31. May, 2021

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MONDAY 31-05-21

My word I had a good night's sleep last night, even the pigeons were far fewer, kept their distance and started cooing so much later.

I crawled out of bed at about 07:00 and flicked the boiler and heating on as this morning we were to enjoy a lovely hot shower and a change of clothes, as we were to rub shoulders with our fellow man in York city.

Having had air assisted suspension fitted to the rear axle two or three years ago I find now that if I get 'Freddie' to stand on tip toes a bit with the air pressure, the back end rises just far enough to make the drainage of water from the shower tray to the grey water tank just that bit too slow. I'll have to give it some thought as to how I get over that one, I could drive the front end forward on to the levelling  blocks a little way but that seems a bit inconvenient.

Just as we were about to depart for the Park & Ride site down the road I discovered I'd lost my face mask. I've got numerous face masks but I bought two which are comfortable and fit like a glove, the trouble is I gave one of them to friend at a funeral recently as she'd lost hers. I looked everywhere for it but to no avail. Ah, remembers I, just before we came away I did a 'repeat order' online and bought two more of those masks. So in to the cupboard I went and retrieved one of the new ones.

Imagine my joy as, having walked to the P&R site, I went to put my new face mask on only to find that it had been made to measure for none other than The Jolly Green Giant. It was far too big, and I had to pull the elasticated sides really tight to get it to stay on my face, not only that but it had a piece of wire to shape around my nose which the original masks didn't have. So much for repeat orders.

Unlike back home where bus trips are free on presentation of a bus pass, here we had to pay £1.20 each to get to town but it was free for the return journey. That wasn't a problem as it was a fair price to pay.

So a bit about York then...........

 

The city was founded by the Romans as Eboracum in 71 AD. In the Middle Ages, York grew as a major wool trading centre and became the capital of the northern ecclesiastical province of the Church of England, a role it has retained.

Reclamation of parts of the town was initiated in the 7th century under King Edwin of Northumbria, and York became his chief city. The first wooden minster church was built in York for the baptism of Edwin in 627, according to the Venerable Bede. Edwin ordered the small wooden church be rebuilt in stone; however, he was killed in 633, and the task of completing the stone minster fell to his successor Oswald.

The first stone minster church was badly damaged by fire in the uprising, and the Normans built a minster on a new site. Around the year 1080, Archbishop Thomas started building the cathedral that in time became the current Minster.

In the 12th century York started to prosper. In 1190, York Castle was the site of an infamous massacre of its Jewish inhabitants, in which at least 150 Jews died (although some authorities put the figure as high as 500).

The city, through its location on the River Ouse and its proximity to the Great North Road, became a major trading centre. King John granted the city's first charter in 1212, confirming trading rights in England and Europe. During the later Middle Ages, York merchants imported wine from France, cloth, wax, canvas, and oats from the Low Countries timber and furs from the Baltic and exported grain to Gascony and grain and wool to the Low Countries.

York became a major cloth manufacturing and trading centre. Edward I further stimulated the city's economy by using the city as a base for his war in Scotland. The city was the location of significant unrest during the so-called Peasants’ Revolt in 1381. The city acquired an increasing degree of autonomy from central government including the privileges granted by a charter of Richard II in 1396.

 

The introduction of the railways established engineering in the city. At the turn of the 20th century, the railway accommodated the headquarters and works of the North Eastern Railway, which employed more than 5,500 people. The railway was instrumental in the expansion of Rowntree’s Cocoa Works. It was founded in 1862 by Henry Isaac Rowntree, who was joined in 1869 by his brother the philanthropist Joseph. Another chocolate manufacturer, Terry’s of York, was a major employer. By 1900, the railways and confectionery had become the city's two major industries.

In 1942, the city was bombed during the Second World War (part of the Baedeker Blitz) by the German Luftwaffe and 92 people were killed and hundreds injured. Buildings damaged in the raid included the Railway Station, Rowntree’s Factory, Poppleton Road Primary School, St Martin-le-Grand Church, the Bar Convent and the Guildhall which was left in total disrepair until 1960.

A feature of central York is the Snickelways, narrow pedestrian routes, many of which led towards the former market-places in Pavement and St Sampson’s Square. The Shambles is a narrow medieval street, lined with shops, boutiques and tea rooms. Most of these premises were once butchers' shops and the hooks from which carcasses were hung and the shelves on which meat was laid out can still be seen outside some of them.

As well as the Castle Museum, the city contains numerous other museums and historic buildings such as the Yorkshire Museum, Jorvik Viking Centre, York Art Gallery, the Richard III Experience and Merchant Adventures’ Hall.

