October 25, 2013

And then we... went back to York, again.

On the Medieval Walls surrounding York 
Taking a 3rd trimester preggo trip to England sounded like a grand idea back in March when Bean was still the size of a bean.  I'll be fine!  No biggie!  

And in all honesty, it was pretty much... fine.  If you define "fine" as hitting every toilet between Saudi-London-PaddingtonStation-King'sCrossStation-Train ride-York Train Station-and our bed and breakfast. Also, if you define "fine" as convincing a Qatar-y (Qatar-ie?? Overly-inquisitive-man-from-Quatar???) man that I was in fact, "fit to travel" according to my Doctor.  (Andrew's Note: I've never seen so many one-eyebrow-raised skeptical looks given in such a short time.)

Conversation with my Arabic Doctor from earlier in the week:
Doctor Mulhim: Everything looks good, any other questions?
Me:  <sweaty palms... cough.... nervous glance up>  
"Can you lie for me on my airline form and say that I'm not as far along as I am so that I can travel?"
DM:  .... <silence>
DM:  "Sure!  We do this all the time for women!!"  

His lack of reluctance actually made me more nervous.  Visions of delivering early next to seat 32A with Abdullah bin Aziz watching from 31C haunted me.  

AbA:  "Why your wife not covered with abaya?"
Andrew: "She's giving birth."
AbA:  <grumble-grumble>

For the record, this scenario isn't too far off.  A friend of mine gave birth (last month!!) on the side of the road trying to get to the Aramco hospital with a few Arabic men watching.  Her husband caught the baby.  One of the men was yelling from outside the passenger seat.... "Baby is coming! Baby is coming!"  

Not making that story up.  Really.

(**furiously tries to find and read the pages in the baby book on "Accidental Mobile Births"**)

Regardless, we spent last week in York, England during the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Adha.  It was gloriously chilly, wet and cozy.  I spent more money than anticipated because I felt bad using the loo in a shop without purchasing anything while Andrew canvased the city's best craft beer pubs.  (I don't agree with that, by the way.  If you have to go to the bathroom and there's no sign saying not to, you should be able to use it without having to buy something.  A pack of gum, a Coke, fine....but when you go to the potty in a jewelry store bathroom, it's not OK.)    

Walking the streets of York.
What's in the bag?  Kit Kats- because we can't get them in Saudi.
We LOVE York.  (We love it.)  So much so that this was our third visit.  Lame?  Maybe.  But if you're looking for a walkable city known as the best preserved medieval city in Europe with all sorts of quaint shops and beer galore, this is your spot.  Its relaxing, beautiful and perfect for a low key holiday.  We're about 90% sure we're spending next Christmas here as well.  It's that awesome.   (Not to mention the largest cathedral in Northern Europe, old "snaggleways" (skinny medieval streets) and a pretty busy nightlife since there's a university in the town.  Not that we spent a whole week clubbing)

We always stay at this GREAT little pub/inn/bed&breakfast called The Lamb and Lion Inn.  It is tiny, has great beer, friendly staff, cholesterol filled breakfasts and little "snugs" where you can hide away with a book and a pint.  So much better than staying in a chain hotel!  (It's attached to a gate built in the 1300's.  THE 1300's.  That's the stone thing on the left in the pictures below)
Too busy EATING to get any pics of the inside.
Said 700 year old gate.

Much of our time was spent hanging out in pubs and shopping, and well... eating.  We do a lot of that on our trips.  And before I start getting emails and phone calls about not drinking during pregnancy... chill out.  My rule is one sip.  Let's just say I ate/drank any type of cheese/deli meat/caffeine placed in front of me and all of it WAS DARNED GOOD.

High Tea at Betty's Tea House  
"Doing" wasn't really on our to-do list, especially with being very pregnant.  Eating, however, was.  People who say that British food is bad haven't done their homework.  Just take a look at few items from our Inn's menu when we were eating:


  • Steak & Ale Pie, Creamy Mash, Glazed Carrots, Buttered Cabbage
  • Yorkshire Dales Lamb Rump, Garlic Mash, Pea & Mint
  • Bacon Chop, Grilled Tomato, Runny Duck Egg & Hand Cut Chips
  • Scampi, Tartare Sauce, Garden Peas, Hand Cut Chips
  • Open Fish Pie, Haddock & Mussels, Buttered Spinach, Parmesan
  • Smoked Haddock, Curry Spiced Pea Risotto, Poached Hen's Egg, Hollandaise
  • Chicken Tikka Masala, Basmati Rice, Naan Bread, Pickle Tray
  • Beef Cheek Croquette, Pickled Shallot & Watercress Salad, Runny Duck Egg
  • Chip Shop Halloumi, Hand Cut Chips, Yorkshire Caviar (v)
  • Wild Mushroom Risotto, White Onion, Parmesan Crisp (v)


Soooo freaking good.  Soooo not looking at the scale at my next Ob/Gyn appointment.  

Walking along the Medieval Walls.
FYI preggos... lords weren't fond of loos on their walls.
We also walked, or in my case... waddled....the Medieval walls that surround the city as well as attended church and Evensong at York Minster cathedral.  

Okay, so it wasn't snowing at York Minster.  Our B&B is directly to the left of this shot.. BTW.
This picture is to convince our family members that York is a great place to spend Christmas 2014.
Anyone?? Anyone??  (WTG.  Now that you put this here, next year will be the worst December heat wave in England's history and the cathedral will be closed for renovation.) 

But the best moment of the trip is something that happened to Andrew.  I'll let him describe it.

(In the middle of the week, we ended up in a little church cemetery about 30 miles from York to see a particular gravestone or two.  I've always enjoyed genealogy.  You can bet I get extra excited about it every St. Patrick's Day, too.  

John Redmond, leader of the Irish Home Rule Party on the right.  He is said to be a cousin of ours but I'm still trying to fill in the gaps for that link.
My aunt, who has done some pretty extensive research into my Mom's side of the family, gave me some papers several years ago pertaining to my Dad's side of the family that my Dad had given her.  I have looked at them many times over the years, but never bothered to find out exactly where exactly the places are that my relatives lived.  My Dad told me a few weeks ago that his grandmother's Bible mentioned a Yorkshire connection.  I looked back at those papers to check the earliest record - William Raper, born in the late 1500s, is buried in the cemetery at All Saints Church in Pick Hill, North Yorkshire, England - 30 miles from York!! (Thanks, Google Earth!)

We made our way over to Pick Hill by bus and then a taxi, found All Saints Church, and then ran into my great great great great great great great great grandmother, Margaret Raper!  

Yup, that's her!  Look how big the grave is - it's the only one in the whole cemetery that's not just a single vertical stone.  Seems like they had money maybe or were pretty important!

I'm not sure what year she died, but I do know she and my grandfather William Raper were married in 1620.  We didn't find William for some reason...we might have missed it but our taxi driver said sometimes husbands and wives were buried in the same grave, especially if it's a big one like that.  Strange that it didn't have his name on it if that's the case.  We saw some other possible cousins and such, too.  It's INSANE to walk around where your relatives walked around and went to church nearly 400 years ago.)  

Finding various cousins!

Unfortunately, my camera fuzzed out on me while we were there, but I did get a few good pics before we had to leave the church.  So so cool to have that experience.  What a great trip!

Husband and All Saints Church.  Love this!
(My Great x9 grandfather probably walked in these doors just like this some Sunday morning.  Crazy!)

1 comment:

  1. Awesome. Christina had a one-sip rule as well! :-)