Saturday, 13 September 2014

A Photographer's Dream

I've almost caught up on my TV programmes, almost. I still have to watch 'Bake Off'  and a couple of Eastenders but the Tivo can relax a little now.

One of the windows post restoration

Today is going to be yet another rest day. My breathing has improved rapidly since yesterday which is now making me believe that the fridge in our hotel room wasn't adequate to keep my made up Veletri at the right temperature. It felt cold enough but without a thermometer it is difficult to tell. It would explain the sudden and rapid deterioration over the last day of my holiday and the equally rapid improvement over the last twenty four hours. Of course it could just be that I completely wore myself out and a long session on my oxygen has sorted me out. There is no way of knowing unless I repeat the experience and that is not going to happen any time soon.

A view of the Nave

Yesterday I told you about what I couldn't do so today I'm going to tell you what I actually managed to do.

Roman Emperor Constantine pictured outside the Minster

Well despite not being able to do the wall walk we decided to invent our own, so we went around the city following the wall as closely as we could. The result is that I got to see most of the interesting places but not the views that standing on the wall would give. We also did the Cat Walk, there are a lot of cat statues in York which are referred to as 'lucky cats'. There are twenty one to collect and the walk takes you through the more interesting roads such as the Shambles. We managed to get twenty cats but the last one was on a building covered in scaffolding so had to leave it. Another thing for the return visit.

Two of the Minster towers

We spent a happy half hour watching the stonemasons at work on the Minster. I expected a lot of hammering and banging but all we heard was a gentle tapping as they carved out the most intricate designs out of solid blocks of stone. The Minster is undergoing some extensive repairs at the moment and large sections were covered in scaffolding and some of the best windows were boarded up for restoration. I did manage to get some good shots though, which I will share with you here and in other blogs.

The Minster from the front

The Shambles was a trial as the pavements were very narrow. Fortunately all the pedestrians were very kind and got out of my way, mostly without me having to ask. I couldn't go into any of the shops though. The doorways were very narrow and all had either steps up or steps down. Nothing more than you expect from Tudor buildings but hardly wheelchair friendly. The Shambles is going to be a definite must revisit after transplant and I'm going to go in and browse in every shop.

One of the fabulous carved grotesques

I was also able to visit the ruined abbey, mostly because the grass was very flat and even. Unfortunately I had my 'photographer' head on, saw a shot with perfect lighting, went for it and promptly ran out of talent when it came to staying on my scooter. That's the trouble when you are really enjoying yourself, you tend to forget that you also need to look out for rocks and steer the scooter. The resulting bruises where I landed on my keys are developing nicely but are definitely not suitable for this blog. Apart from that the whole city is a photographers dream and if you keep your eyes open you can find many unusual things to shoot.

One of the Cat Walk statues

I found that my photography was also suffering this trip. Using the heavier long lenses was extremely difficult. I no longer have the strength in my arms to hold them steady, so Peter acted as impromptu tripod and held the lenses for me while I framed and took the shot. I also found it difficult to get into those weird positions that you sometimes need to adopt to get that perfect shot. Lying on my back on the floor for instance was fine on the way down but I needed a crane to get me upright again.

One of the many odd 'figure heads' dotted around the city

The night time photography also went to the wall. I was too tired and just couldn't be bothered with setting up tripods and taking light readings etc, etc. Again something that will be done on our next visit post transplant.

The shot that proved my undoing

Well I hope you enjoy the collection of photos in todays blog. I am continuing to update my flickr and facebook albums so keep watching. I will let you know when they are all done.