Monday, 17 January 2011


From dawn until dusk, we're immersed in a world of superlatives. They probably pervade our dreams as well. In fact, they're more likely to make their presence felt as we sleep in a world where more is often better. So, you might be forgiven for thinking the bar has been raised to unassailable heights, until you believe you've got more chance of a rocking horse producing nourishment for your roses, than being impressed.

Well, today I knew I would be impressed, just as I always am when visiting Salisbury Cathedral. The image is familiar enough in my mind's eye, we live just ten miles away, yet I get a powerful run of emotions whenever I get up close. It's not just the scale or design, the towering 404ft steeple, or the religious significance. It's as though I'm tapping into a collective admiration, reverence even, shared by countless individuals since the 13th century.

This was a family visit, and after a cup of hot chocolate, in the Cathedral refectory, Speckly Woo! and I set about a little photographic exercise. Her efforts will appear in her V-Tech gallery in a day or two.

She was wide-eyed at the tombs of real Knights, and immediately wanted to know if they were married to princesses. The twins, Curly and Whirly, led Mummy and Nanny to almost every last corner of the building.

Eventually we all met up, having gravitated to a row of burning candles. The inevitable questions came, and we explained that candles were lit for people who are in our thoughts. I then lit one for my recently departed friend. Speckly Woo! wanted to light one, too. But this wasn't a copycat exercise, she plainly had her reasons, and they stretched beyond emulating me. She picked up a candle, and held it carefully to another until the wick was lit. She then placed it in the row. We asked her who was in her thoughts. "Grandad Arthur," she replied, softly. 'Grandad Arthur' was my step-father, who passed away just over a year ago. He hadn't been mentioned in any of our conversations, today, yet Speckly Woo had him in her thoughts. I'm proud to say, I was impressed.


  1. I'm impressed, as well! Your little Speckly doesn't miss a beat. I'm looking forward to her photos.

    Okay, here's what I want to know. Is the steak named after the town or the cathedral? ;^)

  2. I find it fascinating the way the minds of wee ones work. Their thoughts and understanding of situations are more complex and 'complete' then we realise at times. This is one of those times.

  3. How beautiful! Growing up in protestant modern churches I certainly do miss and appreciate the gorgeous architecture of those old cathedrals. Just stunning!

  4. It's great to discover your blog (and thank you for your comment on mine - I'll reply there). I really enjoyed this post. I agree with Marilyn that we don't give children nearly enough credit for being thoughtful and understanding. Thank you also for an introduction to Salisbury Cathedral. Yet another place in England I'd love to visit.

  5. Beautiful building and a perfect little story to go with it. It is moments like the "Grandad Arthur" one that make it worth getting up each day.

  6. What a lovely post, Martin. Reading abot Speckly Woo remembering Grandad Arthur brought tears to my eyes. What a dear little girl.

  7. It's impressive, too, the impact, outings such as this one, will making on darling Speckly Woo and her sisters, all her life. Her wish to honour her Grandad brings tears to my eyes.

  8. Tess - The photos should be up by the end of the week. Speckly Woo took her camera with her, when she left us. Of course, all credit for the Salisbury steak goes to Dr. J. H. Salisbury, on your side of the water. However, the Cathedral refectory had a very tempting Roast Parsnip and Chestnut soup on offer, on the day.

    Marilyn - I couldn't agree more. We can learn so much from our little ones.

    Christine - Welcome to Square Sunshine. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, Salisbury is well worth a visit, perhaps next time you're down south?

    Alan - My photographs just don't do it justice. It's a building that imposes in the most polite manner.

    Teresa - Thank you. It was a genuinely, moving moment. So unexpected.

    Nana Jo - Our little ones surprise and delight us, over and over again. Which, of course, is why we love them so much, isn't it?

  9. I visited Salisbury Cathedral about forty years ago and though I was an adult, like Speckly Woo I was enchanted by the knight reading his book atop his tomb.

  10. Vicki - Forty years ago, Salisbury was a favourite haunt. My step-brother worked in the city, and we were often out and about on the streets. Strange to think that you and I may have passed each other, at some point.

  11. I've just been catching up on some of your posts. this one is lovely, great photos and a heart-warming story. She's such a bright kid, your Speckly Woo.


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