We had a good journey up to York, letting the train take the strain, as they say. That you can travel from Kings Cross to York in two hours still amazes me.
Now my very useful Mr HenHouse had noted to me that the Scarborough Vintage Fair was taking place that very weekend. So, on Saturday, we caught the train once more and headed for the coast via some picturesque scenery.
It was a little blowy and wet in Scarborough but we set off for The Spa at the far end of the beach, an easy stroll from the railway station. It is said there has been some sort of spa on the site since the early 1700s and indeed, Scarborough was declared England's first true seaside resort, somewhere "nice to take the waters". The building now mainly dates to the 1880s and in its time has been host to a glittering array of music hall stars. It is quite magnificent and so fantastic to see it being used today as a venue for all sorts of events. Did I take a photo of the outside? No. Oh! Here's a nice one of our approach to the sea front.
The Fair was held both in several of the smaller ante rooms (where there was also a tea room and a NAAFI in another), and in the main grand hall. What a splendid setting.
It was extremely busy with visitors and there were some goodies to be had, at sensible "out-of-London prices". There was also a friendly welcome from everyone we met. I was entranced by a stall held by two young ladies whose family has owned a gift shop in Scarborough for decades. When clearing out an upstairs storage room recently, a whole hoard of vintage jewellery and gift stock was discovered. Oh be still my beating heart. I was spoiled for choice with the really lovely original 1940s and '50s pieces they had. (Mr HH bought me one of the gorgeous green doggie fobs for my birthday.)
Some people are just so silly.
When we ventured back out into the open air, we were delighted to see the sun had come out and set off for a brisk stroll across the sands, all the while hunting for sea glass.
And happy days, look who we happened to find!
I do so love a donkey and what a treat to find some still on the beach. The Munchkin did not need asking twice before hopping into the saddle and going off for a trot. (Do donkeys trot, I wonder?) Despite being twelve years old, it seems he loves riding the donkeys just as much as ever. Hurrah.
Our destination was the far end of the beach and one Harbour Bar. This is always a must-stop when in Scarborough. We learned that the cafe was opened one week after the end of the Second World War and is still making award winning ice creams under the ownership of the same family. As you can see, the decor is a true delight.
The menu is suitably retro. Cherryade ice cream floats...
...and of course, all sorts of sundaes and a knickerbocker glory as big as the Munchkin who chose it. It just so happened I matched the decor and my banana sundae!
Feeling somewhat chubbier, I was rather dreading the trek back up to the station. Then Mr HH reminded me that we could take the cliff tram. Phew.
After a lovely day in Scarborough, where else could we spend Sunday in York but at the National Railway Museum. You will know if you've read this blog before, that Mr HH and the Munchkin are avid steam railway fans and I've grown quite partial, myself. Indeed, my very favourite engines are the A4s, those fantastic streamlined numbers from the 1930s. Only 6 of these now remain. Mallard, holder of the famous speed record, lives at the NRM, three other A4s work out on the mainline, hauling special charters mainly (Sir Nigel Gresley is usually at the the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in Pickering, of course,) and the other two live overseas.
Thanks to a group of dedicated folk, plans were made and the two engines were shipped from North America back to England where they have undergone an extensive overhaul and now look rather splendid. As such, it was a rare opportunity to see all six of the big A4s all together before they go back to America next year. The boys informed me that the NRM was very busy thanks to this special display but they haven't been to the Festival of Quilts if they think that is busy! It was impossible to take a decent shot of all the engines together but it was a great and memorable day, not least because you could also go up on the footplate of all the A4 engines. (Apologies if you do not share our enthusiasm for steam engines and were expecting chat about quilts or vintage frocks!)
So let's finish with something a little crafty because as all you dedicated crafters know, the first thing to pack when you're going away is your chosen crafty project. I decided to finally use these lovely vintage fabric circles I bought from America via Etsy (I think they were once Suffolk Puffs). I've looked at them on my shelves for far too long!
I started fashioning them into fabric flowers. Indeed, I've pretty much finished them and I enjoyed it very much. I've added felt circles with embroidered French knots to the centres. When they're truly finished, I'll pop back and show you.
I did come back with some lovely little treasures from the vintage fair. I think my fave has to be this very cute "make do and mend" pony. I'm pretty sure that if I looked back in my 1940's magazines, I would find the pattern to make him. As always with my vintage finds, I love thinking back to the life this pony might have had. Fashioned from the rag bag with scraps from a blanket or old coats or hats, with some swirly embroidery for good measure. A real treasure to a child on a Christmas or birthday morning, perhaps, at a time when you couldn't just go out and buy everything you wanted from the shop (or even the www).
In the background, you can see a rather jolly fabric creation on my design wall. It is now a pretty fetching finished quilt and one day soon, this Winter weather permitting, I'd like to share it with you.