Goin’ back to my roots…

I’ve had a short break, just a few days back ‘up north’ to my home county of Yorkshire, specifically the East Riding of Yorkshire. To clarify, Yorkshire is split into 3 Ridings (thirds) – West, North and East. There was a misbegotten attempt by the government that spanned from 1974 to 1996 (when they gave up) to form an administrative area of Humberside, which was made up of East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, i.e. both sides of the River Humber. Great idea but no-one in my neck of the woods (East Yorkshire) would have anything to do with it. Oh and the Greenwich Meridian passes through the Eastern end of the East Riding.

Anyway, we had 3 days of actual days out. The first day saw us visit in order, Withernsea, Hornsea and Bridlington. All very common places in my childhood for holidays – not too far from ‘Ull (or Kingston Upon Hull to give it its Sunday name). The coast runs in a long, low sweeping bay from the cliffs of Flamborough Head in the North all the way to Spurn Point in the South.

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Withernsea is the southernmost resort. A small, cosy place, typical small town east coast resort. A couple of quirks – the lighthouse (which sadly no longer works, but IS a museum) which is about ¼ mile from the actual coast and the 2 ‘lost’ churches of St Mary the Virgin and St Peters Owthorne, both of which have been claimed by the sea due to coastal erosion. St Mary’s is believed to be about a mile offshore, with St Peters about 800 Yards off the coast. There are a couple of plaques.

Looking inland from the promenade

Looking inland from the promenade

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Hornsea is just up the coast, a little bigger and very similar. Hornsea Mere is a large freshwater lake that I rowed upon on many occasions. I even rode to Hornsea from Anlaby (where I lived the longest before moving south in 1978) on an old bone-shaker – I still have the bruises!

Bridlington is the largest of the three resorts, with the very impressive Flamborough Head to the North and a small working harbour and an old town well worth spending the time exploring. Again, a very similar mix – nice beaches and plenty to keep families interested.

Bridlington Harbour

Bridlington Harbour

On the second day, we ventured further afield, heading up to Scarborough and Whitby. Scarborough was our first port of call. Its spread across two bays (North and South) – separated by a headland on which sits Scarborough castle. The north being sandy, the south less so. At the north end of the North Bay is a small SeaLife centre, which was the focus of our visit. It IS small, but there Is quite a lot to see.

Scarborough Sea Life

Scarborough Sea Life

We then headed up to Whitby – famous for its links with Bram Stokers Dracula. The town is split in 2 by the River Esk connected by a swing bridge. A very popular resort – like Scarborough, some of the streets can be hilly. I would strongly recommend using the ‘Park and Ride’ service. Many of the Towns and Cities in the UK now have these, which are basically large car parks outside the town/city where you leave your car and use the provided bus service to travel into the town/city and back again. They are usually very reasonably priced and save all the hassle of trying to find somewhere to park (always a challenge when visiting) and also avoiding a parking fine!

Whitby

Whitby

We spent a couple of hours in Whitby then headed back to our base in ‘Ull via the North Yorkshire Moors, coming back over the Moors (the scenery is fantastic and is the place I do the Lyke Wake Walk – one of my earlier posts describes this) to Pickering, home of the North Yorkshire Moors railway, then down through Malton and Driffield. The route brought us back along the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Wolds.

Day 3 – ‘Ull

Day 3 was a family catchup day, visiting relatives, plus some shopping at the Princes Quay shopping centre, which was built over one of the old docks (Princes Dock not surprisingly). Their has been a lot of work rejuvenating the riverside, with the addition of a hotel, a marina and of course The Deep – which is unusual in that you actually view the displays from the top down, i.e. you take the lift to the top of the building and work your way down.

The Hull Marina

The Hull Marina

The DEEP

The DEEP

Each of ridings definitely has its own character, The East is the coast and fertile farming, rolling hills. The North has the Moors and the coastal plain, the West the Dales and the city of Leeds. All worth a visit. Thanks for reading.

To find out more visit http://www.yorkshire.com/

Razzle Dazzle… more from London

Once again I was up working on London’s Southbank a couple of days this week. Very hot and sticky, so at lunchtime I crept out for a bit of fresh air and sun, with Camera in hand,.. first thing I noticed was this….

