Friday 29 July 2022

Out of the ashes

 As a child I was taken to see Coventry Cathedral. It made a very strong impression which has stayed with me to this day...all that colour and beautiful glass. It's only taken me to the grand old age of 55 to return...had my ideas changed? No. In a word....stunning.

In its history Coventy hasn't just had a single's had three! Admittedly the remains of the original St Mary's Priory are scant [not shown], but the parish church of St Michael's was upgraded to cathedral status in 1918 after the end of WWI. Tragically on 14th November 1940 it became a victim of the Luftwaffe bombing campaign and was very badly damaged. Post war some wanted it restored to its former glory, but instead the decision was taken to keep it in its shell like state as a stark reminder, but it remains hallowed ground and is as much a symbol of reconciliation as it is remembrance. It is poignant and thought provoking in equal measure. Traces of its former magnificence remain and the shards of glass hanging on serve to remind you of what has been lost 

Provost Richard Howard had the "Father Forgive" engraved behind the altar and the wooden cross is a replica [1964] of the charred crossed beams which the stonemason Jock Forbes  saw and tied together, The bronze effigy of the first bishop Huyshe Yeatman-Biggs also survived the fire.

From the terrible inferno arose phoenix-like the new cathedral next door. It was designed by Basil Spence after he won the competition seeking a suitable architect and the Queen laid the foundation stone in 1956. It's a modernist building, stylish in the extreme which exudes hope.

No detail has been forgotten right down to the cherub door knobs designed by Jacob Epstein. He is responsible for the sculpture of St Michael defeating the devil too.

There is just so much to take in, ponder and appreciate that I'm just going to step back now and show you some of my personal highlights.

Hope you all have a good weekend. I am catching up with my friend Nurse's been a year since we last saw each other properly. Time certainly does fly!


Wednesday 27 July 2022

Bench Mark

 I like Mark's ethos.💙💚💛💜 Food for thought

Seen in Hastings.


Monday 25 July 2022

Sent to Coventry

 Had I been a Royalist in the English Civil War and then captured I'd have literally been sent to Coventry for my punishment because at that time the city was a Parliamentarian stronghold. Thankfully here in 2022 I was able to visit of my own free will and I really did enjoy the time I spent there. Having known how badly it suffered from the bombing in WWII I wasn't really sure just how much of the pre war buildings would remain, but there's quite a few as it turned out even if some of the timber framed buildings have been moved from their original sites. The old and the new sit happily side by side. Sure it's got areas which are run down or not pretty on the eye, but I like that rawness and the energy of the new emerging wherever I looked. It's a vibrant place and I was completely in my element. Here's my little homage to it all with just a small selection of the many photos I took.

When even the park and ride bus stop and its tiles look like this Coventry was always going to be onto a winner with me wasn't it!

Being a bod who doesn't want to waste any of our precious time away [that's changed since I had to become self employed and lost my paid holidays!] I had looked up what was worth seeing beforehand. On the radar was Holy Trinity because of this incredible doom [meaning judgement] screen. It was painted between 1430-40 and is noted for its sophisticated artistic techniques. The halo above Christ is gold leaf covered with a red glaze and the blood is achieved by mixing different pigments which give a dry and wet effect. 

Dotted around the church were all the things I seek out....memento mori, woodwoses, greenmen. You name it it had it. However, I've chosen this rather tall chair instead. It's not the object itself, but the story that it tells which I liked. Walter Hook [a previous vicar] wanted to invite his friend, the Bishop of Ross, to the church which wouldn't normally have been a problem. In this instance though he was Scottish clergy and English Church law forbade them to step into a Cof E church. Hook circumvented the rules by having this chair built so that his friend could be carried in instead😆 Evidently not a chap to be defeated.

All the other photos below are just to give you a small flavour. I'll do a more detailed post about the cathedrals in an upcoming post.


Friday 22 July 2022

The Landing

The Landing in Hastings is the work of a local sculptor Leigh Dyer. He worked alongside several blacksmiths who made the figurehead. It represents the prow of a Norman boat and incorporates a timecapsule containing letters from local people to be opened in 2066 marking the 1000th anniversary of the Norman landings.

Enjoy your weekends one and all!


Wednesday 20 July 2022

Crime and punishment

 I saw these two items on separate days when I was away, but they seemed to be asking to be put together in a single post. Yes it's gruesome but it's also our social history and how our society dealt with those who took another life up to the 19th century.

