After a long week of writing essays, I decided to head over to my Granny and Grandad's house in Ilkley. They've lived in the same place since the 1950's so it's always been a constant in my life, and I have to say, I think it's the most beautiful house in the world - filled with memories of childhood fun & too much trifle. Half an hour from Leeds by train, and nestled into the Ilkley moors, it's like a Yorkshire paradise.
Whenever I'm there I'm fed and watered like a Queen by my Granny. My Granny is almost 90 years old, yet is one of the most spritely women I know. Next week she's giving a talk at the University of the 3rd Age in Ilkley about a novel she wrote, she regularly leads walks, and she even does tai chi. She's my hero.
For Christmas, I bought my Grandad a beautiful edition of "Life on the Mississippi" by Mark Twain. I found it buried in a secondhand book shop on Duke Street in Brighton and it cost about the same as a normal book in Waterstones would. I wrote a message in silver pen on the blue sheath that the book fitted into it. He really, really liked it.
On one of the days I was there my Dad and I ventured into Leeds. We trawled through the city centre towards the cinema and saw American Hustle, in which Christian Bale in a toupee & fat suit made me absolutely howl. Amy Adams was insanely good, and Bradley Cooper putting his hair into neat yellow rollers was a personal highlight. Also, my Dad was loving the 70's tunes that reverberated through the whole film! I caught him boogieing in his seat.
After the film we headed to a little bar by Leeds station for a pint of beer and a chitchat.
Pa had a pint of locally brewed pale ale and I nursed a pint of Brooklyn Brewery while wearing my jumper that I bought in Brooklyn. Pretentious much. Anyways, after our drinks we skipped to the station and boarded the train back to Ilkley, where a delicious dinner of sausages, mash and peas awaited us.
This is the room in which I usually stay:
And this is the view from the office upstairs - the place where my Grandad types up his limericks (yes, that's right, he's written hundreds):
While finishing my essay in my Granny's office I noticed a stack of papers. On closer inspection I saw it was a pile of my articles from the Daily Collegian, a newspaper I wrote for in Massachusetts, printed off and displayed proudly. My family have been so supportive about all my writing and it makes me ridiculously happy to see things like this.
Thus ended my second Christmas of the year, if a little soon. I have to say I love hiding away from the world for a few days in my Granny's house, discarding my phone/ Facebook in exchange for my Grandad's stories about America in the 1940s or my Granny's tales of her career in journalism.
I'll be returning as soon as I can.