Weekly Photo Challenge

Bowled over by Beverley

If you mention The Minster in my part of the world, people automatically think you are talking about York Minster.  I had been told that Beverley Minster could hold its own in the beauty stakes, and set out one day to verify this.  I was already rapt in the intricate details when I learned that the Percy Canopy dates from around 1340, and is regarded as a masterpiece of the decorated Gothic style.

More importantly, the atmosphere in the church was warm and welcoming, and I didn’t feel like an intruder, which so often seems to happen.  I entered through the Highgate Porch and was struck by the vastness of the building and the height of the Nave.

I was immediately captivated by the carvings that adorned the walls of the North Aisle.  In the Middle Ages, Beverley was headquarters of the musicians fraternity in the north of England.  These detailed medieval carvings illustrate the period.

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The minster owes its origin to St. John of Beverley, who founded a monastery here in 700AD.  He was bishop of Hexham and then of York before founding Beverley, and his bones still lie beneath a plaque in the nave.  The organ dates from 1767, the beautiful wood carving added in 1880.

I know that Jude would absolutely love it here because she has a thing for misericords, and there are no less than 68.  In medieval times clergy were required to stand when praying.  The Normans tried to make life a little easier by providing a misericord- a shelf on a hinged seat, just enough to perch on.  The name comes from ‘misericordia’, meaning pity, and decorating them with relevant carvings became an artform.

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The High Altar is in regular use for Holy Communion, and behind it there is a beautifully carved altar screen.  Accessed through the Quire, in the south east corner of the church, St. Katherine’s Chapel is a place for quiet contemplation.

Although I was in awe of this lovely building, still I felt comfortable there, and would love to return.  Even the modern art work did not feel out of place.  The Beverley Minster website has a self-guided tour, both useful and informative.

Pedestrian?  I really don’t think so, though the minster did form part of one of my walks.  Join me next Monday?

Windows on my world

If you’ve ever flown in there, you’ll recognise this approach to Pisa airport.  It was my gateway to Florence, a city I’d always wanted to visit.  Once in a while I get a nice shot from a plane window.  The city was so much more than I expected and I went around with jaw dangling.  I wrote about Florence on my return until I could feel my readers dosing off, and simply had to stop.  It all came bubbling back when my lovely friend Gilly posted Santa Maria Novella.

I stayed just around the corner and walked past it numerous times, as did Gilly.  I had read of cloisters and frescoes and knew that I simply had to squeeze a visit in.  The interior entirely belied first impressions, and I wish I could have lingered.

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The shots in the cloisters are understandably faded but maybe you can get an impression of their glory.  I scaled the heights and did everything I conceivably could in the short time I had in Florence.  And still there was more to see.

It’s all there!  Old, new and ever pleasing to the eyes.  Each and every window revealed more splendour.

The camera came home dying of exhaustion but I have never felt more alive.  The old mercado had been similarly reinvigorated, with a top floor full of exciting dining options.  I hardly knew which way to look.

I have to thank both Gilly and Michelle at the Daily Post for giving me this opportunity to look back through some wonderful windows.

Cornered at Stokesay

Stokesay Castle is the best-preserved fortified medieval manor house in England. It was constructed at the end of the 13th century by Laurence of Ludlow, the leading wool merchant and one of the richest men in England at that time.

The castle comprises a walled, moated enclosure with an entrance way through a 17th century timber and plaster gatehouse.  It’s a striking sight, and even on a grey day the ochre gatehouse affirms its right to be there.

The gatehouse features elaborate wooden carvings on both exterior and interior doorways, including angels, Adam and Eve and the serpent from the Garden of Eden and dragons.  It had little real defensive value but is undeniably ornamental.

Inside, the courtyard faces a stone hall and solar block, protected by 2 stone towers.  The south tower is an unusual pentagon shape and is 3 storeys high, with impressive views fom the turrets.  The castle has seen drama in its life, including skirmishes with Cavaliers and Roundheads, but never sustained any real damage and has been more affected by the ravages of time.

The hall adjoins the south tower and has a 13th century wood-beamed ceiling. Next to this, a  2 storey solar block with extensive wood paneling, a huge fireplace and intricate wood carving.  This would have been the family’s main living space.

Since 1986 Stokesay Castle has been managed by English Heritage, preserving and opening to the public.  Details of how to get there are on their website.  I’m hoping that you will have observed many an interesting Corner in this post.

I really oughn’t to but I’m also going to link to Paula’s Traces of the Past, just because I think she might like it.  Is that a good enough reason?

The textures of life

Complicated things, people, aren’t we?  How is it that I absolutely adore to be surrounded by nature, knee deep in a field of lavender, as in my last post, yet still light up at the opulence of this ultra modern shopping mall?  The shapes and angles had me mesmerised.

So many textures make up a life.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m no shopper!  I simply popped in to Leeds’ latest shopping venue to find a loo.

Why not join me on the Weekly Photo Challenge?  It’s all about Textures.

Time and tide…

It’s one of those sights that has always gladdened my heart, since I first started coming to the Algarve- the pontoon bridge at Barril that links Tavira Island to the mainland.  With the tide low, the gangplank descended steeply, but by the time you had walked to the beach, loitered a while, and walked back again, the current would be sweeping in, and have raised the bridge to level.  It never ceased to amaze me.

Every visit to Tavira has always resulted in at least one crossing, there and back, and I suppose I had started to notice the signs of wear and tear.

But no more than one notices the wrinkles on an old friend.  I have lingered by that bridge to watch the sun glinting off the water, and set, in a glory of colour, at the end of many a day.

I suppose change is inevitable.  I don’t always accept it with a good grace.  In July this year I arrived at the bridge and gazed in admiration, tinged with horror.  My bridge had gone, to be replaced by a shiny new model, with no ups and downs, or rusty bits.

More practical?  Certainly!  Still beautiful?  I think so.  But oh, how I shall miss my old friend. Past meets Present, Becky.  What do you think?

I’m going to chance my arm, and say that my bridge was Unusual too, though maybe not in the class of this week’s challenge from Draco .

Six word Saturday

As transient as a reflected image

I hate goodbyes.  The weekend in Nottingham with my daughter came and went all too swiftly. Transient, you might say.  As she returned to work, I took one last disconsolate stroll by the canal.

Share your six words this Saturday?  Debbie will be pleased to see you.  Or you might want to try the Weekly Photo Challenge. There’s still time.

Six word Saturday

It’s that time of year again!

Very cute, our seahorse, isn’t he?  Yet again the good folks of Saltburn by the Sea have decorated their pier with yarn bombing.  It’s a Summer tradition.  Are they in good Order?  I think I should let you be the judge of that.

There are some wild hairdo’s, aren’t there?  You can probably tell that there was a fresh breeze that day, but still lots of people.

Let’s end with a bit of a gallop, down by the sea.  Such skilled handiwork, as well as being completely adorable.

That’s it for another year.  The next day it simply poured, and has continued to do so.  The shopaholics amongst you will adore Debbie’s Six Word Saturday this week.  Me, I just want to go to Madrid!  Wishing you a happy weekend!