30 June 2009

Salisbury & Winchester Cathedrals - My Holy-Day

I spent the next two days visiting places with Nelda – a Sabahan woman from Penampang I had befriended back in high school when we were both under the Yayasan Sabah (Sabah Foundation) scholarship. She had continued her study to UK and eventurally married to an English man. Thanks to Facebook, we managed to get in contact again after almost 15 years! I was lucky to have her there.

Having been living in the UK for 15 years, I was expecting the least Malay being spoken by her. How wrong I was. She still spoke PERFECT Malay with purrrfect Sabahan slang. What do you think of those Sabahans who can’t hardly speak Sabahan when they have only spent less than a month in the Penisular? They should feel ashamed of themselves.

Nelda first took me on a ride in her spacious B&W to Salisbury Cathedral. Thanks to the small GPS tool she called Tom Tom, we could always manage to find the way without much difficulty.

Salisbury Catheral is known for having the tallest church spire in the United Kingdom. I understood instantly why it was called ‘spire’ instead of ‘tower’ because it was so sharp and narrow it made me wince by just looking at it. It wasn’t just my lucky day because that part of the cathedral was close and I was denied of the Tower Tour. Jeez!

Visiting the Salisbury Cathedral is surely worthwhile. And I mean not only for its superb architecture..

and the misterious statues to welcome you on the facade..

...but you know you’re inside the Salisbury Cathedral when you’re looking at the world’s oldest working clock. It is dating back to AD 1386 and is still functioning well. In fact, it is rigged to the church bell so that it would ring at certain times of the day. It was too ancient that I couldn’t even figure out how to read the time out of it. It didn’t even look like a clock to me because it had no... FACE...

But yes, it is a clock. A medieval clock...

Salisbury Cathedral is probably best known for having one of the only four surviving original copies of Magna Carta. My simple explaination would be, that the Magna Carta is some kind of document requiring the King of England to proclaim certain rights, respect certain legal procedures and most importantly to accept that his will could be BOUND by the law. Errr, it is something like what the Law Constitution of Malaysia had done when they took away the legal immunity off the Kings and Sultans during the Mahathir era. The document is placed in the no-photo part of the church – in a room called the Chapter House. Hmmm. Expected. But copies of Magna Carta are are available for sale at the sourvernier shop inside the cathedral.

The glowing inside view of the arching roof created by the sunshine illuminating through the windows was simply mesmerizing.

The roofs have always been my favourite parts of most churches. Here at the Salisbury Cathedral, it is splendidly beautiful. The paitings on the ceiling are surely adding up to the artistic values of it.

Just like most other churches in England, Salisbury Cathedral is full of tombs shaped in different styles and decorations. If my body were buried in a tomb like this, I'd die a happy man...

Something I don’t like about the churches in England is that they are too old and ancient that it takes a whole lot of luck for you to visit any of them without finding it undergoing some restoration and maintainace works. Seriousy, it wouldn’t look good on a picture.

So kacau one..

From the Salisbury Cathedral, we wheeled off towards a lesser-known cathedral – the Winchester Cathedral.

I’d never heard about it before but it was good that Nelda had suggested that place in the first place because I found it just as impressive.

The cathedral is probably best viewed from an ariel view where it would seen to have the shape of a cross. Another ancient church whose construction began in 1079. Phew!

If the clock had impressed me most at the Salisbury Cathedral, it was the wood carvings that had had me amazed at the Winchester Cathedral. I had never seen anything quite like them in any other churches that I had been to. They represent the real art of Gorthic archictural carvings.

For the first time since I came to UK, I wished I had a more powerful camera. I should have brought an SLDR instead of a mini compact.

Hmmm. Not bad la..

There was more to see on the outsside of the cathedral. The houses provide you with a picture of how an English village must have looked like hundreds of years ago.

I could almost feel like I was dragged back to the medieval time.

It was like coming straight out from the movie-set of The Leprachaunts. I could almost see fraires flipping around. OK. I know I was being paranoid.

I wished I could stay longer but there is always an end to a visit. That was the end of our tour and Nelda offered to have dinner at her place. It was impossible to visit her house without noticing the beautiful garden she had put up on the front yard.

She had roses..

She even had tulips!!

What a shame we couldn't grow 'em here in Malaysia..

After having a delicious English dinner she had prepared herself, Nelda took me back to my boarding house. Tomorrow, her husband Mike would be joining us to visit a number of castles around the county of Kent in South-East England. The offer had come as a blessing. I had always liked castles..

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