The Minster at night

York Minster at night taken with my cool new iPhone 4S - handheld

Tonight was our last night in York. We walked downtown to have dinner and on the way we passed the Minster. What is a Minster? According to the publicity material provided, Minster Churches are basically churches that were established in the Anglo Saxon period as missionary teaching churches. York Minster is also the Church of the Archbishop of York. He is the most senior bishop in the North of England. It is where he has his seat, called a Cathedra, which makes York Minster a Cathedral as well.

Not all Minsters are Cathedrals, and not all Cathedrals are Minsters, but York Minster is both. The York Minster is the largest Gothic Cathedral in northern Europe and was built over a period of 250 years.

So there you go. It seemed worth a photo.

So that was Christmas

I’m writing this at 10:30pm on Christmas night sitting in the living room at Aspley Guise trying not to nod off to sleep. The day has been a blur of presents, food and drink.

The day started early as the kids woke up and discovered a trail of reindeer hoof prints leading from the chimney to their bedrooms. Santa’s beer and snacks were gone and in exchange there were presents stretching from one side of the lounge to the other.

For 30 minutes it was a present opening frenzy. The kids found that Santa had answered every wish they had on their list. I found that Santa had managed to organise, among other things, a new iPhone and Jean found that a D&G watch she had spotted in Italy had been delivered by the jolly red guy.

Lunch was for 12 and included a turkey the size of a small horse, ham on the bone and potatoes roasted in goose fat. This was followed by the traditional pavlova (made by Gill) and ice cream (home made by Jean to an old Italian recipe). By 3pm all 12 of us were struggling to move.

From there it was all downhill. A round of party games saw us through to a light tea and suddenly it’s – now.

After events like today it’s traditional to thank the ladies for the spread and the blokes for bringing the booze. So thank you ladies and gents, our first UK Christmas.

Buon Natale

It’s Christmas time already and with only a few days to go we are in the UK, waiting for the snow to start falling and frantically checking our Christmas lists – twice. Jean, the girls and I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our loyal and lovely friends and readers a Buon Natale (as the Italians say) and a full, fruitful and enjoyable new year.

We have really enjoyed sharing our Italian adventures with everyone over the last 9 months and appreciated all the feedback we have received. And even though we are no longer in Italy we will continue to write about our adventures over the next few months wherever they happen to take us.

Once again Buon Natale and best wishes to you all.

Jean, Graeme and the girls.