All Things Bright and Beautiful

I adored James Herriot’s books as a kid.  My love for animals, especially dogs, has only grown as I’ve gotten older.  I’ve always enjoyed a good story, and Herriot made me laugh, cry, and wonder what it’s like to have your arm up a cow.  I wrote James Herriot a fan letter, and I got back a form letter from his secretary.  Inside the letter was a small slip of paper with Herriot’s autograph.  It is one of my treasures.

 Fifteen years later, I visited the Yorkshire Dales for the first time.  My memories of the books had faded, but something mysterious happened when we drove into Swaledale.  It’s difficult to describe the feeling I experienced, and I know I run the risk of sounding like a New Age type.  I’m hardly that!  I felt like crying, full of the combination of joy and grief you feel when returning home after too long away.  It’s a feeling that hits me every time I go back to the Dales or even see those green fields and stone walls on film.  If past lives are real, I must have had one in North Yorkshire.  Even my favorite cheese is from the Dales, and I’ve never been able to find it in San Francisco.  Wensleydale is my Holy Grail of cheeses!

Here are some of my favorite images of Swaledale. 

James Herriot letter and autograph
James Herriot letter and autograph

Swaledale, Yorkshire Dales

Swaledale, Yorkshire Dales

Swaledale, Yorkshire Dales

Swaledale, Yorkshire Dales

Swaledale, Yorkshire Dales



Filed under Literature, Photography, Travel

5 responses to “All Things Bright and Beautiful

  1. Thanks for sharing this. Although I live in England I’ve never been to the Dales! I just wondered if you were familiar with ‘Wallace and Gromit’ animations. They are two huge Wensleydale cheese fans. In fact it’s thanks to them that the cheese is still being made (and their films are wonderful).

    • I love Gromit! I’ve even got Gromit earrings. As for the cheese, the only decent Wensleydale I’ve been able to find in the States has Wallace & Gromit on the label. Sadly, I have to travel to a small market about two hours north of SF to get it. I’ve never found it anywhere nearer.

      I hope you get an opportunity to visit the Yorkshire Dales one of these days, and definitely share your experience with us!

  2. Nelia Green

    Lovely blog … photos are perfection. Great fan of All Creatures Great And Small – must have watched every episode at least twice over the years.

  3. Katelyn

    Awesome photos. I’ve never been to the Yorkshire Dales, but it looks beautiful. I also love the doggie in the last photo.

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