Bolsover Castle with Grandpa


Another beautifully sunny English summer day beckoned for us to enjoy another day out!  Therefore today, since seeing a decorated castle was on Grandpa’s bucket list, we took him to Bolsover to see the English Heritage castle we love!  

Upon arrival, the kids played traditional games such as shuffleboard and crossbow.  

We took a turn in the stables…

viewing a mezzanine level which we had not seen previously.  

The garden was stunning in the summer light!

Grandpa was amazed by some details within the Little Castle; this was the summer home for this wealthy family.  

The kids and Grandpa found dress-up to play in!

Of course, we had to take a turn on the castle wall!

For some castle history…

see our previous castle visit blog post.  

After lunch, we were blessed to locate some antiques to see and buy.  Grandpa treated us to ice cream once again and Cora was crying when Titus’s tasting caused hers to fall to the floor!  Thankfully the ice cream shop owner took pity on Cora and gave her another lemon sorbet waffle cone!  

This brightened her day enough to help us all make it through the terrible traffic on the drive back to Leeds.  We were delayed of an hour due to a traffic accident.  Unfortunately this is par for the course when traveling the limited routes in England.   Yet we are very thankful for the sunny day which we enjoyed together at beautiful Bolsover Castle!  

York with Grandpa


York is one of the cities in England which we love the most!  Therefore we were all excited to show Ryan’s Dad The City of York.  York is full of an abundance of rich history and so we began our tour with the Victorian York train station.  

We then walked under the Roman city wall across the gorgeous Victorian bridge and made our way to York Minster.  

And of course we just had to have a peek inside Europe’s largest Gothic cathedral…breathtaking!

We popped in and out of shops, showing Grandpa some antiques but unfortunately two antique shops were shut (despite one having shown online to be open).  Nevertheless, we enjoyed walking through Holy Trinity church which began in the 12th century and has been in its current state for 500 years!  Original pew boxes are still used! The kids loved playing amongst the trees outside.  

We had a tasty lunch at an old pub where we like to take guests for a stroll on their wonky floor.  😉

Grandpa treated us to a self-guided tour of the gorgeous Fairfax Georgian home.  Furniture inside was stunning and it was educating for the children as well as adults as they searched each room for a mouse (part of the children’s tour).  This house was home in winter to Viscount Fairfax and his only surviving daughter Anne whom he hoped would find a husband by seasoning here.  

Next we toured Clifford’s Tower since it is on our English Heritage membership and offers amazing history and views!  

We stopped by the infamous Thortons chocolate…

And we paused at the Roman Bath…

and Barley Hall…

before stopped for a much needed ice cream and rest at the Teddy Bear Tea Room!

We stopped by other historic buildings as well…

Finally, we walked the York Roman wall beginning at Micklegate.  One of our favourite coffee shops, built just under Micklegate,  has a glass floor where one can stand to gaze down into the Roman barracks which were uncovered during building!

Lovely view of York Minster from the York wall…

We are very thankful for this beautiful English summer day, which we could share with Ryan’s Dad in York!  

An evening to remember 


Today Ryan, Cora, and Titus took Grandpa to see Victorian Quarter, Milennium Square, and the Corn Exchange in City Centre as well as eat in the oldest pub in Leeds!  By mid-afternoon, Cora and Titus still had energy to think up and rehearse a drama based on Harry Potter.  By tea time they were eager to act for us, but first we enjoyed Ryan’s homemade toad in the hole (a traditional Yorkshire entree)…

 and my homemade English coffee cake in celebration of Grandpa Conner’s 70th birthday!  

After our celebratory meal we went into the garden so Cora and Titus, along with their neighbour friends, could act out their drama for us!  They were certainly creative and made us laugh!  

There were even four intervals complete with adverts!  And we loved that the neighbour kids’ parents and little sister joined us in the audience!  We were all so entertained that we didn’t realise that 45 minutes had gone by and bedtime had well passed!  It definitely was an birthday (as Grandpa was the guest of honour) evening to remember!  

