I always say, that I don’t have any regrets.
That’s not strictly true. If I’m honest, there are 2 things which have always hung around in the back of my mind.
One of them, is about joining the Navy. I’ve always wondered how my life might have been different if I had joined the Navy at 17. I would have seen the world, worn my countries uniform and become part of a team.
On a more down to earth note, I wold have known how to Iron a pair of trousers, drive a car, look after myself in a fight, and stuff like that. But I didn’t do any of those things.
The 2nd one, is more interesting. After watching Raiders of the Lost Ark aged 13, I really wanted to be an Archaeologist. I reasoned that I would travel around the world, looking for adventure, going to mysterious places, flirting with danger and seeking out sacred treasures.
I never went to University to study it, but I’ve often wondered what would have happened ?. Well, the other evening, I was speaking to a chap called Tim (a friend of Sean and Mandy’s, who I’ve become friends with).
He studied Archaeology at University, and I was asking him about all the things he had done. The things he said didn’t add up to me, so I explained my thoughts on what archaeology was and what life as an archaeologist would entail.
At this, he laughed and said what your describing is treasure hunting. If you’d gone to University to study archaeology, you would have been bitterly disappointed.
So, after 20 years, one of those doubts has been removed. Thanks Tim.
While we were talking though, Tim asked if I had ever seen Chester Cathedral. When I told him I hadnt he suggested I go and see it.
Chester Cathedral dates back nearly a thousand years, but from the 1500’s was the central place of worship around Chester.
I didn’t realise at the time, but if you can prove that you live in Chester, then its free to enter. I paid £5 (I didn’t mind realy). Its a spectacular building, and it costs a million pounds a year to keep it running, with no grants from the Council or the Government.
Not many people know this, but 2000 people are employed by the Cathedral.
The whole place had amazing atmosphere. When I said I hadn’t been here before, that wasn’t strictly true. I came here with school when I was 8.
I was delighted to find that everything was just as I had remembered it. But then it occurred to me. It probably looks the same today as it did 500 years ago !.
The Garden inside the Cathedral was about as authentic as you could get. I sat there for about 10 minutes, and you could imagine Henry the 8th walking up to you.
I dont normaly get excited about stained glass windows, but this was far and away the pretiest one I had ever seen.
Elsewhere, there was an art exhibition, where you could buy paintings. I was a bit confused, as I remember from Sunday School, something about a church being used as a market, and Jesus up-ending all the tables.
Still, what do I know.
I was surprised to see these TVs. At first I thought that they took something away from the majesty of the building, but then I realised. Its so big, that without them, you couldn’t actually see anything.
I decided to sit down, relax and take in the moment (I’m not religious, and I don’t pray, but it seemed like a fitting moment for reflection). Within about 3 minutes, they started to do a sound test on the organ. That was the end of that.
My favourite place in the whole Cathedral. This meeting room, was originally where the Benedictine monks received there lessons.
Its one of the most atmospheric places Ive been on earth. It was cordoned off, so I didn’t get to go inside. I almost wish I had a meeting to organise, so that I could have it there.
Well, 5 quid to see something as old as the Angkor Watt (although that doesn’t really work here in Chester, you can walk along a wall twice as old as the Angkor Watt, for free !).
Is it a bit cheeky to charge people to enter the house of God ?. Possibly, but this trip wasn’t about that, it was about seeing one of the oldest buildings in Britain.