Eating & Sleeping at The Wheatley Arms, Ikley

Having been invited up to Leeds College of Art to talk to students on the BA Photography course I was excited to be greeted by this strangely familiar and, erm,  friendly looking image!

I had a thoroughly enjoyable time at the college and met a really great bunch of photographers, curators and film makers. If you’d like to know a bit more about the visit, have a look at this!

I left the college, arrived in Ilkley as darkness was falling and dragged my way into the bright and welcoming Wheatley Arms. I was excited to find out that I’d been upgraded to room 9, right at the top of the building. I must have made a lot of noise dragging myself up all the sets of stairs with my case and three heavy bags. Not only that, I had to carry this massive keyring too!

It was worth it for the wallpaper though! (Wall nuts, geddit?)

Room 9 was a delight. Quiet and calm, warm and inviting. I went straight to the tea and biscuit station (as it will now be known). I’m fond of a good biscuit, and doubley fond of a free good biscuit. Well, I never! Two buttery flapjacks, thank you!

I drank my Yorkshire tea, in the Yorkshire cup. The only thing letting it down was the UHT milk, I’m sure the guys downstairs would have sorted me out with some proper milk, Yorkshire milk, but I was too busy with my flapjack to venture down all those stairs.

The room was lovely, very clean and nicely thought out. The bath salts on the side of the lovely big bath (from which I could view the tele) were not in any way clagged or claggy (take note, The Swan!)

And do you know what? I love a sticker on my loo roll. Stickers rule.

Whilst looking for a hairdryer I found a fridge in one cupboard and a DVD player in another! There was no need to leave the room, apart from to find a delicious dinner.

I found a cosy corner in the restaurant and ordered the Bacon Chop (‘Bacon Chop – with sautéed onion, Wensleydale cheese and spring onion sauce, served with creamy mashed potato – a true Yorkshire supper!’). When it arrived I said, ‘I don’t think that’s what I ordered’. The waitress said, ‘That’s how we serve it.’  I said, desperately, ‘But where’s the cheese? And the Yorkshireness?!’

It went away. It came back again. Is that right? It had touched the egg. I knew it was the same one as it reminded me of Mick Jagger’s lips. I suppose, really, it’s a bit of an animal, so it would have been wrong to waste it.

The creamy mash, the cheesy sauce, the very salty bacon. It was wintery and warming.

For pudding I chose the Egg Custard (Egg Custard with Raspberry Sorbet, dried raspberries and biscotti’) The raspberry sorbet was tangy and delicious, and I really liked the biscotti which was both crunchy and chewy (good job I’ve got my own teeth!), but the egg custard was too whippy, with a paste-like consistency, and too eggy-savoury for me. In fact, I wouldn’t have been surprised to find a sneaky bit of bacon in there!

I can’t complain though, I was warm and comfortable and ate a hearty meal for just £16.00.

I went to bed early and watched TV, the program about Liberty’s. The bed was so soft and snugly. I piled the four fat pillows high and propped myself up. Then I watched ‘Skint’ on TV and thought about my friend who lost his dad today, and remembered how very lucky I am to live the life I live and know the people I know.