Coventry Cathedral, rain and Phil Rickman

It is rather a long time since I last blogged, but, up until yesterday, there really was nothing worth writing about, just the usual work and day to day stuff.

However yesterday, was my Saturday off, so went up to Birmingham to go and see mum. After having visited Birmingham every other Saturday off, I had become a little bored with it, and so decided to go and visit elsewhere. Yesterday was the turn of Coventry. Poor old Coventry is not the most pleasant of cities, although if you leave the main center of the town, there are some lovely Medieval areas left to explore, and of course there are the two cathedrals, which were the main reason for our visit. 

On Friday night when I was mooching around on the net for inspiration of where to visit, I found out about a rail ticket that I had not previously known about, that allowed me to have unlimited travel in an area from Crewe to Stoke in the north, west to Shrewsbury, Gobowen and Hereford in the west, and Northampton, Lichfield and Stratford in the east and South, all for only £3.40 more than my regular return ticket, which seemed like stunning value, so of course, I bought one.

In the end, we only went to Coventry, as we took so long there, but still it was a saving.  I had been to the  new cathedral previously, and have gone from hating the sight of it when I first saw it years ago, to actually thinking of it as really lovely and incredibly impressive this time, it is definitely a building that grows on you, given the chance, but on first impressions I think you either love it or don't.   When you first go in, it does look incredible grey and industrial, but that is before you see the incredible stained glass windows and the tapestry. As you walk along the cathedral to the top, the windows are revealed one by on, until looking back you see every one glowing thee full height of the cathedral building.

When we arrived there was a choir practicing, with the organ accompanying them, so were treated to  some wonderful music, and standing dead center between the two halves of the organ when it was in full belt, was rather amazing, a group of German tourists were stood there some with their mouths open at how amazing it sounded, and with the choir singing center ahead of us, truly spectacular.

Before we went into the new cathedral , we had had a wander round the old one. Even though most of the body of the building was missing,, parts of the walls too and the roof completely and utterly absent, it still felt very much like a cathedral, and would be a lovely place for a service on a hot summers (dry) day. When we came to leaving the cathedral, we happened to have a look outside, and the rain was hammering down. Again. I was lucky in that I remembered to put my waterproof jacket in my bag that morning, and so we ventured out into it, it got so heavy at one point that there was a mist almost 2 or 3 feet high from the rain hitting the ground. We got about 20 yards, then decided that being out in the rain was not so wise, and dived into the cathedral shop, as had quite a few others. Had a bit of a look round, then mum decided we should go to the Transport museum, also in the city center. Quite a fascinating place, with vehicles from Victorian times to the present day, including a rather gorgeous brand new Jaguar. The Thrust SSC, holder of the world land speed record, breaking the sound barrier and reaching a speed of 763mph. Unfortunately as we had arrived at the museum only and hour before they were due to close, they had closed off some of the areas of the museum, including the one with the Thrust. Bit of a bugger really, but as it cost nothing to get in, will visit again soon.

On to Sunday, and church this morning, quite enjoyable. As the vicar is away at a New Wine thing this week, along with about 40 of the congregation, we had a lady from the Cathedral doing the service. She explained about the precautions to do with swine flu, and said as such, there would be no wine whatsoever, not even for dipping the bread in, slightly ott really. She then said we were to refrain from shaking hands at the peace, just nod at each other, this didn't go down to well.  She explained that the Bishop had sent them memo's with the guidelines on,  at that point a woman stood up, and said, in a rather consternated voice "I think you will find it was actually the Archbishop" , then promptly sat down again. Left the poor vicar slightly taken aback a bit, and then  she explained to everyone that the Archbishop had indeed originally set out what should be done, but that the Bishop of Hereford had been the one who had it said to her. Not quite sure what the woman thought she was achieving, in standing up and saying that, but she said it in such a way that it was almost as if she was implying the vicar was lying. When the vicar had explained, a good many people looked at the woman as if to say "Thats you told then". Quite amusing really. 

In the afternoon, we went over to the west of Hereford to a place called Kinnersley Castle, for a book launch of Phil Rickman's new book Merrily's Border, all about the place mentioned in his novels, with photographs and a bit of history to go with them. A very atmospheric old house, but nice and homely. There was a couple of tables there with various books, one with all Phil Rickmans novels for sale, including the ones he wrote under the name Will Kingdom, and on the other were books from his current books publisher Logaston Press. There were so many people there, wandering all over the house and gardens. Wine was there as were nibbles. When we arrived people were sat all over the place, up the stairs on sofas, lovely and relaxed there, not at all like any other book launch I remember. Phil Rickman himself was playing in the band on guitar, sounded pretty good too. A bit folky sounding for my taste, but still good. Well I made my purchase and MLO and I went off for a bit of a mooch around, the came in and went in the one room where he had encamped, to get my book signed. An hour or so later, we decided to go. Just as we were leaving we passed a car where, because of the wet the man had got himself into a pretty impressive rut, and who then decided the best way to get out of it would be to rev as hard as he could. Not the cleverest of plans. So MLO and I decided we had better help them. We got behind the car, and we said that if we rocked the car it should come free quite easily, so we rocked, and rocked a bit more, and rocked it forward far enough that Mr driver finally found some grip and got free. In return MLO and I got extremely muddy feet. Fun though.
We got home, and before we had had time to turn around, we had to get back off for evening church. We had a different vicar again, who did things a bit differently to the regular vicar, but everyone has a different way.
Anyway, that is me up to date, at last. Not sure what I will be doing tomorrow, so not sure if I will blog yet or not, will see how it goes. TTFN etc.

3 comments:

Steve Hayes said...

In this part of the world Phil Rickman's books are like hens' teeth. We buy them whenever we see them, whether we can afford them or not, because you never know when you'll see them again.

FullOfHopeAndJoy said...

I feel for you, really I do, I could not imagine not being able to go out and get the latest one from him. I suppose you could always try e-mailing him to see if there are any plans to get more of his books (titles and quantity) on sale there. Worth a try anyway. His e-mail is available on his website on the tab marked personal.
PS thanks for the reply.

scott davidson said...

Nice way to decorate your walls. I have never done that. My effort to beautify the walls in my house was to order big-sized canvas prints from wahooart.com, from images of western art. I use the same angel motifs in all of the rooms painted by different painters, such as this one by very interesting English artist Stanley Spencer, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT7K6.

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FullOfHopeAndJoy
Herefordshire, United Kingdom
Born in 1975 in Brixham, in glorious Devon. Spent most of my youth in grimy birmingham. As soon as i was able at 18 I moved to beautiful Herefordshire. Where i remain to this day. Work at Locks Garage, famous for our ice creams. Generally wonderful place.
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