IMG_72306:25 p.m. I’m sitting in the Royal Oak, Pateley Bridge and I’ve just devoured what was probably my favorite meal of the trip so far – black pudding and bacon salad in sweet chilli, washed down by a pint of London bitter. I’m still trying to decide if I want rice pudding with jam and shortbread for dessert. Rice pudding with shortbread??? After my first day ‘in’ (well, I did walk down to the Post Office for a warm cornish pastie and vanilla slice for lunch) I’ve come for 2 hours to Pateley Bridge where Judith has a committee meeting from 6-8. I started the day by beating myself up for not zooming around Harrogate for the day but i reasoned with myself like this: I’ve been on the road for 33 days ( a lifetime record, I believe) and I’ve been out doing stuff most of the day for each of those 33 days. Tomorrow I leave on a 5 day trip which is billed by the Brightwater Travel as ‘to the ends of the earth,’ and ‘not for the faint-hearted.’ If I was at home and just about to leave on any 5 day trip I would be psyching myself up, planning and  packing so that’s what I decided to do. I even got out my embroidery for the first time on the trip.

I wandered along the River Nidd exploring the quaint town which I’d visited with Judith last year to see a band play in the park’s bandstand in the pouring rain. I asked a local who was walking his dog where was the best pub in town to eat regular pub grub with locals and he directed me to The Royal Oak. So that’s where I am. even this early on a Monday nigh i got the only unreserved table. Apart from the fact that there as many dogs as people, not to mention several babies in high chairs it’s quite lovely. Even the guys propping up the bar moved over as I tried to see which bitters were on tap.


Above my table the TV is showing a relaxed Andy Murray after his Wimbledon win yesterday, and then, of course, Emmerdale. I just can’t seem to get away from it. I spent the time waiting for my food by reading the Birstwith Horticultural Show programme. The ctegories are absolutely hilarious: ‘A stem of rhubarb-longest one wins.’ ‘Welly wanging.’ ‘Prettiest bitch’ – and right next to it ‘Best tricks.’ ‘A pot plant: flowering or foliage.’Reminiscences of my mum’s winning entries for ‘3 duck eggs, any color’ and ‘Victoria sponge’ come flooding back. I still have her prize winning certificates.