Of course, I really should spend some time in the house soon. It's not going to decorate itself after all. We've got a plasterer coming on Tuesday to do a final awkward bit, and I'll do a DIY update after that.
Looking back at my pictures from the last few weeks, it's quite clear I've spent most of the time I've not been at work wandering the countryside. The weather's been good here, and I can't bear to be stuck in this dusty, half decorated house. After work, and at the weekend, I'm just desperate to go outside.
This was a brief stop on the way back from a little market town with a friend. I've driven past here countless times, but never stopped and walked down the path a little way.
A bit of clambering (and a bit of swearing) and we found ourselves quite high up and looking out quite a long way.
Another day, we went to another market town looking for a new house. When we go somewhere new, we like to wander about and see what's close.
I'd happily live near here. It was pretty hilly, mind you.
Next, our trips took a less scenic (but more tasty) turn, with cake and a fair in a park.
One evening after work, as the light faded, we headed out to the peak district. There was no epic sunset, and there were a party of scouts whose shouts echoed around the valley, but it was still peaceful.
Yesterday the sun shone, and when a friend suggested a trip out after tea, we jumped at the chance. We hadn't eaten, so we took slices of pizza and a bit of cake, and found a 'beach' (or as close to a beach as we get round here) by a reservoir.
We skimmed stones and watched as the sun set over the hills.
Sometimes even just going out for an hour can feel like a rest. After work, it feels like a whole other day.
Of course, I really should spend some time in the house soon. It's not going to decorate itself after all. We've got a plasterer coming on Tuesday to do a final awkward bit, and I'll do a DIY update after that.
As threatened, me and my bike went off on an adventure last week. Not to Scotland, as originally planned, but across the Trans Pennine Trail to visit my sister.
First I had to get onto the trail, which involved three miles downhill before a nice gentle cycle through the woods. The perfect start.
My first section of the trail was rather up and down through some woods. The sun was shining, and I barely saw anyone else all morning. Most jolly.
Everything went swimmingly until after lunch, when I reached Dunford Bridge. I knew the next section was 'more challenging' but I hadn't realised quite how much more challenging...
First was a short steep incline, followed by a long slow uphill drag.
The views did get substantially better from this point on, and I kept stopping to look back down the hill I'd just cycled up. It doesn't look like much of a hill, but I can assure you it was, and it went on for a long time.
At the top (for now) the trail crossed the busy A628 and went off road, over the moors. See that plastic bag, blowing in the wind? Yep, that wind was blowing in my face, and would continue to do so for the whole of my two day ride.
The scenery was spectacular and it was quite epic being out on the moors by myself, but the surface wasn't exactly easy to cycle on, and this bit took me rather a long time...
I had to navigate through a field of rather scary looking giant grey furry cows (no, that's not a technical description, and I'm still trying to find out what they actually were) but fortunately they looked happy enough lying in the sunshine and didn't feel the need to chase me and my bike. I didn't stop for a picture though, just in case.
Eventually the trail dropped down towards those reservoirs you can see in the distance.
This bit of the trail was ridiculous. Steep, loose rocks, and steps. I had to get off and push, and it was still slow going. Definitely made for mountain bikers, not jittery ladies on folding bicycles laden down with panniers full of snacks.
But I made it, and cycling along the reservoirs was quite pleasant in comparison.
I confess I ended the day by hopping on a train. I'd done 36 miles, still had 16 to go and wanted to see my friend and her children before they went to bed.
The next day started rather less scenically, with a bridge over the motorway and a rather unglamourous bit of woodland and river alongside the M60.
After that, the trail followed the route of an old railway line for about seven miles, which I confess was rather dull after the previous day's far-reaching views. It was also quite a lot colder, and after being sunburned in a t shirt the day before, I spent day two huddled in three layers with my gloves on.
Eventually things got more interesting, with a canal, the River Mersey, and some industrial heritage.
I'd happily never see another one of these gates again.
They're at every entrance, and every point where the trail crosses a road, and they do an excellent job of keeping motorbikes off the trail, but goodness me they're a bit of a nuisance to navigate with a fully laden bike. I had to essentially get off and lean the whole thing sideways. On day two, there seemed to be a gate every ten minutes and then at one point, I hit this ludicrous set of wooden steps.
That sign at the bottom says 'cyclists dismount' - as if it was possible to do anything other than dismounting... Even pushing down these steps wasn't that easy though, and I hate to think how hard it would have been to push up them. Not what I was expecting on a cycle route!
