Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Ouse Bridge

I walked along here in the early evening today. Funny how ones moods draw one to particular places. I kept ending up on bridges throughout my walk; crossing over them, looking upriver, looking downriver, and with this bridge - going for a look underneath it too.

Apologies for not blogging for so long, and thanks for all the comments on the post below! I am fine, and alive, but haven't been feeling like going round town with my camera for quite a while, and felt quite unable to blog. I am at a very definite crossing place in life at the moment, having left one life behind, I need to walk on into the new, but it has been more scary than I thought.

Easier, I guess, to stay stuck on the bridge where all options for advance or retreat are still open. Better get off it soon, and start walking in my chosen direction. It's a new year after all ...

PS. Last month I put 2 posts on here. The first said something like "Sorry I haven't blogged for so long. But I'm starting again from today." I published it, screamed, and deleted it. I then wrote another post which said something like. "Sorry I haven't blogged for so long. But I have decided not to blog York anymore. So that's it. Goodbye." I published it, screamed, and deleted it. As you can see, I have been more than a little confused. So was everyone else, I think, when those posts showed up in feeds but were gone from the blog.

Anyway ... if I haven't deleted this post by the end of the evening ... it would appear I that I am back!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

My Favourite Train

My own personal favourite train in the National Railway Museum is this one, the Mallard. I like the look and shape of it. My mum just told me she used to travel on one of these when going to and from London in the 50s. The one in the background - the Eurostar is one I've been on, under the English Channel to France.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Wheels and pistons at the National Railway Museum

This exhibit at the National Railway Museum has always been a favourite of my children, especially Erik, when he was little. The wheels and pistons of this train are exposed and are turning so that you can see how it all works. There are information panels telling you what all the bits are, and here a guide is explaining it to some visitors.

Friday, 14 November 2008

National Railway Museum

Trains are one reason that York gets a lot of visitors. York has always been a major railway centre, and we now have the National Railway Museum here. There are loads of fantastic exhibits, and although I'm not a particular train fan in the way some people are, I do like looking at the steam engines on display. It's amazing how huge they are when you get up to them.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

York at Night - River Ouse

Here's one I prepared earlier.

I took this shot when I was visiting York last year, before moving here. Whenever I came here - as I did quite often to visit my mother - I always felt quite elated on seeing this view from Skeldergate Bridge, with a really happy yaaay I''m in York feeling.

I'd love to have a riverfront flat here - it's a dream I have. No garden for the kids though - although we could always get a boat, I suppose :-)

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

The Yorkshire Wheel

Indeed it was the Yorkshire Wheel I took yesterday's view from. Wayne was right, despite referring to it as a blot on the landscape! Personally I have to confess to being a bit of a big wheel fan, even of fairground big wheels although they always scare me to death (obligatory horror thought while riding: what if the fairground man was on the p*ss last night and didn't put it together properly). Not that the Yorkshire Wheel was remotely like a fairground ride - much more sedate and upmarket - but I still had to ride it and get some photos.

The Yorkshire Wheel is gone now though. Yes, as reported by The JollyGreenP in this post , it was dismantled on November 5th and is no longer on the site at the National Railway Museum where it used to stand - although it will possibly be re-erected somewhere else in the city.

Thanks to everyone who had a guess at the location, btw. Jane, I loved your suggestion of on top of the Norman Tower. I would have needed a powerful zoom to see York from Bury :-D Now, what should Wayne have as his prize ...? Hmm, maybe a special photo, coming up on Friday!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Bits of the Minster #4

I was very pleased to discover today, in the dim and murky depths of my groaning "My Pictures" folder, a set of photographs I took about a year and a half ago, and which I'd started to think I'd taken in a dream. I thought this one fitted nicely into my "Bits of the Minster" occasional series.

