abbey, beer, birthday, bourton-on-the-water, cathedral, cotswolds, edward II, gloucester, history, king, pub, robert curthose, tomb
Today I celebrated my birthday with my family. My first birthday living overseas in the UK.
I slept in until 0830 when I heard Isabella come up the stairs to check if I was still sleeping. I went downstairs at 0845 greeted by the family with a warm Happy Birthday! before Isabella told me I was not supposed to be awake yet. Sherrie sent me back upstairs with the kids while she finished breakfast.
Sherrie made a wonderful plate of back-bacon, scrambled eggs (Gordon Ramsay style), and toast with orange juice. One of my favorite breakfasts.
Aurelia then took a nap and we headed out to do some sightseeing nearby.
I really wanted to visit Gloucester Cathedral. There has been an abbey on the site since 678 and the current cathedral was began in 1089 and completed (in its current state) in 1450.
I especially wanted to visit the tomb of Robert ‘Curthose’ (nicknamed short-legs by his father, of whom they were not on speaking terms, as a term of derision). He was the eldest son of William the Conqueror but denied the throne twice by his younger brothers. He spent 26 years in exile and was buried in Gloucester Cathedral.
The tomb was awesome. Painted marble and the body sculpted in such a unique position – right arm crossing the body, left hand holding a sword at his side and his legs bent and crossed. Because of his time spent in exile, he likely spoke French (his first language) and Welsh (due to so many years spent imprisoned in Cardiff).
Also buried in the Cathedral is Edward II – the likely reason the Cathedral was not destroyed in the dissolution by Henry VIII. His tomb is unassuming but obviously royal in custom and design.
Another amazing sight in the cathedral is the ceiling above the choir and alter. The brilliant stone masons carved amazing ribs and arches which flow from each other in an organic and delicate way belying their stone origin.
After the Cathedral we headed out to find some lunch. The rain began heavily however and we had to take cover in the KFC entryway until the worst of it abated and we continued on. We finally decided on Dick Wittington’s – a pub with a 1800s facade but a 1600s interior. Very charming. The food was normal pub quality. I had Chicken Roquefort (stuffed with cheddar and fig). The kids shared a chicken sandwich and chips and Sherrie had the ham, eggs, and chips. I had a pint of the Butcombe Bitter with lunch which was fairly nice – smooth with caramel but a bit light on the body.
We left Gloucester and headed into the Cotswolds. We drove for Bourton-on-the-Water but I mistakenly set the SatNav and we were back in Cheltenham instead. 20 minutes later we were finally in Bourton-on-the-Water and spent 45 minutes walking the picturesque town. Since it was already 5:30 in the evening most places were closed or closing. But the kids fed the ducks and Sherrie poked into some shops.
We returned home to a dinner of French Toast and birthday cake and ice cream! A great day.