Tuesday morning, bright and early, saw the inhabitants of Mudville climbing into the Jap pick up truck, ready to embark on a long trip to collect a windscreen for Bonnie that Mud had won on ebay. Mud had booked Monday and Tuesday off, before we had purchased Bonnie, to do some work on Ciggy but, as is the way of Land Rover enthusiasts everywhere, new toys gazump old and anyway, how much work could he get done on Ciggy in two days? Far better to wait another couple of weeks when he has a whole week off to work on poor old Cigs- he’d be able to achieve tonnes more then.
But let’s not stray from Tuesday and Bonnies’ new windscreen. Having read dozens and dozens of posts and articles about Series 1s in the last couple of weeks, we have realised that there are small changes to the various models almost on an annual basis and so finding the exact part for your model of Land Rover, is actually quite complicated and not as straightforward as finding parts for Annie (1985 Series 3) or Ciggy (1960 Series 2). So when Mud spotted a windscreen, not many miles from us relatively speaking and sitting at an incredibly low price with just a day to go, he decided to bid on it and got it.
“It’s collection only,” he said, “So I’ll arrange to go pick it up Tuesday and we can make a day of it!”
So that’s how we came to be setting off in Thomas, early on Tuesday morning, heading towards Harewood, near Leeds. A couple of hours later and with the newly purchased windscreen in our possession, thoughts turned to finding something to eat. The Mudlets had already had breakfast before we left but by mid morning, Little Mudlet (who it seems has hollow legs) declared herself to be starving hungry ……. AGAIN …… and as Mud was also feeling a little peckish, we started looking for a place to stop.
We ended up in a lovely little cafe called ‘Muddy Boots‘ which operates from the back section of Harewood Village Hall. Up a lane just down from the entrance to Harewood House and not quite opposite the Harewood Arms pub, we found the pretty little Hall set amongst residential properties and with ample car parking. A sign in the car park proclaims that parking is free but they do ask for a donation of £1 for up to 4 hours or £2 for the entire day which we thought was more than fair and so we dropped a coin into the honesty box which is actually a metal box built into the wall of Hall.
Muddy Boots was a very welcoming cafe and the staff were extremely friendly. The menu was split into breakfast (up to 12pm) and lunch onwards (from 12pm). Mud and I both had a superb English breakfast with coffee and a pot of tea respectively, whilst the Mudlets ordered from the Childrens Combo which is available all day and consisted of a sandwich (jam, ham, egg or cheese), a packet of crisps, yoghurt, small packet of biscuits (2 lovely cookies each) and a drink for the staggeringly reasonable cost of £3.50 each. When the Combos arrived, each child had three large sandwiches, made with fresh, local bread and Middle Mudlet declared the egg sandwiches the best ever. Mud and I were extremely impressed with the quality of the food, the atmosphere and the attitude of the staff and would happily recommend this cafe.
With brunch finished, we set off to our next destination, the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington near York. We had first come across this attraction 8 years ago, when we had visited it as part of Mud and Middle Mudlets birthday treat. Of course, back then Middle Mudlet was actually Little Mudlet and Little Mudlet was an expectation. Eldest Mudlet was also with us on that first visit but 8 years on and there was only Mud, myself and the younger Mudlets on the visit.
We arrived at the museum at around 1pm and it was quite busy. A family ticket cost us £22 which we thought was pretty good for a family of four. As an added bonus, once we had filled in the ‘Gift Aid’ declaration which we happily did, we received a 12 month pass for free entry which we will be using in a few weeks as we didn’t get to see everything this time around.
The Yorkshire Air Museum is home to a quite impressive array of aricraft and vehicles, as well as exhibitions covering uniforms to a WW2 control tower, officers billet, machine room etc. There is also the opportunity to board a Dakota, sit where the soldier would have sat and to have a look into the cockpit, although actual access to the cockpit is strictly prohibited. As part of the Dakota experience (which is at no extra cost by the way) the museum have rigged the aircraft to demonstrate the vibration and noise that would have been experienced by the soldiers being transported. I have to say that I found the whole experience unnerving, was a little unsteady on my feet such was the realism of the experience and I was pleased to get back outside. The Mudlets and Mud were thoroughly taken with the plane and, once back outside, one of the volunteers working on the engines, was happy to talk to us about the plane, its’ life and the work they were carrying out.
