Travel Shot: Art, music and stained glass

The Gloucester Cathedral is one of the most beautiful and fascinating place of worship that I have been to. A fine example of English cathedral design, it is home to about 400 memorials and some of the most beautiful stained glass windows I have seen.

I was particularly taken in by the variety and different styles of the stained glass windows, which range in age from the 14th to the 20th century. But the one stained glass window that caught my attention was the Herbert Howells memorial window.

The Herbert Howells memorial window at the Gloucester Cathedral by Caroline Swash

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Harry Potter for the tourist

Harry Potter may have started off as a creation of literary imagination, but over the years has become very real to many people. Thanks to the success of the books and the films (not to mention the excellent marketing), Harry Potter has entered into our collective imagination and achieved cult status. And in a few years time, the books will probably be hailed as a classic. Already, there are talks of including the books as part of the syllabus and I saw quite a few blog posts recently on “management lessons learnt from Harry Potter”.

So it is no surprise that Harry Potter is also an attraction for tourists to the UK who try to visit places from the books as well as places where they were filmed. There are guided tours which undertake Harry Potter tours for the besotted tourist/fan. For example, London Walks (which conducts guided walks in and around London), has three different Harry Potter walking tours (you can read more about them here).

Now, while I am a big fan of the Harry Potter books, I am not a great fan of the Harry Potter films. So while I did not join any of the guided Harry Potter tours, it didn’t stop me getting all excited whenever I chanced upon a location during the course of my travels.

This is Australia House in London and apparently the setting or inspiration (I'm not sure which one) for Gringotts Banks

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Travel Shot: The Bored Woman of Gloucester Cathedral

August 1, 2009: The Bored Woman of Gloucester Cathedral

The trip to Gloucester Cathedral happened by chance. Our tour group was on its way to Wales from London and Gloucester was a pit stop for the bus driver to have a smoke and stretch his legs. Since we had made good time, our tour guide generously allowed us an hour in Gloucester and suggested either exploring the Gloucester docks, or visiting the Cathedral. I opted for the latter.

A 15 minute walk and a fast trot later I was at the beautiful Gloucester Cathedral admiring its beautiful architecture, graceful columns and stunning stained glass windows, Then suddenly the above relief caught my eye. I had a tough time controlling my laughter. In a place where one comes across expressions of piety, even severity, this bored “whatever” expression was a real eye-catcher ! The inscription for this rather quirky relief was in Latin, a language I do not know. All I could figure out was that it was a memorial for a person named “Margerie” who died in April 1623.

I tried to find out more about the “bored woman” on the Cathedral website, but not find anything there. In case you do come across any information on her, you will let me know, won’t you?