Can you guess where I was when I took it? The answer is in a photo I posted ... oo, around a couple of weeks back, I reckon. ;-)

Monday, 10 November 2008

Terry Avenue in Autumn

I cycle down Terry Avenue when I go into town. Rowntree Park is on the left, behind the railings. The River Ouse in on the right, behind the hedge. When I was living away, this ride is one of the things I used to think back to and miss loads. When I lived here before though, in the early 90s, I lived in the village of Heslington and cycled in to town down the other side of the river. Which is just as nice as this one.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Remembering Guy Fawkes - A Son of York

This is St Michael-le-Belfrey Church, in the centre of York, where Guy Fawkes was baptised. On the left of this scene stands York Minster (which you can't see). On the right, (which you can see,) is the house where Guy Fawkes was born, now the Guy Fawkes Inn. I stood and watched for a while the other morning, thinking how in 1570, Guy's parents didn't have far to take their three day old baby for his Christening service on April 16th.

I thought I'd conclude my Guy Fawkes mini-series with a thought provoking poem by one of our own daily photo bloggers (Hyde) Gerald England, written when he was in Glasgow in 1966.


It was just the other day.
Bonfire night the fifth of November.
I went down myself
to where the suburb children
had built their bonfire
and as I watched the effigy
slowly being burnt,
I thought to myself I ought not to be here -
it is a Yorkshireman whom they burn.

My thoughts floated back
to the little close in Petergate
where in 1570
in the Church of St. Michael-le-Belfry
behind the great Minster of York,
Guy Fawkes was baptised.
And as a rocket shot out of a one-pint milk-bottle,
shooting high over tenement roofs,
I thought I ought not to be here -
it is a Yorkshireman whom they burn.

My thoughts escaped
to the Old Hall at Scotton
where Guy's childhood was spent.
There, in those rooms, did he plot
with the Brothers Wright?
And I thought of their home,
Ploughland, on the Spurn Road
where Holderness cocks a snoot at the sea.
Just then they lit some Roman candles
and the explosion of a banger
woke me and arrested my thoughts.
Then I remembered, I ought not to be here -
it is a Yorkshireman whom they burn.

My thoughts escaped once more;
down South to Kettering and Newton Hall
where met the unlucky thirteen,
six Yorkshiremen and seven others,
then plan to annihilate King and Parliament for ever,
with thirty-two hundredweight of powder.
And as the bonfire cast shadows on the ground
I remembered I ought not to be here -
it is a Yorkshireman whom they burn.

Oh how I pictured,
as the body on the firebegan to disintegrate in the flames,
the sufferings felt by Guy
as he neither lay nor sat nor stood
in the Cell of Little Ease until,
on the 31st day of January
in the year sixteen hundred and six,
he was executed,
hung, drawn and quartered.
I knew as I watched the dying embers of the fire,
I ought not to be here -
it is a Yorkshireman whom they burn.


Saturday, 8 November 2008

Guy Fawkes' Birth Place

The blue plaque outside the Guy Fawkes Inn on High Petergate reads as follows:
APRIL 13th 1570
The notorious gunpowder plotter who attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament on November 5th 1605.
He was hung, drawn and quartered in Westminster London January 31st 1606.
The interior of the Guy Fawkes Inn

Friday, 7 November 2008

Guy Fawkes' Record of Baptism in York

Guy Fawkes, whose death is celebrated on Bonfire Night (Nov 5th) was born in York, and was baptised in the church of St Michael Le Belfrey. On my visit there this morning, I found that the register showing the entry for Guy Fawkes' baptism is on display this week, on its final day today so I was lucky to get to see it just in time. I can't read the script at all, but his entry is on the left and is the third from the top, with two small black vertical lines just next to it. Guy Fawkes, son of Edward Fawkes. The entry is dated 16th April 1570.

