Showing posts with label Ampleforth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ampleforth. Show all posts

Sunday, 7 December 2014

...and another chance of Snow

OK, it's Sunday Morning, cold, there's a forecast of snow, and it's back to work next week. However this week has been great , lots of great things happening and there lot's good things going to happen this week.

Last week I had a relaxing holiday, the weather was good, if cold, but no snow and little ice, and Ampleforth is just a lovely place to stay.

Blyth Spirit
After getting back there was the football , with Blyth Spartans beating Hartlepool away, Newcastle United disposing of Chelsea in an incredibly exciting and entertaining match and Preston North End progressing to the third round of the FA Cup.

I then got the news that my eldest daughter Juliet has got a promotion after several interviews, so lots of good things coming up.

There's birthday celebrations this week for good friends, another friend has finally got a phone after two weeks of rank incompetence from her phone company, and on Tuesday I'm getting a new boiler fitted, and , if all goes to plan this will be a four day week, with a visit to somewhere called John Snow House in Durham on Friday.

At the moment things look cold outside but there's no sign of snow yet. I need to nip out to get papers soon , take lots of drugs and make breakfast before enjoying a relaxing Sunday. Al
though it's just starting to rain now, and the wind is getting up.

I hope your day goes brilliantly, and what better song than the Small Faces "Lazy Sunday" to remember Ian McLagan who we lost this week, but who's life was full of fun and happiness and that's the way to be. A smile on your face produces as many endorphins as eating a bar of chocolate without the calories!

Saturday, 29 November 2014

2 x 12 x Magna Carta

Quite amazingly this week I have had two twelve hour plus sleeps, one managing to sleep through the alarm the day after finishing work. I obviously needed so rest and recuperation. A good friend remarked that I always forget something when I go on holiday, and this time I did again, although it was just various cooking things, olive oil and the like.

This week I've noticed some odd coincidences , I was reading a book about space and the fact you could buy an acre of land on the moon for about $20 then logged on to Facebook to find my daughter Kirsty had bought an acre of Moon for £10!

Now That's What I Call A Document
After a drive down in thick fog and tea at The White Horse it was bed for me last night, but I'm up now with options of a "Christmas Fayre" in the local Church Hall and visits to local centres. I still can't believe after years of coming to Ampleforth that Helmsley doesn't have a Chemist! The White Horse is a fantastic welcoming pub, all the staff and regulars are friendly and the food is excellent, and at the the moment it's very festively decorated although there will be no Christmas songs til December. Quite right too.

Just noticed it's 800 years since the Magna Carta was signed, though think this needs reinforcing given the state of current governments. Here are Helmsley's details on the Magna Carta page.

Although this post was more about me sleeping a lot, it has morphed into stuff about history and The Magna Carta and the most contemporary music that came to mind is the Jay Zed album so I've included Crown from that album, which is quite good if a bit sweary.Have a brilliant day everyone, I'm enjoying my holiday.

Friday, 28 November 2014

No Black Friday Here

Well it's Friday and I'm waiting for my hire car to be delivered so I can drive down to Ampleforth to the holiday cottage for a week of quite after two hellishly intensive weeks. In that time I managed to see an amazing gig and a great talk about robots and what fun they can be and how great libraries are. And that reminds me that last week the BBC were celebrating libraries and Scroobius Pip wrote a poem for them to celebrate all that was good about libraries.

I'm still raving about Jordan Reyne and am going to have to order the rest of her albums, as she has been my going to sleep music all this week. I really wish I'd have bought all her albums at the gig. But anyway , the weather is still grey (and it was yesterday too) , but that's the only thing that is not great today. I'm feeling excellent and happy and looking forward to next weekk/

Did you realise that a week on Sunday it's the anniversary of  the bombing Pearl Harbour? I wonder what put that into my head.

Katy Lied? ... Katy Did
Today I know lots of idiots are getting into fights , being conned by the big stores into buying stuff they don't want. There's fights and police involvement , very seasonal indeed, but that's not for me , I don't do queuing unless there is absolutely no other option. Most of my friends are the same.

