Saturday, 1 July 2017

Carnival Day in Worcester.

Saturday 1st July 2017 in Worcester.
Half the year gone! Where did the time go?
The morning dawned a little cloudy but with a promise of a fine day to follow.
While M was having her second cup of tea, two beautiful boats passed by, travelling upstream and breasted up together. A lovely sight.
We bought some proper duck/swan food at "The Shed" in Reigate last month - it is suprisingly difficult to find it around the canals - and R decided to test it on these two. It was definitely a success, the swans and ducks go mad for it, gobbling up each tiny piece in almost machine gun style!
Our friends from last night waved cheerio as they set off to take their hire boat back to Lowesmoor Wharf.
Worcester has many fine old buildings which have survived wartime bombing and Sixties vandalism. The Old Rectifying House is now an upmarket restaurant and bar but its name refers to the "rectification" or distilling of liquor. The building was the site of Williams Distillery. Historically it has frequently been the victim of floods as it is next to the river. During the floods, provisions had to be brought in by boat and taken in by way of the upstairs windows!
The river floods regularly and dramatically, here. Next to the Cathedral is a wall with historic flood markers. R is stretching up towards the marker for the flood level in 1947. The rather frightening thing is that the ground on which R is standing is already about 8ft above normal river levels!
The last major flood was in 2014 and the marker for that is at about the same level as the green plant.
In the Cathedral, the local Worcester Choir was rehearsing for the Three Choirs Festival, held each year as a competition between Hereford, Worcester and Gloucester. This year the Festival will be held in Worcester later in the month.
M didn't recognise the piece, which sounded like a modern composition - one of those pieces where the pianist is playing one thing and the choir appears to be singing something totally unrelated. However, we both agreed that the choir was VERY good!
The west end of the Cathedral is covered in scaffolding and from inside it is possible to see that half the stained glass window has been removed for renovation.
The City is proud of its connection with Sir Edward Elgar who was born and brought up here. His statue normally stands as the centrepiece of the square opposite the Cathedral but, at the moment, he stands in solitary splendour behind steel barriers while the square is being resurfaced.
A lively street market was in progress and the High Street was thronged with people in anticipation of the Carnival parade. "Madam Matronic" was entertaining the crowd, especially the children, with her mechanical movements and a soap-bubble making "gun".
The Carnival procession started at 2:00pm, to cheers from the crowds lining the streets. Many of the floats had a musical theme.
It was pleasing that the loudest cheers and applause was reserved for a float celebrating War Veterans', who were looking very smart and proudly wearing their medals.
After the procession had passed, we wandered round the back streets. In one location there was a fairground and a performance stage. We treated ourselves to a "99" each and watched pupils from a "Rock School" perform. Like the Curate's Egg, parts of the performance were excellent but rather marred by the fact that the lead singers were decidedly flat!
As we walked back towards MM, we discovered some lovely arcades and old buildings including "King Charles House" from which Prince Charles (later Charles II) fled after the disastrous Battle of Worcester on his way to an oak tree and temporary exile.
The Sabrina Bridge is a very attractive pedestrian footbridge just up river from MM's mooring and it provided a great view of the Cathedral, the river and MM.
Lovely evening reflections in the river, looking towards the Sabrina Bridge. A super day.
MM had the day off.

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