Today was the day when we are due to go off to Yorkshire for our little ‘mini-break’ The football was pretty exciting last night when the English lionesses (i.e. women’s football team) scored an outstanding 4-0 victory over Sweden who were one of the tournament’s most fancied teams. By the time we had watched all of the victory celebrations now that the England team are through to the final on Sunday, we felt rather too tired to start packing tonight. We reckoned it was better to get to bed straight away and get up at 6.30am in the morning and do the packing we minute we wake up. This we did and it was a successful strategy because we got packed up in plenty of time, so much so that we could actually leave at 9.00am rather than 9.30 which was our planned hour of departure. We collected our newspaper and then set off in plenty of time, having just one pit stop for a coffee half way along the journey. We wanted to hit the little town of Wetherby by just about midday and, indeed, reached there at about 12.05 and we lucky to get one last parking space in the main street that runs through the town. We have a favourite fish restaurant in Wetherby because they open up their upstairs fish restaurant at 12.00 and it pays to get there early as it fills up very rapidly. We avail ourselves of a ‘pensioner’s menu’ where I suspect that the portions are scaled back a little. We had a wonderful and very satisfying three-course meal starting off with a homemade tomato and basil soup, followed by plaice and chips (I forgot to order salad instead but ate half of the chips) and then a lemon drizzle cake served with a huge dollop of vanilla icecream. This is also served with slices of bread and butter and a pot of tea so we felt the two of us had eaten quite royally for less than £30.00. We did not want to get to Harrogate too early to pick our hotel room which is avaialable to us after 3.00pm so we went in search of a plant shop because I had a vague notion that there was one not too far away from the main High Sreet. Eventually, we were directed to a rather super-duper florist where we made some purchases thinking about members of the family we are to meet in the next few days. We still had plenty of time in hand and so found both a quixotic little coffee shop which sold exquisite coffees and some very specialised (but not low-alcohol) beers. Then we found an Oxfam shop where we were tempted to buy a boxed ClassicFM cd set and so we set off for Harrogate.
When we arrived at the hotel, we entered the quite small car park and immediately made for one small space which we espied in one remote corner of the car park. But when we got to the desk and booked in, we mentioned the special car parking facility we had requested when we made our booking and the very helpul receptionist showed us that a space had already been reserved for us (as I requested more than two weeks ago) straight outside the front door. We were delighted to get this level of service, which completely vindicates coming back to this hotel in which we first stayed last December on the occasion of our brother-in-law’s funeral. We got into the room and quickly unpacked our suitcase. As soon as the laptop was fired up, it found the relevant network and we got ourselves online with he minimun of fuss and bother. I am sure it is getting easier these days because I’m sure in the past we had to fiddle around to get ourselves connected but it now seems so simple and straightforwrd as it should be. After I had had a few words with the reception staff, I am going to make contact with one of the managerial team here at the hotel to see if we can make some forward plans for when we visit again in four weeks time. When we come here in August, we are planning to see our friend who is now living in Scarborough on one day whilst we see my sister and members of the family for a little 80th birthday party celebration on the next.
As you might expect, the media is going silly about the prospects of the English women’s football team who have now qualified for the final on Sunday next, when we will have returned home. Tonight is going to to be the second semi-final in which the contestants are Germany v. France. There is an expectation that Germany will prevail as it has won this competition many times before but in all sporting events the unexpected can happen so will watch tonight’s game with some interest.