But after this, everything got substantially easier, with a well surfaced path all the way along the river to Liverpool (via a cup of tea at a friend's house on the outskirts of the city).
The wind was in my face the whole time and I was getting rather tired by the time I reached Liverpool. I was grateful for a bit of a rest on the ferry across the Mersey.
This was the commuter ferry, and it was heartening to see so many other bikes.
On the other side, I got slower and slower. I'd already done about 40 miles that day, and the wind was against me, and I was cold and tired and sand had blown across the track meaning I kept having to get off. My nephews were getting rather impatient waiting for me, and my sister ended up cycling out to make sure I hadn't got lost (even I couldn't get lost cycling along the seafront).
I didn't cycle home. I spent a couple of days playing with my nephews, and then got an elaborate series of trains back across the Pennines and spent a night in Buxton in the rain.
And then I got a lift home. Cheating, yes, but I reckon I cycled a good 90 miles in the first two days which is quite enough for one week.
After all my preparations (which by a normal cyclist's standards wouldn't really count as 'training'), my 62 mile bike race was thwarted by tonsillitis. Most vexing, not least because I had my tonsils removed when I was seven, and they appear to have grown back for the sole purpose of causing trouble. Is it just me who thinks that's a bit weird? Well, apparently it can happen, and according to this source (reliability unknown) it can happen, sometimes in people who eat too much cake. Hmm.
Anyway, I was far too poorly to do the race, or even go and watch my sister and her friends, who had a grand old time without me. I was most disappointed (really!)
Still, it hasn't stopped me cycling now I'm feeling better. On Sunday morning it was so gloriously warm and the sun was streaming in through the windows and I just couldn't stand the thought of staying inside for the whole day. One of the things I love about cycling regularly is that the bike is always ready and waiting by the back door, and I don't need to do half an hour of maintenance and faffing before I go out. So off I went, up into the woods again.
This is my extended cycling to work route, just under ten miles, and takes me just under an hour. It's not exactly flat, although most of the uphill bit is in the woods, so the scenery is nicely distracting.
Nothing out of the ordinary happened on Sunday - I went out, cycled through the woods, and was home in time for second breakfast. It feels good to be fit enough to just decide to cycle ten miles on the spur of the moment for no reason other than 'it's sunny'.
And being fit enough to do that means that I'm not daunted by the prospect of cycling ten miles between work venues in a day, as I did today - which saved me a whole lot of time waiting for a bus.
I'm off work in a couple of weeks, and it looks like my time off will be split by a holiday together, and a few days on my own. I'm thinking me and my bicycle might take off for a country road somewhere, possibly Scotland. I've not done that for a good few years, but I think now might be the time...
Are you sick of my cycling posts yet? Because I'm nowhere near the end of my enthusiasm so you might have to bear with them for a little while longer I'm afraid.
This weekend's inspired plan was to drive out to somewhere flat, and get in my last (er, and first) long ride before the 62 mile race, which is now in less than three weeks. The day didn't start well when I got lost on the way to the car park, and it took me nearly two hours to drive 45 miles. I paid for four hours of parking, and set off along the trail, only to be faced with a hill - small, but definitely not flat by my reckoning.
Fortunately this was the only major incline, and cyclists were advised to dismount (which I did, of course).
This was an out and back route for me, and I'd one my homework and started at the bottom of the very gentle (but very long) climb, thinking I'd put in the effort on the way out, and coast all the way home.
Fat chance. 'Flat' takes on a different meaning when you're on a bike, and when wind is involved, flat almost becomes irrelevant. I stopped after about six miles to take stock.
It had taken me a good 45 minutes to get to this point, and I confess I was tempted to turn round. But this was meant to be a long ride, which meant it had to be a decent proportion of the 62 miles of the race. Thirteen miles just wasn't going to cut it.
Where to turn round though? After twelve miles there was a signpost advising of a cafe two miles ahead. If I stopped there, that would mean a 28 mile round trip. When I got to the cafe though, there was a picnic spot signed another mile ahead - which would mean a 30 mile round trip. But 30 miles was tantilisingly close to half way through the race, and I decided that psychologically it would feel good to have broken the half way barrier....
At sixteen miles I stopped. Just stopped, in the middle of the path, to the slight bemusement of a family who I'd just overtaken (and would have to overtake again a few moments later). I had a fleeting thought of 'I'll just get to that bridge...' but no, some sense took hold and I turned round to head back to the car, by now wise to the fact that my nice downhill coast home wasn't going to be any such thing.
