Out in the van – Wharfdale

Up north!

Where: Wharfdale, North Yorkshire, England

When: 2oth April

Why: Wanted to see how the dog fared in the van overnight as last time out he was rather restless.

With: Me, Theo and my youngest, Thomas

Usually we head to Wharfdale to watch and play rugby, but this time out it was t see best ways to manage the dog at night as he can be a bit skittish and barks at noises in the dark. Not great on a campsite.

We bundled everything into the van and headed north for about an hour to the caravan and motorhome site. They are always rather clean and tidy, good facilities and in decent spots. This one was no different, and whilst theyre a bit cookie cutter we were set up in to time.

At this point we realised we hadn’t really brought much food beyond cereal, hot dog sausages, bananas and packet noodles. Oh and I had left all the pans at home. And the bowls (apart from one old serving dish). I did somehow have 3 bottles of gin, three bottles of prosecco, and a load of cider. But no ice, mixers or garnish for a Gin and tonic…Shoddy I realise.

We popped to the shop on site and grabbed some non booze drinks, milk and ice creams to supplement the pantry and made the best of the night, warming the sausages in the serving dish and had dinner. A short walk followed and we mostly just relaxed until bed time. Failing to settle the dog in his cage in the tent I ended up bringing him into the van and he was ok, barked a few times and was a bit restless – but not a complete nightmare. Tom slept like a baby in the pop top so despite being a bit groggy in the morning it was ok for ta first night.

Next day was mostly all about hiking the local area – which is bloody gorgeous and so wonderfully English (I also neglected to bring any proper walking shoes and only had crocs and a pair of £15 trainers from a supermarket). For days after I could barely walk and have had to spend hundreds on shoes since as, as Mrs Afterwards rightly pointed out, I am a bloody idiot. Anyway, the next night the dog slept marvellously and never woke once so all very much mission acco0mplished on that front. I now know what he needs (to be knackered and to have the radio on quietly for background noise) and more dog camping can now follow.

Oh and the second night food fare was even worse. We foolishly thought we could just order takeaway, but its pretty remote there and no one delivers. I had to speed march to a roadside services in setting dark, cross country with a dead phone, and was able to forage some corned beef pasties, crisps and some close to expiring profiteroles.

I reckon that should the world go to shit when the Russians start throwing nukes soon, and I am forced to forage to survive I wont last long at all…

If youre still reading , enjoy the pics…

On and we got to play the caravan game. You put the word ‘anal’ in front of the name of caravans for hours of infantile giggles…Behold the anal challenger, vip and crusader!

Out in the van – Howarth Waterfalls

Out on the winding, windy moors!

Where: Howarth, West Yorkshire, England

When: 2nd of Feb

Why: Its not far from here and seemed a nice day so off we went…

With: Me, Theo and Mrs afterwards

Welcome to Wuthering heights country! The Bronte waterfalls are a hop, skip and a jump from Howarth, the home of the literary legends that are the Bronte Sisters. They apparently spent many a summers day out here enjoying the goodness that is Yorkshire, and despite the rain it was a lovely morning out.

Pictures tell the story really…

Out in the van – Piece Hall, Halifax

Huge hares. really, really , huge Hares. And warthogs. And bulls…

Where:The Piece Hall, Halifax, West Yorkshire, England

When: 11th February 2022

Why: Popped out to see the statues and have a coffee

With: Me and Mrs Afterwards

Halifax is known for many things. The Bank, obviously, and did you know that Percy Shaw – the inventor of the cats eye – was from Halifax. We are the home of Anne Lister, Sally Wainwright, Ed Sheeran (well Hebden Bridge apparently) and much more. One of the most fabulous things though is the Piece Hall.

