Friday, 13 February 2009

Pextons - a fine local shop!

I'm lucky to live near a good parade of local shops, just a few minutes walk from my house. Last night they were a real God send. It was nearly 5pm, snowing thick and fast, and I suddenly remembered I needed to make a tray bake for my youngest son to take to school the next day. I had a recipe handy for carrot and orange cake, but no carrots and no suitable cake tin! So I put on my boots and coat, and went to get what I needed at the shops.

The photos are of Pextons on Bishopthorpe Road, a hardware store selling all sorts of useful things for the home - including a cake tin in just the size I needed for my recipe.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Exciting news!

Today's photo is of our blue bag and green box, provided to householders in York for our fortnightly collection of recyclables. What could that have to do with exciting news? Bear with me, it's coming.

I make sure that I use both the bag and box shown above, but also do more besides, such as avoiding excessive packaging in the first place, using my own bags and shopping trolley for my shopping, shopping locally, and on one occasion, I even left my excess packaging behind in the supermarket.

The changes I made were as a result of following my friend Karen's Rubbish Diet Plan - which is about slimming the bin, not the waistline! There is a hideous problem in the UK (as in other places) with too much rubbish being sent to landfil, and ensuing environmental problems.

Karen, who blogs as almost Mrs Average, started her blog The Rubbish Diet at the beginning of last year after a new year resolution to create less waste, and a decision to participate in the local council's "zero waste" week - where the aim was to generate NO RUBBISH as a household for a whole week. In fact the only thing she ended up sending to landfil that week was just one sticking plaster!

Anyway, back to the exciting news as advertised in the title of this post. Karen's blog The Rubbish Diet has just been shortlisted in this year's Guardian Media Awards! The award is an Innovation Award and you can see it for yourself on the Guardian's website here. Scroll down right to the bottom, you'll find it under the heading "Independent Media."

WOW! Congrats Karen, this is much deserved recognition for the Rubbish Diet, WOO HOO!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

I like the Knavesmire in the mist

I posted a misty Knavesmire photo not so long ago, but went back to take more. Here's one of them (click on the Knavesmire label at the bottom of his post if you want to know more about it from my previous entries).

I got to London and back with no problems yesterday, and one highlight of the day was that I saw Feargal Sharkey somewhere in the vicinity of Goodge Street. My friend Karen, who is very good at celebrity spotting, pointed him out to me. So ever since, I have been singing - mainly the first song in this list, which is very catchy, but also the second two which bring back my early teenage years:
A Good Heart Teenage Kicks My Perfect Cousin

(Just so it's clear, Feargal Sharkey has nothing whatsoever to do with the Knavesmire, it's just that I'm thinking about seeing him yesterday while putting this photo up!!)

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

London again

Make way! I am going to London today! I need to be there to attend a luncheon at 11.45am, and will, I hope, be boarding my train at 8:12am.

Snow, rain, floods and all kinds of awful weather conditions are forecast so this photo of a Japanese bullet train in the National Railway Museum here in York is on my blog for good luck!

Not that I know how one of these would fare in British winter weather conditions. Our own trains tend not to do that well either, of course, and I will be amazed if I get to York Station tomorrow and see lots of "on time" trains on the board. I am kind of expecting lots of cancellations. How I hope I'll be pleasantly surprised!

(There is of course also the possibility that I might get there and not be able to get back. That would be interesting.)

Monday, 9 February 2009

More snow

Just when the last lot of snow had just about cleared, it's done it again! My daughter gave a huge sigh when she saw it, and told me; "School is freezing when it snows and some of the stricter teachers won't let us keep our coats on in the class room." Thermal vest for her today then :-D

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Army Climbing Wall in Parliament Street

The army recruiting team were in York for the recent residents' festival, with a climbing wall that moved on a conveyor belt sort of set up - so you could climb and climb but never get to the top. It could be tilted forwards and backwards to vary the gradient too.

LJ had a go, but don't worry, I'm not letting him join up. He'd hate the haircut, anyway :-D

Saturday, 7 February 2009

The Roman Bath Museum

In the centre of York is a pub called the Roman Bath, named as such because the steam room of a Roman bath house was found underneath it in the 1930s. The excavations have been turned into a small but very interesting museum, and last week I went for a look.

This was the bath house in the military fortress of York rather than in the civilan side of town, so there are no decorative mosaics and some tiles bear the insignia of the 9th legion who founded York in AD71. (OMG! This place was once full of naked 9th legion Roman soldiers sitting in the steam!)
I liked this model of the fortress and stood here for a while working out where everything was. That's the main gate at the front which was in St Helen's Square, and the tower on the front left must be the multangular tower. I think the square building in the middle is about where the Minster is, and I think the bath house must be that barely visible building on the front right, just peeping out from behind the wall.

LJ enjoyed trying out the replica armour, shields and helmets in the museum. He found out that a centurion's helmet is very heavy!

