Sunday, 4 May 2014

Yorkshire Dales Holiday, Bowes Museum, Silver Swan,

After almost a month since my last posting I felt it was time to bring things up to date.
I now write this using a laptop which is vast improvemnt on my old very slow pc however I am still learning my way with it & it seems it does not like to download photos onto this blog...I shall have to S.O.S my computer friend to sort me out, yet again.

The Farmer & I have had a much needed holiday this last week. After enduring heavy colds,various challenging situations on the farm and a long wet winter we made the decision to take off to somewhere with no internet, no phone and nothing to do but read, sleep & gaze at a different landscape. So we found ourselves a tiny cottage in Cumbria & near the Yorkshire Dales and it was heavenly. Having not had a break for about 2 years it was much needed and greatly appreciated (http://www.snowdropcottagecumbria.co.uk).
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The Yorkshire Dales were just wonderful and we were near enough the Lake District to venture into that land of hearty hikers in brightly coloured waterproofs all wielding their pairs of walking sticks as they tramp. Oddly we didn't see many of them actually walking in the hills, but they certainly populate the little towns & villages. Also hundreds of cyclists with their lycra-clad bodies sweeping gracefully around the bends in the roads, to say nothing of swarms of motorcyclists buzzing past past us on lonely mountain roads like angry bees.

We took time to visit the Bowes Museum(http://www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk)at Barnard Castle which was marvellous. A huge collection of paintings and porcelain & costume on display in vast Victorian palace which was purpose built to house the collection of John Bowes & his wife that they built up over a period of only 15 years. It is extraordinary & full of the most beautiful objects including the fabulous Silver Swan, an automaton dating from the mid-18th century. Once a day at 2 o'clock this glorious creature is set in motion for the 34 seconds that it takes for the swan to turn its head over its back and then turn round again to lower its bill into what appears to be rippling water and catch a small golden fish. It is stunningly beautiful.

We are now home again and back in the swing of our usual busy-ness. The silage season will be upon us before we can turn round & the holiday cottage is pretty well full from now on for the summer. Since we've been away the blossom has come out in the orchards and the hedgerows are full of bluebells & stitchworts & the countryside is just at its lovely May-time best.

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