Yorkshire 14 - Beverley/ a trip to the East Riding of Yorkshire /the Minster/the North Gate and an Italian lunch at Carluccios/silly Sat Nag

Published: January 17th 2017
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Patience is a virtue. All good things come to him who waits. These proverbs are coming into my head on a regular basis. I can hear my mum, my dad and my gran saying them over and over again. I have patience but it gets in short supply when the weather is poor and I feel the need to head off for sunnier climes.

Suzy still stands forlorn marooned on her island and unable to hit the road. The driver in our house has attacked with matock, pick axe, saws and hammer one of the three tree stumps in the way of her escape route. The weather has been too unkind to continue with the other two . It has been a roller coaster ride of dark and gloomy days, days where it felt as if Spring was just around the corner and days of torrential rain or mists which hung heavy in the air.

Today was no exception. The sky was leaden and grey. The light drizzle trickled down. It felt as if there was a cloak around the planet driving out any chance of the sun pushing its way through. The passing clouds were thick and hung heavy. I had to keep telling myself that behind it all the sun was shining through.

Todays words of cheer on my calendar pronounce that " like a great mountain simply welcome the rain, the snow and the ice " and that was what we were going to do. Armed with Sally Sat Nag, a thick winter coat, a scarf and a pair of gloves we decided to head up the M1, the M18 for the East Riding of Yorkshire and Beverley. Well that was the plan. We still have 90 days before we leave these shores and head off for Greece for our first holiday of the year. So we make the most of what we can do within an hour or so from our home.

Sally Sat Nag of course had a very strange idea on how we would get to Beverley. We knew it was around an hour and a half away and in our heads had worked out our route.

However when we programmed her in she showed a route that would take an hour longer. What - where was the silly girl taking us? We looked at the map she provided and scratched our heads . She appeared to want to go across country through Lincolnshire and then over the Humber Bridge . Now that was a really silly route so we ignored her and headed for the M1. Turn around she screamed as we drove on. Take the next left and leave the motorway. We wondered if accidently we had hit the button to ask her to avoid motorways. A quick check proved that we had not.

She still continued to get annoyed with us and every exit we passed she shouted manically that we needed to exit. Even as we got on the main M18 to Hull she continued to press us to exit at the first opportunity and head out of Yorkshire and into Lincolnshire. No way were we going over the Humber Bridge. We drove over the Humber further inland. A mighty river reflecting the grey of the sky and the winter paleness. The road signs showed us we were heading for Beverley . Yet all the way she tried her best to divert us over the river to approach via the bridge. Having ignored her all the way we were grateful we both could map read and had a mental map of the country in our heads. Conversation drifted to how awful Sat nags could be and the usefulness of being able to map read. A skill taught to us of a certain age in school. We passed by Market Weighton - the first Ordnance Survey map I was ever given at school. Sally is destined for the bin. We wondered how she would take us home knowing her fate was in the balance. It wouldn't take us long to find out what she had in mind for us.

Parking was easy as always in a car. More difficult in a motorhome. Despite plenty of parking none of it seemed motorhome friendly with small spaces and nothing big enough for anything larger than a car. I wish our towns would realise the advantage of allowing motorhomes into town. We park easily abroad but feel a little out of place in our own small isle.

Our first stop was the local Costa Coffee where we sat in the warmth warming our hands on a warming espresso and capaccino with a tiramisu tart. After finishing our drinks we headed off in the direction of the North Gate . There are records indicating that Bars had been built in the 12th and 13th centuries, but North Bar is the only survivor. There were no walls around the town and this structure was rebuilt in 1409 at a cost of cost £97 11d. It was renovated in the 17th century. The brick bar was used a toll gate into the town and a list of the tolls and the payments made was engraved into a plaque in the pavement. . The structure is two storied and has buttresses to either side making it particularly photogenic . It is decorated with coats of arms and is crenelated. Beyond the bar was an interesting building complete with black and white timbering and some very interesting statues. Noticeable if you looked up. We kept saying what a lovely town Beverley was. There were treats and surprises at every corner or bend in the road.

