Thursday, 16 June 2011

Snapshots from Salisbury

Last Tuesday, when we visited the Flower Festival at Salisbury Cathedral, we arrived at midday in the middle of a bustling Market Day. The shopping streets on the way to the Cathedral Close were crowded with people. There were everyday residents of Salisbury, those who had come in from the villages to shop , local day trippers ( including ourselves) and tourists from around the world. Salisbury Cathedral is a magnet for visitors, but the surrounding streets are full of interesting old buildings and hidden alleyways that whisper the stories of centuries of ordinary Salisbury life.

I have always loved this old and vibrant city. I remember exploring its shops and narrow streets with my parents, many years ago. We would take the train from Fareham, then our nearest town, and spend a day in bookshops, antique shops and then, always, we would walk around the cathedral.

On Tuesday, it was good to come back again with friends. Strangely, I met one of my late Mother`s oldest friends in the cathedral. A lovely lady now in her eighties, who lives many miles from Salisbury. I walked around a pillar and large blue flower arrangement, and there she was!

On our way to the Cathedral Close, we had an unexpected encounter with a topiary dragon.

Busy shopping streets where ancient and modern buildings stand side by side.

The medieval archway into the Cathedral Close.

The Almshouses, in the shadow of the tallest spire in England.

Elegant Georgian homes....

....and fine larger houses line the Cathedral Close, which is an area of wide grass lawns where people can walk, rest and admire these beautiful and well preserved buildings.

A red brick cottage where the walls were festooned with tangles of climbing roses and clematis.

Opposite, stands Mompesson House, built in the reign of Queen Anne ((1702-1714), which is now owned by the National Trust.

The Military Museum.

We found a bistro in the Close and sat in the shade while we enjoyed our lunch. Above us, a blackbird sang from a high chimney on the grand house next door. He is just visible underneath the chimney pots.

Beside us, a lovely old wall of brick and flint.......

....and to our right, the cathedral spire rose into the sky.

Walking towards the cathedral, it seemed as though the great building loomed over every glimpse we had between the houses.

A tree lined street of lovely houses and gardens led away towards an old city gate.

We walked beneath a London Plane tree, through the cathedral grounds and in through the great North Door.

On our way home, we passed medieval carvings in limestone....

..and an Edward VII post box.

We walked back through the archway into busy streets once more.

Down by the medieval Buttercross, market traders were taking down their stalls at the end of the day, much as their descendants would have done for centuries before.


Kath said...

Lovely photos, I enjoyed the flower festival. We have never been to Salisbury, but it looks like an interesting town.
The topiary dragon made me think of H.R Puff'n'stuff, I wonder if you remember the TV programme?

Bovey Belle said...

30 years ago I lived just outside Salisbury and had a part-time job in the town (as well as a part-time job with horses). I know the city well, and visit it whenever I am back "home". If I HAD to live in a city, then Salisbury would be that city.

Fancy meeting that old friend of your mum's!

WOL said...

I visited Salisbury once a long time ago. Thanks for bringing back happy memories.

Rowan said...

I spent a wet but very enjoyable day in Salisbury a couple of years ago, it's a lovely and very interesting city. I was very taken with the Butter Cross, it's a splendid edifice.

scott davidson said...

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