Yorkshire Teaology

Yorkshire Tea

I am a fervent masher of tea although I have a brew in a mug on occasion.
‘Make us a mash’ is an invocation to perform wonders by pouring hot water onto tea leaves and leaving it to mingle until it turns to nectar.

For a horse, a mash is a warm mix of grain or bran and to brewers of beer a mash makes a wort from warm water and malted barley.

No sooner have we resolved to mash instead of brew our Yorkshire Tea when along came a learned article that recommends ‘steeping’ your tea. Steep it too long and it becomes stewed but you never stew your, tea or do you?


  • Brew is top of the naming charts even if it is a tramps brew in the drinking mug.
  • Most tea leaves will produce a decent cup if you steep them all in boiling water. Properly called letting it mash.
  • ‘Many of the finer teas will do much better at lower temperatures. Green and white teas, for example, are more delicate and you get more flavour if you brew in slightly cooler water.
  • These steeping times are only approximate, and you should adjust them depending on your own personal tea taste.

Black tea – Black from Ceylon, India or Kenya is the most robust of the tea varieties and can be brewed in truly boiling water, usually steeped for 4-6 minutes.

Oolong tea – As to be expected, oolong tea falls between green and black. The best temperature is around 190F. But oolong should be steeped longer than black tea, for around 5-8 minutes.

Green tea – You will need to be more gentle with your green teas. The water temperature should be around 150-160F and only steeped for 2-4 minutes.’ In my local Chinese the the steeping goes on until the tea has all been drunk or has gone too cold to sup.Read more from Ask.com

Most average teas are brewed for 4-5 minutes to bring out the best flavours, any longer the tea over-brews and becomes bitter and stewed.

So that is settled ( or not) – let’s have a cup of char.

Teaology 2

The Daily Mash ( and that is for real) reported in 2008;
Strong tea is to be reclassified as a category B drug’.

Since tea was downgraded in 2004 there has been widespread concern about the increase in stronger varieties including Purple Haze, Tetley Red Bush and the infamous ‘skonk’.

Rejecting claims that the Home Secretary had been influenced by the Daily Mail‘s Campaign for Weak Tea, Ms Smith added: “Our police forces are all too familiar with the consequences of tea that has been left to stew for too long.”

Smith also unveiled a new Home Office guide to drug terminology in a bid to keep vulnerable young people fully informed. The latest terms include:
Skonk: Tea that has been left to stew in the pot for more than half an hour and then served with just a tiny drop of milk ………..

Also good reading whilst drinking on International brands like Yorkshire Tea


Skipton Boating

skipton 029

The weather is getting better, I promise, so now is a good time to start thinking about messing about on boats. The Leeds Liverpool Canal and Skipton boats in particular.

Boating From Skipton

  • Pennine Cruisers offer a 30 minute accompanied canal trip up the historic Springs Branch of the Leeds Liverpool Canal to see Skipton Castle from a different angle.
  • Day Boats can be hired following a brief instruction session. Best to learn how to steer, stop and pass other boats even if you plan giving locks a miss.
  • A short break, holiday or extended holiday on board one of Pennine Cruisers’ narrowboats can take you on some of the 2000 miles of approved UK canals.
  • You do not need to rough it on a narrow boat.  Sorrel is Snaygills newly built luxury 2 – 4 berth boat. ‘The layout includes full central heating by radiators for the cooler days, a DVD player with LCD TV, radio and CD player with USB input at the front, dinette which converts to a double bed, a well equipped galley with gas cooker having grill, oven and hob with four burners and extractor fan. The bathroom includes a Mira shower, bath and flush toilet. The rear comprises internally sprung mattresses which can be kept as singles or positioned to create a permanent double bed’.  Hello sailor that sounds like luxury to me.
  • Canal life is addictive  so first of all via the Boat Shop and chandlery but save the alcohol for the waterside pubs you will want to tie up to to tie one on. Don’t drink and float your boat!
  • According to Shire Cruisers ‘In Skipton, there is a highly romantic castle, a busy market and an endless variety of shops. Within easy reach is Bingley 5 Rise Locks, one of the Seven Wonders of the waterways; a visitor attraction in its own right, if you go through the flight you will find yourself a living part of the exhibit, under rapid-fire instruction from Barry, its famous lock keeper.’ Boating holidays 

Even if you pick a bad day weather-wise you can be sure of a warm welcome in Skipton. If it is reaally wet there are good pubs, fish & chips and cafes

In the canal basin is a super bronze statue of local lad Fred Trueman. Now there was a man who provided a warm welcome particularly to the Aussies!


