Saturday, 24 January 2009
The sea was already creeping in, and we didn't think we had much time.
No time to get out of the car to photograph the causeway, certainly.
So, we arrived and parked up and squinted into the squally distance (past a tree, hurrah!):-
We squinted sideways:
Then we (OK, I) panicked, got in the car and drove back across the encroaching seas...
Ah well, another day we might get closer.
Sunday, 18 January 2009
The parallels aren’t exact, of course, but where we now have the Bob the Builderesque “Yes We Can” we once had “Things Can Only Get Better”. Just as with Blair, people are projecting all of their hopes on Obama, in reaction to his predecessor. There is a desire for radical change being invested in a politician who I suspect is profoundly uninterested, at heart, in the concept.
The only direction left to the new President is down; he will disappoint. Not all of the time, not everybody, and not every day. But he will disappoint.
Like I said, glass half empty.
Almost invisible below is the entrance to the locked Poison Garden - organised tours only. We enjoyed it - and I found out why Yew trees are associated with churchyards (Voldemort has a Yew wand, remember).
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
Sunday, 11 January 2009
Friday, 2 January 2009
Technically, and incontrovertibly, Durham cathedral is the most wonderful in Britain (Bryson says "on planet Earth", but I haven't seen them all). I couldn't possibly do it justice here (not least because photography is not allowed inside). Still, here's the view from South Street:
The sanctuary knocker on the main door to the cathedral is a copy, a replica of the original which can be seen in the small museum in the undercroft (recommended).
The closer you get, the larger it looks:
Even the ceiling in the undercroft cafe (scones, jam and cream obligatory) is a joy:-
Surrounding the cathedral are nooks and alleys, leading around to cathedral close.
Further afield, we strolled down the Bailey (did I say, we stayed at Chad's - it was outside term - on the Bailey. Tatty rooms full of blocky elderly furniture in the shadow of the cathedral. The boys' room looked out on the Bailey itself, and might have been Dave T's room in the '70s - not sure, I can't remember accurately enough. Our room looked out on the gardens that lead down eventually to the Wear. Food in the mornings was a proper college dining room atmosphere, complete with middle-aged northern women calling us "Pet". Just perfect). So anyway we strolled down the Bailey to Prebend's bridge - and this is what we saw (traditional postcard views...)
The words are from Sir Walter Scott:
The view down towards Framwellgate bridge...
This is the view looking the other way from Prebend's. I thought I'd include it for the trees...
... and the straight down view. Given the title of this blog, when we then went for a walk along the river (and visited the small archaeological museum they have set up there), I felt some photos of trees were called for.
But that damn cathedral keeps getting in the way.
Of course, if the catehdral was the only massive old building in Durham it would be fantastic enough, but the other side of Palace Green is dominated by the Castle. A few years back we stayed in the Bishop's bedroom, when we came up to the North East for a wedding. So it was only reasonable to look in again...
The view of the cathedral from the castle...
and the castle keep from the cathedral...
.. and some of the rest of Palace Green...
The problem is that all of this doesn't really seem to do justice to the flying visit we paid to Durham. I havent mentioned rowing up the Wear past the sports fields, the Italian meal on Saddler St; the horrible studenty bar they have opened there; popping in to the proper pub (Shakespeare's Head) also on Saddler St to discover there was still a couple of beardy folky people in the back bar playing Northumbrian folk music (which I hate) to an appreciative crowd (the beer was good tho'); buying a piece of Chaucer criticism from what used to be the SPCK bookshop; calling in at Collingwood to look at the changes and seeing who I could spot from a 1978 photo on the wall. All the alterations to the City that seem to have left it looking just the same. Anyway, did I say there is this impressive cathedral there?