Over Hill! Over Dale! - Day One in the Yorkshire Dales

I know this is WAY overdue, but I spent the past two weeks catching up on Go Fug Yourself, which had launched it's March Madness - where 65 celebrities, celebutards, more celebutards, slutebrities and JLo faced off to find out who the Fugging readers thought was the Fuggest of the Fug - THE DAY WE LEFT, so, you see, I had a LOT of catching up to do. It's down to Bai Ling vs Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham! I have no idea who I'm going to vote for on Monday.

In addition to reading, oh, about 4000 Web pages of Go Fug Yourself, I also had to concentrate on beating Peepster 2 more times at Scrabulous for a total of three wins out of like 913 games; and on top of THAT they had me off and running with committees and committee dinners the day I returned to work (I'm now back to having next to nothing to do. FAH!!). In ADDITION, I've been trying to prove that of Shannon, Mu, and myself, I'd be the best choice for Doctor Who #11. Once I have my avatar coat made, there will be no further debate. We'll silence this silliness once and for all!

Shannon and I returned from the Yorkshire Dales Sunday, March 23 where we'd spent 10 days with my parents and Greg, Shannon's best friend from college. On our trip to Oxford 3 years ago, Shannon and I encountered a ginormous Welsh man in a pub in Headington who told us he didn't mind Americans - in ones and twos. This said, the five of us didn't encounter any problems at all during our stay. Indeed, we found the people to be very friendly and very warm.

Yorkshire Dales: Day 1: The Yanks Invade The North of England

"Why do you sound like you're from the north?" - Rose
"Lots of planets have a north!" -Dr. Who

We arrived at Manchester Airport around 6AM on March 13, and started our journey by jogging back and forth between terminals 3 and 1 to find a EuropCar agent who was open. Once we collected our cars (Greg had a tiny manual Ford and we had a Vauxhall Zafira minivan), we were on our way east to the Yorkshire Dales. Greg drove the Ford with Shannon; and I drove my parents in the comfy Zafira.

On the way we stopped in Kirkby Lonsdale where we spent most of the day. We'd chosen it on the map as a meeting place ahead of time because it was a fair sized town, but not too big, so we'd have a pretty good chance of finding each other there. From there, Shannon took over the driving from me (Greg was the only one who could drive the Ford) to lead the way to the cottage. Kirkby Lonsdale is a lovely town, one of the 400 or so I wouldn't mind living in in England. They were having their weekly farmers' market which had just had just opened for the day when we arrived, and there picked up some fruit and other snacky things.

When I was packing for the trip the morning of our departure, I'd searched high and low for my copy of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, and I couldn't find it anywhere. I thought it would have been perfect to read while staying within 80 miles of Haworth, home of the Brontës (and also not too far away from where Orange Girl lived for a year in Bradshaw!). I packed a few other books, including Weiland, a gothic work of literature by the father of American literature, Charles Brockden Brown (Who knew??? I'd never even heard of Brown until a friend of mine at work recommended Weiland to me as "creepy," and asked that I add it to my list of books to read to scare the bejeebus outta myself*) and forgot all about Wuthering Heights - until my mom randomly picked up a worn copy off a table at the market and said, "This would be a great book to read while we're here! Too bad I left my copy at home. I brought Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë) though." I immediately wrested it from her hands and purchased the copy from the slightly stunned bookseller.

My mom and I are always on the lookout for a good tea shop, and we spotted one straight off. After gathering the group, we settled down for breakfast and a cuppa at The Cariad Coffee House and Tea Room where I had what may have been the best veggie sausages in the world.

After that we explored the rest of the town. I bought some Stinky Bishop at Church Mouse Cheeses which was really tasty, but really did stink. It proceeded to stink up the kitchen for 4 days every time someone opened up the fridge in the kitchen until Greg and I finally polished it off. I also bought a pair of gloves and a hat at an army surplus store, having left mine at home. I'd expected it to be in the 50s throughout our stay, but it turns out it was unseasonably cold almost the entire time we were in Yorkshire. It even snowed for the last three days! Shannon had it worse than I did - he'd only brought a weatherproof, waterproof shell; I'd brought my 3-in-one Columbia parka. He didn't seem to mind, though.

On this map, we were located just to the east of the Arkengarthdale, and north of Reeth. (up top). I'll post better maps as I go along.

From Kirkby Lonsdale it was only 43 miles northeast to Hurst and The Schoolmaster Pasture where we were to spend all but one night of our vacation (the last night we spent at an inn near Manchester Airport). Shannon called the owner to let them know we were arriving a bit early, so we'd just hang out at the house until they arrived with the keys. It was a bit rainy when we arrived, but the wind, dear God, the wind. It was, for lack of a better word, awesome. Relentless. Bitter. Biting. STRONG. Howling. Whipping. While waiting for Richard to swing by with the keys (from where we had NO idea, there was nothing around for miles), Momster and I hid from the wind in the car while Shannon did some exploring and Papa Schuetter and Greg ran to Reeth (6 miles away) for some groceries.

(from the Website): This is the road up to The Schoolmaster Pasture from Hurst. That little bridge at the bottom of hte hill caused us (read Greg) a whole lotta grief in the snow when we left:

Here we are a little closer to the house:

Our view looking out from the front of the house:

The house was wonderful, and my favorite part was the Aga stove which kept the kitchen cozy 24 hours a day. I totally want one!!! Once we got inside, we pretty much crashed for the night. We didn't realize until we arrived that though linens were included, towels were not, so we couldn't shower until we bought some. Needless to say, we made a point of adding that to Friday's agenda. Being towel-less was a bit of a bummer, but not a primary concern - after being awake for over 24 hours (none of us slept well on the plane), we were POOPED!

The claw-footed tub THAT NOBODY USED!!! Such a shame!!

Behind it is the shower in which I found a spider THE SIZE OF MY HEAD when we arrived. Okay, it was like the size of a tuppence, but it was blacker than black and had my blood on it's mind. THANK YOU GREG, for killing it! Usually I'm not so squeamish about those things, but for some reason it just gave me, to quote Owen Meany, THE SHIVERS.

I'll post more on The Moors beginning with Day 2 as I go through all of our notes and tickets and pamphlets and things. This gives me an excellent excuse to sort all of this stuff out! Until then, please enjoy these two modern interpretations of Wuthering Heights - the first by Monty Python, and the second by Kate Bush:

* I still have to read Dracula, "Miriam," The Shining, and Seven Gothic Tales; but Papa Schuetter is still firmly in the lead with The Exorcist.

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