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....... York .... ..... (words and pictures heavy!)

For my 48th Birthday, Lois and I enjoyed a weekend away from Norfolk, and stayed in York.

Now I have been and done the tourist thing in York before, the first time that I went was on a School trip as an 8 year old: exactly 40 years ago, and the last time was 12 years ago with my family. When I was a self employed contractor and King of the Combines almost 20 years ago working from Bury St Edmund's North to Aberdeen, I subsequently spent a lot of time in Yorkshire. However, Lois had never been before and so for her our trip to York was a voyage of discovery and adventure.

We left Norwich at around 11 am and took a leisurely drive up to Kings Lynn and then across Lincolnshire; including driving through Lincoln and the Wolds, up to Brigg, then across the Humber Bridge, and up through the Eastern side of the Vale of York. ... ...  and an awful lot had changed since I was last that way!

We arrived at Queen Anne's Guest house at around 4pm, booked in, unceremoniously dumped our luggage in the room, and then went for a casual stroll around the city centre. Mainly to familiarise myself with the layout of the city, but also to allow Lois her first glimpse of the many wonderful buildings and sights of York. After casually wandering about for a couple of hours, we returned to the B&B, showered, changed and then walked the 1/2 mile or so back to within the city walls to find somewhere for dinner. After about an hour I had become slightly disenchanted with the fare on offer; the usual array of Pizza and fast food houses, Tapas, Indians, Chinese and Thai, etc. when I chanced upon a menu board outside of Michael's Brassiere. Well, that did it for me, as there was a varied and an eclectic mix of specials available which as I read them made my mouth water, and so in we went for dinner. Lois had the Honey & Mint roasted Lamb shank with tempura vegetables, and for me it just had to be the Roast Guinea fowl. We tucked in and enjoyed our meals, although Lois became self conscious when only the shank bone was left, I on the other hand just went in with my fingers to finish off the Guinea fowl, and then proceeded to gnaw at the bone Lois had been left with. The waiter could see that I was enjoying my food and so left me to it, however Lois was beginning to wonder if the now well stripped bone was going over my shoulder on completion, and I swear that I also heard a huge sigh of relief from the waiter when I put down the finished bone back on the plate, and licked my fingers clean. We then retired to the “Three Legged Mare" on Upper Petergate for a drink and to enjoy the music being played by the causal pianist banging out on the Ivory keys any piece of music or song that you cared to ask for ..... All played from memory and without the use of sheet music.

So good was my Friday night, that on Saturday morning I awoke with a dreadful hang over, which copious amounts of Orange juice, numerous cups of Tea, and a Full English Breakfast could not shift, with my head still pounding Lois and I set off to explore some more of York.

Our first port of call was the Minster, and because it was my birthday Lois decided to treat us to a trip up the tower and down into the under-croft .... £26 for the two us    Well, the tower is 262 feet high, and has a stone step each and every 8 inches of that height, and to say that our legs ached when we reached the top is an understatement, but the views over the City, Vale and towards the Yorkshire Wolds were beautiful and well worth all the effort of the climb.

We then returned back to ground level, and then took the tour of the under-croft. This section was; interesting, informative and educational, and it is one of those things that just have to be seen. However, I remembered from earlier trips to the Minster that a perfectly preserved Saints hand from the medieval period was not out on display and so I asked the question of one of the Minster guides and I was almost stupefied to hear that this relic had been taken from public display for preservation  As we left the Minster, I spied an ad trike and so wandered up to the rider who just happened to be the owner of the company and I began talking to him, within a few short minutes we shook hands concluding a deal for Cargo Cycles to make and supply his next additions to the ad trike fleet My phone then rang and Eschra was on the other end of the line, her and Poli were ready to meet up with Lois and I for the rest of the day.

