Today is the first day of our mini-break. We both slept quite well in what was an extremely comfortable bed and then we mastered the intracies of our shower system – which was actually very straighforward. Whilst I was waiting for Meg to get completely ready, I was thumbing through some publicity leaflets for events happening in Harrogate ovwr the next few days. There is quite a magnificent Victorian concert hall called the Royal Hall which I have not visited for decades although I used to attend concerts by the Halle orchestra when I could. In fact, the last performance that I remember was one when Ravel’s ‘Bolero’ was being played and the orchestra’s conducter – George Wheldon I believe- walked off the podium when he could not slow the orchestra down when they were playing at too rapid a pace halfway through the piece. There is going to be a concert tonight in which Rossini, Mozart and Beethiven are to be played. I managed to secure some tickets over the internet so Meg and I just have to turn up a quarter of an hour or so before the performance starts in order to pick up our tickets. The Royal Hall is only about 400-500 yards from the hotel so we can walk there with no pressure of time and not have to worry about car parking.
This morning, Meg and I called around to see my sister and one of our nieces and her two children (one at university, one at school) were there as well. We spent the morning, as families do, chatting over some family issues and enjoyed the tea and scones which my sister had provided. Fortunately, I had taken along some quiche for us to have a quick lunch. This was quickly warmed up in the oven and did not seem to have deteriorated much in the journey up north so we enjoyed it with a few salad things my sister had provided. As we approached Knaresborugh this morning through what I called the ‘back end’ approach to it, we went past the street upon I used to lve and could not resist a quick look at it.The street used to be terminated by some rough fields and then a golf course but the field and golf links had been sold off long ago to provide additional housing. In our journey to Knaresborough by this ‘back’ route, we noticed a large garden centre which contains its own coffee shop and restaurant. We have arranged to meet there at 5 minutes before midday tomorrow so that at midday my sister, niece, Meg and I can have a quick family lunch with each other and carry forward our discussions of family related issues. Then we took leave of my sister and went to Harrogate by car to visit another niece and her family who had just moved house into a larger Victorian villa not a great distance from where they used to live in Harrogate. In theory, this shoukd have been easy to find but in practice seemed to be a bit more difficult than might be imagined. For some reason, our SatNav system gives the street that runs at the back of their new address when one enters the postcode and I had to make a quick telephone call to ascertain that the SatNav would not take us to a completely erroneous place. We spent a lovely afternoon having tea and biscuits and chatting over the horrors of moving house. We both seemed to have internet horror stories of having to live without the technology whilst our internet connections were sorted out but in both of our cases, we have lived to tell the tale. We admired their lovely house which is on three stories (four if you include the basement converted into work space) so there is now more room for their teenage children to enjoy their adolescent years. Our niece is still continuing with the writing in which she use to engage regularly and she had just discovered that one of her pieces if being ‘long listed’ for for an international award which is a source of some pleasure. We were also pleased to congratulate her upon being her awarded her MA in Literature. We discussed the little birthday celebratiomns I intend to hold for my sister at the end of next month but they will be on a much anticipated continental holiday at the end of next month so unfortunately will not be able to attend. We discussed some anticipated birthdday presents for our celebrations and think we shll probably be able to meet again near Christmas time when we make another visit to the family about Christmas time which we normally do. Finally, Meg and I returned to the hotel where we had a little rest before we spruce ourselves up a little before we venture forth for our attendance at the concert this evening.