The only Black Friday I have time for is the Steely Dan song from Katy Lied and with that I will leave you for today. Hope you have a very enjoyable day.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Not Burning Out ... Burning Bright

This week has been mental and could be deemed as stressful. Planning always helps but when things go wrong it can be disconcerting. It is great to have back up options in place as well as having the ability to deal with things as they occur. Luckily I'm not in that situation that often and have always come out stronger and more confident. I was thinking of a TED talk I watched a while back about stress being your friend, and while it's not good to be permanently stressed , it is good to be under controlled pressure every so often. I , like everyone else, don't like losing control, so wherever possible have safety nets in place, which , ideally I don't have to use.

Things aren't finished , but I am looking forward to having a week and a half's holiday in a very quiet cottage in Ampleforth.

The think is this week I've had a lot of good things happen, not leaste finding out that I have enough loyalty points from Enterprise Car Rental to pay for two weeks hire , which is like finding £200 in your wallet you didn't know you had. I also watched another TED talk about the benefits of smiling which I now try to do as often as possible.. I used the talk a couple of posts back here.

Then last night I was at an amazing concert, saw two incredible acts , Jordan Reyne and The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing , both of which I will be seeing again. Sometimes at a gig I'll buy a CD if I like the act. I ended up buying 4 and am listening to the Crone EP as I write this post, by the incredibly talented Australian Jordan Reyne.

So this week has so far turned out to be very rewarding despite the tribulations and the icing on the cake was Preston beating Bristol City after a bad run and Newcastle continuing their winning streak.

Anyway we're halfway through the weekend, and I still have work to do, but am fully confident that i can tackle whatever happens, sometimes you need to change the way you look at things , sometimes you meet things head on. I have done a bit of both this weekend but am looking forward to next weekend when I will be well into my holiday. You enjoy the rest of your weekend, I will enjoy mine.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Hardwick Cottage Ampleforth and a Vinyl Record Shop

I may have posted this before , but Ampleforth along with Whitby is one of the few places I could probably live. Obviously I love Newcastle and that's where my life is full of friends and family, and I come from Preston and have lots of friends and family there.

This is about the fourth time we've stayed in Hardwick cottage and it provides the ability to be cut off along with the convenience of local amenities within walking distance, as well as pubs and the option to eat out or have take aways. The cottage is here. In May I thought that would be my final visit, but the situation has changed slightly and we will be back at the beginning of December and maybe again next year which really pleases me.

Slim Whitman 78
Elvis at the door
There are lots of small towns near such as Helmsley, Thirsk and Northallerton which I visited yesterday and shockingly found a vinyl record shop. I'm not a vinyl junkie but it was a pleasant surprise to actually find somewhere selling records just off the main street. The name of the shop is BetterDaze and has lots of vinyl, memorabilia, jukeboxes and record players, mainly rock and rock and roll. They also have a Facebook page here.

You're greeted by an Elvis figure when you enter the shop and there were quite a few people in there when I dropped by yesterday afternoon.

So I'm just having a great holiday here and am really enjoying it, and the Happy Days intro always puts a smile on my face. Have a great day everyone.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014


It's quite funny how simple things can have unexpected consequences. I'm on holiday in Ampleforth and manages to forget a lot of things, but thank god not the remote for my media player, but I forgot my glasses. Without my glasses I can't really see much detail without them, enough to get by but not to do the stuff I want.

I don't like showering with contact lenses in so effectively to actually do what I want I have to get up and shower and then I may as well get up. It's not a problem but it does mean that I need contact lenses in all day that I don't usually do.

This post is probably the most boring one that I've ever written but I'm on holiday so I'm allowed to do things like this. Although I could have gone on about unexpected consequences and that reminds me of a great book by Levitt & Dubner called Freakonomics which details the unexpected consequences of events and actions and poses such scenarios as:

  • What do estate agents and the Ku Klux Klan have in common?
  • Why do drug dealers live with their mothers?
  • What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?
  • How can your name affect how well you do in life?

And a lot more, it is amazing how simple events can have a domino effect on other events. Anyway that's as deep as I'm going to get today, so enjoy your day  and I will continue enjoying mine.I thought the Guinness advert was fairly appropriate for the subject of this post. Have a great day!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Starless and Bible Black

I must admit that the first time I came across this ominous beauty of a phrase is when King Crimson used it as the title of one of their great albums. Of course it comes from the opening of Dylan Thomas' wonderful tone poem "Under Milk Wood" :

"To begin at the beginning: It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters'-and-rabbits' wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboatbobbing sea."

