Saturday, 23 November 2013

Stay at Westwood Lodge to Ride Stage 1 of the Tour de France

Pop quiz. What's the national anthem of Great Britain? God Save the Queen I hear you cry. Well, officially, maybe. But emotionally, I don't think so. The one song sure to bring us Brits together is the wonderful Always Look On The Bright Side of Life, by the amazing Monty Python member Eric Idol.

I've been humming that tune rather a lot recently. Not just because the Python's have decided to reform. But because I have been "Chewing on Life's Gristle" rather a lot recently and trying hard to "Give a Whistle".

Disaster is Opportunity

Disaster is Opportunity is a slightly tongue in cheek phrase in our house. One we roll out whenever things go wrong. A couple of week's ago, things went very, very wrong.

Planning a minor kitchen renovation I removed the sink unit to find this:

A bloody big hole where no hole should be
As it happens, finding the big hole was "lucky" because I was able to look down it and see the gallons of water pumping under the house from the broken drain in the back garden. Without the hole, we might not have known about this until the floor completely collapsed. Always Look on The Bright Side of Life...
So there's the disaster, where's the opportunity? Well, fortunately for us, we were insured with Aviva insurance. In a matter of days they had called Dynorod to fix the drain, Chem Dry to clean up the mess and a builder to plan the repairs. Not only that, when they heard about the situation with our family, they instantly offered to move us out until it was safe and repaired. Each of those companies has been brilliant. So I'm sure you'll forgive the well deserved plugging. Thanks chaps.

Westwood Lodge, Home From Home

When you find yourself evicted at short notice, you don't have much choice where you go and wherever you end up, you would rather be back home as soon as possible. But Aviva listened to our situation and between us we found a holiday cottage at Westwood Lodge, so the kids could have their own rooms and they wouldn't have to be parted from the dog. It ain't bad at all:
This is the cottage

This is the main house

This is the view
What a relief. The family is safe and happy. The work can go on at the house. The kids can still go to school. My wife can use the WiFi to study and work. And I can walk the dog on Ilkley Moor to keep the stress at bay.
Thank goodness for good insurance.

Riding the Tour de France

I may have mentioned Le Tour de France is coming to town next year. The whole region, but this town on particular, is gearing up for it. You can find out all about it at
As it happens, the Python's had a fair bit to say about Yorkshire.
Cheeky so-and-sos. Still, they have a point. We are a rather boastful lot when it comes to celebrating God's own county. But why wouldn't we be? After all, Yorkshire was recently voted the third best place to visit it in the world and athletes from our little corner of England would have finished twelfth in the Olympic medal table if we were an independent country, which many feel we should be
So, it isn't just the natives that say so, Yorkshire is quite a place and things are going to be crazy here when the Tour comes through. One of my old friends booked my spare room months ago and many of the hotel rooms are already full. We'd love to see you, but you'll need to book early!
And if you can't find a room, "Don't Grumble, Give a Whistle ... Soon Things Will Turn Out for the Best". Look on the Bright side, why wait? Why not come before the Tour arrives and ride the route yourself? From the spring, all the roads will have been resurfaced and ready. The countryside is beautiful. The people are cycling mad. And you can pretend to be a Tour star with your friends.
And if you do, why not stay where fate sent me? I can promise you Westwood Lodge and Ilkley Moor Cottages are comfortable and beautiful. But not only that ... guess what? The owner, Tim, is only a cycling nut too, so you can benefit from:
  • Secure bike storage
  • A gym
  • A sauna
  • Route maps and information from Tim
  • Bike wash facilities
  • Bike hire
  • But best of all a home made sponge cake on arrival
Now who would have thought I'd have ended up in a place like this, when two weeks ago I was crawling under my floorboards in pools of smelly water?
Now come on everybody, "... time to laugh and smile and joke and sing ... Always Look on the Bright Side of Life ...


Simon Douglas said...

Nice article Stephen, good to see you're blogging again - followed your link from the Guardian site!
How's WY?

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