I Sing of Thee, Whitby

WHITBY, N. YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND

You may notice that my dog’s name is Whitby.  She was named for the city of Whitby, North Yorkshire, England.  My favourite place in the whole world.

Actually, I have a lot of “favourite places” – but I always come back to Whitby.  So it’s #1 in my book.

In the photo above, taken by Clive Mitchell, you can see the 199 stairs curving up to the top of the cliff, where sits St. Mary’s church.  To the right and behind the church, is the Abbey.  The famous Whitby Abbey (aka St. Hilda’s abbey).  So many people have photographed that structure.  It used to be more “whole” before WWII, but I guess it got pretty well bombed out during that time period, and what’s left has been lovingly and painstakingly kept up so that millions of people can come to visit it each year.

At the top of this cliff, near the church, is where I want my ashes to be buried when I go — in the ground, quietly, by Paul if he’s still around.  Right at the top of those steps, where I have visited, in life, many times and where I want to be forever. 

Yep, that’s us trudging up the 199 steps to the top of the cliff. From left are our friend Margaret, Paul, Jean (she lives there, her husband Don took the picture) and way behind everyone in the pea-green jacket, is yours truly – slow as a turtle.

It is said that Bram Stoker sat there at the top of those steps, on the cliff overlooking Whitby Harbour, when he got the idea to write Dracula.  Some of the scenes in the book (and movies) take place in Whitby, and there is quite a lot of Dracula memorabilia around the old town of Whitby.  I think they have a Dracula Walk but we’ve never experienced that yet.   

Whitby is such an alive town.  It’s a working fishing town, which always draws us in to the waterside.  Paul has to investigate all the different types of fishing gear when we are there.  It’s good, too, because he gets to talking with the fishermen as they come in or are working on the beaches, and once he lets them know that he is a lobsterman from “across the pond,” they let down their guard and get very friendly with us.   We always wind up sitting down and having a nice time with the locals because of this bond. 

I remember one time we were in another of my favourite spots, (and don’t laugh too hard, Bill D!) called Skinningrove.  It’s a tiny, tiny little village (?) or really just a bunch of small row houses and a few stores, located up the coast near Loftus.  We stayed in a cottage in Loftus for a week one time, and we just happened upon Skinningrove one day whilst driving around the back roads of that area.  We got to talking with a handful of the local fishermen there, and they invited us into their fishing shanties to meet their pet ferrets that they had in the shanties.  I wish I could locate the pictures I took of them.  Maybe someday when I get some free time (my mantra lately!) I will for you.  We spent an entire afternoon with those guys, and it was so nice.  When you are a tourist in a foreign country, like we were, it’s so much better if you can spend time with “the natives” of that country, rather than just touring around to all the popular tourist spots.  We much prefer seeing England and Scotland this way.  Over the years, we’ve met some really nice people over there and have some good memories of our time with them.

Whitby Jet

Once, while in Robin Hoods Bay, we got to talking with a fisherman (a lobsterman, in fact) right outside his cottage, and it turns out that, as a sideline, he collects jet from the beaches and, after cleaning it up a bit, actually makes jewelry out of it and ships it all over the world.   He gave us a hunk of the raw jet he was using, and we treasure that black, coal-like thing to this day.  Jet is really petrified wood that has been washed up onto the shores and is black like coal.  Queen Victoria loved jet and, when she was in mourning for her departed husband, Prince Albert, she wore a lot of it.  Whitby was a huge jet producer and in the old days, there were jet factories in the old town, and the stories are still alive today.  Now you can go into any number of gift shops in Whitby and buy beautiful pieces of jewelry made from jet.  (Sandy from Iowa got a few pieces herself when we were there together in 2002).  

~ ~  

Well, I’ve been over to work, picked up my new load of typing, and really came up here to get a head start on it.  As usual, I got sidelined, and ended up in here.  This can be very addictive and, being the addictive personality that I am, I got stuck here!  I need to do a little work, though, so see you around.  I’ll be posting more of these favourite photos in the future for you, if that’s OK with you.

Cheers,

Bex

 

 

 

Fielding the balls they hit you

I’ve been wondering.  Does anyone ever use the right margin alignment when they are typing out their blog?  I’m trying it right now and it’s like trying to type backwards, or like reading Chinese backwards and up and down, rather than frontward and left to right.  It’s really weird, but since they give you that option up there in the little editor section, I just wondered if anyone ever used the right hand margin alignment thingy?

Paul had a lump on his face yesterday.  I freaked out.  I nagged him all thru supper, until I could see he wasn’t liking that very much, but I insisted he call his doc to ask if it was important.  It’s right underneath his ear, on his face, it seems to be where there are some lymph nodes. 

He’s on this low-iodine diet right now, and he’s off his thyroid replacement medicine, in preparation for his follow-up thyroid uptake scan which is coming up soon.  So no thyroid exists in his body anymore, and he has had no thyroid replacement medicine for a week.  And up pops this lumpy/swelling area on his face.  All I could think of was John McCain – Mr. Lumpy-Face.  Anyway, Paul did call the doc and the nurse finally got back to him in the afternoon (good thing it wasn’t urgent!), and she said she’d never run across that happening to anyone undergoing what he’s undergoing right now, so not to worry. 

