Worcestershire 2 Worcester/a cathedral with Prince Arthurs Tomb/ a Magna Carta connection/a 100 Christmas trees/in search of the pink giraffe

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December 23rd 2018
Published: December 28th 2018
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"As soon as you have made a thought , laugh at it ". Lao Tzu

How many times during a year do you make thoughts and either laugh at them or cry at them? . This year quite often I would think. We thought life would be normal for us during 2018. Whatever that was going to be . Holidays. Planned and arranged . Work - well I was going to be still there and then like a bolt out of the blue we found ourselves spending most of the first half of the year caring for Glenns mum. We had to laugh many times during her illness and we cried a lot at times when things got too much. Life rumbled on as did the year. Spring passed us by. Summer flew by in the blink of an eye. Autumn was a period of house selling when our world just revolved around nothing but that. No advent calendar this year . Couldn't be bothered . No Christmas tree up yet - cannot be bothered with even getting the boxes of decorationees out. How sad is that?

Dear Blog - am I going a bit off piste talking to a blog? Holidays are coming . Yes that advert with the catchy irritating tune, the red lorries and Santa is on the TV. Delivery of a brand new oak piece of furniture is still possible before the holidays start . What have I done? Got irritated by the adverts, found there is little worthwhile to watch on the TV and the Christmas tree decorations are still in the box. I scrooged my way through Christmas Quizes and songs at work. Secret Santa did his worse for some people . How pleeased I was to have avoided that one this year. I joined my colleagues special ones at that for our annual Christmas meal . Still nothing on our housesale . The buyers solicitors finally found the paperwork and bombarded us with inane questions such as "Do we abut a road?" Of course we do sarcastically look at Google Earth . The estate is years old so why would that be a problem? Have we got planning permission for the decking? The list went on and on and we got more and more and more irritated with them. We backed out of our purchase . The searches came back deeply blue as if the sea had engulfed the village and we decided the house was too risky to buy. Back to searching for homes again. Perhaps the thought for the day resounds true today - "I believe it is impossible to be sure of anything " Han Fei .

By the end of the week with few days to go the shopping was done and the tree was up. It did start a little like Christmas . It didnt look half bad either if I say so myself. Presents are wrapped and under the tree.

Dear Blog - Well at least you dont answer me back!

Christmas day comes and Christmas Day goes. A mixture of opening presents, trying to convince myself it will be a good day, that the food will be excellent and the TV brilliant. Actually not much of that happens. Why didn't we go away Blog ? We did think about taking Gabby to Edinburgh. She was fit to go having had her drainage tap repaired . Edinburgh was full and very expensive partly due to the CAravan and Motorhome Club deciding to open up bookings for a year in advance . You cannot book anywhere half decent for love nor money. It is also expensive compared to Europe. The ACSI book arrived and shows just what good value European sites out of season are. This time next year we will be away. Well that is the plan although with Brexit still a mess we have not made any attempt to book the ferry this year. The closer we get to April the more expensive it will become .

Right Blog - think of a door. What is behind the door? A twinkling wonderland of Christmas trees - 100 of them. All highly decorative and very individual. The townsfolk of Worcester plus us (that is Glenns third cousin , me and of course an overexcited Sion) were taking a look at the cloisters of Worcester cathedral jammed packed full with decorated trees. WE have seen them in Lichfield but these had a wow factor all twinkling in the medieval cloister whose garden could be seen through the tracery of the windows. WE walk past one made up entirely of plastic drinks bottles emphasing the need to reduce the overuse of plastic. A green mauve and white suffragette. The star at the top replaced by a suffragettes hat. One tree made of green cardboard egg boxes. Many with pictures of school children . The local walkers group filled theirs with items from their walks. Their star was made up of an Ordnance Survey Map. A bridal outfit all white and a Father Christmas. What a contrast to the cathedral itself . The wound their way round the quadrangle . Stained glass along the way commemorated the dead from the First World War who had connections with the cathedral. The bells taken down from the cathedral and other local churches were placed neatly on plinths around the cloisters . On a warm summers day the gardens would have been a quiet attractive place to while away an hour or so.

We have visited many cathedrals in both Europe and home and this one was up there with the best. An amazing space that told the story of medieval workers who worked loudly carving each piece of stone, each statue and each niche. If only stones could talk? The nave and side aisles were filled with the monuments to the great and good of the town. What we were looking for were the tombs of two men who shaped the history of our sceptered isle and the destiny of our land. One whilst he was living and the other because he died. They are both in the cathedral somewhere and we were going to find them. For once we were not pestered by guides encouraging us to not take photographs nor to give us leaflets . We were very much left to our own devices to look in corners and into quiet places .

So come on walk with me and let us see if we can find King John - he of Magna Carta fame and Prince Arthur older brother of Henry who was to become the scourge of the church after his rift with Rome. There are so many layers of history here. There is a hum of conversation today but during building it would have been wall to wall shouting. From the crypt and the foundations through to the building of the tower. Chisels clinking on stone, hammers on metal and shovels digging the solid earth. The cathedral church of Christ and the Blessed Mary the Virgin was built between 1084 and 1504 on the foundations of a much earlier monastery. Each style of architecture and design were there - Norman columns and crypt, a chapter house right throught to Perpendicular Gothic much favoured by our builders. The original site was founded by Tatwine but nothing remained. The building suffered at the hands of Henry and it was used to store arms during the Civil War. As always glass was smashed , books were destroyed and even Gilbert Scott appeared in 1860 to give the cathedral his Victorian take on religion.

I think you will agree with me that it is all pretty impressive as we walk around. The high roof with its medieval decorations, the small side chantry chapels. The Elizabethan monuments are pure works of art. Some highly decorated and painted. Others just pure white marble . A monument to the composer Edward Elgar. tomb stones set into the floor. The pink giraffe . What I hear you say is a pink giraffe? Well look up at the Great West Window fellow bloggers and what can you see ? No your eyes don' t deceive you . It is Christ standing next to a ...................pink giraffe. You could quite easily miss it if I hadn't told you it was there amongs what you would normally expect in a stained glass window. It is believed the pink colour came about because of a misfiring in the kiln. The glass was produced at too high a temperature which resulted in a pink giraffe. Where else are you going to see such a strange thing ?

Walking on we find the tomb of King John in the middle of the nave. Positioned right in front of an impressive reredos and an extremely modern and colourful altar front. What colours - not just the white we come to expect for Christmas and Easter but reds and oranges - a carcophany of colour. The tomb is impressive as you would expect . John died unexpectedly in Newark and his will asked for him to be buried at Worcester Cathedral between the long gone shrines of Saints Wulstan and Oswald . His 1225 copy of Magna CArta is kept in the loft together with many medieval manuscripts .

Then there was the Arthur Chantry chapel - now that was impressive. The young prince the hope of the fledgling Tudor dynasty was buried in splendour . His chantry chapel decorated with armorials - pomegranites from his wife to be Catherine of Aragon, the portcullis of the Beauforts his grandmother and roses of the Yorks his mothers family. When he died he left the way free for his larger than life brother Henry to marry Catherine and we know the rest of the story.

How lucky we were to see not only the Christmas trees but the tomb and chapel saved from destruction only because Henry VIII couldnt bring himself to destroy his brothers tomb and to stand outside admiring the view of the cathedral from the gardens above the mighty River Severn.

Christmas turned out quite nicely in the end didnt it ?

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28th December 2018

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wishing you a Happy New Year!
28th December 2018

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Happy blogging 2019 Bob , I look forward to reading about your next trips

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