Friday, 6 February 2009

Sumo Wrestling in Parliament Street

This was going on for a large part of Saturday morning at the Residents' Festival, with various bystanders lured out of the crowd to don a Sumo costume and wrestle. I should have volunteered. It would have been a good way of keeping warm. Live coverage of events was going out on Minster FM.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

The Fountain

There's a Facebook group I've been enjoying recently, called You Know You're From York When ... and number one on the list is "you meet up at the fountain." Above, is The Fountain. No-one meeting there on the day I took this pic, Monday at around 10am. It was way too chilly!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Lendal Bridge and Tower - seen from the York bus

So after dissing the York bus only a few days ago, I went for a ride on one. An open topped York bus. On the freezing cold last day of January with the snow blizzard that was about to hit York already making itself felt in the air.

I now know what it is like to have the beginnings of frost bite in my nose end. Why don't they make hats for noses? You can get hats, gloves, ear muffs, even thermal underwear to insulate your nethers, but noses are just left exposed to the elements. Anyone good at knitting? There is clearly a gap in the market.

Apart from the bitter cold, being on the York bus was really very good. There was even a commentary to listen to, through some provided earphones. I found it a bit irritating at first, because the commentator was talking to me as if I was an imbecile, but then I realised I had tuned into the little kids' channel. I hadn't realised there were channels. After playing around with the dial for a bit, and amusing myself by listening to various different languages, I settled into the English one (for grown ups this time), and began to enjoy it.

After about fifteen minutes though I'd had enough of being in the open top, and moved downstairs for the remainder of the journey. Maybe I'm just getting nesh* in my old age.

The view here is of the River Ouse, and the bus is going over Lendal Bridge onto Museum Street. The tower is Lendal Tower, built in the 1300s, originally defensive and also a toll point along the river. An iron chain was once stretched from this tower to Barker Tower on the opposite bank, to stop river traffic. A little ferry used to operate just here from at least the 1400s, to get people from one side of the river to another. But the ferryman was put out of business in 1863 when this bridge was built.

*Nesh was a favourite word of my grandfather, who hailed originally from Sheffield. Being described as nesh means you're a wimp - in the sense of overly sensitive to the cold!

Bishopthorpe Road in the Snow

This is the view looking up Bishopthorpe Road, from my morning bus stop. Continue up the road this way, and you go past Terry's and to the village of Bishopthorpe ("Good Morning Archbishop Sentamu").

This is the view looking down Bishopthorpe Road from my bus stop. Continue this way, and you'd go past the Southbank shops (Pig and Pastry, Millie's, hooray!) and into town over Skeldergate Bridge.

A bit of a blizzard was blowing while both these photos were taken yesterday morning, and the bus was half an hour late, booo! Neither of my kids' schools closed, to their dismay as they would have far preferred a day building snowmen and poly bagging. (Ruby Senior: "Well why should schools close because of snow? They never did when I was a child. Not even in 1947!")

Little J did manage to get a diminutive snowman built while we were waiting for the bus, however.

Please note: Normal service on Ruby's blog has been interrupted due to adverse weather conditions, and her subsequent urge to blog snowy snuff. Reporting on events at York Residents' Festival will resume at the earliest opportunity, weather permitting. Thank you for your patience.

Monday, 2 February 2009

York Residents Festival

This weekend it was the York Residents' Festival, and I'm afraid I'm going to be grumpy about it.

The idea is that York residents get to go and visit all of York's major attractions for free - or at a nominal charge. The problem was that everything was PACKED and it was FREEZING in the queues! The kids wanted to visit "Haunted" - a haunted house which is one of York's newer attractions, but the queue was humongous and barely moving. We tried for the Jorvik Viking Centre, which was only doing the residents' festival from 4pm, but again, mega queues in the cold.

There were quite a few interesting things going on in Parliament Street, so we stood and watched this chap (above) fire juggling for a bit while we tried to decide what to do. You probably won't believe what we ended up doing. I hardly can believe it myself. Photo tomorrow. Clue: it didn't make things any warmer!

PS. This chap set his hair on fire by mistake at one point, but just patted it out and didn't seem unduly bothered by the incident.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

York's Snickelways

On the first day of the month, the City Daily Photo blogs participate in a theme day, and this month, it is "paths and passages." I couldn't possibly not participate.

York is celebrated for its passageways, and being an ancient city, it is full of them, some very old and winding, leading between the main streets of the town and providing handy short cuts for those in the know.

In York these passageways have a name all of their own: snickelways, a word coined by the author of the book picured above, bringing together the words snicket, ginnel and alleyway. It caught on very rapidly, and is now a word in current wide use here, whether people are familiar with the book or not!

There are so many snickelways in York, some of them spooky, some plain, some ancient, some modern, that I couldn't decide which one to photograph. In the end disorganisation made my choice as I only remembered to do it at the last minute when I was already waiting for my bus to go home. So the pictured snickelway below is the one next to my bus stop! I've never been down it so I don't know where it goes, but I do like its name: Black Horse Passage.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants in the City Daily Photo Blogs Theme Day.