Leatherly, Nth Yorkshire

Leathley, North Yorkshire. Our first house sit.

Waking to the birds and boards.

Squeaky floor boards announce that Patrick is up.

My door is open. He brings in a big cup that I thought was tea!

Stella’s cup and she wants breakfast! Key required from my pocket.

Solomon and Stella fed.

Then I hear a tune on the ivories. The grand piano is at thé bottom of the stairs so music wafts up.

Now I’m thinking of the bread we bought at the local baker. Time to get up!

Yes breakfast was good.

Now down to the paddock to do the morning chores.

Harvey the horse of 26 years.

6 Hebrides sheep and

5 chicken fed.

A drive to Shipley for an Indian restaurant. Disappointed.

Bathed in lovely stone villages every way you turn. Guess that’s the way it is.

Somehow we end up in a pub. They are really such nice places.

Paperwork issues continue.

Proving I live here is tricky. Need it for car insurance, bank account and driving license. It will happen.

Thinking of pheasant for dinner. We have some in the freezer that we’ve been invited to eat.

Leicester 24 -27/2

Only a few days to visit all the pubs in Leicester.

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Bank account done through the back door. Joint account with Patrick for a start. Without further proof I am then able to open my own account!!!

20.6C today. This is highest recorded temp in winter in the area. Locals have been saying the weather is balmy. Maybe I’ve brought a bit of Queensland.

Lucky I say.

Tuesday 27/2

Showers done. Aloe Vera wipes give me an easy option in the cold in a grotte group house.

Exercises done with the elastic Powertube.

Screwfix now. Yes no joking! That’s the name for the local Bunnings.

At Screwfix one stands in an entrance room and looks through a catalogue and orders at the counter. No up close or personal with the tools. They even have ikea style pencils to write down the item number.

Market Harborough signs so off we go. 14miles from Leicester.

Dad was born there in about 1922. We find graves x4 for people named Woods, his birth name.

John born 1874 & Ada 1877

Joseph died 1968 aged 74 and Ivy in 1953 age 55. See above.

John died 1912 aged 70 & Jessie in 1926 aged 73years. See below if you can.

And George who died 1924 at 30yrs

Melton Mowbray is famed for the beginning of pork pies. We wander to the best shop and yes, they are good. Online orders accepted.

I see a stall with Harris tweed jackets, but at £160 it stays there.

Then onto a deer park at Wollaton near Nottingham. Grand old house and stable block converted to tea rooms on a broad acerage on which two deer herds graze. Nice walk around the lake.

A quick pint at the Admiralty Rodney then home.

ISLAY

Thursday 21/2

Arrived at Islay after about 2 hours on the ferry.

Then, walk or bus? We walk.

The community project to make a path complete with rest seats was great. Three distilleries within 5km.

Laphroaig poured us a wee dram then onto Lagavulin. Enjoyed another wee dram then onto Ardberg for lunch and a tasting.

Back down the road to Laphroaig for a 3pm tour. Susan our guide was a reborn school teacher. A great tour and the only brewery that did own peat smoking and sprouting/malting of the barley.

Below the malting is smoking the fire with peat. This is infused into the barley while malting.

Peat cut by hand in clumps is better as it retains its moisture and therefore smokes the barley more.

Back to the Port Ellen ferry. I Find cards and we play canasta on the 2 hour crossing. On to our glamping pod. Harder than you think with no internet or phone connection.

An hour later we accidentally find it then go onto Tarbert for dinner. All closed except a little supermarket. Bit lucky at 2110hrs in a village.

Friday 22/2 & Saturday

On the road again. Up and down lochs on narrow roads. We pass a fuel tanker from Chivas Regal. Guess it was Scottish whisky fuel.

Then we drive 6 hours south to Leathley for a community dinner and introduction weekend with Ann and John at our house sit in North Yorkshire. Lovely people, lovely place.

My room at The Manor house, complete with a rocking horse.

Ann shows us around the closest town of Leathley and later we walk along lanes, across paddocks and burns to a forest. Public footpaths through private farms and onto Riffa wood was nice. Not sure how often we found the designated track!

We drop in at the local church on the way home. The graves date from the 1700’s and the name on the gate is St Oswald’s Leathley.

Later we find ourself at The Black Bull in Leathley.

Stirling to Campbelltown

Wednesday 20/2

We left Stirling for Campbelltown. A short drive or so we thought. 1-2 hours was really 4 hours.

Scottish mist and rain.

