We have made a neat getaway today. We planned to be driving away by 8:40. A slight delay checking out because they were very busy at the Bull and Swan but we’re on the road with just a little slippage. Tomtom takes us to Peterborough via the main roads, which I suspect is a rather round about route but not to worry. So long as we get there it’s fine with me today. It’s striking how much further progressed spring is as we scoot along the motorway. Leaves are emerging on the trees giving an effect of a long tall patchwork of green and white in the roadside.
We find an easy parking spot near the cathedral and then discover it’s maximum half hour, but we don’t know where else to go so we wander into the Cathedral as a bit of a reccie. We are met by a friendly greeter who tells us that there is a service underway that should finish in about 15 mins. We can go in and just observe the rest of the service if we choose, but no wandering about and no photos. We need to move the car anyway, so we ask for directions to a better parking spot, and this along with a handy map is cheerfully provided. We’ll easily kill 15 mins moving the car. The best parking for the cathedral is in Bishop’s Road. We pay and display (£1.20 for one hour and then similar additional for extra hrs- bring your coins with you) and as we walk along the road looking around quizzically, a kind woman asks us where we’re heading and makes sure we’re on the right track. We can't help pausing to take in the Bishop's garden and enjoy the fragrance of the spring flowers.
It is also noted for us that the tessellated floor is also original and it’s very elaborate. It’s showing some signs of wear after all these hundreds of years, but the skill of the artisan who was brought in from Italy for the job is clear. As I understand was the typical thing in those times, he would not let anyone watch him work. The floor through the choir is much more recent marble. Italian. I can’t help but wonder if Cromwell hadn’t destroyed the magnificent artwork here and all around the country, perhaps places like Burghley would have had a more local source of inspiration. I guess it’s just as likely that familiarity may have bred contempt in any case.
We wander around the cathedral marveling (as you do) and snapping the odd photo, but really, the thing I just can’t take my eyes off is the ceiling. The only section that is not original is a small area where Cromwell and his mob used the images of the saints as target practice, so that bit is a later (but still impressively old) reconstruction. It's the blue section at the bottom of the photograph.
Enterprise drops us to the train station. Peterborough station is in a bit of chaos at the moment with construction works and we are not familiar with the layout. I think of the comment that you simply cannot hide the fact that you are a tourist because no matter what you wear to try to fit in local people don’t constantly gawp around themselves. Oh how true. I’m gawping to the max and no doubt looking a bit lost along with it. We have only missed the train by about 5 minutes, so there’s a little time to wait. On our way to the correct platform a well dressed lady insists on helping me down the stairs with my bags. :o) Have I mentioned that people here are SO nice :o)
It’s then a simple business of simply hopping on the train and a quick trip to King’s Cross St Pancras.