Sunday, January 23, 2011

You were saying something about best intentions?

Morning fortification: paper, coffee and a Battie.

What's a Battie?  A breakfast sandwich, mine was sausage and cheddar cheese.

Time to fire up the quads and glutes.  Being the largest muscle groups in the body they'll speed up the metabolism for the rest of the day.
55 steps should get things going.  There's a lot of beer to drink later. 

These ruins are all that's left of a castle and complex that included a prison.  In 1190, 150 local Jews were killed in the keep by a mob.

Yeah, that fucking rail is tiny.  I'm not in the least bit frightened of heights but being up here made me a little nervous.

The Castle Museum and the courtyard I drove around 4 times Friday night.  My hotel is on the opposite side and Tower road is shut down.  When the road ends, all you can do is turn right into the courtyard and listen to the GPS squawk at you.  If there was a "punch" button on the Tom Tom it'd be really gratifying.

The Castle Museum represents life and city scenes through the ages.  In the Victorian funeral room I found the painting below really moving.  I don't know why dogs make me weepy.

In Victorian England this would be my vocation.  "Brewer's getting f'up drinks.  Now availible by the bottle, jug or pail"

Every man wants his den, mancave, smoking lounge or in my case bar decorated with brass instruments.  Not with tubas and baritones but telescopes, gauges, calipers, sight glasses, microscopes, etc.  It should appear as though we're equally likely to mix a cocktail or conduct an experiment (maybe both).
Fast forward to the sixties.

Below the museum is the original debtor's prison.  When you walk into this cell, you have just enough time to read this and then the lights go out.

A little creepy (looking for the door).

Time waits for no man.  Onwards, across the river Ouse to the York Brewery.

Pretty cool, shabby chic decor.  Every bar should have a piano, and a squeezebox.  "A true gentleman knows how to play the bagpipes, but doesn't".

On the brewery tour our lovely guide is showing the traditional English 2-row barley (on the right) and a recent find of 6-row (found by a brewer in a local field).  6-row is favored by the macro breweries because it's cheaper, has higher yield and less flavor.  The thinking is that some big brewery has started contracting local farmers to produce 6-row.

Open fermenters bubbling away below us.  The brewery has used the same yeast strain since they opened in 2006.  Most breweries limit the number of generations that they'll use of any one strain because the yeast can mutate or become contaminated with other wild yeasts and micro flora.  However, it can also develop into a new "house" strain like Bell's uses. 

Right about now I'm alerted to the fact that If you visit 3 pubs in town and have a "real ale" at each you'll receive a free t-shirt.  3?  I can do that before dinner!  Ok, one more before I go.  It's a long walk after all.

Back over the river Ouse.

A Sam Smith at Harkers.  1 down, 2 to go.

Starting to get dark on the high street (only around 3:00).  Better get some lunch going.

Surly waitresses (dad would like them), a cup of English winter vegetable soup, baguette and a pint of Decade.  2 down, 1 to go, piece of cake.

Here's where you buy your armor, blade and cat-o-nine.  This country is a blessing for every long-haired drama geek in the world.  Year round employment annoying the shit out of tourists like me with your "ye olde this" and "ye olde that".  Bollocks!

...and here's where the train came off of the tracks.  The Royal Oak pub.
"Where you from mate?"
"The states.  Michigan, near Detroit"
"What brings you to the Royal Oak?"
"We have a Royal Oak back Home too."
"Yeah, what's it like?"
"I'd rather not say."
"You're among friends."
"It's known for douche bags, there's even a youtube parody of a tourism commercial about it."
"That's fantastic, let me introduce you to a real douche bag, Max."  (you know he's a badass because we wears a pink shirt and no one says anything about it!)

So that's how the night ended.  Telling lies to my new friends Max and Tim about how I played rhythm guitar with Journey for a year, fished for coelacanth under a grant from the dairy industry.
Of course they wouldn't let on my way without "one more".  It was good.
You may have noticed that there's no picture of dinner.  After several "halfs" of cider I decided to hoof it back to the safe confines of the hotel.  I left Max and Tim singing Journey songs at the bar (I have a video).

Walking back to the hotel, passing St. Mary's.  Patroness of motorcyclists and blood donors, thanks.  We'll try again tomorrow.

Back at the hotel I had a crappy pizza that kept me up half of the night with wicked hearburn.  It wasn't worth a picture.


  1. Battie... hmmm... I wish I could say that it looks good.

  2. Yeah, breakfast didn't sit well with me (enough said). I don't know why I had heartburn after a day of sausage, bread, soup, beer, cider and pizza....