Monday, 31 December 2012

Wet cobblestones

This picture of the River Ouse sums up York over the last few months. Let's hope it stops raining in 2013 and the river retreats back to within it's usual boundaries.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Tree in a Box

You do see lots of different uses for old red phone boxes but this is the first time I have found one decorated for Christmas, complete with a tree and lights. Apologies for the fuzzy picture but couldn't resist posting this one!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Little Bettys

Lots of nice things to eat at any time of year in Little Bettys on Stonegate but especially so at Christmas.

Friday, 28 December 2012

A World Cast in Frost

I climbed through woods in the hour-before-dawn dark.
Evil air, a frost-making stillness,

Not a leaf, not a bird -
A world cast in frost. I came out above the wood

Where my breath left tortuous statues in the iron light.
But the valleys were draining the darkness.....

Extract from The Horses by Ted Hughes

Thursday, 27 December 2012

No change here!

Which we can only assume must be a good thing!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

X is (not) for Xmas

I suspect Xmas will be a popular choice today. It is one of those words that people get very worked up about. It does look like a modern word but its usage goes back to at least the 16th century. It is shorthand for Christ, and although we mainly see it used now as in the word 'Christmas' it has been used as an abbreviated form of other words such as xtian and xianity. I think the vital point is to pronounce it as Christ and not Ex.
Taking part in ABC Wednesday

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas

And all the Angels in Heaven shall sing,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
And all the Angels in Heaven shall sing,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

 Merry Christmas to all visitors old and new to Ginnels Gates and Ghosts today. Hope you are all enjoying your day.

Monday, 24 December 2012

A .......... of Robins

Christmas Eve and everyone is busy with last minute preparations, but you know you really deserve a 10 minute break with a warming beverage of your choice. Whilst you kick back perhaps you would like to consider your suggestion for a collective noun for Robins, I will start the ball rolling with a Round........

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Earth Stood Hard as Iron

A bitterly cold night followed by freezing fog produced the most beautiful display of hoar frost recently, and that tractor rut was frozen solid. No snow but very Christmassy all the same.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

A deer is not just for Christmas

Just one anxious deer left amongst the rather sinister looking penguins, hope someone took Rudolph home today.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Happy Yuletide

December 21st is the Winter Solstice. Happy Yuletide to any Pagan visitors to the blog who are celebrating the return of the Sun, rather than the Son, at this time of year....

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Stranded Santa

Oh deer(!) Santa's sleigh has broken down. Luckily a few Elves have arrived bearing wrenches screwdrivers and jump leads, hopefully that will get Santa mobile again soon.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

W is for Wintery Landscape

Frosted grass and frozen trees on an ice cold yet sunny morning. Took my gloves off to take this picture and spent 10 minutes getting the feeling back in my fingertips afterwards!
Taking part in ABC Wednesday/

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Two Angles

The Festival of the Angels is a relatively recent Christmas introduction to York. Around a dozen ice sculptures were placed along Stonegate, Swinegate and Back Swingate. Here a rather older Angel looks down on her icy sister.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Would you like ice with that?

This weekend the city was host to a number of ice sculptures as part of the Festival of the Angels, here is a work in progress in Kings Square. As the weather had warmed up some of the sculptures were melting as the weekend progressed. This guy's job was to replace them.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Flower symbols

There are a number of flower symbols on this old gravestone in York cemetery. In the centre is a rose the symbol for beauty, and behind are tulips for love and passion. The ivy around the flowers symbolises friendship. Not sure what the snail signifies other than the cemetery is good news for the local ecosystem!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Flood Prevention

If the river floods locals look to the fire brigade for help. However the fire station is near the river, so what to do to stop the water coming in through the side door of the fire station? Easy, fill the doorway with concrete and stencil a handle on it, oh and a penguin too.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Cold as Ice

The cold mornings and oh so clear skies continued this week. This is Strensall Common again, around an hour after sunrise.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Quiet Side Street

