To the North (21.2021)

Husband and I have been away on holiday this week. You know how they say a change is as good as a holiday? It’s not. A holiday is a holiday and a change is just something different.

Our first stop was York for two nights. I have fond memories of visiting York from my first year in the UK, so on this trip at first I was upset with how commercial it had become. It seemed the city centre was nothing but pricey shops for the tourists and the history part of York that had so impressed me previously had disappeared. However on day 2, we walked around the city walls, which are still mostly complete, and I started to feel more relaxed and in touch with the city’s history.

We picked an Airbnb right in the centre of town, about 3 minutes walk from the York Minster. Why is it that many UK museums are free but churches charge admission? Here’s a top money saving tip for you. For any British town with a large church or cathedral you want to see, go along for evensong. It’s usually around 5:30pm so at a time you might want to sit down after waking around all day. Not only do you get to see the inside of the church for free, you get to hear the choir and some organ music.

We had a splendid afternoon tea in the Red House antique centre café – wonderful sandwiches, lightly fragrant scones and not one not two but three slices of cake! (Which we had to take away with us and eat slowly over the next three days.)

From York we travelled on to Scarborough – which, unlike most British seaside towns, actually has some charm to it. We have even speculated about coming back here in the winter but that may just be the holiday sunshine talking.

It hasn’t been sunshine all the way. In fact we experienced the mist rolling in from the sea – thick enough for the fog horn to be sounded. It rolled in, the temperature dropped, and then it burned away and it warmed up again. Apparently this happens a lot at this time of year due to the difference in temperature between the sea and the land. The heat of the land rises and pulls moisture in from the sea. It was a weird thing to experience

I also found out the origin of the song Scarborough Fair.

It refers to the annual fishing spree of the herring off the coast. The herring swarm off the coast for a couple of months at a certain time and the population of the town swelled as people came in to help gut and pickle the herring, including girls from fishing towns in Scotland. You don’t think of girls in the 1700s and 1800s having much freedom but these girls travelled large distances to earn their own money albeit in a job that would have been stinky and unpleasant.

No herring in sight today.

Yorkshire people are generally friendly. Well in Scarborough they are. In two pubs we had local people strike up conversations with us. And in a few shops we were having chats with the people working there that made it hard to leave once we’d made our purchases.

One negative to the holiday vibe is that we’ve been eating badly and I have not been drinking enough water. As ever, my stomach tells me it’s not happy and I have to listen. However fish and chips are a must when you’re by the seaside.

I love books and I love buying books, regardless of how much spare time I have to read. This trip we have picked up another 13 books. (Not all for me, some are for Husband). One thing we don’t think about when we get into this book buying frenzy is that we have to then carry these books home with us. Luckily we packed big bags for this trip so plenty of room to fill up with books. And jigsaws as well. We bought five more jigsaws! Do you know how much space jigsaws take up? A lot.

I had a text from the NHS this week to tell me that as I’m a priority category (!?) I should cancel my current Covid vaccine booking a book for an earlier time slot. Which I did. So when we get back from this trip, I’ll have time to unpack, have a cup of tea, and then I’ll have to head out to the vaccination centre to get my second jab. Bring it on!

Tomorrow #1000wordsofsummer begins. I have pledged to join this and write 1000 words a day for 14 days, not having written any more than this blog for some months now. Am I nervous? Hell yeah. But I’m going to give it my best shot and see if I can’t get one of those dratted works in progress into a more complete state.

Anyway readers, I hope you get some unexpected good news this week.

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