Festive frolics under canvas

Last night we sat around an open fire, wood smoke gently infusing the air, experienced the joy of live music, drank wine, ate heartwarming food and laughed with friends. Under canvas. In a teepee. Slap bang in the centre of Leeds.

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It sounds bizarre but its true. Legendary Leeds venue The Faversham has long been part and parcel of the student furniture but this year they have a 100 seater teepee in their back garden (no, really). We got an invite to the opening of their ‘Festive TeePee Social Club’ on a cold November night and we were suitably intrigued. Running from now up to Christmas, the enormous tent is home to a chilled out vibe, open fire, bar serving seasonal beverages of the craft beer and mulled wine variety and comfy sofa bed things and picnic tables – it sounds random but it works. So we settled down for a night to remember.

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It so happens that every Thursday is open mic Buskers night where local artists who ply their trade on the streets can come along and have their shot at the big wigwam (sorry). If I’m honest we only intended to stay for an hour or so, but we were drawn in by the steady procession of artists, some good, some brilliant. The fire glowed and the tent filled, people occupying every nook and cranny of the tent sitting on cushions, intoxicated by the joy of the flame, the music and an ancient under canvas feeling when its cold outside – if you’ve camped you’ll know what I mean. Piping hot beef stew with horseradish dumplings were served and greedily devoured, soaking up the very reasonably priced house red wine,£11 per bottle, Rose £9: bargain.

Our plan to leave was shelved and the evening went from good to great with fantastic performances by compere Cleve Freckleton AKA Rev Chunky and the talented singer songwriter Amy Sowerby. This was an unexpectedly brilliant evening and the surroundings made it all the more special, dare I say magical. I’d say we were comfortably the oldest there by a long chalk (although Rev Chunky gave us a run for our money, uncomfortably/accurately dedicating ‘Stuck in the middle with you’ to us) but to be fair, the young crowd weren’t too annoying and studenty and we didn’t feel out of place. In fact we were right at home.

I would conclude that it’s well worth a trip out to The Faversham before the end of December, which is a good 15 minutes walk from the centre of Leeds or a very short cab ride, even if it’s to sit by the fire sipping something warming in the majestic teepee. My top tip would be get there early next Thursday for the Buskers night and if you see us in the corner, come and say hello, we’re easy to spot: stuck in the middle.

Rialto Market – Venice

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I think Phil posted some similar pictures last year but if in Venice a visit to the Rialto fish, vegetable and fruit market is a must for the visual experience alone. We found a small street bar close to the market called ‘Al Merca’ where the locals stood outside drinking wine or the bright orange ‘Aperol Spritz’ an Italian favourite.

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We all ordered the refreshing ‘Aperol Spritz’ and some small sandwich rolls and just watched the world go by from the outside of this busy little bar near the Rialto bridge. A simple pleasure which the Italians get so right.

J&L. Mar-10

7th Sep 2009 Marine and The Star Inn, Perfect Day

After a great weekend we awoke on Monday to find the sun cracking the flags. D suggested we make the most of the weather and have a trip out to Whitby, what a great idea! Off we set with Chester in the back of the car, quick stop at Gilchrist’s for a sausage sarnie for breakfast. The drive over the moors was spectacular and we had a stopped at The Hole of Horcum to take in what must be one of the UK’s most stunning views.

Just a couple of hours after we had left home we arrived in a busy and bustling Whitby. A sparkling calm sea and a warm breeze encouraged us to promenade through town and to the end of the North pier to take in the views of the Abbey and a very busy beach, we decided to break for a nice glass of wine and G had a snack of 6 oysters (looked absolutely amazing)

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We then had a walk around the old town before getting a bag of chips to share on the beach, Chester sat and patiently waited for his share. We walked to the end of the South Pier and again enjoyed the views ….. how pretty the town of Whitby is!

On the way back we decided to visit Helmsley to check out some possibilities for our 25th Wedding Anniversary celebrations next year.  The Feversham Arms is a favourite of ours so a quick coffee by the pool and some fact finding  then over to the Star Inn at Harome. We sat outside in the garden and both the Pern’s were having drinks with friends. The sun was beginning to go down but it was still warm so we decided to have some dinner in the garden with Chester hoping for scraps under the table.

We shared a starter that was beautifully divided in two, Salad of Whitby Lobster “Nicoise” Style with “Mollet” Ledstone Quail Eggs, Marinated Anchovies & Garden Beans. AMAZING FLAVOURS AND TEXTURES!!

 For mains, G had, Charles Ashbridge’s Loin of Milk-fed piglet with 24 hour-braised Belly, Black Puddind Scotch Egg, Garden Sage-scented Apple Puree and mulled Ampleforth Cider. WOW even better than the description!

 

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D opted for A plate of Swaledle Lamb, Cutlet, Braised Shoulder, Kidney and Liver Moussaka with “Nicoise” Gravy. Presentation was superb and the Moussaka got D’s 10/10 vote.

We shared an assiette of deserts that tasted fabulous and were well presented.

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The Michelin star is well deserved.

D had a couple of glasses of Champagne and G had a couple lager shandy’s, coffees to finish what could be described as a perfect day.

G&D

Proms Spectacular, Harewood House, 05-09-09

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As you can see from the pic’s , we had a splendid night at Harewood.

