As this cruise – quite unintentionally – seems to have turned into a tour around remarkable ecclesiastical ceilings in middle-west England, it seemed unwise to miss out Chester Cathedral, so we squeezed in a quick tour before heading back uphill up the Shropshire Union for Sidmouth (if you see what we mean).
The ceilings were indeed remarkable,
but it was disturbing that the recent global cult of the Tabard Taliban seemed to be infiltrating everywhere. The chief gardener was doing her best to ignore their mystical incantations, but with little success.
As well as fine ceilings, Chester has the oldest complete consistory court still remaining in a cathedral building. Don’t know if they still have a hanging judge, though.
Even more remarkable were the wooden carvings over the choir: every position is different,
and the same applies to the misericords.
At the end of each choir stall is a different carving too. The elephant carver had clearly never seen a real elephant! The bearded chap looks remarkably like a Bracknell Folk Club and Festival organiser of some decades ago, although I can’t recall him ever playing a fiddle. And quite what the creature with the pewter tankard is supposed to be, or is doing to the monkey, remains a puzzle. Perhaps the carver was suffering from an overdose of festival-itis when he carved it.
After all that ecclesiastical glory, a quick sandwich lunch and we headed back South again, and the siren call of Swanley Bridge Marina and Sidmouth Folk Week.
The Captain must have known we were running late and were hot and harrassed, as he jumped ship at one of those difficult – and grey painted- locks, dived into an impenetrable hedgerow bordering the lock cottage garden, and ignored all attempts to tempt him back on board. Unfortunately, when he jumps ship, he eventually tends to return to the point at which he went ashore, and then fails to notice that his home has moved on a few yards.
Unable to wait there with Song & Dance in the lock, we moved on fifty yards or so, and moored up properly, reluctantly accepting that we would probably have to stay there the night, all the while posting a lookout on the lock side. Fortunately the inhabitant of the lockkeeper’s cottage was present; he tied up his whippet, and allowed us to rummage around in his shrubbery. Realising the game was up, Sir emerged blinking into the sunshine, and allowed us to accompany him back to his mobile food bowl. Oh the joys of a demanding ship’s Master…
After all that excitement for the day, our final resting place for the day was unmemorable, and forgotten.