Monday Apr. 3rd, 2000 The Yorkminster
2C/30F Gusts to 50mph, snow to 500ft. -1C/30F at night
Noticed this morning that I've now seen what we'd considered a "normal"
light switch in our hotel room. not a rocker switch like all the others. It's
still down for on and up for off however.
Woke up and peered out the window to check on the weather. After all, it had
to be better than yesterday! Good news! the horizon was farther away, so less
haze. But wait - why are all the trees thrashing like that? Oh dear. .
Looks a bit windy today.
Len was chomping at the bit for getting such a late start. Breakfast had
started 15 mins before we were able to get over to the main building 2 doors
down. Breakfast was a Full English so we needn't starve if we missed a meal.
After that it was off to the Exhibition Centre at Bootham (rhymes with 'bosom')
Bar. Looks like we got there just as the first "Hop-On" tour bus was arriving.
Ahh, lovely. Nothing like an open top double decker tour bus for sightseeing..
. in the blinding sleet. Tourism was a bit slow this morning and we had the bus
to ourselves, so the guide abandoned his "guide" seat and mic, dropped his Jung
paperback on the seat in front of us and plopped down across the aisle to give
us the personal tour. In between the usual stuff (and at long traffic lights)
we just chatted. I hadn't known that York was big in the official chocolate
biz. We took in the 60 mins. of sights and sites, chatted about the differences
between the SF Bay Area and Wisconsin (where he'd gone to school) and watched
our breath [quite visible] steam up the windows.
Then is was time for the
Minster. Spent quite a long time in there (mostly as
it was warm and dry). We found the bit of glass with the makers mark waaaaay
up high in the north window, read the engravings, saw the tombs of the Black
Prince (younger brother of Prince William) and the first Archbishop of York and
got very dizzy staring up at the vaults of the tower.
We went down into the crypt and treasury area. Seeing the Roman,Saxon,Norman
foundations and work was impressive. The old Roman bits (mosaics, gutters and
frescos) were incredible. Very impressive when surrounded by the new (1967-72)
work done to the foundations. Bolts, cement, and hand chiseled stone all
holding up the millions of tons of stonework above. The Roman level is about
12-20 ft below the current level. We thought about climbing the 227 steps to
the tower but it was getting a bit expensive (£3 donation, £3 crypt and another
£3 for the tower climb - each) So we opted on dropping another £15 in the
shop instead. Found a really pretty T-shirt I wanted, but they had no small or
medium. I got a large for Adri. It's 100% cotton, so I think it'll shrink to
fit her. And she likes them baggy anyways.
Walked out the doors and were hit with a wet icy blast! Wow! It's blowing,
freezing AND wet! To prove I'm not exaggerating allow me to state the *Len*
came up with the idea of looking for a nice tea shoppe to get warm! I
suggested the internet cafe so we gradually struggled the 45 miles thru the
sleet (uphill, barefoot and in the snow of course) to walk the two blocks to
it. Every so often an awning would fill and dump several pints of freezing
water down the back of our necks, just like a chamber pot being emptied out a
Once we got there we settled in (at a PC this time), me with a hot chocolate
and Len with the proverbial Guinness (well it was there and ...). Began to
thaw out, send email and take catch up on the usual sysadmin tasks. We also
remembered to email our Mums to wish them "Happy Mothering Sunday". (Well it
was still Sunday at home, and besides, Mothers Day in the states isn't for
another month. You know mothers. Glad to hear from your whatever the excuse.)
Spent about an hour there sharing the machine. About 45 mins. into it we
looked out the window and saw the rain had now become BIG drops. But Wait!
Why are they white and fluttery!?! Oh NO! It's SNOWING!! The novelty
of this fact wore off as the afternoon progressed. We saw a lot of it. Flurry
of snow, sheet of rain, flurry of snow, ad infinitum..
We managed to get thru 3 blocks of this before ducking into the National Trust
Tea Room for a pot of hot Yorkshire tea for 2 and sandwiches. Didn't help.
Once we'd eaten up it was only worse. Our bellies full we admitted defeat and
trudged back to the hotel to dry off, thaw out, and put bandaids on our
We read, caught the news (theres something rather pitiful about pictures of
daffodils and little baby lambs buried under 3 inches of snow... 'specially
when thats only a few miles north and heading right for us!)
By the time we were ready to try again the rain had dropped to a drizzle and
the temp to about 1C. The wind was just as gusty though with fewer ice
crystals to sting the face, so bearable.
We walked across town to near the Merchant Adventurers Hall to a pub that our
tour guide had recommended highly. He said the big roaring fireplace was
perfect on a day like this. It was also of historical interest and served good
food. Alas, we got there at 7:30 only to find they'd had a problem and were
only serving jacket potatoes that evening. Back out again looking for food.
In our wanderings we finally got our picture of
Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate. Hit the
White Swan but they'd stopped serving 10 mins. earlier. They did suggest a few
places down the road. We couldn't find the first one but stumbled across the
second one. I had the lamb and rosemary pie and Len had the Stilton and
Mushroom casserole (and part of the Lamb and Rosemary by default).
Feet aching and wind,rain and ice picking up again we headed back to the hotel
and made it in by 21:30 to catch the local news. Oh goody! Road closures all
over and heavy snow and rain predicted tonight in Yorkshire before it heads
further South. The good news? Looks like a high pressure moving into
Edinburgh! Guess I'll finish that 5th book tonight after all.