The one with a lovely walk and all the knitted things

On Saturday, the hubby, munchkin and I took Ella (our 6-year-old sprocker spaniel) for a walk near Sutton Bank in North Yorkshire (near Thirsk) on the way to a visit to my parents. The temperature had dropped and there was quite a breeze on top of the cliff so it was good to be able to take Ella out during the day. Poor pooch had been stuck indoors for most of the week to avoid melting or burning her paws on hot pavements.

There are so many gorgeous walks from Sutton Bank of varying lengths but we just wanted to do a short one so walked to the white horse. This takes us past the gliding centre and it was obviously the perfect conditions for gliding as there were two planes towing them and a queue of gliders waiting to go up.

I don’t have any photos of the white horse as you have to walk down to the car park below it to see it and we didn’t have enough time to do that. And, let’s face it, we didn’t have the inclination either as that would have meant climbing back up again! However, I did get some lovely pics of the beautiful countryside and the gliders. Aren’t those views stunning?

On the way through Thirsk, I spotted the most amazing knitting/crocheting display so we stopped off on the way back home from my parents’ although it started bucketing it down just as we drove into Thirsk so we had to loiter in the car for a bit first!

All the bollards on one side of the main road were dedicated to support for Ukraine which was lovely to see.

On the other side of the road they were all Jubilee-related. A man approached me as I was taking photos and claimed he’d made the coach (several rows down) – first attempt at anything like that but he was retired and thought he’d give it a go and was pretty chuffed with his efforts. I am ridiculously gullible and actually believed him and praised him for his work… until he walked off to the chippy chuckling and admitting he hadn’t made it at all!

Aren’t they absolutely fantastic? It was such a brilliant display. There were so many crowns and they were all a bit different but I decided I was going to have to stop taking photos of all the individual ones or we’d never make it home! With all the flower tubs too, they looked pretty special.

The cobbled area where they all were was in front of a chip shop and I noticed a hanging basket with a difference – knitted chips, ketchup, vinegar etc. Love it!

Round the corner from the main installation was Her Majesty the Queen having afternoon tea with her corgis, although the munchkin pointed out that she did look a little drunk, bless her. Excuse my random bending down on the pic featuring me. The munchkin told me she couldn’t fit us both in the photo and I needed to sit down. The bench was soaked so no way was I wasn’t falling for that!

I loved how all the raised flower beds round the display had knitted/crocheted flowers and bunting and even a horse in them. And check out that fabulous postbox topper!

And speaking of postbox toppers, the hubby and I nipped to Filey for a walk on Friday evening. Warm sugared doughnuts may also have been consumed. We spotted this amazing RNLI themed postbox topper there. The collection box for the RNLI was full to bursting and could only just take our donation.

I really love spotting postbox toppers. They make me so happy and I’m in awe of the imagination and skill of those who make them. I can’t knit to save my life and have never tried crocheting as I suspect I’d be just as bad.

Hope you enjoyed the photos. I’ll say goodbye for now but I’ll be back tomorrow as the hedgehogs return then. Yes, it’s publication day for Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow and I’m my usual mix of nerves and excitement. Eek!

Big hugs
Jessica xx

The one where we had a lovely walk above Filey Brigg

I’ve been a full-time author for two months now and one of the things I was really looking forward to about only having one job instead of two was not having to work every evening and weekend. I managed that for about a week, then crept back into old habits. It’s so easy to stay at your desk and work when any semblance of a social life died during lockdown. This evening it was therefore lovely to go out for a walk in Filey, just a few miles away from us, with hubby, the munchkin and Ella.

There’s a lovely open space called Filey Country Park with walks along the cliff tops. The views are incredible on a clear day but today was very hazy so we couldn’t see as far as Flamborough Lighthouse which was a shame, but it was still lovely and very peaceful on the cliffs above Filey Brigg with only a handful of people walking.

It’s the start/end of The Cleveland Way and The Wolds Way walks and I love this carved stone which has the name of one walk carved on each side of the triangle, then the distances to various places on the plinth.

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We could see Filey Brigg below us (the rocky outcrop). The tide was out so anyone down on the beach would have been able to walk to the end. The Brigg gets completely covered when the tide’s in and many people have been caught out there as the sea rises.

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Ella, our 4-year-old sprocker spaniel enjoyed her walk with the much cooler early evening air temperature. It was in the late teens/early 20s. Absolutely gorgeous. Sorry to anyone down south who was experiencing hideous temperatures in the 30s earlier this evening. Ew. My sympathies.

I can’t believe I’ve never actually walked along here before. I’ve been to the Country Park and I have walked along the Brigg but never up on the cliff tops. Must definitely do that again soon.

Sending cool vibes to those who are melting in the heatwave.

Big hugs

Jessica xx

What happens when you make the wrong choice?

My last post, “To SP or Not SP: That is the Question” received a quite overwhelming level of support and I thank everyone who took the time to convey their support or pass on their comments. For those in a similar situation, I hope it helped you gather your thoughts on which road to take on your journey.

