Beyond this is Kirkgate. I have done my research and there it is - The Bangladeshi Balti House. You can bring your own drinks so I have to go back outside in search of an off-licence ("liquor store" to transatlantic readers). Sainsburys is closed. After a bit of a wander, I'm back with four cans of Kronenborg.
The curry is quite delightful and clearly the place is popular with Riponians. Our table is rather small though - a marble-topped Victorian pub table and there's not enough room for our nan bread, rice, beer and hot plate for keeping the balti dishes warm - but we manage. Later, we're in "The Black Swan" on Skellgate supping John Smiths Cask bitter as fancy-dressed Halloween partygoers parade past us - witches, amber pumpkins, whiter shade of pale zombies.
Next morning, after a wholesome "full English" in the breakfast room, we're out in the November sunshine and on our way to the ruins of Fountains Abbey - Yorkshire's only "World Heritage" site. I was eight or nine when I last came here on a school trip. Begun by a small band of Cistercian monks from York in 1132, this abbey became both powerful and wealthy on the back of the wool trade. It had a hospital and a mill, several chapels and bridges and was home to hundreds of monks in its heyday. As you walk around it, you appreciate the peaceful beauty of the abbey's location by the little River Skell and you wonder about past times - the skill and ambition of the stone masons, the certainty of that lost society's religious belief, how the monks spent their days, the four hundred years in which Fountains Abbey exerted such influence over its immediate region... I took some photographs:-
Famous view of the west tower.
The cellarium beneath the refectory.
Stone soaring to the heavens.
Detail of tiles on the high altar.
Bear with me - I will continue this weekend account in my next post...