Sunday, October 9, 2022

Canals, Cottages and a Cathedral

Can you imagine that I still have not finished writing about our April trip to the UK, and we are headed there again in a week for our fall excursion?  I suppose I've been distracted with hiking, gardening, guests, the trail cam and drone, and travel to other destinations ... I lead a very blessed life.

But you can bet that I am feverish with excitement to return to my adopted country.  And what better way to add to the frenzy than a look back at more of the April photos??

This post continues our tour of the Cotswolds; on this day we started with the National Waterways Museum in Gloucester. Appropriately, the Museum is housed in one of the warehouses at the Gloucester docks, which were built in the 1800s as the docks got busier.  They had strong wooden floors supported by cast-iron columns to hold huge amounts of goods.  Cargoes, like grain, were stored in the warehouses before being transported inland.

To the right is the figurehead from the schooner Katherine Ellen, 1922.  The schooner carried coal on the Bristol Channel and across the Irish Sea.

Below is a model of the Liverpool Lighterage Yard, circa 1935.  Lighterage = the transfer of cargo by leans of a lighter. 

And the winch pictured on the left was once part of this yard.

Canals were used to move goods inland, and were plied by narrowboats.  70 feet long and only 7 feet wide, the narrowboats had a small cabin with a stove, table, cupboards and beds.  Most Gloucester boatmen and women had their own homes and only stayed on board when they were working.  The boatmen might be accompanied by another crewman or members of his family who helped.  The boat's skipper was paid per trip, so worked long hours to complete the journey quickly and return to Gloucester.

Below is a picture of the working clothes of boat people in that era.

Roses and Castles was the colorful canal folk art that was used to decorate working narrowboats in the 1800s and 1900s.  Boater's possessions and the boat itself were decorated with these bright and cheerful designs.

Given this is a waterways museum, you might expect to see some boats, and you would be correct, both inside and outside the building.

Bluebelle (above) was home-built in 1965, using a WWII bridge pontoon.  In 1969 it was bought by local couple Mike and Judy Powell.  The Powells fitted a new interior, an inboard engine and the "aircraft carrier" bow.  Moored at Gloucester Docks, the Powells used Bluebelle for many family holidays during the 1970s.

The Queen Boadicea II (above) was one of the Dunkirk Little Ships, and rescued at least 13 people on May 31st, 1940.

The SND No. 4 (above), with her bucket ladder, is representative of an early technique of dredging which was employed to reduce the build-up of silt within British harbors, facilitating their use by deep water vessels at a time of industrial productivity.

We walked from the Museum to Gloucester Cathedral, and along the way we passed this mosaic on the sidewalk.  Very ornate!

And then the Cathedral rose before us.  What words can you possibly utilize to describe such beauty???

The Cathedral stands in the north of the city near the River Severn.  It originated in 678 or 679 with the foundation of an abbey dedicated to St. Peter.  Below you have two views of the nave, looking east (left) and west (right). 

The Mason's Bracket: this curious memorial was built around 1335, and it has intrigued visitors ever since.  Does it commemorate a terrible accident or a miraculous escape?

A young apprentice appears to tumble from the ceiling with his arms outstretched.  Below, a bearded mason looks on in helpless horror.  What happened next is a mystery.

This is an unusual monument in a several ways.  Unlike many Cathedral monuments, it commemorates an ordinary working man.

The walls of the medieval Abbey were covered with colorful paintings like this.  It must have been an amazing sight.

Thomas Gambier Parry completed these paintings on the theme of discipleship between 1866 and 1868.  He was inspired by medieval frescoes he had seen in Italian churches.  He imitated their rich color and detail, although his romantic Victorian style was very different.

I couldn't stop staring at the vaulted ceiling shown in the pictures below, but my neck was hurting!   The complex web of interlaced ribs has a delicate symmetry that boggles the mind when you consider when (and how) it was constructed. And all those decorative 'medallions' at the joints.  Wow!  And then, just for fun, throw in the stained glass window, the altar and the tile floor, and it is almost more than your eyes can process!

Here's a closer shot of the altar.

This gives you a better look at the tile.

The Abbey was built in phases over about 400 years, from 1089 to the 1400s.  During that time, techniques and fashions developed, so the style of the building varies from place to place.

The Cathedral is full of carved faces called gargoyles and grotesques.  In the Middle Ages people may have believed they scared away evil spirits.  Each one is different and shows the imagination of the masons who carved them. 

