Thursday 2 August 2012: Pilgrimage
I went on a journey today, and had half an hour between buses in Gloucester. This city is so associated in my mind with work that I was rather surprised to notice, as we headed into the bus station, a soaring architectural wonder that knocked me out of complacency. It was, of course, Gloucester cathedral, for centuries a place of pilgrimage.
Blip attempts were not successful: the sky was blue; the tourists were Spanish; but the cathedral, or even different elevations, were just too damn big to fit into shot, and the pressure of time did not help. So I scuttled off back to catch my next bus, where a woman sat down beside me and said, "I"m Welsh. Do you mind if I talk?"
So we chatted about her trips to Communist China, and Chepstow, until I disembussed in the village of Chaxhill, near the Forest of Dean, where my friend S had come to collect me. We drove back to the barn conversion where she lives, and later set off for Hereford, where we attended a private view at a gallery. Some of S's friends were exhibiting, but we really went to show our faces. Truth be told, we spent longer trying to circumnavigate the town's new traffic system than we did at the gallery! We kept ending up on the 'wrong side' of the cathedral close, but, fifth time lucky...
The gallery had a small garden where sculptures were displayed, and over the wall one could glimpse the warm stone of the cathedral, rather messily criss-crossed by power lines. Later, when we were about to get back into the car, I managed a couple more shots, minus overhead cables, but rather hastily taken as I could hear the engine gunning. I do not know Hereford well, but with its native red stone and half timbered buildings, it is definitely different to Gloucester, though of course its cathedral is nowhere near as large.
Later, back at the barn, we sat and talked and watched the sun sink over the fields. The quiet was absolute when I retired at midnight, and, in the spirit of admirer, I wrote this haiku:
In the forest
Night sings its own silence
Daybreak brings the tidal wave
The Wave in question is the Severn Bore, a tidal wave that sweeps UP the river Severn every full moon, bringing speedboats, surfers and dead sheep in its wake. Perhaps I can blip it on Friday.