A windy road north along Loch Lomond then south along the Irish Sea to Campbelltown and to Springbank Distillery. They have lost many of their other local distilleries but have just managed to keep three so they can be recognised as a distinct area. No good being bunched in with Highland Malt whiskys when you are on the sea.

Poor road and rail access has directed the downturn of this area. Springbank has chosen to remain original and hand made. The most handmade in the world! They do their own barley malting and smoking with peat. Almost no mechanisation of the process and no added caramel colouring.

Thursday morning we get an early ferry to Islay. You can see it across the water.

Malt Whisky Trail – Elgin to Stirling Castle

Monday 18th

Blue sky again. Sun streamed in onto the breakfast table.

Enjoyed haggis and black pudding with a big Scottish breakfast.

10 minutes drive to the local marina. Wind is icy. Two men are aboard.

Ready for the Malt Whisky trail.

The local one at Elgin is Glen Moray. Charming old place and tempting whiskys.

Tour and tasting for just the two of us. Really liked their Peat PX Single Malt but £80

Tried to visit Aberlour ; a note on the window advising one of a staff training day today. Makes 12,000 miles seem insignificant!

Went to Macallan distillery in its spectacular new building with earth covered domes to reflect the nearby hills.

Nice scotch but the marketing and image exceeded the scotch.

Interesting how the shape of the distiller changes the flavour. The shorter pot still gives more oiliness and deeper flavours.

Snow dusted the nearby hills.

Tuesday 19/2

Today we went to Stirling castle which was really interesting.

I wonder why some of the stones are built to jut out like a ladder? Some flat walls also had stones laid prominently in a random pattern.

We also went to a battle site nearby to see a 3D simulation of the Bannockburn battle and then played the battle of Bannockburn commanding the soldiers our way. This time the English won!

Patricks birthday, so another excuse for a pint or two.

We sniff out the Golden Lion just below the castle. Their Cronies restaurant had an interesting dinner menu. We chose black pudding with pork belly followed by venison steak with honey roasted root vegetables. Delicious.

By now we had nearly forgotten about an unfortunate meeting with a local cop. Fortunately he gave us a warning re brake lights not working. Good to know that thank you but we don’t have the right wee screw driver.

Bed at a nearby BnB.

UK 2019. Landed

Saturday-16th Feb

Straight through customs like a local, then ‘I can see you! ‘ said Patrick who came to meet me.

Luggage dropped into the car parked at Osterley station then back into London on the Piccadilly line.

All the characters from Monopoly came to life! We walked through Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace & on to Westminster Abbey.

It was magnificent! So many statues and tombs. Walking through history! The oldest part was a contrast in scale.

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Thé Queen was flying the Union Jack so she was home

And yes the London buses are still red

A pint for lunch. Soon it’s 4pm and back to the car for a 1.5hr drive to Leicester where Patrick lives. Below is our car outside Patrick’s abode on Beckingham Rd.

Sunday -17th Feb

Bugger. Forgot the sunnies.

The sky is blue and air warm.

Off to the Spey River area in Scotland to wander through the Malt Whisky country

Sunday lunch is at the Sandford Arms pub in a wee dozy village.

It’s school holidays here so Patrick has a week off. We drive 800km up to Elgin through the Highlands and Cairngorms National park. The moon is glowing on thé snow

Sunday night at Elgin we were lucky to find Laichmoray Hotel after our air BnB let us down on a chilly evening at 2030!

We enjoyed the brisk air and walked into town for an Indian meal in an old church. Still open and really tasty food. Used lots of fresh herbs and chutneys. Yummy!

Tasmania & UK

The next few chapters will be from the top and the bottom of the globe.

Werner is embarking on a sailing voyage with Halcyon2 tomorrow. The Wooden boat show in Hobart and his nephews wedding in Bendigo are the features.

I am flying to London mid February to house sit. My son Patrick is already relief teaching in Leicester and has bought us a car. Soon after we house sit together.

Late February we are invited to a community dinner that the locals have monthly. This will be with the owners of my first house sit. It is in Otley north of Leeds in a 17 century manor house with geriatric pets. Even the dog is too old to come walking with us. It looks like beautiful country. It’s hard to believe that in the same era of building that home they were hanging people they deemed as witches!

In April I move to Sancreed near Penzance. I guess Patrick will be back to Frankston by this time. This will be my home until November. I have a separate cottage (photo below) to enjoy while the owners come and go. My furry family will be fun and I am already enjoying pen friendship with the home owners.

It would be nice to have visitors if you can find your way to Cornwall.