My head was still banging away with the hangover, so we all decided to go for tea, ending up in Bullivants; one of York's famous tea rooms. Alas, I was not that impressed as the manageress was curt, almost to the point of rudeness, and so they will not be receiving a recommendation from me. By now Lois and I had settled easily into the company of Eschra and Poli, and were thoroughly enjoying the conversation and the humour laden stories that we were exchanging, a few minutes later we had all decided to go to the Jorvik centre. It had changed since my last visit, and all four of us enjoyed every second of the tour, which of course ended in the gift shop. Try as we might, Poli and I could not encourage the staff into letting us sample a few tasters of the "traditional Viking" Mead on sale, and so I settled for buying a hnefatafl game. A few minutes later I spied a very well dressed gentleman riding a Danish built Christiana front loading Cargo tricycle, so I flagged him down and began chatting with him, after a short while I had established that he was a member of a 15 strong gardening co-operative that is based in York with each member travelling to and from their various jobs sites with their; tools, plants and consumibles on this type of tricycle, at 12 years and older, all of the trikes used by the co-operative were nearing the economic end of their lives, and so I walked away with yet another order for Cargo Cycles.

The four of us then wandered around the city centre enjoying the sights and architecture of York including the Shambles; which has undergone some renovation during the past 12 years or so since I last visited York, much of it with modern materials and techniques that were not sympathetic replacements for the originals. However, it was pointed out to me that in most cases these buildings had deteriorated over many years through the greed and neglect of the owners and were well beyond refurbishment and renovation.

Poli & Eshcra stopped at the Sword and Arms shop in Stonegate and spent a few minutes hefting various replica weapons of which the Morning star impressed me the most. It was then agreed that I needed more tea to refresh, revitalise, and refuel me, as my hangover had now receded back to more tolerable levels, so we all walked the half a mile back to our B&B for a well received and reviving hot cuppa. I then dug out the fishing tackle that I had promised Eschra, along with various additional and unexpected bottles of my home-brewing escapades including; Blackberry Vinegar, Ginger Beer, 2 year old Smoked Hazelnut Mead, and my rather young and cheeky 8 month old Hotch potch Mead; a recipe made up from various left over ingredients from one of my major home-brewing sessions last year.

We then wandered the mile over to the National Railway museum, spending a little over an hour marvelling at the many exhibits before seeing Eschra and Poli off from the railway station on thier journey back home to Wakefield. Lois and I then returned to the B&B and got ready for an evening out. I had booked us a table at the world famous Gert & Henry's in Jubbergate: A restaurant in an original Tudor building, at the top end of the market place. To say that we were not disappointed is a vast understatement: Our meal was superb, with a starter of Yorkshire Mussels wrapped in Yorkshire bacon cooked to perfection, served upon a Tomato Salsa sauce, folowed by a main course of Yorkshire Pork steaks in a Cider and Cream sauce; a truly wonderful and memorable meal.

Sunday morning started with the Full English breakfast in the dining room of the B&B, and a wonderful conversation with a Canadian couple who were in York for a convention. We began our day of exploration by walking the full length of the city walls, and then cutting across to the Castle museum where we spent several hours wandering through the various exhibit halls, and then down to the mill. Lois fully enjoyed these exhibits, and I was pleased to see that although little had changed over 40 years the major exhibits had been updated and improved around the original items on display. After a leisurely 3 hours of wandering through these exhibits, Lois spied a sign for the mill in a corner of the old prison exercise yard. Now, on my previous trips to York I have been seeking the mill, but to no avail. I have sought the mill because of a 2lb bag of freshly milled flour that I bought from there 40 years odd years ago for the princely sum of 6d, this I gave to my mother as a present, and she still has that printed cotton drawstring bag to this day. When I phoned mum a week or so before Lois and I set out upon our adventure, Mum reminded me about the bag of flour and instructed me to buy her another one, because after 40 years the printed design was beginning to fade a little. So the two of us followed the signs and wandered down to the mill. Alas, although the mill was open to the public and there was someone in attendance to give a guided tour, the mill was not in a working condition and therefore unable to grind wheat into flour for the punters. When the mill was originally moved from its former site and relocated into the castle grounds on the river, the main shaft was not aligned properly and had subsequently worn away over the years. The mill is currently undergoing extensive restoration, and should be up and properly working sometime next year; but we did get a few photos of me with some of the original grain sacks.

