On thing we’ve been good about since we got back is our weekends. Towards the end of our time in America, the work week was bleeding too much into the weekend and leaving me feeling perpetually run down. But so far that hasn’t been the case. This weekend just gone was a lovely lazy one. We had no commitments for once, and were free to just please ourselves.
We decided to take a few short trips to explore local towns and see where we might want to live when it comes time to buy a house. On Saturday we drove around the Wetherby area, just about 15 miles south of here. We really liked the look of a couple of the towns we visited (especially Boston Spa) but for some reason we didn’t take pictures – sorry!
On the way back we stopped off to check out a small village called Spofforth where we came across the ruins of an old manor house just sitting there among all the houses, and open to view free of charge.
Here’s me wondering how much it would cost to renovate
The next day we had our best idea yet. Let’s go to Skipton! We both liked it there last time we went, and we could just potter aaround looking at the shops, pubs and restaurants and checking out a few real estate agent’s windows to get an idea of prices. Skipton is a mid-sized market town about half an hour’s drive from here and to get there we would be driving through the Dales and over the moors.
That part worked exactly as planned. It was one of those very English days when part of the sky is blue and part is covered with black clouds and, as you drive, you just keep your fingers crossed that you don’t head right into the darkest clouds. But that mixture of cloud and sun makes the most amazing light patterns on the hills and the whole ride was just a joy.
When we arrived, we were surprised at how full the car park was. Skipton does attract tourists, but not normally hordes of them. We did find a spot because we caught someone just leaving and as we walked into town we just assumed the crowds were there for a market, or because it was a rare non-rainy day. But as we made our way into the market place, it became apparent that something else was going on.
At certain points there were stalls selling coffee and cakes (I may or may not have had a Yorkshire Fat Rascal in direct contravention of Weightwatchers rules). A DJ was yelling indecipherable things through a ‘too loud’ microphone that distorted his voice. Pounding disco music played intermittently and every cafe had long queues snaking out of the door and spilling onto the street. What on earth was going on?
And then all of a sudden the penny dropped. The Olympic torch must be on its way!
It has been touring the country on its way to London for the Games. 8,000 people are carrying it for a total of 8,000 miles and people have been coming out all along the route to cheer and have fun. It had been in Leeds the day before, and we suddenly realized two things… One: We were right in the middle of a once-in-a-lifetime historic event and Two: If we didn’t leave right away, we’d be stuck trying to get out when everyone else wanted to leave and might be there all night.
It was an easy call. We dropped the idea of pottering (it was hard to move at all!), decided we could watch history unfold via the BBC online feed once we got home, and got the hell out of dodge as fast as we could!
We’ll go have a look around Skipton another time when it’s reverted to its normal, sleepy self.