Winchester Cathedral an unexpected pleasure

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC had a few hours to spare in Hampshire, England, before catching up with some friends. We spotted Winchester on the map, and came across the cathedral almost by accident.

My impressions? An awe-inspiring building with gracious hosts.

Word of the day

Knapping is the word of the day. It’s what you do to shape a piece of flint into a tool or an ornament, by tapping and chiselling until the stone has the shape you need. You can therefore refer to knapped or unknapped flint. The word knapping is related to the Germanic root knopp, meaning to strike.

Travel tip

Chat to the guides in the cathedral, even if you don’t take a guided tour. The guides are kind, enthusiastic and knowledgable.

Recommended restaurant

The Stable, 31b The Square, Winchester SO23 9EX, UK. Excellent pizza, catering also for vegan and gluten free diets. Good cider and friendly staff.

The book I’m in

The Visitor, by Lee Child. The story follows on directly from Tripwire and features the same hero, Jack Reacher. The TC is on holiday and happened to have both books in her bag. I wiggled easily from the one to the other, and am experiencing that rare pleasure of reading two sequential books in sequence.

The photos

Me and William Walker, the diver who saved Winchester Cathedral in the early 1900s. William dressed in heavy diving gear and went into the water under the building every day for six long years, shoring up the foundations. He saved the cathedral from collapse.

Being short in stature, I appreciate a good floor. Winchester Cathedral has a good floor:

This heart-breaking memorial for a six-week old baby caught my eye:

Also on the floor is the tomb of Jane Austen, beloved author. It’s interesting to note that the inscription makes no mention of her fame as a writer:

Raising your eyes to the TC’s level rather than this worms, you’d see the thoughtful gaze of Jane Austen:

Here lies Godfrey de Lucy, bishop of Winchester from 1189 to 1204:

The positioning of the three moons is interesting on this memorial stone. To a modern eye, they seem to form a smiley face. This worm wonders what folks thought of them in 1700:

The large book below is a roll of honour to the Rifle Brigade in World War I (1914-1918). The page turner shown in the display is a thin, engraved and shaped piece of wood, for use only with this roll of honour:

Inside the cathedral are a number of inner walls, enclosing tombs and sanctuaries. Many of them are intricately carved, like the one below. There are also caskets atop the wall:

Symmetry in the crypt below the cathedral:

The shot below is taken from the back of the cathedral, looking down the main hall (the nave) towards the altar:

Construction of the cathedral started in 1079. The main hall was built later, in the years between 1350 and 1525.

The stained glass window at the back of the church was rebuilt from pieces of shattered glass in 1660, after English Parliamentary troops (the so-called Roundheads led by Cromwell) destroyed the original window:

The west face of Winchester Cathedral:

Walking down to the right of the west face, you’ll see this view of the building:

Four Norman arches stretch away from the main building:

Pieces of flint embedded in the walls around the cathedral:

That’s all for today, folks.

Advertisements

A cathedral, a cinema and a ghost in Salisbury

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC wandered the streets of Salisbury in England for a few hours, ooh-ing and aah-ing over its architectural cuteness. We strolled into the cathedral close at eventide, became enthralled in its grandeur, and came back the next morning for more.

My impressions? So much history and beauty – worth a longer visit than we had time for.

The book I’m in

The Dark Tide, by Andrew Gross. A good thriller with engaging characters.

Travel tip

You don’t need any travel tips from me when in Britain. Everyone you meet will delight in telling you how to get from A to B. Britons will also exhibit a healthy distrust of GPS devices (sat navs).

Recommended accommodation

Cathedral View, 83 Exeter Street, Salisbury. Wenda and Steve put a great deal of love and care into making their guest house a welcoming, comfortable home from home.

The photos

Me inside the walls of Salisbury cathedral:

Salisbury cathedral, officially named the Cathedral of Saint Mary, was built between 1220 and 1258. This makes it a medieval building, and 750 years old. Here is the main entrance to the cathedral, known as the west front, with the spire behind:

The architectural style of the cathedral is early English gothic. This worm admires the clean, sweeping lines of the building and the eye candy added by the sculptures and other decorations. Here is a view looking down the nave (the main hall) towards the altar:

Zooming in on part of a stained glass window:

Another hall in the cathedral:

Outside the cathedral, the streets of Salisbury beckon. This is the Lazy Cow, opposite the entrance to the cathedral close in St John’s Street:

Me, the TC, and the “TC once removed” went to the Odeon cinema in Salisbury. (We watched the latest James Bond film, Sky Fall. This worm gives credit to Daniel Craig, Judy Dench and the team for a good job well done.) The cinema is said to be haunted:

The entrance to the Odeon cinema is the Hall of John Halle, a fifteenth-century Tudor banqueting hall. Here is a closer view:

We did not meet any ghosts in the cinema. In the cathedral, we did find a tomb or two. This one belongs to Thomas Bennett, who lived in the sixteenth century and was secretary to Cardinal Wolsey:

Shadows and shivers. This is one of the many sculptures on the outside walls of the cathedral:

We encountered a weird cloaked figure with glowing blue eyes roaming around the cathedral close. This worm is sure it was real flesh and blood, not a ghost, but close enough to give the TC a delightfully shivery feeling:

Seen from the outside at night, the inside of the cathedral offers a safe haven:

Farewell beauteous building:

That’s all for today, dudes.

Shivering at Stonehenge

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC were bowling merrily down the A344 and there it was, right there: Stonehenge.

Stonehenge is an archaeological site and monument in Wiltshire, England, not far from Salisbury. Its most striking feature is a ring of large standing stones, some connected by lintels to form huge doorways.

My impressions? Majesty and mystery.

The book I’m in

The Dark Tide, by Andrew Gross. A good thriller with engaging characters.

Travel tip

It’s cold and windy on the downs. Wrap up well. The TC had red ears and a red nose by the time she had finished taking photographs. She professed herself quite dizzy with wonder. This worm thinks it was the extreme cold that had affected her brain.

The photos

Me at Stonehenge. Like the TC, I tend to lose focus when exposed to extreme cold:

Stonehenge was built at some time, by someone, somehow, and for some reason. No-one can quite define the “some”s. Archaeologists play it safe by saying the stones were placed in the period from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The earth bank around the outside of the stones was constructed around 3100 BC. That makes the site 5000 years old.

This worm suggests we all agree that Stonehenge was built in 4 VLTA (a very long time ago).

The stones are enormous.

There is much debate about how men of old moved them around and placed them with such precision.

Stonehenge may have been a burial ground, a temple, a celestial clock, a social project intended to unify neighbouring peoples, a time machine… Whatever it’s purpose, it is majestic and intensely interesting.

That’s all for today, dudes.