Sunday 6 August 2006

come home....

My train on Friday night dropped me off at York. As I had about an hour to kill before Jamie's train arrived and before we were both picked up, I decided to wander into town. York is one of my old stamping grounds and I thought it might be nice to have a quick look at some of the old landmarks.

I love York Minster. I think it might possibly be my favourite cathedral in the whole world. It's not flashy or ostentatious, but it is HUGE. It is made of an attractive light coloured stone and it towers over the city (there's actually a planning regulation in York that has been in place for centuries that restricts the height of any buildings). I love the stained glass inside (York Minster is reputed to house half of the Medieval stained glass in England). I love the sculptures, especially the choir screen of English monarchs. Above all, I love the feeling of space that you get when you stand in the nave of this monumental piece of architecture and look down towards the altar.

...but I've probably bored you enough about cathedrals in the last few weeks, so I'll leave it there.

The reason I originally moved to York was to study for a Masters degree in Medieval History. The main campus of the University of York is situated a couple of miles from the town centre and is an extremely unattractive 1960s constuction. I was lucky enough that the Centre for Medieval Studies is located in the King's Manor - in the shadow of the Minster itself, and an extremely handsome building in its own right.

It was here that I spent many happy hours debating the minutiae of Medieval art and history, and it's here that a copy of my Masters dissertation resides in the library ("Historical Precedent and the Deposition of Henry VI" - you probably won't need to ring in advance to book a reading).

The Minster was not actually open to the public by the time that I got there, so I wasn't able to nip inside and wander around, but it was nice to see the old girl and it gave me a chance to have a look at some other areas of interest.... this.

I worked here for a number of months between completing my degree and getting a proper job. It's also here that I first hurt my back when they made me work unpaid overtime (the manager literally locked the doors to stop us getting out). It hasn't changed terribly much, and it gives me some satisfaction to think that I haven't actually bought a CD from HMV for many years.

York isn't a brilliant place to live really. It's quite a small town and is perpetually full of tourists. There are lots of fantastic pubs and restaurants, but there are also lots of shops where you can buy tea-towels, plastic swords and postcards and not many where you can buy more practical things. On the whole Nottingham is a much better place to live: it's a vibrant city with hundreds of interesting shops and several good music venues.

I do miss the architecture and the history though.


  1. I went to York on a school trip when I was about 11. York Minster made a huge impression on me, especially the rose window.

    I must go visit again as an adult.

  2. York is also the coldest place on earth in January, or so it felt like the January I was there... I had about 5 layers on and was on the verge of hypothermia, while the local ladies trotted past in thin slip dresses, bare legs and spike heeled sandals. Astounding.

    Hope you're well. Your 02/08/06 post gave me a funny turn.

  3. my Godfather is the Archdeacon of York, you know. I once asked him where the church was that he did his thang, and apparently it is York Minster.


  4. I went to the doctors in York. There's that amazing reciprocal agreement with Australia where if we get sick there, or you get sick here, we look after the other. For free.
    I liked York, a lot, except my portable hard drive ate all my photos of it. And there is this totally useless cat fanciers shop.

  5. Didn't get to York, but when I do my Viking tour of the world (which you can accompany me on, if you wish), it's going to be a main point on the itinerary.

  6. We're off to York today, our son Jim is a student at York University (Chemistry), and we're off to see his new student house for his fourth and final year. He loves York and much prefers it to Nottingham now.

    And by the way Urban Fox, York has nothing on coldness in January compared to Whitley Bay, where I grew up. The wind whipping across the Noth Sea, straight from Siberia...brrrrr

  7. Overheard in York:

    American tourist standing in front of York Minster: "My god! That's an old looking building! Is it pre-war?"

    Tour guide: "Love, it's pre-America."

  8. I lived in York for three years, I love the place truly, and your post made me cry. In a manly way. Silently inside.

  9. Awesome. I love that you are a medievalist...


  10. I have something of a love/hate relationship with York.

    I've had many a happy time in the old place, most notably playing "Fibbers" with my band.
    On the other hand though, I must have been dragged round the bloody place hundreds of times during my childhood. If there was a bank holiday, My dad would take us all up to Leeds where we would get on a train to either Morecambe or York.
    Every. Single. Bank. Holiday.

    Loved John's comment. Ace.

  11. York Minster is pretty awesome (in the proper sense of the word). I can't imagine how it must have felt to those medieval folk...

    Has to be said, I'm a bit of a fan of Worcester Cathedral too though.

    LB, if there were top trumps for godparents, I think you'd win. ;-)

  12. Hey Swissty. It seems like ages since you had a contest. I am just desperate to name one of your blog entries (and I'm sure I cannot be alone in my angst) won't you give us the chance and think up one of your avante garde schemes?


  13. can I put the shuffleathon to bed first?

    any suggestions, by the way?


  14. I am trying to get that review in, I feel paranoid being one of the only people on the list without a 'review' link next to my name, but the CD hasn't arrived. *sniff*

    You really need another column on that shuffleathon table though so we can read the review of the CD each blogger created as well as the one they received...

  15. Contest suggestions - in the mould of the "Whose Fridge/Bookshelf/Handwriting is this?" - Whose shoes are these? (Each entrant posts a picture of his/her favourite pair of shoes); Whose mobile phone is this? Whose workstation is this?

    Slightly different - everyone posts a picture of themselves looking as cool as they know how - dressed and arranged as they'd like to be if they were going to be on the front of Time. This game wouldn't be funny for at least ten years, but still.

    Final idea - everyone gives me a tenner and we see how much of it I can drink. Not sure this one is quite as inclusive as you're after, but I'd enjoy it.