Monday, 19 June 2017

A Day Trip to Hereford.

Monday 19th June 2017 to Hereford by Train (and back).
The guide books highly recommend taking a train to Hereford as the journey is beautiful and the city well worth a visit. So, we set off for Worcester railway station, pausing en route for an iced coffee in the Costa next to the station, the first of our summer cruise.
The train journey was a delight, forty-five minutes through the lovely hop fields, oast houses, orchards and corn fields around (and through) the Malvern Hills.
As we walked to the cathedral in Hereford, we passed two street musicians playing and raising money for the victims of the London tower-block fire. We recognised "Red, Red Wine" and "Three Steps to Heaven". Pleasingly, their collection bucket was full, but this young lady didn't care, she just danced to the music while eating her ice-cream.
We preferred the original street name - much more fun!
Magnum number one of the day in the cathedral cloister.
Spot the second Robin, hoping for a hand-out.
Hereford Cathedral is home to the mappa mundi, the largest and most elaborate world map surviving from before the fifteenth century. Designed by one Richard of Holdingham, it was made for Hereford in about 1300 and Hereford has been its home ever since. It is certainly an incredible artifact and it is a history lesson as well as an atlas.
Christ is at the top with the saved on his right and the damned on his left. Jerusalem is in the centre with the Mediterranean below it stretching to Gibralter at the bottom. Africa is bottom right, Europe bottom left and the Red Sea top right. Beside the original is an English translation, which helped a great deal. This is a schematic of the basic layout.
On this English translation, north is top left  and south, bottom right. England is in the middle with Wales and Ireland on its left and Scotland top left. Fascinatingly, the area of Scandinavia includes a 13th century gentleman wearing a bobble hat with skis on his feet!
Next to the mappa mundi is The Chained Library, where all the books are chained so that they can be taken out to be read but they cannot be removed. At the end of each set of shelves is an index.
M found copies of books by Cicero and Virgil that she studied for her Latin A-Level, although the copies she was using were probably printed a bit later than 1532!
The index shows that the books are in section six of the shelves and they are the 5th, 6th and 7th from the left in that section, as outlined here. Unfortunately, we couldn't take the books out for M to read.
We repaired to the café for refreshments and noticed a large blank memorial, which made us think of a caption competition. M's suggestion was: "I can't believe the Clarks shoe sale ended yesterday!"
Sir Edward Elgar was born in Worcester but had a long association with Hereford and was frequently to be seen cycling around the city on his bicycle. Outside the cathedral is a very appropriate statue in his honour.
Given his love of cycling, M and he became instant pals. As they looked back towards the cathedral together, M asked if it was still the law that you could legally shoot a Welshman with a bow and arrow within twenty-five yards of the cathedral on a Sunday morning. Sir Edward refused to comment.
The detail on this sculpture was fascinating including his name and address on the saddlebag...
And the fact that in his hand was a notebook with ideas for his latest music.
Around the foot of the plinth was a quotation: "This is what I hear all day, the trees are singing my music or am I singing theirs".
Back at the station, it turned into a two Magnum day (or should that be "Magna"?).
As we sat waiting for the train, M fell into conversation with a lady carrying a large rucksac. It turned out to contain her paraglider. She had launched from the top of the Malvern Hills at Colwall and run out of lift in Hereford about 20 miles away! She was on her way back to Colwall by train.
As we crossed the Severn on our way back, M photographed MM waiting at her mooring.
Back at the mooring after a super day out.
We discovered that Worcester is a famous centre for dragon-boat racing and all evening we were entertained by teams practising with the steady beat of the drum to keep time. They have a major international dragon-boat racing festival for charity over the first weekend of July.
MM had another day off.

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