we left some bags. He was appalled at the price however, and it was probably a better idea to travel to and from the house this morning as I’m sure our host would have held our bags for us until we travel.

Our train booking is at 2.00 p.m., but actually we can catch it any time out of peak hours (don’t apply on Sundays anyway). We chose this later time because of the cycle challenge which passes past our house today, resulting in the road being closed to normal traffic until 3.30 p.m.

This has meant that we have time to do a little more sight seeing. Stephen was able to extend a museum ticket until today, so has gone back to finish off. I walked around the Minster again to pick up on things I missed last time. Eversley is also wandering around and thought of going to a church service. I chose to spend some time on my own in a cafe to do some writing and this will be our meeting point for lunch.

Where we are staying has a very good bus service for getting into the city centre, plus we were able to catch the bus to Whitby from the same stop. The city centre is very pedestrian friendly, in fact, it is best explored by public transport and on foot. Many roads in the centre are closed to cars and more closures are planned. We didn’t check on parking costs, but actually finding parking might be difficult as well.

There is one more thing I would like to see which is the Railway Museum, strategically located near the train station, but I don’t know if we will have time.

Monday 23rd September.

The journey home wasn’t very long, but we were tired when we arrived. Eversley said the morning service at York Minster was good as the choir sang through the service. Stephen was happy that he finished off his museum.

Now all we need to do is decide what to do for our last week here in Cragg Vale.

Eversley, Shaun and Susan, plus bags.

We saw this apparently lost bear near Clifton Tower.

Although York is very pedestrian friendly with many streets closed to cars, this carpark is near Clifton Tower and has lots of spaces.

York: A visit to the Clifton Tower

Yesterday was a day of rambling around, enjoying the city on foot. The Tower gives a great view over the city, with explanatory notices as you walk around the top. In the evening we watched a Michael Portillo video about York, which gives a summary of some of the main historical events. He went into the Jorvik Museum and confirmed what we thought – that it was a sort of Disney style exhibit. We would certainly go if we had children in our party as I think it is a good way for them to catch up on history.

After the Clifton Tower Stephen and I went in search of a cooked breakfast for lunch. Some cafes have all day breakfasts, many stop at 11.00 a.m. We found somewhere immediately near the tower, but decided to walk on to see if we could find a place that was more open. After half an hour we caved and went into a cafe that offered seniors meals. But, not on weekends, unfortunately. We decided to stay as we had a table at a window in a booth, very comfortable. We ordered, and after half an hour queried the delay with the waitress. Of course, there had been a mixup with our order and it would be arriving in about 10 minutes. We made the best of it.

After that Stephen and I did our own thing for a while before meeting up with Eversley who had taken a tour. We couldn’t make up our minds whether to go to Evensong at York Minster again or not. In the end, we must have been too tired. It was very crowded today in the streets and fighting that all day had left us feeling we wanted something peaceful. We walked along the river, then diverted back to the Railway Station where our bus stop was nearby. The station has some little shops and we were able to get some fruit.

We had a scratch tea, leftover this and that, plus fruit. Then watched the video.

York has a fairly bloody history and I could say things about the tower, but not good things, so perhaps we will leave it that it was originally a wooden construction and has been used for hundred’s of years.

This sign shows a layout of the castle complex, with the tower behind.

There were steep stairs up to the entry.

This is a zoomed view towards the North Yorkshire Moors from the tower.

These photos show views of the city. As you can see, yesterday was particularly clear and sunny.

These photos of the interior show some restoration taking place. There are buildings shrouded in scaffolding all over the cities and towns we have visited. Old buildings require constant upkeep and tourist places like this must partly rely on entry fees to keep up.

There are buildings on three sides actually, showing that the same configuration of the Clifton Tower and outer buildings is still in use after all of these centuries, updated with the times.

The following photos were taken as we wandered through the streets looking for a cafe for lunch.

Stephen had a free ticket to tour the inside of the Minster. I wandered in as well and took some photos.

We had a drink at a little place on the bridge. Non-alcoholic as we didn’t like their prices and had wine back at the house for later.

This shows one view of the Victorian railway station. After walking along the river we found a path back to where we could catch our bus which took us through this part of the station.

A visit to the seaside town of Whitby

A 2.5 hour bus trip took us over part of the North Yorkshire Moors to Whitby. The moors themselves perhaps illustrate that the English are not used to sweeping views over treeless landscape. It was impressive, but coming from Australia, something we have quite a lot of.

Whitby, on the other hand, was interesting as the fourth seaside town we have been to in England, or fifth actually as we went to one with Stephen’s cousin Alan many years ago. This one is at the junction of a river and is/was a fishing village. Eversley had set her sights on climbing up 199 steps to an old monastery. Although the steps were shallow and an easier climb than expected, we decided to do the opposite headland where Stephen was delighted to find a statue of Captain Cook. We visited Botany Bay earlier this year and it rounded off his excursion into history very nicely.

We had taken a picnic lunch with us, which we ate on arrival at a pub which advertised that we could eat our own food there, but had to buy a drink. Because we would be arriving home after 8.00 pm we had an early tea at another pub, fish and chips, which was delicious, in an upstairs room at a pub. There was a sign saying we couldn’t use our mobile phones, laptops, etc. to promote conversation, which was annoying as we wanted to see Eversley’s photos. I could show off mine as cameras weren’t forbidden. I’ve seen this sort of sign in cafes in Perth, but not been to a place where it is enforced.

We were tired by this stage and hung around enjoying the late afternoon ambience of the town whilst we waited for our bus. We napped on the way home.

And some the North Yorkshire Moors, through the bus window.

Castle Howard – another stately home visit

Not that I go to these places for the ‘home’ part. What is appealing is lovely gardens, excellent cafes and tempting gift shops. Castle Howard has three cafes and we sampled them all. This was on Thursday.

I spent extra time in the main cafe at the house writing in this blog, then followed Stephen into the house, where I soon ran into him. That was because he started at the wrong end. The most interesting thing for us and most visitors is that this was where both versions of ‘Brideshead Revisited’ were shot and there was a display in one of the rooms. We also went into the chapel that is part of the house and where Charles Ryder nearly died of class envy.

It was a sunny day and a pleasant temperature and we enjoyed time out in the grounds enjoying the views. Stephen went on a bit longer walk at the end, but I was too tired.

The house is apart an hour bus ride from York which meant we got to see more of the surrounding countryside. It is much dryer here than where we are staying at Cragg Vale, with fields of stubble after harvest. The first photos are from the entry part to the grounds, which have a cafe, a takeaway coffee shop, a produce store and a gift shop.

A little train to travel to different venues.

Afternoon tea at the garden cafe

This contraption allowed the person to be taken down the steps in his,own wheelchair.