Thursday 12 June 2014

Pudding, times two

Such riches here in Yorkshire! Domestic ones, like being able to spend 15 minutes running through the list of nearby country pubs, each with its own individual delight. And stepping out the door in this lively little town with all its facilities, and five minutes later standing beside a stream - beck - watching Poppy the spaniel gleefully retrieving sticks, all around nothing but trees and fields, and an ancient barrow called Pudding Pie Hill.

Then there's more recent history - Ripon cathedral, dating from 672 AD, with one window restored after Cromwell's depredations, Norman arches and gilded, painted statues.

At Skipton marina, barges chug along the canal past swans and geese, and under hump-backed bridges. In the market women bump their shopping trolleys over the cobbles and in the Cake 'Ole tea shop, afternoon tea comes in vintage pots and cups, with scones, clotted cream and fancies on a three-tiered plate, and everyone's asked to sing Happy Birthday to celebrating customers.
Up on the Dales, under a big blue sky heaped with fluffy clouds, drystone walls climb the hills and ragged sheep with tails enjoy the lush green grass.

At Linton there's a ford in the river beside the village green and the pub sells Wharfedale Blonde beer made partly from NZ hops; while Burnsall is on a grander scale, but still dwarfed by the surrounding hills, where a distant cairn on the skyline is the turning point for an annual fell race from the pub that's all over in an impossible 12 minutes.

And finally, at the Nag's Head in Pickhill, the landlord has a dent on his head from a rogue clay pigeon and, though the lemon pudding with real custard vividly remembered by one of us from 20 years ago is no longer on the menu, the summer pudding with clotted cream icecream is tartly perfect.

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