31 August 2012

Coxwold to Windermere

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I left Newburgh House with a sad heart ~ it was so beautifully peaceful there and I would have been happy to sit in the breakfast room watching the birds and looking out at the gardens and exploring more of the area.  So, as I often did on this trip, I filled the journey to my new destination with stops along the way.  Just a few miles away from Coxwold was the small town of Kilburn.  I knew I was getting close when I caught this glimpse of the White Horse of Kilburn on the hillside!

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Unlike many of the other chalk carvings on hillsides that date centuries if not thousands of years back, this one is a much more recent creation from the mid 1800's, done to encourage more visitors to the area!

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The little town of Kilburn was quite picturesque with it's lovely stone and half timbered buildings.  And everywhere, beautiful little gardens tucked in.  I stopped in Kilburn because I wanted to see the Mouseman of Kilburn Museum.

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Robert Thompson was a woodcarver who developed a signature mouse, which he carved into every piece he made.  This lovely set of buildings is where his first home and workshop were located and is now a museum showcasing his work.  The previous photo is where the Robert Thompson Craftsmen's Workshop is located today.

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The whole place was lovely and inviting!  I loved the climbing rose growing against the wall!

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Outside were enormous split trunks of English Oak, curing in order to be better suited to the carving that would later take place.

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All of the furniture was lovely with the hand adzed finishes, the quotes included on some pieces and the little mice carved into each piece!  On this one, you can see the mouse on the lower left.  On some pieces, the mouse wasn't immediately apparent and might be hidden on the back or underside if not appropriate to have on the front, such as on some of the beautiful crucifixes.

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I loved this bed and it's quote (and the ribbon embroidered pillow!)

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How I'd have loved to bring home a big dining room table to seat my family around!  But alas, it wouldn't fit into my suitcase and my wallet wasn't quite large enough!

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But I did come home with a couple of small treasures!  The mouse bowl is holding my pebbles from Iona and Tintagel at the moment.  I'll use the little flat board to hold my teapot or a small loaf of bread!  In the workshop I was able to watch several of the craftsmen carving mice like these!

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From Kilburn, I made my way to the town of Thirsk, where I parked next to this Green Grocer.

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There's just something about boxes of fresh vegetables sitting out that I love!  All the color and goodness of it!  It just makes my heart glad!

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From the greengrocer, I made the short walk to this rather plain unassuming building, which was the home and veterinary clinic of author James Herriot, of "All Creatures Great and Small" fame!  It was the reason I stopped in Thirsk.  Now the building is a museum known as "The World of James Herriot".

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Each room is set up just as it was in James Alfred Wight's (his real name) time and in this one there is a nod to one of the characters who shows up regularly in his books!

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The figures used in the space really made the books come alive!

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I loved seeing the surgery and the storeroom!

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In the back of the property are all the film sets from the BBC series!  All a much smaller scale than I would have thought!

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But at last it was time to head across the Yorkshire Dales and make my way towards the Lake District.   The clouds hung low and the sky was filled with mist and rain.  Instead of hedges, the fields were bordered with stone fences.

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I had to stop and say hello to the sheep!

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And look at the beautiful wildflowers.

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And marvel over the stone barns and fences on the hillsides.

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It was just lovely!  I suspect that I missed much of the scenery due to the clouds and rain, but I loved what I saw.

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I arrived at Invergarry Guest House in Windermere ~ very different from the other places I had stayed, but it was a typical house of the area!

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In my room I discovered this lovely bouquet of flowers sent by my sister!  She had been hoping to join me for my week in the Lake District, but wasn't able to come due to her job and the busy forest fire season in the western US, so she sent these flowers instead!  They stayed beautiful for my entire stay!

Gull at Windermere
I arrived at Windermere early enough that I had time to do a little exploring.  I walked down the hill into Bowness on Windermere.  All along the docks there were gulls, swans, geese, ducks and pigeons by the hundreds!

Wooden Boat at Windermere
I loved the wooden boats available to rent.  I would have loved to spent and afternoon rowing about the lake in one of these, but somehow, but solitary rowing on an unfamiliar lake didn't seem to be the safest option!

Swan ~ Boat and Bird
Seeing this large boat named Swan with a real swan swimming next to it tickled me!  Since rowing wasn't a good option for me, I opted to take an evening lake cruise on a similar boat!

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While waiting for my cruise to depart, I had time to enjoy some dinner on the wharf ~ fish and chips!  As usual, the portion was far larger than I could eat, but these two geese were happy to beg for and eat some of my leftovers!  I told them that they should be eating the nice green grass or looking for lettuce, but they ignored me!  Guess they are as addicted to french fries, pardon me ~ that should be "chips"~  as I am!

Boat ramp at Bowness on Windermere
This dock was the preferred resting spot for the ducks!  Again, I loved all the wooden boats!  So much more romance to be had in wooden boats!

Banks of Windermere
The "Blue Cruise" took a 45 minute tour around the islands of Windermere.  Along the way there were lovely views of the far shore as well.

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The rainy mist from the day lingered well on into the evening.

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But then as night fell, the clouds suddenly lifted and the rain ceased and there was a lovely sunset visible from the windows of my room!

29 August 2012

A Day in York!

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Starting the day off by looking out over a peaceful scene at breakfast is delightful, especially when on vacation!  The owners of Newburgh House kept a well stocked birdfeeder and had bird identification books and binoculars at the ready in the breakfast room!  I got to see many varieties of birds that were new to me, including the sweet little Blue Tits and Coal Tits!

