Sunday, July 21, 2013

UK Trip #22: Meeting Old Friends / Barker Tower

Bob,Tom,Kristen,Issy,Campbell, Alec- Barker tower behind
The Ouse River through York
We were only in York, England one night, but after a visit to the famous York Minster Cathedral we had just one other plan - meeting some of Rob's old friends. Bob and Kristen Beck lived in Maryland and moved to the U.K. for work quite a number of years ago. Rob has known Bob since 1990. Bob and Kristen live about 40 minutes from York, so they took the train (everyone commutes by train in England- how wonderful) with their three great kids, Campbell, Alec and young Issy (Isabella). 

MEETING UP WITHOUT A CELL PHONE - Because we couldn't bring cell phones to the U.K. (the roaming charges would be exorbitant) we arranged to meet the Beck family at the hotel. After we toured the Minster, they were waiting for us. They took us on a walking tour of York. We found the Chocolate Factory and wonderful little shops. We talked about kids, marriage, retirement, houses, books, travel, how they liked life in England and more. Both Kristen and I (Rob) saw a book that we both found intriguing called "Hot guys and cute dogs," but we didn't buy it. :)

Since Roman times, York has defended by walls around the city. York has more miles of intact wall than any other city in England. They are known variously as York City Walls, the Bar walls and the Roman walls.
A look at the great wall around York

We climbed the wall at one point and took a photo of everyone with the BARKER TOWER behind them.
Alec,Issy,Campbell, Kristen & Bob


WHAT IS THE BARKER TOWER? -  The river-side tower sit on the Ouse River and was built in the 14th century.  According to, it was located at the boundary of the medieval city-center and, in conjunction with Lendal Tower, located on the opposite bank, the tower was used to control river traffic entering the city.  A great iron chain was stretched across the river between the two towers and boatmen had to pay a toll to cross it. The Barker Tower was basically a medieval Toll Booth! 

WHAT WAS IT USED FOR AFTERWARD?  After acting as a toll, it was leased for long periods to various ferrymen (and at least one woman) who took passengers across the Ouse River, until Lendal Bridge was built in 1863. Once the bridge opened, the ferries went out of business. According to History of York, that tower had a number of other uses including being used as a mortuary for a brief time in the 19th century!

WALL WITH A VIEW - There were some great views of the city from the wall. We took this picture of the view of the city looking north-east from the city wall, near the railway station. The brown spire in the middle distance is the Catholic church of St. Wilfrid, and York Minster is visible behind it.

View of the city looking north-east from the city wall, near the railway station. The brown spire in the middle distance is the Catholic church of St. Wilfrid, and York Minster is visible behind it.

Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next