Salisbury, the medieval cathedral city . How lovely the contrast when you go there from Bath, with its Georgian calm & grandeur, and its whiff of social sophistication. No such pretenses for Salisbury, its very townscape reflects medieval industry & spirituality.
Walking via a winding road from the small station to the centre, there’s the vivid impression of lots of “busy little things” – narrow streets & alleys fanning out, lopsided one story houses, little shops – yes, this is a piously industrious medieval market town. But, finely drawn against the grey sky, there’s the silent slender silhouette of the Cathedral spire to remind us of things more spiritual.
Despite dominating the town, the Salisbury Cathedral is clearly separate from it. You have to pass a Gate to get to the calm of a Close that is located in its own space with a square and a lawn. The houses of the Close are placed at a respectful distance of the cathedral and convey an air of tranquil gentility. Discreet dwellings that do not disturb the autumnal enchantment of the place: a silent sturdy cathedral, mixing its beige-greys with the autumn hues of the adjacent old trees. A soft drizzle envelops everything in an in-temporal haze…..
How it all fits, one muses, standing on the wet lawn, taking it all in: the mellow grey sky, the black dots of a flight of birds, the old trees, the even older cathedral, the silence ….. It could be autumn here always …. .
Not a bad moment to recall these lines: “come autumn, so pensive, in yellow and grey, and soothe me with tidings of nature’s decay” . And in this case also: tidings of human zeal creating works of art whose relative permanence does not only console the faithful .
A noble paragraph to end with, isn’t it? With an ever so slightly hint of romantic exaltation …
So I’d better not go on then describing the lovely walk to Harnham Hill, along a river path, through gardens and with an idyllic view of the cathedral across the meadows. With sheep grazing (or whatever sheep do in meadows) peacefully, a fisherman throwing out his line in the river, swans congregating at a lock . Etc. Etc.
All very bucolic indeed, which is not my natural blogging mode at all!