This nice lady whose name I omitted to ask (although we established that she knows my mum!) has been a guardian of the register while it's been on display. It'll be out again in January, as part of a residents' week taking place.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Ruby's Bonfire Night 2008

This array of fireworks was exploded in our back garden last night, shortly after the photo was taken. In the absence of Mr Ruby, I had to light them myself. Two kids were watching from an upstairs bedroom window, another one from downstairs by the back kitchen door. I think they enjoyed watching me legging it like a mad woman down the garden steps when the fuse started to fizzle quite a bit more than watching the fireworks. Their favourite bit though was probably when I was squatting at the bottom of the garden in the dark, trying to read instructions by torchlight. I managed to lose my balance, did a slow motion semi-backwards roll and ended up on my back with my head among some plantpots.

You'll be pleased (I hope) to know that the Ruby Torch didn't get me. I legged it extra fast after lighting that one.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

My Favourite Night Of the Year

It's Bonfire Night! The most exciting night of the year - in my opinion anyway. Although there are lots of organised firework displays around, we always have fireworks in our own back garden on the actual night, Nov 5th.
For those outside the UK I should explain that Nov 5th in is a weird sort of evening, in theory commemorating the "bringing to justice" of a man called Guy Fawkes, who tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. I say in theory, because if I thought too hard about what it was actually about, I might have to stop celebrating it! Most people, including me, do it now for the fireworks, toffee and fun! Traditions are funny things.
Some people make a "guy", an effigy of a man, to put on their bonfire and burn on the evening. I can remember making one as a kid, with my local brownie pack, to put on the brownies' bonfire :-S
Guy Fawkes was born in York, so I wonder if the "guy" tradition flourished even here? In Leeds down the road where I was brought up, it certainly did. Over the next few days I'm going to do a Guy Fawkes / Bonfire Night series, and perhaps see what I can find out about him locally.
(Today's photo was taken at a display I attended last year, and the mosaic was put together using the free tool mosaic maker over at a site I rather like - BigHugeLabs, in case you're interested.)

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

A peaceful place to work ...

The above photo is of the place I wish I'd gone to yesterday. York library. But I didn't go there. I had the unlikely idea of working in an unlikely place instead and what a disaster that turned out to be.
So where did I go? To Tesco Cafe of all places! Tesco is my local supermarket. It's a huge one, and has a very bright and cheerful cafe upstairs. I figured I could work there from 9 till 3.30, school run time, and I have to say I did get quite a bit done - but not in ideal circumstances.
Obviously I knew there would be hustle and bustle, which I can take in moderation. But what I hadn't bargained for was the cafe being full of college students, all day, because Tesco is right opposite York College. It was like trying to work in a high school canteen. At one point a man (presumably a college lecturer) came in and went round the tables telling all the students: "We have had complaints about large groups of students in here, occupying tables and not buying anything, making noise, and swearing. Have you been swearing?" Which caused some hilarity.
Back to York Library tomorrow, I think.
P.S. Sorry no photo of Tesco cafe. I forgot my camera, duh! And no, I'm not going back another day to take one :-D
P.P.S Do I sound like a grumpy old git? I feel like one!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Pizza Hut Limo

Well it's great to be back in York, with all of its York-ness and eccentricities. Haven't had time to go out and take photos yet, but here's one I snapped some time ago - of someone arriving at Pizza Hut by limousine. Personally it wouldn't be my choice of dining establishment for an evening of chauffer driven luxury (I'd go to Pizza Express, it's in a posher building ;-) but someone is obviously a fan.

PS Today I'm going to spend the day in a very unlikely place. Tune in tomorrow to find out where.


Later today, the kids and I will be boarding a train to take us back to York. Above is a photo of our destination: York Station. Wayne commented a while back that York Station has lots of atmosphere, and I would agree with that. It's quite a big, sprawling station, and we are well connected in York to all other places. We also have the National Railway Museum in the City which I shall photograph sometime soon. That's the Yorkshire Wheel in the background by the way, a bit like the London Eye on a smaller scale. Panoramic views over the city from there!

Our departure point will be Bury St Edmunds Station, shown above. A bit of a grim station, with no shops on the platform and trains are often missed out. There isn't even anywhere nearby you can go for a coffee - the nearest place is Tesco cafe, not good. It's a shame, because the station is a beautiful huge Victorian building and it has loads of potential. This area of Bury is currently being redeveloped so maybe things will change.

