Monday, 31 August 2009

Weekend away

The photos today are of a baby blanket/small shawl that I have made for my niece's best friend Louise whose baby is expected around Sept 12th. I have kept to cream as we do not know the sex of the baby until it arrives. I love surprises. It always spoils it for me when people know the sex of the baby prior to it's birth. Now I have the excitement of making girl or boy clothes when it makes it's appearance.

I have been away for a mini break with my neighbour Julie for her 40th birthday. We went on one of those mystery tours with some of her work colleagues, her sister and another neighbour. The coach driver kept us guessing as to where our destination would be. We arrived first at Beverley a small and very picturesque village. As it was market day we had a few hours browsing around the stalls. I resisted all temptation and walked past the wool stalls!

We then set off for our hotel for the night. The scenery gradually got worse and worse and we passed many boarded up houses and shops. We arrived at the Royal Hotel in Hull. The hotel itself wasn't that bad although quite shabby in parts you could see that it had once been a really nice hotel. It faced onto the war memorial and the newish shopping arcades.

I was given the key card to my room and after unpacking I decided to have a quick shower before dinner. The shower was scalding hot and the cold tap came off in my hands and so just as I managed to get the temperature of the water a bit less scalding by twiddling the tap spindle and had got in the shower when the smoke alarm in my room started to shriek. I thought that the steam from the shower had set it off as I hadn't closed the bathroom door. I got out of the shower and called down to reception to tell them only to be told sorry but the hotel is being evacuated - what you can hear is the fire alarm!

I hurriedly put some clothes on but didn't bother with underwear and set off down stairs. Within minutes 5 or 6 fire engines complete with burly crews arrived to enter the hotel. It turned out that someone had left an iron on in one of the ironing rooms and that had set off the alarm. After a 10 or 15 minute wait we were all allowed back in the hotel and I went back to resume my shower. Thank goodness I hadn't put shampoo on my head when the alarm started! There was one guy outside dressed in a towel but I did risk staying a minute longer to put clothes on.

It turned out later that several people thought it was them who had set off the alarm as the first thing they had done was either start to have a shower, as I had, or put the kettle on.

I thought dinner was fine although some guests didn't like it. I had roast beef, Yorkshire pudding with roast potatoes and vegetables. There was a glittering array of sweets but I was too full so passed on those. The younger ones of the party wanted to go out and find some pubs in Hull but I was content to stay and chat to other members of the coach party. Whilst we were in the hotel all we saw through the hotel doorway was riot vans, dog vans. police and ambulances screaming up and down outside the hotel. This went on all evening and when I went to bed it was like trying to sleep in war torn Beirut. The noise of sirens, shouting and screaming carried on well into the wee small hours.

We had to set off again in the morning at 9am. The younger ones said that Hull was a seething mass of fights and people being sick everywhere. They saw people getting hauled off in police vans and lots of arguments and screaming and shouting. I think I will give Hull a miss in the future. Some on the coach were saying that it has the highest level of crime which after Saturday night's antics I am not surprised at. I had seen something similar on the TV recently but I found it to be quite scary in Hull and I stayed in the hotel.Not a place to go sightseeing in.

On the Sunday we went to York. Had a guided coach trip around York and heard a bit of the history and went to see the Rowntree village. This village was built by the Quaker owners of Rowntrees and is a complete village with retirement bungalows and old folks home all provided by Rowntrees. The only thing missing is there is not a pub in the village as the Quakers do not believe in drink. You do not have to be a Quaker to live in the village but you have to abide by Quaker rules. They have the only off licence in York which does not sell alcohol!

York was beautiful and I would have quite happily have stayed there for the weekend. I love the ancient history of the place and wished I had the time to visit the Minster. I have mentally put York on my list of places that I would like the spend a few days in. I would have felt safe walking the streets of York and would have preferred to have stayed overnight there but I suppose for the money that we paid for the tour that would have been out of the question. I had a walk down the Shambles and bought some home made toffee and a lovely freshly made pasty for my dinner on Sunday evening. There was a couple of wool shops that looked very nice. One had Rowan garments made up in the window display but unfortunately both of them were closed. The market wool stall did not tempt me in the slightest.

I had a very enjoyable weekend and the weather was beautiful all time we were on the other side of the Pennines and yet the minute we reached them on the way home down came the rain.

We hadn't quite finished with out excitement as when the coach dropped us off in Oldham there were some youths in the bus station abusing and spitting and kicking out at a disabled couple. One of the ladies in our party shot off the coach and started yelling at them to stop and phoned the police. There was a taxi rank full of male drivers and not one lifted a finger to help this couple. The abusers were skinheads of no more than about 14 or 15. What is this world coming to. The bus station had CCTV cameras but the police rang back and said they could not find them!

I was so tired when I got home and my poor little knee was staging a protest at all the walking that I had done over the weekend. Very enjoyable. I would go again on one of these mystery tours but NOT if it was going to Hull. Sorry if anyone lives in Hull but it was rather dreadful.

Oh by the way if you do visit York don't bother with the Haunted House tour. Scary it was not. The rooms were dark and musty but the moving floor was obviously a trick of some kind. It didn't scare me, all it did was set off my vertigo and make me feel sick. How that house passed the health and safety regulations I will never know as they had us climbing up and down steep steps in the dark with low doorways and sloping floors. Apparently Most Haunted filmed there and they hold seances up in the room with the large circular table. I felt no spirit presence there at all. I had more of those feeling when I lived in a very old house with my parents as a teenager. Now that house did have an spooky atmosphere and some unexplained things going on.

Back home to rain and a pile of washing to do. Guess it's a tumble dryer weekend. I have started another blanket for Louise's new baby again in cream. It is a big granny square all in one colour. I will stop when it is big enough or when the wool runs out whichever is the soonest.


Anonymous said...

What an exciting weekend you had! All-in-all it does sound like you had a good time (in spite of visiting Hull).

The blanket is beautiful. I too am working on a big granny square blanket. I'm trying to decide if I want to make it large enough for me or stop now as it is the perfect baby blanket size.

June said...

Very interesting to hear about your weekend. I have visited York and enjoyed it there and would like to go back again one day. I have never been to Hull and have no wish to go there after what you told us about it. It is sad to think what this once great country has become.
Beautiful baby blanket, makes a lovely gift for a new baby.

Ambermoggie, a fragrant soul said...

never been to Hull don't think I will after your report Jan. Glad it was good in york that is one place I do love:)

Kathy said...

You write such wonderful word pictures, Jan. Thanks so much for sharing.

Mad about Craft said...

Fire alarms! - worst nightmare!!!

Sounds like Hull could become the holiday capital of Europe!

Anonymous said...

I once went to Hull and had to wait at a zebra crossing while two blokes slugged it out in the road in front of me. This was about 10am. Seems nothing has changed.