A Slice of Life
By Bill Lites
Then it was up to the Moffatt Woollens Mill at Ladyknowe House, in Moffat, the most northern point of our trip, where I bought a really great Harris Tweed sport jacket and DiVoran bought a beautiful turquoise 100% Argyle sweater and matching pair of knee socks. We both loved our Scottish items and wear them every chance we get, on those really cold (but very few) occasions we have here in Central Florida. That is, until DiVoran washed her sweater in hot water and you know the rest of that story. Boo Hoo!
While we were in Moffat, we just had to visit the home of Dorothy Emily Stevenson, DiVoran’s favorite author. And yes, Robert Louis Stevenson was her grandfather’s brother. It seems that D. E. Stevenson, who was born in Edinburgh, Scotland spent many years of her life with her husband James Peploe, in Glasgow, until Glasgow was bombed, in the early 1940s. it was then that she and James moved to Moffat. Like DiVoran, Stevenson had started writing when she was very young, but because of family duties, and WWII, didn’t start publishing her novels until later in her life.
Not long after leaving Moffat, we saw the Scottish West Highland train moving across the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, and what a sight that was! Located at the top of Loch Shiel in the West Highlands of Scotland, crossing over the viaduct offers train travelers spectacular views down Lochaber’s Loch Shiel. The view from the road wasn’t bad either.
We had planned to travel North all the way to Inverness, Scotland but a huge Atlantic storm moved in from the West, and we decided instead to head back down the Eastern side of England. This took us thru Newcastle and Durham, to our next stop in the city of York, as we tried to outrun the storm. One of the things I learned on this trip was that a cup of hot tea will take the chill off of those cold windy English days. And, one of the most popular teas used by our hosts in most of the B & Bs was called “Ty-Phoo Tea” brand English Blend, and I learned to drink it English style, with milk and sugar. Of course, DiVoran already knew all this, having been the hot tea drinker in our family for years.
The city of York is bounded on the North by the North Yorkshire Moors and on the West by the Yorkshire Dales, which is “Harriot Country” made famous by author, James Harriot (James Alfred Wight), who lived and wrote of his veterinary practice in the countryside around the town of Thirsk. Also in this area is the famous Robin Hood Bay, dating back to medieval times. A 15th century English ballad and legend tells a story of Robin Hood and his band of merry men encountering French pirates who had come to pillage the fisherman’s boats along the northeast English coast. After a brief skirmish, the pirates surrendered to Robin Hood, and he returned the loot to the poor people in the fishing village that is now called Robin Hood’s Bay.
We were told that a “must see” in York was the York Minster Cathedral of circa 1100, and they were right. There is evidence that there has been a church of one type or another in this location since 627 AD. The present cathedral now sits on the ruins of structures from at least three major time periods, and their structural differences can be seen. There is Norman style 1070-1154, English Gothic style 1230-1472 and Perpendicular Gothic style 1730-1880. Under Elizabeth I, there was a concerted effort to remove all traces of Roman Catholicism from the cathedral, and it became the seat of the Archbishop of York, the second-highest office of the Church of England. It is an absolutely magnificent cruciform shaped edifice. The outside is beautiful, but the interior is indescribably spectacular! There isn’t room in this blog for all the beautiful pictures of the Cathedral, but you can Google the “York Minster Cathedral” and see it all for yourself.
—–To Be Continued—–