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This last week has been a busy, but beautiful one. I’ve driven almost a 1000 miles, the sun has continued to shine gloriously – and I’ve spent time with some very special people.

The week started with going to a park with my beau and his family. His youngest nephew is currently doing a project for his art GSCE and so we took him to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to capitalise on his recent interest in photography. Set within a historic 500 acre estate, the place is ideal for walks in the countryside, for visiting installations and exhibitions, as well as walking amongst contemporary open-air and bronze art sculptures by important figures such as Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore.

It really is stunning – and there is something for everybody – including the obligatory gift shops (selling books, unique pottery and jewellery) – as well as several cafes serving homemade cakes and food.  Our nephew got some fantastic shots for his project and he also felt really inspired when he saw the results of his labour. I seriously think we could have a future photographer in the making! Of course, I had to take some too – (one should never be without one’s camera!) and I have collaged a small selection below.  

The sculpture park also holds a special significance for me, due to a ‘walk of art’ piece that was created to coincide with the building of their latest visitor centre. For a nominal charge per name, supporters could have their loved ones names stamped into the metal path situated just outide the main entrance. Thinking it was a beautiful idea, whilst supporting local heritage, my family and I paid to have my two late sister’s names placed within the piece. For a small glimpse of the path, see the first set of pictures above.

As the park is situated right next to the motorway, from here I drove the 100 miles to my parents to collect my mum for my graduation ceremony. You’ve already seen a few pictures from that here. It was such a fantastic day in Manchester, surrounded by friends, family, fellow students, tutors, course directors, visiting guests and dignitories from the charity and afilliated unversity. The cake was made especially for us, complete with a star for each of us graduating – and had two layers; one chocolate sponge and one fruit cake! It was very yummy! Despite flowing wine, nibbles and much laughter – there wasn’t a professional photographer on site, so sadly there is no M.A. shot, as such, to share. I took alot of photos myself, as did my beau and my colleagues – but it would have been good to have had one professional photograph, complete with blue backdrop, to frame for my parents – especially as I don’t like any of the individual photos of me that were taken! 

My mum stayed for three days, which I was really pleased about as she was desperate for a short break. Despite living in an attic (and having to endure endless flights of stairs!!) she had a wonderful time. I am very much like my mum in many ways – including our need, every now and then, to visit the seaside.  It’s hard to explain, but I always feel truly healed and rejuvenated when I’ve been near the sea. I could honestly stand there and look out towards its horizon for ever!

I haven’t visited the west coast of England for a very long time, and as the nearest place geographically to me is Blackpool, thought we’d have that as our starting point. Neither my Mum or I had been there for many many years – and after spending an hour there, it was easy to see why!

It is currently out of season, which doesn’t help – but the place was covered in roadworks, barriers and scaffolding – so much so that it took me half an hour of winding around back roads, to get from one end of the esplanade to the other!  The perfect time of year to complete work admittedly, but this, coupled with the large drunken and stoned community that seemed to be walking around (on a Tuesday afternoon) made me quite happy to move on! Blackpool has become quite synonymous with hen parties and stag do’s this last decade – but even the locals seemed dangerous! It’s not a place I intend to return to in a hurry! Travelling north towards Fleetwood became even bleaker, and possibly wasn’t the best stretch of coastline to have chosen for our visit! Give me the beautiful east coast of England: Whitby, Robin Hood’s Bay and Runswick – any day! 

The sun shone brightly though and it was wonderful to see the sea and eat local fish and chips – and I also managed to get a few nice photographs of my mum and the local scenery. I think she’s looking pretty good for nearly 76! The following day saw us at garden centres, eating cream teas and shopping – before chilling in the evenings. I think my Mum loved being generally spoilt for 72 hours – with breakfast in bed and all of her meals cooked.

The week ended wth a couple of great days at work (I love doing music with my students!) and was completed by a house party at a friend’s house in celebration of his birthday. The theme was ‘pre-teen’ and included lots of sweets from our childhood (sherbert dips, refreshers, penny chews, fizzers, drumsticks to name but a few) along with party games such as ‘pass the parcel’ and ‘pin the tail on the donkey’!

His original idea of ‘no-alcohol = just pop’ was over-ruled by most and by the end of the night we had lots of people aged 20 & 30-something dressed as cowboys, indians, rosey cheeked and pigtailed girls all slightly tipsy! I went dressed in my favourite pair of fleecy PJs, complete with teddy, bedtime book and black eye! I do have some photographs – but they’re far too embarrasing to post here!

All in all – a great week ;-)