Anyway, it perfectly describes the feeling of being here in Ampleforth in the middle of the night, but here it id perfect calm and very relaxing, though it was initially disconcerting when I first came as I tend to get a little unnerved in absolute  total darkness when you have no point of reference such as a chink of light through the curtains or late night taxis taking people home or the police helicopter chasing someone down the A1. In Ampleforth there is none of that, just calm and serenity, admittedly in the dark.

Actually the local Church clock auto chimes on the hour, or something does because as I awoke I heard three bell chimes.

Anyway after a good journey down, I found I'd managed to leave my contact lens solution at home (none to be found in Helmsley and about the only thing the loacal Post Office doesn't stock), then realised that I'd left my glasses at home, so once lenses are out the eyestarin gets a bit much for any reading or messing about on the computer, then I realised I'd left the DAB Radio at home (and we have 4!) so that's three things I've forgotten.

Anyway it's almost four in the morning now, so I am going to get back to bed, and leave you with the DubWood Allstars treatment of the intro to Under Milk Wood, which I have loved since Cerys Matthews played it on her 6 Music show. And if you want to watch the recent excellent BBC production, it's here:

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Thunderstruck By Bagpipes... another installment Fighting With My Left Hand

Its's been a SAD day, that's SAD as in Seasonal Affected Disorder, as you know I seldom let life get me down, but today's weather has been mostly grey skies and not exactly warm, just one of those days where things don't really inspire you to get up and go.

This week I have two hospital visits, the first of which I'm not looking forward to because it will cause discomfort (and related to the cirrhosis diagnosis a couple of weeks back) , the second will be fine because it's the end of an observational period on my liver that has included two biopsies, but the consultant and nurses I've had looking out for me have been brilliant. I love the NHS.

The same consultant, because he is so good , spotted that I may have nerve damage in my left arm that resulted in the op and that seems to have majorly improved my control and strength in my left arm. I'd set my sights on learning to play AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" until I checked out the tab and found that's it's all played on the second ('B') string m so after ten minutes I'd made a decent stab at that on acoustic guitar (with a lot of buzzes and clicks) , so I need something a little more challenging, though I still think the Red Hot Chilli Pipers version on bagpipes is well impressive.

Uneasy Listening
Then I found a friend who with her husband has gone through traumatic times recently, but her little girl has started school , he husband's band (Omnihility)have released a new album and she is going for a dream job so lot's of positivity there which is brilliant.

I've done lots of walking about today, so have got some exercise, and actually had an enjoyable day.

U2 and iTunes gave us their new album whether you wanted it or not and it's playing at the moment and is fine, if just another U2 album, but really it's just a marketing exercise.

I've got another three weeks before a holiday in Ampleforth and have some gigs coming up , including GOAT, which I am really looking forward to.

Anyway enjoy what's left of the weekend , I certainly will

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Saturday Morning - Tour De France - Yello Jersey Time

TDF Helmsley
It's raining, but the sun is now out. Didn't get to see the Deputies last because I was too  shattered and it was pouring down, so being a bit soft I decided to stay in. I slept ok but had a dream with included aggressive carnivorous zombies , story telling sessions , people outside the window in ambiguous black uniforms and Robert Redford being very ill in bed, analyze that ! I've forgotten most of it but some interesting images in there.

Anyway, again I feel good although the wound site is looking very bruised, but I've taken the plaster off. I could post a picture but I doubt anyone want's to see my exposed flesh.

TDF Wass
There seems to be a lot about the Tour De France starting in Yorkshire, which is great for the area but it does make the Tour of Yorkshire and France and they have the English Channel in between. The benefits are that people can see how lovely Yorkshire is, I'll be holidaying there again in October in Ampleforth, and noticed a few Tour De France displays while I was there a month or so back.

So I hope you all have good things happening this weekend , I hope the weathers good, and lots of fun and good stuff comes your way.

