There is a point to this but it’ll take a while to get there. Bear with me.
First, my only completed drawing so far this week so far and one I would prefer not to have had to do. You know those honorary aunties we all have, who were parental friends and we were encouraged to treat them as family? Well, my mum’s close friend Audrey died last week. She wasn’t young and had been ill for a while, so it may have been a mercy, who can say? But for me, the loss of a link to my youth is a bit of a blow and I will attend the funeral with a heavy heart, even knowing that this is the way of the world. Don’t like it. People we love should live forever.
Enough. Back to songs I never liked.
Songs I never liked include but are not exclusive to, comedy songs and novelty songs. To the best of my recollection, I was about 12 when I realised that comic songs were only funny the first time you heard them. At this point I developed a lip curl worthy of Elvis whenever I saw people laughing like drains at “Gossip Calypso”, or “Right said Fred”, “Ernie, and he drove the fastest milk cart in the west…”. Can you imagine the contemptuous expression on my face when ageing uncles tried to explain why it was funny? (They were only “ageing” in my eyes then. Probably seem quite dishy now!)
Even Victor Borge’s “Phonetic Punctuation” was only worthy of a faint smile after the third time of hearing, so “Hello Mother, Hello Father”, or “I’m a pink toothbrush” didn’t stand a chance. (What a prig I must have been.)
And then the novelty songs; “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep” is an all time low for me, along with “Agadoo” and “D-I-V-O-R-C-E…” and, and we are finally getting to the point now, “Winchester Cathedral”. So, while we were staying with my cousin and his wife, we decided to visit Winchester Cathedral and, as soon as the decision was made, the bloody song was going round and round in my head. I actually found myself humming it as I cleaned my teeth. Nooooooooo! The loved one, who knows well my aversion to these songs, was particularly irritating, grinning as he joined in the chorus. We too got pretty close to D-I-V-O-R-C-E at that point, I can tell you.
It was his turn to drive that day and he started out with great confidence because he knew he would not have to brave the city centre in search of parking because there is a Park and Ride System in place. And there is, and it is well signed, and we found it, and it doesn’t run on Sundays and it was Sunday. Dammit. So, we braved the city centre, which is not big and does not have much parking and, on the third circuit, we had decided Winchester would have to do without our patronage, when a car pulled out of a parking space immediately in front of us and, hey presto, we were in. Perhaps things were improving. Hmmmm.
As a result of the aforementioned three circuits of the city, we knew how to get to the Cathedral and headed straight there, up some little, very pretty backstreets and near Dean Garnier’s Garden. I mention this because, quite fortuitously, I strolled into Dean Garnier’s Garden for a little look round and perhaps a few moments sitting down before going in to the Cathedral itself. The sun was shining and the notice board said it was a peaceful place for quiet reflection. They didn’t tell you the half of it. I’m a bit cynical, not very religious and not very suggestible but I can tell you, there is not a better place on the planet for a few moments of quiet reflection than Dean Garnier’s Garden. No, I’m not kidding, it’s lovely.
Shady and sheltered, bordered along one side by a beautiful old, mellow brick building with higgledy piggledy roofs and slightly wonky windows, it overlooks one side of the Cathedral and is filled with scented flowers and old, old trees, including a medlar. (Alright, anybody else heard “flim flams for medlars”?)
Janet and I were wandering along, photographing everything in sight, when she stepped back, tripped over the curb at the edge of the lawn and sat down with a bump on the grass. This is a woman with a replacement hip and a dodgy knee, so it was no small matter. However, we gave her a minute to get her breath back and then helped her up and, praise be, she was okay. (We put it down to the restorative effects of the garden but we may have been a bit giddy with relief by then.)
This seemed to be the right time to leave the garden, not without regret, it truly was lovely, and head for the Cathedral itself. Morning Service had finished and three of us decided to go in. The loved one was not too interested and he resents having to pay to go in a church, so he wandered off on his own for a look around the town. I knew he would see it as his mission to seek out somewhere to eat when we came out.
As we parted I reminded him, as I always have to;
“Have you got your phone?”
“Well is it switched on?”
“Have you checked?”
“Then I will ring you in about an hour when we come out, okay?”
Remember that conversation, it’ll be significant later.
And in we went and off he went.
What can I say about Winchester Cathedral? Firstly, I was humming the song all the way round. Dammit. Until the organist played some practice pieces and it was knocked out of my head. There is something magic about a real church organ being played by someone who really knows what they are doing, gets you right down to the base of your spine. This was stunning.
