Follow the fortunes of Muddyboots & Family on their East Yorkshire farm which has changed from dairy farm to luxury ice cream manufacture

Monday, 22 September 2008

Holidays on Yorkshire's East Coast

Today it's raining. Outside it is dark and gloomy, chilly and wet. Autumn is here, winter not far away. it's strange really, sat inside out of the weather, how people react to sunshine. Outside it's gloomy, the press are full of the encroaching doom and gloom and yet, when the sun shines out people come, driving across to the coast from the cities and towns of the West Riding, ignoring the words of warning and high petrol prices to what l can only assume is to cheer themselves up from the depressing and morbid news columns that journalist hurl at us with what appears to be positive glee! A bracing walk along the promenade at Filey or a voluptuous ice cream sundae is all it takes to put one's life into prospective.

This year has been really weird. We did not know what to expect, what with the credit crunch or recession, if we believed every word written then we would have shut shop and headed off to the sun to become deck chair attendants, the press drifted of course again, OK so people haven't traveled abroad en-mass they appear to have holidayed, here, in the UK. In fact trippers and holidaymakers are still about in the dying embers of september. Back to my point about the weather. As soon as the sun pokes it's head out from behind the cloud, people leap into their cars or onto their bicycles and head out for a good day beside the sea. This past weekend is a good example. Filey, Bridlington and Whitby were absolutely choker block. Car parks were full to bursting, the beaches at Filey were being enjoyed as people walked along the pristine sands, The steps leading to the Abbey in Whitby were as full as a sunday in august!

It's really great to see people enjoying the local landscapes, although it is nice to travel and to visit far flung places, the English landscape is truly spectacular, where else in a short space of time, can you drive through coastal plains of Holderness, soft rolling landscapes of the Yorkshire wolds, to the high heather clad grouse moors peppered with ruined abbeys and moorland crosses of the North Yorkshire Moors.

It is this aspect of Yorkshire l have always found fascinating, the ever changing landscapes, coming as l do from the forests of west Gloucestershire, don't get me wrong, l am a tree person, but l also love the wide open skies and vast vistas that seem to be so common up here in the north. l would also probably add that this part of the world has been, thankfully, avoided by the London based travel journalist, it is some where just off the A1 en route to the new Cornwall, Northumberland. A region of Britain that has not appeared in TV programs, well there is Heartbeat and All Creatures Great and Small [which, incidentally was filmed in the Yorkshire Dales despite the books being set in Thirsk and on the North Yorks Moors,] glossy magazines have not extolled the virtues of holidaying on the east Coast or Yorkshire Wolds, we have got away lightly so far, except that is, for the last two publication of a monthly magazine extolling the virtues of living in the countryside, a countryside that doesn't have mud, the sort that stains wellingtons and creeps up along the inside of jeans, of earthy smells and of tractors that clog up the roads, a countryside where families decorate their homes with flowery fabrics and and bunches of dried herbs artistically hung from beams whilst Boden clothes are casually slung over worn and artistically mismatched furniture carefully painted in the latest Farrow & Ball colour scheme. Anyway, this magazine has discovered us, this area. The article inform its readers that there are wonderful pubs in this area, that have creative menus using the best of the locally produced ingredients, from lamb to free range pork, vegetables and dairy produce. The countryside has also been 'discovered', our rolling hills, narrow dales, deserted villages and slightly faded statley homes.

However there is still one place that is un-charted, omitted from the southern journalist's list of places to visit; the east Yorkshire coast.......

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

XL and all that stuff

Just over a week ago, l was scanning through the business pages of one of the daily broadsheets, not really taking in what was written, when an article caught my eye, the headlines read, 'XL Leisure Group enters refunding talks'. I re-read the article twice just to make sure l my eyes were not deceiving me.

I think my heart stopped beating for a moment or two, thoughts of the Zoom fiasco flashed in front of my eyes. At times of crisis, l guess the internet is an excellent source of information so there l was, googling trying to find out more. For the next 2 days nothing, no news absolutely nowt.

The problem, you see, was that l had booked tickets with XL flying out of East Midlands to Corfu in the next 4 days. Would the company find a backer or would it fold? As the departure date crept ever closer, still no news. Press releases had stated that a decision would be reached at the end of the week.......... nothing. No news is good news? I don't think so, l had a gut feeling that the company was as they say, going to go 'tits up'.

Being self-employed, holidays are few and far between, eagerly anticipated, a case of escaping from the daily routine to relax and re-charge before going hell for leather again. For the past few years, after the the schools have gone back and the season is starting to return to its normal pace, we have departed en-mass to Corfu for a week's r & r. No different this year except, XL.

A hurriedly arranged crisis meeting was called around the breakfast table, topics discussed included what if there is no plane on monday and what do we do if we couldn't get back? The boys were fine , they were flying out of Birmingham with Monarch, it was just us & the in-laws.

After rather a large intake of breath, it was decided, unanimously l might add, to re-book flights with another carrier. Call us mad, but what option was there, could we really take the risk of loosing out on the long awaited holiday?

So there you have it. Seats were booked through First Choice.

The holiday was wonderful. The sun shone, the sea was deliciously warm, the temperature lolled around in the high 30'C and the villa was a dream. The boys swam and raced around in motor boats, we ate at waterside tavernas and drank copious amounts of retsina, the stress from the past 12 months was starting to drift off into the ether.

So what was happening to XL we wondered? Had we been plain daft in changing flights? Texts, followed by eagerly read news reports, care of the BBC web pages, told us otherwise. Groups of XL flight only travelers huddled around their suitcases on monday at Corfu airport waiting for a seat to, well anywhere, really brought home to us that the days of cheap airline seats are gone for the time being.
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