I had to include Kraftwerk's "Tour De France" , but always thought Yello's "The Race" was better and this is a brilliant video.

Monday, 2 June 2014

First Things Thirsk

St Mary's Church , Thirsk
I always thought Thirsk was a place in Scotland , I think it sounds Scottish, but Scotland appears to have no place called Thirsk within it's borders. I think I once visited it briefly, years ago, but that was it. Today I decided to go just because it's close and I keep bypassing it on the way to Ampleforth and Whitby.

I was extremely pleasantly surprised by the place. I entered by the one way system and parked up, expecting to be charged a great deal , but no £2.40 for the full day , so that was a great start. Then a brief walk to the centre where there was more parking , but that would have been a little more awkward.

Then there was The Three Tuns , and excellent Wetherspoons refurbishment although the decor seemed to be horse racing based (not surprising given the proximity of the racecourse) though the name refers to (beer) barrels. There was also a Ladbrokes, a William Hills and a Betfred on the main square which in my opinion is not usually a sign of a well to do area, but again given the proximity of the racecourse maybe not too surprising.

The first place I tried was the excellent White Rose Book Cafe where I had a very nice scone and tea and bought some holiday presents and brilliant birthday cards. That was a great start to Thirsk.

Then it was a pleasant walk tound before visiting the Black Lion Bistro which is extremely pleasant , has a great menu and drinks selection and a wonderfully warm welcome. Highly recommended.

On the way I out we went into The Three Tuns which was excellently appointed as you normally find with Wetherspoons pubs.

The only slight problem is that it's a one way system into Thirsk and it's not all that easy getting back out, reminding me of sleeve liner notes to the  Blue Oyster Cult's Imaginos.

But really if you are near Thirsk it is well worth visiting.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Pressure Drop

The first full day of the holiday in Ampleforth , staying at the same place sadly for the last time. This is it here.

That's the only slight cloud, but got here , had a meal at The White Horse, then put the radio on and the first song on was Toots and The Maytals - Pressure Drop, sort of an appropriate sentiment for a holiday.

One of the things about going holiday is you take various things to entertain you , and to save space and for convenience I packed my Sumvision Cyclone media player to watch Breaking Bad and The Wire which I stuck onto a memory stick. Got here and found I'd forgor the remote control. Hoped ther would be a smartphone app, but can't find one , but I can play them on the laptop and connect it to the TV via HDMI cable so all is good. It's amazing that no matter how well you plan a momntary lapse can stick a spanner in the works, although a little thought can then provide a solution.

As I got out of the car I saw this sign on a lamp post over the road. It's good
Found Cat
to see people looking out for other's pets. It restores your faith in people if only a little bit.

One thing about Ampleforth is that everyone is friiendly, and you have everything you need to hand, even if you don't have a car.

There's great places within a couple of miles walk and the countryside is lovely. Whether I'd think the same if the weather was bad , or I lived here permanently is a different matter, because you start to take things for granted and the familiar becomes mundane, but I am hoping to get back here one more time before October.

Anyway it's the last day of May 2014, and will soon be time for bed. Have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Monday Morning , Tony , Walt , Journey and Badfinger

Most Monday mornings are a pain. Today's, for me , is different. First of all its sunny after a grey and drab weekend weather wise (although that was the only downer so to speak) , Then I should be on the radio this afternoon in about nine and a half hours on the Steve Lamacq Show ( BBC Radio 6 at 4 PM GMT) and because it's a Bank Holiday I have the day to myself, and at the end of the week I'm off on holiday to Ampleforth for a week.

So for a change it's not a Stormy Monday or Blue Monday , but for me it's a good Monday. I have sympathy for everyone who has had to work today and am thinking about some friends who are having to deal with not good situations which I know they will come through so really, I am feeling positive today and everything is pointing towards a good day and a good week.

Yesterday I got some albums including a Badfinger compilation that contains the final song from the Breaking Bad TV series. I'm not sure whether it can match up to Journey's "Don't Stop Believing"  in the closing scene of the Sopranos but  I shall see, the album is full of great song , and I shall be working through Breaking Bad when on holiday next week, I'm half way through series two at the moment , so a way to go before I get to hear "Baby Blue". I am tempted to put it on here as I know, for me it will be out of context to hardly a spoiler for me.

