A quick side note or two before I get into the day out. We've had a little extra stress this week because of a possible impending strike of fuel tanker drivers. Seems everyone here can and will strike at some point. The government came on the radio and said don't worry, the negotiations are going fine, besides they have to give 7 days notice (which they haven't), we are training military folks to transport fuel and no need to panic. But, you might as well top off and fill every spare container you have. Great. Mad panic at the petrol (gas) stations with queues (lines) and shortages. I normally go 3 weeks on a tank and I was getting low. So was Kuk. She had to go to 4 stations before she could find diesel. I just had to wait an extra 15 minutes one morning. Most things here are great; striking isn't.
Note number 2: as we were preparing to leave this morning, Kuk notice a bunch of water dripping out under the sink. Drain pipes (PVC) had come loose. Called the landlord; fixed by the time we returned. Renting is nice sometimes. :-)
Okay, on to Kenilworth. Kenilworth reminded me a lot of Ashby de la Zouch (previous link). Both were neutered, so to speak, after the civil war (1600s) and are in ruin. Interesting stories behind them though.
wiki:] As with most castles here, this dates back to Norman times (1120s) but was upgraded along the way. The castle was significantly enlarged by King John at the beginning of the 13th century. John of Gaunt spent lavishly in the late 14th century, turning the medieval castle into a palace fortress. The Earl of Leicester (Robert Dudley) then expanded the castle once again, constructing new Tudor buildings and exploiting the medieval heritage of Kenilworth to produce a fashionable Renaissance palace.
The interesting bit was that Robert Dudley was quite close to Queen Elizabeth I (the "Virgin" Queen). He spruced the place up for her occasional visits and worked on becoming king. Well, for a variety of reasons, that never happened. (One reason is that QE I was enjoying running the country and marrying someone would only weaken that -- kings > queens in those days).
more ruins -- a little closer this time
coming up on all fours -- the photo doesn't capture the grade very well, but it was steep
from the main castle area back to the gatehouse on left and stables on right
After a very pleasant 2 hrs or so and a picnic lunch, we made the short drive to Coventry. Now Coventry on its own isn't a whole lot to look at. It's population is similar to Derby but it seemed smaller in the city center area. Most of the architecture is modern because the city was bombed (blitzed) during WW II. But, as you'll see, that's why we came. It provided a nice contrast to the older history we've become accustomed to here.
Wiki: Lady Godiva was an 11th century Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who, according to legend, rode naked through the streets of Coventry in order to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation imposed by her husband on his tenants. The name "Peeping Tom" for a voyeur originates from later versions of this legend in which a man named Tom had watched her ride and was struck blind or dead.
Unfortunately, the statue is in the middle of a construction makeover for the 2012 Olympics (12 football (soccer) games will be played there).
I could get closer on the side. I like this legendary stuff that is hundreds of years old.
It helped that it was such a nice day.
Forgiveness and reconciliation were big themes here. They found 2 wooden beams left in the rubble and made a cross (this is a replica; the real one is inside the new cathedral). They also made crosses from the many remaining medieval nails that were found.
The kids enjoying themselves
church next door
I did like this very graphic sculpture of St. Michael vanquishing Satan on the outside the new cathedral.
I also liked the fact that pigeon landed on his head too.
They had 8 of these carved tablets. I mainly took a picture because they said that this became the Coventry font. Hmm, not in my MS Word US edition.
They dragged this rock from Jerusalem, carved a scallop and use it for baptisms.
Modern feel, as you'd expect. No pews. That's a monster sized tapestry at the far end.
very tall and colorful stained glass
Back outside -- etched glass. Pretty neat.
Next stop: The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum.
Didn't want to spend too much time here on such a nice day, but it was next door and free so we did check it out.
Famous Lady Godiva painting by John Collier c. 1897.
Back outside the art museum for a nice family shot with both cathedrals in the background.
and some old, but not that old, Triumphs (which presumably have a connection with Coventry)
and last but not least, a Delorean (Back to the Future) -- it was to be manufactured in Northern Ireland.
Phew, what a day. Packed in a little more breadth than depth than normal but we wanted to get in a nice overview trip to the area. Good times. Really enjoyed the castle and appreciated the recent history of the cathedral (bombing raids -- hardly seems possible to my sheltered generation, much less my kids').
No blog next week as we'll be traveling over Easter. Have a good couple of weeks.