On Thursday Dom and I celebrated our 2nd Wedding Anniversary, an anniversary apparently traditionally celebrated with cotton. However, after discovering that Dominique’s love of quirky traditions didn’t quite stretch to the idea of her spending our anniversary darning my socks with the rather lovely needle and thread I presented her on the eve of our anniversary I came swiftly to the conclusion that I needed a back-up plan. Fortunately I had one in hand…
Now, as evidenced by our dancing around the studio to one of the songs from The Muppets Most Wanted this morning, Dom and I are most definitely big kids at heart and so I decided that the only way forward was to go on a top secret adventure. And, as any fellow Famous Five fans will know, all great adventures start with a Steam Train.
After awakening the wifey with breakfast in Bed and a cotton dress purchased opposite our wedding venue in La Palma, she was whisked away with not a clue what was happening and we were dropped off near Pickering’s North Yorkshire Moors Railway station where a classic Steam engine awaited for our adventure to begin…
After a stop off at Goathland station (aka Hogwarts Station in the first few Harry Potter films) for a cup of tea (obviously) and a quick look around we jumped back on the train, Dom even more confused as to where we were actually going, particularly after I pulled out the champagne to toast the occasion! There really is something magical about travelling by Steam Train, particularly as I’m normally the designated driver and being able to drink whilst travelling is definitely something I can get on board with!
Now, as we all know from Peter Pan, no adventure is complete without a Pirate Ship…
We eventually pulled up in Whitby and, right on cue, as we walked along the harbour the old Whitby lifeboat was ready to depart, merrily flying the Jolly Roger and all set for an adventure on the high seas. Now the infamous curse has in the past meant that we never actually manage to achieve a boat trip (something Dom loves to do) but nonetheless out we sailed for a quick trip to see Whitby from the waves. (Our boat was a former lifeboat after all, how badly could the curse strike!)
After a voyage on some increasingly large waves we returned safely to harbour and had a nice walk through the gothic streets surrounded by some very strangely dressed figures in the run-up to Whitby’s Halloween celebrations! (Whitby was, after all, famously home to Count Dracula)! Now Dominique is intolerant to Wheat and Gluten and consequently we occasionally treat ourselves to Gluten free fish & chips at the Magpie restaurant and this, Dom assumed was the ultimate plan for the evening. Therefore it was with a look of befuddlement that she followed me into a tiny tearoom for some Gluten-free Marble cake!
After more tea and cake we jumped back on board the train and, champagne in-hand set off once again, our eventual destination unknown but with Dominique now assuming that we must surely be returning to Pickering, probably for a Chinese at the restaurant opposite the station. Little did she know that was not exactly what I had in mind…
Now I’ll be honest, at this stage I was a little concerned that for a plan involving Dom and I things were, let’s face it, going rather too well. Normally our trips have one or two problems, for example getting near to starvation after every restaurant was booked up for both lunch and dinner on Dom’s birthday. The flat tyre we got on our mini-moon in the lake district. The power supply to my Mac breaking on our actual Honeymoon forcing us to race around Portugal searching for Apple stores so that I could finish off a piece of work, and of course the hurricane that hit our tropical island wedding. Surely this had all been a little too slick so far!
And so I was almost relieved as we got off at Levisham station to see there was no phone (or indeed google map) signal nor chance to hire a taxi and, in fact, no street lights or signposts to help us find our eventual destination. Thankfully there was one helpful signalman who pointed us in the right general direction and so off we set on foot for what I knew to be a mile or so’s walk. In the dark. Really really dark. Across the Moors, did I mention the moors? After a great start things had all gone a little Wuthering Heights on us…
I should defend myself here by saying that whilst I knew the distance involved after having our destination recommended to me by my generally lovely in-laws who don’t usually try to kill the pair of us off, I was rather unaware of the lack of street lights or signposts or, indeed the scary scary moorland surrounded only by the glistening eyes of what we could only hope were sheep by the dim light of our phones. After walking up hill for what seemed like an eternity we eventually turned the corner and sadly saw no sign of life in the distance. Fortunately, shortly after coming to the conclusion that this would in fact be our last wedding anniversary having condemned us both to certain death, a car came past and slowed to greet us.
Our luck being what it is the car was, of course, completely full. However the passengers were able to confirm that we were heading in the right direction (and that Heathcliffe was not, to their knowledge, rampaging across the Moors accompanied by a savage werewolf) and so we continued on our path.
With Dom looking slightly concerned not only about her impending death but also by the fact we were looking likely to have to get a train back before we had even started our dinner I decided this was the moment to reassure her that we would not only be eating once we reached our location but would in fact be staying the night, and spurred on by this added purpose, we strode boldly towards Levisham.
To our surprise we eventually made it and were able to clean up and have a glass of wine in our room before going down for what turned out to be a stupendous (and rewardingly enormous) meal before retiring to a comfortable bed for the night.
The walk back to the station in the morning was surprisingly beautiful by daylight despite the angry looking (and very sharply horned) Highland Cattle we had presumably passed the night before blocking the road at regular intervals. As it turned out though mere enormous cows were the least of our worries as we returned to the platform station to find signs warning us of the enormous number of poisonous Adders in the surrounding moorland. Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?!
Anyway, to conclude the story, after bravely standing on the bench hiding from snakes whilst awaiting the train we returned to Pickering for some Gluten-free fish & chips at one of the town’s finest before returning home to share our tale of near-death adventure. Needless to say, Small Dog was not impressed that, firstly we had gone for a trip across the moors without him, and secondly that I had lived to tell the tale. Still, all good adventures need an evil nemesis and Small Dog was more than up for the role.
So happy anniversary to my gorgeous wife, I’m looking forward to many more adventures in the years to come.