Monday, May 18, 2015

Ah, what a Cathedral

Cloister, Durham Cathedral,  photo by Mary M Payne
I am back at the Cathedral and talking to Brian Peaden who speaks to me as I am admiring the archways and shadows.  He is a retired local and a member of an amateur photographer's group.   He sees that I am taking a photo of the cloisters but missing the secret. 

  I have been oblivious to the little hole inserted into the brick at the top of the archway that makes up part of a sundial formed on a meridian line and Brian explains it to me.  

Brian  Peaden 
A Meridian line (meridies : Latin for midday) was drawn in the cloister in 1829 by the then headmaster of Durham School : Dr. Carr and William Wharton of Dryburn.    A piece of stone in which there is a circular opening ( with a thin edge) of about an inch... has been inserted into a piece of stone at the top of one of the archways.  You can see that in my second photo.  

 Near noon, the sun is almost directly opposite the hole and the light streaming through the hole falls onto the pavement below.  When the sun is low (as near the winter solstice), the light will fall on the opposite wall where there is another sun dial.  

" by observing the time of the first contact of the circular spot of light with the meridian line, and also the time of last contact and taking the mean, I have found that the instant of apparent noon can be ascertained within a second of time"   says the late Rev. Temple Chevallier. 

 Hmmm.  Sounds like something that would interest Ian. 

If you look closely you can see the sundial on the floor at the left edge of the photo.  I think it must have been about 11am when I took the photo.  

Cloister showing meridian hole  photo by Mary M Payne

Shadow showing meridian hole and sun dial to far left  photo by Mary M Payne

After this little discovery,  I plunge back into the imposing interior of the Durham Cathedral, "the largest and most perfect monument of the Norman style of architecture in England." 

 And besides being the film realization of Hogwarts school of Wizardry has a most astonishing history full of intrigue, politics, imprisonment, and death.   Read it here:

This time the sanctuary is calm and I stay a while.   I light candles for Monsieur and I..... as today is our Anniversary and for Josh III whose birthday is today.... May 11.   I am not a church goer myself,  but I do love the candle ritual. 

Main Entrance and west side of Durham Cathedral  photo by Mary M Payne

Gravestones in front of Durham Cathedral  photo by Mary M Payne

Gravestone statuary at Durham Cathedral  photo by Mary M Payne

Eastcorner of Durham Cathedral facing entrance,  photo by Mary M Payne
Museums and libraries facing on Durham Palace Green  outside of Cathedral photo by Mary M Payne
 After leaving I look around the outside at what is today known as Palace Green.   It was once the city market place and undoubtedly was rather chaotic and noisy.... not calm as it is now.   Surrounding the green are buildings of different periods:  These include Cosin's Almshouses, Cosin's Hall, Moneyer's Garth, the Palace green Library and the Music School.  There is the Abbey House as well with remains of medieval fortifications and the Master's House of Durham University. 

After a peek inside some of these,  I head down the pavement through the old town to find lunch.  

I settle on a cafe serving a "club sandwich" which is not a dainty little thing.... but huge and full of ham, chicken and cheese enough to feed four.   But, alas, there is no salad, no tomato, no lettuce with that.   
 I read later that the price of vegetables and fruits has increased 90% in Britain while the price of industrial food has gone down 20%.  Yipes. 

After I do another spin around town,   I decide to head back down the river path to call Monsieur , to wish him a happy 24th Anniversary and watch the river scene. 

Old mill on the  River Wear  Durham,  photo by Mary M Payne
Durham Cathedral from River Wear  photo by Mary M Payne

   I decide to end the day back at the botanical gardens. 
   The indoor cafe at the gardens offers botanical books which I scan while I enjoy a piece of lemon drizzle cake.  Yes,  I have at last found what my craven "sweet tooth" was looking for. 

With the flower book , tea and cake,  I find a tranquil corner and  identify.... the "forget-me-nots" I have been seeing everywhere in the verges.  They are also showing local art on the walls.  

   New discoveries and new thoughts.... that's what makes up an inspiring vacation....  and the people you spend it with,   that's so true. 

"I wandered lonely as a cloud"  photo by Mary M Payne

 Now its home, down the footpath, to my lovely, lively friend Leslie and her family and tomorrow I'll be back in Nice. 

This is an English enchanting.  photo by Mary M Payne

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