I am glad to report that I am home safely from my travels, although the coach back from Birmingham was delayed an hour overall because of traffic problems on the roads (I believe both the bridges across the River Severn were closed) - we had to go via Ross-on-Wye to get to Newport.
I had an absolutely wonderful time up with my daughter, celebrating her birthday. We went to York, and visited the Quilt Museum and the Medieval Christmas Market at the Barley Hall where I made some purchases - a present for my husband which is a candle holder made from recycled oak from a defunct piece of farm machinery (which will please him as he hates waste and we always try to recycle old things here). It has a cast iron holder set into the oak. I also bought some beach-combed-in-Holland chips of amber, which T made up into earrings for me, bless her. Unfortunately, it was too expensive to go into the York Museum (£7.50 a head) so we turned around and came back out, and it would have been £9 and £8 for us to go into York Minster, so we had to forgo our visit there too. I feel that you should not have to pay to go into a place of worship (although I did pay several years ago to go into the Minster), even if it does help with restoration and running costs. In fact, the whole "York experience" seemed to be out to make a maximum profit from tourists and visitors, and we looked long and hard before we found somewhere for lunch which offered value for money, and had soup and sandwiches for £5.95. Elsewhere they were charging that for sandwiches alone, or even a pound or more again. Greggs and the pasty shop were doing a roaring trade . . .
In the evening we had her birthday meal with friends, and I had my first-ever cocktails: a Lemon Sherbet, and then a Lavender Haze (mostly rum and pineapple juice). We both chose the partridge with bramble and beetroot sauce, on a bed of crushed new potatoes. Scrummy! We had a lovely evening, although the music was SO loud no-one could carry on a conversation, even if we shouted!
T had to work the middle part of the next day, so I did the rounds of the local charity shops, taking my time and thoroughly enjoying myself. I bought two books: Alison Weir's "Innocent Traitor" about Lady Jane Grey, and Michel Faber's "The Crimson Petal and the White" about prostitution in Victorian England. Both were read once and only 50p each. In the same charity shop I also found a lovely old brown Victorian stoneware jar (pre-1892) with "Cadbury" on it and a beautiful tree design in white. It has a slight chip on the pouring lip, but I can live with that.
After work, we walked across the city to the old steelworks quarter at Kelham island. T wanted to show me a vintage and collectables outlet (various sellers) and we bought a couple of things for presents, once again. I even found another piece for my Torquay pottery collection - a little scent bottle which had once held lavender scent. Then we went to the Fat Cat pub (one of T's favourites) but it was choc-a-bloc with people who had been to the nearby Christmas market. Around the corner, the Kelham island tavern had a bit more room and we took advantage of its CAMRA listing and had some Herefordshire perry from the keg. Supper for us was an M&S dine in for £10 offer and very good it was too! Moroccan chicken and potato rosti, then tart au citron, washed down with a good white wine.
Sunday saw us heading for the Peak District in Derbyshire, Castleton to be precise. It was a bright and sunny day, though cold. We took lots of photographs, both on the bus and once we arrived, and the scenery was wonderful. LOTS of walkers out, and hang-gliders, rock-climbers - all sorts of folk enjoying the countryside. We went in just about every shop, greatly enjoyed the Christmas Tree Festival in the church, had chips for lunch, and a swift half of cider in one of the pubs before heading home.
I took about 66 photos, but some weren't up to much. As soon as I have wiped some more off my old blog posts and made room, I'll post as many as I can.