This rather weather worn piece of timber is all that remains of the former Bilstone Gibbet. It doesn't look much now these days sitting quietly off the edge of a lane leading into the Leicestershire village of Bilstone. From 1801 to 1818 it displayed the cadaver of John Massey who, during the fateful day in February 1800, had been drinking all day in the local pub and had then assaulted his wife Lydia walking home. She had fallen into the millpond and drowned. Immediately after his hanging his body was wrapped in chains and hung from a ring on the gibbet post to act as a deterrent to any other would-be murderers.

In the Leicester Guild Hall they have this replica set of gibbet irons which served the same purpose. The originals displayed a bookbinder called James Cook who had murdered a Londoner called John Pass following an argument about money which Cook owed Pass. His body was on display for three days in August 1832 before burial and he was the last criminal to have his remains shown in this way, although public executions continued in the city until 1868.

To this day we still have a Giblets Lane in Horsham, but it started out life as Gibbets Lane. There was a move in 2011 to have it returned to its former name, but the suggestion was not popular so it hasn't happened. 


Monday 18 July 2022

Down on the coast

 Unusually for us we all headed off down to the coast last Friday. Brighton is an extraordinary place to visit, but I rarely head towards the sea if I'm there. It's also a pain in the neck to find parking [and very pricey], but this time we had prebooked so there was no bother when we got there as we had a deadline to meet this time.

It was TYM's Masters graduation. There's not the same emotional connection to Sussex uni for any of us as there was to Chester. Originally he had been looking forwards to the change of continuing his studies down south after three years up north, but good old Covid put paid to that and he did the entire thing via zoom from his bijou bedroom. Many of the students were supposed to be coming from abroad, but with good reason they didn't want to get locked down here so they stayed at home. Nevertheless it was a special day to celebrate his achievement and the weather was glorious. We even went wild and had an icecream afterwards. I like this image of the two of us as we were oblivious to Mr GBT taking it....TYM is showing me how to take a photo of him on his modern all singing all dancing mobile. 

Killing time before the ceremony we were able to do a quick bit of exploring which yielded the upside down house. You can go in and the idea is that you take photos of yourself in the upturned rooms and then rotate them by 180 degrees so that it looks like you're on the ceiling. The i360 tower isn't the most attractive thing I've ever seen, but the "doughnut" is very impressive with its reflective glass on the underside and the refracted views it gives of what's beneath.

That's the chapter in my son's academic education now closed. Back to holiday posts next time.


Friday 15 July 2022

Back to the beginning.

 Such has been life recently that I've seen and done much these past few weeks, but written little about any of it. Rather than skip about all over the place willy-nilly I'll rewind to the beginning of our time away and the first full day we spent in Leicestershire. It always takes me a day or so to find my holiday head so I have a simple plan for the first day to get me into the swing of things. This time we just stepped out of the front door of our cottage and followed the local walk instructions. I don't know the area at all so it was all new to me and as we pottered round the route I captured anything which caught my fancy.

Before we got going we nipped up the road to have a poke round the nearby village of related of course...

This most peculiar bench end was my quarry in Holy Rood church. It's 14th century and that's where the trail runs cold. One of the ladies setting up the tables for the coffee morning said it's thought to symbolise the Black Death [how or why I know not]. Now if you were to ask me I'd guess at it being an early depiction of a jellyfish😄 There's a reason why I'm not a church guide. The churchyard is brimming with yellow and orange Hawkweed and I simply couldn't resist these two alpacas relaxing in the sunshine. The way they stretch out their long necks💓

The ones below are from the walk itself. It was only a short potter [quite toasty that day] so we didn't linger. The cool of the church of St Michael and All Angels in Appleby Magna was most welcome. Although not much of note I did enjoy the folkart quality of the mid Victorian graffiti and the lead sign from 1829. 

A gentle start to our adventuring. Hope everyone has a good weekend!


Tuesday 12 July 2022

On parade.

Evening...the wanderer has returned from a hot, but totally brilliant weekend away at the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival performing with Mythago. Despite the heat we managed to dance and it was lovely to spend time with some of our very new members. Most of the time I forgot to take any photos....was too busy socialising, but on the Sunday morning Mr GBT and I sneaked down to the holding area for the parade early to nab a space for the rest of the side so that at least we could wait in the shade until it was time to be off.

The parade is one of the highlights for me because it's a real community effort and all sorts of people and groups are involved. It spans all ages from the little tots at nursery to the motorised scooter jousting knights. The list of participants mentioned that there was going to be medieval tents and a medieval banquet in amongst the mix....I was intrigued to know how they were going to achieve you can see yours truly wasn't going to let it rest and went off to find out. A few quick photos snatched before I was off on drumming duty!


Rest awhile and smile.

I parked my ample rump on that there bench and followed the instructions on its plaque.  It wasn't exactly an onerous task to have to re...