Ruby is in Bury St Edmunds for the week, where she formerly lived and blogged. This post is part of a series to run until her return to York, comparing the two towns.

Saturday, 1 November 2008


When I first got married to Mr Ruby, it was my dream to build up a huge collection of books, and maybe one day, have a house with its very own library.

I think I must have changed at some point in the late nineties, when we were being crowded out of our house by amassed books, from university text books to the bestsellers of five years ago. I got rid of the lot.

I still love books, but once I've read them, out they go, and when I want to use reference books I go to the library. My inner gypsy doesn't like clutter. She needs to be ready to take off at any moment, without having to worry about what to do with books.

The above photograph shows a room in one of York's many second hand book shops. This one's just next to the Minster. I love browsing this shop, but you can safely say that no room in my house will ever look like it!

This post was for City Daily Photo Blogs' Theme Day Nov 1st 2008 : Books.
Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

Friday, 31 October 2008

Spooky Trees

Mad pollarding in York, by Skeldergate Bridge.

Mad pollarding in Bury St Edmunds, by the Norman Tower.

I always think there's something a bit otherwordly about severely pollarded trees. So I thought this would be a good post to do for Halloween. And the Bury St Edmunds photo was taken in the Great Churchyard.

Ruby is in Bury St Edmunds for the week, where she formerly lived and blogged. This post is part of a series to run until her return to York, comparing the two towns.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Big Hair at St Williams College

The day I got married I had big hair. I went to get my hair done in a salon somewhere quite near the scene of this photo on the morning of my wedding, and came out with a massive bouffante. By the time I had my photo taken looking out of one of the top windows of the courtyard inside St Williams College (above), where we had our wedding reception, it had flopped a bit, but was big compared to how it normally is. Had I fallen out of said window, there was still a good chance my hair would have worked as an already-open parachute.

Although big hair was a change from my usual flat hair, all things considered, I would probably not go large on a haircut again.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Iconic Statues

There is a very good opportunity for a silly photo if you are posing next to this statue. You can actually hang your bag / umbrella / whatever you have with you, from Constantine's extended hand. Very irreverent of course, but in York, no one much minds. This statue has been here only for about 10 years but has quickly become one of the city's iconic symbols.

So what does the Roman Emperor Constantine have to do with York? Well, he was actually proclaimed Emporer in York, in 306, and the statue's plaque tells us that after his conversion to Christianity, he "established the foundations of Western Christendom."

This is a statue of St Edmund by Elizabeth Frink. He stands rather spookily between St Edmundsbury Cathedral and the Great Churchyard. There is an ongoing local campaign in East Anglia to reinstate St Edmund as patron saint of Britain (he was ousted by St George). The original St Edmund, King of East Anglia was killed by the Danes in 869, at Bradfield just outside Bury St Edmunds. Don't try hanging anything from this statue. The locals would lynch you.

Ruby is in Bury St Edmunds for the week, where she formerly lived and blogged. This post is part of a series to run until her return to York, comparing the two towns.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008


"I know, having visited York, that you come away thinking nice Minster - shame about the toilets'." Richard Chisnell, Director of the British Toilet Association.

Above is Splash Palace - as York's Public Conveniences are known locally. I've always thought they were OK as far as public toilets go, but apparently no-one else agrees. So this building in Parliament Street will be flattened next year and the debate is on as to what, if anything, should be built in its place. An opportunity to showcase what the town has to offer there, thinks the York Tourist Board. Whereas others think it will open up the town centre if nothing is there. New public toilets will be round the corner near Newgate Market.
On to toilets in Bury St Edmunds. Where do I start? Here is a town where there is major toilet trouble. The old main public loos were knocked down as part of a project to build a new shopping centre. New temporary loos were set up in portakabins, right next to where building work is going on, meaning there is now quite a hike from Bury's current town centre to go to the lav. This has caused lots of complaints, and dissatisfaction that the council is effectively moving the town centre from its age old location to where the new shopping development is. Toilets are but one aspect of that particular story.

