Deep Hull

Deep Hull

Monday, 28 November 2011

Randoms for testing

I downloaded the Blogger app for my HTC a few days ago and wanted to check out the photo uploading capabilities. I just picked a couple of photos from my phone gallery.  These were taken during a holiday with my sons to Somerset in 2006.  They were taken on a little Samsung E-something or other which was my phone at the time and as you can see, the quality isn't fantastic.  I had transferred all my phone pics to the HTC using Bluetooth and the difference in the quality of camera is noticeable.  Having said that, the bottom picture of the Deep was taken with the HTC and that doesn't actually look that great either!  However, the Blogger app appears to work fine so all is well in Doodlywhatsits's blogland :-)

Lions of Longleat


The Deep, Hull

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

I'm moving.

Only my blog, don't get excited :-)

I've decided to tranfer everything over here to Blogger.  I've been thinking about it for quite a while and a few weeks ago I actually exported my Wordpress posts into Blogger but then continued to use Wordpress.  Probably because I was familiar with the use of it.  However, Blogger allows for more social interaction than Wordpress seems to do.  It's far easier on Blogger to keep track of the other blogs I like to follow, there is the option of seeing them all listed in my dashboard in the order that they were last updated, so I can see if a visit is in order.  Also Blogger allows the Goodreads widget which Wordpress doesn't support.  From what I can see, I can still get the same site stats here, how many views etc as on Wordpress.  The only thing I think Wordpress does that Blogger doesn't, is to automatically update Facebook and Twitter when I have published a new post but I can share my posts to both sites so that's not a problem.  I just feel that for what I want from my blog, Blogger is the better option for me at this time.

Bram Stoker's Whitby

As you know I'm currently listening to Dracula courtesy of Craftlit, so when the opportunity to visit Whitby came up last weekend, I was only too happy to take it.  I love Whitby anyway, it's a pretty place with excellent fish and chips and some good pubs but the chance to walk the Dracula Trail and take the route that Mina and Lucy would have walked each day was just too tempting for a geek like me.  This blog post is mainly for the benefit of my Craftlit friends on Ravelry who do not live in England so won't have the pleasure of visiting Whitby and seeing these sights for themselves.  I hope you all enjoy the Mina and Lucy experience!
We arrived on the Sunday lunchtime and it was very misty so my first photos were not very exciting I'm afraid.  Lots of white stuff with some shadowy blobs in the distance!

Whitby Fog!

A walk around, a look in the gift shops and couple of pints of Theakston's Old Peculier in the Duke of York pub and then it was back to the hotel for dinner.  We were staying in The Royal Hotel which is at the top of West Cliff by the Whalebone Arch.  The original Whalebone arch was erected in 1853 so I'm rather surprised it doesn't get a mention in the book as the girls lodgings were very close to it.  This replacement was donated by Alaska in 2003 with a previous one donated by Norway in 1963 (what the hell do they keep doing to them?!)

 As we set out in the dark, for an evening visiting the local hostelries, I couldn't help but think of Mina, on that fateful night when discovering Lucy missing from their room, running through the deserted streets, over the bridge and up the 199 steps to the churchyard to rescue her friend.  Craftlit people, you will totally understand but for those of you who don't, yes I do know it's not real but  if you can't use your imagination, there is little point in listening to a story and I really found myself imagining myself as Mina, running frantically all the way round from the West Cliff to get to Lucy up there on the East Cliff. 

As for us, well we had a most enjoyable evening in a few local pubs and then slept well with no nightmares or sleepwalking!

And so to Monday, which was a little brighter.  After breakfast, we set out to find the Bram Stoker Memorial seat to start our walk.  We couldn't find it and I've since discovered that we were looking in completely the wrong place!  However, from photos I've seen online, we didn't miss much.  It is just a very ordinary bench but with a plaque saying that the view from there was what inspired Stoker to include Whitby in his book.  I did spot East Crescent which was originally called The Crescent and is where Mina and Lucy were lodging during their time in Whitby.  I couldn't quite fit it all in the photo, there were I think nine houses in total.

The Crescent
The first view we have is the one Mina had when searching for the sleepwalking Lucy.  Across from the West Cliff over to the churchyard and Abbey.   This is also the top of the steps that the girls would have walked down each day to go over to the East side.

View from the West Cliff Steps

View from West Cliff to East Cliff

View from West Cliff to East Cliff
Of course there wouldn't have been a Patrick (who doesn't normally look like a chipmunk, he's pulling a strange face!) or a litter bin and benches in Mina's day!

The Swing Bridge
Down the steps and along past the Fishmarket to the Swing Bridge.
Then down Church Street toward the 199 steps up to the churchyard.  Before tackling the steps though, we went onto Tate Hill Pier and Tate Sands which unsurprisingly is the little beach area next to the pier!  This is where the Russian schooner Demeter, with Dracula on board, crashes into the pier in a storm having been driven through the entrance to the harbour.

Harbour Entrance
Stoker based this storyline on a real-life incident involving the Russian schooner Demetius which had floundered off the coast of Whitby in 1885.  In the Dracula story, all the crew are missing and the captain is dead having tied himself to the wheel, when the ship crashes a huge black dog leaps from the bow and bounds up the steps to the churchyard.  Dracula had arrived in England!

