Friday, 31 December 2010

York - Shops, Alleyways and a bit more.

There is always too much to see in York that this set was difficult to edit down into a part 2 of 3. This set is a pot pourri of most of the daylight hours taken outside in and around the streets. I have acquired a lot of digital material from my last three trips that I need to save some for another time so as I do not bore you excessively in numerous subsequent posts. I have plans to return here in the first week of March for an event with friends. (Need to book my train ticket quite soon for that to get a good rate.)

sunrise in Petergate
As I said in my last post, after sunrise, I went for some breakfast and to think about my plan for the day. My plan consisted funnily enough of nothing recorded on this post except the Christmas market post (shown earlier) and something I am keeping up my sleeve for another time.  This set was essentially J_on_tour observations of the day.

After Breakfast, I wandered along Stonegate (picture in last post) and decided to take a shortcut to Petergate (also shown in last post) via some alleyways....

and eventually leading to the most famous street in York called The Shambles, which is sometimes referred to according to some Newspaper polls as the most picturesque street in Britain....

spot a straight line !

 It is certainly a well preserved medieval street that takes it's name one way or another from an old saxon term.... The street of Butchers !! ...

....where there are always interesting things to discover for the tourist, shopper, photographer, but unfortunately for some..... not Butchers anymore !!!

window shopping
I'll show you more of the overview of The Shambles in the next post (the tease that I am !!), but for now I continue my tour in a clockwise direction around the city down to the bottom of the Shambles and across the road where I stumble on an alleyway leading to Lady Peckett's yard........

A mix of 16th -19th century
....... that I thought I recognised but I knew I hadn't seen before. I have been to York more times than anywhere else and had always missed this view, it turns out that I commented on it earlier in cranberry morning's York post.

Just around the corner is an award winning Yorkshire produce shop called The Hairy Fig that sells specialist cooking oils, vinegars and high quality Yorkshire food produce.

Immediately beside The Hairy Fig shop is a tunnelled walkway to the The Merchant Adventurers Hall built in 1357 for the early merchants to discuss business and have social occasions....

Strangely enough, things do not change much as it is now open for hire as a wedding venue, no doubt a wedding photographer would try his or her hand at some garden shots..

Across the street and through a short open shopping centre, I arrived at Clifford's Tower (1st image in this post). This was originally known as York Castle built to order by William the Conqueror in 1068 and was burned down twice in the early years by rebels that didn't like William the following year and later for harbouring Jews in the Crusade times. During the 13th century, the Castle was rebuilt in stone and it is unfortunate that the the Tower should be now known as Clifford's Tower due to Roger de Clifford being hanged there. Nice !!

All lines lead to the door... and then vanish !
Nowadays the hollow building is owned by English Heritage who try and keep the landmark in the public eye. The best selling point of a visit here is probably the views of the city... but for me, that is for another day. A coach party arrives and there seems to be enough business at the moment.....

"How many more steps do we have to climb?"
It is about this time that the traveller gets weary and hungry. Despite using the facilities of the Christmas market, many tourists feel the need to visit the famous tea shop....

Unfortunately what they do not realise is the expense of such a visit and more to the point, the length of waiting time outside to enter....

"To warm myself up, can I afford two teas when I reach the door?!"
This scene is repeated at all times in the year and I must confess, I still haven't had the patience or money to stand in the queue. There's only enough time to do a bit of window shopping...

"we feel cold just watching them queue outside"

Meanwhile, just around the corner from the door a group of buskers try to rustle up enough money to get a cup of Betty's tea !

Betty's fund !!

Lastly, I came across an unusual shop called "Give the dog a bone" which at first I thought was a pet shop but it turns out it is a gift shop not for pets as I thought next but for Adults who have an interest in pets... although it is not necessarily anything to do with pets either.. confused ??, I am !!

"Hey, are you not going to buy me a present ??!! "....

Sunday, 26 December 2010

York - arrival, sunrise and the River Ouse

York is a popular travel destination for shoppers, regional tourists and visitors from all over the world. I am continuing my series that I commenced before Christmas with the international market.

(( I am posting this early as I am planning a trip tomorrow for three days with my "Scarborough sand castle manager ! " to a place where there is heavy snow forecast.... not sure if we are going yet although I am packed... The dry days look to be misty for photos.... have a bad feeling about it all )).

There are many reasons that I believe the only way to arrive in York is by train....

"My train" this year is gradually becoming the saturday 07:00 Newcastle - London Kings Cross...
York - 24.04.10, London - 10.07.10, Peterborough - 02.10.10 and York - 11.12.10. I say this to give me an opportunity to display the 5 smaller images that you have not seen before from 24th April. I booked this ticket well ahead with East Coast and for the 1 hour (80mile/ 128km ) journey the ticket price cost less than the last time I parked my car in York for the day back in 2004 ! If the first time traveller arrives by car, a University degree is needed in working out the car park lettering codes. I once passed through York on the way to Bristol by coach.... not recommended either !

Although UK railway stations can be cold places as was the case today waiting for the train at 18:58 to return home, York railway station is a magnificent architectural place to see..