Ruby is in Bury St Edmunds for the week, where she formerly lived and blogged. This post is part of a series to run until her return to York, comparing the two towns.

Monday, 27 October 2008


I didn't get my act together quickly enough today to continue the series comparing York and Bury St Edmunds. That will have to happen tomorrow now. In the meantime, here is a photo taken somewhere between the two towns as my eldest son and my daughter share ipod music on our journey.

Sunday, 26 October 2008


In the centre of York is a park known as the Museum Gardens. It has the ruins of an Abbey in it, St Mary's Abbey (1006-1539). Above, this section of the ruins makes a nice setting for one of the paintings in The Grand Tour. When I took this photo, a big sound system erected right next to the ruins was playing Gregorian chants (don't know if that's the right term; it was monks singing in Latin).

In the centre of Bury St Edmunds is a park known as the Abbey Gardens. It has the ruins of an Abbey in it: The Great Abbey of Bury St Edmunds (1020ish-1539). Like St Mary's in York, it was pillaged for building materials after Henry VIII's dissolution of the monastaries in 1539. But this abbey had a flint and rubble core, so when the stone cladding blocks were taken off (few remain), these weird and wonderful shapes were left. One of my Bury St Edmunds blog readers who used to play in the Abbey Gardens as a child called this part shown above "The Chicken and the Kettle."

Ruby is in Bury St Edmunds for the week, where she formerly lived and blogged. This post is part of a series to run until her return to York, comparing the two towns.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Ticket to Ride

I have a ticket to ride, ladies and gentlemen.

This afternoon, I shall be boarding a train at York Railway Station with my 3 children (although one of them is no longer a child) and heading back to Bury St Edmunds for half-term week.

Bury St Edmunds is where I lived for 11 years. Most people in York haven't heard of it, so I explain that if the map of Great Britain looks like a witch riding a pig, with Cornwall as the pig's trotter, and Wales as its head, then the pig's arse is East Anglia. Bury St Edmunds is somewhere in the middle of the arse. I shall be there until next Sunday night.

Throughout the week, I shall be running a series of photographs which compare York, where I now live, to Bury St Edmunds.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Guess the weight anyone?

This squash is in the window of the greengrocer's, Millie's, right next door to the Pig and Pastry. For a £1 you can have a guess at the weight, with the chance of winning £50 to spend in the shop. All proceeds are going to the children's ward at York District Hospital. I haven't had a go because I'm useless at weights and I really have no idea. If anyone else does, give me a hand and post your guess below! I might enter yet. A bean or two from Millie's negotiable if I win with your guess ;-)

Through the window you can see the terraces on Bishopthorpe Road. The road leads, unsurprisingly, to the village of Bishopthorpe, where the current Archbishop of York resides.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Ruby and the Open Door in the Shambles

Open doors are irresistible. They are just asking you to go through them.

And so it was that I came upon an open door a few buildings down from 12 Shambles.

I went through it, and followed the staircase up, with pictures of film stars watching me all the way. At the top was a landing and then another staircase with more film stars. Up again. First there was a hairdresser's, then some offices. Up a few stairs, down a few stairs, along another corridor. And then I met a nice man who has a therapy practice at the top of the building and he let me have a look at the room where he works.

I entered through the doorway pictured above at number 15, but by the time I was in the therapy room on the top floor, I was above number 19. It could have been a room like this where Gails Man's great-great grandfather, William Riley lived in the 1880s, as the building above 19 is similar to the one above number 12. Although I suspect the decor would have been quite different.

What I love about this room is the fact that the windows are almost the same height as the wall itself. Imagine having a bed by them. The view through William's window could have been very much like the view through this one. Only with quite a lot of butcher-y things going on down in the street below. Here's the view as it is today:

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

12 Shambles

I received an email recently from Gail's Man at Nottingham Daily Photo, telling me about his own connection with York.

