Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Romans, Vikings, Fat Rascals and Owls

Firstly if you have been replying to the blog emails, Please DON'T.  The emails are sent via a "no reply" feed burner system and I've now had a couple of people ask me why I'm not responding to their replies - because I don't see them.  It's great so many of you are following and if you want to comment (and we'd love that) then either go to the blog and add a comment to the post or email me at my usual email address. Either will reach me.

So today. Started with a sensational breakfast, (I had smoked salmon and scrambled eggs but left the camera upstairs) then we headed to join a walking tour of York.  Our lively guide Ian was in his mid 70s and full of info and a good degree of humour.  We went to places we would not have been to and learned things we'd never have known and enjoyed over 2 hours of free entertainment.
We started with the gates and walls and a history of York dating back to the Romans
The top sections with the "loopholes" for the bowmen date to the medieval period, the bricks below to the Romans.  You can clearly see the Roman work in this next shot and yes they are coffins on the ground and the Romans were great at recycling, the small ones are not for children but for the bones left after a time in the large coffins which were then reused.
It is impossible to include all the information here but suffice to say they continue to excavate and you can see here four banks from different periods in history, amazing.
That's Ian on the left and this building is the oldest in York dating back to the 1300s. It seems we have the  Victorians to blame for knocking things down, including some of the walls and parts of the shambles. There is now a statue to the one man who stood up and fought for the preservation of York's history - ah love the radicals!
The buildings are simply amazing.  As is The Minster which we will go inside tomorrow.
This, believe it or not, is a statue of St Peter taken from the top of York Minster and used to illustrate how the stone wears.  It took them 25 years to renovate one end of York Minster and now they are working on the other.
After the tour we scurried off to Betty's to buy a picnic which we took to a nearby park, next to the river Ouse
Even when you take things away they are beautifully presented.  Garrie opted for a sausage roll
I opted for a quiche which was delicious, and to follow a vanilla slice.
It was very nice but Coramba General Store retains the title for "best vanilla slice in the world". Garrie just had to have another Fat Rascal
Just as yummy even without butter. We've also found the recipe online
Garrie is fascinated by the people sitting out in the sun, by the time we finished the lawns had many more on them and we were the only people sitting in the shade.  Mad dogs and Englishmen...
So time to walk and we headed for The Jorvik Centre which is dedicated to telling the story of the Vikings in York.  Apparently all the "rape and pillage" information on Vikings is much exaggerated and the Anglo-Saxons were as bad when they raided the Viking villages.  You can't take photos inside but it's very interesting and you can find images here.
Probably biting off more than we could chew in a day (but's what's new) we headed to Cliffords Tower which includes a vey sad story of the persecution and deaths of 150 Jews. (Hitler was not original.)
And the Castle Museum which includes the old York Gaol and also a recreation called Kirk Gate of a Victorian street.  It was great.
Garrie thought the gaol might be the place for me..
So now a bit weary we headed to the York Cocoa House for afternoon tea. Garrie settled for a tea and a chocolate and cherry scone (in the background) whereas I went for the luxury hot chocolate!
Time to return to our BnB for a rest before finding more food. On the way home we came across a display of birds they are working hard to conserve - how sad if we lost these guys?
I keep forgetting to tell you that poor Garrie has had almost daily headaches - my lurgy? Knowledge overload? Too many Fat Rascals?

That's it for the daytime activities. Dinner deserves a post of its own!