Because of a verbal NDA, I’m not allowed to tell the story of the famous person who, unexpectedly, wanted to sing a famous song in a kitchen. Which is a shame because it’s quite the funny story. Still, what’s a confidence if not confidential.
I was told the story on our way to Northallenton where Bev had a work meeting. I probably can’t talk about that either so I’ll just skip along to the town of Northallenton direct.
Madame E and I wandered up and down the largely under construction and behind Heras fencing high street though not before having a coffee in Neros.
Anthea quizzed the man in orange to find out what was going on but, he explained, he’d only started working there today and didn’t have a clue. He did say they’d had a lot of complaints about the disruption which had been going on far too long for some people.
We later found an artist’s impression of the finished construction stuck to a vacant shop wall. It’s going to look very good, if the artist has it right. And someone tells the workers.
Having walked to the end of the high street and spotted this sign outside The Durham Ox…
…and queued for and bought four fat rascals from Betty’s, we ended up at the Tickle Toby Inn for a just on lunch time pint of Copper Dragon.
Obviously we popped into the Tickle Toby Inn in order for Anthea to quiz the barman about the name of the pub. He’d only been working there for a few weeks, he said, and didn’t know. “I’m not from around these parts,” he unnecessarily added, in a broad Geordie accent.
Not being Nellie’s meant that Anthea could ask her constant companion, Google about the name. It turns out that Tickle Toby was a local highwayman who would ‘tickle’ the pockets of gentleman on the King’s Highways roundabouts. When she told the barman he nodded wisely and said “Oh, yeah, I knew that.“
Bev rang Anthea to find out where we were. It turned out we were across the road from her. She came and joined us for a drink before we left to see an old Cistercian abbey buried deep in the Yorkshire countryside.
Except it didn’t start off as Cistercian.
It was originally founded by the Monastic Congregation of Savigny in 1135. Mind you, it wasn’t an easy task. They moved five times before settling down in the flat lands of Byland. Then, abandoned by god, they were absorbed into the Cisterican group shortly afterwards.
During the leadership of Abbot Serlo, the Savigny’s fell into financial difficulties and had to admit defeat. Obviously, god wasn’t happy with them. The far more successful and, therefore, godly Cistercians, took over the Savigny English holdings.
In 1322, a bunch of marauding Scots turned up and there was a big fight between them and King Edward II. The fight was decided when Eddie ran away to York, leaving enough riches behind to stop the Scots chasing him.
I’m surprised the Scots had come so far south. Perhaps they were headed for Inverness but went the wrong way.
Then, of course, the most godly of them all, Henry VIII, decided to take over all of the religious houses regardless of god. He gave the place to William Pickering in 1539, which, when I think about it, is not much different to what the Tories do all the time. Except it’s business and not religion.
The ruins, now run by English Heritage, are extensive and incredible. There are scores of floor tiles scattered around the site although, when we returned home, Jon told us that the guy who looks after the site told him if one more tile is stolen, he’s going to turf it all over. Apparently there are certain visitors who think it’s okay to rip up and make off with medieval glazed tiles. They probably think English Heritage means them.
But, before entering the abbey ruins, we had an amazing pork sandwich at the Byland Inn, the pub across the road. Which is exactly what every abbey ruin needs – a pub across the road. It’s a pub that Bev did a report on in order for it to have permanent glamping permission. We figured that was enough to get us a table. Given we were there just as they opened, we had no need to call in any favours.
We were met by two young guys, one of them the chef. We asked if they did sandwiches. The chef then asked the other guy if lamb and pork had been added to the menu. The other guy said no. We said yes with great gusto. The roast pork sandwiches with apple sauce and crackling on the side were bloody brilliant.
The stroll around the abbey was extensive and highlighted by the remains of grass, desiccated by a strimmer. Obviously, having Bev with us meant we talked a lot of educated assumed archaeology, which is always great fun.
Then we returned to the car for the long drive home. And it was then we hit the rain. Or the rain hit us. Torrents of rain, blocking out Castle Howard and making visibility next to non-existent.
It was on the drive home that we encountered the spuds. Isolated droppings in the road at well spaced intervals. It was Anthea who christened them Vegan roadkill which we thought was incredibly clever.
Back at home, we had a delicious Thai, wonderfully prepared by Jon then waited up for the arrival of Weasels at midnight.