Snape Near Bedale Some Interesting Facts


As the sign says ‘Everyone is Welcome’ in Snape. It is a fine village with a couple of pubs, a local castle and a nearby arboretum. Better than saying ‘Everyone is welcome to Snape’


Around ‘1250 a manor house was built in Snape by Ralph FitzRanulph of Middleham. It would most probably have been a single roomed wooden structure incorporating a great hall. Ralph’s eldest daughter, Mary “the Lady of Middleham”, married Robert de Neville of Raby Castle and Snape stayed with Neville family until the late 16th century. It is possible that the original site of the manor house was across the road from the present castle, surrounded by small houses. Snape village as it is now was probably not developed until the early 15th century when the new Snape Castle was built.


The village has many historical connections, The site of a Roman Villa, a connection of the mother and wife of Richard III at Snape Castle, the residence of Catherine Parr and her husband John Nevill, 3rd Baron Latymer before marrying Henry VIII and involvement in the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536. Prior to the mid 19th century Snape was a centre for the woolcombing trade.’ Read more from the Snape Local History society before you visit.


This monument in the form of a cross was erected as a tribute to Lady Augusta Millbank of nearby Thorp Perrow, who died in 1874.

Snape Carthorpe

The Fox and Hounds is a good watering hole in nearby Carthorpe. The Castle Arms Inn is probably early eighteenth century. In this grade 2 listed building you can get refreshment that is very up to the minute.


Pool in Wharfedale & Arthington

The river Wharfe in Spring looking from Castley to Pool In Wharfedale

Crossing the Lower Wharfe since the doomsday book times in 1086 has been no mean feat despite fords at Knots Ford and probably Pool where the bridge now stands. Pool bridge was built in 1793 and widened in 1815 and it seems there have been road works there ever since. The volume of water after rain in the dales is massive and has led to flooding many times in near by Castley. Over the years the volume of water must be staggering. This water has been the core of industry at Pool in Wharfedale since the reformation. The original wool mill dated 1673 was swept away with Pool Low Fulling Mill and two bridges. Paper mills (that use lots of water) were built in the 18th century and this trade has been carried on by the Whiteley family and others ever since. A Flour mill was also operated along side the river but the village was located 200 yards away for fear of flooding.

A mile to the east of Pool in Wharfedale on the south side of Wharfedale lies Arthington where records of the Priory go back to 1271 and the then prioress, Sara. Other Cluniac nuns in charge included Maud de Kesewik died 1299, Agnes de Pontefract 1302, Isabella de Berghby 1311 (demoted after leaving from the priory without permission), Sibil Plesyngton 1437, Marjorie Craven 1463, Alice Hall 1496 and Elizabeth Hall 1532. The Priory was surrendered in 1540 to Thomas Cranmer. more history
Staircase Lane running from Bramhope through Arthington to Pool is the place of a ghost story based on a wager with a member of the Dyneley family. Whilst galloping his horse down the staircase he was thrown and killed. The ghostly hooves can still be heard today!

The roads of Old Pool Bank and Pool Bank up to the Dyneley Arms have been the cause of many over-heated car engines and traffic jams as vehicles climbed out of the valley up to Yeadon Airport. These are the main roads between Bradford and Harrogate with other Wharfe crossings at Otley and Harewood. In the village near St Wilfrids church there was a blacksmith and wooden stocks whilst in Arthington there were kilns and forges. There are a couple of pubs, an active village hall and local cricket and football teams.

One of the big annual events approaching Christmas time is the visit of Santa Clause helped by gnomes from Otley Lions on the sleigh.



Heather and Gorse In Yorkshire

Moorland Heather

The North York Moors National Park and Yorkshire’s great moorlands are beautiful landscapes. They teem with flowering heather at the height of summer.
Bounded by Saltburn , Middlesbrough, Stokesley, Thirsk, Malton and finally back to the sea at Scarborough, check out the wonders of North York Moors National Park.

Ideal for walking or roaming, the moors have 1400 miles of paths and tracks to explore. Too many waymarks and signs can be intrusive so Park authorities claim to ‘try to use them sparingly, especially on open moorland where posts can spoil the very quality of remoteness and isolation which visitors cherish.’

The Ordnance Survey Explorer maps for North Yorkshire Moor areas are updated every 3 years including new bridleways. path diversions and field boundaries; SHEET OL26 covers the western half of the National Park and SHEET OL27 the eastern half.


