There’s lots of excitement about the Grande Depart of the Tour de France in Yorkshire there last few days. It’s all over the news, and even though Thirsk, where I am staying in not on the route, there are all sorts of decorations, including bunting of tiny handknitted jerseys. There was some sort of town decorating contest, in fact, there seems to be a lot of contests, for gardens, tea rooms, etc. I keep seeing little plaques as evidence of a win in some category or other. Everyone seems to feel the tour is bringing lots of good attention to the region, in addition to the boost in business. It is a good thing I booked my hotel room months ago.
After my forced march into town, I found the Golden Fleece and was given very cute room one floor up, which was a relief. I thought I might end up with another four flight venture like in Scotland. I ate the ham and chutney sandwich I had brought earlier and crashed out.
Next morning it was off to church at St. Mary’s, at 15th century cathedral. Once again, all the hymns were familiar and the words all in there right places, just where I left them. I had a nice chat during the coffee our about how that was an advantage of the Anglican Communion.
Of course I had to have a classic Sunday lunch (I planned ahead and only had cereal for breakfast,) and the Golden Fleece delivered with a ginormous Yorkshire pudding. It seemed to be a portion for about 4 people. I’m proud to say my picture of it on twitter was retweed by @ratemypudding!
Sitting near me was a couple and we began to chat, turns out he is normally the verger at St. Marys’s but this is his week off. He is from Thirsk and he and his wife come to the Golden Fleece every Sunday for lunch. He had a great Yorkshire accent, and once in agreement with me he said “nah then, you’ve spoken troo, you’ve spoken troo.” I was quite tickled at he whole thing.
In the afternoon, I went to the James Herriot Experience, which is the reason I chose to stay in Thirsk. Thirsk is the real name for the Town of Darrowby in the All Creatures Great and Small books, and James Herriot is the pen name of Alf Wight, the veterinarian who wrote those books. The museum has five sections, all filling the house and outbuildings that are described in there books. There is the house, filled with family items and 1940s items, and it includes a bomb shelter exhibit. Next is information about the real Alf Wight. There is also a section with sets from the tv show, an interactive children’s section about the life of a vet ( and yes, I did test my strength to see if I could pull a calf out of a cow and yes I am strong enough) and a section devoted to the progress of veterinary medicine with all sorts of tools and information. It was far more than I expected, and well worth the visit. Of course, the trip through the house and building ended in the gift shop, as all good tours do.
Back at the hotel they had run out of the full tea, but I got a pot of tea and a tea cake (which is sort of a sweet hamburger bun with raisins) and I began to read the autobiography of Alf Wight in a little room called the writers room. It was a fine day and I ended it with a little pizza and some tv. I’m fascinated by the shows. The seem to be some terrible American reality shows which I have never seen before, in addition to more classic BBC fare, and always, it seems, an episode of Big Bang Theory.