Sunday, June 18, 2006

activities both excellent and diverse

Again, it's been a while...

Much has happened since our last two "Spring has sprung" posts. Lewis has been "officially recommended" for his MPhil degree, for instance (that means he got it). Exams went very well (distinction level!), and even better -- they're over! Likewise, Laurie's big envelope-addressing project is completed. They came out beautifully and have been receiving rave reviews from their recipients. Now what will Lewis and Laurie do with all their free time???

One day after handing in exams, L&L met up with Artie (aka Dad Lawyer) for a road trip up to Knaresborough in Yorkshire. Here are some of the things they saw along the way:

First stop: Grantham in Lincolnshire. Artie takes a rest in the central market at Grantham, a town apparently famous for being where Isaac Newton went to grammar school. He was also born in nearby Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth (Isaac, not Artie).

Artie and Laurie in front of the pub we ate at in Beverly. They're admiring the architecture of the burger joint across the street, which resembles the pub in the photograph. We spent the first night of the trip in Beverly, which appeared to be a small, quiet town when we arrived shortly before dinner time. We left the city centre to have dinner at a pub, and when we returned the whole city was crawling with highschool- and college-aged party people. At this point we somewhat regretted our choice of accommodation at an inn / bar, and continued to regret until a bit after two in the morning. Lovely city, nevertheless. It has city gates dating from the 14th century:

Then on to Castle Howard (large architecturally-significant buildings, peacocks, huge and immaculate gardens, visiting Finnish men's choir) and thence to Helmsley, which has an excellent castle ruins:

The ruins are set up so you can run all over them wherever ye may please. This picture is taken from the old bread oven, looking out at the big tower.

Yorkshire is absurdly beautiful. This is the castle at Helmsley again.

We nearly stayed the second night in Helmsley, but when we got to the city centre it had been inundated by a very large number of bikers. American-style noisy choppers, too, not the European scooter things we see around Cambridge. Right on. Still, perhaps not the quietest place to catch up on sleep. Thus we moved on to Kirkbymoorside for the night.

Here's Lewis and Laurie by a very large and pointy tomb someone erected for themselves near Castle Howard.

After our day of castles, we had a day of abbeys. This is a phenomenon that Laurie and Lewis were unaware of until we visited them. Vast decaying Cistercian monasteries, unused (except for raw materials or tourism) since they were dismantled by Henry VIII in the 16th century. They are absolutely gorgeous.

Here's looking through the main door of the old cathedral at Fountains Abbey, near Ripon. That must have been a very impressive window at the end there in its day, though it's hard to imagine it could be more beautiful than it is now. There is something very majestic and peaceful about a cathedral reduced to bare stone and full of bird's nests and flora.

An old aspersorium overgrown with flowers, also at Fountains Abbey.

Laurie and Artie learn about the Abbey at Rievaulx.

Lewis climbs around like a mountain goat on the Abbey at Rievaulx.

And here is Knaresborough, Artie's main stop on the trip. It's a small town with a very high picturesqueness-per-square-inch. Unclear why that should be measured in inches. It's very precise, apparently.

Then Artie started his booooooring meetings in Knaresborough, so Laurie and Lewis took off for a day wandering around York. Here Laurie is standing in the Shambles, which is a famous medieval meat market (in the literal sense). There is no longer any meat being sold there, only tea and assorted tourist fodder. We had the tea.

York has two large rivers, and this is the larger of the two -- the River Ouse. York also has a fairly high geese-per-square-nanometer rating. Laurie and Lewis had an excellent Indian meal in a restaurant just outside the left margin of this picture.

This is Ignignot the robot door.

After a few days in Knaresborough it was time for Artie to head back to the States (albeit slower than expected), and Lewis and Laurie headed off into the northern reaches of England. We took a big train loop up through the Peaks District to Carlisle, and then along Hadrian's Wall to Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Then down through York and over to Scarborough on the North Sea, where we spent the next three nights. Scarborough is a lovely old Victorian coastal resort town, now morphed into a more proletarian collection of seaside amusements. It also has a large castle ruins on a hill, from which the above picture is taken.

And here's the beach on which we witnessed an excellent drunken football match of people in various stages of undress but all sporting England flags. The World Cup started while we were staying in Scarborough, arousing much patriotic fervor amongst the populous. There is an unbelievable amount of England shwag on the market right now, including inflatable chairs and poofy wigs. England hasn't actually been playing stunningly, but this doesn't seem to bother the fans. We will say no more, for fear of upsetting all you hardcore America soccer fans over there.

So now we're back in Cambridge. Today we made sure we could fit all our stuff in the suitcases (barely!) and rested up for our impending travels around the south of England. Any suggestions welcome! The only major event which has happened in Cambridge since our return is the RCEAL end-of-the-year party, at which there was much eating, socializing and music-making, in no particular order. Below is a picture of a rare Dudelsacbut concert -- Bettina on dudelsack and Lewis on trombone, surrounded by their fans (2). The male fan is possibly from Belgium.

So all is well with your friendly Camtales duo. Wish us well with our various travels, and soon we will be returning to the States! Pictures of southern England to come...


At 11:05 AM, Blogger Greg said...

Beautiful photos! Though I have to admit, the British pick the most convoluted names. I'm in Los-Angeles-On-Pacific-Ocean.

At 5:15 AM, Anonymous Fin Scott said...

LAURIE!! I'm such a techno-tard. Jess just told me about this blog--been catching up on your year in Cambridge. I'm so thrilled that you're having such an obviously hysterical and wonderful time. Also, the engagement story over on the wedding site--sooooo romantic. Lewis gets points! Hope you continue to be well; I am trying to work out arrangements with a school chum that will get me to your wedding. My stupid worthless Aussie boyfriend will be in stupid worthless Oz (for which he gets no points), but hopefully Plan B is coming together. I can still be reached through the respectableaddress email--several times I have tried to email you but they get bounced back. New contact info?
Cheers to you and yours, and hoping to see you soon, Fin.

At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Fin Scott said...

So...the impaired-ness continues. Not sure where to RSVP to, so I sent my card to the Lawyer residence. Only address I had. Hope that counts?


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