The Piece Hall website describes it as :

Yorkshire’s most important secular building

“The Grade I listed Piece Hall, Halifax is a rare and precious thing, an architectural and cultural phenomenon which is absolutely unique. It is the only remaining Georgian cloth hall in the world, the sole survivor of the great eighteenth century northern cloth halls, a class of buildings which embodied the vital and dominant importance of the trade in hand woven textiles to the pre-industrial economy of the West Riding of Yorkshire, from the Middle Ages through to the early nineteenth century.”

Anyway, this week we popped down because there was a Sculpture display by Sophie Ryder which we thought we would take a gander at. It was raining, which it seems to do every day right now, but the grey skies seemed to set things off even more fabulously.

Take a look at the photos…I’m no expert in these things – I simply like what I like – and I liked her stuff a lot! If you read yesterdays post you will have seen my trip to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where she also has stuff on display.

Oh, and there was also a hot chocolate and a Sausage sandwich as well as a trip to the soap shop which were all most enjoyable too!

Out in the van – Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Wet. Very wet,. Moist, damp and soaked. Drenched. Sodden.

Where: Yorkshire sculpture park, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England

When: 14th February 2022

Why: Been before but didn’t get to see it all so wanted to return

With: Just me and the dog, Theo

The sculpture park is a huge country park, scattered with some quite fabulous sculptures from a variety of rather famous folk, including Damien Hirst who grew up in Yorkshire. You can walk for hours and hours, taking in monstrously huge works of art, and there are indoor and outdoor exhibits to enjoy, as well as some great walled gardens.

But sometimes it just pisses down with rain and you get so wet that you spend the whole time shouting ‘stop running you bastard, you’ll pull me over’ at the dog, and you head back to the van soaked to the skin because it turns out the coat you wore is not at all waterproof.

I took some photos, but to be honest my glasses were so obscured they were somewhat of a surprise to me…

Think I will go back in the summer!

Out in the van – Rivelin Valley, Sheffield

Rivelin Valley, Sheffield. Water, water everywhere

Where: Rivelin Valley, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England

When: 24th January 2022

Why: Used to live there a lifetime ago, and Mrs Afterwards often reminisces how she took her old dog Chester there to play in the river…

With: Me, Mrs Afterwards and the dog, Theo

Its only about 40 miles and around an hour from halifax, so off we went. The weather was decent enough, grey and calm, and not cold at all – which is great for January.

The Rivelin Valley has a river that runs for miles, with decent paths around it to make it a pleasant and easy walk. The thing that makes it stand out though, is its history of water wheels and industry – all long gone now – dating back to 1581. There are loads of remnants of what was once a thriving area, and it’s amazing to think that for hundreds of years this was an area synonymous with the production of knives and forks that were shipped worldwide. Sheffield steel reached every corner of the globe for hundreds of years and remains a mark of quality to this day.

We all had a great time, especially Theo who got to jump into lakes, puddles, rivers, pools and bogs. So excited was he that I could be oft heard swearing at him as once again he nearly pulled my arm out of the socket as he lurched after one thing or another.

And to top it all off, at the end of what was nearly 2 hours of walking, was a great tuna melt and some rather good chips. Oh, and a Ribena. I think it tasted all the better for being hungry after the walk. Definitely worth the 4 or so hours door to door…

Out in the van – Ogden Water

Ogden Water, Halifax.. Bright blue skies and blustery winds.

Where: Ogden Water, Halifax, West Yorkshire, England

When: 16th January 2022

Why: Took the dog for a walk there, but wanted to take a different path…

With: Just me and the dog, Theo

Ogden water is one of the local Reservoirs, and near to where the kids go to school and perfect for a lap with the dog. Usually I just have a leisurely stroll through the woods around the waters edge, and Theo gets rather excited at the ducks and gulls that wait to be fed by passers by.

Today though I went a different route and passing by Boggart wood and over the victorian promenade I carried out along a path I have see a few times before, but never taken.

Before I knew it my head was freezing cold (as I had neglected to bring a hat), and it was blowing a gale – but wow what a view! Looking back down the valley towards Halifax, everything glistened under the crisp blue skies and the moors stretched invitingly before us as the golfers battled the winds some way below.

