A Lancashire Lass Goes over the Border


I remember as a child being told that I was no longer to write my address as Manchester, Lancashire but was supposed to put the county as Greater Manchester.  I didn't like it then and I don't like it now.  Lancashire is a proper county with a history and a character that I relate to strongly.  Greater Manchester is a vague sprawl and a bureaucratic invention.  Part of the identity of Lancashire is tied up with how it relates to its neighbouring county,  Yorkshire.  I view Yorkshire as a good friend that I see too little of and whose company I greatly enjoy.

This is the beautiful old Blacksmith's Cottage we stayed in - don't you just love that stone!  It belongs to a lovely client and she and I renovated and decorated it two or three years ago.  You can see some of my own snaps of the interior in my Portfolio section on this website.

We kick-started the weekend with a trip to Bettys Tea Rooms in Harrogate.  I can't bear to go to Harrogate without going to Bettys.  It is a proper old-fashioned tearoom with a delightful resident piano player and friendly and professional staff all kitted out in black and white to add to the atmosphere.  The food is always delicious and it manages to be more glamorous than twee.  There is often a queue to get in but it goes down surprisingly quickly.  One section of the café is in a basement with no windows, not nearly as awful as it sounds but I always wait for a table in the main room as I love to peer out of the window and enjoy the town.



 The photos on the Bettys website are rather better than mine:

On the Saturday we had the unexpected bonus of meeting up with my sister and her husband who, by pure coincidence, had booked to stay in nearby Grassington for the Grassington Dickensian Christmas Festival.  I'd never been to the village before and would've loved it on any day of the week but it was a bit special with the morris dancers and carol singers, locals dressed in Dickensian costume,  vendors of hot chestnuts and market stalls.

You can get a flavour from my images below but also from the official website.   The festival is happening again on the next two Saturdays.



Yorkshire Grassington Dickensian Character




Not a cheery photo but it does give an indication that life in a picturesque Yorkshire village is not and has not always been totally idyllic:  The children listed on this grave stone all died before they left their teens, the youngest being an infant.

A small detour on our way home to Manchester on Sunday took us to Yorkshire Sculpture Park.  They recently won the Northern Design Award for best independent retailer but that really is the least of their talents.   Much as I love to visit the countryside I'm not a great one for country walks.  I have to know how long a walk is really going to take and what reward, in the form of delicious food, I'm going to get at the end of it.  This is one country park where I would make an exception because you are rewarded for your efforts every few hundred yards by the sight of some weird, wonderful or otherwise impressive work of art.

Ten Seated Figures by Magdalena Abakanowicz


Judas by Elizabeth Frink


Cloaked Figure by Lynn Chadwick

This piece by Sophie Ryder is a hare (no, not a rabbit you fool! Don't you know the difference!  Well, ok, maybe I did think it was a rabbit at first.....)  - The enchanting Camellia House and my obliging man in the background should give you an idea of the scale of this piece.

Crawling Lady Hare by Sophie Ryder

We were there at the end of the day for a couple of hours and barely scratched the surface.  Definitely a place that warrants repeat visits.  Go in the right frame of mind and you will love it.



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