I used to live in York. It seems like it was only a couple of years ago, but I was amazed to count up when I was there that it's over 5 years now since I left. Five years? Time really does fly.
It hasn't really changed, though. The road systems are still the same. Most of the shops are still the same, in the same locations. It was almost as though time had stood still. It kind of does, in York.
We were there to meet up with my mum and dad. They're on holiday now, so we've borrowed dad's car; they drove to York and we got the train down to pick it up and have lunch with them. We stayed in the Quality Hotel. When I lived in York, we used to walk into town down Piccadilly, saw the hotel being built. I don't think I ever expected then that I would ever stay there. At the time, I had enough friends in York that I thought someone would always had a spare bed. But one by one they've moved away. This was our second stay at the Quality. Expensive, but worth it.
At D's request, we went to Toto's for tea. I'd taken him there once before, for his birthday; he'd enjoyed it. It's just outside the city walls, near where I used to live. It was great food, but two expensive starters and D choosing steak meant that it wasn't cheap even during happy hour. I smiled and gave them my credit card, thanking God my pay went up with my new job.
Afterwards we had a drink at the Victoria. It wasn't the closest pub to my old flat, but it was the one I used to frequent the most often. We had a couple of drinks in there before popping in to the York Beer Shop.
I used to live on the same road as the Beer shop and popped in there regularly for cigarettes, tortilla chips and whatever else I couldn't wait til the next day for. Half the time I wouldn't even stop to put on my shoes if it was dry outside. I even phoned the police the night it was ram-raided; the bang woke me up before the burglar alarm kicked in, but they'd got away before I realised what was going on. All they took was cigarettes, I think; I was horrified for the owners.
The beer and cheese counters were the same; the only difference was in the snacks on the counter, and that was neither here nor there. I chose a couple of bottles of stout to take home; I don't drink it often, but I enjoy it for a change every now and again.
Before going back to the hotel we popped in for a quick drink to the Postern Gate, a Wetherspoons pub opposite the Quality. It had opened before I left York but I'd never got around to going in. I like Wetherspoons pubs; when I go out for tea with my friends we almost always meet up at the Union Rooms. This was no exception, nothing special but nice enough to have a quick drink in.
Sunday was sunny and unseasonably warm. We had a delicious cooked breakfast back at the Postern Gate (much cheaper than the Quality and just as nice) while dissecting articles from the Sunday Times.
We wandered into York centre, popping in and out of shops, before making our way to the Yorkshire Wheel. We'd passed it many times before on train journeys and I'd always wanted to go on it but we'd never found the time. The first rotation I found utterly terrifying, largely because we stopped right at the top of the rotation to let on more people. I never used to be scared of heights, but I am more and more these days. I don't think it helps that the land round York is incredibly flat - the only other tall thing on the horizon was the Minster, so you feel incredibly vulnerable at the top. But once I'd got used to it I enjoyed it a little more. It was too misty to see much, unfortunately, but I'm glad I did it.
I miss York. I never really settled there when I lived there, but it's still familiar. Almost somewhere I belong, but not quite. But I want to visit again soon.