You see, it was windy. I laughed when I stopped, as the wind was almost imperceptible when I was still, but on the bike I was having to lean sideways to avoid being blown off. Some of the trail is within deep cuttings which are a bit more sheltered, but the open sections are very exposed, and, as I discovered (contrary to the laws of physics) the wind was blowing in both directions.
By this point I was that odd combination of grouchy and enjoying myself that I often get on a long bike ride or run, and amused myself by making a short video, which I'm not even going to show you because it's so dull, and illustrates nothing except how slowly I was going.
After 19 miles I arrived back at the cafe, and managed to get my fingers working enough to buy a Double Decker and drink some more of my (tepid) flask of tea. My grouchiness increased when I came across this sign - my car was in Ashbourne...
Still, if you've done 19 miles you can do another 13, right? Right. I admit the trail was getting rather repetitive by this point, and as it was getting close to lunchtime I was having to slow down to navigate around an increasing number of amblers, children and excitable dogs.
And, as I mentioned, I seemed to be going uphill again.
However, there is a perverse pleasure in discomfort brought on by exercise. Yes, I was getting tired, but look! I'd cycled 20 miles, 21, 22, and I was still going! Think of where I'd have got to if I'd set out from home and gone in a straight line! (Doncaster, probably, which is why I didn't). I started doing odd mental arithmetic, trying to work out how long the race would take me if I kept up my current speed ('all day' was the answer).
Eventually I did feel a slight downward slant in the trail, although I never got to the stage of freewheeling once in 32 miles, as the surface was too rough and the wind too strong. I passed my initial picnic spot (only six miles to go) then eventually reached the 'steep slope - cyclists dismount' sign again.
Yay - snacks, just 200 yards ahead! An excellent sign (although I wasn't in the market for an ice cream). My legs weren't too impressed at having to push up the other side of that hill mind you. But I was extremely glad of that kiosk, and inhaled yet another chocolate bar before performing a comedy manoeuvre trying to lift my utterly filthy (and slippery) bike into a car with a broken hydraulic arm which means I have to hold the back door open with my head.
Oddly enough nobody offered to help, and I'm far too stubborn to ask.
With six minutes left of my four hour parking ticket, I finally made it out of the car park. Thirty two miles, bike caked in grime, and one pair of worryingly muddy hand-knitted socks (whose idea was it to wear those??)
Two days later I'm not feeling it at all, which I'm taking as a good sign. I cycled to work today and neither my backside nor my knees objected once. Maybe all this cycling is actually making me a little fitter?
Talk to me about that again in three weeks...
It's been a here-and-there few weeks. Decorating, of course, and an unexpected trip to a permaculture gathering which made me think differently about a lot of things. And I've been cycling, in preparation for a 62 mile bike ride that's sneaking up on me faster than seems fair.
I've been trying to fit more cycling into my life without taking up too much time at the weekends. Cycling to work and back is good, but the round trip is less than three miles. I've been cycling to other places too, but haven't done more than six miles in a day for months now. I keep intending to take a detour on the way home from work, but it's dark and cold, and I'm usually tired and well in need of my tea (I know, excuses!)
This week I had a brilliant idea - why not take a detour on the way to work? I don't know why it didn't occur to me before. I've been trying to limit the amount of time I spend wading through social media posts in bed in the morning, and a happy outcome of that is that I get up and about earlier - and what better to fill that time with than cycling!
By happy chance I've stumbled on the perfect route - one I often run when I'm training for a longer race, but usually in the opposite direction. And so bright and early (well, early anyway) on Monday morning, I wrapped up and set off, whizzing down and then up along the road for the first three miles, then turning into this local Site of Special Scientific Interest.
I love it in here. It's a valley, so the path winds upwards, but I was cycling along an old carriage track so it's relatively flat (it made up for it with mud and cobbles though). There's a steep drop to the side of the track, which looks down on a small stream running over boulders with a steep rocky path alongside it, lovely to walk but for braver cyclists than me.
I reached the top eventually (as usual, it would have been quicker if I hadn't kept stopping to take pictures) and whizzed the final few miles downhill to work.
Nearly ten miles done before half 9, and it was glorious to be out in the sunshine and feel I'd done something weekendy before work. It's amazing what a difference it makes when you feel like the day isn't just work and dark. I'd not do it on a day I had an early meeting, but I'm normally pretty flexible about what time I start, and I was at my desk and ready by 9.30 which is no worse than usual.
