We missed seeing the famous Jorvik village in York, because it was destroyed by the river flooding and damaging much of the lower parts of the town. I mentioned that in an earlier blog, but we still wandered along and around The Shambles where we found buildings so old, we wondered how they were still standing. The great thing about these old buildings, apart from their beauty, character and history, is the fact that, unlike many similar looking buildings and ancient towns in Europe, York’s structures are genuine originals. (Maybe with additions and renovations, but basically as they were back in the 14th – 16th centuries.)
Also, unlike so many tourist towns, York has some genuinely original interesting shops and ones that sell quality products. I wanted to buy all these cute dogs, so tiny that I could fit them into my case, but so fragile I wondered how many would arrive home unbroken. The two I bought now have a special view on my kitchen bench.
Another shop which won our custom was the Edinburgh Woolen Shop. Found all over the UK, they sell the sort of quality knitware–scarves, gloves, hats, coats etc–that lasts for years and when the temperature plummeted, I had to have those ear muffs. i still have and use a lot in winter, a cashmere shawl that I bought from one of their stores in Scotland back in the 80s. So light and warm, it’s also a blanket on my travels.
While testing out the effectiveness of those muffs, against the wind that was so biting it had given me an earache, I ran into this jovial fellow who enlightened us about an event which would take place in the Minster that night. The Mystery Plays have been performed at various venues around York, initially traveling with mobile stages (probably horse and buggy varieties) and performing throughout the day – Feast of Corpus Christi – in different parts of the town. In 2016, for the first time since 2000, the drama took place inside the Minster and I think almost every citizen of the city played some part in the massive production.
But, before we got to see the Mystery Plays, we ran into another performance when trying
to cross the park to get back to our lodgings. Brass band, dignitaries dressed in their finest, and lots of fancy dress, uniforms, speeches which we couldn’t hear, and right near us, a massive gun salute. With all the soldiers dashing about, and after the Mayor (I think that’s who he was) dubbed the fancy dressed military person, we could tell the performance was coming to a mighty ending. Almost deafened by the canons, and all we saw was smoke. Then it was time for all to be upstanding to sing ‘God Save the Queen.’ with the help of the brass band and a lone Scottish piper.
A grand performance, all a big surprise and a puzzle, which would have remained a puzzle but the woman standing beside us, (who knew the Mayor and proceeded to tell us that the rumors about him weren’t true) handed me a brochure. We were celebrating the anniversary of the coronation of Her Majesty the Queen.
Being Australians, we had no idea what the fuss was about. Actually, I doubt if many of the other onlookers knew either. No doubt the celebrities had a nice little party afterwards.
We gave up waiting and took the long route back to the B&B, to shower and change for the planned theatrical performance. On the way we spotted this and of course had to take a photo.
Mystery Plays are definitely next. Based on the Bible, but that really is a book full of sex, violence, family feuds, power of good and evil — not for the faint hearted and should come with a warning. So, we found the production a romping, often hilarious, performance; keep watching.