Regency Valentines Card Traditions at the Blog of Regency Romance Author Alicia Rasley  

Posted by Heidi



I am guest blogging today at the blog of Alicia Rasley, regency romance author, about the cards that the Mr. Darcys and Jane Austens of the day exchanged.  Click HERE to read.


York Minster Cathedral, the City, Hadrian's Wall and Jedburgh Abbey  

Posted by Heidi


York!  What an amazing place!  It was founded as Eboracum by the Romans in 71 AD and has been an important city, to one group of people or another, ever since.  Wikipedia has an entertaining description of how Eboracum became York.  I say "entertaining" because I am fascinated by the origin of words and because, hey, Wikipedia!  The morning/afternoon in July that we spent there was mostly stunningly sunny and we had only two and a half hours to see it all.  On your mark, get set, go!!  (The beautiful red house above is the Mansion House, home to the Lord Mayor of York. ) (I wrote that staid line this morning and then quit as my mood had not as of yet reached spritely.)


But wait!  First, after we left Edinburgh, we stopped here at Jedburgh Abbey .  It was founded in the 12th century, which is to say, in the 1100's for those who (like me) get confused.  It is open for tours with Historic Scotland, but we only had time to take a few photographs from the car park, pronounced "cah pahk".  (I got so British when I was there that my husband hardly recognized me when I got home.)  It was a gorgeous morning and the building is very beautiful so I am happy with having at least seen it.







Our next stop was to see this special pile of rocks.  Our guide suggested that the people who lived nearby probably didn't have any idea what it is.  For those of us who had a guide to guide us, it was pretty thrilling since we knew it was Hadrian's Wall when we pulled up.  It was built to keep the Scottish out of England.  It is hard to imagine how this was accomplished, especially since there are plenty of Scots in England at this very moment.  Having said, that I'm almost positive it was a whole heck of a lot taller once upon a time.



This was our last view of Scotland.  I must say that, as a country, it was much more beautiful close up.


This photo was taken through the coach window as we pulled into York.  As can be seen, it is a walled city (with tall walls still intact!) and chock-full of Medieval gorgeousness, most of it probably original.  (The Victorians tended to add towers and crenellation to buildings that were more recent than the legitimately towered and crenellated ones.)  (I, for one, am grateful.)


I often had very little idea of the time whilst on this trip.  It was light for 19 hours a day, especially in the North, and I was pretty much always hungry, so that was not an accurate indicator.  However, this photo I snapped whilst crossing the bridge from the car park to the center of town indicates that it was lunchtime.  Or thereabouts.


It was a stunning, glorious, beautiful day to be in York!


It is rather difficult to get a decent photo whilst walking as fast as you can (we had only 2.5 hours to see it all!) so I couldn't even tell you what this is.  However, I am liking that poster of Richard the III that I inadvertently captured.  Richard's surname was York and he ruled the North in the 70's and 80's (otherwise known as the 15th century, for those of us who get confused).  He was very well liked there and I imagine he still is.



Our first peek at the cathedral.  I was pretty excited at this point--I do so love cathedrals!


I wasn't so excited about the cathedral that I failed to take a photo of Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms, a place that had been recommended to me by a friend.  We did make our way back there, but none of the fun-to-eat stuff was gluten free, so we didn't stay.  Instead, we ate nothing--at least, that's all I remember.


I was also not too excited to fail to take photos of flowers.  I have tried and tried and tried to duplicate this look in my own garden and have failed every time.  I have wracked my brain trying to figure it out and have finally decided that there can only be one way:  Magic.  (Please don't bother steering me straight--I quite simply won't believe you.)


Christmas is over, but, for next year, I would like a gift certificate to this place, thank you very much.  I don't know what it is exactly, but it looks like a fabulous place to lunch, magic balls of flowers, and all.


We were still sort of headed to the cathedral when we took a detour to see The Shambles. As can be seen, it was quite, quite crowded, so it was hard to see much of anything.  However, we were told that many of these buildings have been here since the 14th century (the 1300's) and many of them were butcher shops.  In fact, as recently as the 1800's, butchers displayed their cuts of meat here.  The Shambles also contains the building that was once the home of one Margaret Clitherow, a woman who was executed in a distressing fashion for hiding Catholics in a hidey hole.  (I recommend reading it, distressing as it may be.)




This is our tour guide, Anne, who was incredibly knowledgeable.  We really enjoyed her.  She is pointing to the sign above a "snickelway", a word coined in the 20th century (also known as the 1900's).  You can read about how the word came to be by clicking on the word snickelway.  (No, not  this one; the red one.)  At any rate, those who know them well can get around town much faster than can a tourist, barring Rick Steves.


I surely wish I could remember the significance of this place.  Clearly it is not authentic or original, but I can't remember if it is in an original authentic building, or what.  I do love the faux "sugar subtleties" though--the swan and the castle are, I suspect, represent the desserts made out of almost nothing but pure sugar.  I also see a fairly frisky fish on the table.  (Photo taken through the window, which was quite real, though, most likely not original, either.)


I took this photo because I thought it would amuse my son, whose name is Peter and who is currently at that age that leads one to feel that the world revolves around oneself.  (As it turns out, he was not in the least impressed.)  I also took it because the statue was installed in 1801 which means it was new during the Regency, an era about which I am a tad bit obsessed.  (I'm lying.  Not about the obsessed part; about why I took the photo--I could't have read that to save my life and only knew what it said when I saw the photo.  I would claim that I took the photo so that I could read what was written there, but I had no idea there was writing there, either.  I hate being so hard-of-seeing, (short-sighted?) but I am grateful for cameras that can see what I didn't even know was there!)
 