This is definitely going to be a regular feature of my week, even when the ludicrous bike race is a distant memory...
I've started cycling again. I used to cycle a lot, when I lived somewhere flatter and didn't own a car, but convenience and idleness caught up with me and cycling became mostly something I did for fun, not for transport.
Not any more though! My bike has been retrieved from the cellar, panniers retrieved from the box they were packed in, and I'm now cycling to work every day, as well as further away places at the weekend.
All this cycling has prompted me to think more about how I travel around, which fits nicely with the Uber Frugal January theme of questioning all of your expenses.
Cycling: panniers are the key
Right now, cycling to work feels ridiculous - it's less than two miles away so it takes me ten minutes to get there, and longer to cycle home than to walk as it's so uphill. But I'm hoping I'll be fitter soon, and I'm planning to add more miles to the journey home once the evenings start getting lighter.
For me, panniers are the key to cycling. Without them, you have to use a rucksack, which makes for hot, sweaty cycling and squashed chocolate brownies (in my experience). With them, you can carry many things in comfort and safety. Mine are lovely, they're enormous, and waterproof, and easily to remove. They weren't cheap (about £50 I think) but so far they've lasted fifteen years and are still going strong.
This bike folds in half, which is (in my opinion) a useless feature as it then takes up far more space. But the handlebars and pedals fold in too - very useful for storing in a hallway without bits sticking out to trip you up.
I also have a 'proper' folding bike - a Brompton. This was expensive (about £600 I think, although now the cheapest seem to be £950) but again, it's lasted about seventeen years and I adore it. It folds up so small you can take it on the train without booking in advance, and you can even get it onto a bus. Perfect for my old bike-train-bike commute, and for slinging in the car to take on holidays (we have one each). Peter bought me a pannier to go on the front a couple of years ago and now it is the very pinnacle of bicycling perfection.
I will say something about hills and traffic, as those are the reasons that people seem to give for not cycling more often. I've used hills as an excuse myself plenty of times but it is just that - an excuse. Yes, I have to get off and push sometimes, but the more I cycle, the fitter I get, and I can now get all the way home from work without getting off, which two weeks ago seemed like it would never happen. Learn how to use those gears and get cycling!
As for traffic, yes, it can be daunting. But the routes I drive are rarely the routes I cycle. I use cycle lanes where I can, quieter roads when I can't, make sure I'm lit up like a Christmas tree (no Stealth Cycling) and most importantly, I remain vigilant. I make eye contact with people turning out of side roads (to make sure they've noticed me) and I am always prepared to slow down if in a car is being unpredictable.
Walking: sensible shoes and bags at all times
My bicycling enthusiasm has only recently been rekindled, in part because I've been conned into entering a 62 mile bike race in March. Before that, I walked (and drove, but we'll get to that in a minute). I love walking. I'll happily walk from one side of the city to another to meet a friend for a cup of tea (and often do).
I'll walk to work in whatever shoes I'm wearing, but for longer walks, comfy shoes are best. And for walking, a rucksack (although now I think about it, panniers around the waist might not be a bad idea). Preferably no carrier bags dangling from wrists, and if I'm going to be longer than an hour, I find it best to have a drink and snack as it's very easy to pop into a shop for a bar of chocolate when you're walking.
Walking is slower than cycling, but I often natter on the phone, listen to a podcast, or take picture of my own feet. You can look around more when you're walking, and I've seen many parts of the city I never would have seen from a car.
For both cycling and walking you need to plan ahead. Cycling needs a bike pump, spare tyre, a few tools (or someone at home with a car who can rescue you), panniers, lights, reflective jacket. Walking needs less preparation, but for both you need enough time. I've had to run before now, and with a rucksack and walking boots it's not pleasant. You don't want to be cycling in a rush either.
But I find that there is usually time if you pay attention, it's just a matter of getting into the right habits, and factoring in the benefits of fresh air, exercise and general wellbeing you get alongside.
I live in a large city, so there are plenty of buses. They're great for getting into town and back, but across town usually requires two, and at that point I often either walk or get in the car. Our local bus now charges £1.80 for a single journey to town (just over two miles) so I've usually walked in and got the bus home, although these days I'm cycling both ways which makes it free. We also have trams here, but sadly I rarely need to be anywhere along the route.
I love trains though, and managed a train commute for nearly six years without too much fussing.
The main thing I love about trains is that you can do other things while you're travelling - very difficult on a bike or while driving.
