Friday, 16th December, 2022

[Day 1005]

Meg and I had a pretty comfortable night last night. What absolutely ‘saved our bacon’ was that we espied in a little space next to the wardrobe in our hotel room one of those oil-filled portable radiators which I pressed into use in the centre of the room. In a large room this certainly helped to supplement the one radiator we had in the room underneath the window and it meant that by the late evening the warm, if not hot, room was certainly warm enough to make sure that we had a pleasant night’s sleep. So we woke up just before 7.00am which is a perfect time to have a cup of tea and slowly get ourselves into gear for the day. We had our customary filling breakfast for the day and then set forth to see what the streets of Harrogate had to offer. We could not resist the lure of some of the charity shops and noted that the prices were of the order of 50% greater than we are used to in the West Midlands but perhaps that is a reflection of Harrogate life. We made our stages to a coffee shop run by Italians which is almost ‘creme-de-la-creme’ but in a more folksy way. We made our way up a very steep flight of stairs to the upstairs room but were greeted by what looked a huge television screen which was just showing the detail of a burning log fire. It certainly made you feel warm, although the effect was evidently psychological. We treated ourselves to some capucchinos and home-made pastries, served to us by an interesting Polish lady. We exchanged our observations of what it is like to feel Polish cold as opposed to Yorkshire cold but we are both relieved that better weather is on the way by Sunday. Then we found our way into a ‘Scope’ shop where we wondered which of two jumpers we might buy for Meg. Another customer and the shop assistant were extraordinarily helpful and eventually we settled on one of those jumpers which looks better on than off and which is a longer length than normal so it helps to keep one’s nether regions warm. Then we made our way to Marks and Spencer where we bought a gift voucher as a Christmas present for our loyal and hardworking domestic help. As we were making progress through the store, Meg admired the look of a jumper and it did look rather fetching but at £175.00 per item we were not unduly tempted. We did, on our peregrinations throughout the charity shops, buy one interesting item from an Oxfam shop which is going to be a surprise present and which we are sure is going to be appreciated. We made our way to a little Chinese restaurant we have have often frequented in the middle of Harrogate as we wanted just a simple, light meal as we knew we were going to have a more extensive afternoon tea this afternoon. After we had relished a simple sweet and sour pork, we started to make tracks for the hotel but on the way home, I wanted to buy one particular cosmetic item which I had forgotten to pack last Wednesday morning. Vanity prohibits my mentioning the nature of the item but when we enquired in Boots, the chemists, we were quoted a price of £27.00. When we exclaimed that this was far too much, we were directed to a cosmetics and beauty shop across the road where we bought the desired item for 69p! Then we made our back to the hotel for a swift cup of tea before we set out for the afternoon.

For my sister’s 80th birthday last August, I treated her and several other family members to a speial ‘afternoon tea’ in ‘The Crown‘ which is the hotel in which we are lodged in Harrogate. By way of a Christmas present, we thought we would repeat the afternoon tea idea and once I had secured my sister’s assent to this idea, we made a booking with the hotel. This afternoon, Meg and I set off in plenty of time to pick up my sister in our car from Knaresborough. We arrived on the dot of the appointed time and then got my sister and her ‘wheeled walker’ into the boot of the car and then set off for Harrogate. Fortunately, the reserved parking space is incredibly useful for us at the hotel and so we all sat down at the appointed time and enjoyed out tea of Earl Grey, tasty little sandwiches and an assortment of dainty pastries and sweetmeats. Munching our way though this little lot took us some time and when we had eaten our fill, it was time for us to transport my sister back to Knaresborough and for us to return to the hotel. I must say that the hotel was full of Christmas spirit as there were Christmas trees and Christmas decorations whereever one looked in each of the public rooms. I wondered whether the volume of Christms trees deployed in the hotel including those outside might approach the number of 100. Tomorrow, we will see my sister for the third day running (which must be some sort of record) as we are due to go round to one of her daughters in the afternoon where we have been invited to a family ‘at home’ of mulled wine and mince pies and we should see a lot of other other family members there as well. So the whole concept of extending our stay from three nights to four nights so that we have a complete three days of seeing family members has proved to be well worthwhile.