Gorse tends to grow in dry scrubby soil and we do not have as many of those conditions in Yorkshire. However there are many spots where you can see this wild shrub in flower during winter.
Gorse often features on the slopping edge of moorland and roadside locations near our many reservoirs.
There is also a cliff top patch at Primrose Valley to scratch and spear the unwary who venture too close to the Gorse.

Ground cover March Heather

Heather looks good in garden situations and is a very popular form of ground cover.
This patch was spotted at Golden Acre Park near Leeds. They have a large heather collection and special area on the Bramhope side of the garden.
Other features at Golden Acre include Limestone and Sandstone Rock Gardens, Heather, Bog and Late Season borders but is most famous locally for the large pond and wild fowl that children love to feed.

Download North Yorkshire National Park Brochure pdf
Read more about Gorse


Yorkshire Pudding International Cuisine

Yorkshire Puddings with Altitude

Over the top and out of the tin – very light!

Yorkshire Pudding

A squeeze to get it on to the plate.

Yorkshire Pudding

‘First Attempt’ but needs to keep practicing- what have you been eating until now Rhiannon?

The best Yorkshire pudding ever
‘The best Yorkshire pudding ever’ – Where did this title come from?  France obviously.  A Yorkshire sounding chef Jean-François Chénier, Mmmm tasty.

Yorkshire pudding


Done to a fine turn by Oriental fortune cookie.

Toad in the Hole

Toad in The Hole is cheating but Su-Lin’s dish looked so good it was worth including.

Sources Flickr creative Commons
4. rhiannonstone
5.Jean-François Chénier
More photos
to get your saliva glands working overtime

You can’t have too many Yorkshire Puddings


Grotesques at Ripon Cathedral

Ripon Cathedral

In the 7th century, St Wilfrid built one of England’s first stone churches in Ripon.
It is hard to show the glory of one of Yorkshires great cathedrals with just photographs so I advocate a trip to Ripon to see or reacquaint yourself with this historic place.

Whilst in Ripon reread the Adventures of Alice in Wonderland which was allegedly inspired by the medieval woodcarvings that decorate the choir stalls in the Cathedral.

Americans take note of the Stars & Stripes in the stained glass windows which were part of the coat of arms of the Washington family.

Is it a Gargoyle or a Grotesques? Well gargoyles are scary and often winged monsters carved in stone which perch on the roofs of cathedrals and serve as water spouts.
Grotesques are ugly faces or monsters carved in stone, placed as decoration on pillars and corbels on the interior of a church. They may have been a warning that evil is never far away or just the stone masons showing off their skills.

The font has a lid with a lock so that people could not steal the holy water it contained and use it for sorcery.

All the above and a place of worship for over 1330 years.
There is a lot more to see and learn at the Cathedral so it makes a central and essential focus for a trip to Ripon. Enjoy.

Ripon 022


Settle For a Couple of Hours

Settle back alley

A while back enroute to the football match Morecambe (0) v Bradford City(1) I stopped in Settle for a couple of hours. You can park in the market square free for that long if you are fortunate enough to find a spot.

I spent 30 minutes snapping away with my camera and learning more about the town. It is a long time since I stayed overnight in Settle but with excellent walking in the surrounding area that is something I will put right this year. I bought two more footpath maps and trails from a quick visit to the Tourist information.

Settle Book Shop

I like to visit the secondhand bookshop on the corner of Cheapside. This time I came away with 5 books for £3 and was very pleased until I realised I need to find time to read them all.



I had forgotten that the founder of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was a Settle man. A stone in tribute to Rev Benjamin Waugh is incorporated into the wall of Lloyds Bank.
In 1881 Liverpool Mercury published a letter that highlighted the problem of child cruelty “…whilst we have a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, can we not do something to prevent cruelty to children?”
Lord Shaftesbury an early reformer advised the Reverend “The evils you state are enormous and indisputable, but they are of so private, internal and domestic a nature as to be beyond the reach of legislation.” Between then they formed a pressure group to focus attention on the issue and by 1889 the Society had 32 branches throughout the UK. Each branch raised funds to support an inspector, who investigated reports of child abuse and neglect.

See Yorkshire Roots of NSPCC and History of the NSPCCpdf

Settle Naked Man

Just enough time was left for two bacon and egg butties from the Naked Man Cafe, Mmm excellent.
I used to regularly use the ‘Settle Down’ caff when that was a TV comedians catch phrase. Now what was he called?