Tate Hill Pier and Sands
The pier is the concrete structure at the bottom of the picture, just sticking out from beyond the second rooftop from the left and Tate sands lies to the right of it as you look at this picture.
Having looked around to make sure there were no large black dogs around, we took to the 199 steps.  That's quite a long way up that our Mina ran you know! Here is the view from the very top of the steps.

Top of the 199 steps
Once at the top of the steps and when I could breathe again, we headed off to the churchyard.  There are several seats all around and for good reason, the views are stunning and I can really see why this spot was a particular favourite for our heroine and her friend.

View from Churchyard seat

Enjoying the view (and the breather!)
We didn't go into the church and unfortunately the Abbey site was closed because it is out of season so we couldn't get up close and personal with the ruins which was a disappointment.  I took a few pictures of both though.

St Mary's Church Whitby

St Mary's Church, Whitby

Whitby Abbey
And of course, I was wearing my Wilhelmina Shawl and so had to have some modelled photos taken in the favourite spot of the heroine who inspired the pattern.  Please excuse the second photo...I appear to be in mid-blink!

The Wilhelmina Shawl
After all that walking about I thought Patrick deserved a drink so we went back down to the Duke of York, situated at the bottom of the steps, for a well earned Old Peculier.  The site of the Duke of York has had an alehouse on it since the Doomsday book, I think it's probably because the monks  needed a pint or two to help them up those steps!
We had a lovely weekend and Patrick was wonderfully patient with my current Dracula obsession, never once complaining about all the walking around and random photos.  I'll leave you with this one, which for me encapsulates Whitby completely.

Whitby Seagull waiting for the catch to come in!

For those of you who are not Craftlit people, I really cannot recommend this reading enough.  Heather has found some wonderful readers and each character has their own voice.  If you are not a crafty person and don't want to listen to the knitting chat, Heather now has another site called Just the Books which, as it says is just the books with no craft talk beforehand.  Go on, listen to it, I dare you!

WIPs and on the horizon

I currently have a fair few projects on the needles and am still wanting to cast on more!  There are just so many things I want to knit and as usual, not enough time to fit everything in.  I'm still working on the baby knits, I've now completed one jacket, two hats, the backs of two more jackets and a pair of mitts.  As everything in the pattern is written for knitting flat and seaming, I have converted the hat to be knit in the round and that has worked well.  However I thought I was being really clever and converting the mitts to be done bottom up, magic loop and two at a time!  Woah, learning curve overload!  I've found it to be really fiddly and awkward and they've taken me much longer than a tiny pair of baby mitts should have taken.  I think I'll just follow the pattern for the other two pairs.
In between the baby knitting, I've been working on the Wilhelmina Shawl KAL that I mentioned last time.  I am really enjoying knitting this, it's a very easy lace pattern to follow and it's looking good.  I also decided to swatch and cast on for the Maude Louise cardigan by Knitting Kninja.
This one has been started before actually and abandoned, over two years ago I swatched for this, couldn't get the tension right and lost patience.  Someone else on Phoenix knitting forum  has knitted it recently and made an excellent job of it which gave me a kick start again.  I've finished the back but I'm spreading myself so thinly with knitting at the moment that I haven't yet had time to cast on for the fronts. It's a really pretty cardigan and looks nice in the sky blue Patons Jet that I am using.
The last of the WIPs (not counting the hibernating ones of course ;-)) is yet another Horatio.  My 91 year old mum told me last week "I'll let you knit one of those hats for Andy, I'll buy the wool".  Gee thanks mum, you're so kind to me!  I don't mind at all of course, it's a lovely hat and mum's friend Andy is very kind, visiting her when she was in hospital and taking her out in her wheelchair.  I just found it very funny to be told that I was to be allowed to knit a hat for someone :-), older people have such a way with words sometimes.  I bought some yarn from Kingcraig Fabrics on Ebay.  It was such good value at £3.00 for a 100g (200m) ball of Merino/Cashmere Aran weight.  I'm very pleased with how it is knitting up.
Coming up soon, in 5 days to be precise, is the annual Woolly Wormhead Mystery KAL.  I really enjoyed last years and despite being rather busy on the knitting front, I can't resist joining in this year too.  I shall be knitting pattern A, in the very lovely King Cole Baby Alpaca in a brown shade.  I swatched the other night and am all set to go.  Another KAL I really, really want to be a part of is another one from WWMDfK.  The Van Tassel Mittens KAL in the Ravelry group for the book is now underway but as I'm still working on the previous KAL from that book, I think I really should finish something off before starting anything else.  These are so pretty though and I'm wanting to practice colourwork, and I have yarn that I could use so I'd be using up stash, and did I mention that they are so pretty and...and...and...I just know that I won't be able to resist and will have them OTN before too long ;-)
I have given up on the idea of knitting the Spock hats for Patrick and his friends for Christmas, I worked out the time it would take and Patrick agreed that it's a waste of good knitting time for something that will be worn once for a novelty and then probably stuffed in a cupboard and forgotten about.
How fantastic is this hat?
You can find the pattern on her blog here.  It's also a download from Ravelry here.
So wish I could spare the knitting time for this!