The building itself was under repair in places but the internal scaffolding was very well done; it didn’t spoil things at all. And the carvings are spectacular, to say the least. I have mentioned before that I am not religious but I do have strong respect for these great buildings and, especially, for those who built them all those years ago. I respect the faith that they had, that gave them the strength and vision to complete such superb levels of craftsmanship. I respect the skills that they devoted, many of them to a building they would never live to see finished. I respect their belief, even thought I have none. (I envy it a bit too, it must be good to have true faith.)
Anyway, what I didn’t know, although I should have, was that Jane Austen, yup, MY Jane Austen, whose books I read and re-read time and again, whose voice echoes to me across the years with great clarity, yes, THAT Jane Austen, is buried in Winchester Cathedral and I could visit her grave and pay quiet homage to one of the best writers of all time. And I did, and it was quite moving so I’m not going to say any more about it.
After rather more than an hour, we three went outside and they decided to go to the Cathedral shop. I said no, I’d call the loved one and arrange where to meet. As they strolled away, I fished in my bag for my phone. And I fished some more. Ah. No phone. I’d left it charging back at the house. So, for once, HE had his phone but I did not have mine. My cousin and his wife don’t ever use theirs, so it too was back at the house. Erm, tricky this.
By now, the day was cool and there was a brisk breeze blowing down the narrow streets and, since I knew the loved one was in shirt sleeves, I headed back for the car, where I was pretty sure he would be waiting, having tried to phone me and failed. There was a street market on, selling craft items and original art works, so the journey back to the car was fraught with the risk of having to stop and buy. But I made it, phew! And where was the loved one? Well, he wasn’t in the bloody car, that’s for sure.
I left a note under the wiper, saying, “No phone.I’ll come back to the car every half hour. It’s now 13.55” It was the best I could do and I set off back into the town, braving again the perils of the market, to find my cousin and wife and, as it transpired, the loved one as well, who had found them by chance. The smug expression on his face and the frequent references to mobile phones throughout the rest of the day were pretty hard to bear,believe me. (That and the equally frequent solicitous questions to Janet regarding potential bruising of the bottom and the possible need to rub it better. He’s a mischievous soul.)
So we had a nice lunch in Wetherspoons – I do like Wetherspoons; they take historic and often virtually derelict buildings across the UK and reinvigorate them, turning them into pubs where you always know what you are going to get, don’t feel ripped off and there is no loud music or TV. Hurrah for Wetherspoons!
And a little post script on Winchester – did you know that the Round Table, as in King Arthur and so on, hangs on the wall in Winchester Castle? Neither did I, or we would have gone in to see it. Ah well, next time.
I did succumb to the market on the way back to the car and bought a couple of heart shaped coasters made of slate to see if I could draw on them and, fortuitously as it turned out, the Diva Challenge that week was to draw white on black on found, so they were just perfect. I’m doing the second one today so it may yet appear.
Another place we visited was Selsey Bill, isn’t that a great name? I think it’s called Bill because it’s another word for a beak (Like on a bird) and this is a piece of land that sticks out into the sea, like a bird’s beak. It’s a rather pretty and exposed place and I had a paddle in the sea, well, you have to, don’t you? My family gave me the crazy lady look and shrugged in an embarrassed way at the locals, who had that “rather you than me” expression but it wasn’t all that cold and, as I said, you just have to do it.
I have another card to do for a birthday that I forgot. I think that, perhaps, I’m going to use a Mucha drawing as my string or inspiration and fill it with tangles.
And here are the two coasters I bought in Winchester, waiting to be painted with clear varnish. (This will only be achieved if I can get the lid off the tin which, at the moment, is not happening. Hopefully, when the loved one comes back from town, he will apply a little brute strength to it and beat it into submission. Until then, they will wait as they are.) One is an attempt at a lotus and the other is a Fengle flower. They worked better than expected and I’m now on the hunt for slate place mats and the like.
Update: He did get the tin open and I did start to varnish one of the tiles. The varnish melted the ink and I had to clean it all off, drawing and all. Currently I have one tile with a Fengle flower and one awaiting decoration. Hmmmm.
And then the Diva Challenge will be upon us again, oh the excitement! and today’s Challenge is to use a pattern called All Boxed Up, which i haven’t used before. It’s one of those where you repeat a shape again and again, very satisfying. And then there’s a little magic when you add shading. This was fun. I was trying for a sort of “torn paper” effect but I haven’t nailed it yet. I will keep trying.