#1 AW 18 📷 The Little Diamond Shop and Other Stories in York

Graduate Scheme Induction week for a Premier Insurance Company, September “18

We were invited to spend the week in York, staying in a boutique hotel and training and socialising in the company’s flagship York office. A snapshot of the week’s highlights.

I arrived early, in sunny York – the last day of summer in York, as it happened – to make the most of the week and get to know the city again, having visited before. Fun fact; my paternal grandparents each lived and worked in York early on in their careers. After dropping my suitcase off at the boutique hotel, I set about exploring the city. Just lovely. I grew up on city breaks and love walking so this was a dream. Independent clothes stores, eateries and pubs, all in a lovely pebble-y grey stone which contrasts to the red brick I grew up with, and the yellowish grey brick of London. I stumbled upon the most wonderful things – all the best things in life are stumbled upon – including a heritage jewellers. This was a highlight of the trip. I spent circa one hour trying on diamond engagement rings, narrowing it down to two favourites: a stunning princess cut and a trilogy with no halo. Service was as you’d expect: tea and biscuits, all the information you’d want to know, about the cut, my size, the jewellers itself. It was the perfect start to the week. I tripped into a tea shop on The Shambles and indulged in smelling unique blends with names that alluded to local landmarks such as the Minster Blend, my favourite, an allusion to Bonneville’s cathedral. I stumbled into its famed evensong ceremony on the following Friday, the day we all left York; more fortunate timing.

I walked past a lovely baked goods eatery selling pork pies, sausage roles, steak and kidney, chicken and leek. I walked past a walking tour and after doubling back, decided to join it, a wise decision. I learned about the history; the Nordic treasures discovered on the site of what is now a shopping centre; a Jewish massacre, on a hill which is now a popular site for sledging when blessed with snow, I’m told; and the story of a patron saint of businesswomen who’s stoicism and resilience resonated. By way of payment, I bought the best-selling pie and some ale and left it at a local restaurant frequented by the tour guide, also the owner of the business, with a note. He’d jokingly asked for money or beers by way of payment, I imagine walking tours are hungry work. I hope that made it’s way to him. Past the Cathedral again and again, past a Mulberry store, through the Fossgate Festival, back to the hotel. That would be the loveliest day in York, I’m glad I had the foresight to make time for that.

Similarly, on the last day I booked a later train so that I could spend some time on my own, exploring again. I had the most perfectly moist, perfectly dense, perfectly sweet and curt slice of lemon drizzle with a pot of black vanilla tea, stumbled upon on a Japanese noodle house and of course made my way to York Art gallery  – before another highlight, walking past the cathedral at precisely the right time to catch Evensong. Although too free-spirited to be religious, I felt the stresses of the week lift along with the voices of the male chorus. In that way, the week had started and ended on a high note.

 

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