Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Beautiful York

Mon 13th

I decide when I wake that I am going to take it nice and slow today, just because I can. I open the curtain and it’s grey. Pants! I go a bit slower after that and make a cup of tea. I decide that I want to be in town by midday and have lunch, see the Minster and have a bit of a mooch.

After I have done what I need to do in the Hobby, I catch a bus into York centre. I have screwed up and only have £1.99 in my wallet. I totally forgot to get cash yesterday. I pray the bus isn’t expensive and stand at the bus stop hopeful. I am lucky as it costs £1.70. It only takes a short time and I’m in the centre of York. I have something’s in mind for today. The first is to get lunch and a coffee, then to visit the Minster and after, a mooch in some of the shops I saw yesterday. I walk around the streets and see many of the places I was taken to yesterday and get oriented. I wanted to get some coffee beans as, disaster, I have ground my last cup and am a little on edge. Perhaps it’s the lack of caffeine…

In York a street is a gate, a gate a bar and a bar a pub. I walk down Fossgate and search out bistros and ask a few if they sell Miko beans. Negative results ensue. I find myself in a handmade chocolate shop and get handed a small piece of amaretto fudge. Forced to place it in my mouth I let it melt and close my eyes, enjoying the tonguegasm. I explain it to the chocolatier and we have a conversation of how to enjoy the palate and how my word tonuegasm evolved. He loves it and asks if he can use it. I insist he does so from now on and we have a discussion about how folks don’t spend enough time with nice foody things in their mouth to their palate.

I want to make up a box of chocolates for Deb to thank her for being such a fabulous host to me and Fin and we make great deliberations to make sure her cows milk allergy is not set off by the choice. I am happy with my purchase and ask if I can have a strawberry filled milk chocolate and my mouth is in total ecstacy as I make the delicious mouthful last as long as possible. I buy myself six and leave the shop very happy. (www.giftagchocolate.co.uk)

I make my way to the independent quarter and find myself in an antique store that has a café and I climb the three floors to Molly’s café, wondering what I shall find. I check out the menu and see that a sandwich, cake and drink is only £5.95. I am dubious and am delighted to find layered smoked salmon and cream cheese on white, with salad presented to me. It is truly good food. After that I find that the coffee is also acceptable and finished with a slice of lemon drizzle cake I have a happy tummy and am ready for the next instalment of York.

From here is but a short stop to the Minster and I am blown away. For £8 I get a tour of the Minster which is utterly breathtaking. I feel overwhelmed as I look up and see its most splendid stained glass and I pause looking up and breathing in deeply. I take in graceful arches sweeping one after another in Gothic splendour. It is massive and imposing from the outside, but on the inside there is fine sculpting of figures, even strings on a lyre carved from limestone on the screen under the impressive organ. I love that it is not symmetrical, having seven kings on one side of the screen and eight on the other, some arches larger than their unequal equal. The bells toll three and boom across the city.

I walk down steps to the crypt where when the cathedral tower started to fall down Roman and Norman foundations, walls and pillars where discovered, unknown before this. A history tour is cleverly pieced together. A roman mural was unearthed and is displayed near the culvert that still takes water away and into the river Ouse from where the Roman fort was built in 55AD. The Normans then invaded after the Romans left and built the first cathedral on part of its foundations. Shame they didn’t think about using four pillars to build the tower on instead of the three used, as that would have saved it sinking eventually on the missing side. When the medieval Thomas of Bayeux became Bishop and had the final cathedral built around the Norman design, he brought with him designs from Bayeux cathedral, one of my favourites. I love it.

Reluctant to leave I venture out into the streets and find great delight in shopping for Xmas presents for my loved ones. We made a deal some time ago that we would only spend a fiver on each other as Xmas has become a hideous ordeal of commercialism and has lost its essence of loving each other and just being present with each other, present enough! I find a shop that sells fun things and I just know that mine will appreciate the things I get them. Ssh…. don’t tell.

I enter the lift in M&S as advised by my Goth guide and look out of windows of the top floor and admire the view of higgledy terracotta tiled roofs fronting the cathedral. It’s a brilliant display and totally free.

Laddened with bags I make my way to the bus stop and return to the camp sit, where more motorhomes have arrived. I go to get water for the morning and an older chap gets out of his and says Hi. We get chatting and he tells me he is from Australia and that he and his wife have come over to visit family and sightsee. They have bought an old Hobby and are fascinated by mine. I invite them in and Doug tells me he will bring Mary and a bottle of red. How could I refuse? I look over at Fin who has found something brown and sticky to roll in. Noooo

I excuse myself for a while so I can drag Fin’s sorry body back to the cold water tap and wash him. After, he runs around in mad circles and we both giggle.

Doug and Mary turn out to be pleasant companions, who were Ten Pound Pommes emigrating more than forty years ago. Both now in their 70’s, they want to get more out of life and are here for 5 weeks exploring. I like them and they are good company.

Even though it has rained again today, I have hardly noticed. I love York. It is splendid in the truest sense of the word. I am so glad I spent more than a day here. I never even got to the museums though I am assures they are also splendid. They are something to come back for.

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