The Great Cloister, with its fan vaulted roof, outside the North Wall of the Cathedral, was used as a location in the Harry Potter films.  This architecture is another fine example of Perpendicular Gothic.

My June 26, 2022 post displayed some photos of idyllic Cotswold villages, and yet I think we closed out our Cotswold tour with one of the most picturesque villages I have ever seen, Lower Slaughter.  (This was a recommendation from Clare of Walks with Hawks, and she was spot on.)

The village has been inhabited for over 1,000 years.  The name stems from the Old English name for a wet land "slough" (muddy place) upon which the village lies.

This quaint village sits beside the little Eye stream and is known for its unspoiled limestone cottages in the traditional Cotswold style.  We finished our visit to the village with a couple of beverages in the garden of the Slaughters' Country Inn.  It doesn't get much better than this!!!

On our way back to the house of my in-laws, we passed through our old stomping grounds while on an expatriate assignment in the UK.  We stopped in the Fleur dy Lys pub in Lowsonford for some coffee, all while reminiscing about the high-quality meat pies on the menu.  This white-washed, rustic, oak-beamed inn has an open fire and a peaceful canal side garden.

And last but not least, we drove through our old "neighborhood", the village of Hampton-in-Arden.  The house is still there, and looks much the same, but we were shocked to find that the cul-de-sac in which our kids rode bikes and scooters, right across from the house, is now a through road to a new development.  The cricket pitch, once a lovely green space on the edge of the neighborhood, is now rows of samey-samey brick houses.  Bummer.  We resolved to remember it as it was over 15 years ago!
Linking to Mosaic Monday


  1. Wonderful - I´ve been to the Cotswolds in the Seventies to emprove my english, when I was seventeen. I remember the landscape and also Gloucester -although I´ve never been inside the Cathedral, which is a wonderful place as you show it.
    Have a good time

  2. I've lived in a bunch of places in my life and some of them have not changed, a couple have been demolished and big changes in the neighborhood of others. (I do my visiting mainly by google streetview.)

    Lower Slaughter is just gorgeous. What great photographs you took with the beautiful buildings, water, sky and reflections. Love it.

    The cathedral is spectacular. All the detailing, all the different styles, the spectacular designs. I guess if you spend hundreds of years building something you can do it right.

  3. Hello,
    Beautiful photos from your trip. The cathedral is beautiful. The canal boats are cool, it would be neat to stay on one for a few days. The village looks like a lovely place to visit. Nice museum and the tile mosaic is wonderful. Take care, enjoy your day, have a great new week!

  4. That's a very cool museum and the Abby is stunning. Have a blast on your next trip!

  5. Hello Angie,
    There are so many beautiful corners in the Cotswolds. We were there briefly in 2016 and I would love to return to explore more, such as that gorgeous cathedral. The history of the canals as transportation routes is so interesting, I find, and the museum would be a treat.
    Have a good week!

  6. Hi Angie! The Cotswold area looks beautiful and that cathedral is such a marvel! Using canals as routes is fascinating. I did not know that you once lived in England-- it must have been disconcerting to see all the changes to your old neighborhood--it seems "progress" is everywhere.

  7. A wonderful report, Angie. I love such travelogue, reading about other countries, seeing this interesting captures.

    Have a good week.

    Happy MosaicMonday

  8. You got to see and do so much! It's so great that we can take lots of photos on our trips now to help us remember. And I always like to see where you've been, knowing these are places I'll never get to see! Happy Monday!

  9. So lovely to journey back to Gloucestire and the Cotswolds through your photos. I'm going to have to show that figure head from the schooner Katherine Ellen to our daughter since that is her name. :) Enjoy your Fall trip to the UK!

  10. Cotswold is really so beautiful and Gloucester Cathedral is truly magnificent. Lovely photos from your trip, Angie!!


  11. You are one up on me visiting a cathedral and it is one I would like to see. Seems you found what we hate here, the place you remember being redeveloped. I have watched them destroy all the places I remember all in the aid of making more money from us all

  12. National Waterways Museum is a great place. I like visiting such places to learn about history. Cotswold is with beautiful views. Cathedral is with beautiful architecture. Thanks for sharing all these photos and details. Very interesting to read.

  13. ...I've seen some BBC shows about the canals and the boat people, very interesting.