I dunno… we’ll see.  Although, I did notice that this afternoon, the swelling/lumpy thing has gone way down and you can almost not see it.  Maybe it’s OK.

There are just so many things going on right now to worry about.  My friend, Sandy, said fare-thee-well to her Mom last week, and then Iowa got hit with a humongous ice and snow storm to beat the band.  Her daughters and families have lost power this whole week – I can’t imagine how horrible that must be!  If I lose power for 2 hours, I freak out.  They think it won’t be back on til next week now!  I hope it’s sooner than that.  And then, to add salt to their wounds, as if this month hasn’t been crappy enough, Sandy’s daughter’s dog is very ill and may need to be put down soon, like this week. She is not a happy camper, and my heart goes out to her and her family tonight.  That is one of the worst jobs a dog-parent can have (or any pet-parent) – saying goodbye – but wanting them to stay so bad. 

We are just muddling along here.  Paul is home all the time now, doing small jobs on his lobster gear.  He “knits” heads for the traps in the wintertime.  He can do this up in the bedroom, using the bedpost to hook the twine onto, and using a shuttlecock type of thing, he makes the heads that go into the lobster traps.  They are a pain in the neck to make every year, but much cheaper to make than to buy all made. 

I’ve been swamped with a bit more work than I like lately, but I can’t really complain – better too much work than no work at all!  That day will come soon enough, and I won’t like it.  I’ve never not worked, at least not since I was about 17.  And for about 4 years before that, after my mother gave birth to my sister, I had the job of taking care of her while Mom went back to work full time.  So it’s been a while since I’ve not worked, and I’m ready actually.  If only I can work out the financial aspects of it within the next 7 or 8 years. 

Enough.  My back is aching, my neck is aching, and it’s time to turn out the lights, kiss my dogger goodnight and give her a head-scratch, and climb in under the duvet and sleep. 

I’ve also noticed that nights seem very short lately — as soon as I hit the pillow, it’s morning!

Cheers,

Bex 

Turning back time

That’s me, above.  Way before I got any gray hair. 

Way before I married Paul. 

In what seems like another universe – before I got “old.”

 I felt so fat in those stupid green overalls.  God, if only I could be that “fat” again! I was never “thin” exactly, but oh to be only that “fat” again!

Obviously, it was Christmastime. 

This photo was taken in my apartment, on Christmas Eve, probably in the late 1970s or early 1980s.  After I was divorced from husband number 1, and before I’d started dating husband number 2.

My family would all gather at my place and we would eat yummy food and open stockings. 

Each Christmas Eve we would have one of these soirees.  And we would pick names and do a stocking for the person we’d picked. 

Every year the stockings got crazier and crazier.

I can remember one year I found a stocking that was about 7 feet long and I filled it with presents for whomever I picked – I think it was my brother.

I guess I chose to wear those gawd-awful greenjeans because it was Christmastime and I hadn’t anything else that was red and green like that.

Those days are gone.  Only memories now.

~ ~

It’s almost March, and then April will be here, and spring.

I can’t wait for spring.

I’m sick to death of winter.

 Cheerio,

Bex   

Take a hike

Almost every day, I visit a website called Mad About Mountains, by Ann Bowker.   Ann lives in Keswick, Cumbria, England, and she is a mountain climber/hiker.  She goes on daily hikes up into the mountains of the Lake District of northern England, and each day she uploads the most incredible photos of the landscapes she encounters on her hikes with the Keswick Rambling Club.  They are spectacular.

I know I’ve shared them with you before, but I just wanted to renew that invitation to click on this Lakeland Fells page  and then, choose a link and go. 

I know it’s not quite as good as being there, but the way Ann has captured the incredible natural beauty of her area of the world, you will feel exhiliarated, as I do each and every day.

Three cheers for beautiful England!

Bex 

And the Oscar goes to…

No, I’m NOT watching the [stupid] Oscars.

Paul has it on TV in the other room (I’m up in my office still working!).  I can hear Ellen Degeneres talking/talking/talking.  I wonder what they pay her to do this gig tonight?  Probably more than I make in 3 years!  Even longer, no doubt.  She’s telling jokes – I can hear her in the background. 

Well, I’ve typed, rested, typed, vacuumed, ate a little, typed some more, watched a movie, typed some more, made dinner, ate dinner, and here I am back upstairs typing. And after all that typing, you’d think I’d be done with my Monday’s work – well you’d be wrong.  I am not done, but I am on the home stretch – working on my last doctor.

I’m going downstairs now to see if possibly PBS is NOT having a fundraiser (which they seem to have every other week lately) and maybe is going to be showing a good show.  Last Sunday it was a repeat of a PRIME SUSPECT show with Helen Mirren.  I watched it – again – just because I LOVE HELEN MIRREN.  Say, isn’t she up for an Oscar tonight?  I remember the good old days when Sunday night meant MASTERPIECE THEATRE – you could count on it.  Those days are gone, sadly.  If we get a Masterpiece Theatre, it’s rare these days. 

