Clearing out the cobwebs

Knaresborough castle

Hello hello…would you believe, we’re two weeks into the new year already. I’m in the midst of a big sort-through of the dusty old items that have lain in cupboards, drawers and wardrobes, attracting moths and wedging themselves against doors so that nothing…would…close.

Clearing out the cobwebs feels gooood. Right now we have four bin liner-sized bags in our bedroom, some ready to be given away in a charity collection, some to be taken to H&M to swap for vouchers. And, at the same time, we’ve been trying to enjoy the great chilly outdoors a bit more, so that cobwebs of another sort – the ones caused by central heating and too much Christmas pudding – can also be whisked away.

apple tree

It was a huge Christmas treat to wake up in a house with such a splendid apple tree

We spent Christmas with D’s parents, in Harrogate. It wasn’t hit by as much snow as further south in Yorkshire, but luckily we were greeted by a festive sprinkling on Boxing Day.


Gwen helpfully offered to de-ice the cars

I can’t say that Austin and Gwen spent hours playing in the snow – it was very cold, and there were new toys waiting indoors – but the following day we had enough time in the open air for our toes to turn numb. We met up with old friends (and their children) at Knaresborough, a place I was previously completely ignorant of, but which turned out to be a beautiful, granite-hued market town complete with a castle and stunning aqueduct. Perfect for a Christmas visit.


Knaresborough’s dizzyingly high aqueduct

After a stomach-popping lunch at Drake’s, the fish and chip shop on Silver Street (verdict? Fish and chips – magnificent. Veggie alternative, a blue cheese crumble – awful), we took the children up to the castle, where our four teamed up with about ten others to roam around, battering on locked doors, and chasing imaginary ghosts around the battlements.

Knaresborough castle


Back home in London, the school run has driven us out into the elements every day, trotting along the roadside to get to the gates before the morning bell rings; or dawdling with friends in the park – our preferred route home, which is longer but less fumey than walking alongside the traffic.

new bike

Little off-roader on his new wheels

And, of course, there’s Austin’s new bike. He’s still learning to balance and pedal, so D and I have been subjected to enjoyed shuffling round, bent double like coal-bearers from the Victorian era, to stop his bike from toppling over. Still, chilblains aside, it’s a good excuse to get out under the skies, whether they’re grey or blue, and put in some groundwork for a family cycling holiday, to be taken at some unspecified time in the future.

Have you been out and about in the great outdoors? Or do you prefer to hibernate inside, with a hot toddy?

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  1. January 15, 2015 / 12:13 pm

    Lovely photo’s of your gorgeous children, I love your daughter’s glasses, they remind me of a pair my daughter had a few years ago. We have been staying in a little this week as I have come down with a chest infection and my girls are starting to get the first signs of colds! Oh the joys 🙂

  2. January 15, 2015 / 1:36 pm

    Oh Mini got a new bike for Christmas too. We love visiting Harrogate it is such a beautiful place. We didn’t get any snow over Christmas, the boys are hoping for it this weekend

  3. January 15, 2015 / 1:51 pm

    Oh we would adore a family cycling holiday. Lucky you getting some snow over Xmas. It’s all passed us by despite being near a couple of times. Lovely post and fab photos xx

  4. January 15, 2015 / 4:07 pm

    Oh lovely pictures of your Christmas break. I am missing snow this year. I too have been busy tidying up indoors trying to get rid of junk. Thankfully, I have also been able to go for short walks to the shops and back and have enjoyed the crisp and cold air.

  5. January 15, 2015 / 7:00 pm

    What lovely photos. It sounds like a great Christmas break. We have pretty much been cooped up for the last month or so, apart from the odd walk and school runs!

  6. Michelle
    January 15, 2015 / 8:33 pm

    I’m definitely a hibernator! This reminds me I really must have a good sort out soon! xxx

  7. January 15, 2015 / 8:37 pm

    Lovely photos. I remember the back ache from holding onto the kids bikes very well!
    We generally like to get out and about as much as possible but for the last week we have been all about the hibernating.

  8. January 15, 2015 / 9:08 pm

    Lovely photos, it looks like you all had a great break. I loved teaching my eldest to ride a bike but it did take it’s toll of my poor back!

  9. January 15, 2015 / 11:28 pm

    We have to go out for fresh air daily or we both go a bit crazy! x

  10. January 16, 2015 / 9:31 am

    We have had some lovely trips out on brisk sunny days, followed by much needed hot drinks on the sofa when we get home!

  11. January 16, 2015 / 10:06 am

    My lad also had a new bike for Christmas – one with gears. So now I am well and truly running on the school run.

    Well done on your decluttering – I am trying to do that myself.

  12. January 16, 2015 / 7:12 pm

    We’re in the middle of a big sort out – I’ve already taken four black sacks of clothes to the clothes bank this year 😉

  13. January 17, 2015 / 8:21 pm

    Looks like a lovely Christmas in Harrogate with that snow and glad to see the bike is keeping the outdoor fun going. we have a bike lock up here for holidays *just saying* cheeky but I had to get that one in. Thanks for sharing your lovely break and cycling progress on country Kids.

  14. January 17, 2015 / 8:39 pm

    Beautiful photos – looks like you were all enjoying clearing out the cobwebs and Gwen and Austin look like they had a lot of fun outdoors. What a gorgeous smile your little girl has 🙂

  15. January 17, 2015 / 11:05 pm

    Lovely blog, beautifully written.

    Funilly enough we have taken part in #hibernot today. Rainsuits and jumpers galore, we faced the elements at the beach. However, now sat with a hot-toddy (whisky added version) just as your post suggested.

    Hope your clear out continues to go well.


  16. January 18, 2015 / 9:26 am

    You can swap clothes for vouchers at H&M? Need to check that out! Eliza is getting a bike for her birthday – cannot wait to get out and about on it. Looks like you all had fun

  17. January 19, 2015 / 8:12 pm

    We are doing the exact time trying to get out the house but also clearing the house completely! So much clutter. I love to get out and then get home with a hot chocolate to get warm! Best of both worlds.

    Lovely photos

  18. January 20, 2015 / 8:25 pm

    Super jealous, I’m fairly certain I’m the only person in the country in possession of an instagram account who hasn’t also had snow. I want to take some photos!! 😉

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