Getting closer to the cathedral and it's plethora of delightful, muchly-admired Gotchic arches!!!!  (Oh, hey, look!  There's a clock!  I guess it was 3 p.m. in this part of the world.  And I still hadn't had lunch.)


The Guy Fawkes Inn; so much delicious Georgian architecture going on here.


This is clearly not the cathedral.  If I were reasonably educated on cathedrals, I would know what this is.   A chapter house?  Where the archbishop lives?  I just don't know.  



Finally, here it is!  We were never able to get a full shot of it.  However, there are about 50 photos of the interior, so take a deep breath.  Maybe get up and get a drink of water and use the bathroom.  (Or just turn it off, because, really--50 photos!)  (I promise that they are gorgeous and worth it though, because it is a gorgeous place.)


First up is this detail shot of the figure over the door.  Is he not precious?  Whatever was on the right side in the same spot didn't survive.  I suppose he thinks he is guarding the place.  I have never seen anything quite like it and I have cropped a ton of photos from England, Scotland and Ireland in order to see what my eyes could not quite make out.


So, York Minster, officially known as the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter (Hey! I should tell . . . never mind . . . ) in York, is HUGE.   I have tried to take photos that signify just how small one feels inside a building like this one.  We were on our own so we didn't learn the names of things like we should have (for example, there are certain windows called, for example, the Five Sisters, like I said, I don't have a clue), but hopefully my readers will be able to feel a bit of what it feels like to be here.



There are probably miles and miles of Gothic tracery windows.  I was a very happy girl.


Even more miles of Gothic arches every where you look.


Can you see the red and gold thing right above the point of the middle window?  I have read that it is a dragon that was used as a crane during construction.  Such dedication to decorate and embellish a crane such that it was fit to leave there.






I was fascinated by the round, gold things on the ceiling.  I am certain they have a proper name but I don't remember it.  At any rate, they look ike rings.  Beautiful!







Seven of the fifteen statues that depict the kings of England from William the I to Henry the VI.






John, of the four gospels, and Saint Cecilia, patroness of musicians.


I would love to have this in my garden.  I'm not greedy--I'll take just one of the three.



I really should know whose tomb this is.  Some kind of tour guide I turned out to be!  HERE is a list of everyone who is buried in the minster--take your pick.  There are many kings with the name Edward buried here, as well as Elizabeth I, something I wish I had known when I was there.  (I learned that there is a poet's corner, a place I would have happily haunted if I had run across it--like I said, this place is HUGE!)




I adore all of this carved wood.  The eaves-droppers have a snooty expression on their faces, don't they?





The contrast in this photo between the levels of light and the color of the stone is so gorgeous.


I would say that these eaves-droppers are more curious than snooty.  Somebody sure had fun carving these.




The amount of craftsmen, workers and hours required to build this is mind-boggling.


He has such a nice face.


The entrway to the "toilets" was so grand!  I wonder what was here before indoor plumbing was installed.











I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that this is the tomb of a King and Queen.  I think it is such a shame, though, that I don't know.  If I stopped long enough to read all of these inscriptions, I would not have been able to see as much as I did.


This is perhaps meant to represent Queen Elizabeth I or her sister, Queen Mary.  Both are buried in the same vault, Elizabeth's coffin stacked on top of her half-sister's.


This is a "Thirteenth Century Cope Chest".  The sign reads:  A cope (cloak) is a processional garment used in the church.  It is semi-circular in shape & would have been folded "sides to middle" & laid flat in these chests.  The splendid iron strapwork on the lids is similar to that on the Chapter House doors, dating the chests as original furniture of circa 1290." I would never have guessed that those scrolls were made of iron.  So beautiful!


I have said it before and I will say it again--I just can't get my brain around the process of carving.  I was so taken with how lifelike these folds of "fabric" looked.


I also have a thing for cherubs.  (Essential info, I know!)



Same windows as seen in the photo above, but with the colors of the stained glass visible.




Okay, so this photo is not so great, but I included it to give perspective.  See the man in the red shirt at the bottom?  And this photo doesn't even include the very top!



Well, here we are, in the gift shop.  I thought of you, Leila, when I saw these cute bears.


We then headed out into the open air.  Looking back, we missed so much of the cathedral, but finding food was a pressing need by this point.  (I'm thinking I ended up with just an apple.  GF was hard to find, here.)


This is Constantine, the son of Constantine.  Beneath his feet is inscribed:  Constantine, by this sign conquer.  You can read all about it HERE on this non-Wikipedia (gasp!) article.  (Spoiler alert!  It involves scaling Hadrian's Wall.)



A gorgeous half-timbered house with its leaded glass windows and magic flower balls.


Goodbye York, a town so charming and Medieval that one chains up one's bikes against the backdrop of a strapped door.  Next time:  Umm, I am pretty sure it involves Leeds to start with and then goes on to . . . somewhere else.  (Cambridge maybe???)  Leeds was where we stayed in a hotel that had such a popular bar on the top floor that we endured more than one elevator ride accompanied by drunkards, including one who wanted to do a "snapchat" with me.  (?)  His friend had to point out that "These are a mother with her daughter".  Yeah, the guy was so drunk, he couldn't even tell that I am too old to know the meaning of the phrase "snapchat".  Having said that, the elevators in this hotel could have held six or eight of the elevators in our first hotel on this trip, which made it almost a treat to be accosted by drunkards on a regular basis.  (True story.)