Cock O' The North....and other things

A few weeks ago, Patrick and I went to Hipperholme in Halifax.  Why would anyone do that you ask?  Well it was specifically to visit The Cock O' The North pub which is the tap of the Halifax Steam Brewing Company.  We had had the place recommended to us by a couple of guys in our local pub The Wellington Inn (which doesn't appear to have it's own website any longer).
So, The Cock o' the North then.  At first glance from the outside, we wouldn't have ventured in here.  It is built of portakabins and doesn't look like the greatest place to spend a Friday night.  I am so, so glad we had the recommendation though (thanks to Blakey and Paul) because inside, it was like a temple for real ale fans.  The long polished granite bar (which the bar staff kept scrupulously clean all night) has a beautiful backdrop of two huge fish tanks.  I only had my phone to take pictures  but please follow the link above and have a look at their own picture gallery to see what I mean (although the fish tanks did have fish in them when we were there).  Plenty of table and chair seating around the room and nice comfy wooden bar seats so we could contemplate our next beer choice and watch the fish at the same time.  Ten real ale pumps spanned the bar, all boasting brews by Halifax Steam Brewing.  We decided to work our way along, both of us sampling a different drink each time so to give us maximum tasting treats!  We did get to the end and start on our way back down again actually ;-).  My particular favourite was The Dark Side, an absolutely scrumptious dark beer tasting of chocolate and coffee.  The Cock O' the North beer was also very lovely with caramel notes.  The two that seem to be their regulars, are Aussie Kiss, a very pale and hoppy brew and at something like 3.8% a real session beer and Uncle Jon a dark but mild flavoured beer which at 4.3% is also very drinkable!  The other beers I believe rotate as and when.  I do tend to prefer dark beers but having said that, the paler, blonder ones on offer were also very nice.  There wasn't one beer on offer that I would say that I wouldn't drink again.  Quite an achievement with ten different ones!
The manager/owner (didn't quite work out which) was a lovely guy who spent a bit of time chatting to us and when he found out where we were from and our local, was delighted to be able to tell us that he knew of the Wellington guys from their previous visits and was full of praise for our fair city of Hull as well.  All in all The Cock O' the North is a highly recommended visit for all you real ale fans out there, heck there is even a camp site out the back if you are mad enough!
We had a good weekend all round really.  We had arrived on the Friday afternoon to stay in the Premier Inn at Halifax.  What a lovely location it was in, right on the canal side and the rooms had their own outside front door, kind of like American motels that you see on TV sometimes, but nicer.  The only drawback was that although it was only 3 or 4 miles away from Hipperholme, the taxis both ways cost just shy of a tenner!  So a bit of false economy with the cheap place to stay really but as it was so nice, we'll forget that little annoyance.  This picture was taken just outside our front door.
Canalside Premier Inn

 On the Saturday, after a hearty breakfast/lunch at the Wetherspoons I had spotted in Halifax town centre the previous night on our way to Hipperholme in the taxi, we decided we would drive home the scenic route rather than the rather dull M62.  I wanted to go to Haworth for a wander up the High Street, I haven't been for some years and Patrick had never been before.  The weather was so beautiful, one of those gorgeous Autumn days that are sunny and calm, yet really quite chilly.  This is my favourite time of year and weather, as I may have mentioned before, I'm not a sun worshipper in the least.  We enjoyed a meander up and down the High Street, walked through the church yard and I popped into the church hall to have a look at the local craft fair, I was a little sad that I had eaten such a large breakfast because there were some seriously delicious looking homemade cakes.  I was temped to buy a piece for later but it would have ended up all squashed before I got home knowing me.  We then stopped for a cuppa in one of the many tearooms along this delightful, cobbled (and very steep) street and I couldn't help noticing that there was a poster in the window for their Knit and Knatter group, how very fab to have a knitting group in such a lovely location.  I decided I want to live in Haworth, just so I can go to the Knit and Knatter. Please excuse my awful photo of Haworth's High Street.  It didn't turn out so well with my phone but I'm sure you can find much nicer ones on the web if you are so inclined.

After a pleasant couple of hours in Haworth, we set off for home, deciding to take the A59 route over the top and through York.  It is a much longer drive but Patrick agreed, better than the boring old motorway.
We stopped for a break in Knaresborough to stretch our legs, visited the beer shop there for a little supply of Belgian bottled beers and had a walk around the castle.  I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't even know there was a castle at Knaresborough but sure enough, there is and with stunning views to boot. 
View from Knaresborough Castle

I am quite pleased with this phone photo.  The stunning viaduct over the River Nidd as photographed with my little HTC phone from the walls of Knaresborough Castle.  We had a little wander around Knaresborough town centre and I now decided that I want to live in Knaresborough as it is so pretty :-).  It was turning a bit nippy by now and we were flagging a bit after our day of sightseeing so we started off for home, having thoroughly enjoyed our West/North Yorkshire weekend break.