Thursday, August 18, 2016

Canterbury II

We slept well. The Gorse Fox had done his research and realised that a room near the front of the hotel was likely to be noisy - he had specifically asked for a suite near the back; somewhere quiet. It was perfect. With the Jasper-alarm still in Sussex - there was nothing specific to wake us. Saying that we were up and about soon after seven.

Breakfast in the hotel was a bit of a contrast to dinner last night. It was like being an extra in a Marx Brothers movie. Waiting staff were rushing about, slipping, knocking things over and getting almost every order mixed up or completely wrong. Arriving in the restaurant early we were able to watch the chaos without being involved ourselves.

Once checked out and with our bags loaded in the car we set out for the Cathedral. (We left the car in the hotel car park). We took a quick stroll along to Cathedral. The plan had been to get there early so that it wasn't too crowded. We were able to use our "senior" status to gain concessionary tickets and proceeded into the courtyard. It really is a most impressive Cathedral - though some restoration work is going on and covers some parts of the towers and some facades.

We started with a walk around the outside of the building.

The Gorse Fox has always been intrigued by the design of such churches and particularly inspired by the complexity of many of the buttresses and rooflines. Canterbury's was no exception - it was beautiful.

After looking at the outside, we went in.

It is huge. It is impressive. It is quite beautiful.

Like all such edifices, the Nave draws your eye through the Cathedral and provides some iconic views, but again, it is the Escher-like qualities of the towers, spires, and walkways that always draw the Gorse Fox.

We made our way along the Nave and into The Martyrdom. This is where Thomas Becket was murdered. At this point the Gorse Fox should admit his guilt. In the only school play in which he was involved, the Gorse Fox played one of the knights who killed Thomas. Though this was in the 1950s he still remembers his line. Whilst dressed in chainmail and grey plastic armour, the Gorse Fox strode on stage and said:

"Then some of his knights, rode to Canterbury Town and slew Sir Thomas Becket as the sun went down".

It may not be quite a Shakespearean soliloquy, but at least he remembered the words on the night.

The Gorse Fox took well over a hundred photos as he wandered around. It really was a most inspiring building.

The Gorse Fox also loves cloisters. They always seem so tranquil.

Again there are many photos, but in some ways one monastic cloister looks much like another. What draws the eye of the Gorse Fox is the fan vaulting in the cloister ceilings.

We wandered back through the Chapter House, up the King's School and back through the Cathedral.

It was, without doubt, a couple of hours well spent.

We went back into the streets and The Silver Vixen was distracted by a Thai Shop. It had some wonderful silks and Kimonos imported directly from Thailand. Whilst the Gorse Fox waited outside, The Silver Vixen had a mooch around.

It was soon after midday and the Gorse Fox got a call from a cousin. It seemed silly to come to Kent and not try to meet up. Particularly as they only lived a few miles away in Margate. We had arranged to meet and grab a bite to eat and to catch up. Catching up would be interesting as, though part of the Gorse Fox's legion of cousins, he had only met them once before. There would be a lot of catching up to do! We found a small restaurant and settled down at a table for an hour or so. Conversation ranged through the families, our common forebears, and Walking Football. Both cousins play for their local team. Indeed one was involved in a match at Wembley this last weekend.

After lunch we strolled back down to the Westgate gardens and continued to natter away. Clearly the family of the Gorse Fox could get a Gold Medal in talking. It was great fun. Eventually we had to part and set off home. The Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox returned the car and set off on the highways of southern England. Again, most of the journey was trouble free and it was only as we were on the final stretch that we were delayed.

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