A firm favourite on any bookworm’s calendar is Ryedale Book Festival.
For 2017, the festival was a bit different as the event has celebrated reading and all things book related throughout the year.
And the next exciting chapter takes place on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd September 2017.
The festival will take over a variety of locations, from the Milton Rooms to Jack Berry House, in Malton, Yorkshire's Food Capital.
Friday’s events include the young children’s play Oskar’s Amazing Adventure at The Milton Rooms, Malton; The Tudors at St Mary’s Priory, Old Malton and Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel again in the Milton Rooms.
The following day includes a packed schedule including Lola and Charlie author Lauren Child; Felix the Railway Cat; Horse-Racing Thrillers and Crime Fiction. There really is something for everyone!
The above is even more admirable given Ryedale Book Festival is a charitable organisation, with the objective of promoting a love of reading, storytelling and creative writing in Ryedale.
The festival works with schools, libraries and at some amazing local venues creating an enviable programme of inspiring literary events, suitable for children and the young at heart.
So whether you read a popular author or love the classics, enjoy reading with the children or losing yourself in a fantasy novel, there’s something for you.
Knowing the picturesque coastal village of Ravenscar helped defend Britain in World War Two is a sobering thought ... but it's true ...
Deciding to run from Scarborough to Ravenscar along the gorgeous but preciptious Cleveland Way on warm summer morning sounds like a mad idea.
Yet knowing this route very well meant I was also keen to see some landmarks along the way, and Ravenscar Radar Station is one.
While this historic building is close to the end of a very challenging walk/run, this fascinating location has an incredible history dating back to the early part of World War Two.
Walking into town one day in spring 2017, I said to my husband: ‘Let’s have a log burner in the basement!’ Apart from looking surprised, along with a bit of eye rolling, he agreed.
However, this wasn’t a sudden whim or a desire to ‘be trendy’. Far from it: it was an investment in the future of our home and for our family.
Transforming the Town House
From moving into our four-storey town house during the exceptionally wet autumn of the year 2000, to getting our log burner installed some 17 years later, our home has undergone some major changes over the years.
Our terrace property was at the very top of our budget back at the turn of the century, when interest rates were also a lot higher. And it needed a lot of work.
We’ve gradually transformed this tardis-like property – renovated the bathroom, the bedrooms and the lounge. Yet one of the biggest challenges was the basement.
Like all subterranean rooms, there’s been a stubborn damp problem, but nothing out of the ordinary for a property of this age (constructed around 1875).
So on that spring morning when the idea of a log burner seemed to ‘burst’ into my brain, it was actually the end result of a lot of research.
Getting the Right People
Our basement is split into two rooms – one we use as a laundry, the other as an additional living room. Yet we knew we weren’t using this spare room to its best advantage.
So, we started to transform the basement by installing new windows, a new rear access door which lead onto our postage stamp yard (which also has a new gate). We then removed the ancient, condemned gas fire – to reveal an absolutely amazing fire space! It was huge and just demanded attention.
Then we had the chimney swept and started researching who could help us built a brand new fireplace.
Given we were investing a significant sum of money we were keen to get the right crew – step in ALS Chimneys, pictured above.
From start to finish, the ALS team where excellent.
They came to inspect our property, gave us a good quote and advised us as to the best way to approach the works.
Reassured by the professionalism and – even better – their punctuality! – we booked them for a week in late August.
Project Log Burner Underway
Monday morning arrived, and Oliver and Anthony arrived bang on time (they saw me at my worse, ie, coming in all hot and bothered from a 10K run) but they just got cracking straight away.
Apart from an unexpected fall of soot, our house cat Max making a (failed) bid for freedom and avoiding monsoon-like weather, everything went smooth as silk.
Always professional, very courteous, and upbeat, these lads never stopped and while we kept them hydrated, they were brilliant throughout the project.
Light Up My Fire
So on day four, with the most beautiful log burner in place, surrounded by an expertly built fireplace using reclaimed bricks and a slate hearth, it sounds daft but seeing it lit for the first time brought tears to my eyes.
The ALS team answered all our queries, and they left our somewhat untidy basement (our fault!) tidier than when they came.
We still have lots to do (re-plastering; carpets; curtains; some joinery work) but what we hope is the heat from the log burner will help dry out the basement; give us lots of snug evenings round the fire; and ultimately put a bit of value on the house when the next generation either inherits it or new owners move in and love our house as much as we do.
A real fire can be heart of any home – and without ALS Chimneys we couldn’t have done it. We are just waiting for our moggy, Max, to claim his spot in front of the log burner …