A Week in Yorkshire

My last blog post was from Malaga just before I headed to the UK. To Yorkshire to be precise, which is where my mother’s ancestral roots lie. I spent many a wonderful holiday in my youth with my grandparents in the picturesque village of Green Hammerton which lies midway between York and Harrogate. I also lived and worked in England both in York and London for a few years, but that was a long time ago, it’s been 14 years since my last visit.Spring Tuba The Ship_Aldborough Mailvan_Phoneb GH20150330_112141-1

It was a delightful week, which flew past all too fast, and although the weather was cold, I was in my brother’s flat which is beautifully heated so I was very cosy and warm. Before I hopped into bed each night the electric blanket made it all warm and toasty before I slipped between the sheets each night.

The coming of Spring is certainly a wonderful time of year to visit England, as daffodils gaily line roadsides and tubs filled with spring flowers added a splash of colour, so even though the air is cold, the outlook is bright.

I spent a very happy time catching up with friends and family, eating favourite foods, both at home and out at the little country pubs which are so unique to the UK. They have English pubs all over the world, but they are just not the same. There is a special atmosphere that oozes from the buildings, the stone floors, the wooden beams and furniture that echo with hundreds of years of history, these places existed long before Australia was even colonised.

I know people say that English cooking is terrible, but that’s not true. It depends on who does the cooking. I feasted on steak and kidney pie, chicken and mushroom pie, Whitby fish stuffed with spinach and prawns served with white wine sauce, roast pork with proper, homemade Bramley apple sauce and much more. In between meals I feasted on homemade shortbread, Wensleydale cheese, Jaffa cakes, Pontefract cakes and the odd piece of fruit for good measure. I’m not sure how much weight I stacked on but who cares!

I arrived back in Spain last night and am all set to start work again later today on what is the final term of the school year here.

Michelle

INFLUENCERS IN OUR LIFE – FIRST JOB

I’ve just read an article on LinkedIn “To get a job, write your story instead of your resume” which prompted me to reflect on the jobs in my life journey to date that influenced how I respond and view situations today. My very first job was at the Masons Arms in school holidays – it was a very well know pub famous for it’s great food and the beautiful wooden furniture by Mousey Thompson. Although my job was working behind the bar at 15, I sometimes polished the tables, those were the occasions when I delight in finding the carved mice on each.  

It was a brilliant first job which I landed by chance. I had originally applied for a job at the fish and chip shop in the village and whilst they didn’t take me on they did recommend me to the Masons Arms instead (run by the fish and chip shop owners sister).

I learnt about team work and the importance of treating staff well. The owners, Christine and Roy Allen led by example –  they really looked after their staff, arranging for all of us from the village of Green Hammerton to be picked up and driven to work together. At the end of the night we weImagere all offered supper before the kitchen closed and then driven safely home again.

As I look back I see the lessons that have travelled with me from this very first job have been:

1) The power of making a good impression which leads to people wanting to help you and hence the referals

2) The importance of treating staff well and being a good worker – I went back every holiday to work there when I was in the UK and continued to until I left school. I loved my job as I worked for good people, they loved me because I was a good worker.

3) Don’t judge a person by their looks  – we had so many different customers from all walks of life. It was the ones least expected that were the biggest surprises.

Great lessons that I was lucky enough to have learnt right at the beginning of my working life. Lessons that have served me well throughout my career.

What we’ve lost since Grandma’s days

This latest blog has been prompted by an article I just read on LinkedIn titled Food on our plate: friend or foe.

As a Western developed society we seem to have lost a great deal of the simple stuff that was about in our grandparents days that contributed to us doing more exercise as a part of our daily lives.  Most people in Green Hammerton, the village where my Grandma lived, did not have a car or a telephone. My Grandad used to ride to work on his bicycle.

There was the village shop/post office that everyone walked to, they also walking to visit neighbours and kids walked to school – including me when we lived in the village for a few months during the 6 day war period in Jerusalem as Dad decided, the family would all be safer in England while he stayed on in Jerusalem. If we wanted to use the telephone we needed walk to the red public box located near the shop and bus stop whilst remembering to make sure we had sufficient coins for our call. Some years later Grandma did get a nice shiny new telephone in her house – I remember it vividly being green and us having to running to answer the phone, which was located in the hall, if we were all out in the garden – no cordless or mobiles back then.

As a child my grandparents had a large garden that Grandad grew vegetable in, he spent hours digging, weeding and gentle tendering to his crops of potatoes, peas, broad beans, rhubarb, strawberries and lots more. Gardening and fly fishing were Grandad’s passions both physical activities.

In her WAC Uniform
Aunty Nell – In her WAC Uniform

We’d take walks up to the farm to see our Aunty Nell, down the country lanes picking blackberries to go into the beautiful pies and jams that Grandma used to make. Yes, we ate lovely hot pies (Grandma’s pastry was the best!) with lashing of fresh cream, toast with real butter and home made jams too. Whilst we did not play organised sports our days were filled with activities that did not allow us to become couch potatoes.

Even the washing was a production as it had to be lifted from the tub and pushed through a mangle to squeeze out the excess water (watch out for fingers!). Eventually the mangle was replaced with a twin tub machine but that still meant lifting from the washing tub into the spin dry compartment. Not like today when we just press one button and it’s all done. The most exercise we get today is hanging our washing on and taking it off the line – although some people even have all in one machines that dry clothes too! Back in Grandma’s day our arms got a work out lifting the heavy, water logged clothes.

Whether I was in England, Singapore, Jerusalem, Rawalpindi, Kashmir or Beirut, as kids we were always active without really thinking about it. In England we would take long walks down country lanes, go on picnics in the Lake District, walks in the Bronte country and more. In Singapore we would play in the garden, roller skate in the park and walk round the markets. Ín Kashmir we swam daily in the lake, walked along the Bund, rode horses in the mountains and went fly fishing. In Rawalpindi we rode bicycles and played in the gardens. In the Middle East we played in the fields behind our houses, played tag and hide n’ seek with kids in the neighbourhood.In the school yard games of hopscotch were daily occurrences. We also walked to the shops, ran up and down the stairs to our classes and to each others dorms.

My point is that all these are physical activities which were built into our daily lives – we did not think about exercise, we just did it unawares and we didn’t really think about food as a friend or foe either – we just ate what we were given.

There’s lot I could add about fast foods, nutrition and more but I’m going to leave it here for now but I would love  your feedback on what has disappeared since your Grandma’s days that you feel might be contributing to us becoming physically more unfit and battling with weight.

Michelle