They're not automatically the frugal option though, but it's always worth checking. It doesn't necessarily follow that because you have a car, it's never worth considering public transport. In my old job, I commuted to another city 60 miles away. Yes, I could have driven - but it was on small, windy roads so would have taken an hour and a half, I would have had to pay for parking, and it would have meant leaving Peter with no car, as we only have one. The train cost £20 a day (I travelled two days a week) but I could read (or sleep, it was quite early) on the train, and walking or cycling to or from the stations at each end (about 2 miles each way in each city) gave me plenty of fresh air and exercise.
For longer train journeys, I've always managed to get tickets cheaper than the 'standard' price by booking in advance, travelling at odd times, or committing to a specific train. I usually use the Red Spotted Hanky website and always check the fabulously-named Tickety Split site to see if it's worth buying separate tickets for different stages of the journey.
We have one car between the two of us. It's thirteen years old (although we've only had it for three years) and we found it through Gumtree. It does around 45 miles per gallon, and so far (touch wood) hasn't had anything go too wrong. We deliberately bought one that was (just about) big enough to sleep in the back of. It's a bit cramped with two of us, so I wouldn't want to stay in it for more than one night, but I've been away in it on my own for several days and it's been fine, and it's great for sleeping outside friend's houses after parties, or a cheap night away in another city.
I've fallen into the habit of hopping into the car for small journeys over the last few years - even to the local shops, which are only ten minutes walk away. I usually justify this because I'm running late, or I'm in the middle of something and don't want to take half an hour out.
But Uber Frugal January is making me question those justifications and see what I can do to get rid of them. Planning ahead always helps - if I know we're running low on milk, I can get some while I'm out anyway, instead of having to make an emergency dash when we run out. If I allow plenty of time to get ready, I can be on time, rather than having to take the car because I'm late. This is working so far this month, and I've barely got in the car except for longer journeys or to ferry large pieces of wood or furniture (I don't yet have a bike trailer...).
Still, we spend roughly £60 a month on diesel, and even though that includes days out and trips to see family, neither of us drive to work so this still seems quite high.
I like being able to get about under my own steam, and I prefer it when I create enough time and space to be able to cycle and walk to places. I've never been reliant on a car to get to work and I'd like to keep it that way if possible although there may be some compromise if we move somewhere rural. We'll see.
Up til now I've always made decisions about where to live and work as if I didn't have a car, so the addition of one is a bonus to be used for longer trips, rather than a necessity. I've still found it far too easy to hop in for short trips though and that's something I've started to change this month.
More bicycling, I say!
I went back to work this week after a fortnight off, and while I'm enjoying the work itself, I'm not enjoying being shut in an office (even a light and airy one) for most of my daylight hours. Flicking back through my camera, my photos from the last couple of weeks are of outside (although I admit the sunrise above was taken through the bedroom window).
It's too cold to linger outside for long, but a brief spell always reminds me that this season isn't only sticks and drizzle. We stayed with some friends in Wales for new year, and I would happily have stared at their view for weeks on end.
It reminded me how important a nice view is in our house search. Right now we can see the houses on the other side of the street. There's more of a view from the attic, of course, but that's not where we spend most of our time. And that sunrise, while beautiful, was taken while standing on the bed, leaning out of the skylight - not the most relaxing place to have a cup of tea.
I think I'd be happy even if all I could see was my own garden. Just a bit of greenery to gaze on.
In the absence of such delightful views from my own living room, a friend and I found ourselves in the cafe at Idle Valley nature reserve last week. Their cafe overlooks a lake, and I could sit and stare at it all day.
As it happens we did stay for a good while, as it was rather chilly outside, and a nice elderly man in a tweed hat was regaling us with tales of his decades living abroad. But eventually he went back to his wife and, deciding we couldn't spend the entire day in the cafe (it is Uber Frugal January, after all), we wrapped up and walked around the lake.
The scenery isn't spectacular there, but it still looks good in the winter light with no leaves on the trees.
Closer to home, the local botanical gardens are looking rather more sculptural than usual.
I walked across town to meet a friend (in another cafe, oh dear - I will confess all at the end of the month). For once I was early, so I meandered through the gardens instead of taking the shorter route.
I often meet friends there in the summer, but never think to walk through in the winter.
Inside is cosy and warm, and it's far too easy to doze off under a blanket, but being outside makes me feel awake. And it reminds me that yes, it's cold, but spring will come soon enough.
Have you been outside this week? What's it like where you live?
