Sorry - I have messed up chronologically, telling you about Wednesday at the Great Yorkshire Show before even mentioning Tuesday. There are no photos for that day, so I'll try to be brief.
It rained nearly all day, so instead of walking to Fountains Abbey (which was our original plan), we decided to stay in town and put in a museum day.
Ripon has three main museums: The Workhouse, Police & Prison and The Courthouse Museum. As you can see, all three of them obviously do not focus on particularly cheerful topics, but since my sister had never been to them and my last visit was more than 10 years ago, we still went.
The Workhouse was where we started. It is situated in what really used to be the workhouse, a place where anyone who was too poor to look after themselves would end up as long as they were originally from Ripon and its surrounding villages and had no friends or family to support them.
For many years, poor people of both sexes, young and old, some of them petty criminals, others of decent character who had ended up there through no fault of their own, were forced to live and work there under extremely strict rules and harsh conditions. Everything about the rules, laws making the existence of such institutions possible, and daily life there (with an emphasis on children and vagrants) is explained and presented in the museum in great detail. After about an hour, my sister and I felt both rather depressed, but of course glad to be alive today, in a country where we can largely decide on how and where we want to live.
What do you do on a rainy day when you come out of a museum slightly depressed? Retail therapy!!! But first, we needed sustenance, and enjoyed a nice meal at a small café, topping it with chocolate brownies (another great remedy for this kind of "depression"). Then we visited our favourite shops, bought some books and later went to the cathedral. There, we bought tickets for the organ recital that was to take place there the same night.
By this time, our pre-lunch depression was completely gone, and when we arrived at the cathedral for the recital in the evening, we were really looking forward to that.
And we were not disappointed! The recital in the beautiful setting of the cathedral was a most wonderful experience. The organist, Peter King, explained a little about every piece he played. It was a pleasure to listen to him as well as to see him play with such passion and enthusiasm. Afterwards, wine and nibbles were served - all that for 8 pounds! There were only about 30-40 people in the audience; I wonder why these recitals are not more popular. All through July and August, they are held every Tuesday night, and we are planning to go again next week.
You can find out more about Peter King on his website at www.peterking.org.