Lincoln Castle, Cathedral, and Antiques


Friday early (6am) we drove to Lincoln where Ryan and his Dad dropped us near our Air B&B and drove on a half hour to the largest antique fayre in Europe. Since it was too early to get into the Air B&B house, we walked through Lincoln. Finding the High Street was a bit challenging and so we walked up a STEEP hill towards Lincoln Cathedral. Seeing most things did not open until 10 am, Cora finally found the sign pointing in the direction of the High Street, we walked downhill until we found a tasty French café where Cora, Titus, and I enjoyed our second breakfast al fresco!

After breakfast we popped in and out of charity shops (since they opened first) and made our way down the High Street all the way to canal. Here there was a beautiful sculpture of angels reaching across canal and a market going on as well.
Rain started to decend upon us, so we made our way to a uniform shop where we bought school uniforms. Still raining, we wandered the High Street to the beautiful Victorian city library where Cora and Titus read to me whilst I enjoyed a rest.

Ryan and his Dad met back up with us mid-afternoon (due to the fayre shutting early on account of the rain) and together we toured the Bishop’s Palace since it was English Heritage. Titus and Cora enjoyed playing dress-up there whilst we watched (admittedly sometimes through closed eyes) the history.

 The Bishop’s Palace according to English Heritage…

Standing almost in the shadow of Lincoln cathedral, with sweeping views over the ancient city and the countryside beyond, the medieval bishops’ palace was once among the most important buildings in the country. The administrative centre of the largest diocese in medieval England, stretching from the Humber to the Thames, its architecture reflected enormous power and wealth.

Next morning, we enjoyed market stalls before climbing the steep hill 

(where sometimes one may need to stop for sustenance) to Lincoln Castle. 

First we watched a knight dual.  Then Titus partook in Squire School where he has now been knighted!

After this excitement, we toured the Victorian prison where we surprisingly learned about the prisoners some of who were there the 30 years it was open! The prison had to be shut due to prison fever which resulted from the prison unknowingly being built over sewers.

This castle has medieval origins and even a medieval wall which we walked! The views from this wall and castle tower were gorgeous! From here the grandeur of Lincoln Cathedral and Water Tower could be seen!

Lincoln Cathedral’s grand architecture beckoned us to next come and visit. 

There was so much looking up I felt compelled to do that I almost got whip lash! 

Inside the kids had a hunt where they were challenged to locate various things in the building…such as the stations of the cross.  

And eventually, after much searching, Ryan finally located the Lincoln Cathedral imp (without paying 20p for the answer)! Legend has it the imp, sent by Satan, was turned to stone by the Angels and now he looks a bit cross being being forced to watch worship forever. 😉

In one part of the Cathedral, I was chuffed to meet an artist (of whom I have drawings) and purchase a sketch he did of Lincoln Cathedral…the perfect souvenir for my collection!

Finished exploring the gift shop, we walked the High Street in search of tea. Asking a local, we settled upon a delightful restaurant called Madame Waffles. Here us adults ordered pulled pork upon our savoury waffles and the kids ordered sweet waffles. This was a delicious end to our second day in Lincoln!
Our third day in Lincoln, we awoke and packed and then walked to our filling full English breakfast at Churchill’s. And I just had to pop in again to Madame Waffles for their quality Americano takeaway!

Once again, we walked Lincoln’s Steep Hill to the castle 

where we purchased some unique antiques at yet another antique fayre. 😊 The kids were chuffed to pet an owl at the fayre!  

The city was beautiful in the morning sunlight; we were blessed to see an old horse and cart!

 A suitable ending to our enjoyable Lincoln visit!

Hemswell is host to four large warehouses of antiques and therefore we just had to take Ryan’s Dad there. Unbeknownst to us, we spent the rest of the day here so the men had ample opportunity to look around! I, however, enjoyed reading my novel in the garden whilst the children contentedly played amongst the large garden plants. 😌

Driving back to Leeds, we were blessed by our dear friends making us curry takeaway (since we arrived much later than anticipated)…a lovely end to our enjoyably exhausting long weekend with Ryan’s Dad!

