I went out of my way this month to make sure I got a good image for the first themed Monochrome Madness of 2016, “Curves,” and then totally failed to submit my photo on time! However, unwilling to let a nice picture go, I duly sent it over to Leanne Cole to be included in this week’s collection.
This came from another good day out on my recent extended home visit to the UK. Choosing the day that the fallout from storm Jonas washed across the Atlantic to drench the UK, we headed west from the sunny and mild weather of the Thames estuary, to the wind-battered and soaked plain of Salisbury.
Our first stop was of course Stonehenge. However, due to the extreme weather conditions I didn’t even take the camera out of the car! The wind howled around the visitor centre and people shuffled on and off the buses to go to visit the stones.
One of the last holiday trips I took in the UK before I set off on my global adventure encompassed a stop at Stonehenge, as well as a stay in Bath (where I of course visited the Spa) a lunch in Wells, and a hike in Cheddar Gorge. At that time, a major A-road ran within 20 metres of the stone circle so for cheapskates like me it was possible to pull over and gaze at the stones through the fence for little more than the price of a cup of tea and a cake at the nearby English Heritage cafe. Those days are gone. The road has been blocked off and planted over. There is a huge new visitors centre well out of sight of the circle itself from which you have to take a bus, and entrance is a steep £15.50 for adults. While I’m glad the site is probably much better preserved now it doesn’t have a major road next to it, this was not a good deal for a miserable day.
We settled on a drive-by viewing from the A303 and then circled round into Salisbury for some lunch, a hot cup of tea, and a quick read of the Magna Carta. Again, the weather meant I didn’t get any photos of the impressive facade of this huge and ancient cathedral, but the peaceful cloistered walkway offered respite from the rain.
Inside the Chapter House, the Magna Carta (Salisbury claims to hold the best maintained extant copy, and it is indeed remarkably well-preserved for such an ancient document) was set in a beautiful and informative display, all brought up to date to celebrate its 800th birthday in 2015.
The cathedral itself is also well worth a visit, boasting Britain’s tallest spire and dating back to the early 1200s. I particularly enjoyed reading the information on the elaborate tombs dedicated to the Great and Good of the area and imagining what their real stories might have been. I was also fascinated by the graffiti carved into some of them, such as the pictured tomb of John, Lord Cheney, “Chief Henchman to Kings Edward IV, Richard III and Henry VII.” Now he must have had some stories to tell!
For more of this week’s fabulous photos, visit Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness here.
Happy snapping, folks.