With mum improving daily, we decided Thursday would be a day in York.
The Leeds/York train calls at the station in the area of Harrogate where my mum lives, so a five minute walk and we are standing, rail passes in hand, waiting for the train.
The next stop is Knaresborough, the train trundled across the high rail bridge (photo in part one), I tried to capture a photo of where I’d been standing to take the bridge photo……..sorry, I wasn’t quick enough 😦
It wasn’t long before we were pulling into York station.
Where shall we go? what shall we do?
When we’d been chatting to the landlady of the Dropping Well Inn, she’d mentioned an excellent real ale pub in the city, so that was on T’s priority list. I was just happy to wander around the streets with my camera.
We headed towards the famous walls, that surround the city. A walk of over two miles completely round, we’ve done it before (well I’ve done it several times), so we didn’t plan on doing it this time, but hopping onto them gives easy access to all parts of the city. There is an interesting PDF file on the walls.
Jumping off the walls (well not literally, as they are rather high), near Lendal bridge, we crossed the river Ouse and headed into the centre.
We located the pub, but decided we’d call back later for refreshments, so continued to wander around the narrow streets.
They were bustling with people shopping, buskers on street corners and sightseers with cameras (ooops, that was me :eek:)
One of the famous streets is The Shambles, where in parts the building are so close at the top you’d be able to shake hands with the neighbours opposite.
I wanted to take a photograph of Cliffords Tower, that my uncle Gerald had painted, see here so we headed back onto the walls again.
The sky was becoming very dark, as rain threatened, so we dashed over to shelter in the nearby Castle museum. This was a regular school trip during my childhood, I remember being totally fascinated with the old Victorian street inside the building. The Olde Worlde sweet shoppe had a distinctive smell about it, and to this day I can still remember it.
More info on the street here
I’d fancied a walk along the river bank, but as the rain looked like it was in for the day, we headed back into the centre, past the queues waiting to view the Jorvik Centre. This is well worth a visit too!
With time to kill before our train back, we decided to have a look in the National Railway Museum. Again, this is an excellent museum, housing some of the famous stream engines of yesteryear. It is free to enter, all they ask for is a donation.
We didn’t get as far as the museum though, walking past this big wheel, we both decided it would be good fun to have a ride on it.
So that is how I managed to get an aerial shot of the city, complete with raindrops.
When we got off the wheel, it was too late for our planned train back to Harrogate, so having well over half an hour to kill, T decided we’d have a drink in the pub we’d found earlier.
Sat there discussing the days events, we almost missed the next train too. Speed walking through a crowded city is not recommended, but we made it with seconds to spare, flopping into the train seats just as the whistle blew.
Visiting my mum later that evening I found even more improvement with her out of bed and sitting on the chair beside her bed.
Whenever I return to Yorkshire, I never seem to get chance to visit my home city of Leeds.
Friday I’d woken in the early hours with a flash of inspiration, I’ll catch the train going in the opposite direction, and I can spend the day there. I didn’t for one minute think T would be interested.
Waking in the morning, almost the first thing he said was “Shall we go into Leeds today”………….talk about reading my mind!!
So a similar pattern emerged to Thursday………walk the dogs………..grab a quick bite to eat…………then a five minute walk down to the station……….
…..and we find ourselves on the opposite platform waiting for the York/Leeds train.
A journey of a similar distance, I was getting quite excited at the prospect of reminiscing as the train pulled into the city station.
I don’t know what I expected, as time obviously doesn’t stand still, but I’d conjured up a romantic vision of the steam engines that used to whisk me off on holiday, the machines that my dad would stamp my name onto a metal strip, the ‘ladies waiting room’, the old guards in their smart uniforms, the trollies with the old leather cases on, but more than anything that nostalgic smell of the coal smoke………..this station we’d pulled into wasn’t the Leeds station I remembered from my childhood.
Walking out of the station, even that didn’t seem right, my memory had convinced me the first thing I’d see would be the statue of The Black Prince in city square, but all I could see were buses, even they were different……. blue buses…… purple buses……. white with flashes of colour buses…… where were the green buses? Leeds always had green buses!! 😦
I was starting to feel cheated, like a stranger in the place I’d grown up in.
We started to walk to the left away from this alien place, when suddenly I saw him.
The Black Prince, still on his horse, with the Queens Hotel in the background.
I left Leeds just before I was eighteen, I guess at that age, architecture was the last thing on my mind, but I do remember the very imposing Town Hall situated on The Headrow, so we set off up Park Row in search of it.
Wow, it was even more imposing than I remember, I’m so pleased we had blue sky for that photo, a grey sky wouldn’t have done it justice.
Continuing along The Headrow, I went in search of the old department store Schofields, my best friend used to work there on the perfume counter, and I’d often go in for a free squirt of the latest smelly during my lunch break. I didn’t really expect to find it, but I didn’t even see any buildings that looked familiar.
Back down into Briggate, the main shopping area, which is now pedestrianised, losing all the hustle, bustle and old charm, that the city had.
I was extremely pleased to see the arcades were still there, totally restored to their former glory.
Above is County Arcade
I may be wrong, but I think this is Thorntons Arcade.
Walking down through Briggate, and turning left, I spotted the building on the corner of Call Lane where I used to work, now divided into what looks like several small premises, it once housed W.H.Smith (Wholesale).
Tetley’s Brewery is just down that road, and I remember the dray horses clattering down the side street.
Past the impressive Corn Exchange building, which was impossible to get a photo of, due to all the traffic, we made our way to the Market Hall, now this is some building for a market hall though I can’t say I ever took much notice of it in my youth.
Leeds City Market. I’ve spent many a shilling in there, but one memory that really sticks in my mind, was going there with my mum, she used to buy all her material for making clothes from a stall in there, and just opposite the material stall was a pet stall, selling puppies and kittens 😦 😦 where I’d spend ages looking and longing.
Time was getting on, so after a quick coffee and a bite to eat, we made our way back to the station for the train back to Harrogate.
We hadn’t been in long, when the phone rang, it was my mum, they’re were discharging her at 6pm and could we pick her up.
We stayed in all day Saturday to keep my mum company.
On the Sunday her friend paid her a visit, so I joined T in Knaresborough at a pub called Blind Jacks.
Blind Jack was a civil engineer who lost his sight at the age of six, an amazing character, the wiki link is well worth a read.
T sat with Blind Jack…….a little too much ale there T 😉
Finally another bit of history, the small building in the middle is the oldest chemist shop in Britain, dating from around 1720, it can be found in Knaresborough market square.
Monday afternoon, after making sure everything was sorted for my mums continued care, we set off back to the midlands.
A strange, unexpected but still enjoyable break……was it fate that the campsite was full on the Sunday? I think so, as the hospital would not have been able to contact me if we’d been on a campsite down south.