.. and the wrath of God
After overnighting in York in a B&B that was quite small (I had to come out of the ensuite to change my mind!) - we went back into the town we had been lost in the night before, this time with the aim of visiting York Minster Cathedral.
This is a huge cathedral, being the largest Medieval Cathedral in the world and it had massive stained glass windows. Not long after entering the cathedral I was accosted by this old fellow who had a story or two (or more) to tell. He had some interesting stories and one was related to a massive circular stained glass window high up on one side of the cathedral. It seems he was involved with some work going on at the cathedral (he was a plumber) at the time there was a lightning strike that caused a fire in the ceiling of that part of the cathedral and led to the window being damaged. They couldn't match the colours of the medieval glass and the pieces were so fragile that they ended up sandwiching them between 2 panes of clear glass. But the best part of the story was that apparently just before it happened the Bishop of Durham had made some statement where he basically said that there was no God (yet another C of E issue) and the old fellow saw the lightning strike as God's retribution.
Anyway, we didn't get lost in York for a second time (we had the map and our glasses this time!) and headed off from there to Thirsk to look through the James Herriot centre - very interesting if you know anything about the books. It was the working vet surgery of the author until just before his death.
Then onto Durham (home of the Bishop I mentioned earlier) and saw their cathedral built in the 11th century - we could only see it from the outside because there was a University graduation ceremony on inside it. We did walk around some of Durham's cobblestoned streets. The age and history of these towns is amazing.
Then it was further north to see part of Hadrian's Wall - we were too late to get into any of the best parts, but had a bit of a look and drove along some great 'B' roads through the Pennines countryside. The only thing stopping me from pulling up every 100 metres for Cathy to take photo's was the width of the road.
We finished up at a great B&B in a village called Corbridge - the B&B was hard to find as there was no sign, and we ended up with the owner standing out in front waving to show us where to turn. Tea at a pub in the village and back to a room that had wardrobes from the sister ship to the Titanic. Corbridge was one of those villages with houses right up against narrow roads - plenty of character!
We woke up to clear blue sky and got an early start , Yorkminster opens at 7am ( one of the few places that does open early ), we weren't there quite that early but no one was around to pay admission to so we just wandered around. I couldn't see any signs saying `no photos' like all the other big cathedrals so I took heaps! The old tombs with statuettes are fascinating and the sheer size and magnificence of the place is amazing since it was built in the 1200's. We did a bit more walking around the wall of the city before heading for Thirsk and the home of James Herriot. I just loved it as soon as we walked in and saw Mrs Pumphrey and Tricky Woo sitting in the waiting room! They'd tried to set it up similarly to how it was when James ( Alf ) lived there. In the kitchen you could sit at the table, cook on the stove, etc and they had a barn set up as many of the ones he would have had to work in. Upstairs was a television studio set and you could put yourself in the show plus hands on stuff for would be vets including trying to deliver a calf stuck inside the mother!
Our next stop was Durham which is another picturesque town with cobbled streets and ancient cathedral and castle. It's also full of uni students many of whom were graduating when we visited!
Moving on we saw Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the distance as we veered off for the North Pennines and Northumberland. What beautiful scenery; rolling hills, patchwork fields, stone buildings, hedges, trees in Autumn colours interspersed with delightful little villages. Our B&B, `The Crofts' was just gorgeous too, an 1800's built home, very spacious and full of character.