Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Durham - Monday 7th December 2015

My diary

Happy birthday to our lovely Jessica. Fifteen today and the tallest female in our family - for the moment.

I was going to declare this to be a very happy day. It almost was.
 
I felt chains dropping off today. I sorted over 60 e-mails and confirmed that we have 20 helpers for next Sunday. I got Pauline settled in reaching distance of the ironing and Christmas cards, so then I went out.

There were three listeners to see in Lichfield, two in Burntwood, one in Hednesford and Hill Ridware, and a new listener in Alrewas. By the time I got home there were eight happy people all delighted with their new sonic media players.

I called on a 92 year old lady. A friend opened the door, I said who I was and my lady shouted to let me in - "pass friend and be recognised!". A 92 year old lady who has legs that don't work and eyes that can't see, but an indomitable spirit. I asked her to confirm her birthday details and she said I knew what they were and hold old she is. I was concentrating at the time and heard myself about to say "Yes, but your not as old as you look." I realised I'd got that back to front and stopped at "You're not as old as..." "your jokes!" She finished.

Back home I did a simple meal of salad with home made dressing coupled with roast butternut squash and feta cheese. It was all going so well.
 
We'd just gone to bed when the phone rang. Nick was in a panic. Charlotte was having palpitations and chest pains. The First Responders were elsewhere and the 111 service didn't know when an ambulance would be available, so I took them to Burton A&E. Given that Charlotte's Mom was a heart transplant patient, Nick was taking no chances. Charlotte had an ECG and blood tests and was in bed waiting for a doctor when Nick said I could go home. I waited an hour and a half but then left with the instructions to take a taxi if allowed out of hospital and we would sort the bill.

My Meanderings

Durham has a beautiful cathedral and an ancient castle and together these give the city a unique skyline, if you can find the right vantage point. The cathedral was founded in the year 1093. There are some peculiar relics held at the cathedral, apart from 3 copies of the Magna Carta. There are the remains of St Cuthbert, the head of St Oswald of Northumbria, and what is left of the Venerable Bede. It can be argued that every cathedral is similar and every one is unique. The art is in taking time to examine every nook and cranny and to look at all the artwork, particularly the carvings. Studying Lichfield Cathedral gave me the taste for closer examinations, and they pay off.
 
Durham Cathedral
 
The Normans weren't slow in starting to build Durham Castle. The north of England has always needed more protection, a fact recognised by the Romans and every power since then. Perhaps unusually the castle was placed under the authority of the Bishop of Durham. The church maintained control until 1837 when it was gifted to the University of Durham. Three years later the first 100 students moved in and it still houses students to this day. Not many universities boast their own castle, though many could do with one.
 
Durham Castle

Durham skyline
 
In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practise there is, theoretically.

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