The National Railway Museum is situated just beyond the station, and is home to a vast range of transport material and the largest collection of railway locomotives in the world. Included in this collection are the world's fastest steam locomotive LNER Class A4 4488 Mallard and the world-famous LNER Class A3 4472 Flying Scotsman, which has been overhauled in the Museum. Although noted for its Medieval history, visitors can also gain an understanding of the Cold War through visiting the York Cold War Bunker, former headquarters of No 20 Group of the Royal Observer Corps.

We were soon in town and enjoyed wandering around including a walk along The Shambles, an historic street of quaint shops geared totally to relieving tourists of their money. Sadly the magnificent York Minster Cathedral was closed to peasants arriving there in the hope of crawling down the aisle on bended knees in penance. Nope, thanks to social distancing only those who had gone online and booked and paid for tickets in advance were allowed to enter. Never mind The Chef had been in there on a previous visit and I could take it or leave it.

We also wandered around a few shops as we had a few items on our list which we would buy if we came across the right thing at the right price. It was most noticeable how many people were wandering around the larger stores without wearing a face mask. We hadn't come across this down south. I'm sorry but my view is that everybody wears a face mask. I'm not interested in your neurosis or your life story - either you are fit enough to wear a mask in which case wear one, or you're not, in which case stay at home and shield. Unless you are actually having an asthma attack, in which case you couldn't cope with a face mask on, or you have a long-standing serious chest condition like COPD in which case you should have stayed at home because by not wearing a mask to assist you're breathing you are at far greater risk of catcking covid, and if you do, you're a gonna. So wear a mask or stay out of the shops. The people I observed were clearly not short of breath in which case they should have been wearing a mask. But staff in these shops dare not challenge these people for fear of reprisals.

During a visit to the city's M&S store I reluctantly purchased a pack of their face masks, about two pounds each, the right price but a little bit on the small side, but needs must. Whilst in town I got one good result. We popped in to a gents clothing shop and I bought a quality short sleeved shirt for just ten pounds. It seems the company have three shops in town, together they were trying to clear the large amount of stock they were sitting on thanks to a year of lockdown and disruption.

Lunch was a hot sausage roll and a coffee for me and a pack of sandwiches and a coffee for The Chef courtesy of Greggs.

On our return to the P&R site just down the road at Monks Cross we popped in to their shopping complex where The Chef bought herself a pair of casual trousers suitable for our next trip to Spain in September- October, whilst I almost bought a replacement long sleeved green shirt, except the only sizes available fitted either midgets or giants. Never mind, when we get back home I'll see if I can order the right size online. Reading this you would be forgiven for thinking all we do is go shopping. Nothing could be further from the truth - we hate it. A couple of weeks ago we went in to Cambridge with a very short shopping list and came home with very few items purchased. It had felt very strange to be there after what must have been an eighteen months absence, observing the shops which hadn't survived the lockdown and had closed. It's all very sad.

Before we came away I drew £45 worth of coins out of the bank. We've not handled cash since the start of the pandemic, and I guess the bank tellers hadn't either, as they were quite unprepared to part with a few bags of 'brass', having to scrap around to put them together. I wanted the coins for things like parking meters during the trip. The most concerning thing of all is that today I had forgotten to put the purse with a selection of the coins in my backpack, and soon after arriving in town observed that you have to pay to use public toilets. Then I knew our trip in to town could only last as long as my bladder.

On our arrival back at our little campsite I noticed that the family with the three-legged barking dog had been replaced with a family with two-legged brat kids. Never mind we're off tomorrow.

This evenings offerings from The Chef was a 'Ginsters' Cornish pasty with a salad. Very nice it was to.

There was a recent programme on TV, I think it was Greg Wallis showing us what went on in various factories and how they produced their products. On this particular week they showed us how they made a Ginsters Cornish pasty. Obviously the amount of each ingredient was huge, but thankfully the programme was recorded and after playing it back carefully and using a calculator to reduce the quantities down to enough to make four, I went ahead and made some. I have to say they were pleasant enough, but frankly not worth the grief - going to the shop and buying them is far easier.

I'm almost afraid to turn the TV on this evening in case we are faced with another totally pixelated screen. Never mind, we have a selection of DVD's onboard should the need arise.

Thankfully after much searching and hair-pulling I found my lost face mask. It was trapped in the drop down door of the electric oven which we used yesterday. What the hell it was doing in there I've no idea.

Tomorrow we will be popping down the road for a few bits of fresh food before making our way towards the sticks. I shall begin another 'chapter' entitled 'York to ?' as I don't know how long it will be before I need to end it.