OK I just watched , and it is good and I will now purge it from mind...... Have a great Bank Holiday Monday Everyone

Tuesday, 5 November 2013


This is my 200th blog post this year, so I can still obviously use a keyborad. At some point I want to try and dictate a post into my phone on some microphone and put it up unedited to see if it makes sense. I've still got around sixty days left this year so possibly expect to finish on 240 or 250 posts.

I was hoping to do the Pickering to Whitby steam train run , but just checked the timetable and the winter one kicked in this week, which means no midweek trains. C'est la vie.

Either Facebook or Google have stopped allowing the use of Youtube or embedded images when I post a link to Facebook, which is annoying. I didn't want an image of me for each post, I wanted something relevant to the actual post. I will research into why this is happening.

Anyway, the holiday is continuing with much relaxation, watching The Wire, Game Of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire. I now have lots of technology at my disposal so I can download stuff off BBC's iPlayer so I caught up with the excellent Orphan Black on my iPad as well as a program on The Who's Quadrophenia.

Orphan Black
As I type this I'm listening to the J Geils Band using my Samsung Note phone as a music player, though just switched it to the wonderful Penguin Eggs by Nic Jones, an album that should be in everyone's collection.

The thing is where I am in Ampleforth I don't have a mobile signal, so that means another form of total relaxation. It's sometimes nice to just cut yourself off, although I'm obviously posting this, and keeping abreast of the times using the BBC site and posting on Instagram as well so people can see what I'm finding interesting. Well I'm going to put an image on here and a John Cooper Clarke song that I loved from the first moment I heard it, with some great lines and a soft porn soundtrack, take a listen. Everyone have a wonderful day everyone.

Sunday, 3 November 2013


Apparently last night we had storms. There was thunder and rain here and the weather here was a bit miserable during the day, but it's November in Yorkshire. You can always enjoy whatever you get. I love sunshine , but I love rain  as well although not too much of either , one will burn you the other will drown you both not what we would want.

The whole point of this week is total relaxation so there may be not too many photographs or even posts. I sure my friends in the sunny antipodes would love to see pictures of a grey rainy day here, and I've posted great pictures of around here on previous Ampleforth and Oswaldkirk (both villages are adjacent) posts. Although I would like to get a photograph of the massive wooden cross at Ampleforth College although I am sure there are many of them online.

Anyway it's always good to take time out to totally relax and it reminds of a TED talk about doing nothing so I thought I would include that for your entertainment. It is very good and makes some great points on how in our modern lives we feel we have to be always doing something. If you take time out then you will be able to do things you want and need to do so much better.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

4AM In Ampleforth

I'm sitting here writing this at 4am because I can't get back to sleep. The main reason for this being I went to sleep at 8 pm last night so I've had eight hours sleep.

There's also so something very odd about theis place. I'm scared of the dark. Not darkness as such, but being somewhere with absolutely no visual point of reference. I need a chenk of street light or moonlight from a window, or a light from another rook or something just so I can find my way if I get up. This place isn't like that. It's pitch black, 100 yards from the quiet street and it is pitch black, no light from outside. Obviously I have lights on to post this, but in this place I am fine to negotiate the place in total darkness. Maybe it's because I've been here before and know my way round. You can see the place here.

Anyway I was in bed for a while thinking about things (usually it's worry that keeps people awake) , but good things just kept coming into my head , ideas of nice things to do, places to go , thinking about friends and family near and far away. It's quite amazing how global our friendships can be. Just offhand i have lot's in the USA, around Australia and New Zealand , Tanzania and various other bits of Africa, Germany and probably lots lots more. And these people bring lots of great things into my life in the form of art and music and stimulate ideas in me and cause me to write things like this.

I watch a lot of TED talks which are usually interesting and I've put relevant TED links on a couple of the countries above so feel free to follow and watch. The Australian one is particuculary excellent.

Well have a brilliant weekend and I've include a brilliant Steve F
Steve Forbert as a child
song. I think he was touted as the next Bruce Springsteen, he wasn't just the first Steve Forbert and he has written some wonderful songs.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Back Home

After a great week , relaxing wise , back home from Ampleforthwith a garden to mow. The journey back was uneventful and easy . There's a few photos from last week here .

