Had you asked me last week whether I liked Pickering, I would probably have replied that I didn't know: never having pickered. That was last week; and at the end of last week Mrs C and I spent three nights in our country residence (pictured) just outside the North Yorkshire town of Pickering.
Despite trying to dispense with its sleepy market town image - according to some websites - Pickering's entire charm is exactly that: sleepy Yorkshire market town. It has one supermarket and many real shops: a fishmonger with its own smokery at the back, a greengrocer, butcher and baker all selling local produce; it also seems to have a quaint barter-type economy between local traders: I witnessed the petshop owner exchange a pint of maggots for three bags of Lamb's Lettuce with the greengrocer (who was a fisherman, just in case you were wondering).
The fish lady (and I was tempted to say fish-wife) was a typically blunt (to the point of being ascerbic) Yorkshire woman. Whilst I was choosing from the fabulous range of home smoked fish she said to me,
"Are yer just looking or are yer going to buy summat lad, only I want to get this fridge cleaned out".
I bought summat; and it was lovely.
There's something restorative about clean country air; as Mrs C, the dog and I sat sipping a glass of wine outside our temporary home in the twilight surrounded by candles, I wouldn't rather have been anywhere else.
P.S. Sorry I didn't let my loyal readers know we were going away, only I didn't want our local burglar William (Billy to his friends) calling round and have him feel the wrath of my two burly sons.