Yesterday we went on another of our favourite local excursions from Leeds - this time to York, which is just a half-hour train ride away. York is a really historic city with a substantially intact encircling wall and a famous cathedral church, officially called York Minster. Although the city's a long way inland, it's situated on a river that gave access to the sea, and it was a significant port in earlier times. There was a Roman fortress here, and there are Roman remains visible here and there. Later, the Vikings established a major trading centre, which was the site of a huge archaeological excavation in the 1970s. There's now a museum on the site, where you can see reconstructed streets, buildings and boats, along with coins, jewellery, pottery, household utensils and other artefacts from as far afield as Russia, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. You also hear the sound of children playing and business being conducted in the Old Norse language, and in the interests of realism, in some places the air is full of the synthetic smell of rotting fish and other unidentified but mostly unpleasant odours!
The mediaeval city walls are built on a raised bank of earth (covered with daffodils in spring) and you can walk all the way around them, except for just a couple of short missing sections. There are four magnificent gates that were the original entrances to the city, and as you walk round you get good views of the old town, and especially of the Minster.
The Minster was completed in 1472, after 200 years of construction, and is the largest Gothic cathedral north of the Alps. In 1968 it was discovered that the central tower was in danger of collapse, and that was the start of the biggest repair job ever done on a mediaeval building, which included the provision of new foundations.
In recent times there's been a revival of the York Mystery Plays, which were performed in the Middle Ages - Silvia wrote about something similar in Elche.
I'm afraid I can't show you any photos of York, but you can easily find some on the internet.
Welcome back, Silvia. I can see that you had a great time over the New Year. On New Year's Eve we just went to the pub in the evening, and then, at midnight, we went out into the street to watch the fireworks that people let off all over the place.
"Where I stayed there were no internet facilities, nor any place with computers or Internet connections." That's a correct use of 'any'.
But look at this: "Unfortunately, we had any blackberry or any handle that was wi-fi capable." Here, you need to use "we didn't have any ....." or "we had no .....".
Use 'any' in affirmative sentences to mean 'it doesn't matter which' - e.g. "Pick any day you like."
And another problem with word order: "..... Sol square, where is the famous clock that struck twelve."
This should be: "..... Sol square, where the famous clock that struck twelve is." But you could also say: "..... Sol square, with the famous clock that struck twelve."
Naheed asked: "Why can't we use 'figures of the Spanish literature' in the above example? Why is it 'the greatest works of world literature' and not 'the world literature'?
The answer is simply that 'Spanish' and 'world' are being used as adjectives here, in the same way as:
Marianna commented: "I may assume from your few lines that you like the High Tatras and perhaps visited it from our side too."
Yes, you're quite right. I've crossed over from the Polish side and I've also done some trips from Poprad on the little train up to Stary Smokovec and beyond.
Christine said she was surprised by the immigration checks at the Eurostar terminal in Brussels. The reason is that Great Britain isn't a member of the Schengen group, so they scrutinise everyone carefully before they let them board the train.
Finally, for now, here are the solutions to the sentence transformations from December 27th:
1 The rescue operation lasted until 4.30 a.m.
> It wasn't until 4.30 a.m that the rescue operation finished.
2 Lots of other people bought too much food, and so did we.
> Like lots of other people, we bought too much food.
3 Representatives from every region take part in the meeting.
> It's a meeting in which representatives from every region take part.
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