Today I’m going to continue with the theme of wrong choices but in a much lighter-hearted vein. My strapline for this blog is “writing, reading, life, chocolate and bears” yet I’ve only ever wittered about writing. I’m going to rectify that today and talk chocolate. More specifically a chocolate brownie.

Today is Father’s Day so I’ll just pause to wish all the best to my dad, my father in law and my husband, Mark, on behalf of the munchkin. We had a lovely walk along Filey Brigg (long stretch of rocks round the cliffs at Filey, North Yorkshire, just down the coast from Scarborough where we live) and then went for tea at a lovely pub called The John Paul Jones in The Bay Holiday Village just outside Filey. We’ve eaten there once before and it was delicious. It’s slightly more expensive than your average chain pub but the food is worth it.

I’m a bit of a pudding fiend. I have always claimed to have two stomachs; one for mains and one for desserts because I can always seem to fit in a dessert even when I’m feeling stuffed from my main course. Maybe this is the variation between sweet and savoury. Or perhaps it’s because I’m a pig!

Anyway, we got round to discussing pudding and recalled that I’d made a bad choice last time I was there when my dessert arrived and was really small but the munchkin’s had been huge. Unfortunately, none of us could remember the choice I’d made last time. I tend to be drawn towards cheesecakes and, as there was a white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake on the menu, I suspected this might have been the tiny dessert. So I avoided that. The munchkin liked the sound of it and I placed our order: cheesecake for her and a chocolate brownie for me. I returned from the bar confident that I’d ordered differently from last time. Until the desserts came out for the table of five near us. A couple of cheesecakes appeared and they were definitely a good-sized portion. Someone on the table had waffles: huge. And another of the party had a chocolate fondant thing which was enormous. And at that point, panic set in. Three desserts and all big. Surely I hadn’t picked the same one as before. Had I?

ImageA few minutes later, munchkin’s large cheesecake arrived. And so did my brownie. My tiny brownie. My three-mouthfuls-and-it’s-gone brownie. Yep, I hadn’t learned. Lightning had struck twice! To add insult to injury, the munchkin couldn’t eat all of hers! Grr. I DEFINITELY won’t make that mistake again. I hope. Can’t believe I made the wrong choice. I personally think that they should note the dimensions on the menu to manage the expectations of customers like me!

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The silver lining in this sorry tale is that I’d lost 3 stone last year and was a long way off my goal but very proud of my progress. For reasons I won’t go into just now, I’ve put a lot of that 3 stone back on and looking at the photos from today was a bit of a shock. With my 3 stone off, I was overweight but I didn’t hate photos of me. I hate this one. I hadn’t realised I looked so huge again. So it was probably just as well my brownie was tiny. Diet starts tomorrow! By the way, if you’re local or visiting, definitely go to The John Paul Jones. Fab pub, fab food but if you like huge puddings, pick anything but the brownie!

And just to tie this all back into writing which is, of course, the main theme of this blog, I’ve had an unexpected development. I was all fired up about indie after my post last week. A discussion with my hubby after posting it confirmed that it would be foolish to rush things and self-publish my debut for the summer market. In fact, Christmas may be ambitious and perhaps spring, summer and Christmas 2015 would be a very wise and sensible launch plan for my trilogy. But then I received a most unexpected Facebook message from one of the big eBook publishers to whom I’d pitched at the RNA conference last year apologising for the enormous wait, thanking me for my patience, and telling me my book would be next on the list to be read. I’d given up on ever hearing from them. The idea to go indie is logical and has many pros but it was driven in the first instance by the frustration at waiting for so long to hear news from any publishers and the refusal to put myself through that again with more and more rounds of subs. Suddenly the place I thought was the best fit for my books was back on the agenda. I’m now going to be on tenterhooks all week. The message came through on Wednesday evening so realistically I didn’t expect to hear anything last week although I did have a little fantasy about good news on Friday 13th and liked the contradiction that would provide. More realistically, I could hear this week. Searching for Steven could have been read over the weekend. Eek! I tell you what, I’m going to be a wreck any time my phone rings!

What happens when you make the wrong choice? It’s a very interesting question. Make the wrong choice on dessert and there’s a severe case of food envy but perhaps some saved calories. Make the wrong choice about the home for my debut novel and my whole writing career could change. I feel like everything is hanging in the balance pending this decision. If I get a yes, I’d be foolish to say no. If I went indie and things didn’t take off, I’d be forever wondering “what if I’d accepted the offer, where would I be then?” but accepting a publishing deal (if I got the call) wouldn’t stop me going indie at some point later when I’d (hopefully) be successful and established. If it’s a no, then nothing has changed and the indie plans still stand. Although I still have another 5 irons in the fire (I had a no from one of the US publishers 2 days after posting my last entry) so it’s not over until the fat lady sings.

And I’m not singing just yet, although I will be mostly eating fruit for the next few months …