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Published: July 27th 2017
The cathedral ruins
England is having a period of unsettled weather at the moment. The cynics will say, “What’s new”. Today is one of those days. There will be some sun, some cloud and some rain. We hope to be in the right place at the right time. We leave London for a four night experience in the Midlands. We have not visited the area before and so we have to see for ourselves what is on offer.
We plot a course for Bicester. Why Bicester? They have a very new, very large Tesco on the outskirts of town. No. The real reason is to fool Jane into taking us north the way we want to go. She has a habit of finding the most difficult and the busiest route. So our drive to Bicester is reasonably straight forward once we leave London. Once in Bicester we recalibrate our navigating friend to take us into the centre of Coventry.
Coventry, once an industrial centre, was destroyed during WWII. Today the centre is a mix of new and early 1950’s buildings. Lady Godiva looks across a large open space in the middle of the retail centre. People are bustling about on this Friday
afternoon getting their shopping done before the rain arrives. We are here to visit the cathedrals. There are two. The original was destroyed in 1940 and all that remains are the outer walls and tower. Next to the remains is a new modern vibrant building. We say new but it has been here since 1962. It feels and looks as though it was built within the past ten years. When it was finished it must have been such a surprise to everyone over 50 years ago. The young woman at the information desk is very proud to be working in such a wonderful environment. We admire the stained glass windows, the enormous tapestry, the chapel dedicated to peace and used by all denominations. Today workmen are tidying up after a concert. Through windows frosted with images we see the stark reminder of that terrible night in November 1940. We sit and ponder the issue of whether Christchurch Cathedral, destroyed by an earthquake, could be rebuilt as a modern structure similar to this for use by everyone in a modern world.
The afternoon moves on and we need to continue to our final destination, Measham. The countryside is dotted with
New cathedral window.
villages, the land is very agricultural, rolling pastures are being used for grazing and growing grain. There is not much harvesting today. No rain yet but it feels damp.
We find our accommodation. It appears to be a converted shop. Perhaps it was a lolly shop, or draper, or bookshop. One lounge wall is wallpapered floor to ceiling with images of books. Shakespeare looks down on us from several replica paintings. Outside the lounge windows people are walking along the footpath. The lounge windows are frosted and we sit there looking at the images of these people walking past. Surely they are oblivious to the fact that two touring Kiwis are sitting staring out at them. The only thing separating us from the street action is a double glazed window. We are living in a shop window and no one is coming in to buy. Over the road the White Hart pub is preparing for a Friday night of frivolity. Dinner tonight is battered cod fillets and chips, no vinegar please, wrapped in plain newsprint paper. We scurry home from the chippie before the rain starts.
We came for a Midlands experience and it has started well. We
From the old to the new
hope the rest of our stay is full of wonderful memories.
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