The dog had a fantastic time as he darted from bog to bog, the wind seeming to excite him terribly. I only wish I had allowed more time because I think I could have made a full day of it! I certainly will next time…

Out in the van – Emley Moor Mast

Emley Moor Transmitter, Huddersfield. My what a big one you have…

Where: Emley Moor Broadcast Mast. Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England

When: Monday 10th January 2022

Why: Because I can see it from my house and wanted to see it

With: Just me and the dog, Theo

I can see the old transmitter tower when I walk the dog, which is next to the red lights you see in the picture below. From a distance it has a fabulous Mordor/Lord of the rings vibe to it…

Pre digital, this is where we received out TV signals from and it was once the 6th highest structure in the world. Ive never ben so today me and the dog got in the van and drove out. It is only about 30 minutes drive through Brighouse and over to Huddersfield.

Mostly its a whopping great tower. Big. Really big. You can pull over in a layby and have a peek but you cant get that close (though one day a year you can apparently go up it) and once you’ve appreciated the general bigness you;re kind of done really.

Did I mention it’s big?

We had some hot chocolate and a few ginger biscuits and looked for a nice walk, but despite how out of the way it is up there the walk options are limited so we had a bit of a ramble, a few more biscuits and then headed home.

It’s impressively big but a tad underwhelming as once you get there there’s not a great deal you can do. The views are pretty though. And it’s really big. If you like big stuff…

Out in the van…Humber Bridge Country Park

Under the bridge

Just a few hours out and about meeting with my mum and sister and her family. A socially distanced walk in sleet and snow followed by hot soup and sandwiches and the obligatory tin of quality street.

The country park is wonderful positioned under and around the Humber Bridge and along the Hessle foreshaw and Ill definitely return in the summer.

I didn’t take many photos as it was too chuffing cold!

The joy of the van really is how it can make simple occasions that bit more special…

Happy days!

Out in the van – Knaresborough

Knaresbrough

Its been a funny old year hasn’t it. The van was mostly parked up for the duration as we navigated our way through lockdown and covid restrictions, site closures and utilising the van as storage whilst our house renovations dragged on.

The sum total of all of those distractions and excuses has resulted in us only getting the van out today. Like now. This very moment. Obviously if you dont read this on the 17th of October 2020 Im likely not right here, right now.

Im currently on a site in Knaresboroughin North yorkshire drinking a rather nice south African Sauvignon Blanc with the intentions of watching rugby on TV, ordering take away and doing nothing else.

The boys are here with me and they are happily settled in doing whatever they do and not in the slightest interested in going for a walk or seeing a bit of nature. Given were only here for one night I don’t really mind…its just nice to have a change of scenery.

Oh and obviously the highlight of amy camping trip is to prefix caravan names with ‘anal”. Try it with the photos below. Such filthy fun.

Stay safe my lovelies…

Allen Brick Works

Went for a walk today and found this…

Ive been doing a bot of exploring in the area where I live recently and have found a few amazing places…More to tell on the others but today I took half a day holiday and took the boys out to the Allen Brick Works. It has to be seen to be believed really. It is hidden away in the woods nearby, and what a find!

Mostly now it is all falling down and covered from top to bottom in graffiti, but there are still many signs of what once existed there. We left a few tags (hastily sprayed symbols mostly – though my eldest did a quite splendid classic cock and balls) and will be going back for sure as there is still a lot to see.

The place was a glazed brick manufacturers established by Henry Victor Allen (1887-1960), when he took over the Halifax Glazed Brickworks in the Walterclough Valley. He converted the works to manufacture refractory bricks (glazed bricks able to withstand high temperatures, generally used to line kilns, furnaces and fireplaces etc). Their Selfrac bricks were world famous. The works were later taken over by G R Stein, who also took over other brickworks in the area, and eventually closed in the 1960’s.

