The Goblin had the day off. When I asked him yesterday what he planned to do today he said he wanted to drive over to Coventry and Birmingham to look at several cars he’d found on the internet. Our present car is rusting badly so it’s time to replace it. I had to go with him to test drive the passenger seat and on hearing he wanted to go as far as Birmingham my eyes lit up as I asked, “Isn’t Worcester near Birmingham?” Sort of, he said. “Well, if we have to spend the money on petrol (gas) to drive all that way can’t we stop off at Worcester on the way back so I can see the Cathedral…where King John is buried?” I’ve been reminding him regularly that I wanted to visit King John so he knew what I wanted to see in Worcester, but I mentioned it just incase he’d forgotten on purpose.
I suspect he knew he couldn’t get out of it so he agreed we could fit it into the schedule. (He’s very schedule orientated) He figured if we had lunch before we got to Worcester I’d have at least two hours before we had to leave by three to avoid rush hour traffic. This morning we were away slightly past his preferred launch time, but he didn’t even complain that I was dinking around. He was in a really good mood! We headed off and had a fairly uneventful drive to Coventry where we found the dealership. We had a nose around and found the car tucked away waiting to be cleaned for the lot (it’s 5 years old). We must have been its first viewers. They brought it out for us to look at. I sat in it. The seat was lovely and I loved the shape and colour of the car (a metalic dark green that has yellow tint when the light shines on it); it passed my test. We took it for a test drive and it passed the Goblin’s test. So we bought it. The only downside was the fact the time spent filling out paperwork shifted the schedule. By the time we left the dealership and finished eating lunch it was gone two.
I knew the clock was ticking. We didn’t have any cash…so I tried to persuade him to walk several hundred feet to find a bank before going into the Cathedral (most Cathedrals charge like 10£ to get in), but he didn’t want to walk several hundred extra yards because his feet were hurting. I could almost hear the clock ticking as we entered the building…that is such a plebian word to describe a Cathedral. Yes it’s a building, but you don’t really get an idea of how amazing they are until you stand inside one and try to imagine how the builders and craftsmen managed to build it without modern equipment. They’re truly amazing and very beautiful as well as being one of the few places you can walk through the same doorway as King John and Queen Elizabeth. Their living monuments to history. Thankfully, it turned out that Worcester Cathedral is free to enter (God Bless them!). We only had to pay 3£ for a photography permit to take pictures…and I used my debit card in the shop…Halalujiah!
After taking a few experimental shots in the cloisters the Goblin noted his watch and directed me back into the Cathedral proper. Excited, I headed east to find King John. (Worcester Cathedral is where he wanted to be buried) I think he’s very lucky his attendants didn’t just fling his body into the nearest ditch (he died in Lincoln). Apparently he admired St Wulfstan (or whatever the man who who built the Cathedral was named). I looped around and finally found him. He’s sleeping between the sacristy and the choir stalls blocking the view of the altar. One of the volunteers, this cute little old lady, told me that originally he was burried in the floor of the church, his effigy lying at floor level. At some point someone decided it wasn’t the done thing to have a King under the floor (even King John).
So they built the stone sarcophagus you see in the picture, dug up John, put his earthly remains inside and then put the original effigy on top. Later, in the 16th or 17th century some curious souls opened it and found his (or someone’s) bones inside. They took out one of the thumb bones and put it in the library and he hasn’t been disturbed since. Apparently if you book a visit you can see King John’s thumb bone! I SO have to go back for another visit. I would have wanted to see the medieval manuscripts, but add King John’s thumb and I’m there! I hope they let me take a picture. I’ll have to go back in any case to take more pictures of John’s effigy as almost all my shots were rubbish. I was experimenting with the camera.
I was switching back and forth between leaving it on the Aperture setting and using the flash. Because the shutter had to stay open ages to take in the light (and I was holding the camera in my hands) most of the pictures are all blurry. We do have a tripod, but its a pain. Most of the pictures where I used the flash are even worse; a snatch of stone and then blackness. I have a shot from John’s feet towards his head and all you can see is the medieval lion which forms his foot rest (it’s biting his sword), the folds of his robes and his cavernous nostrils (not attractive). He must have been generously nosed, but he was mostly French. I think he’s quite handsome (even with the tip of his nose and lips nocked off by some heartless feind), but then I would.
The Goblin was starting to give me the, “I’m dying of boredom and you’re running out of time” look. I told him I “needed” to see the crypt before we left so I rushed off hoping he’d follow. I’m so glad he did. I took two lovely shots of the crypt ceiling and then the Goblin took several shots of me with one of the many columns in the crypt supporting the floor above. I look really slim hidden behind a pillar! I tried to get the Goblin to take more pictures of me, but we were already behind schedule and he refused. I was running out of sand in the hour glass. We left the crypt and climbed up a little stairs to a part we hadn’t stopped to see in the rush to find King John. It was near there that The Goblin stopped to look at something…into the shadowy corner of the Cathedral this single narrow window high above us caught the late sun and he stood there unaware that he was standing outlined in a single ray of light. I lifted the camera and started snapping…and then he turned to look at me.
I think it’s my favorite picture I’ve ever taken of him (though the one I took of him seconds before he asked me to marry him will always be a favorite). I love how the light just touches the top of his ear and he’s about to smile a real smile not one of his grimaces that make him look like Chevy Chase. I can’t help but wonder if the strange urgency I felt on arriving in Worcester and then in rushing to take rubbish pictures of King John was so I could take this photo. There are many strange moments in life where you somehow find yourself at the right place at the right time for something special to happen. Like in Raiders of the Lost Ark where they have to put the staff of Tannis in at the certain time and then the sunlight pours in and lights up the spot where the treasure it’s burried. This was one of those moments, except today the treasure is what lies behind the grey intelligent eyes smiling at me.
On my next visit I will make sure I have time to take my time. I suspect the Goblin will take a nap in the car…I doubt even King John’s thumb will tempt him back inside, though since it’s free he might come with me to set up the trip pod. On our way out the door he pointed out the electronic donation stand which I’d completely missed. He told me he’d given them something and I thought that was lovely. I think he secretly enjoyed visiting King John!