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I set off for York after putting my destination of the park and ride in the GPS.  It led me down this small lane.  So far so good!

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But it didn't take long for the lane to deteriorate into a farm track!  I began to wonder if I was really headed in the right direction!  How grateful I was when the main road crossed my path and the directions were to turn on to it!

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I took the bus into York and got off near Yorkminster Cathedral and the Old Wall that surrounds the old town portion of York.  Portions of it date back to Roman times and I loved that newer walls incorporated bits of old stonework, complete with carved fluting!

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The walls were pretty amazing and I'm sure that a whole day could be spent simply following them around the old part of the city.  Here and there along the way were various gates and in this octagonal tower remains, several old stone sarcophagus!

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My plans were to visit Yorkminster Cathedral and it towered above the city from every view point!

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Inside, there were beautiful stained glass windows.  I loved the pale green of this set.

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On closer inspection, I realized that each small piece of glass was  painted with designs, seemingly unrelated to one another.

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The ceiling was lovely and serene in it's own way.  Unlike Gloucester, the ceiling did not change depending on which part of the cathedral it was, but remained uniform throughout.

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In the Chapter House, there were many stone heads, most just rather ordinary, but then there were surprises too, such as this three faced woman!

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And this bird pecking at a man's nose!  You wonder what inspired these oddities!

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The stained glass in the Chapter House was lovely!

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At Yorkminster, for an extra fee, you can climb the steps to see the view from the top of the tower.  They are steep and the passage snug!  I lost count at 234, but was told that there were 284 steps in all!  What made it difficult was that each step was a slightly different height!  It was a challenge to these old knees of mine!

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About 2/3 of the way up, there is a brief narrow passage across a portion of the roof ~ it was a good break from the climb up!

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The views of York from the top were magnificent!  It was easy to distinguish the Old Town area with it's tiny narrow streets and red brick buildings with tile roofs.

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The view of the other cathedral towers was pretty impressive too!

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After a rest, we headed back down.  This narrow passage across the roof  was barely wide enough to walk!

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And the journey back down, was almost as difficult as the climb up!  At times, the handrail felt just a bit too far away.  My poor knees felt like jello for a couple of hours after!

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But the cathedral was lovely and it was such a treat to come down all those steps and sit in this lovely space for a bit.

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I was able to stand under the tower I had climbed earlier and look up to this light filled space!

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The main window of the Nave is known for the heart shape of it's "rose" window.

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Amongst all the glory and beauty of this cathedral, there were so many bits of whimsy as well, such as this small dog keeping the feet of the bishop warm.

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And in one of the side chapels, these two knights high upon the wall, clink their swords on the bars to mark the quarter hour.  I enjoyed a scone and jam served by the ladies of the cathedral here!

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After visiting the cathedral, I wandered the streets of Old Town York with it's quaint buildings leaning out over the street.  I also visited the Jorvik Viking Center (no photos allowed) and enjoyed learning a little bit more about this portion of York's history through the interesting ride through life size displays of viking life in those early days ~ complete with appropriate scents!

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In wandering, I cam across another small church.  After seeing the grandness of Yorkminster, the simplicity of this small church seemed so peaceful.

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The backdrop to the altar was painted with the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer and the Apostle's Creed.

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this church dated back to medieval times and still had it's old box pews and simple leaded windows.

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I really felt like I had stepped back in time here and spent quite a while just taking in the peaceful space.

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But eventually, I wandered out into the streets again, up and down, discovering many of the "snickleways" or little passages between the streets along the way and eventually made my way into
the Shambles, where the old buildings lean so far over the street that you could shake hands across the street from one window to the next!  The Shambles was the area where the butcher shops were located and in those early days, the gutters would have run with blood and offal!  Very glad that it is no longer that way!

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Instead, the streets are filled with lovely little shops. I browsed through a Cath Kidson shop and then found this lovely art shop!  One of the things I've learned in England, is that you don't need to have enormous amounts of space in order to carry a wide variety of merchandise!  This little store had art supplies that I've been unable to find in the US despite much looking!  So I stocked up on some pans of watercolor, brushes and a metal tin to hold the watercolor pans that I've been wanting for years!

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So many of the buildings had lovely detail ~ beautiful carvings, leaded glass windows, old wrought iron ~ just beautiful!  I could have spent so much more time here exploring!

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But instead, I finished the day with Evensong at York Minster, where I heard the boy's choir.  I was grateful to see that it was very well attended compared to what I'd experienced at Gloucester.  I sat there listening to the scriptures, the music of the choir and the organ and found myself suddenly overwhelmed with grief, the tears flowing slowly but steadily down my cheeks.  The loss of both my Mom and Dad within the year just jumped out and grabbed me.  Why here?  Why now?  There is something about these big cathedrals and the music that just draw it out.

I sat there through the entire Evensong and all the way to the end of the postlude, a beautiful Bach piece.  When it finished, I gradually put myself back together and walked down the length of the nave to the distant sound of the big bell in the towers far above me ringing out the 6 p.m. hour.  Then the deep silence ~ the quiet ~ of the cathedral took over.

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Exiting the doors of the cathedral, the sound of the bustling city grew louder with each step outside.  I wasn't ready to face it just yet, so walked around the cathedral to the quiet green garden on the side of the building for a bit.  Then it was time to find my way back to the bus-stop for the journey back to the car.  I passed through this gate in the old wall on the way to the bus.

What a relief it was to get back to the car and into my own space again.  Once back at Newburgh House, I was welcomed back by the owners and enjoyed a glass a wine with them while sharing a bit about my day.

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