York can get very crowded with locals and visitors busy shopping and sightseeing especially at this time of year. Sometimes it is nice just to walk through the city via the ginnels and alleyways and avoid all the crowds.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

V is for Vikings

A re-enactment of the Battle of Stamford Bridge (1066) earlier this summer. Stamford is a village about 8 miles outside York, and this battle where Harold Godwinson defeated the Norwegian king Harold Hardrada, is often sited as the end of the Viking era in Britain. In these days of equal opportunities I noticed quite a few female Viking warriors, I have no idea if this is authentic or not!
Taking part in ABC Wednesday

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Independent Trading

Many visitors to York come to visit the small independent shops that still exist. This antiquarian bookshop and bespoke tailor which can be found next to each other on Bootham, are a good example.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Ice Wars

Any soldiers hoping to train on this part of Strensall Common will need some very good grips on their boots to run over this flooded and frozen field......
Taking part iMellow Yellow Monday

Sunday, 9 December 2012

York Cat

This York cat is keeping a close eye on the passers-by in Blossom Street.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Walking the Dogs

A typical weekend view of Strensall Common in winter, bare trees, sunshine (if we are lucky) and people out walking their dogs.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Frosty morning

The light as the sun rose on a hard frost on Strensall Common this week was just stunning. I was only able to stop briefly to grab a couple of quick shots with a compact I keep in the car. Must try to go back on a similar morning when I have more time available.
Taking part in Skywatch Friday

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Mansion House Christmas

The Mansion House was dressed for Christmas this week and open to visitors. The theme was Victorian with lots of greenery around. Sadly I did not have time to go and look inside so will save that pleasure for another day.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

U is for Unitarian

The Unitarian Chapel on St Saviourgate had an open day earlier this year. It was built in 1693 in the shape of a Greek Cross with a lantern set at the crossing. It was updated in the 19th century when the flashed ruby glass you can see through the doorway was added to many of the windows.
Taking part in ABC Wednesday

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Merchant Hall

A reminder of sunnier days, this gable end view of the Merchant Adventure's Hall really shows off the wooden framework of this lovely old building.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Last Few Leaves

The last few leaves are still clinging to these young trees planted in front of The Catalyst at York Science Park.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Wind in the Willows

After the rain comes the wind, this Canada Goose has wisely turned it's back to the prevailing wind that is whipping up those willow branches.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

My Street....... sunrise earlier this week.

Taking part in CDP theme day

Friday, 30 November 2012

Rocket to the Moon!

Looking at first glance rather like a space rocket on the launch pad is the boiler house chimney at York University, and that white dot in the sky about two thirds of the way up is the moon!
Taking part in Skywatch Friday

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Foggy Morning by the River

The Vale of York is prone to foggy mornings at this time of year, and the mist always lingers by the river.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


Taphophilia is an interest in and enjoyment of cemeteries and the gravestones found there. For me the wildlife that is often present even in city centre cemeteries, and the mix of trees and plants is a major part of it too. All the gravestones tell a story, some more obviously than others, and a little research can often uncover some fascinating and forgotten local history. Many are covered in symbols as well as writing, and sometimes just reading the weathered stones can be a challenge.
There are several memes dedicated to this subject and although not active at present Taphophile Tragics is warmly recommended
Taking part in ABC Wednesday 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Flooded Fields

A flooded field with winter trees, York Minster, and the York Wheel on the wet and windy skyline. Maybe if we had more trees and plants in gardens rather than decking and gravel all that water (and the birds and insects) would have somewhere to go.

Monday, 26 November 2012

The River is Rising again.....

Yesterday I walked along the tow-path next to these buildings by the river Foss. Today, after a night of heavy rain, ducks are swimming over the same spot. More rain is expected tonight......

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Reflections of Reflections

I always have to have a go at deciphering back to front writing, how about you?

