The Shambles, York Minster, & Worried Sheep

Continuing our UK adventure and drifting at times down memory lane, I and my fellow travelers spent some of the 22nd, all of the 23rd, and a bit of the 24th in York. We traipsed along its ancient, cobbled streets on Friday (22nd) eventually finding our way to The Shambles, a street directly out of the fourteenth century, replete with cross-timber buildings and upper-story overhangs purported to once have been a site for the slaughter of animals and the displaying of meat, an unpleasant image for such a charming area. Today, those buildings boast shops for jewelry, brick-a-brac, artisan wares, Harry Potter paraphernalia, women’s wear, and such.

On Saturday, we spent a few hours self-touring York Minster, an important and magnificent Cathedral established during England’s Anglo-Saxon period (450–1066). It’s history and significance to England’s religious heritage makes for an interesting study, but I was most dazzled, I have to admit, not by the numerous stone carvings of British Kings (reminding me of Shakespearean plays), tapestries depicting biblical narratives, sepulchers of prominent personages scattered about, the gorgeous carved panels everywhere, or even New Testament passages— I am ashamed to say—adorning walls here and there but by the stained glass windows throughout. There is simply something about light flickering through colored glass that reminds one of God’s promise symbolized by the rainbow. And let’s face it, stained glass is quite simply “a thing of beauty” which Keats proclaimed ”a joy forever.” You can’t get much better than that. I’m including a few pictures for my pastor’s perusal.

After the elevating tour of York Minster, we decided to have a Dungeon Adventure. You read correctly: A Dungeon Adventure. We do have two boys with us, after all.Though gruesome and quite trying in concept, it was actually light-hearted fun, replete with young actors putting on quite a show while involving their audience in the performance. Eventually, a bailiff dragged my daughter-in-law before a white-wigged magistrate to answer the charge of witchcraft, nice to have the proverbial shoe crammed upon the other foot for a change, if you get my drift. She bravely and forcefully took up for herself, staring down the judge and proclaiming “I am Innocent! Innocent!” We booed her anyway. Next my son, darling boy, became the torturer’s demonstration dummy, having some quite uncomfortable tools of torture demonstrated on his perfect body. Oh such wanton villainy. Such miscarriage of justice. For some reason, inexplicable really, the grandsons seemed pleased with the show. I provide no pictures!

The rest of our time in York, we spent doing such things as eating: fish and chips, pasties, and my particular favorite—steak and ale pie with peas and chips. Lovely. We also took long walks atop sections of the medieval city wall and tried our best to get an hour or two of sleep on Saturday night as revelers shouted obscenities at each other while partying just beyond our windows at pubs and restaurants along the river. Nothing is perfect, I suppose.

Sunday at noon, our son and daughter-in-law brought round (English expression that) a rental car. We loaded up and sped out of York, weaving our way through heavy traffic on the left side of narrow roads laden with parked cars and treacherous round-abouts, completing our travel triad of planes, trains, and automobiles. Later it will reverse into automobiles, trains, and planes. But on we went to the North Riding of York, AKA North Yorkshire—to Richmond to be exact, a town we once considered our own though we actually lived at Catterick Garrison, a mile or so down a winding road. Richmond was the largest town of some size around and where our older son attended school. We often shopped, ate, and visited friends there. In the next few days, I hope to write more about Catterick and Richmond—should I find the time and garner strength—but for now, I want to address a most troubling development I came across on a trail along the Swale River that runs through the Richmond/Swaledale area. It seems that in this area specifically and likely in most of England as well, it is an offence to worry sheep. Yes, it is.

Now, I became immediately concerned because I admit I can sometimes worry an absolute saint. Not only that, I often worry myself, my husband, my children, my grandchildren, my…well, you get the picture. I’m prone to worry, in more ways than one. Yes, yes, I know. ”Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matt. 6: 34 KJV And, really, I’ve been working on this, but it never occurred to me that worrying someone else or something else, say a sheep for example, was an offence in the legal sense. I may need an entirely new plan of action before my flaws become criminal.

Until then—please enjoy these pictures of an English hare in the lush grasses near the Swale River and Richmond Castle. I hope my photography didn’t worry him needlessly.

3 thoughts on “The Shambles, York Minster, & Worried Sheep

  1. This is my favorite post so far. It is so multi layered. From the now charming former wet market, where there were probably plenty of viruses spread alongside the nourishment of food, to the idea of worrying sheep. Why are worried sheep a problem? More than cows, dogs, horses….? And is the offence (love the spelling) punishable?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks, Mare. When we were doing a bit of walking in North Yorkshire, we came upon several of these signs. Many walking paths go through private property that the owners are required (I think) to allow the public on. But the public are expected to respect the property and livestock on it. We ran across several of these signs, mainly attached to stiles that connected pastures and different farmers’ properties. I wish I had taken more pictures of the stiles. Some were quite clever and interesting. I had forgotten about them from so many years ago. Sorry—I digress. Well, most of the livestock in the pastures/meadows we were transversing had sheep. I expect you are not to worry cows and other livestock either. As far as the spelling, I continue to be surprised at how many spellings are different. When we came back from England after living there back when, my students often caught my misspellings—most of which were the English spelling.


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