Ian Whybrow

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March 19th, 2015. On Kings, Ely and the Parlous State of our Cathedrals

March 19, 2015 - Filed under: Blog - Leave a comment

To Kings Ely Acremont yesterday – a pre-prep with bags of life and charm. Proper coffee as soon as you stepped through the door; that sort of thing. And your own box of Jaffacakes.

I wasn’t quite prepared for the large number of nursery children who turned up for the first session and although I’ve coped before with 3 year-olds many times before, a proper gaggles of them is a bit of an unknown quantity. You have to get used to being suddenly engaged in a earnest and confidential conversation across a crowded hall and in mid-flow, about the relative fierceness of certain dinosaurs, what somebody’s brother once did and how many books somebody else has got at home, accompanied by a short threnody on the noises lamented characters used to make. Keeps you on your toes, though.

Took a trip to the cathedral during my early lunch break- partly to walk off a generous roast that I shared with five jolly dinner ladies who rhapsodized about watching Harry on telly with their infants.

It was nippy outside, the fog that drifted over the fen beyond Cambridge having been huffed away by a biting easterly. I reckoned I had half an hour to get round – admire the miraculous octagon again, check out the biggest Lady Chapel in the country, that sort of thing. Not much warmer inside, though. A smile and a welcome from two shivering ladies in sashes who regretted the dear old standard issue gowns that used to keep the chill off. “Through that little gateway,that’s the way.”

“Hello! That’ll be £8.00, sir.”

I abandoned all pride and demanded a concession.

“Really?Are you sure?”

Flattery would normally have done the trick, but as Handcock might have spluttered… “Six quid? I could get meself a chantry for that!”

One is moved to verse.

 

Desperate Measures

Six pound, the concession, sir.

Forget about the chantry.

Just have a squizz at the octagon

And a nice cuppa tea in the pantry.

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