A couple of days of sitting around is all I can manage it seems, and as the sun was shining this morning, I pulled on my boots and went for a walk.
I didn't take the car, just walked out of the front door and up the road. We're fortunate that we can be out in the countryside in about fifteen minutes here, and it wasn't long before I felt really quite far away.
You can just about see the city there in the middle of that picture above, about 3 miles and a whole world away.
After about four miles I was getting a bit peckish. Fortunately I'd packed a picnic.
Nothing fancy, just a bit of leftover pasta and a flask of hot chocolate (with a sprinkling of mixed spice and a dash of almond extract which made it feel ever-so-luxurious).
Oh, and a couple of biscuits, because you can't have a picnic without biscuits.
I love how food always tastes so much better when you're hungry and in the fresh air.
After my dinner (which didn't last long, as it was too chilly to be sitting down) I was revived and carried on with a spring in my step. A lot of my wanderings were on roads, but they were quiet back roads, and I barely saw anyone all afternoon.
Out in the middle of nowhere, I came across several sculptures in the woods.
At first I thought it was someone's garden, but it turned out to be the home of stoneface creative, a couple of local stone artists. Someone was hauling wood by the stream, and gave me a cheery wave. Most unexpected, and most cheerful.
I walked just over nine miles in the end, and it was so lovely to be out in the sunshine and the fresh air. It's been quite warm today - at one point I even considered taking my jumper off - but now I'm home I'm curled up under a blanket and very grateful for my hot water bottle.
I'm toying with making *move* my word of the year for 2017. Move house, yes, but also move me. I remembered today how much I love a nice long walk, and I plan to do a whole lot more of them next year. In between finishing the half marathon and starting the 62 mile bike ride I seem to have signed up for in March, that is...
It's been a quiet day round here. A restful lie in, and then a spot of leisurely present-opening with a nice cup of tea (those are for the whole of our families, by the way, not just us two). A couple of chocolate coins before a wholesome porridgey breakfast, and then a couple of hours of reading, a spot of yoga, and then we settled in for a tasty dinner on a makeshift picnic basket table.
After dinner we went for a walk around the fields. The light was fading a little, but it was lovely to be out, and we barely saw a soul.
After it went dark, I went back out for a run. The sky was bright, and the clouds seemed almost lit up as they scudded across the sky.
This time of year always feel spare somehow, separate from the rest of the year. For the past few years I've been fortunate to be able to take a couple of years off work over Christmas, and so the whole fortnight feels like the start of the new year. Today I feel like I've started as I mean to go on next year - fresh air, exercise, and a whole lot of sitting down and reading. I hope you had a good day too, whatever you've been doing.
Such a lot of something-and-nothing has happened since I was last here. My days are filled with work, mostly, and worrying about work when I'm not there. Not exactly my ideal state of mind. And as you may have guessed, we are still not living in a show home (but we have plans on that front, soon, soon!)
Anyway. Too much thinking about work is not good for the soul, however cheery your job is. And so last week, I was collected straight from work on Wednesday evening and we went to the seaside. Hooray!
We arrived in the dark, and the next morning was misty but as we walked along the front the sky cleared and the sun came out.
I love Scarborough. I know people who hate its tackiness, down-at-heelness, and propensity for doughnut stalls and amusement arcades, but I love all those things about it, and many more. This holiday in particular I appreciated the wide variety of eating establishments it offers, even at this gloomy time of year.
Yes, we were only there for four days, and yes, I did eat all that cake, and more. It was purely in the interests of staying warm and dry...
The weather wasn't too bad actually - the kind of weather that looks grim through the window, but when you're out in it, it's fine. The forecast for our second day was nice, so we took off down the coast on our foldy bikes and had lunch sitting outside.
I was quite taken with the beach huts. So cheerful! And the colours were matched in the older buildings too.
We managed to squeeze in a few trips to other little towns dotted along the coast too - Whitby, Bridlingon, Filey... I love them all. Whitby was bathed in golden light when we arrived.
Filey is the quietest of all those places, and I love the vastness of the beach.
The cliffs rise up behind the beach, but they're not-so-slowly crumbling into the sea, and the effect is quite striking.
We wandered along the sand for a while, and had a cup of tea sitting outside the cafe (outside, again!)
(No, that is not a teabag floating in my mug - perish the thought! It's just a reflection. Always milk after the teabag is out for my tea, please!)
We're home now, and work is still there, and the house still needs doing, but I do at least feel a little bit restored. Just being able to hear the sea helps sometimes, doesn't it?