Still crazy after all these years

The original Harrogate Leadership team.

Since our friends Rhona and Colin moved back to Yorkshire (Pocklington) we have been getting together with them and Richard and Jenny from Harrogate. Oft told stories have been re-told time and again. We’ve shared some good times and great food. This picture was in the Stanbury’s garden where a little rain showered their b-b-q. You can see we are still all smiles despite the damp. The other person in the picture is Jackie Fisher.

These meet ups have also let us see each others’ churches too. So we went to Pocklington Christian Fellowship and Mowbray Community Church in Harrogate, as well as a Pocklington Churches Together event in Burnby Hall Gardens called the big sing.

We also celebrated two significant birthdays with old friends in Harrogate. Jean Ashworth and Pam Broadbank. I won’t reveal their ages, after all it wouldn’t be right would it.

A pilot project

An opportunity to fly in a glider seemed to be too good to miss. One of our church groups – The Outdoor Belfrey Group – needed an extra person to make up the numbers and I was invited. “Yes please”. So on a Friday evening in September we set off for The Wolds Gliding Club in Pocklington for the flight. Joan operated the camera while I slipped on the parachute.

A few rudementary instructions from the pilot in the back seat and we were ready to launch. A giant Chevy V6 car engine at the end of the grass landing strip was attached to the glider with a steel cable. On a signal the winch was powered into life, the cable tightened and the hurled me and the glider up to 1,000 feet above the flat East Yorkshire landscape. I seemed to be moving slower than the seat I was sitting in – something called g-force momentarily churned my inner organs until the glider reached its peak and the cable fell away. Calm, gentle flight followed as we circled in the evening sky.

Now it was my turn. I took the stick and tentatively pushed it forwards, pulled it back … “right … further … you’ll be fine”. So we turned and headed for the landing strip once more. The pilot took control again and soon we were bouncing along the ground. Such a short yet exhilarating flight.

Joan showed me the pictures – and then we headed home. The sky had been the limit.

Not the Island of Madeira

Alvor in The Algarve on mainland Portugal was our main holiday destination this year. A quaint fishing village with lots of places to eat and extensive boardwalks through a nature reserve right on the coastline.

The sun shone. Temperatures rose. We lazed or walked away the ten days we were there, plus a nostalgic trip by speedboat to Lagos where we spent a family holiday sometime in the 1990’s.

It was a good holiday. Late April/early May is a good time to visit the Algarve but a little too early in year for it to be our main holiday. Note to selves – book two holidays in the year – one early and the other late in future.

Our hotel in Alvor

Alvor, Portugal

Enjoying ourselves

After nine long years of searching Alex finally found The Flying Scotsman. Each visit to the National Railway Museum in York had included a search for this famous locomotive ever since he was able to walk. We found an exhibition but no loco. We saw the chassis and wheels in the workshop but the rest was missing. This year, finally, the rebuilt engine steamed into York and took it’s place in the national collection. Alex was so excited, not only to see the old express engine but to stand in the cab too. Three cheers for everyone who put all the pieces back together in working order.

Not far from this tree stump, in Studley Park near Ripon, was an even older tree stump turned child’s seat that Wesley once enthroned himself upon as a small boy. Can you spot any resemblance?


At the Proms with Matthew and Laura in July

Matthew and Laura took us to The BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall this summer. What a treat. Sitting in a box, that can only be described as better placed than the one frequented by Her Majesty, we enjoyed the music and the spectacle that lay before us.




A house swap in June let us stay in Royal Wooton Bassett for a week. We cycled, walked and simply stopped to read whenever we liked. The weather wasn’t too good except for this one day when we cycled to Malmesbury Abbey. We walked on The Ridgeway, visited Lydiard Park and on a really wet day, when we just had to get out,  a Butterfly Sanctuary.

Claremont News 2016


St Michael le Belfrey during Illuminating York

Welcome to our Christmas family news blog. Please feel free to browse the stories that made up our year. Much more has happened of course but space and time constrain our storytelling. Enjoy.

Sapphire Year 
Bleak Walk

One Year On

Chase The Sun

Weekends Together
Still Crazy

A Pilot 

Not Madeira

Enjoying Ourselves