On leaving the railway station, the visitor is met by a city wall, where there is a great first view of York Minster. Just in time to see sunrise at 08:00. I didn't walk along the wall on this occasion as the ice made it too dangerous...

I followed the path in the direction of Lendal bridge in the centre of the above photo, then descended the steps down to the River Ouse to get a few better shots of the bridge.

Lendal Bridge was built in 1863 probably taking it's name from Lendal Tower to the left which is 700 years old. Interestingly enough, the Tower was up for sale as a property development in 2009 for £650,000. The rounded conical roof to the right of the bridge which seems to attracts the cities population of pigeons is called Barker Tower. This was built in the 14th century and was used as a toll booth for entering the city by ferry until you have guessed it ... 1863.

Back up on the bridge, it was time to catch the morning light of the Lendal bridge lamps and the morning sunrise...

The York Boat river cruises are always popular with tourists in the summer, not sure about business during December.

Lendal Tower and bridge from under bridge street

The River Ouse that flows through York has a catchment area for nearly all of North Yorkshire and it is useful to own a boat living in a river apartment as flooding usually happens a few days after torrential rain or a severe thaw of Yorkshire snow. The most famous aspect of this is The Kings Arms public house on the opposite side of the river next to where I took the Bridge street image from.

This building has markings on the interior walls to signify the year when the flood waters rose to that level. It is always dramatic when the river is in full flow as Flooding at The Kings Arms ( York Press ) in this link shows.

Pigeon wake up call... " I wonder how much bread I can get today"
sunrise and waiting for the shops to open
Yes, this is Petergate on a saturday in December...  ok, it is  early !!
When visiting York, it is good to have a plan as there is so much to see. I didn't have a plan on this occasion as I was a camera observer.
 It's time to go and have some breakfast and think about what to see today......

Too much choice !!
To be continued....

Friday, 24 December 2010

Fenwick's Christmas Window, Newcastle

Fenwick's at Christmas  GJC_DSC_0024_edited-1
Fenwick's Christmas Window
Fenwick's is one of the oldest department stores in Newcastle and is famous in December for it's magical animated display in the main window enjoyed by all the local shoppers. The Christmas window display has been entertaining adults and children since 1971.

Fenwick's Architecture  GJC_DSC_0027
Fenwick's architecture, Newcastle
It is fitting at Christmas time, when I am usually at home, that I should bring your attention to something seasonal. As a child, I was brought up to believe that the real Santa came to Fenwick's. Apart from Christmas day, the big event in December was the trip to see this window which has a different display every year. ( Fenwick's is one of the largest and most modern department stores in Newcastle. It was originally constructed by the owners purchasing a series of shops extending the store to reach entrances on two major streets and is the flagship store in this UK chain)

Fenwick's Window GJC_DSC_0157
Fenwick's Christmas Window
The Christmas window displays are usually constructed in Germany by a firm who specialises in theme park production and takes most of the year to complete. The Fenwick's staff keep an eye on the project throughout the year.

Window warmth  GJC_DSC_0029
Window warmth, Fenwick's Christmas Window
The theme of 2010 is Santa's toy factory with its production line, quality control and reindeer shed...

Awaiting service  GJC_IMG_0725 (2)
Awaiting service ... Fenwick's Christmas Window

Fun & Laughter GJC_IMG_0734 (1)
Fun and Laughter ... Fenwick's Christmas Window

Accept or Reject  GJC_IMG_0738
Accept or Reject, Fenwick's Christmas Window

Gift wrapper GJC_IMG_0739
Gift wrapper ... Fenwick's Christmas Window

Chocolate sweep GJC_IMG_0742
Chocolate Sweep...     Fenwick's Christmas Window

Snowman  GJC_DSC_0030
Snowman ... Fenwick's Christmas Window

The Postman  GJC_DSC_0147
Mailbag duties ... Fenwick's Christmas Window

Production Line  GJC_DSC_0151
Production Line ... Fenwick's Christmas Window

Vixen ... Fenwick's Christmas Window

Winter Kit  GJC_DSC_0146 (1)
Winter kit ... Fenwick's Christmas Window

Santa's List  GJC_IMG_0714
Santa's list ... Fenwick's Christmas Window

Sleigh Ride GJC_IMG_0728
Sleigh Ride ... Fenwick's Christmas Window

It was difficult to photograph this set as you will discover from the reflections across the street in the following links..... Just to give you the atmosphere of the movement and music, here is a young family enjoying their trip to see the window which seems to be more to do with how the child is going to react to the spectacle....

and a more professional version to show the moving parts. On a side note, although I am proud of my roots, apologies to inflict you with the well written song that just steps over the edge at times ...

In another nearby out of town shopping centre, the amount of money spent at Christmas is ridiculously high....
Tall tales and high prices !
... so I'll finish with another kind of window scene a bit more simple from this months Durham Christmas market. This strips away at all the tinsel and toys to something more meaningful and original about the festival..

£1.99 for the baby Jesus, He's worth a lot more than that.

I wish all readers of this blog a very Happy Christmas and I will see you very soon.
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