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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Finally

Finally, I feel like posting again. Quite simply a  bad cold has laid me low and I haven't been able to concentrate enough to even string enough words together to make a complete thought. I blame airplane travel. When I finally boarded the plane on 2nd May and found my seat, I heard the warning sounds of chesty coughing coming from the lady seated directly behind me. I knew I was doomed!
Having safely landed, however, The Man and I had  made plans to do some British sight-seeing -- places I had put 'on my list' and had yet to cross off... On the 9th of May we headed for the St. Albans' hamlet of Markyate and The Man's brother and sister-in-law for the night. As usual they had generously invited other members of the family to join us for dinner. The next day we travelled to the not too distant Brentford, to spend the night and to have a pub dinner at The London Apprentice, which is located on a picturesque setting along the Thames. We were also very happy to be spending a second evening in the company of the newest member of the family, our grandson, Bertie. Seen here all of 9 months, studying the menu!

Earlier in the day, we had experienced our the only disappointment of our trip. Because it was the middle of the week, The Man had thought he could drive into London because he wanted to cross Southwark Cathedral off his list! Four frustrating hours later we headed back to Brentford having failed in our quest. Another day, with bus passes at the ready! Do. Not. Drive. In. London...

 On Friday the 11th with the sun shining brightly, albeit cool and breezy, we headed for the Salisbury plain. Once upon a time, in 1993 I had almost crossed Salisbury Cathedral from my To Do list. However, The Man decided, in his wisdom, that 3 pounds Sterling was too much to pay for parking -- I'd been rankled ever since! This time, he didn't hesitate ... We drove into town, found a parking garage and before I knew it, were through the Cathedral doors. Finally ...


 







The trouble with iconic landmarks is that when you get there, it is so difficult to take it all in! There is the size, the history and the age. There is a wonderful model of how the Cathedral may have been when under construction. I absolutely loved reading Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett,  which does an amazing job of explaining how important these building were to the people of the time, the dangers inherent in the construction, the intricacies of construction -- so much was learning as they went. The physics of these structures was not understood. It is hard for us to imagine how the sight of these Mammoths of man's talent and ingenuity must have appeared to the men, women and children of the 13th  century, never mind earlier than that. 

But I was on Salisbury Plain! The Cathedral is a mere youngster, compared with the next stop on my 'knock-off' list: Stonehenge!

31 comments:

  1. G'day Broad. Glad to hear you are feeling better from having the cold. Lovely photos. Good on you and your hubby seeing the things that you have wanted too. I would love to visit the UK and Stonehendge would be right up the top of my "must see" list. Take care. Liz...

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    1. Thanks Liz... it's good to be feeling better -- somewhat! The Poor Man -- he's exhausted as I've kept him awake with my coughing! Separate bedrooms for tonight...

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  2. You're undoubtedly right about where you got the cold - I wouldn't be surprised if half the plane didn't catch it from the woman with the cough. It's happened to me a few times. Glad you're feeling better.

    I know what you mean about the wonder of these old cathedrals when you think about life as it was when they were built. I once stood in front of the one at Chartres and tried to imagine what it was like for the locals when it was being built - much like we would feel now if we saw someone building a time travel machine under our noses I would think.

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    1. Chartres is my absolute favourite of all. The stain glass adds a whole new dimension to the art of cathedral building and is simply astonishing.

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  3. Glad you're feeling better. Planes can be such awful places for picking up germs... I managed to contract pneumonia on a flight back from Australia once....difficult to explain feeling awful with a stunning sun tan !
    I dont know the places you mention in Brentford, but love Salisbury Cathedral....it is so incredibly impressive. Hope the weather was good enough to really enjoy Stonehenge when you got there.... I think it looks better in the sun shine than the rain. J.

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    1. The sun did shine -- but the wind was a tad biting. More about that anon!

      I have found that taking a combination of echinacea and zinc is a very effective method of immunizing yourself against the onslaught of airplane disease. I have some lozenges, which I try to remember to take from about 10 days before and after -- however, I forgot :-(

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  4. I love the sight of Salisbury cathedral across the fields as I drive along the back road from Winton. Not all that much different from the view Constable had even today.

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    1. My husband said he thought there was a place you could see the cathedral across the plain. The same is true of Chartres. It sits in the middle of very flat countryside and is located on just about the only hill in the area.

