Sunday, from Plymouth to Sparkwell

Of course, I'm excited about posting more about my Alchemy of Pigments and Sacred Geometry some more as soon as I can download my images. My phone doesn't seem to be letting do that today.

Hanging out at Barista Brothers in the center of Plymouth town, there is a Mayflower street so it all makes sense. Plymouth is said to have a nice aquarium too.  I'm waiting until 4 pm when I can get a taxi to the Old Home Cottage connected with the Artisanal Bakery for my full day gluten free baking workshop tomorrow.

I was talking about my experiences with the Druids this morning at Stonehenge with a three generation Swiss family - son, father and grandfather. I had fun talking to mainly the high school age son who was an exchange student in Bristol to better his English (he spoke very well) but the father understood English as well. I'm mentioning this because of the location I was in and the proximity to Stonehenge, 10 miles away from Salisbury. I've already been twice and that's enough for me. My taxi driver and I had a nice chat about the 1980s when there was a rock concert at the same time as the summer solstice celebration by the Druids that I experienced my first solstice at Stonehenge. The Stonehenge Free Festival was a British rock festival from 1974 to 1984 held at Stonehenge during the month of June, and culminating on the summer solstice. There were other celebrations after but I am referring to the one I went to in 1981 

I was here with the Druids. But not at the rock concert. Last year, despite clouds, the sun could be seen rising above the heel stone. We were there but too much light pollution and mist to see the sun rise. I have seldom been so cold, I was wearing an extra pair of socks for mittens. We got there the evening of June 20 so we could get up at dawn. If you can see a girl with long dark hair and bangs in this photo, that is me.

Just to give you an idea of the posters I found one online -isn't Google great? 

Yesterday, I walked to Salisbury Cathedral and  the Salisbury Museum from Alabare B & B. A few factoids about the cathedral - it is the tallest Gothic spire in England; however, it is tilted about 75 cm and reinforced though measurements taken in 1951 and in 1970 reveal that no change has been documented. I came back after my museum visit for Evensong at 5:30 pm and got a single seat in the choir (quire) at the cathedral crossing right in front of the huge organ. The choristers are trained at th Cathedral School and are between the ages of 8 and 13. There are supposed to be an equal number of boys and girls but  Saturday I only saw boys. There are three rows in the choir and I sat in the back row in a seat named Gillman Manor. The choristers are in the front row, behind them are older men (lay persons? deacons?) not sure. Anyway, I had never been to this type of service and had no idea beyond singing what would take place and how long the service would be. Lots of singing and sometimes they let us sing (well not me because I wasn't sure I would know the harmony or the words even though there were choir books). A lot of being seated and standing up but no kneeling.

In terms of factual information, Salisbury Cathedral "was formally known as the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, when it was a Catholic cathedral and is, from the time of Henry VIII,  an Anglican cathedral and one of the leading examples of Early English architecture. The main body of the cathedral was completed in only 38 years, from 1220 to 1258."

Evensong lasted about an hour with angelic singing by the boys who would have been castrati had they been in Renaissance Italy.

So lucky for them that they no longer have to undergo that barbaric custom and that girls can be choristers too though no evidence of that when I attended. I found the little white ruffs around their necks a nice touch from the 16th century.

An important relic of Salisbury Cathedral was the arm of St. Aldhelm, an 8th century Bishop. Supposedly all relics were destroyed in the 16th and 16th centuries.
As far as the Salisbury Museum, the reception was lovely, it cost 6.50 pounds for an adult and I might menton, it was also 6.50 pounds for entrance into the Salisbury Cathedral. Note to self, let people know that it is free to enter after 5:00 pm and in the summer, the light is still good enough to take photos. One of their important artifacts is the Neolithic Amesbury archer found with a large number of bronze arrowheads and other grave offerings.

 Here is the Amesbury archer surrounded by useful items for the afterlife. He is called an archer because of all the bronze arrow tips but was probably a man of some importance based on the wealth of artifacts found buried with him.
I had never been really interested in terracotta pottery especially from very early cultures like the Neolithic beaker people, etc. but I started seeing these objects with new interest. First of all, the vessels from this very early period were very often large in size, hand built and decorated with geometric sophistication - now that I have been introduced to sacred geometry in last week's workshop, I see geometry everywhere!


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