The summer holidays seem a long time ago now, as the temperatures take a decidedly downward turn, the sun sinks ever lower into the sky with each passing day and in the garden, plants start to give up the ghost, shrivelling and turning brown as the last of their fruits reach full maturity and, in the case of the pumpkins and winter squashes, start to develop their autumn colours and hardened skins. Yet it was only two weeks ago that the Mudlets’ schools opened their doors once again, at the start of yet another academic year and hordes of excited children arrived in the playgrounds, anxious to catch up with their particular set of friends, sharing news of holidays, outings and all manner of goings on.
So as the chill night air once again starts to envelope Mudville, I have decided that now is the time to share the summer happenings of our little family, to reminisce of warmer days and new experiences.
The beginning of August saw myself and some of the Gardening Club children take potatoes, runner beans and pansies to a local horticultural show where we hoped to share in the experience and wisdom of older gardeners. We never in our wildest dreams thought we would actually win anything and so it was a complete surprise to be awarded the cup for the best junior exhibit in an adult class, even though we hadn’t even placed in any of the three classes we entered. The three members, including Little Mudlet, who had returned for the prize giving, couldn’t hide their delight as they accepted the cup from Sandra Bright, a local gardener and one of the runners up of ‘The Great Allotment Challenge 2015’. In addition one of our youngest members placed third in the ‘Pots of Pansies’ childrens’ class, with Middle Mudlet coming second in the vegetable monster class and Little Mudlet getting first place in both ‘Junior Photograph: In the garden’ with the stunning bee picture posted above and also in ‘Junior Craft Item: any medium’. Middle Mudlet has asked for a section of garden for her own next season and we have drawn up a list of seeds that we want to grow including the awesome ‘Atlantic Giant Pumpkin’.
A few days after the show, Mud, the Mudlets and I decamped to a little cottage in Whitby for a few days for some much need R&R. Putting aside the fact that Whitby is probably the most dog friendly town in the country which was a very serious problem for an extremely dog-allergic Mud, we did manage to have a couple of lovely trips out before returning home to Mudville for a thorough decontamination of Mud who was suffering very badly by now. I always know when Mud is feeling really, really poorly because only then will he resort to medicine and/or treatment and the speed with which he got a new antihistamine nasal spray out of its’ packaging and started to use it, spoke volumes.
But I digress. Our first full day started with a trip to Robin Hoods Bay, a place I had visited, along with Whitby, as a child and young teen. I was a little apprehensive as Robin Hoods Bay had always stood out in my memories of that time as being far superior to Whitby, albeit a fraction of its’ size. That said, my recollections of Whitby had been of a lovely, traditional fishing harbour with a few touristy shops and I had been dreadfully disappointed when we had walked down into the town centre and found that it had become completely commercialised with a huge supermarket taking pride of place in the main harbour …… not a good look at all in my opinion. Thankfully, the Bay was everything I remembered and I watched as my family became equally as enraptured with the place, as they sat on the rocks waiting for the tide to go out sufficiently enough to allow for some paddling about on the beach. We arrived very early in the morning when just a few visitors were about and stayed for just under two hours. By the time we were leaving (10amish) dogs were starting to arrive with their owners and we realised that whilst on the face of it the Bay itself hadn’t changed all that much, the general trend of the area as a whole seems to be one of extreme dog friendliness which is great for all you dog owners but not so good for people who are allergic to them, or afraid of them or who simply don’t like them.
Next port of call was a trip to Whitby Abbey. Which was another expensive and abortive venue for us, as it seems that English Heritage has also become extremely dog friendly, including allowing dogs into the cafes on this site! I’m sorry to be going on about this but having a husband with as extreme an allergy as Muds’, the idea that the health and wellbeing of people like him have been swept aside, in what seems to be a thoughtless and carefree manner by such an important historical preservation society, one whose castles and stately homes we have visited on numerous occasions in our lifetime, is actually very frustrating. Anyway, it cost just under £20 for a family ticket to access the Abbey and whilst the ruins themselves were beautiful and the location offered up some wonderful views, the ‘museum’ area was a huge disappointment and was in actual fact, little more than a glorified gift shop. As it became apparent that the café was effectively out of bounds for us, we decided to go on a magical mystery tour of the surrounding area.
So it was that we found ourselves heading across the moors, stopping to take pictures of the sheep (Little Mudlet) and scenery (me) along the way. Mud and the Mudlets spent an enjoyable half an hour skimming stones across a narrow river before we headed further into the moors, eventually stopping at Goathland where the girls posed for pictures with a 1960’s police car and outside the Aidensfield stores. I have to say that I was a little disappointed with the village as it was quite a pricey place to be, cashing in on its’ connection to ‘Heartbeat’ at the expense of the quaintness and natural beauty of its’ setting and its’ buildings. That said, the girls enjoyed themselves and were quite taken with the notion that they were walking where a programme they have watched was actually filmed.
Mud spent most of that evening looking for somewhere to go on the following day and so it was that next morning, we found ourselves back in the car heading off to a destination unknown to all but Mud. A couple of hours later we found ourselves in Hartlepool and more specifically at the National Museum of the Royal Navy. As we drove towards the museum the girls and I were mesmerised by the sight of the masts of a large sailing vessel towering over the roof of the museum building. This was the home of the HMS Trincomalee and somewhere, it turned out, Mud had wanted to visit for many years but the distance from Mudville had always put it just out of reach.
Of all the places we visited whilst staying in Whitby, this was by far the most amazing, interesting and best value for money. The ship itself was fascinating enough but the museum had set it in a dock, surrounded by shops staged to look like a quayside of the time when the Trincomalee was an active ship. There was also a staged captains house too and then there was the walk through ‘Fighting Ships’ exhibit which was an amazing experience in its’ own right. Cannon and Musket firing demonstrations were loud but impressive, although I wasn’t entirely convinced that the young person having a sailing lesson in the main harbour at the time of the cannon demonstration, was quite as taken with it as we were. This was a most enjoyable day and it was with heavy hearts that we headed back to Whitby for one last time, to pack up ready for the journey back to Mudville.
I have to say that if you have the opportunity to visit the Navy Museum and see the Trincomalee, it is so worth a visit. The staff were all incredibly friendly and knowledgeable which helped make the whole experience much more enjoyable. We were able to climb all over the ships decks, although some of the lower ones were a bit too low for comfort but then, when you think about it, that was the reality of life on board!