taken by Jayne Littlejohn
St Albans Cathedral
News of AOUG in the East of England (06)
Having tested the route out on a beautiful sunny day, the actual day of our Regional visit to Norwich required a hardy group of us to brave the wind, rain and the cold on what must have been the worst day for weather in April! We welcomed some new faces as well as supporters from Cambridge and other parts of the Region. Some of us braved the walk along the River Wensum, which I am sure is beautiful when the sun is shining! This was led by two members from Lowestoft who had suggested the city as a destination for a visit. The route did provide us with some good views of the Cathedral as we approached it from the riverside, even though we were peering out from under our hoods or umbrellas. The temperature had also dropped dramatically on the day of our visit!
We then met with the rest of the group at the entrance to the Cathedral where a local member had organised a guided tour for us. We admired the copper font which had previously been used at a Norwich chocolate factory and was donated to the Cathedral on the factory’s closure! We also admired the ceiling and wall painting of the Jesus Chapel but due to the weather did not venture out to see the grave of Edith Cavell, who was a local girl. She was a trained nurse who nursed German soldiers during the First World War whilst also giving shelter to Allied soldiers who were caught behind enemy lines. She would help them to escape to neutral territory but this was discovered by the German authorities who executed her in 1915. One tomb within the Cathedral was pointed out to us – it showed the engraving of the occupant and is upright as opposed to in the floor. The guide told us that this is because the occupant was sure that at the time of the second coming as he was upright he would be the first in the queue to meet his Saviour! We all had a chuckle at this thought!
Following on from a previous coffee morning in St Albans, I recently travelled to the centre of the Region to visit Cambridge for a coffee morning. It was a beautiful sunny day and I was joined by my daughter, herself a current Open University student. We travelled into the centre of Cambridge to a small local coffee shop and were delighted to be joined by two members from Cambridge and two further members who had travelled from Lowestoft. They were all delighted to find an AOUG event in an area more local to them.
We had a long chat getting to know each other and our history and experiences of The Open University. We agreed some social events moving forwards including a post-Christmas lunch in Cambridge for January and possible future visits to Norwich in the Summer of 2018 which may include a visit to the Cathedral.
On yet another very wet day some Region 06 members met, as a Handshake Event with Region 05 at Anglesey Abbey, near Cambridge. As we entered the abbey we were obliged to wear plastic covers over our shoes as it was so wet. The property has a very interesting history as it was built as a hospital in 1135. After about fifty years it was converted to being a priory before being dissolved by the infamous Henry VIII. A succession of various owners then took over the property. Lord Fairhaven was the owner before the abbey and gardens were handed over to the National Trust. Lord Fairhaven travelled all over the world following service in the First World War and he filled the house with many treasures including Old Master paintings, as well as tapestries and loads of various clocks. There were clocks in every room! In the gallery we admired a large bust of Oliver Cromwell who was the MP for Cambridge. Following the one way system we particularly admired two large glass cabinets. One contained shelves of carved stone figures mainly in jade and amethyst. The second cabinet displayed many religious crosses in many colours and sizes. We would have liked to have seen the extensive gardens but the heavy rain made this impractical.
Ramsey Hertzog – Region 05
Executive Representative - Jayne Littlejohn 01296 424152 Mobile 07719 405859 firstname.lastname@example.org