Lois and I then spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around York, taking tea at a very pleasant street cafe behind the Minster, after which we then wandered through to the York Museum park and enjoyed the abundance of colourful flowers in the borders and blossoms upon the trees. The York Museum was closed for refurbishment and so the two of us moved on. During our meander we came across a shop called Demijohns, and I for one was surprised to learn that they made and sold a variety of brewed on the premises fruit vinegars, and all from a base Mother Vinegar. For 30 minutes or so we delighted at the opportunity to sample many of these Vinegars. Walking away from there several pounds lighter, but with a beautiful 3 piece set of stacking bottles that contained our personally selected choices of: a Lemon Vinegar, an Apple Vinegar, and an Elderflower Vodka. By now the afternoon was drawing away from us, and we decided to go for a late afternoon/early evening meal at Wildes bar close to the Barley Hall and Swinegate. Lois had the Feta Cheese and Greek salad with humus, stuffed olives, and pita bread. I had the diced Beef and Mustard Stroganoff, with wild Rice and a side  Salad.

After dinner we wandered across to York Minster to attend the C of E transcendental evening service, which was an uplifting experience within the majesty of this beautiful and imposing medieval structure. After the service we retired to the nominated pub: The Golden Slipper, along with the Minister, Cannon, Vicar, a few of the service’s other presiding Church officials, half the choir and good proportion of the attending congregation, to spend the rest of the evening in reflective thought, good conversation, and semi raucous humour complete with a pint or two.

Recommended accomodation in York:

Recommended places to eat in York:

Recommended Pubs:

Recommended speciality shop:

The Viking Game: Hnefatafl

What a nice weekend!  You got super pics, too.   Thanks for sharing them.

Oh.  Happy Belated Birthday.

Excellent write up and pics, mate

Sounds like you both had a wonderful few days in York.

Thanks for the report and photos Gareth
It sounds as though you both had a wonderful time.
We like visiting York but we realise that whenever we do any 'city visit' there is a lot of walking involved getting from place to place to see things

Thas a cracking write up Gareth but pull th other one. Your forty eighth birthday ?

Nice photos! We had an odd experience in York Minster once. It was rememberance day and during the silence a shaft of sunlight shone through a stained glass window and illuminated us in a rosy glow for the whole 2 minutes. Lovely,lovely place we have been many times -thanks for sharing. Love Lizzie

Well Gareth has said it all in his brilliant write up

Just for the record it was not only the waiter and I that held our breath as Gareth enjoyed the lamb shank bone,  but the whole restaurant started
breathing again when the bone was replaced on the plate

Well I can say in a few words for my first visit to York I enjoyed every moment  

Heres a few pics that I forgot to load.

York Minster from the York Wall;



Gareth did finally get over the hang over


We also kept bumping into the piano player busking .....yes busking with his upright piano .....


A few pics of the inside of the York Minster



This was the ceiling in the Chapter House that we went to the service in.



The immensity of some of the ceilings was very humbling indeed.



Here are some of the new gargoyles that are going to be added to the renevations


The Calendar/ Clock was an engineering marvell and commenorated the men and women who had lost their lives in the 2nd World War.

The final picture is of the York Museum Park and the sun was enjoyable bonus to our last afternoon in York,


Did I enjoy York ....most definitely and I got to meet some more OTG'ers  always good [/img]

Looks like a wonderful place to visit.  As always, I'm in awe with the stonework.

Agreat write and pictures from both of you    

Polidori and I had a great day with Lois and Gareth. It was lovely to meet them and it was lovely to so quickly feel like we'd known them for a long time rather just the one day  

Glad the rest of your weekend was so good Lois and Gareth. Your liquid gift are going down very well if slowly (only so to make them LAST till next time   )

It was a really great day and we've since taken Katharine to the new laid out Jorvik over this last bank holiday weekend.

Can't wait to meet up with you both again soon.  

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