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.

Cliffords Tower 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 York Minster 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 gift 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.

York Minster Again 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 window.

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.)

York Museum Gardens 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 blisters.

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 WhipMaWhopMaGate 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.

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