Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Our girly day: Shopping, sugar and high tea

America has Goodwill shops, but in Britain just about every charity has its own shop where its sells second-hand items - mostly clothes, but lots of shoes, books and household goods, too. These appear to be the big fund-raiser for most of the charities (not all of them benefit from long-ago bets on Roger Federer to win seven Wimbledon championships). A few of the shops we've visited: Pets in Need of Vets, Age Scotland, the British Heart Foundation, Cancer U.K., Autism and a few aimed at women's and children's aid. In Edinburgh, Nicholason Street is home to several of these shops, and York has a handful, too.

Charity shop row: A shop for Oxfam, one for the British Heart Foundation, a children's aid group are all visible in the shot from York. Up the street were three others. 

Ryan in particular loves stoping in these places. I think he's bought a whole new wardrobe in them (OK, maybe it's only two shirts and a sweater, but that's a lot for him in a three-day period.) We also got this deliciously creepy book at a shop in York, which is supposed to be the most haunted place in the world. It includes stories from Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins and Bram Stoker among others.

Ryan's newest addition to our library. 

Sugar shacks: Yorkshire is apparently well known for its sweets, being the U.K. home of Nestle. There are several candy shops here and a few smaller chocolatiers. What I find funny is that the shops consistently advertise Lucky Charms cereal in their displays. I've been telling Ryan for years that they're nothing but breakfast candy, and I am claiming this as evidence that I have won this argument. No further appeals.

Other popular imports?

Tea! We did afternoon tea on Tuesday at Grays Court, which is one of the oldest continuously occupied houses in the United Kingdom, according to its website. Parts of the house date to 1080. It is now a boutique hotel that would make a fantastic spot for a wedding. We sat in the Sterne Dining Room overlooking the garden. In my excitement, I forgot to take a photo of the tea tray in my excitement, but it was a beautiful room with quite a view.

The courtyard  and entrance at Gray's Court.

Awaiting my tea. I chose English Breakfast (you can't ever go wrong with that).

The Sterne Dining Room at Gray's Court.

Ryan preparing his tea, an Assam blend. 

The garden behind Gray's Court. 

Sign of the day: York residents wanted this sign repainted because it's a bit of a landmark, although the parent company is trying to distance itself from the product, which is no longer for sale.

Ryan's comment: Sounds like something from Harry Potter.

Beer of the day: Ryan tried several new beers on Tuesday night while we were blogging. The first was a John Smith, which sounds like it is the PBR of this country. He also had an Abbot's that he rather liked.

Working on the blog at Cross Keys in York. 

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