We got back, yesterday, from a week in York. It was cold and snowy – much like the rest of the country - but we had a good time. Here’s a selection of the things we did there. We didn’t take loads of photos because it was too cold and/or snowy to stop and get out the camera!
We were staying in a house with a table tennis table in the cellar, so we played with that. The games were not played to any rules – you just had to keep the ball in play. So it involved much leaping about getting the ball off the floor, steps or other family members.
We played in the snow. I discovered that my middle aged bum, clad in waterproof trousers, negates the need for any type of sledge.
We went to the York Castle Museum twice. This was great. It has a reconstructed Victorian Street – all brilliantly lit and with sound and people dressed up in character. It also had a Sixties exhibition which the children really enjoyed. I spent a long while listening to peoples’ memories of that decade. It also had weaponry and cells – including the one Dick Turpin was held in. A room furnished in Fifties style was full of things I remembered from my grandparents’ house and that has given me an urge to write about that house.
We went to the Minster. We climbed the 275 steps of the main tower to look down on snow covered York. This made me and Dani feel quite sick! Leo is nervous of heights but he was brave. P counted all the steps, of course, but was not able to confirm that it was 275 – she made it 261. The crypt was great, with bits of Roman remains on display and original Norman Minster building etc. The Minster had tombs of Archbishops who all seem to be portrayed lounging about – very odd.
Dani and Pearl went to the Quilt Museum, which they enjoyed, while Leo and I went to York Dungeon. I must say I was unimpressed with the Dungeon. They are a chain and we went to the one in Edinburgh, which didn’t really impress me either, but Leo wanted to go. I don’t mind all the spooky stuff (though Leo claims I was trembling throughout) but I don’t like all the silly, suggestive humour.
We went to Jorvik. The kids both loved this and I thought it was good too. We managed to largely avoid a school trip, which meant there was more peace and space to look around.
We spent a lot of time in bookshops, where people spent money and browsed.
We went to Clifford’s Tower, which has a grim and grisly past.
We spent too much money eating in cafes and escaping the cold. The real drawback of a trip at this time of year is that, I think. We usually do a lot of eating outside when we’re in a city. But it was just too cold to contemplate that.
We watched a lot of The Simpsons and Friends. Pearlie is really into Friends at the moment. I must confess I can’t stand it, so I got lots of time reading. I finished Unless, by Carol Shields, which I have been reading rather cautiously, fearful of what might be revealed. Dani was reading a book about Pi (also A Mathematician's Apology by G.H. Hardy and Lyra's Oxford by Phillip Pullman) and Pearlie finished the latest Lady Grace book – Keys. Leo is still ploughing his way through Inkheart but was also reading a new book he bought in York – Encyclopedia Horrifica. I read him some stuff about UFOs when he was in the bath and it took me back to the kind of books enjoyed by one of my brothers, when we were kids. We also got the Terry Deary book about York and shared bits of that.
We had a great time at the National Railway Museum. I was very taken with the carriages from Royal Trains and decided I’d like to go home that way. Pearlie and Leo got lots out of it too. While sitting in the Japanese Bullet Train, watching a wordless film of people sitting in a Bullet Train, we reminded Pearlie of a video she loved when tiny. I can’t remember what it was called – we just called it the trains video – and we had it over and over again from the Mobile Library. It consisted of about an hour of facts and film about trains all over the world – narrated in a lovely ‘documentary’ voice. Pearlie was able to remember it – vaguely. I think D and I will remember it forever!
Leo made a lovely book about ghosts, while we were there. Pearlie did some fab drawings too. Dani got close to finishing my new cardy. I fell asleep on the sofa a few times! I was plagued by nightmares while we were there, as I have bad memories of York, but I am glad I went.
Things we couldn’t do because of time of year and weather were a boat trip and a ghost walk. I would have liked to have been able to walk more slowly and look up more – but a face full of snow/sleet makes that tricky! It was annoying that the walls were closed for the whole week, once the snow had fallen. Little bits were open but we wanted to do a complete walk around.
One of the things we realised is how quickly we can get to York by train – it’s only two hours from London – so we could even do a day trip. Certainly, a single night away would fit in quite a lot, so we can go back.
The journey home was a bit tough because we were next to a frustrated toddler. He didn’t have anything much to do and was very into throwing things, which was hard for his mum and sister – but he did an awful lot of miserable crying for about two hours. We also got very slow because people were trespassing on the line to see a steam train that was due to go by! But we were home soon enough and the grandmothers had been in to leave us bread, butter and milk and turn up our thermostat. That was lovely.
Here are a selection of photos. I hope these are all taken by me and apologies to P if I've used any taken by her.
On Dick Turpin's bed - in the condemned cell.
At Railway Museum.
York Castle Museum, weaponry displays. Some people enjoyed this more than others!