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Monday, October 22, 2012

No worries in the North....

We chugged into Knaresborough train station over a viaduct and I was immediately taken with this picturesque town. Gareth's college buddy and best man, Kit came along to pick us up and we met Alison back at their gorgeous cottage out in Ferrensby. We relaxed over a drink in the garden, catching up on their lives - me just breathing it in and trying to avoid the bees in the blooming colourful orchard. The air was so fresh, dusk just settling in and I felt perfectly at peace. These were more new people for me - both had been at Gareth's wedding in Canada and very good friends with Beki; yet they couldn't have been more welcoming to me.
 Alison seemed quite at ease rustling up dinner for us - but I bet most people's kitchens don't boast aromas like these. The food was delightful, the company so warm and conversation just flowed. They were so open and it was great to feel like I wasn't outsider; I felt completely accepted and at home after only a couple of hours. We headed to bed early as they had work the next day and Gareth and I were still a little worn out from the night in Manchester. I loved the exposed wooden beams in our room, looking out over the garden - it was the perfect recipe to drift off to a blissful night's sleep.

 Next day we had a lazy morning and we got to take the TransAm out for the first time in our trip. Kit had kindly taken care of it (and it needs ALOT of care) and had it almost shiny and new for our road-trip (It is over 30 years old after all). As we drove through the town, we got lots of admiring glances and shout-outs but the best was whilst stopped at the traffic lights. A boy of about 3 and his gran were walking by and he just halted in his tracks and took in every inch of the car "WOWWWWW," He exclaimed and immediately launched into a story about his Dad's BMW and how it was so cool but NOT as good as the TransAm. Gareth engaged in banter with the little fella asking him if this was the car he'd get when he grew up (bad influence!) and when the Gran suggested that they move on the boy was adamant "No. I want to see it go!"....I was rather relieved we were in a line of traffic as I know if we hadn't Gareth would have torn off at speed to impress the little lad. Adorable though.
 We took a walk down by the riverside where Kit used to work as a student, hiring out punting boats. He still claims it was the best job he ever had.
Gareth then took me across to Old Mother Shipton's Cave - England's oldest tourist attraction. The park also has a petrifying well, where many items are hung and turn to stone - this can be explained by science, but is pretty cool for little ones. Mother Shipton's prophesies are famous - she predicted the Spanish Armada and even air travel - which would have been unheard in the 1500's. We also visited the wishing well - but I can't tell you what I wished for, as then it won't come true. It was a bit of fun - but a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Afterwards we visited the castle looking down on the town, did some gift-shopping, and had a proper pork pie (award-winning apparently) to ease the hunger pangs - we didn't want to spoil whatever Alison was cooking up for us that evening!
Back at the house both Alison and Kit were later than expected home, after a long week, and were both exhausted so Gareth and I coaxed them into eating out rather than slaving over a hot stove at home. Luckily just around the corner is The General Tartleton, a foodie's lucky find! I decided on "A Taste of Duck" with different duck dishes presented together in one dish - it was absolutely delectable. Paired off with some lovely wine and of course the great company once again we had a superb meal, a couple of aperitifs and headed home to sample some of Alison's home-made alcoholic specialities - She's quite the authority on mixing strange cocktails too! I declined to partake in the final one - I vaguely remember we christened a funny name - Answers on a postcard please! We debated about music tastes and covered all subjects and eventually called an end to a fun and fulfilling night. Next morning, a little light-headed we had to say goodbye to Kit, Alison and wonderful North Yorkshire; fantastic memories I'll savour as much as that first dinner in their kitchen.

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