Watching the many buses go through the town made me realise what a good location for walkers and tourist Settle was. See Dales Bus brand or web site
Sadly not enough time to visit Victoria Cave but worth coming back for another visit soon.


Clever Little Tit or Bird Brain

I had fallen into the trap of calling various birds ‘Tits’ but I now remember they were really Titmice or a titmouse

Book Cover

The Wisdom of Birds: An Illustrated History of Ornithology

Tim R. Birkhead is professor of behavioural ecology at Sheffield University.
He has three main research areas:

1. Post-copulatory sexual selection, mainly in birds.
2. Population biology of birds.
3. The history of science, and of reproduction and ornithology in particular.

With this book he has produced a complete history of ornithology. The illustrations, prints and pictures are illuminating and there seems to be a reference to every bird you could imagine. Good value for money in terms of size, scope and content.

Reviews of The Wisdom of Birds

‘I speculated as to the origins of another science, ornithology, hazarding that it similarly was based upon a wealth of local knowledge brought together and systemised by the protoscientists of the day, or savants, as Rudwick calls them. Tim Birkhead, in The Wisdom Of Birds, appears to confirm this premise.
Using as his starting point the 16th Century ornithologist John Ray, Birkhead describes how ornithology developed from folklore and superstition into a coherent science. Ray’s own book, The Wisdom Of God, provides Birkhead’s title, although it is knowledge rather than wisdom which is shown accumulating. As with the sciences dealt with by Rudwick, some knowledge originates from the museum, some from commerce (poultry farmers and hunters), some from what we may call hobbyists (bird keepers) and, eventually, from savants in the field, and like the early geologists, such ornithologists were considered strange birds indeed at first. …….

Throughout the work Birkhead has found some beautiful pictures to illustrate his point, although this is also one of a number of sources of frustration, as often there is very little advantage taken of them, or explanatory comment, as for example where a picture appears of a bird looking remarkably like a Northern Cardinal but labelled in its 17th Century setting as a Virginian Nightingale, with no covering narrative, including why this North American bird should appear on a page accompanied by five European birds (four finches and a sparrow)……. the result is still an excellent book.’
Steven Keen Review

‘….Tim Birkhead is an academic who can communicate brilliantly with the ordinary reader. From bird intelligence, migration, physiology to reproduction, the author covers a wide range of material……
Ashton 455

‘….The range of issues covers subjects such as egg development, instinct and intelligence, migration, the influence of daylight on the breeding cycle, territoriality, vocalisations, sexual differentiation, infidelity, reproduction and longevity…focused on the individuals behind the development of ornithology while Tim Birkhead is more interested in what they discovered. ‘
K F Betton

A Fellow of the Royal Society and Professor at Department of Animal and Plant Sciences Sheffield University Tim Birkhead has produced a brainy book on birds and those who have studied them as you would expect from an academic. However he has also been very clever in making it accessible to all ornithologists. (ed.)

Sheffield University Department of Animal and Plant Sciences
Review by Steven Keen
K F Betton and Ashton 455 on amazon
Daily Telegraph Book Review

Yorkshires top Twelve Birdwatching Sites
Midhope Moor and Langsett reservoir


Adelphi Window Reflections on a Meal Deal

Adelphi leeds boozer

If you are eating a steak from a horse that had a very long neck and a small head ‘You’re Avin’ A Giraffe’

The Adelphi Leeds is tucked away at the bottom of Leeds City Centre just over the Leeds Bridge.
A fine example of Victorian sumptuousness, the Adelphi is both everybody’s ‘local’ and one of Leeds’ best kept secrets. Two Yorkshire meals and a bottle of wine for £25 seems just about OK but the menu has foreign food like Cumberland sausage, West Country Beef burger and Cornish Brie & Leek tart.

The Adelphi Comedy Club brings you some of the country’s top stand-ups. So I would not be wanted then? Mondays have never been so much fun the landlord says but he is so busy serving good beer that he has no time to listen.

Join the Adelphi club for a cheap meal deal voucher

Back a few years there was an Adelphi club in Hull. I wonder if anyone knows what has happened to it?

Adelphi’s neighbor was my solicitors with a sign that says ‘ Godloves Solicitors’ hmph. They supplied some of the Adelphi’s drinking customers and were the butt of many jokes.

‘Yorkshire solicitor takes his cat to the vet.
Yorkshireman: Ayup, lad, I need to talk to thee about me cat.
Vet: Is it a tom?
Yorkshireman: Nay, I’ve browt it with us.’


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