I tend to forget that the title of this blog suggests that I post an occasional bit of info about Winchester, so today’s effort is all about that ancient and beautiful city that happens, so conveniently, to be about six miles from my front door. Not only that, it’s well supplied with history, mystery, coffee shops and other delights where I can potter around and call it Research. So today I’m into architecture which, in a city that was thriving before the Romans arrived and rechristened it Venta Belgarum, it’s virtually impossible to avoid noticing.
A few weeks ago I was mooching around town when I spotted that the sky had turned black. Not in a biblical watch-out-here-comes-damnation kind of way, more of advance warning that it was going to bucket down. I wasn’t far from the Cathedral so I nipped in there and sat and read my Kindle not far from Jane Austen’s tomb. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind in the least. While in there I took a look at my favourite statue of all time, the man in the crypt (Sound II) by Anthony Gormley (pic). You weren’t allowed in though for once the floor was completely dry, but you could stand and stare, which I do – frequently. It’s a fabulous piece of work and never more so than when the crypt floods and the statue is up to its knees in water.
After dropping into the Venerable Chapel and rather cold-bloodedly sitting in the exact spot where I murdered someone in ‘A Crowded Coffin’, I realised the rain had stopped so I went off in search of more history. Not hard to find but a favourite of mine is the interior of what used to be an antiquarian bookshop, Gilbert’s. The interesting feature here is the C15 framed interior – (This is an old picture from the Web, I’m rubbish at photography). Sadly, the books are long gone and it’s now an upmarket furniture and homewares emporium.
Now I was on a mission (I don’t get out much) and it was lunchtime so I ambled into Godbegot House (nothing to do with God, it means ‘good bargain’) . It’s now an Ask Pizza place and I don’t like pizza but for the sake of geekiness I had a cheesy mushroom starter.Photo and info can be found here: http://www.cityofwinchester.co.uk/history/html/god_begot.html
I finished the week of architectural wanderings by taking the Resident Engineer out to lunch on his birthday at The Chesil Rectory, which claims to be the oldest building in Winchester. Lunch was fabulous and as the loos are upstairs I was able to snoop around up there to my heart’s content. Info and photo here: http://www.chesilrectory.co.uk/about-us/the-building/
I’ve now started to look more closely at the buildings and it’s clear that if you scratch any red-brick façade you’ll find a mediaeval gem behind it, so if anyone’s interested in Winchester, this is an informative site: http://www.cityofwinchestertrust.co.uk/trust/pubsquare/desc1.shtml
Other news, ‘Murder Most Welcome’, my first Charlotte Richmond Victorian mystery seems to be available as an e-book at only £1.79 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Murder-Most-Welcome-Nicola-Slade-ebook/dp/B00CCTWQXQ/ref=la_B0034Q1G8W_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412275207&sr=1- This is the book that a reviewer described as ‘one of the most entertaining novels I’ve ever read…’ The second and third books in the series, ‘Death is the Cure’ and ‘The Dead Queen’s Garden’ are also at a lower price. (NB if anyone has read and enjoyed my books I’d be hugely grateful for an Amazon review or two – they do matter. Mind you, I’d rather not have anything under 3 stars!)
And you might notice I’ve changed my profile picture. This is a rare one in which I don’t look as though I’m about to bite, or as though a cobra has reared up in front of me. The reason for the cheerful grin is that it was taken at a posh champagne reception and I was feeling no pain!