The Nostalgic Spring Sojourn | Part 4

I was back on the bus Thursday morning, this time in the opposite direction, into York and to the railway station to meet up with my companion for the day. The walk from Patsy to the bus stop seemed to get the curtains twitching – quite possibly black leather is not considered ‘de-rigueur’ for caravanners, sporting as I was my new waistcoat, procured as a Christmas present to myself in Canterbury. Thankfully people that know me can see past what may well be considered slightly odd attire – and find a slightly odd person. Anyway..

I had about twenty minutes to kill, so the default activity – at least this early – was necking some caffeine before heading to the relevant platform to meet Sandra – fellow caravanner from near Chester and now someone I consider a very dear friend. I’m delighted to present for you below, Sandra’s blog post of the day’s events:

Tour de York & A Mash Tun

The day started as it meant to go on, the train was on time and the sky bode well for a lovely day. Our first port of call was the left luggage office to one side of the station, in a small portacabin type of building. There was a small queue of people patiently waiting their turn to offload their bags and get off to do sightseeing in the city. Well I heard a phrase a while back, namely, Sales Prevention Officer; this person definitely qualified and then some! We were treated to a speech of monologue proportions about everything that was wrong about his job and strongly worded admonishments about failure to return to collect our bags before the bewitching hour of 8pm! I tried to get him to agree to 7.45pm, which would fit in with train times but no, 7.30pm, take it or leave it! Knowing glances, or maybe stifled giggles passed among the waiting queue.

As we had had the fortune to do a fair bit of advance planning and research, we had a loose plan of what we wanted to do. But first priorities need to be addressed and we had picked out a lovely little independent coffee shop, in a turret overlooking the river bridge, near to the station, The Perky Peacock Coffee Shop. Tea, coffee, biscuits and brownies were consumed and allowed a good look at the map to work out a suitable route for the day. Given the lovely sunny weather, we also agreed on a boat trip in the afternoon.

Following the coffee etc, we ambled up towards York Minster and spent a pleasurable half hour walking around the outside in the warm spring sunshine and people watching as we went. Our ultimate aim was to visit the Shambles. There were the usual number of cafes, souvenir shops, Harry Potter themed shops and one butchers left, (The Shambles was originally a road of butchers plying their trade). In a way, we left wondering a little if it is one of those places which is a tad overhyped, down to personal choice of course.

There was an outdoor market selling food and clothing but the find was the sandwich shop, Henshelwoods Delicatessen, again highly rated on trip advisor, to buy some lovely sandwiches for an impromptu picnic sitting in the gardens by the river and the York Castle Museum which was our next port of call. Sitting out in the warm sunshine, a time to sit in peace and quiet watching the world go by and a good old natter when the mood took us! We also noted the amount of flood wood and leftover mud from the river flood earlier in the week.

We then ambled over, neither of us do fast these days, to the York Castle Museum to begin what turned out to be a fascinating couple of hours travelling through the ages. There were rooms decorated and furnished in a relevant decade right up to the 1970’s. Cue much giggling and finger pointing of, yes remember seeing this that and the other. Then it was the turn of clothing through the ages right up to the 1990’s and a Vivien Westwood exhibit of shoes. Again, much hilarity about what we used to wear and the styles. We also visited the Castle prison, so grim and dark but ended the visit on a high note in the 60’s style room. A real life Lambretta motorbike and for the technically minded, early computer games and toys like Spiralizer, Cindy Dolls, magazines and comics from years ago completed the picture.

We were in need of another sit down, fortunately the landing stage for the boat tour was a 5-minute amble and departed almost as soon as we boarded. By now the sun was high in the sky and sitting down in the saloon, quaffing refreshing cool drinks, we remarked how lucky we were to be there. Drinks consumed we ventured upstairs and passed the rest of the trip sitting outside in the sun with magnificent views of York Minster and the various bridges and sights of the city. We were fortunate, or not, depending upon your viewpoint to have the Captain of the boat who had clearly missed his vocation as, in his opinion, a stand-up comedian. We, on the other hand, were not so sure ….

We got off the boat down river by the York Museum Gardens and strolled through, people watching and commenting on how, as the sun was out, people were lying or sitting on the grass, sunbathing. Given the area had, undoubtedly been well flooded by water, we were somewhat surprised. The gardens are home to St Mary’s Abbey ruins and the Yorkshire Museum. By now time was fast approaching the only time booked event of the day … The Tour of the York Brewery and so we made our way there.

There was a short wait and we were off … fortunately there were only 4 of us on this tour, so plenty of questions and answers, helped by a really good tour guide, meant a fun and interesting time was had by all. Now for the prize of doing the tour, time to research several of the beers, some of which will ultimately end up in the Ale Archive blog in due course.

By now, we were starting to get rather hungry, we were fortunate to be advised to go to Brigantes Restaurant in the adjacent street. A lovely meal was had, with excellent service and, of course, a couple more research beers. We then suddenly realised that the 7.30pm curfew of the Left Luggage was approaching very fast indeed. A quick look at the map and we realised we were only 5 minutes’ walk away so we managed to arrive bang on time. However, the Sales Prevention Officer had yet more stings in his tail. We opened the door to be greeted by what can only be described as a sauna level of heat!! One very grumpy sales attendant who wasted no time in informing us we were the last people and he was waiting to go home!

A short amble to the station, meant that we were on time, a quick coffee and goodbyes until next time. All in all, a fabulous day.

There was a twenty-five minute wait for the next bus that would take me back to the site – and the York Tap with it’s twenty-something handpumps was thirty seconds away. I availed myself of just the one, considering that no dedicated ‘researcher’ worth his salt passes up any opportunity. Lazily though I didn’t bother to don my specs to check the writing on the handpumps and ended up with something akin to fizzy grapefruit with an aroma of bleach. Oh well.

All in all a cracking day – thank you Sandra for your lovely company and for saving me writing a blog post too!

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