As we looked down the streets we were pleased to see a mix of normal household shop names - Boots , W H Smith , Marks and Spencers - all full and bristling with local shoppers. There were many small and medium independent outlets . The whole town had a homely welcoming feel and was busy even on this grey old day. Small alleyways ran off from the main street. It felt the sort of town you could enjoy living in.

Walking down the street we came up the first of the major churches. This one St Marys was a chapel of ease located some distance from its more famous neighbour the Minster. It is an imposing building of soft mellow stone. It seemed bigger than it should have been. We walked through the gilded gates and entered a church that totally surprised us. Pevsner and Betjeman both described the church as ranking high amongst parish churches in England and who are we to disagree? We had not quite expected the beautiful interior which smelled of age. As we walked in it felt welcoming and had that sort of come in and enjoy me feel . It had been restored by Pugin and Gilbert Scott but the restoration to be fair was well done and not too intrusive. Inside were fine tombs, beautiful misericords and a fantastic ceiling. It felt more than a parish church and well worth a visit. .

Leaving the church we entered one of the many squares in the town. This one was blessed with a market cross. Built in 1714 it was designed by E Shelton of Wakefield . Complete with stone doric columns and painted white it stood out in the middle of the square. Coats of arms were places around the top of the building .

In the square were also the distinct white phone boxes. Normally our phone boxes are bright red and very noticeable. Here they were imaculately painted white . So you are asking why are they white? Kingston Upon Hull close by was the only area of the UK not under the Post Office monopoly. It was under the control of the Corporation of Hull and this meant that the telephone boxes were painted cream and had the crown omitted. It was one of the last manual exchanges in the country . Even as a teenager I remember being told that Hull area was different to the rest of the country. The Hull telephone system was subsequently privatised and is now operated by Kingston Communications and it tried to remove the distinctive boxes . The public complained that they were losing part of their heritage so many of the boxes remained. They look so distinctive in their setting all over Beverley. They looked in keeping with the rest of the town .

Our walk took us from the square into Marks and Spencers to buy some biscuits before heading down to the Minster. Again it was impressive built in mellow stone. It looked pretty majestic from the roadside. The outside is covered with statues of saints and kings. For us another gothic masterpiece. It is one of the largest parish churches in the UK, larger than one third of all English cathedrals. It was not selected as a bishop's seat during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and survived as a parish church. Very little was lost from the building at this time. Inside the building was extremely light . The high walls were lightly decorated with Purbeck Marble. The organ a prominent feature half way up the building. Walking up the aisles we saw many monuments to the dead from the First World War, memorial stones set into the floor and chapels hidden into corners of the building. A huge dark wooden stair way lead up behind the organ. The altar piece was a wonderful confection of wood and paint depicting the saints. The choir stalls brilliantly carved by the medieval craftsmen. We sat for a while admiring the sheer audacity of the build and the beauty within its walls. We may not be particularly spiritual but you cannot fail to be impressed by the devotion and skill of the workers.

Lunch was spent in Carluccios. Bruscetta and tomatoes, bruscetta with pate and onion marmalade followed up with spag bol, espressos and an Americano. A warming end to our Beverley visit.

So after our visit it was time to go home. What was Sally Sat Nag going to do? We fired her up, she told us the journey home would take another two and a half hours and she wanted us to go over the Humber Bridge. She was still behaving stupidly. So what did we do? We ignored her and made our way home the same way we had arrived. She spent the entire hour and a half home chastising us for ignoring her. The bin it is then.

Additional photos below
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2nd February 2017
White phone boxes in Beverley

Interesting story about the telephone boxes. /Ake
2nd February 2017
White phone boxes in Beverley

I remember as a child being told about Hull having a manual exchange long after the rest of the country lost theirs to mechanisation. First time I have ever seen the boxes .

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