He has roots here, right in the very heart of the town. His great-grandfather, William Riley, a chimney sweep, lived at number 12 the Shambles in the 1880s. And his uncle, William Everett, was born just round the corner, at 30 Little Shambles in 1898.

Today, I went to investigate 12 the Shambles, pictured above. One of the street's characterful medieval buildings, it is now a sweet shop, and the manageress was happy for me to have a look round and take some photos - and interested in the story of the building's one time inhabitant!

Inside it looks every part the olde worlde shop - but it would of course, like most of the shops in the Shambles, have been a butcher's at the time William Riley lived here.

The beams are fantastic. I even had a peek behind the shelf units and you can see the same wooden beams across the walls. From oak trees that lived quite a long time ago!

You can see evidence that this was once a butcher's on the top photo as the heavy window sill is where meat would have been displayed, and also on this pic (right) behind the shop sign, meat hooks are still visible (some bent to accomodate the sign). In Victorian times, meat would have been hanging outside most of the shop fronts in the street.

No meat today - just lots of colourful sweeties. These pictured are all traditional Yorkshire boiled sweets. They had Yorkshire mixture too, which was always one of my favourites as a kid.

There are another couple of storeys above the shop, which I presume was where Gails Man's great-grandfather lived. These are all offices now, and I didn't manage to venture up in this particular building, although I did in an almost identical one a few doors down. But that's for tomorrow.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008


Shambles, more popularly known as The Shambles.

It's apparently Europe's most visited street. It also has the claim to fame of being Europe's best preserved medieval street. I walked down it with a friend recently, who set it looked like a film set, but nope, it's the real thing!

The word Shambles is from Anglo-Saxon shammels meaning "little shelves/booths" and the word Flesshamels means literally "meat shelves." The Shambles was once the home of York's meat market, where meat was displayed by butchers on the wide wooden slabs at the bottom of the window frames.

These days it can be a bit hard to imagine that this was once a meat market. It would also have been - a bit of a shambles, frankly, as animals were slaughtered in the street, and all the waste - guts, offal and blood - was thrown down a runnel in the middle, hence the expression shambles, meaning a mess.

These days there are some very nice characterful little shops there - some of them touristy, but none the worse for that. Interestingly, there is another City Daily Photo blogger who has a connection with the Shambles. Who could it be, and what's the link? Tune in tomorrow to find out ;-)

Monday, 20 October 2008

The Pig and Pastry

What could be more welcoming on a grey October morning, than the Pig and Pastry on Bishopthorpe Road? This is the local cafe I mentioned in a previous post - where I met with friends on Friday morning. As well as a cafe, it's also a deli, and there's a lovely warm, friendly atmosphere. It isn't in the centre of York, but isn't too far from it either - and I'm lucky enough to live just round the corner. I think this could well become a regular haunt :-)

I took these photos this morning. I need to investigate the range of cakes and pastries they do further next time I go in. The pastries being put on display, fresh from the oven, looked sooo tempting. The Pig and Pastry is relatively new on the Bishopthorpe Rd parade of shops, but is already extrememly popular!

Pig & Pastry, 35 Bishopthorpe Rd, York YO23 1NA. Tel: 01904 675115

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Swing in Davygate

There was a bit of swing going on this afternoon on Davygate. In the mood, na na na na naaaah! Not that they played that (when I was listening) but it reminded me of that a bit.

In the background is St Helen's Graveyard (a little bit of preserved graveyard off Davygate) and you can see the copy of the painting "Lady Cockburn and her three eldest sons" by Sir Joshua Reynolds, part of The Grand Tour in York.

To follow on from my last post, I had a really good time at the Pig and Pastry by the way, and met a very interesting new friend :-) The Pig and Pastry might become a regular haunt - rather good, and not at all far from the new chez Ruby.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Bits of the Minster #3

For me, this was the obvious shot of the Minster to take, and is the first one I took, in fact. I probably didn't put it on first because it seemed obvious.

