A Smashing Weekend!
**Before we start, I’m introducing new family members here, we have ‘Gangdad’, (Horace’s dad) so called because Darlek used to call him that when she was little – and Sweara. Swearer does not, as the name implies, swear lots, although I think she might when we’re not there, I’m not sure. Sweara is Horace’s mother and my lovely Mother In Law. She’s fabulous, she puts up with me and feeds me cake quite a lot, so it’s all good! (Sweara please don’t tease me about cake-eating after this…)
Right so, where was I? It was Horace’s dad’s 50th birthday do this weekend, so we packed up and shipped over there for the duration. The kids ran wild outside with a very cute doggy that one of Gangdad’s old uni friends had brought with him. I don’t think dog identity theft is rife so I shall actually name the doggy, as it became a minor celebrity over the course of the weekend. Poppy! I’m not sure what sort of dog it was, but she was black, medium sized, shaggy as a mophead, and was obsessed with catching balls. The kids adored him and happily kicked and rolled around the soggiest, mankiest, half deflated football you’ve ever seen, to Poppy’s sheer delight.
Horace and I milled around inside talking, drinking and I think I probably fluffed a few random conversations with Gangdad’s friends – but it was a very friendly affair and not half as traumatic as I always expect parties to be. You see I’m a bit of a numpty at small talk. You probably wouldn’t want to sit next to me at one of these do’s! Anyway! Self-deprecation aside, I decided at one point to go and sit in the conservatory and play with the kids. This is where the ‘smashing’ bit comes in….
I crouched down to get on the kid’s level, and tried to sit on the floor, inadvertantly pushing a chair backwards. All I knew then was that the chair slipped back rather more quickly than I expected, and there was an absolutely ear shattering crash, and then another one, and then lots of tinkling noises. At that point I had my hands over my ears, had shouted ‘SH*T! I daren’t look! What is it?!!!!’ really loudly in front of lots of people I didn’t know very well and I think I did the equivalent of commit social suicide. Sweara burst out laughing and I’ve never been so relieved in my life! I thought I was going to be written out of the will. I’d managed to smash one pole mounted light fitting and two jugs in one fell swoop, the floor was very pretty with all the sparkly glass, but it wasn’t ideal so we all had to clear out of there while I muttered countless apologies, turned red (very red in fact, I already had beer flush), and thanked Sweara a billion times for not murdering me. So that was nice.
The evening progressed and I began smoking. I can’t help it! Give me a glass of wine and I turn into the world’s worst cigarette blagger. Sorry. The kids eventually toddled off to bed, and us grown ups sat about talking and Gangdad and Sweara’s mates reminisced about the old days. For the sake of privacy I’m not going to recite whole conversations, but I have to say there was one about a man who wore two pairs of trousers that I found incredibly amusing. I don’t think anyone will mind me writing about this, well I hope not anyway. Maybe smashing random ornaments into tiny pieces and then reciting conversations about old uni friends who wore two pairs of pants at the same time, will be enough for them to finally decide to disown me. We shall see!
Anyway, it was towards the end of the evening. I was a little tipsy and very tired so wasn’t following the conversation too well, but they started talking about this really massive tub of coffee that Sweara and Gangdad had bought years ago when they lived in their uni flat. The story goes that they had a huge party, and someone brought along a man who was quite literally wearing two pairs of trousers, one leg length was half mast, and the other was normal length I presume. I think in fashionable circles it’s probably called ‘layering’, but in normal circles it’s more commonly known as ‘a bit odd’. After this uni party all those years ago, the coffee disappeared and Mr Two-Pairs-Of-Pants took the blame and was muttered about for a while I think. Years later the coffee turned up down the back of the kitchen cupboard where it must have slipped, so the poor man was oddly dressed, but not a thief after all! I suppose the moral of the story is, don’t draw attention to yourself (ie. wear excessive trousers or smash half of your In-Law’s conservatory and shout ‘Sh*t!’) or you’ll get earmarked as a trouble maker. So, that’s me done for then, I thought at the time.
The next day we all headed out to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which is simply one of my my most favourite day’s out activities, ever. It is a wonderful place filled with huge sculptures that dot the landscape. I love that these most of these sculptures and works of art, aren’t behind roped off areas, or trapped in cramped display areas, they are quite literally scattered throughout the fields and they can be touched and climbed on (unless there’s signs saying otherwise), and children and adults alike can appreciate them in the open air. I suppose you could say they are free range art?
These are huge sculptures, I don’t know if you can see Horace’s legs in the middle of this photograph? It gives you some idea of the scale. There are rivers and bridges, wooded areas, fields, a wier – it’s so picturesque and has a dreamlike quality because of these strange sculptures scattered here and there too! I don’t know if anyone else knows of that old Future Sounds of London video with all the morphing squidgy shapes (I’m showing my age now)? You see I always feel like I’m walking around on the set of that particular video when I’m here. Which is no bad thing, I just have to pinch myself every now and then to make sure I’m awake! It is a little surreal.
My favourite ever place at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is the Deer Shelter. This is a sizeable white, square building with a roof that lets in an open square of sky where the ceiling is. There’s no glass when you stare upwards, it is just open to the elements. Very cleverly the walls slope at an angle and the seats at the sides are just out of the reach of the rain, should it decide to tip it down. The thing that strikes me every time, is that the square of the walls that surrounds the gap seems like a picture frame, and that nature constantly paints a fresh canvas with rushing clouds, or sunlight filtering through rain, or birds darting overhead. It makes me appreciate the sky like a painting on a wall. Something like that! The point I’m making is, if you’re heading over that way, you cannot miss the Deer Shelter, it’s beautiful!
Here’s another photo of my two clambering around inside another of the outdoor exhibits.
And of course, Poppy the wonder dog! Darlek and Sausage would love a dog now, I on the other hand am willing only to stretch as far as a pet snail. Snails are no good on leads and do not catch sticks so the kid’s aren’t keen unfortunately.
There’s loads more to see, and they regularly update their collection, so there’s always something new to cast your eyes on. It does cost £5 per car, which seems a little steep, but if you go early in the day and give yourself enough time to explore everywhere, you can certainly get your money’s worth. The facilities are great, the visitors’ centre features a cafe and a shop, and I spotted a conference centre too, so it seems a very adaptable, well catered for place.
This isn’t a sponsored post by the way, I just love the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. You should go! Especially with a mild hangover, it’s a great cure. Fresh air, dodging sheep poo, admiring massive oversized wire models of half rabbits/half people in fields, wandering over rivers and up hills, it’s fabulous.
After trekking around for a while we sadly left for home, after saying our goodbyes to Gangdad and Sweara. It was a really great weekend, filled with laughs, smashed ornaments, lovely cake (cake!), soggy doggies, and sunshine mixed with rain. We always have great memories to come home with after a trip over there. I just hope they’ll let me in the house again after my destructive behaviour. *Kay looks hopeful and promises to be good next time*
All photos were taken by Gangdad, as I forgot my phone. Thank you!