A large hanger, right by the car park, was packed to the rafters with aircraft from the ages and the Mudlets were awed to find that the wheels of the Halifax were as tall as Middle Mudlet and that even daddy could walk under the wing with ease and without the need to bend his head. Mud took copious pictures of aircraft and vehicles, a selection of which are attached to this post.
We were lucky enough to be escorted around certain exhibits by one of the volunteer stewards, who had been taken with the very obvious excitement and inquisitiveness of the Mudlets. In one of the hangers was a Jet Provost cockpit which visitors are allowed to sit in. With Little Mudlet in the Trainee Pilot seat and her sister in the Instructor seat, the volunteer explained the use of all the button and toggles, not to mention the history of the plane. Both girls were enthralled and asked lots more questions before moving onto the second cockpit in that hanger, open for closer exploration.
The Canberra cockpit offered a bit more space and Middle Mudlet took the pilots position towards the front of the plane, whilst her younger sister sat in the Navigators seat behind. Again the girls listened avidly to the explanation of the various functions of the cockpit and the detailed descriptions of life for the men who had to fly in this aircraft. Both girls were then encouraged to crawl, one at a time, into the Navigators spot in the nose of the plane, where they lay on their bellies looking out at the world through the clear nose cone. Both were suitably awed by the thought that it was often necessary for the poor navigator to stay put whilst the pilot took evasive action.
Next stop was the Air Gunners section in which was situated a Gunner simulator. For the cost of £1, visitors can try to shoot down an enemy aircraft, using a traditional style trigger gun which replicated the sound and action of a WW2 airplane gun. It isn’t easy to hit a moving target, especially one that would disappear off one part of the screen only to reappear in a completely different section. Unfortunately for Little Mudlet, she was even more hampered by the fact that she wasn’t tall enough to see through the ‘sight’ but that didn’t stop her having a go and she managed to achieve 11 hits. Middle Mudlet, on the other hand, was incredibly focused and very quickly cottoned on to where abouts she needed to be firing the gun to hit the plane. By the time she had finished, she had hit the target 43 times, which for a child who doesn’t play many computer games, wasn’t bad going.
The final stop, before the gift shop, was the Halifax landing simulator. Again for the cost of £1 each, visitors could try to land a Halifax, preferably without crashing it! We watched as a 50 something man tried and failed to land the plane, having lost sight of the runway and running out of fuel. As Middle Mudlet took her seat and put her feet on the brake pedals, our friendly volunteer gave her some last minute pointers …….. and then we watched as she landed the plane, whilst not actually on the runway, safely on the simulator airfield. Wow! We were impressed. Not to be outdone, Little Mudlet had a go and got her Halifax down, quicker than her sister, in one piece ……. and then brought it to a halt in a tree!!! Ah well, never mind, I mean she got the plane down safely, it was just that her little legs couldn’t push the brakes down far or hard enough.
In my opinion, the only downside to the museum was the cost of drinks (£6 for 4 cans of pop and a bottle of flavoured water) and the lack of value for money in the gift shop, although that didn’t stop the girls from choosing a toy each.
We decided to end the day with a meal in a restaurant of some description. Mud and I recalled having seen a Brewers Fayre or Beefeater not far from the Humber Bridge last time we had been this way and so decided to head in that general direction. An hour later and we were getting closer and closer to the bridge with no sign of either restaurant and so we changed plan and just kept a look out for any eatery! That’s how we ended up having a wonderful meal, in beautiful surroundings, served by friendly staff at Woodys Bar and Grill, Willerby, Hull. We will definitely be heading back there again, especially as the Mudlets would like to sit on one of the mezzanine style levels which seem to spiral up into the rafters of the main restaurant.
All in all a good day out, creating lots of happy memories and for not very much money all things considered.