Touch the old things

Warwick (England), 14/11/12: The other thing that never ceases to amaze be besides the rich fertility of England is the old things and how accessible they are. Following our sit-down breakfast, we, along with our hosts, set out to explore some of Warwick’s more famous examples of the genre.

The emblem of Warwick, the Bear and Ragged Staff. Legend has it that this symbol is in part based on the story of a 14th century Earl who beat a bear (or giant?) to death with a tree branch, back when bears (or giants?) roamed the country.

First stop was the Cathedral, just another workaday magnificent European, centuries old structure with dozens of dead Earls and clergyman from the middle ages buries beneath the foundations.

A big part of what I like about such relics is that they are still in active use and, while treasured, treated with a kind of callous affection. Another more specific thing I liked was this lectern:

I would love to do a gig from behind this thing.

As we were inspecting the chapel (which contained tombs of the early Earls of Warwick) a friendly guide told us a bit about the various tombs and some of the town’s history. She wasn’t overly precious about it though and, while obviously loving it all, would casually dismiss certain relics as a bit rubbish or incorrectly sculpted and at one point was giving the golden crown of the very late Ambrose Dudley a jolly good tug to make her point. Sweet.

She also mentioned that the current Earl of Warwick in fact lives (or recently lived) in Perth. True story, look it up.

Our guide had warned us that The famous Warwick Castle had been badly Disney-fied since it was purchased by Madame Toussauds and that it wasn’t worth the steep entry price. We were determined however and had 2-for-1 vouchers to justify our decision. Turns out she was right to a point – it had been camped up a fair but we weren’t too proud to get involved.

The castle and grounds are never-the-less magnificent though and the history fascinating at times. We were able to storm the parapets, which called for some epic posing.

Also gave me a reason to experiment with the panorama feature on my bat-phone.


Fun engineering fact: they were generating – and battery-storing! – electricity for the castle using a paddle/dynomo in the river next door as early as the 1890’s. The Earl of the time’s wife, Daisy, had an electric ferry she used to take around the waters.

Took the long and winding route through town and back to Val & David’s, then back out into the cold for a nice pub meal at a little place next to one of the canals in Warwick that form part of the English canal system.

Pass the brown sauce

The thought of a canal barge holiday excites me a bit and I don’t care who knows. Maybe for the 20 year long service leave…

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