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Ellen Wilson

Ellen Wilson's Hospital on Lawrence Street was built by John Sykes in 1894. It is a row of six single-story brick dwellings. It was intended for aged or infirm women born or resident in St. Lawrence's parish, selected without religious test, and a stipend of 8 shillings a week (0.40p) was given to each inmate.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Dowager Countess of Grantham

Barley Hall currently has an exhibition of costumes from film and TV dramas. This is one worn by Maggie Smith in her role as the acerbic family matriarch Lady Grantham in Downton Abbey. Famous for her one liners she once dealt with an unwelcome house guest as follows

DOWAGER COUNTESS “Well, what on earth’s the matter?”
RICHARD “I’m leaving in the morning Lady Grantham. I doubt we’ll meet again.”
DOWAGER COUNTESS “Do you promise?”

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Keys of Heaven

York Minster is also known as St Peter's, its full name being the 'Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter in York'.  The keys of St Peter can easily be found within the Minster as here on an entrance gate to a private chapel.
Keys can also be found all around the city, the pub opposite the Minster is what else but the Crossed Keys. An area of the mediaeval city was known as The Liberty of St Peter and governed by the Dean & Chapter rather than the Lord Mayor. Many buildings still have keys carved or painted on them if you look carefully.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A Waste of Money?

These solar compactor waste bins have started appearing on York city streets. Known as the 'Big Belly' bins they not only take more waste than the usual bins but send a message to the council when they need emptying. Sounds good but I have yet to see anyone actually using them...........

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Nuclear Winter

In use from the 1960s to the 1990s this bunker was part of a nationwide network intended to monitor the radioactive fall-out from a nuclear bomb. No longer in use it is now open to visitors as a tourist attraction.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Car park

Car park window in the centre of town.The windows on the opposite side are inverted copies of this one, a nice touch.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Art lessons

This used to be the art and craft room at my school. I was half surprised to see it still standing today, it used to let the rain in 40 years ago! The conservatory had plenty of natural light for drawing and painting, and the potting shed at the back contained a couple of potter's wheels and a kiln for firing our attempted clay pots. No evidence left of any of our artistic endeavours now.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Back to School

More years ago than I care to count this rather elegant building was the old wing of my grammar school. It is still used as a school but has a different name these days. As I walked down the path a small black cat appeared who put me in mind of Nefertiti - the school cat in my day. I wonder if one of her descendants is still patrolling the grounds and stalking the corridors!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Station Hotel

The building next to the York wheel is the The Royal York Hotel, known to locals as the Station Hotel as it is practically situated on platform 2. The hotel was completed in 1878, a year after the station opened.  It featured elegant banqueting rooms and 100 large bedrooms for 14 shillings a night. A 27-room west wing was added in 1896, named Klondyke after the US gold rush of the time.
Taking part in Skywatch Friday

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Pretty Lights

This stained glass design from a window in St Martin-cum-Gregory is used as the symbol for the Stained Glass Centre now situated inside the church. Further information here if you are tempted to visit. Be sure to check opening times though as it is only open occasionally.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Roundabout of the Year

The UK Roundabout Appreciation Society(!) has recently declared this roundabout on Windmill Rise the best roundabout in Britain. I am not surprised, the windmill has been recently restored and looks splendid. Many years ago a good friend of mine lived on Windmill Rise and we used to congregate at her house every New Years Eve for a party. Directly midnight struck we all formed a conga line which skipped it's way out the door, up the hill and around this windmill to welcome in the New Year.
Taking part in  ABC Wednesday

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Red Door

A bright red door with a cobweb window light above on one of the elegant town houses in Blossom Street.
Taking part in Ruby Tuesday

Monday, 12 November 2012

Boer War Memorial

Meant to post this yesterday, better late than never. Most of the war memorials in York are quite plain. The exception is the Boer War Memorial next to the Minster. It is an elaborately decorated column with niches near the top of the monument for statues representing the men and women who served. On this side of the memorial two soldiers and a nurse look down on passers-by. One of the niches stands empty save for a plaque stating that the occupant was struck by lightening!
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