Saturday, 18 February 2012

Ancient and Modern

We went to Winchester yesterday, with half a mind to enjoy a change of scene, and the other half anticipating a free exhibition dealing with the Romans and their time spent in the locale.


As it turned out, chicken bites, chips and beans had a stronger calling than antiquity, as far as our three granddaughters were concerned. It was undoubtedly ill-timed, to arrive at the City Museum around lunchtime. Still, the girls demolished their lunch, and the adults fuelled up on cream of vegetable soup, rolls, and over-priced coffee. Although, the woman on an adjoining table was taking it too far when she sent the coffee back twice, because it wasn't hot enough.


Like many Cathedral Cities, Winchester has a dazzling array of trendy shop fronts, smiling out at passers-by from its time-worn, architectural gums. A statue of King Alfred has been waiting, too far from the bus station, for as long as I can remember, while the pedestrian traffic always seems to be entirely composed of people at lunch. You get the feeling that a whistle may sound at anytime, and you'd find yourself alone in the street.


Thank goodness for chimes of reality, such as the moment when one of the twins deposited her own small designer puddle on the floor in Cath Kidston's. Then the rush to clean up and leave for the relative privacy of a side-alley where a quick costume change took place before our car park ticket expired.

9 comments:

  1. Oh I know that statue well.I love Winchester but haven’t been since we left UK three years ago. Thanks for the memories Martin.

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    1. Winchester is only a few miles from where I was born (a village called Upham) so I have a fondness for it, too, especially the Cathedral.

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  2. How funny about the puddle. That is real life and I imagine such events have been happening in ancient Winchester for centuries. I find it much more thrilling to think of ordinary people moving through a particular place long ago, than to think of kings and queens being there...

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    1. I'm with you, Christine. In ancient cities like Winchester, it feels as though it's possible to see the shadows of those ordinary people, hand in hand with our own.

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  3. Wonderfully evocative piece, Martin, thank you. (I have fond memories of the old Winchester Bypass...)

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    1. Thank you. I've picked up, via your posts, that you're from this neck of the woods. Are you a Hampshire lad?

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  4. I've always wanted to take the piss out of Cath Kidston.

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  5. I love the Roman bits in England -- probably because of my four years of studying Latin.

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  6. Winchester is a very interesting city, I've spent a few happy hours browsing in my time.

    Designer puddle? Did they take your name, rank and serial number? You'll never be allowed inside again.

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