Wolds Diary: Catching glimpses of wildlife on my travels

Beck Isle cottage in Thornton le Dale.
Beck Isle cottage in Thornton le Dale.

I have had a very busy week, most of which seems to have been spent in churches.

Choir practices, for both the Pocklington Singers and for the Sorcerer, which is getting ever closer, have been combined with a Deanery Synod meeting at Holme upon Spalding Moor and then a Parochial Church council meeting here in Pocklington the next day.

It has meant that I had one evening at home this week. Then, of course, there were the normal dog walks and trips to shops. I also had the pleasure of being able to spend a morning at a friend’s to help her by looking after her husband who is poorly while she went for a hair appointment.

On the way to the Synod meeting I drove through Nunburnholme and up the hill overlooking Londesborough. From there you can see for miles and I had time to stop and pause for a few minutes taking in the wonderful view.

The evening sky was a warm pink and golden colour with clear blue overhead and there was a slight mist hovering over the low lying land in the Vale of York.

The cooling towers of Drax emerged rather majestically from this mist and in the very far distance I could see the hills of the Pennines almost as a faint shadow.

The whole panorama was so vast and impressive it made me feel quite insignificant, and as I took it all in I was rudely alerted to the fact that the local wildlife was not so enthralled.

A deer crossed the road just ahead of where I had pulled over and moments later several more followed. Then a pair of red kites swooped low over my car and as I pulled away I saw a fox slinking into the nearby copse.

I maybe spent 15 minutes in this time lapse of delight and it seemed to restore my soul. My friends from Harrogate returned and took away quite a lot of furniture that I’d no further use for. It meant that I actually cleaned my living room.

That evening I had the pleasure of going to the stunningly beautiful village of Thornton Dale near Pickering, where I had been asked to speak to the ladies group there, at their very fine Methodist Church. I arrived very early as I often do but it gave me time, and the light, to explore a bit and look round this gem of Yorkshire.

The entrancing stream that runs beside the road seemed to gurgle happily as I walked around the village, and I ended up in a pub where I paused for a coffee and got chatting to a couple with a beautiful dog called Ayesha.

The couple were surprised that I knew the literary reference of the dog’s name.

Whilst in the pub, I spotted the most wonderful wooden carved panels of sheep in the bar before heading off to give my talk to what turned out to be a great bunch of ladies who were most welcoming.

Two evenings later I was giving another talk and was the guest at a harvest supper in the little village of Brawby, in a neat village hall. I’d driven there across the Howardian Hills close to Castle Howard, and had admired the stunning countryside along the way.

I managed to explore a bit of the area before I got there and found a free house for a coffee in the next village. Having worked in a pub for many years I appreciated the sparkling cleanliness and décor of this inn, and the gracious welcome I received when all I wanted was a coffee.

At Brawby village hall the meal was delicious. My diet went out of the window; the trifle was exquisite. I was sitting between two charming farmers and had a very pleasant meal.

I gave my talk and then set off home. By this time it was dark and the journey back, on unfamiliar roads, needed careful concentration.

Before I got home I had to pop in to put a friend’s chickens to bed as she was away. The next morning I let them out and the two house cats demanded feeding. I duly obliged.

There have been some very pleasant days this week and being out in them has made me appreciate how lovely the countryside is here.

There has also been a bit of night fog, not unexpected, that makes some views almost mystical, even if the driving is slightly more hazardous.