It's difficult taking pictures of something that everyone takes pictures of, because of the need to make it different, and capture something original. Photos taken from an odd angle to make the thing look different can look as cliched as those taken as a straight shot, which is why I wasn't too thrilled with the one above. It's sort of a mixture of "straight on" and twisted angle, to get the lampost in as well. But having left it to "rest" for a week or two, I don't mind it as much this morning.

About this morning. I am excited. I'm going to meet the friend of a friend that I mentioned before. We shall be having coffee (and possibly a cake :-) ) in the Pig and Pastry. In fact I had better go and get ready now ;-)

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Alternative transport

Best granny-mobile ever. Look! It has a buggy board on the back for grandad!

My kids were really excited to see this today, as it made them remember when we used to have a buggy board to go on the back of the push chair, for one of them to stand on. It might even be in the shed in Bury St Edmunds still.

The above photo was taken in Rowntree Park, less than an hour ago. It's worth pointing out that the pair are actually heading towards the skate park :-D

Friday, 10 October 2008

Harvest Festival

Little J's school had their harvest festival today in St Andrew's Church, Bishopthorpe. Next year I shall know to camp outside the night before to get a place near the front. A good thing about where I sat though, was that it was right behind Kay, one of the only 4 people in York that I know so far, making me feel a little less like Ruby-no-mates. She's the mum of one of Little J's new friends, and we had exchanged a word or two in the playground.

Then during the service, the vicar got up to say his bit. I admit, I was only sort of half listening to him but I suddenly became aware of him saying " ... and then you just say to yourself, 'Oh God! I can't be doing with this!' " I noticed Kay in front of me leaning across to the lady next to her, and whispering: "Did he just say Oh God?" So I leaned forward between them and said, "He did! He said Oh God!" And we all sat looking at one another in a nice, companiable, astonishment sharing session.

Afterwards, Kay invited me back to her house for coffee, and showed me round the village of Bishopthorpe. She's going to introduce me to another one of her friends next week. So it seems I will soon be knowing five people in York :-)

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Big Fish

It was misty in York this morning. I had a perfect idea for a misty photograph to post, but could I be bothered to go out into the cold morning with my camera? Could I heck. Bad blogger, Ruby! In fact I've been having a bit of an "I wish it was the weekend and I really can't be arsed to do anything" day.

I have cheered up now though, having forced myself to get a few things done, and just having eaten a nice smoked salmon sandwich for lunch. That's not related to the picture above, by the way - in case you were thinking I might suddenly launch into something like: "At the fish farm this week ... " ;-)

The picture is in fact another one from this weekend, when we visited Burnby Hall Gardens in Pocklington. We were all feeling a bit tired when we arrived, having just spent three hours at the hockey tournament, but the sight of all these huge, very tame fish in the lake cheered us up instantly. Especially the kids, who were feeding them (tubs of fish food are available for £1).

There's definitely something a bit magical about Burnby Hall and Gardens. It's like a setting for fairy stories or something. Wanna go back there soon. But in the meantime I have the thought of a return visit to another very special place to keep me occupied. The countdown has begun. 16 days before a week's holiday in Bury St Edmunds :-D It's going to feel strange going back as a visitor.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

A newsagents on Stonegate

A newsagents like they used to be, on Stonegate. I like this shop. Like quite a few shops in York, it's just a proper independent shop. It doesn't consciously try to be one, but it carries on the tradition of the way these kind of places have always been. I admit to being a bit of a Borders fan, and I like WHSmiths as well, for the sheer variety of things they have in there. But shops like this make me remember my childhood, and the very similar place in Leeds I walked past on my way home from school - where I would often stock up on penny bubblies, get a quarter of Yorkshire mixture, and buy my favourite comics. Worth nipping in to support them by buying a paper and a mag whenever I can, I reckon.