Sunday, 15 January 2012

An early trip to Salisbury

We had planned to get up really early and wrap ourselves up nice and snugly (remember, it is winter here in the Northern hemisphere) and head off to photograph some misty scenes. However when the alarm went off on Saturday morning, checking revealed that the weather wasn't playing the game and the desired mist had not appeared. So we remained in our toasty bed for an extra hour or so before venturing out. Still fairly bright and early, however, we headed off to the cathedral.
Sun rising behind Salisbury Cathedral
Although just past midwinter, there are always a number of Grockles ( and we were lucky enough to be there early enough to miss most of them. Along the pathway to the main entrance there is a permanent exhibition of the Walking Madonna. On this occasion, it and the lawn were still frosty.

I really enjoyed this and took this closeup of her, which I am now using as my computer wallpaper.

The first thing you see as you enter the cathedral entrance (not the main doors, which are only used on ceremonial occassions) is the Cloisters. The sun had just risen high enough on the far side to be shining really brightly. With sun this bright you would expect it to be nice and warm. Do not be deceived! It still fools me more often than not, even after 12 years here. You'd think I'd learn, but hey ho, maybe one day...

Looking down the passage of the cloisters, these columns make an interesting display. At the end of the passage and around the corner to the right hand side is the Chapter House, which holds a permanent display of one of the very few original Magna Carta documents in existence.

Upon entering the cathedral itself, one is presented with this magnificent view, looking down the nave towards the altar. It is not really apparent from this picture, but the big dark columns are actually bowing out, due to the massive weight of the steeple above. This was not part of the original design and thus added several tons of unplanned for stress to the walls and columns. Flying buttresses were added to contain the situation. The font in the foreground is a much more recent addition and is a wonderful thing all on its own. It gives wonderful mirror images of the views above, unless of course someone walks passed or, as was happening on this visit, the choir was practising around the corner and it their voices and the piano set off vibrations in it.

There are some wonderful examples of woodcarving in the cathedral and this wasp was at the end of one of the choir stalls. It is a lot larger than life size and is probably about 8 to 10 inches long. Wouldn't want that buzzing about your head!

A favourite of mine in the cathedral (which we love to visit and have done many times over the years) is the candle which burns for prisoners of conscience around the world. It has always struck a chord with me and is a very powerful display.

Recently a tapestry display has also been added (I think this is temporary) which continues the candle and barbed wire theme through it.

Standing in the quire and looking east towards the alter one has this splendid view.

Having left Salisbury and deciding not to go straight home, our route took us past Stonehenge, which was as ever thronged by hordes of grockles. I have never been there without gazillions of these nasty creatures. Still, they must bring in a fortune to the National Trust, as there isn't exactly a large upkeep to a bunch of stones, is there? They have sheep in the fields to keep the grass down and perhaps have to mow and maintain the paths occasionally.

Well, that was our day, Saturday 14th Jan 2012.  A very pleasant excursion, if not the most exotic of outings.