“Oh, the grand old Duke of York, he had ten thousand men, he marched them up to the top of the hill and he marched them down again”.

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That nursery rhyme went round and round in my head so that I thought of our erstwhile family life, with Robert singing to the kids, so much that after I went to sleep I dreamed of Fairmont, our home of that time in Warwick. It was a kind of nightmare really, but cathartic. I haven’t allowed myself to look at that til now.

Seemingly innocuous on its approaches, it eventuates that wider York is built around a medieval walled city which protects a cathedral of breathtaking proportions and decorative construction. To protect it from tourists they call it a Minster, so that you don’t realise it’s really an 800-year-old cathedral.

The old town around it, inside the city walls, is called a shambles. Its narrow streets are cobbled for the most part, and curved, and quaint in the extreme. The buildings are gorgeous, a shambles of random styles each vying the other for gorgeousness. I took lots of photos and, as I’m getting a bit sick of using superlatives, I think they will have to speak for themselves.

Needless to say, we were enchanted with York, and strolled around hand-in-hand (a bit surprising considering our navigational blips) gawking and trying to memorise it all.

The old city wall seems to still be complete. Its grand stone gates and round gatehouses are fabulous. The Minster is everything it’s cracked up to be. We just missed Evensong, but heard the last of the singing which in that space was mesmerising.

We met a busker who asked us if we knew of the Seekers (my second such inquiry in three days). Did we know the Seekers???! It’s so nice to be able to name-drop! I promised that I would get my brother-in-law Keith Potger to say hello to him. He nearly swooned – he really did, he nearly swooned. It was rather a marvellous moment. Then he started to play “The Carnival is Over” on his zither (a bit of an unfortunate choice, since that’s the one song Keith won’t play for reasons known only unto him – but still, it was a lovely thought).

Jane Grieve