Day 4 Exeter (Thursday, June 26, 2014)
Ah. Back from a dreary day in Exeter and brewing a nice cup of wild orange tea to take the chill out of my bones. Our weather karma ran out wi a vengeance and it poured and poured, really pretty much all day. Abt 60 degrees, so pretty miserable. We started off with the cathedral, which is admittedly pretty impressive: the vault is the longest gothic stone ceiling in the world, that lovely fan gothic that looks like symmetrically arched tree branches, crowned with gilded roses. there all kinds of charming medieval carvings and gargoyles -- animals and other small tokens of individual imagination embellishing the received formulae with personal joy or wit. Wish I'd spent more time exploring the details, but once the bottom dropped out of the skies, I stayed where I was.
We had a lovely morning interlude with Jean's old professor, Bill, who took the group of us who didn't want to trek down to the quay to learn about the weaving and woolen trade, over to his funky run-down club for morning coffee/ tea. He is one of those wicked raconteurs whose eyes never stop twinkling with wicked stories, and when the sky fell down on the hydrangeas, beating them like carpets, we stayed on and exchanged stories until Mary came in to lay the tables for lunch.
We ventured out, taking nearly immediate refuge in the nearest Marks and Spencer's where I purchased a quite nice periwinkle lavender raincoat -- silly me to have believed those on-line forecasts for 10 days of sunshine. (I did get a 16-step set of instructions for resetting my wireless device and reprogramming all the security codes, so perhaps I will be able to solve my tech problems. However, the instructions are intimidating, and I might prefer better weather and less tech...)
We had a lovely lunch in a natural food place where I got coronation chicken (oh bliss!) in a jacket potato. The rest of the day I made good choices for me, exploring the quirky local museum, --which had a hilarious exhibit of a recently declassified Victorian collection of multi-cultural sex toys, an entire room displaying an 18thC enthusiast's collection of Echinodermata, samples of all kinds of clothing and tools, a big screen movie of what Devon looked like from the Triassic to the present, a stuffed Eland (the animal in my profile picture which really is as big as I remember) -- instead of going on a walking tour of the city. Those who went for the tour got utterly drenched standing in the rain listening to the guide, a prospect I wanted to avoid. No point in getting a raging cold. Also skipped evensong and took a couple of others who wanted to get back to our warm, dry, country den home in a taxi. I just had this image of being soaking wet, huddled in a cold church. And as you all know, neither music nor churches are my thing.
So Exeter not a thrill for me. might have liked it more in sunlight, but I need some kind of literary or artistic association or at least immense natural beauty to engage my attention/ affection.
We leave for Cornwall tomorrow morning. Apparently weather prospects are not good, but rugged Cornwall is awesome in any weather, and drenched with literary allusions.