I do not have children, nor do I really want them, but during my trip to the UK I found that for the first two weeks I was staying in places where children of various ages were part of the scenery, from 18 months to 9 years old.
You might think that this would be a concern but it was great fun! Interacting with the kids, playing games and being a little part of their lives was great. They are often natural comedians and do things that we, as inhibited adults, would never do. They seem to have so few cares and you can only wish that life stayed that way. I even met my two-year-old niece for the first time which was brilliant!
To those who thought that the answer to every “I Spy” clue was “cake”, to those who would have me trampoline whether I won or lost at a family game of croquet (trampolining sure takes it toll on your knees, by the way!), to those who spontaneously started pole dancing at the age of two, I give thanks. These experiences are ones to be treasured and really helped make the UK trip a fabulous time that will be long-remembered.
Returning to the UK, I was a little concerned of how it might feel to meet up with friends for the first time in over three years. In some cases, keeping in touch has not been easy, and I was concerned as to how the relationship might stand up to time.
I either stayed with (some for the first time) or met up with numerous friends while in the country and I must say that without exception it felt like I hadn’t been away. It was a total joy for me and pointed to the fact that these were friends that in many cases would indeed last for a long time. What a relief!
In every case, the first few minutes reflected on the past before we started to create a few new memories to take into the future.
And for those friends (and family) with whom I stayed, it really was a very humbling experience to see how much they went out of their way to help with the trip and in ensuring that a good time was had by all. Most of our hosts were even happy to drive us to places despite our having a car which was fab also. To them (they know who they are) I say a massive THANK YOU.
Just to the south of York lies the market town of Selby. Many people will perhaps have never heard of this smaller neighbour.
At the heart of the town is the beautiful old Selby Abbey, especially popular with American tourists due to a stained glass window depicting the coat of arms of the Washington family – the ancestors of George Washington – from the fifteenth century. A stunning building and a worthwhile detour if you are in North Yorkshire!
Before returning to the UK, I was surprised to read in a BBC article about how sales of all types of alcoholic beverage in Britain had been declining during the previous year with the exception of gin.
On first entering a pub, I was interested to see the number of types of gin that were available. So many! They all look the same! But they don’t all taste the same! As I toured around I passed a number of boutique distilleries which made me wonder if they’d always been there or not. I was told that the market had been flooded with variants and that people were lapping it up.
I decided to partake just once and attempted a Yorkshire Tea gin (I kid you not). The barman suggested having it over ice was the best way to indulge and thus I did. It did taste slightly of tea, and of gin, but I doubt I’ll be rushing back…because there is a reason that gin and tonic has been around for a long time…tried and tested is often best.
“Mother’s ruin” is another historic name for gin…I wonder if the latest craze will ruin more mothers in the modern era…perhaps not if it retains a boutique price.