Flowers and trip to York

There’s a distinctive floral theme in this week’s blog. Firstly, my gladioli and sword lilies are now in full bloom. Searching for information about gladioli, I came across the British Gladiolus Society, which has the intriguing website name britglad.com, which sounds as if it might be a website for people glad to be British. Given the upcoming Scottish Referendum, this might have been a great website name for the No Thanks campaign – which we are strongly supporting. Gladioli are of African origin and the name is derived from the Latin gladius meaning sword. Now sword lilies are a bit harder to pin down as they are known as gladiolus murielae and Abyssinian gladiolus and Abyssinian sword lily. No matter, they have beautiful, delicate, multiple heads with a white flower, which has a glowing purple interior. The two photos below show gladioli and sword lilies on our decking and a close up of a sword lily.

Gladioli and sword lilies

Gladioli and sword lilies

Sword lily

Sword lily

Last week, we went to spend a couple of days in York, in an apartment not far from the centre. Like Edinburgh, York is a wonderful city for walking around, taking in the old and new architecture and reading the history. The main focus tends to be on the magnificent York Minster which towers above the narrow streets. The Minster is out of view mostly and it can be a shock when you emerge from one of the streets and are met with this extensive structure. It’s a very pleasant walk around the outside of the Minster (see Photos 1 and 2 below) and we visited the Treasurer’s House (good photos on this site) which has a charming garden in front, with anemones in full bloom (Photo 3).

York Minster

York Minster

York Minster through the trees

York Minster through the trees

For a real ale enthusiast, York has an extensive range of pubs, serving beers from all over the UK. I went into the eccentric and wonderfully named  House of Trembling Madness . On the ground floor, there is a shop with a huge range of bottled beers from across the world, and upstairs there is a bar, which has 800 year old beams. It’s a small bar, with a low ceiling but the beers on offer, which change regularly, are very tasty. On the wall, they have a Yard of Ale glass (Photo 4). I remember this from my student days – the advice was always to spill as much as possible down your front.

Yard of Ale

Yard of Ale

One of the busiest places in York is the famous Betty’s Tea Room, an upmarket shop and restaurant. There was a long queue , so we went to the Café Tea Room. Bettys is much more expensive than your normal café but what you pay for is exquisite cakes, such as our pear tart (Photo 5), white-aproned waitresses and waiters, silver tea pots and very personal service in a very well furnished tearoom. On the first the evening, we ate in Café Concerto which, despite its name, is an excellent restaurant serving very good quality food – their courgette, pea and mint soup was superb. The second evening saw us in the very busy Rustique restaurant. Again, very good food here but not of the quality of Café Concerto.

Pear tart with fruit and cream

Pear tart with fruit and cream

We also went on a Cruise on the Ouse (pr Ooze) which was an informative trip up and down the river Ouse, with the captain giving us a commentary on the history of York and its bridges, such as the Lendal Bridge from where Photo 6 was taken.

River Ouse from Lendal Bridge

River Ouse from Lendal Bridge

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