Check out the pictures below of it today…

Out in the Van – Ilkley Moor

A day out in Yorkshire. And without one’s hat…

Okay so not strictly speaking a van trip but a great day out clambering about the Cow and Calf up on Ilkley which is just a hop, skip and a jump from where I live.  

Pictures say it all really.  It was windy and somewhat grey but a lovely way to spend a good few hours indeed.

Out in the van – Settle and Pickering

We headed out to Settle for an overnight camping birthday party desire the weather forecast of fuck loads of rain. Turns out they were wrong. Instead there were fucking shit loads of bastard rain. At one point I’m sure the farmer was bringing in animals two by two.

Eventually a third of the site flooded and we couldn’t get out until the water subsided overnight. We are though English so we don’t allow such thing to put us off.

We had a bbq, I drank too much wine and the kids had a blast.

I should also point out I was in the van whilst everyone was in tents. Dry and toasty.

From there it was 90 miles across yorkshire to Pickering for a quick layover and a family party. The site has great wifi and they delivered breakfast sandwiches so the boys said its the best site ever!

Next stop …well come back in a few days to see…need to get packed up and hit the road.

Out in the Van – Kirkby Lonsdale, Morecombe and Blackpool

June 2019

The youngest was at a party and playing cricket so the eldest and I headed out west to Kirkby Lonsdale. There is a rugby club there I wanted to check out that offer camping and we headed the sixty or so miles cross country to see what the score was.

Well we were indeed most surprised. The site was itself fairly standard fair but my god the views, walks and pubs were magnificent…

Look…see..All of that was within a few minutes of the site and the river view is one described by the artist Turner as one of the most beautiful in England (and therefore the world).

That was mostly Saturday, we wandered, went to the pub for tea instead of cooking, and sat around in the sun which was out for the first time in weeks.

Sunday Morning we packed up and headed to Morecombe to start a leisurely drive home. Alas I chose to take the scenic route and I lost both wing mirrors of the SpiderVan on a particularly narrow with a particularly carelss oncoming driver. Fortunately it was just the casings that broke so pretty cheap to replace. Scary as hell though when we hit his vehicle and a telephone pole at the same time. Or did he hit us? More his fault tbh – he was driving the sort of vehicle only driven by men with small cocks.

Some gaffer tape fixed her right up though. ††

Morecombe has a certain melancholy and sadness about it, but worth a wander about and I think it’s somewhere I would like to return to in winter as I do love a bleak run down seaside town.

Anyway after that we figured next up Blackpool for a spot of lunch before heading home. Ive been to blackpool once before, at night, and the famous illuminations were kinda cool and there were a lot of folk enjoying it and it had a fun if somewhat past its best vibe.

Foolishly this time I went in the day time.

What a shit hole. If it was a man it would be a once fun and charismatic ex who is now long past his best and who sits in his favourite chair with his gut spilling onto his lap, his hand in his pants caressing his unwashed penis and who longingly reminisces about the time he fingered Stacey Cooper at your cousins house party.

Needless to say we just kept driving and headed to a services to grab a Subway instead before heading home.

So all in all a lovely day and a half away and I will definitely be heading back to Kirkby Lonsdale and Morecombe…

Out in the Van – Vale of Pickering and Thornton le Dale

June 2019

Took the van out to the Vale of Pickering this weekend and met up with the extended family. It was only for a couple of nights but probably the first time we have properly set everything up including the all importing bunting and quaint lighting.

First night we just had a barbeque and a few gins which was all rather civilised and the next day it was out to Thornton Le Dale for a walk out into the countryside and to let the kids thrash around in a river for a while.

The van continues to delight and really getting used to living in it now and a second crack at the inflatable awning proved to be pretty easy.

Mrs Afterwards family are from Pickering so it’s a place we know well but it was our first trip to Thornton le Dale and as you can see from the pictures it is as quaint as hell…

Anyway I know you prefer the pictures so here you go…