Of Cathedrals, Gardens, and Car Parks

May 18, 2012  •  2 Comments

So much to see and so little time…I can’t seem to shoot photos fast enough to keep up. In two days we visit Petworth House, Salisbury Cathedral, Stourhead Gardens, and Wells Cathedral. I’ll back up a bit to share some highlights.

Petworth House has beautiful grounds that are more natural -  less groomed than most stately homes. Fenced around with stone walls we see deer grazing on the other side. The house holds a surprising amount of paintings and sculptures and was at one time a highly esteemed place to visit for aristocracy. The JMW Turner paintings alone were well worth the visit. The family had been one of his main patrons over the years.

At the Salisbury Cathedral we found we had arrived just in time to hear music. Not the kind you expect to hear in a cathedral but a jazz band. We caught the last part of a concert put on by the cathedral school children. Evidently the choir had done a beautiful job singing but we missed that part. The jazz musicians looked to be middle school students, they played really well and we enjoyed the concert.

One of the cathedral volunteers offered us a guided tour which we eagerly accepted. Since it was only the four of us we were able to ask many questions and she didn’t have a time limit. I now have a better understanding of how a flying buttress works…note I said better not thorough.

A unique feature of the cathedral is that it was built in one time period, 38 years I think, in the 11th or 12th century…I forget already. That is different from most cathedrals which can have building parts that date back to Roman times and as recent as the 19th century. It is true Gothic architecture throughout, a very beautiful structure inside and out. This cathedral makes the other cathedral look a bit “hodgepodge”. Or as I heard a guide say “it’s all a bit marmaladed up”.

After the cathedral we go back to our hotel where we left the car this morning, to get on our way, but getting out of the hotel courtyard "car park" where we parked was a bit of a problem. It took Cindy and Lauri on opposite corners of the car and a 12 point turn to get us out of there. The car is a stick shift with the added feature of beepers that go off when you get within 12 inches of any object. Each beep being a slightly different sound for each side of the car. It was a symphony of beeping sounds all at the same time; might have made a good base for some techno music.

Over hill and dell we drive to Stourhead famous for its excellent gardens. Except for the misdirection to start with we eventually found it. The house was closed but the weather was perfect for this outdoor adventure. Stourhead is literally at the head waters of the Stour River which is fed by the 6 natural springs on this 2,500 acre estate. At one time these springs were used as medieval fishing holes until the owners of Stourhead began landscaping these lovely grounds.  It evolved from a single small pond with a folly in the form of a small temple like structure to a fully fledged lake with islands, an arched bridge, and several follies placed precisely to take advantage of the view. These were all designed to impress and show off wealth.

Back on the road we head to Wells, this time we found the direct route. We are hoping to get to the cathedral in time to hear Evensong. Rushing again past intriguing shops and lots of photo possibilities we did make it on time to view the service.

If you have been enjoying my blog please leave me a comment, I’d love to be validated…I know it’s blatant, sorry.


Comments

Mom(non-registered)
Hello, and as always I enjoy your photo's and hearing about your adventures. As beautiful as your pictures and words make it, I know that the most fun of all is having companions to share it with, and now thanks to your blog, we can all share it.
Oh and a buttress works pretty much like a cane does. It holds up something that might fall over otherwise.
Hugs, we miss you. Mom
Farrell(non-registered)
I have been very much enjoying your postings, and the pictures as well. It sure sounds like y'all are really enjoying England :)
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