  14. Loving this tour. It's always hard to visit places where we used to live, because they're never quite the same, but I've never experienced seeing this much change! Yup, I'd remember it the old (and better) way too! ... We fell in love with narrow boats (and took one private tour with just us and the owner couple). I especially love when they're decorated the "old-fashioned" way and/or if they have pots of flowers on the roof!

  15. I've never been to the UK and have always wanted to visit. So much beauty and charm. The architecture at the Abbey is amazing! Lovely villages too.

  16. Our green and pleasant land is rapidly changing Angie. I'm sure you will find some pieces left if you come to Lanky. I recommend Knott End Chippy.

  17. I agree with Phil Slade, changing is not pleasant Angie.

  18. Oooo … the church is remarkable and shows what beauty mankind is capable of creating. Over the years many thousands of workers must have had a hand in the making of it.

  19. There is a chance I might return to the UK next year, Angie, but we will be focused on totally different activities from those you enjoyed. It will be the remaining wild places and their inhabitants that will occupy our attention.

  20. Hi Angie! ☺ Oh I love all of the architecture and art...especially those carved faces! Lucky that you'll be returning!

  21. What a very nice museum and the Cathedral is absolutely beautiful.

  22. Beautiful photos from your trip, I enjoyed tagging along.

  23. The catedral is spectacular. The photos are beautiful. I enjoy reading about your trip.

  24. Hello Angie, what a lovely post.
    It is some years that Eddie and I last visited the Cotswolds; it is a lovely area. I did enjoy your post, thank you.

    Happy travels and safe travels to the UK - you may be here by now!

    My good wishes.

    All the best Jan

  25. Hello, Angie. Cotswolds is my favorite place of the UK. The Cathedral is so magnificent. Thanks for sharing. For the past month, I was away from blogging and I missed your last hosting of Mosaic Monday. Thanks for taking care of us for long. As I’ve been interested and inspired by your adventures and mountain life, I’d like to visit you whenever possible.


  26. Looks like you saw quite a bit. The Cathedral photos are wonderful. Such detail. I got a bit dizzy looking up, lol. Bet I would in person. I'll be going to the UK next August with a girl friend. It will be my first visit there. We're on a tour for close to 3 wks, so am sure we'll see lots.

  27. Is that nice :-) Dear Angie, what a wonderful trip. Thank you for the great photos and your detailed explanations... I love the Waterways Museum and the Cathedral... and then the villages of Gloucester... I have to go there :-)))
    Thank you for taking us with you... I am very happy :-) Best wishes to you. I wish you a happy week. Viola

  28. Dearest Angie,
    I can understand you well that it took you so much time to finish your travelogue. You know that I always need "eternities" to write my travelogues. Life happens in between, but it is also a pleasure to look back on travels.
    Your museum report is great. I like old figureheads like that - I'd love to have one for the garden :-D! I can't help but I like the work clothes. I would wear it like this - both men's and women's. (Well, maybe without a headscarf and with a lower cleavage ;-)) The boats also tell interesting stories: Dunkirk lifeboat – exciting!, holiday boat in the 70s - I would have enjoyed trips with
    Bluebelle, too! The cathedral is also fascinating - there is always so much to see in such churches that one is almost overwhelmed. I think I like the brightly colored medieval paintings best - perhaps because they're particularly rare to see in European churches. It's a real pity that the background story of the the Mason's Bracket hasn't survived... Although I loved the Harry Potter films, I didn't know that the wonderful Great Cloister was used as a filming location. Lower Slaughter does look like a beautiful place - definitely a village worth visiting if we come back to the UK one day. Apparently it was also a journey into your own past - I didn't know you lived in the UK, even when your children were born. I think you're lucky to have lived there 15 years ago when there was a cul-de-sac and a green cricket pitch... and now you have such a dreamy different home.
    How nice that you and your hubby were able to travel to the UK again! I hope you enjoy it very much!
    My blog will also be relatively quiet for the foreseeable future. There is my current posting, there will be another posting and in between - God willing - a dream trip will take place. Then the Christmas season will come, which means there is a lot to do and little time to write. But I would love to keep in touch with you! I agree that it is a delight to got to know you through Mosaic Monday. Thank you for your loving words on my farewell to Nina <3
    I wish you a good start into November!
    All the best from Austria, Traude

  29. Loving the canal folk art. Gloucester Cathedral is on my list of places to visit. :)

  30. Popping back in to say hi and wave as I make my blog rounds. Hope all is well with you.

  31. I loved seeing all the gorgeous details in your photos! How fortunate you are to be able to visit frequently in your travels.


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