Day trip to York. On the way Gerry complained about the fact that when on holiday we always seem to driving somewhere other than where we're staying. It makes me wonder why we don't just book a holiday in Somewhere Else and save all the driving.
Got parked near the Castle but surprisingly didn't have the eleven quid odd in exact change required to park for a few hours, so tried the "pay by phone" service. About an hour later I'd registered, involving talking to a robot quite a lot and a robot-like human for a bit, and amazingly hadn't got a parking ticket in the interim.
Of course first up on the agenda was scran, so we fell into the first place we saw: a restaurant called "31 Castlegate" based in a character period property. The dining room was tastefully decorated but with a noticeably sloped floor, a metaphor for the whole experience. We ordered from the delicious-looking French style menu and meals were brought quickly - perhaps too quickly, as they were not in fact our meals but other similar-sounding meals. Chicken breast with tomatoes and crushed potatoes became chicken sandwiches with chips, and pork escalope resting on asparagus risotto became confit of duck resting on chorizo mash. It's all meat and carbs, hey. The highly embarrassed waitress intimated to us: "Never work in a restaurant, it's hell."
It turned out that our table had simply been mixed up with another, and the food was very good so actually I would highly recommend 31 Castlegate. I'm afraid I don't have the address but I'm sure you can find it by Googling.
Next up, Jorvik - award-winning interactive museum exploring York's Viking heritage as unearthed beneath the site. Smugly walked past the long queue into the 'fast track' entrance reserved for the elite intelligentsia, those who know how to use the Internet to pre-book things. In the first section you're trucked round a life-size reconstruction of York in Viking times, complete with reconstructed sounds and smells, like some 5D ghost train ride through Leadgate. It's a pity that it's not possible to pre-book personal body space, as moving through the remainder of the museum felt like being squeezed out of a toothpaste tube - trying to look at the excellent exhibits and read the notes cards whilst being constantly pushed along by the ceaseless influx of folk getting off the ride.
Forced out of the exit an hour after entering, we blinked in the daylight and wondered what to do next. Decided to stroll up to the Minster, amble round the Shambles then return via the City Wall. Photographed the Minster from outside - God charges quite a lot of filthy lucre to see the inside of his gaff - subjected the kids to as much quirky shopping as we could get away with and then ascended the steps onto the medieval rampart. This was a familiar experience: entertaining the kids until we're climbing the walls.
Driving home I worked out that you cannot exceed 46 mph on the North York Moors, I.e, the speed of a twat. Even if you get past the car at the front of the queue, perhaps risking your life to overtake several timid souls forming a caravan, you will only hit the next queue a few hundred yards further on. I'm wondering at what age I will stop driving with clenched teeth and barely controlled fury and start drifting along, glaze-eyed and content, almost going backwards.
I turned out a gourmet creation par excellence for tea: haricots sur du pain grillé. Not wanting to eat from a tin, Emma was slicing something healthy-looking when Joseph gave us the best entertainment of the day... Amazing how much his iPad case looks like a red chopping board.