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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

A Day in York

I set off on the hop-on-hop-off bus this morning about 9.20. I was the only passenger when I got on near my hotel. 

There is a huge amount to see - and to do - in York. I am being highly selective. After more than five weeks as a tourist, I am tired and in need of a slow, relaxed pace. The bus is very useful, and excellent value. It passes in and out of the walls - a most useful way to gain a sense of the evolving modern, as well as the historical city. 
The wall is always near, defining and constraining, as well as reminding.
Some things, however, are constant reminders - like the mass grave of most of the 185 local victims of the 1832 cholera epidemic, outside the wall near the station, with about 20 sad memorials, still, apparently superstitiously avoided by some for fear of infection. 
The river, like the wall, disappears and reappears.
I alighted from the bus near the Minster. 
Before visiting it I checked out The Viking Loom - the needlework supply shop much recommended by the English women on the Scottish Highlands tour. 
It was worth checking out. I had noticed two round needlepoint cushions in their online shop. They looked even better in the physical shop. 
I didn't add to my luggage, but may one day order them online.

The Minster has some lovely detailed stonework, creating a lace effect.
Some of it is too high to either view with the eye, or photograph without a telephoto lens.
Others, lower down, are eroded.
There is, however, a very large restoration program underway. The stonework is largely clean and at the East end of the Cathedral there are well organised and intelligently presented displays explaining both the stained glass and stone restoration work. 
It is painstaking work involving teams of highly expert people. The entire East window is boarded up as each individual pane of glass is removed, cleaned, repaired and restored to its place. 
I spent a couple of hours in the Minster. Some of what I observed I am keeping for another post - there was just so much. The Kings' screen and the embroideries will be the subject of a later post - tomorrow or Friday.

A group of women were providing tea or coffee and cake inside the Minster to raise money for the parish.
They had baked a goodly range of cake and biscuits and set up tables. I had coffee and shortbread for £1.40. I didn't order 3 pieces of shortbread - that was the allocation.
One of the women saw me photographing some embroidery and came and talked to me about it - but more on that in the next post.
As a young woman I would have been critical of the church as a social institution, rather than an intellectually-engaged one. I now have a more sympathetic view of the cultural dimension of faith - the way many people can serve and express their faith through ritual and participation in routine along with practical acts and relationships - weaving a fabric that creates as well as makes sense of their life.
I sat outside the Minister for a while to listen to a couple singing folk songs - including a lovely rendition of "Where have all the flowers gone?". 

I reboarded the bus and went several stops to the Quilting Museum where there is a Kaffe Fassett Exhibition : Ancestral Gifts.
For this exhibition Kaffe Fassett has created 15 quilts to pair with 15 historical quilts from the Guild's collection. It was a most interesting juxtaposition - and very beautiful. 
Photography was permitted, but Internet publication is not, so I only show here the general view of the lovely hall. If any of my quilting friends would like photos for their own study purposes, email me privately. 
By this time I was pretty tired, so I took the bus back to my hotel for a rest, past the Shambles and shopping areas,
Clifford's Tower 
the York Museum 
the courts, with their barred cells still in use
through the last true Barbican gate in England ( shrouded in scaffolding) .
I had a restful afternoon writing this post and beginning my second Icons piece . 


  1. York is such a diverse place that everyone's experience is very individual in such a small place. You have given me some great tips for online stores. Take it easy and enjoy tomorrow. Vivienne.

  2. Thank you for this lovely blog. I've so enjoyed traveling along with you vicariously.


  3. Yo ho, quilt photos, eh? My ears perked up right away. I think, though, that I have already seen most of them elsewhere. Kaffe's use of colour is always inspirational, but I was disappointed at how much he had simplified the construction.

    York, however, looks really amazing and worth the visit. I can well imagine that you were running out of steam by this point, but there is tons to admire. Next time!