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Whip Ma Whop Ma/Tutti Frutti

The shortest street in York (35 meters long) was known as 'Whitnourwhatnourgate' during the sixteenth century but took its present name when it became the location of a pillory and whipping cart where the city's petty criminals were publicly flogged. ("Gate" is the Viking term for "street.")

Shades of Little Richard: Wop-bop-a-loo-mop a wop-bam-boom.

Viking farmstead

Drawing of Viking farm building looks like upturned boat (in a display at the Garden Museum in York. By the way, the Vikings never had horns on their helmets; this was a rumor started during Victorian times to to depict them in the worst light possible.

Evensong by candlelight in York Minster

Last night I was wondering through some of the narrow winding streets of York in a light drizzle. I'd seen a sign in the York Minster (York's huge cathedral), about evensong at 5:15, and since it was about that time, I wandered in and was directed to a section of the church with chairs running down two sides facing a center aisle. There was a magnificent organ, with stalactite-looking pipes ringing the room. A bell rang and about 60 high school students filed in and took their seats behind lighted candles on opposite sides of the aisle, facing each other. "It's a girls choir," the usher whispered to me, high school kids. They sang like angels, with wonderful organ accompaniment. The candles, the music, the sweet voices, it was a moment, in fact about a 10 minute moment. Then the priest walked in, da man, and started reading from the Bible, Lemme outta here! I slipped out the back into a kind of gated-off section, whereupon another priest arrived and graciously opened the door so I could get out into the main cathedral.

Patchwork masonry in York

Whimsical masonry, quite different from the typical masonry perfection.

450-year-old half-timber building in York

Last night we had roast beef and Yorkshire pudding in this inn. The room, with its black exposed half-timber framing, had an aura, a feeling of well-being, a mellowness from the life lived within over hundreds of years.

Masonry Detail in York

Brick masonry in York

York is a wonderful old city. I love it here. It's rich in history, and multi-layered. The ever-present tourists are here, but the city shines through. The brick masonry is outstanding.

Tiffany lamp in Harrogate store window last night

Snowboarder builds high-mountain house

Just got this from my son Evan:
"…just checking out my fave snowboarding mag webpage and i came across this guy named Mike Basich, he is a legendary snowboarder. Check out the house he built in the mountains of Donner pass!!!! really amazing!!! all built by hand using local materials and lots of rocks from the land, you'll like the hot tub. http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid27342176001?bctid=42829876001

Famous fish and chips shop in Harrogate last night

Chevrolet Matiz

Our little Chevy rental car is a winner. I wanted the smallest car possible due to the narrow roads (and driving on the left side). This cheap little Chevy Matiz is peppy, maneuverable, and economical. It sells for around £7000.

Lindisfarne Castle and Boat/Shed

Old fishing boats were upended and cut in half (in cross-section), a wall and door built across the cut-off section, then covered with roll roofing. I like the similarity of uplifts far and near in this 3-shot panorama.


Squirrel in the belfry

News flash: it's a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon and I'm sitting at the window of a small hotel in Harrogate, looking out the window into a pretty little garden, working on my MacBook.. There are black wrought iron fire escape stairs coming down the building into the garden. About a half hour ago a guy came walking up the fire escape to the top level and in a few minutes came down with a Haveahart type animal trap and inside it was scurrying a little squirrel. I started talking to him through the window since I have three of these type traps and use them not infrequently for the various critters that roam our Northern California homestead. I told him about the country song, "Why would anybody eat beef when they can have squirrel?" Being civilized, he was going to take the squirrel and release him out in the countryside. (After which he'll navigate his way through hill and dale right back here.)


After two days in Edinburgh, we picked up a rental car and headed for the East Coast of Scotland and England—destination Lindisfarne. Lindesfarne is a tidal island off the north-east coast of England also known as Holy Island, and I wanted to see the upside-down boats used as storage sheds, as well as the Lindisfarne Castle. The village is known not only for the Lindisfarne Gospels, but for being the first site of a Viking raid in England in 793 A.D..

You have to drive across a narrow paved road through tidelands, only during low tide. Many a tourist who has ignored the tides has ended up with a car buried halfway in saltwater, and some have been rescued by helicopters. Lindisfarne is now a village of about 200 people, and we wandered around early in the morning in a light drizzle.

Even with all the tourists and tourist-trappings, there's a magical feel to the place. The castle, long ago abandoned as a strategic military outpost, was purchased in the early 1900s by Sir Edward Hudson, the owner of Country Life magazine. Hudson's buddy, noted Arts and Crafts designer Edwin Lutyens, did the interiors and designed the furniture. It's been lovingly restored, and the rooms feel cozy and quite unlike dank, cold castles. I could curl up for a nap here on a rainy, cold day!

The remains of the priory, much of it in red stone quarried 10 miles away, are magnificent.

To tell you the truth, I'm having a bit of a hard time blogging on this trip, because we're seeing so much, learning so much, and I'm shooting so many blasted pictures (over 1000 so far). I'll keep trying to post, when time allows, not necessarily in chronological order.