A Visit to Ely, Cambridgeshire

I arrived back in Istanbul to oppressive heat, overwhelming humidity, and NO INTERNET CONNECTION FOR THREE DAYS!! Apparently the server in our building had burned out in the heat, and had to be replaced. Fortunately I had enough work to get on with, so although it was EXTREMELY ANNOYING, I managed not to have a complete breakdown. Today, however, the weather has cooled slightly (now in the low thirties rather than the high thirties), with a soft, refreshing breeze, and I am sitting happily at my computer.

When I was in England, recently, I went with Clare, John and Jessica to Ely, where the Breckland Brass Band was to play in the Jubilee Gardens, overlooking the Great Ouse. We arrived especially early, as we wanted to have lunch before Clare had to get ready for the concert. Our restaurant of choice was The Maltings, but this was closed for a private function, so we walked along the river front to find somewhere else.

The Boathouse Restaurant on the banks of the Great Ouse.

John, Jessica, and Clare in the Boathouse Restaurant

We spied the Boathouse Restaurant on the banks of the river and thought it looked inviting. Unfortunately, the service was extremely slow and when the meals eventually arrived, they were barely warm. They had obviously been sitting around and forgotten, until we reminded a waitress that we hadn't been served. The meal was also extortionate, considering the less-than-average quality and presentation of the food, and the fact that Clare had to rush off to avoid being late on the bandstand. We have had far better pub lunches for far, far less! We certainly won't go there again!

Ely Cathedral

 Stands the church clock at ten to three...

After lunch, John, Jessica and I decided to go to look at Ely Cathedral. The cathedral stands on the site of an ancient monastery, founded in 673 by St. Etheldreda, a Saxon princess who came from East Anglia. The monastery was destroyed by the Danes in 870, but was reclaimed by Benedictine monks in 970. Work on the cathedral was begun by Abbot Simeon in 1081, and, although Henry VIII closed the abbey in 1539, the cathedral has survived to the present day.

In 1322, the Norman central tower of the cathedral collapsed. Alan of Walsingham built this octagonal lantern to replace it. It is considered a 
wonder of medieval engineering.

 This Norman stone carving over The Prior's Door, dates from the 12th century, and depicts Christ enthroned in Majesty.

Ely Cathedral's restoration is always ongoing. Here is an ancient gargoyle on the right, and a more modern one on the left.

...and the band played on...

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