Grant Woodward: Why go abroad for your hols when you live in Yorkshire?
We're spending the summer making the most of the riches on our doorstep.
“WHERE are you going on your summer holidays?” our friends keep asking us. “Yorkshire,” we say.
“Yorkshire?” they frown. “Not Greece or Turkey or Portugal?”
“No,” we assure them. “Yorkshire.”
Personally, I don’t get why they’re so puzzled. I don’t think we’re being that bonkers by spending our summer making good use of God’s own county. I mean, why on earth wouldn’t you?
When you’ve got a region of such infinite variety slap bang on your doorstep, why volunteer to be herded on some budget airline to pay through the nose for an inferior product?
So we’re spending weekends travelling around the county. A few days at the coast, others spent visiting some of the countless wonderful attractions and fascinating heritage sites. Some that we haven’t seen before and others that are old favourites.
Along with the fun, our kids will also get a bit of education. History lessons and a glimpse of how the county of their birth took shape.
Last weekend we were in Filey. Yes, it took us about three hours to get there through the queues of traffic, but that was my wife’s fault (don’t worry, she’s admitted as much) for deciding we should take the children to their swimming lessons first and so hit the A64 just as everyone else was.
Still, it made us appreciate it all the more once we got there. The sun was out, the ice cream kiosk was doing a roaring trade and the kids were delighted to be running across the stunning open beach and feeling the sand squidge between their toes.
After building our sandcastles and paddling in the waves we got delicious takeaway fish and chips from Inghams and then devoured them on the benches overlooking the spectacular coastline, trying our best to avoid eye contact with the gaggle of seagulls in close attendance throughout.
And a clear road on the way back meant we were home in half the time it took us to get there. But then I don’t really mind spending a bit of time in the car getting to the four corners of God’s Own County. With views that are the envy of the world, why would you?
Ok, there is the small matter of the British weather, but there’s no reason why a little thing like that should spoil the fun.
The Friday before our jaunt to the coast I took the children to the York Bird of Prey Centre.
Another great, inexpensive day out, they had the chance to see some fantastic owls, hawks and eagles up close.
We also had the added bonus of seeing the centre’s owner Andy in action. As well as knowing his stuff and giving the kids (and grown ups) a wealth of information about the birds, their habits and histories, he also had us chuckling along with his constant – and very Yorkshire – quips.
And he provided the perfect Tykeresponse to the family from Germany who were sitting on the bench next to us in the open air auditorium waiting for the flying demonstration to get under way.
“What do you do when it rains?” the father asked Andy with a concerned look. “We get wet,” Andy replied with a suitably baffled expression. “Why, do you have dry rain where you’re from?”
And unless I’m very much mistaken, there was a nod of respect from our international visitor at this no-nonsense response. Recognition that these Yorkshire types won’t let a little thing like Mother Nature stop them enjoying themselves.
And the fun isn’t going to end there. We’re talking about camping trips in Appletreewick and a return to the lovely hostel in the Dales we stopped at not so long ago.
Then there’s the brilliant Leeds City Museum and Art Gallery, not to mention the railway museum and Jorvik Centre a short drive away in York.
Never mind a week or fortnight, you could spend the entire school holidays criss-crossing our great county and still not experience it all. So I’ll see your Greece and Turkey – and raise you Yorkshire.
Mysteries of the Rio Olympics
HMMM. the Olympics aren’t proving to be quite the sporting feast they were four years ago – probably because so far Team GB (apparently you have to call them that these days, rather than just plain old Great Britain) aren’t pulling in the medals they did in London.
But the other reason, as far as I can see, is the failure of the host nation to really get into the swing of things. There are rows of empty seats at most of the events, which just didn’t happen in 2012.
The crowds seem strangely flat as well, not what you’d expect when all the hype beforehand was of the flair and sense of celebration the Brazilians would bring to proceedings.
Of course, the protests and controversy surrounding the cost of staging the Games when Brazil is struggling economically is a factor.
But I still reckon we Brits should give ourselves a sizeable pat on the collective back. For all the talk of stiff upper lips we put on a damn good show four years ago and showed the world we knew how to throw a party.
What has been fun about these Games are all the little mysteries that have cropped up along the way.
Like why did the diving pool go from blue to green overnight (algae apparently). And since when did BBC presenter Hazel Irvine succeed in making time bend to her will?
She seems to have been on our screens for a lifetime but doesn’t look a day older. Has Hazel got an ageing portrait tucked away in her loft?
Only way is up for Leeds – already
LET’S see then. First match of the season and Leeds go down 3-0 to QPR. New manager Garry Monk says the team will get better. The fans aren’t so sure.
One game in and United are already propping up the table. The only bright spot in my book was the comment left by one disgruntled supporter on the YEP website.
He said he blamed the referee for the dismal result. Why? As soon as he blew his whistle, Leeds were awful.
But off the pitch there seems to be just as much unease. Season tickets have yet to land on the doormats of a number of United fans ahead of the club’s first home game of the season against Birmingham. To be fair, it could be out of their control and they’re doing their best to rectify the situation.
Still, it’s not a great start to the season and even at this early stage you’d have to say that it get only get better from here on in.
Hang on a minute, what am I talking about? This is Leeds United.