Friday, November 24, 2006


When Paul was offered the choice of an OCR course work seminar at either Birmingham or York there really was no choice and given that the York meeting was on a Friday, meaning that I could go too and make a long weekend of it – well, decision made. So it was with great anticipation that we set out after work on Thursday evening to travel up to York. We decided to go the quick route via the M1, M18, A1M and A64. It took just three hours from door to door as thankfully the weather and traffic were good.

Next morning we set out on foot from the hotel on Clifton road and walked into the city. Having seen Paul safely into his meeting I set out to start the day I’d planned out in my head many times. The Minster was first on my list but I fell at the first hurdle because it was closed for a graduation ceremony. On to my next stop the Cat Gallery on Stonegate where I had a wonderful time choosing one or two items and a nice chat with the lady on duty before moving on to my next adventure. As the Minster had been closed I popped down to see if Barley Hall was open, I’d been before a number of years ago but thought that if it was open it would replace the Minster for the morning’s activity but alas it too was closed.

Barley Hall

I decided to look in one or two shops around the Stonegate/Shambles area and then wandered down towards Betty’s Tea Shop which always looks so elegant from the outside but I decided to have coffee in Border’s bookshop instead as I can’t resist the combination of books and coffee.

Entrance to The Shambles

My next port of call was Clifford’s Tower as a) I wanted to use my new English Heritage card and b) to take some photos from the top. I climbed the steps to the kiosk and flashed my card at the girl on duty in the kiosk – ‘Are you going in on your own?” she enquired “Yes.” I replied – it was only afterwards that I wondered why she asked that question. Is it strange for people to go in alone? I clambered up the steps to the top and took photos of the views from all sides. Looking across at the Minster’s towers, the York wheel and the ice rink that was being constructed in front of the courthouse and the Castle Museum.

Roofscape showing the York Wheel

Then I went across to the Castle Museum where I had a warm bowl of soup before setting off to look at the exhibits. All the wonderful street scenes like Kirkgate and Half Moon Court I remember from previous visits were still there – enlivened by sights and sounds and animators dressed in period. The policeman made me jump as he stepped out in front of me. About two hours later I returned to the cafĂ© for a pot of tea and a piece of carrot cake.

Clifford's Tower

Then it was time to meet Paul from his meeting at the Hilton and we set off to wander around the now dark streets all lit with Christmas lights.

Christmas Tree in Fountain Square

After a wonderful evening meal at Bella Italia on Petergate we walked back up Bootham and Clifton road to our hotel.

The Minster

The next morning after a wonderful breakfast we set off to drive home via Tadcaster, Otley (where we had morning coffee) and Ilkley. Then down to Halifax, Huddersfield and Holmfirth where we stopped for a late lunch/afternoon tea and then down to Glossop, Buxton, Leek and home.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Random Conversations

Conversation over the breakfast table at a York Hotel

Me ….. I recognise this song

P……. does sound familiar.......

Me….. it’s that hot dogs thing.....

P….... oh, yes hot dogs, chocolate logs

Me……chocolate logs? It’s not Christmas yet – jumping frogs?

P……. it’s that Albu whatsit song....

Me …. Albuquerque...

P…….How do you remember these things?

Me…..Prefab Sprout


Me….Prefab Sprout – they sang it.

P……Oh. Well at least it isn’t a Dexys Midnight Runners situation

Me… God, I know – it took us three days to remember their name – I kept thinking
it’s something like the Bow Street Runners.

P… and it wasn’t even them we were talking about at the time.

Me… No, it was all because I was telling you I’d once seen Geno Washington and the

Ram Jam Band's van with their name on the side. More coffee?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Oh, what a laugh

On Friday we went to the New Vic theatre to see the Northern Broadsides production of 'The Man with Two Gaffers' and as you know from previous posts, I love Northern Broadsides, so I have been keenly anticipating this performance and I wasn't disappointed. As usual the exuberance and sheer versatility of the actors was second to none. Every character was a gem, especially Roy North as the vicar and of course actor/director Mr Rutter himself whose reaction to the breaking of his trifle bowl after sticking his finger in the gooey mess was absolutely priceless. I left the theatre with a happy heart and aching sides from laughing so much.

On Monday we popped over to the retail park at Trentham Gardens where all is tastefully lit for Christmas including a German Christmas Market and piped festive music competing with the sounds of Germany from the purpose built bierkeller - on the way home we saw the first house decorated for Christmas. Now this is all very well, I love Christmas but not on the 13th November - could it all start on 1st December please? This early start ensures that by the time Christmas actually does arrive - it's lost it's magic and that is a real shame.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Inside Outside

Last weekend we decided that we just had to leave the city behind and venture into Derbyshire. We set out early and by 10a.m. we were inside Outside drinking a steaming mug of coffee.

Outside Outside ............... Inside Outside

Just up the road from Outside are the villages of Stoney Middleton and Eyam, both stomping grounds of some of P’s ancestors. We had visited them both before but decided to have a wander around Eyam again. As we parked in the car park near the museum the men building a huge bonfire in the adjacent field warned us that the car park would close early because of the fireworks event, there were many people who couldn’t park because quite a bit of the car park was fenced off. We set off down into the village passing the plague cottages on our way to the church. P wanted to photograph several gravestones he had seen on a previous visit so he could feature them in the latest newsletter for his one name study site.

Eyam Church

All the names I recognized from the various census returns were there in the churchyard. Our name yielded quite a few stones but the most prolific families during the 19th century in Eyam were the Cocker, Daniel and Furness families, and many of them lay here in their last resting place. It was very cold in the churchyard so we wandered back via the craft centre at Eyam Hall.

Eyam Hall

Then we drove over to the David Mellor Factory at Hathersage and indulged ourselves looking at all the gorgeous things in the shop and musuem.

The Round Building

Sunday, November 05, 2006


The sky this evening

Basil in my kitchen window

Afternoon Walk