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  5. Hello Katherine:
    We are so sorry to read that you have been feeling under the weather and do so hope that you are now feeling better.

    The Cathedral Close in Salisbury we think of as the most beautiful in England. The scale is perfect and it is so very, very attractive. The Cathedral itself is a magnificent monument to human achievement and artistry as well as a fabulous appreciation of the Divine.

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  6. Poor Broad. Some of the worst colds of my life were caught on planes. :-( Glad you feel up to posting again.

    I'm glad you managed to cross off your list something as perfect as Salisbury. It's a gem among cathedrals and in the most wonderful setting. Shame about Southwark which is also on my to-see list, but next time...

    I love the photo of your grandson. :D

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    1. Oh, Perpetua, I will be so glad when the anti-biotics manage to kick in just a little bit more!

      I agree completely about the setting of Salisbury Cathedral. Really lives up to expectation. And there is this sublime and ethereal sculpture of a medieval woman strolling across the green that is rapturous!

      Little Bertie was absolutely adorable!

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  7. So glad to have you back! I was wondering what had happened to you. I was even afraid that you had been pulled off that plane at the last minute and never made it back to Blighty. Sorry to read that I've been ill, though. Hope you are the mend now that youre enjoying your tour of Britain. Martine

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    1. ERRATUM

      Of course I meant: Sorry to read that YOU've been ill !!! Martine

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  8. Oh, I loved Pillars of the Earth also but all those cathedrals and castles are not my cup of tea. I remember trying to study them in art history and I did worse on that section than any other. Regardless, I understand that others love them and I'm happy you got to see them.

    I'm glad you're feeling better now!

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    1. Thanks Rubye. They may not be your cup of tea -- but you can have a jolly good cuppa in the restaurant while waiting for others to finish! :-)

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  10. Good tip about how to avoid air travel bugs - thank you.
    I'm glad you were able to see a fair number of places on your list despite feeling so low.
    Southwark was a nightmare to get to even in the dim past when my school held its annual service there - but worth it!
    And jokes about following in the footsteps of the Bishop of Winchester's geese as we crocodiled through the streets were distinctly frowned upon...

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    1. Fortunately, I did not come down with the cold until I got back home!

      Yes, that remedy has worked very successfully for me -- when I remember!

      It was so stupid to try to get to Southwark by car -- especially as we have our old age bus passes at the ready...

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  11. Hope the cold didn't cut into the cathedrals and especially not stonehenge; I'm looking forward to it. Recovering at home isn't great, but get well soon.

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    1. Glad to say the cold waited until I got home!

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  12. So glad you're back and recovering. Your grandson is adorable and what a clever young man...I hope he ordered something very yummy! Your visit to the Cathedral sounds breathtaking...I too loved Follett's Pillars of the Earth and can only imagine how inspiring it must be to actually stand in a place built so long ago and under such incredible conditions.

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    1. The cathedral really is an amazing place -- and as beautiful an outside setting as inside. Yes, it really is quite wonderful.

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  13. Good to have you back and pleased to read that you are on the mend.

    I like your idea of a 'knock off' list. It could be catching!

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  14. Like you I am a magnet for germs on airplanes. I've considered wearing a mask but I think those germs have super powers and can get by all barriers.

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  15. Dear Broad, so sorry to learn that you haven't been feeling well, but glad to now have you return to the blogging world.

    Like you, I enjoyed immensely the Ken Follett book. I haven't read the second one yet, but it's here on my bookshelf. You so succinctly summed up what those building meant then and now. Thank you.

    I visited Salisbury Cathedral back in the summer of 1976. I stayed at a bed and breakfast home in Salisbury and that evening I sat in the front parlor while the couple there showed me pictures of their family. I remember them fondly.

    Peace.

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    1. I stayed in Salisbury in a B & B in 1993. It looked quite different to me this time ... It would be lovely to have you back in England once again, Dee!

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  16. it can go in fits and starts
    glad to have u back

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  17. True, that, about how the gigantic buildings must have amazed the folks, when they first were constructed, much more than we are amazed by them now. Can you imagine? Most, even those in what would now be considered densely-populated areas, were far and away the largest structures in their areas, with no other large buildings to either compare to them or dwarf them.

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    1. I find trying to imagine how it must have been quite mesmerizing -- Salisbury is easier than most because the grounds and close are still in tact and Salisbury is quite a small place -- so you can kind of see it in context.

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