Saturday, November 06, 2004

England Trip Notes - 10/15/2004

We learned today that the drive north to York is much less intimidating than the drive south. This was our first foray into the north of England.

We left at 7:30 AM and took the A1 north to Thirsk. Thirsk is the site of Alf Wight's (aka James Herriot) veterinary practice, and one of the places that was high on my list. Alf died in 1995, as did Donald Sinclair (aka Siegfried Farnon). After their deaths, the town council decided to make the house a museum, and so the old house, known as Skeldale house in the books, looks just as it would have during the period that the books describe. I, being a fan of James Herriot books, enjoyed this visit more than Beth, but she seemed to like it too. We toured the house, viewed the museum and other displays they have set up, and I even sat in the old Austin 7 that Alf used for his rounds.

Leaving Thirsk, we drove to the outskirts of York and used the Park and Ride system to enter the city. We had several things we wanted to do in York, but we had spent too much time inThirsk, so we headed for the most important on our list, the York Minster Cathedral. Again, the tour of this facility took much longer than planned, cutting even further into our itinerary, but it was worth it. The cathedral traces its history all the way back to the 5th century, although not in its present form. It is spectacular from an architectural perspective and awe-inspiring from a historical perspective. Due to time constraints, we had to forgo climbing the tower and descending into the crypt underneath.

From the Minster, we meandered into town. It is an old medeaval city which reminded me of our visit to Jerusalem. Walking in one direction, and then turning around and heading back where you think you came from, does not always lead you to your starting point. Roads curve and wind and go under and around, so that before you know it, you are lost.

We found our way, though, only having to ask directions a couple of times. We visited the Shambles, which is the outdoor market area, and we enjoyed a cream tea at Betty's Tea Rooms. Both of us agreed that the scones at Hathaway Team Rooms in Stratford were much better than these, but it was good, nonetheless.

We took our leave of York by hopping back on our park and ride bus, returned to the car park, and headed south on the A1 toward home. The return trip took longer because it was rush hour, and it was raining miserably, so traffic stopped and started, and when moving, moved slowly. But, we arrived back at our humble cottage safely, and for that we are thankful.

Tomorrow, we plan to check out of the A-frame cottage, visit the market in Oakham until 4:00 PM when we will check in to our second room here at Barnesdale, in the Stable Mews.

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