18.09.2009 19 °C
Oh Yeah! … Oh Yeah.
This Town Crier in the historic City of Wells, Somerset, is carrying on a tradition which has been unbroken for 700 years. Wells was already an ancient city in the 1300’s when the first Town Crier proclaimed that the Crusades had been a huge success and the Christians had finally defeated the misbegotten Muslims of the Middle East … “Mission Accomplished” as George Bush so valiantly proclaimed 700 years later. (A man whose knowledge of history wouldn’t land him a job in a kindergarten).
Wells Cathedral, like all of the great Norman cathedrals in England, was built in the twelfth century. But, like many English towns and cities, Wells stands on foundations laid down by the Saxons, Romans and Trojans. Britain is today one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and we tend to think that this is a recent phenomena. However, two thousand years ago, legions of Romans came here to take the healing waters in Bath and, perhaps, to visit the ancient settlements of Iron-age, Bronze-age and Stone-age men … Nothing changes – only time.
Here are some relatively recent houses in Wells that were completed in 1363…
Nearby Wells is Glastonbury, famous for its Abbey. We would have visited this ancient building but from a distance we could see that most of it had fallen down so we didn’t bother. We did, however, walk the streets of this Medieval town and view some of the sights.
Here’s a sight…
......and here’s another…
Yes- Glastonbury is home to the largest community of weirdos in the world. They come here for the annual folk festival and most never leave. There are more pierced nipples and noses here than in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. And then there are the shops! In the High Street there is one travel agent, a dozen charity thrift stores, a score of junk shops, and about a hundred new-age metaphysical emporiums bursting with angels, crystals and witches broomsticks. Just two minutes in the doorway of any of these incense-filled temples of the occult is enough to convince the average person that there is something very funny about this place and the people who live here.
This is one of the store windows …
We noticed that the travel agency was closed. Maybe no one ever leaves this place – not in this world anyway.
This, however, is the local hotel. It was opened in 1420 and we found lots of spirits there.
After Glastonbury we took a short drive to Cheddar. Hands up everyone who knew that Cheddar cheese originated here because the ripening curds could be safely kept in the limestone caves that bore deep into the gorge's cliffs.
Here is Sheila standing in the famous Cheddar Gorge. We would have stopped to buy some cheese in the village but fifty coach loads of Japanese tourists beat us to it.