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Over the bank holiday weekend, when I had the girls for the weekend, we spent a few days oop North visiting Russ and Rachel, something we’ve not done in quite some time.

It’s always difficult to pop up to see them as a normal weekend just isn’t long enough to do it in, and certainly wouldn’t be fair on the girls to drive all the way up on Friday night after already having travelled up from Kent to my place.


So, Saturday morning we got up bright and early, got the car packed, had some crumpets and headed up the motorway. The girls had their DVDs to watch – headphones on – so I could listen to my tunes to keep me sane during the 220 mile journey. Even though the girls are getting older they’re not really at the stage where they want to engage in conversation for that length of time. One day maybe?

We had a pretty good run up. There were a couple of hiccoughs, the worst being the fact that the M40 was shut between junctions 8 and 9, meaning a minor detour adding an extra ten or so miles to the journey so nothing major. So having left pretty much on time we arrived just after 10:30am giving us plenty of time to enjoy the day.

After having a rest after the journey and a spot of lunch Rachel, the girls and I jumped on a bus into Harrogate. Alice wanted some new headphones as the ones she currently uses in the car sit on her ears which becomes a little sore after a long drive. I wanted to get a pair similar to the ones Elisa uses (my old over-the-ear Sennheiser HD201s) which we didn’t manage to do – HMV failed us miserably!

The girls got treated to some new clothes, mainly leggings as a lot of the pairs at my place are now getting a little on the short side as the girls start to shoot up. Managed to get a pretty good deal in H&M, which was nice.

All shopped out we headed back to Russ and Rachel’s to chill out and wait for Russ to finish work, after which he, the girls and I walked up to the chip shop to get our well deserved – and needed after a long day! – dinner. Love the fish and chips up there!

After putting the girls to bed Russ, Rachel and I chatted for a while but the long day soon caught up with me and I had to head up the wooden hill to bed; the drive had taken its toll.


Sunday morning, after a hearty breakfast – Alice had no less than three bowls of cereal! – we all jumped into Russ’ car and headed out through Pateley Bridge to visit Stump Cross Caverns, somewhere Russ suggested we take the girls, and also somewhere he’d wanted to visit for a while.

The girls had never been down into an underground cavern before so I was hopeful that they’d have an exciting time looking round and touching the damp walls.

Thankfully, after a hesitant Alice took a little encouraging, we headed down the steps and wandered round, me snapping away with my camera as we all investigated the various paths round the caverns.

It was a great place and the girls thoroughly enjoyed themselves – great idea Russ! Rachel didn’t come down with us, enjoying a quiet drink while we looked round.

Once we’d finished looking round we all jumped in the car and headed back to Pateley Bridge for a spot of lunch and to let the girls have a play in the play area to let off some steam seeing as it was a lovely day outside.

The girls had a great time playing, especially on the zip line, and we had a lovely sandwich in one of the tea rooms. I was able to have a beer too as I wasn’t driving for a change 🙂

Fed and watered we headed to the oldest sweet shop in England to treat the girls to some sweets. Me, I got some honeycomb – I love that stuff! Thanks for getting them for us all Rachel, very generous of you.

All done in Pateley Bridge we drove back to Knaresborough via Ripley where we stopped for one of their famous ice creams, and very nice they were too!

While we’d been out for the day dinner – sausage casserole – had been cooking away in the slow cooker. It was lovely to come back from a day out to the wonderful smells of dinner and it wasn’t long before we were all tucking into it.

Unfortunately, Russ had been suffering with a bit of a cold and it hit hard, knocking him for six when we’d finally sat down and stopped after getting back. Shame as we’d planned on popping out for a couple of beers once the girls were in bed but it would have been mad for him to try and go out; he could just about keep his eyes open! Another time mate.


We took it easy Monday morning knowing that the girls and I had a long drive ahead of us. We’d decided to go out for lunch so shortly before midday we drove into Knaresborough for a big lunch at So! bar, somewhere we’d been many times before so we knew we’d get a good feed before a long afternoon on the road.

Once lunch was over the girls and I said goodbye and we made our way back to Kent so I could drop the girls back. We had a pretty good run back, dropping the girls off pretty much on time. I still had the drive home to do but I’m pleased to say that the M25 played ball for a change and I wasn’t home too late. Yes, I was tired but it’d been worth it to see Russ and Rachel again as I know how much the girls love seeing them both.

I’ve sorted out all the photos from our day out on the Sunday so go and check them out if you’ve not spotted them yet.