Kirkstall Abbey with Grandpa


For breakfast, Titus decided Grandpa needed introduced to dippy eggs.  This is a British tradition where a thin piece of toast (a soldier) is dipped into a soft boiled egg whilst it site in an egg cup holder.  This was a bit more trouble than I think Grandpa had bargained!  😉

After breakfast, Grandpa opened a late birthday present and then Cora and Titus couldn’t wait to introduce Grandpa to their hermit crabs!

Grandpa thought the crabs very interesting!

And after lunch, Ryan took his Dad and the kids to Kirkstall Abbey, Abbey House, and two local antique shops.  They had a great time whilst I rested and caught up in paperwork.  😊

Tomorrow more adventures commence…

Ryan’s Dad’s First Visit…


began early (since we had to start our drive at 6am) for us as we drove to Manchester Airport.  But it was worth it seeing My father-in-law’s face as he was surprisingly greeted by Cora and Titus with their homemade welcome signs!  And, of course, Ryan was chuffed to bits to greet his Dad who he had not seen (not even on Skype) in four years!  

In attempt to keep him awake today, we took him on a drive through the idyllic English countryside to Hebden Bridge.  We had a nice mid-morning second breakfast at the old mill and enjoyed looking through various shops.  

After exhausting the Hebden Bridge market stalls, as well as our children visiting the local ducks, we drove on to Haworth.  It was here Ryan thought the old apothecary shop would be of interest to his Dad…and it was!  We also walked the historic church of the Brontë family and, of course, ate delicious local ice cream!  

Since Ryan’s Dad prefers antiques, we stopped at quite a large antique shop on our way towards Saltaire.  This place had some great finds!  Hungry once again, we drove into Saltaire and ate in a tasty local tea shop before viewing Saltaire’s rich history.  Ryan’s Dad enjoyed the beautiful Saltaire United Reformed Church before we moved on to the Salt’s Mill shops.  Cora loved being our tour guide since her class had spent the day here this past year.  And, of course, Titus loves seeing so many buildings and streets displaying his name!  😊

Ryan’s Dad missed our lovely drive into Leeds, since he was fast asleep, but I am sure we will enjoy showing him around the next 12 days!  

Bridlington Seaside


This beautiful, yet chilly, morning some good friends invited us to meet them at Marton Manor Farm Shop near Bridlington (just a couple hours northeast of Leeds).  The farm shop had a rather large café where we enjoyed mid-morning tea, coffee, and milkshakes (for the kids).  In addition to fresh produce and goods this shop had outdoor animals we could pet!  The kids were chuffed to bits that they could pet sheep, goats, and even a farm cat!

Feeling satisfied, we drove a few miles down road to meet up with some more friends at their seaside chalet.  What is a chalet you might ask?  You may call it a beach hut, which has been in this particular family for generations.  This was a great place to prepare tea and/or snacks, store seaside resources including deck chairs, and change clothes without exposing oneself to the public.  ;-)  For today, this chalet also provided a great place to hang out and the children could run about the beach knowing exactly where to return.

This was quite possibly the warmest day we have been on an English beach! Therefore, Cora and Titus enjoyed paddling in the water on a boogie board with friends. The children made sand castles, gathered seaweed (for their newly acquired hermit crabs) with shells, as well as collected crabs and ghost shrimp.

Ryan became quite good at finding crabs and the children became quite good and not being squeamish around them!  In fact, Ryan’s mate said he thinks Ryan may have collected the most crabs he has seen at one time!  And that is saying a lot since this friend has been coming to this chalet since an early age!  It was fascinating, if I do say so myself, to hold the crabs (without getting pinched) and observe crabs burying themselves.  Ryan also happened upon a couple of jellyfish about which he promptly cautioned the children!

By late afternoon Titus was quickly tiring and so we tidied the chalet and walked towards the pier to enjoy some delicious ice cream and sorbet.  Leisurely we walked along before parting ways.  

How thankful we are to all these friends for today’s day away!  On our drive home, we stopped near Stamford Bridge for tea at Three Cups pub where Cora and Titus became fascinated with their historic inside well!  This historic half timber restaurant hosted good food and created new memories.