The movie I watched was one I got on amazon called DEVOTION starring Leslie Howard.  Yes, it was a real oldie.  REAL OLDIE.  It was ever so good though.  I love Leslie Howard, and I’ve just sent for a copy of the version of Wuthering Heights with Leslie Howard, Merle Oberon, and Lawrence Olivier.  I think it’s the 1939 version. I’ve seen other versions of that Emily Bronte story, but I always liked this version the best.

Anyway, I’ve got to get outta here.  My neck is giving me fits.  It hurts almost all the time now, and I’ve got to get into a different position.  Time for work is over for tonight. 

No pictures for you today. 

Goodnight, friends.

Sweet Dreams,

Bex

Moseying thru the weekend

It’s either half empty or it’s half full.

The weekend, that is.

It’s Saturday night.  I got all my work done today for yesterday, and tomorrow I have to start in on Monday’s work.  No problem.  Can do.

I heard from Sandy in Iowa.  She called and was without power! Oh my.  I hate when that happens.  But it happens to her a lot more than it happens to us.  It seems all the weather in the country swirls around in a spiral and lands right in Iowa every single winter.  They get the worst of the worst out there.  Sandy says that all the streets, driveways, sidewalks – everything – are covered in ice.  And now it’s snowing – AGAIN – oh joy!

Without power, there is no cooking, no heat, and no hot water.  For me it would mean no work, too, and you know how I’d feel about that prospect!  Not happy. 

As you can see here, I’ve changed templates (designs) once more.  And I can’t, in all good conscience, say that this will be the last.  If they didn’t make it so easy to do here at WordPress, I’d probably just stick with the one I’d chosen at the beginning, but that’s me – fickle!

I’ve been delving into one of my favourite subjects lately in my few free hours here – reading about The Brontes of Haworth (North Yorkshire). 

You probably already know how nuts I am about Yorkshire. 

paulbexcottage.JPG

(Paul and Bex at Ryedale Folk Museum in Hutton Le Hole, N. Yorks.)

I always used to admire all three Bronte sisters, especially the eldest, Charlotte.  In fact, my favourite book of all time is Jane Eyre.  But I just finished reading a book called The Crimes of Charlotte Bronte and it presented a totally different picture of what really went on in that parsonage back in the middle 1800’s in the small village of Haworth. 

 

All three sisters, first Emily, then Anne, then Charlotte, died within a very short period of time.  In fact, their brother Branwell was the first to pass away, and all from what they conveniently termed consumption.  A catchall-disease in those days.   Very strange, indeed.  The book I just finished reading has changed the way I have come to think of Charlotte.  She used to be my hero, but now I’m not so sure. 

The book is a novel, and not a biography, per se.  It’s only one man’s opinion of what really happened there, and I’m not going to give it all away here.  Let’s just say I have a completely different view of that story now.

 

Paul and I visited Haworth during a trip to England – not sure which year it was, but it may have been during our 1997 trip.  I remember we were staying at the home of a friend, Sheila, who lives in the Yorkshire Dales.  And I remember that on the day we went to Haworth and visited the parsonage where it all took place, I had left my camera back at Sheila’s house.  Drat.  So I got no pictures that day. 

I also just received in the post a 2-CD set of a series that was made years ago called The Brontes of Haworth.  I just finished it today.  It was well done and now, after reading about them, and seeing the film, I feel completely immersed in Brontes. 

It was funny, too, because the part of Branwell Bronte (Charlotte’s brother) was played by a very young Michael Kitchen.  I studied his face for a long time, wracking my brain to remember where I’d seen that face before.  He was so different looking back then, with a puffy frizzy hairstyle.  (You may remember that Michael Kitchen was the star of the BBC miniseries FOYLE’S WAR that aired on PBS here over the last few years. ) I love him.  He is one of my favourite actors. 

So, enough about history.  I’m very tired now and heading to bed, even though the clock only reads 8:56 p.m. 

Good night all.

Cheers,

Bex

When they were young



It seems like only yesterday my sweetie was a young pup.  Going full speed ahead all the time, all day long, sticking that long collie nose into everything in the house, and running her aging mom ragged.

Yes, those were the good old days. 

Now my little girl is almost 8 years old.  She was only a pup in these photos, but I had fun looking thru them tonight, reminiscing… remembering. 

(The late, GREAT, Muffin Collie-Flower)

~ ~

I’m sorry to the WebTVers out there who can’t view this new blog of mine properly.  I tried viewing in from downstairs on my WebTV earlier, and the picture I have across the top of the bog, just under the title, Crow Cottage, Actually, was not there at all – all I could see was an olive green rectangular box where the picture should be.  I can’t help that.  I’ve tried all kinds of tricks and this is what I get.

I’ve had a long and arduous day dealing with new things for work, so I’m off to bed now.  See you all again soon.

Cheers,

Bex