Naval Warfare – in Scarborough?

Peasholm Park is a haven of tranquillity in Scarborough’s North Bay – unless the battle ships are taking pot shots at one another! during the summer season, war breaks out on the lake when 20ft replica warships recreate the tensions of a battle at sea. The “Battle of Peasholm” has been played out for more than 80 years, delighting audiences with a dramatic pyrotechnic display. Until 1929, all the boats were man powered, but then electricity was introduced and now only the larger boats need to be steered by Council employees.

In the early days the models were First World War Dreadnoughts,  but after the Second World War the fleet was replaced with new vessels and the display recreated  the Battle of the River Plate. Around 1960 new ships were added and aircraft were introduced, altering the play of the ships but adding to the excitement for audiences, who could not seem to get enough of the battles!

The shows begin around the last weekend of May and continue until September 1st. In June the shows are on Saturdays only, in July they are on Thursdays and Saturdays, and during August they are on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Performances start at 3pm but they are very popular so it is best to arrive early! You can find more details on the Peasholm Park website.

Farndale Daffodil Walk

One of the best outings in the spring is the Farndale daffodil walk on the North Yorks Moors, which runs along side the River Dove  for about 1½ miles, starting in the village of Low Mill and ending at Church Houses. Farndale is internationally famed for its show of wild daffodils which normally bloom around the end of March each year, a little after the best of the domesticated garden daffodils. It is believed the bulbs were first brought to Farndale by medieval monks from Rievaulx and these wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus) are also known by the old english name “Lenten Lily”,derived from the fact they normally bloom around Easter. You can  get information on how the daffs are doing on the Farndale website.

Now, I would not normally encourage you to abandon your MX5 in favour of public transport but in this case it really is a good idea. Every year more than 40,000 visitors come to admire the flowers and there is a real risk to the environment if everyone tries to drive all the way. So be green and have a great day out, it really is worth it!

Rievaulx Terrace

Rievaulx Terrace is two miles west of my favourite village of Helmsley, overlooking the dramatic ruins of Rievaulx Abbey.  The terrace is about half a mile long and winds its way across the side of a steep wooded  hillside with lovely views. At either end of the terrace stand two small “temples” of outstanding beauty, built around 1730.

At the south-east end is the domed Doric Temple which has a pavement floor that came from the choir of Rievaulx Abbey. The Ionic Temple stands at the other end, it is decorated with elaborate ceiling paintings and furnished in the period style. It was intended as a banqueting house and the central table is still set as if for a meal.The basement housed the kitchen and servants’ living quarters but nowadays it holds an exhibition on English landscape design in the 18th century.

The stroll along the terrace on a sunny day is quite delightful and it is a perfect place for a picnic. Of course you can also visit the abbey, just a short distance away, or take the gentle drive across the moors to the peaceful village of Hawnby for a pint or a meal in the award winning Hawnby Hotel.

Save Your Leather From the Weather

The top of the range models in the latest MX5 range come with beautiful leather seats made by Recaro. They are six-way adjustable, have electrically heated base and back with six temperature settings and are finished with white stitching. The door panels are also trimmed to match . Of course sports car upholstery gets more exposure to the elements than a normal saloon and even modern leather is more vulnerable to the effects of sunlight and moisture than woven fabrics, so you need to look after it.

The hide used in the MX5 has a matt finish so it is important not  to use a wax polish or you will end up with a very shiny, slippery seat. The best products I have found are made by Autoglym, in particular their Leather Balm which breathes life back into the leather and also applies a UV protective coating. Autoglym also make a Leather Care Cream which is quite a bit cheaper and is very good too, so take your pick! You can get both products on Amazon.

Poetry in Motion

I love beautiful things, but in particular I love those things that combine beauty and practicality. This aircraft is the Hughes H1, designed, built and flown by the film maker and aviator Howard Hughes in 1935 to break the world aircraft  speed record, and it did just that on  its very first flight, reaching 352mph. Unfortunately Hughes was so pleased he ran out of fuel and crashed in a beet field. He was only slightly injured and the aircraft suffered minor damage, going on to break the trans-continental record 18 months later.

Many groundbreaking technologies were developed during the construction process of the H1, including individually machined flush rivets that left the aluminium skin of the aircraft completely smooth. Also it had retractable landing gear to further reduce drag and increase the air speed. Finally it was fitted with a twin-row 14-cylinder radial engine, of approximately 18 litres, putting out over 1,000 horsepower. The original aircraft is now preserved in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.

Unfortunately there is a sad end to the story; ten years ago aviation fanatic Jim Wright of Cottage Grove, Oregon built a full scale replica of the H-1 and it made its first flight in 2002. So exact was the replica to the original that the FAA granted it serial number 2 of the model. The achievement in recreating the aircraft was heralded in every aviation magazine of the time. However just a few months later  it suffered a propeller problem and crashed in Yellowstone National Park. Jim Wright was killed and the aircraft was completely destroyed.

Beauty is such a fragile thing.


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