As one of our school holiday outings when we were little, mum used to take us on the train to Lichfield. We were only a ten minute walk from the station, and it's just half a dozen stops and twenty minutes or so to get there. We used to take a picnic to eat, and go round the cathedral.
It’s high time that I reacquainted myself with this magnificent building, so I picked mum up yesterday morning and we went to see what had changed in the intervening 30-odd years.
From our childhood visits, I remember in particular our picnic spot – mum has a photo of the three of us on the bench (alas no updated photo as although we hung around for ages in the cold, the couple who were sitting on the bench yesterday didn’t take the hint to bugger off); and I remember a marble memorial in the Cathedral called ‘The Sleeping Children’ behind which there was a tragic tale.
Differences between then and now included very helpful and friendly guides, a useful fact sheet to guide you round, a café (obligatory toasted teacake eaten); a Saturday morning children’s choir rehearsal involving small children, gung-ho helpers, and song a with many verses whose chorus had the line ‘she pushed it up the drainpipe’ sung with much gusto and vigorous accompanying actions; and a not-so-discrete donations box.
We went round every part, every chapel, and read all the inscriptions, marvelling at the stone carvings, the brasswork, the monuments, the windows. We saw a small part of the Staffordshire Hoard on display – the intricate work on the gold pieces was astonishing.
And of course the Sleeping Children were still as I remembered them. No photography without a licence, so I bought a postcard of them in the small shop at the exit instead, and having had a thoroughly enjoyable and instructive couple of hours we were happy to contribute to that donations box after all.
So. Week 5 challenge - done.