Jervaulx Abbey

Yesterday the sun did shine, so I jumped in the car and headed for Jervaulx Abbey, being on something of an abbey kick at the moment. This one's onwed privately, and is much more the picturesque ruin in the garden that I imagine Rievaulx was before English Heritage got their hands on it and sterilised it - there are plants growing on bits of it, and shrubs inbetween, and whilst it was all a bit autumnal, I imagine it will be beautiful in the spring. But yesterday wasn't bad for November, the sky was blue and the sun was warm, although there was a chill wind. But it was a perfect day for wandering round old stones, and being a Monday there were only a couple more people there, I stayed for ages just enjoying the peace and quiet.

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Rievaulx Abbey

It didn't take me long to decide that I was indeed going to play truant from my desk this morning, especially once I remembered that my English Heritage card would get me into any number of heaps of stones in the area for nothing. So I drove up fifteen miles of windy country lanes to Helmsley, and then about two miles north to Rievaulx Abbey. This was the main Cistercian Abbey in the north of England, and at its peak housed 800 men, although by the time Henry VIII arrived there were only 22 men left, they must have rattled around rather, as it must have been huge when it was complete.

There was a free audio guide, but it was narrated as though by a monk of the later days, which I found both irritating and patronising, as well as hugely uninformative. The information panels only served to show an illustration as to how the area may have looked in its prime, and to tell you which button to press for more monkish thoughts - I think the idea is for you to spend another £4 on the guidebook if you want anything aimed at an intelligence higher than that of a small child. The information centre was similarly child-centred.

But the beauty of the buildings and the surroundings surpassed all this, and the sun shone.

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Bath Royal Crescent

Bath Day 1

The AA routeplanner I printed out to guide me to Bath said that the journey would take just over four hours, I thought that this seemed a little over optimistic, but a combination of clear roads and good weather meant that it was indeed the case, although I did add on half an hour for a lunch break. I found the house we'd rented at the first attempt, thankfully, and met the housekeeper there for a quick tour. The house was lovely, mostly very modern, with the bizarre exception of the single bedroom, which was full of old dark furniture - the rest was very Ikea. It was a topsy turvy house, with the living room, kitchen and one bedroom upstairs, and the bathroom, laundry room and the other bedroom downstairs, which took a little getting used to, but there was plenty of space, which was just as well given the speed with which we filled it with our many belongings and purchases. I'd definitely recommend the house to anyone looking to stay in Bath, it was £500 for the week, and had a twin and a single bedroom.

The house was on Sydney Mews, just over the river from the town centre, to get into town we crossed the Pulteney Bridge, which had dinky little shops all along both sides. The day I arrived the weather was beautiful and warm (I wandered around all afternoon wearing a t-shirt, despite it being October), so as soon as the housekeeper left I shot into town to look round and stretch my legs. And visit bookshops, natch.

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Another holiday

I'm off to Bath in the morning, having spent the week since getting home from Cumbria rushing round like an idiot sorting out the stuff I took with me last week, cleaning and tidying the house ready for my parents to come and house/cat sit, and packing to go away again, enlivened by the fact that since we're going to be self-catering, I have had to think of different things to take from the usual, principally food, as it seemed easier to buy the basics at Tesco here than to search for one in Bath. There are a Waitrose and a Sainsbury's in the town centre there, but I didn't fancy lugging milk, ribena, etc back through town, although I will go and pick up some pizza tomorrow afternoon before I pick up kerrilouise and rosealare from the station.

I'm not looking forward to the drive down, as I suspect it will give me a headache (indeed I can feel one coming on just thinking about it) but I'm sure it will be fine. I have an AA route plan printed out, along with ones for everywhere else we might concievably want to go (I was bored at work today), so I should be okay getting there. I'm aiming to leave by nine, but I have several last minute things to do before leaving, including packing the car, so it might be a bit later. But I do want to beat the worst of the Friday traffic (kerrilouise suspects that I really want to get there in time to whizz round the bookshops/charity shops before they arrive, this may also be true).

We have a fairly full schedule, including the Children's Book Fair on Saturday, at which we're meeting ankaret, a visit to Cleeve Abbey, a trip to Bristol and Get Knitted, a visit to Ann and Clarissa and their books and cats, and a day in Bath itself. I don't think I've forgotten anything!

Now I'm off to bed, I was supposed to go half an hour ago, but I've been trying to burn some cds for the car - sadly for some reason the laptop isn't playing, so unless I can make it work in the morning, I'll have to make do with the ones I already have. I don't like taking originals, I tend to fling them round the car when changing them on the move, but a couple may sneak in....

Oh, and the book I bought on Monday arrived today, it is very pretty (and shiny! It has very unusual gold boards), and may just sneak onto my bookshelves. Unless I find anything more desirable and affordable in Bath.

Spendling lots of money before breakfast

Oh the perils of the interweb. An email landed in my inbox from abebooks, offering various overpriced Chalet School books, and a hardback copy of Dorita Fairlie Bruce's The School in the Woods, for the low (!) price of £80 (the only other two hardback copies on there are nudging £400), I dithered for about two minutes, then my credit card came out and the deal was done. Now I just have to hope that the bookseller doesn't cancel the order. And if my finances aren't up to paying for it when the credit card bill comes in, I can always stick it on ebay, hopefully for a profit. But I'd really like to keep it.
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Cats in laundry basket

Annoyances and amusements

I'm not good at routine when it comes to housework, but one of the few things I can usually manage is a couple of hours of tidying on a Sunday morning whilst listening to Michael Parkinson on Radio 2. So imagine my outrage this morning when I switch on five minutes late to hear the late and unlamented tones of Kenny Everett. Kenny Everett! In Parkie's slot! The rest of the day is all wrong too, it seems to be their birthday. But that's no excuse for depriving me of Parkie's dulcet tones and my weekly dose of news and culture. Boo hiss.

So instead of tidying, cleaning etc, I sat back down on the sofa with my laptop and read lj. mountainkiss was talking about the Boden catalogue, and I decided to visit their website to request a copy. I clicked in the title box, as you do, and almost fell off the sofa laughing at the list of titles from which I can choose. I'm torn between The Marchioness of, The Hon Mrs and The Vicountess, but I may just settle for Princess....

Hey ho, back down to earth and off to find a suitable cd to accompany me as I defrost the freezer.
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Holiday photos #3 - Buttermere

On Wednesday we drove to Buttermere and walked round the lake. It's about five miles round, mostly flat although there are a few ups and downs on the road side of the lake, it would have been very pleasant if a cold wind hadn't suddenly arrived, which blew in our faces all the way back.

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