Wolds Diary: Wolds come alive with walkers

York Minster dominates the skyline over the city.  Picture: Anna Gowthorpe
York Minster dominates the skyline over the city. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe
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Up to and over Christmas my voice returned and I was able to contribute to some carol singing. The service of the nine lessons and carols went well and then a day later I joined a group form the singers to travel to Beverley tossing carols at the masons Christmas meal. They enjoy it and so do we.

I was challenged as I was needed to sing the alto line, something I have not done regularly for many years but it went well. Then on Christmas Eve we sang carols for an hour in our local Sainsbury’s store and raised quite a bit for their chosen charity. Later on, I made it to midnight mass and there were sufficient choir members to produce three anthems during the service.

Christmas Day is always a difficult time for me. I was delighted to receive a phone call from my brother in Australia. Then the dogs and I headed out for a short walk and it was almost deserted while most folk were, I suspect, opening presents. Then I came home and cooked a meal, and spent the rest of the day being utterly self indulgent, with chocolate, and a liqueur drink, watching what I wanted on television.

I had bought new toys for the dogs and then had to suffer the squeaking of several of them until de-squeaked by the dogs, which didn’t actually take very long. Now I am picking up bits of new toy from around the house.

I dutifully listened to Her Majesty’s speech and then settled down for the evening. The dogs and cats all had a special meal too. Every year I remember fondly the times I spent Christmas with my grandmother who brought me up. Since she passed away, Christmas will always be a time of remembrance, as it is for many people.

Two days later I headed into York to see a couple of friends who were staying at a very exclusive hotel overlooking the Minster. They had invited me to join them for lunch. On the way, I wanted to get some haberdashery items for my sewing. Silly me, the specialist shops I needed were closed. I was horrified that one of them was shut until the New Year and then was going to have a closing down sale. I managed to find some items in a larger store but then headed off past the Minster to my destination.

The hotel is delightful and the staff wonderful. From my friends’ room, you could look over the rooftops with an army of chimneys to decorate the view. It reminded me of a scene from Mary Poppins. The Minster is quite magnificent and looked very beautiful. Then came lunch in the elegant restaurant. The waiter, a charming Hungarian lad, was great fun and very helpful, and amazingly cheerful, and the food was so good we asked to see the chef, John, and tell him so. He is not only a great chef, he, like me, had been a motorcyclist and we had quite a chat. Then he had to rush off to prepare for 1,000 Chinese tourists to eat later. Well-fed and relaxed, I walked back through the city centre and took the time to appreciate just what a fine city it is.

I have started a new project of patchwork made from ties. This will be yet another bedspread. I needed to sort the plain material from the patterned ones, and then sew the hexagons from templates, which I had cut from card. All this takes time and makes a lot of mess.

Every time I get up from my chair to do something I return to find my terrier Brillo, so named because she looks like a cross between a meerkat and a Brillo pad, lying in my chair. She assures me it is just to keep it warm for me and I have the greatest difficulty in moving her sometimes. If I give in and sit on another chair she will invade that one as well.

I live next to a footpath that leads to St Cuthbert’s Way and past the very large golf course on the outskirts of Pocklington. I have seen, during the past few days, countless people heading off on their after-Christmas walk, all warmly dressed in obviously new winter clothes and hats. It is refreshing to see so many people enjoying the magnificent countryside here in the Wolds. On other days, all I could see was fog but even that has an attraction, the world seems to shrink in round you and every sound seems almost muffled. Nature is so varied.