Dazzle Sign

Dazzle Sign

 

At first I didnt know what that referred to.. I looked around the Southbank walkway.. nothing.. then I saw this.. the penny dropped… awesome paintwork…

 

Dazzle Ship

Dazzle Ship

 

I turned to look at Southbank a little downstream from where I was toward the Oxo Tower.. there are loads of cafes and little shops along the river walkway…

 

Southbank with the OXO tower in the background

Southbank with the OXO tower in the background

 

Here’s a bit more detail fo the OXO Tower… world famous restaurant at the top.. you can just see the tables.. I’d recommend a visit if you’re in town…

The Oxo Tower

The Oxo Tower

 

I turned my attention to one of my favourite views… the walkie talkie tower looked good in the bright noon sunshine..

 

The Walkie Talkie - (in) famous for melting paint and rubber on cars that it reflects the sun onto.. I think they have put some screens up now..

The Walkie Talkie – (in) famous for melting paint and rubber on cars that it reflects the sun onto.. I think they have put some screens up now..

You can just see one of the platforms built out onto Blackriars Bridge at the Bottom.

Closeup of the changing London Skyline

Closeup of the changing London Skyline

and just to remind you of the totality of the skyline…

The Fabulous Skyline

The Fabulous Skyline

 

Spikey (apologies to Spike).. but they really are

We planted this monster last year, after it had flowered (and before we had it) so had no idea on the shape/size or type it would be. It has all the ‘charm’ of a thistle, with GolfBall size flowers. It is alledgedly Echinops.

One of the 'Spikey' Flowers...

One of the ‘Spikey’ Flowers…

 

A bit more detail…

 

DSCN1094Interesting curve to the stem.. it curved because I staked it upright when it looked like it would fall over!

Finally … IT!

 

Echinops Ritro

Echinops Ritro

Once it flowers I will update this post. It should be impressive…..!

So… a long overdue update – Just WHERE am I on my Gluten Free Journey?

I hadn’t realised how long its been since I last wrote an update. Too long. So.. quick summary for those who didn’t catch the earlier posts…

I was diagnosed with Coeliacs disease in December last year after a long and at one point life-threatening spell which lasted the best part of a year. That’s history(a lot more to it than that but hey, I’m not here to bore you -intentionally anyway)!

Where am I at? I joined the UK Charity for Coeliacs (Coeliacs UK) who are very organised and have just launched a phone app which is invaluable. If you are a coeliac and in the UK I would thoroughly recommend joining. I discovered its a lot more common that I thought(evidence two events I attended recently, one specifically for Coeliacs and the other a general AllergyShow at Olympia in London – both were packed out(although to be honest I’m still not sure where having a vibrating bed or doing Yoga helps allergies but I will be pleased to be corrected). 

Both shows have shown me just how good things are (in the UK anyway – would love to hear from any coeliac sufferers overseas). The need for Gluten Free groceries is very much mainstream – with an ever growing list of options for food (and drink). Restaurants are becoming more aware – even hotels – evidence my recent trip to Dublin!. As I am a diagnosed Coeliac (sounds awful doesn’t it?) I can get some help via the UK National Health Service which is great. I guess my one ‘whinge’ (well it is monday after all) is that for the moment, Gluten free variants of food and drink are more expensive than the non-Gluten free versions(I was going to say normal, but normal is a state of mind lol). I AM enjoying researching the various Gluten Free beers and Lagers (expensive and small bottles – in the main) as I used to really enjoy ‘REAL ALE’.

So, personally, from a situation where at my lowest I had lost a total of 42 pounds in weight(3 stones to those that know the imperial weights and measures, or 19 Kilos) I am now in the pleasant situation of being told I need to lose a few pounds, Result!

Coeliacs is Genetic. If you have it, you have it and it wont get better. This brings me to the most recent news. My daughter is now being tested as she is exhibiting classic signs of Coeliacs, She is 18. On the positive side, even if she does have it (and it looks like she might) – its only a change of diet and the benefits of going Gluten Free in that situation are SO life-changing.

I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for reading.