From Kent and the Black Isle
From west and from mid Wales
From Beds and Brum
By train and plane
By car from Wales
Four sisters, two cousins…
The first gathering of this kind was fourteen years ago. On that occasion (in the heart of the Cotswolds) a rather sour fellow diner directed a remark within earshot: “Like fishwives” he had muttered. The accusation stung. How come? The group, then comprising four sisters and a first cousin, had its roots in civilised Pembroke, not, for goodness sake, in the fishing port of Milford Haven…
Since that time the decibel police (in York, in Cardiff, Bath, Edinburgh and Inverness, to name a few subsequent locations) have not voiced any complaints. The group, (combined age too great a number to reveal) are well-behaved individuals, not in the habit of breaching the peace, not even when away from their homes, on relatively foreign territory…
Laughter and chatter is the purpose of these gatherings, a catching up on family news, on current exploits and on future plans. Beyond that (in April 2017) there were digressions about healthcare (better in Scotland than in Wales?), about property prices, about diaries packed with appointments, about a collapsed ceiling, about the impact of a call for a second Scottish referendum, about shoe shops and speculation about a wedding next year.
In the previous weeks e-mails had flown between six addresses: travel plans, expected arrival times, breakfast preferences, catering options…Predictably the Captain had expressed an opinion: “The worldwide web completely slows down when you and your sisters are up to something,” he had moaned…
Those with their own wheels from Wales had shopped for basic provisions, bringing along too Welsh cakes (of course), homemade coffee cake and bara brith. To sit outside a cottage in the sun in early April with tea and cake was a delightful experience.
Chichester is a lovely city and had to be investigated. On a sunny Saturday the streets were busy. Where the main shopping streets meet there’s a fine medieval Market Cross. Just a couple of hundred metres away and towering above the city is the elegant cathedral spire (rebuilt by the Victorians after the original spire collapsed in 1861 ). On a perfect blue sky day its decorative pattern (inspired perhaps by Salisbury Cathedral’s fourteenth century spire?) was stunningly visible.
From outside and from inside the Cathedral gives the impression of soaring space.
View down the south aisle
View from Quire back to the West Door
A leaflet available at the door guides the visitor to 19 particular features of interest. Though the building itself goes back some 900 years there are many more recent installations.
The fourteen ‘Stations of the Holocaust’ is an exhibition showing during Lent – fourteen art pieces carved out of one large elm wood log, cast and then painted.
An unusual treasure (origin unknown) is an Antiphoner, a large liturgical service book.
Wow, wasn’t this similar in purpose to the antiphonarium seen at the San-Luis Rey Mission in California only last November (Click on the 14th picture down for a larger image)
There was much to see and to ponder on.
At the west end of the Cathedral is the Chapel of St Michael (the Sailors’ Chapel). “Did you see this?” whispered Senior Sis. “A boat…” (To her, boats mean blogs…) Suspended from the ceiling is a three-masted warship. This, (Google research) is a model of the Sussex:
There have been four ships named Sussex in the Royal Navy, the first being in 1652, of which there is a model by the east wall. The Sussex was a fourth-rate frigate, built for the navy of the Commonwealth of England at one of the national Dockyards, and launched in late 1652.
As for other boat sightings during the weekend – well, round the back of the farm, just past the barns, was a surprise – a once seaworthy inshore fishing boat. Then a walk to The Crown and Anchor on Friday night was alongside one of the upper reaches in Chichester Harbour. Yachts were resting on the mud or bobbing gently on the incoming tide.
This, after all, is the South Coast, a paradise for weekend sailors.
The sunshine paradise had to end on Sunday morning.
Had the Gang of Six regained their reputation as fishwives? Apparently not; there’s been no notice of prosecution (yet!) but now
To Kent and the Black Isle
To west and to mid Wales
To Beds and Brum
They have returned
Four sisters, two cousins…