The sun shone on the morning we went to see the Minster. I wondered why York Minster is called a Minster instead of a Cathedral, so I looked it up on Wictionary and in the Dictionary, but there isn’t an answer in either place. It’s just a Big Church, the same as for the cathedrals. Both Minster and Cathedral come ultimately Latin via Greek. I was hoping for a connection to Nordic languages, as this part of England was conquered by the Vikings, but it seems not to be so. We amble to the Shambles, a very old shopping area in York, where the upper floors hang over the street. The word Shambles was originally applied to a place of slaughter, as in butchers. As this area was once the food market, including meat and poultry, it is a fitting sobriquet. .
We reached Belford and the bed and breakfast, MARKET CROSS, about 6:00 PM. It had been a rainy, windy drive North, and the next day we were hoping to take a boat to the Bird Sanctuary on Inner Farne to see puffins and other nesting sea birds. Fortunately, the b & b was more than we had hoped for. We were delighted with the wonderful touches our hosts provided. The atmosphere was welcoming and without pretension, the rooms comfortable, pretty, and well equipped. It was like going to your mom’s house. There were facial AND douche wipes in the bathroom, fluffy clean towels, candies in the candy dish, sherry on the landing for imbibers (like us). We ordered our breakfast for the next morning, and found something called a "Singin Hinney" on the menu. Lora and I ordered it to share, and it was delicious, something like a thick pancake with dried fruit which you smear with butter and jam or syrup, excellent if you want to turn into a Daniel Lambert.
We asked about the name, and the story is that when you pour the batter onto the griddle, it hisses. So when the wee ones ask about the sound, the cook says, "It’s singin’, hinney", hinney being dialect in the north for honey. Voila.
Well-fed, we drive off for Lindisfarne, or Holy Island, where the haunting ruins of a monastery stand near the village. The winds are still howling, but the sun is shining and boats are able to reach the bird sanctuary, so we are happy. On a promontory a castle stands, looking forbidding and cold. When we go inside, it is indeed cold, but had been refurnished in the 1920’s in a sort of faux medieval, not very interesting. The views, however, are breathtaking. The countryside swarms with sheep; the ruins are reddish rock surrounded by fields. We have reached Lindisfarne by a causeway which you must cross at low tide, and must exit before the tide starts to turn.
We head for Seahouses (that is its real name), to catch the boat. boat.
- The Birds