"O God, I could be bounded in a nut shell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams." - Hamlet Act II scene ii
29 November 2008
26 November 2008
It must have been a couple of years earlier, Shirley was working at the hospital and I was looking after the kids. I recall that Frances was in her aluminium framed baby hod, surveying Derbyshire from her vantage point on my shoulders. Holding Ian's little pink hand, we marched across a ragged sheep pasture and there in a hollow we spotted an ancient sheep's skull. It had been abandoned so long that the bone was bleached white and all signals of flesh had disappeared with the passing of several seasons. We still have that skull, a souvenir of a time long gone.
What did you find?
23 November 2008
20 November 2008
17 November 2008
14 November 2008
11 November 2008
8 November 2008
5 November 2008
4 November 2008
We strolled around sturdy Ripon Cathedral, descending into the Saxon Crypt which drew thousands of pilgrims to the city in the middle ages. Shirley bought some sheepskin slippers from The Edinburgh Wool Shop and we had coffees in Cafe Nero overlooking the ancient marketplace. Grrroaaan! She wanted to do some more shopping but I just wanted to get back to the car to listen to the last fifteen minutes of the radio commentary. I was expecting The Tigers to be losing badly but we were only 4-2 down against the European Champions!
2 November 2008
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...
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