Sunday, 11 June 2017
Another road to follow
This is a place I love, Durham Cathedral. Lots of other people love it too, it's recently been voted Britain's best loved building, not a bad thing to be.
When I'm travelling back from London up the East coast after my tours and I see it from the train, I know I'm home. It's often referred to as the greatest example of Romanesque architecture in Europe or as US author Bill Bryson described it "The best cathedral on planet earth."
I've visited it numerous times and I've probably posted about it earlier. Last time I was there it was being used for the production of the Marvel film Avengers: Infinity War and it was closed for some of the time which must have been annoying for those who had travelled a long way to visit it. So if you are an Avengers fan look out for it. Have to say I'm not but might go to see the film just to see the Cathedral. There were some additional bits of "furniture" there and all the benches had been removed which changed the look of it but essentially it was the same place.
Over the last three months I've been there about 6 times and I realised I didn't really know a lot about it. Mostly over the years I've gone for a carol service or just wandered around with the children and grandchildren taking in the atmosphere mainly.
I visited in March for a day where you learned about the Cathedral's Benedictine heritage; it was a Benedictine monastery until 1539 when it was handed over to King Henry V111. It is now an Anglican cathedral but it still carries on some of the Benedictine tradition of being a place of prayer and of welcome and hospitality to visitors just as it was when it was first built in 1093. There is no charge for visiting the cathedral itself unlike many other UK places of worship such as Westminster Abbey & York Minster; it is up to the visitor to make a voluntary donation. I find it offensive to have to pay to go into churches but I understand that it is expensive preserving them for future generations never mind heating & cleaning them. I hope there never comes a day when they have to start to charge in Durham.
I decided recently to become a volunteer at the Cathedral to welcome people and help them get the most out of their visit. I now have to start the training which is extensive, there's a health & safety course, gaining knowledge of the cathedral and sadly a course in awareness of potentially dangerous situations and what action to take.
I will have to do some guided tours of the Cathedral to pick up more about the architecture, the history of how it was built as well as more knowledge of the Northern saints who are buried there.
Just hope my brain is up to all this and I can blog more about my progress.
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