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Old bricks of York – a Green Man and a Roman Emperor too

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Four days off for Easter was an opportunity to go see that part of England said to exist outside the London Orbital, aka the M25, aka Europe’s Greatest Car Park.

We picked Yorkshire and drove to Leeds and York. This post is just a few pics taken in York of a tiny portion of the extremely historical piles of bricks there, which give the city its image and draw so many tourists there; like us.

The top photo is of a statue of Emperor Constantine, located outside York Minister. His pose recalls Commodus from the film, Gladiator; haughty, decadent-looking and even a bit camp. Maybe this is what fabulous wealth and opulent living does, even to a warrior of the ancient world. But you just know ‘haughtiness with a strong sense of entitlement,’ was in the ‘Essential’ category of the Person Spec, for the job of Emperor of Rome.

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St Mary’s Abbey in York © author

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‘Nothing else remains:’ St Mary’s Abbey at York © author

These crumbling walls used to be attached to the rest of St Mary’s Abbey, of which little remains. It was smashed up by religious hooligans during the Reformation; a rampage so big it makes similar efforts by the crazy punks of ISIS in the Middle East today, look half-arsed redecoration work by comparison. Ruins like St Mary’s are also a lesson for the Church; that when a King who’s used to getting his way wants to wed his latest big crush, the sensible thing is probably just to agree and let the salvation of his soul take care of itself.

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York Minster sure does have high windows © author

This image is of a stained glass window inside York Minster. Half the entire amount of stained glass in England is in this building, apparently. Smashing!

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A Green Man at York Minster © author

This photo is of a boss of the Green Man, also located inside York Minster. You can tell it’s him by the decoration of leaves. For some reason, this Green Man has two birds sticking their beaks up his nose. Maybe it’s punishment for being a pagan.

An (in)famous son of York is Guy Fawkes, which I found out from a blue plaque declaring this point in the window of a pub, named after him. The plaque also states he was hung, drawn and quartered for the Gunpowder Plot (this I did know). Well, that’s what you get for trying to blow up the entire Parliament with the King of England in it; people don’t like it. The sign for the eponymous pub pinches the design of the Guido Fawkes mask made famous by the film ‘V for Vendetta.’ I wonder if the film studio gets a fee, like it allegedly does from sales of that mask to anti-corporate protesters and the spotty teenagers of hacking group, Anonymous.

I’m reminded of a conversation overheard in a pub, back down in London; a wealthy-looking young European snorted incredulously at the concept of Bonfire Fire; of Guy Fawkes being celebrated. I could have high-fived his mate for pointing out to him it is Fawkes’ capture and his plot’s failure which is marked on November 5.

Who knows what Guy Fawkes night signifies today; maybe that we’re creatures of habit who enjoy loud explosions. That’s me, at least. It’s all history now and the city of York is a very fine living museum.