Starting with a flyover by a WW2 Spitfire the crowd was suitably warmed up for the evening event. The very entertaining conductor Jae Alexander kept us amused and the English National Orchestra professionally played their socks off……Soprano, Sarah Ryan and tenor Wynne Evans made the Proms Spectacular an evening to remember…

Lovely picnics, plenty of beverages, decent weather and a fabulous firework display helped the night pass too quickly. img_15231

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A good time was had by all. We will be back next year!

D and G.

Anthony Gormley’s “Another Way”, Sefton Sands and Southport 11th August 2009

We have been trying to go see the 100 statues created by Anthony Gormley entitled “Another way” and placed on Setfton Sands near Liverpool for at least a couple of years and as the England cricket team seriously underperformed we had the Tuesday(last day of the Headingley Ashes Test) free. As Tess, Tony and Pat had taken the day off as well we made it a team outing, Chester taking up the rear. D as always was on the ball and checked the tides so we decided that as it was high tide at 2pm we needed to get there by 12 from Pat and Tony’s house that meant just an hour and quarter travelling time. We arrived as the furthest out to sea of the statues were just getting covered by the sea with lots still on full display. The experience of walking along the beach and touching/standing next to the statues was a tactile interactive experience that was both interesting and kind of thought provoking. The statues are all different in that some are slightly underground, some are covered in barnacles others are smooth etc but all are looking out to sea. With the backdrop of the Liverpool skyline on one side of the Mersey and Birkenhead on the other plus huge ships going in and out of the estuary avoiding the huge array of wind turbines there is lots to keep the statues staring. A most excellent and unusual commission that should be viewed by all. Chester was running from one statue to another as well as running into the sea but we have to say the water did not look clean and don’t ask Tess or G about the mud flats(or flaps as Tess called them!)! once the tide came in most of the statues disappeared……………

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After 2 hours on the beach we were all hungry and surprisingly Tony, Tess and Pat had never been to Southport so we made the 30 min drive up the coast. The last time D and I were in Southport we had a pretty nice lunch at Casa Italia on Lord Street so we parked up and whilst we walked towards the restaurant, amazingly we bumped into Tonys friend Mick who Tony had mentioned about in the car earlier. Mick just hapened to be out with his 91 year old  father also on a visit to Southport on the same day………..small world!

It was nice that we got a table on the large pavement area outside the restarant so Chester could join us. The girls shared a pizza garlic bread as a starter and Tony and I had sardines all very good. Mains included pizza, canneloni, seafood linguini(cray fish for G and clams for Tony) all very tasty. The girs had an apple/raspberry crumble t finish which was lovely. A quick wander around Southport to let the lunch go down before the drive home. A really good day!

G&D

Light Lunch at The Feversham Arms (Again)08-08-09

Tony & I had to visit the Salt Box Gallery in Helmsley to collect a painting we had bought on a previous visit. It was part of an exhibition so they asked us to leave it there a while for others to enjoy. It would have been remiss not to have visited the Feversham Arms and so we did.

The weather was glorious and so we opted to eat by the poolside. Tony was lusting by the pool (don’t ask) I chose quiche with side salad. The quiche was lovely,  the salad a bit dull. Tony opted for Caesar salad with chargrilled chicken, small but tasty.

The setting was wonderful and the service excellent. Never a disappoinment here.

We left the Feversham Arms and went round to the Black Swan for coffee and cakes. Well worth a visit as there is an excellent selection. Tony went for the lemon possett with raspberry coulis and I went for the carrot cake. Both delicious but probably better to go earlier in the day as some had sold out.

By the time we got home we were hungry again so we got the barbacue out.

 

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The Aussie Team in Leeds, 04 Aug 09

The Ashes Festival in Leeds promises to be a great event, to be held from the 1st – 11th Aug grab an Ashes Festival in Leeds pocket guide as soon as you can…1st hand experience yesterday as Tess, G and I set off to watch the Aussie team walkabout in Millenium Sq. We started with a drink at Ha Ha bar, nice place ,our 1st visit and once we had established the correct ingredients for my Mojito …sun was shining so to speak.

The Civic reception lasted about an hour so we sat outside Ha Ha and had another drink watching press people and tv cameras buzzing around all over the place. Kids were taking part in the cricket factory and the adults!!were participating in the Slogger event set up on the large BBC screen, it was a lot of fun..

Eventually the Aussie team appeared and they were more than willing to sign autographs and have photos taken with enthusiastic fans…Tess and I got a few as you will see…The team grabbed a bite to eat in the Carriageworks plaza, the food provided by Ha Ha looked great and everyone including the Lady Mayoress tucked in….Afterwards they moved on to the Cricket Exhibition at Leeds City museum and signed copies of the Fire and Ashes book, all in all it was a well organised and great event…well done to the bananakick team…www.bananakick.com

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Excitement over, we required something to eat so Tess , G and I visited Casa Mia in Millenium Square, garlic bread and lightly fried squid in breadcrumbs with a bowl of seafood pasta did the trick, all washed down with a nice bottle of Prosecco…lovely.

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A short walk to Restaurant Bar and Grill (one of my favourite places)where we had a sneaky glass of Champagne and then a taxi home……. and so to bed!

D&G.