My friend Julie posted a Springsteen Spotify playlist which included Rosalita , the first song I heard by Bruce Springsteen when he was the "future of rock'n'roll". This is today's June's Tune. Can't find the orignal Whistle Test broadcast but this is close enough. Enjoy, I just love it:

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Black Sabbath on Holiday

Today was the last day in Ampleforth , tomorrow it's time to go home. Certainly needed time away from work to recover from the cough and cold which I'm still not fully over, but am majorly impressed with Hardwick cottage and Ampleforth. Quiet , relaxing but with all you actually need.

Anyway need to post my Tune for June , and todays the 13th which should give me some inspiration. The lot's of numerically related songs which is how I started this sequence. Then I remembered Black Sabbath have just released "13" , not heard it but I'll use it as a springboard and choose "Hard Road" as it's one of my favourite Sabbath tracks and I'm driving back to Newcastle tomorrow! Oh and just found out that , to my knowledge , no Black Sabbath track has been used in a TV advert!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Hardwick Cottage, Ampleforth

These days I seldom do specific posts about cottages we've stayed in, but this one is exceptional. The owner Rose is very welcoming and the cottage was her father's house. The renovations are documented in one of the welcome books you see as you walk into the large airy dining room and kitchen.

The front room features a book filled tall boy which belonged to Ros's grandmother as well as a modern TV and DVD , player and dedicated wifi , plus an incoming land line. Some cottages are provisioned with cast offs , but in this case whatever is best for the cottage has been provided. Even the selection of films , in my opinion is faultless : Amelie , The Motorcycle Diaries , Withnail & I and Tea With Mussolini and more (including the very disturbing In The Night Garden - CBeebies have a lot to answer for)

There's no need for any photographs as you can look round it here.

I can highly recommend this cottage.

Oh by the way the spiders seem to have vacated the premises!!

Anyway I also need to post an approprate song of the day for June's Tunes, and you think of Our House by Madness or CSNY or Country House by Blur but thinking a bit further on it and decided on the idyllic "Village Green Preservation Society" by the Kinks , then I saw this Kate Rusby version and decided to go with that one which sort of goes with the feeling of the place:

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Ampleforth, Spiders and Evolution

Still feeling the after effects of whatever I've had , but well impressed with the cotage which sensibly has it's own wifi , though I feel this will be a growing trend. Ironic that I cant get a phone signal so cant recieve calls or texts but can use my phone to surf the net and listen to online radio stations. You can see the cottage here.

Anyway this was up during the night and noticed a spider in the bath (there are lots of arachnid vistors to this cottage but what can you expect is such a rural area). This morning it was still there and it got me wondering. Spiders are essentially intelligent creatures and ceramic baths have been around for 150 years or so , so why have they not learned to climb out of a bath yet. More pertinently a spider arriving in a bath from the plug hole is like a driver arriving in a cul-de-sac . Eventually you realise that you've made a mistake (unless the place you want to go is in the cul-de-sac) and then you leave the way you came, This is one area where spider show a distinct lack of intelligence.

Lot's of people can't be doing with spiders and it's basically humans cannot deal with creatures with more legs than them that move faster than them. I'm generally ok with spiders as they cull the insect population , but would prefer it if they keep out of my way.

Given the amount of arachnid action today there can only be one one song for the June's Tunes:

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Back To Oswaldkirk

Just back from another excellent holiday in Oswaldkirk. The cottage (Honeysuckle Cottage) is excellently located close to Ampleforth and Helmsley and out of the range of mobile phones.

The sheep in the field kept escaping , but were unable to remember how to get back , so when they got agitated had to open the gate for them.

During the holiday we managed to visit Riveaulx (left) , Bylands Abbey both, I assume , excellent examples of Henry VIII's destructrive tendencies , but Ampleforth is still in use and very impressive.

Also did the steam train journey from Pickering to Whitby resulting another visit to Folk Devils , where a young Goth girl (about 4'7" but 6' in her platforms) was unsuccessful in her attempted purchase of the latest Kiss offering!!!