Bath to York. Drizzle and highs near sixty. The sun goes down at eight o’clock, and there’s a waxing gibbous moon. We rolled into York with the clouds and the damp, and we wandered its cluttered lanes and jigsaw puzzle squares, listening to tour guides tell their flocks this town was inspired by Harry Potter because who cares anymore.

Every restaurant was booked except a lone spot next to a vape shop, and it was one of those dusty places where you know you should leave the moment you grok the peeling wallpaper and empty dining room, save for the elderly couple drowsing in their dinner plates. But hope is a powerful thing. Maybe this meal will be fantastic, a best-kept secret. But no, the food was scary, the waiters were angry, twenty minutes of silence segued to 200bpm industrial techno, and a man combed the carpet and drapes with a deafening handheld vacuum. Always trust your instincts.

Also: the British definition of “pudding” is broad and roomy, accommodating all kinds of beliefs.

York Minster is the largest Gothic cathedral north of the Alps, and it hangs from the sky like lace. Whenever I see these colossal palaces to God, it’s easy—and perhaps correct—to frown at all the blood and treasure hoovered up by faith-dealers to sustain a corrupted fantasy. Yet if I squint a certain way, I see something humble and profound, even a little heartbreaking: a community deciding, upon finding themselves alone and confused on a strange planet, to use their finest materials and labor to erect a space devoted to an otherworldly logic, hoping to find some answers.

At eleven o’clock, a soothing voice on a speaker filled the cathedral and encouraged us to bow our heads and pray for peace. It felt like the future.

Because we passed through Sheffield. And it’s one of the most beautiful songs I know.