Ellesmere isn’t quite the furthest away we could be across the country, but nearly! Our journey took us through Wales, across the very foggy Pennines until we reached sunny Yorkshire and then the left over snow on the fringes of the Moors and Wolds guided us along the wide valley bottom to Scarborough. Thursday morning Scarborians had woken to a couple of inches of snow, so I’d wondered if my walking boots were going to be needed for trudging across town, but the roads and pavements had all dried up.
We had a bit of time to kill so headed into town to Boyes. Four inch foam was a little bit too expensive here sadly, but they did provide me with a new fitted sheet that I can alter to fit our dinette when made up into a bed. I did this on Lillian and it worked a treat holding the selection of pieces of foam together. Across the road is the Market Hall. The hall has just reopened since having a £2.7 million refurbishment so it needed to be looked at. Very modern, now with a mezzanine floor around three sides. Small shops on the top floor along with food outlets, below butchers, green grocers, Italian Bakers and Pasta maker. All very refreshing, bright and I wish we’d been there earlier as most stalls were closed. I really hope that the small shops prosper, I personally won’t be buying anything from the Honey/Wax shop and wonder how it will survive once Christmas is passed.
Still with some time to kill we took the car up to the castle to watch what remained of the afternoon sun dipping behind the hills. The view from up here is always wonderful, right across the bay and the silhouette of St Mary’s adds to the atmosphere. I found myself wondering whether Scarborough was still ‘Home’ to us. Three and a half years ago we left to start a year afloat, Oleanna (and Lillian before) is certainly home now, but Scarborough still holds my heart.
First meeting was with Gisselle my hair dresser whom I’d last seen two years ago. She works from home in the old town and has two Black and Tan Cavalier King Charles Spaniels who have to come and say hello, the newest was very enthusiastic to meet me. Last year I had a trim in Marple which took quarter of an hour and was okay. Today I left with half the hair I’d arrived with, fully caught up on news and smelling of dog after 90 minutes!
Next was Dawn and Lee’s house where we received a very warm welcome, put on our glad rags and were joined by Frank and Ben for a sharpener before crossing over the valley to the main event of the weekend.
Jaye and Duncan were having a house warming party, which also just so happened to coincide with a landmark birthday for Jaye. Most of what we call the SJT Survivors were there. I think the only person who is still employed by the theatre is Jaye and she tried to leave a year ago so qualifies as a member. Sadly a troublesome show in Liverpool kept Ali away and a poorly Emily didn’t make it either, so we didn’t get chance to catch up with them. A mixture of SJT and Raven chatted away the night, drinking and eating our way through all that the kitchen table could hold. Christine had produced a fantastic birthday cake encrusted with malteasers, toblerone and chocolate fingers. Unfortunately all of our Shropshire blue topped Vermeulens pork pie went very quickly so we had no left overs to return home with.
The seagulls were more muted over night than we’ve known, so we both had a good nights sleep. After bacon and eggs and plenty of tea we said our farewells to Dawn and Lee. Another short visit, but well worth the drive.
On our way home we stopped for a comfort break on the M62. It’s possibly the quickest visit to Ikea I’ve ever had, yet we managed to pick up a few stocking fillers, wrapping paper and a couple of new side plates and be back on the road arriving back in Ellesmere just after dark.
Tilly was glad to see us and hadn’t wrecked the boat. Eight bags of Excell lay on our roof and the diesel gauge showed an almost full tank. NB Mountbatten had been, an invoice tucked under a bin inside the pram cover. Oleanna was a little bit chilly, the stove had gone out but the Alde boiler had been left ready to switch itself on should the temperature drop below 8 C. Mick soon had the stove cleared out and a new fire lit.
A meal out was called for as it was Advent Sunday, the start to my birthday celebrations oh and Christmas! It is also our anniversary, we got together fifteen years ago. The Red Lion had run out of their Sunday roasts (traditionally Roast Beef as I grew up) so as Mick worked his way through a large gammon steak topped with black pudding and Shropshire Blue I enjoyed a Sirloin steak with all the trimmings accompanied with a pint of Wainwright each. As the weekly quiz was due to start we decided to see what beers the White Hart had to offer. Three real ales to choose from, music from locals in one room which was pulling in the crowds. The only seats available were a couple of bar stools where we felt slightly in the way when a darts match started. Great to see a pub so full, but after one pint we retired back to the boat to keep Tilly company and have a glass of wine.
A very good weekend.
0 locks, 0 miles, 1 ginger hire car, 10 inches of pork and Shropshire Blue, 8 inches gone, 90 minutes to cut a straight line, 2 welcoming woofers, 09 or 60!? 1 big Happy Birthday to Jaye, 1 smaller happy birthday to Duncan, 3 more mentions of Duncan, 4 now and 2 photos! 1 lovely evening with friends, 1 muffling closed window, 2 bacon egg and mushroom butties, £15 better than £25, 4 coated donkeys, 2 rolls paper, 2 plates, 0 meatballs, 1 lonely cat, 1 coal delivery, 4 pints, 2 huge plates of food, 15 years, here’s to the next 15.