Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Dales garden

We hadn't been to Yorkshire since last December, what sort of state would our small front garden be in?
The paths had disappeared beneath weeds
and Rosa Mundi was being choked by the small and pretty, but very invasive everlasting sweet pea.
I didn't want to cut it back so I did a bit of untangling to give the rose a chance.
There's a garden seat somewhere under here!
No path visible.
But it didn't take long to find it.

Some of the edging plants had suffered but I'd brought up some new lavender seedlings, a new variety for me, with a fern-like leaf. Hopefully they will soon clump up and release their perfume as we brush past them to the door.

As I was bending down grubbing out the buttercups groups of cyclists were coming through the village, the leaders calling back to the other riders giving them information about the places they were passing through. One man called out, "This has become a very expensive village, but it's the middle of nowhere." I stood up, emerging from the vegetation and shouted after him, "What do you mean, 'the middle of nowhere'!" The leader had gone ahead and didn't hear me but all the other riders laughed and waved.
Our neighbour, Jim, wasn't staying around to watch the Tour de France. His attitude, to mis-quote Orwell, is 'two wheels good, four wheels better'.  He was off for the weekend to race his 1930's Alvis.
This charming hare on the petrol cap is the Alvis mascot.
Himself looks rather envious!
In the village the old hall and its outbuildings lay in ruins for many years but have recently been beautifully and sympathetically developed. The garden of one of the former outbuildings has been equally well thought out, with wild flower planting
 and a meadow lawn.
It looks just right!
The old dales houses are very beautiful,  especially so at this time of year when everything is lush and green around them.
We've driven past this old caravan for a great many years. It's becoming rather frail and I thought I'd better stop and photograph it before it falls apart.
Doesn't it look snug!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Le Grand Depart

No sooner were we home than it was time to throw a few things in a bag and go up north to join in all the fun of the Tour de France. It was coming to Yorkshire and starting with a run all around us in the Yorkshire Dales. Yellow bicycles and bunting were everywhere!

The big decision was at what place on the route should we position ourselves. I'd favoured the Buttertubs, one of the steep uphill stretches, but realised that we would have to be in position very early in the day before the road was closed and then would be locked in place for hours. In the end we put on our walking boots and went to Middleham, our nearest point. 
The good ladies of Middleham, possibly the W.I. had knitted their own bunting!

Even the dogs were wearing yellow jerseys!
The walk into town was quiet - 
that's because everyone had got there before us!

The atmosphere was great.
First came the sponsors.

Then a whole load of other stuff,
 including Miffy!

We knew that the race was near when the helicopter flew overhead.
And here they are!

It was over in a flash
just a few strugglers pushing up the hill.
We could watch the race on the big screen in the marketplace
and admire the latest fashion in cycling outfits!

After all the excitement and noise it was good to sit down for a while beyond the gallops before our walk back home.
All around the dales the partying continued.

Ee, it wor grand!
And the Wensleydale Creamery did some terrific advertising throughout the dales with bales wrapped to resemble giant versions of their Wensleydale cheese. (Beats the usual hay bale wrappings of black plastic.)
I went to the shops to buy a small version of this cheese but they'd sold out!