The Canterbury Tales
On our last day in Kent, Terry and I decided to make a pilgrimage to Canterbury, with a knight, a monk, a prioress, a miller and man of law. Oh no, wait: that’s Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, isn’t it? MY Canterbury Tales will be almost as long (and probably just as boring, let’s be honest) (Er, forced to study Chaucer at university: not a huge fan), but at least it was just me and Terry who went. And it wasn’t so much a “pilgrimage” as it was that we were in the area, with a bit of time to kill, and Canterbury seemed like an interesting place to visit, so we figured, “Why not?”
As it happened, our visit was so far removed from being a “pilgrimage” that we didn’t actually go into the cathedral, which is one of the city’s main tourist attractions. We only had a short amount of time there before we had to catch our flight home, and
it was £10.50 each to get in we decided that time would be better spent wandering around and getting a feel for the place as a whole, rather than just getting to see one part of it. I think we made the right decision, too, because Canterbury is a beautiful little city, and probably one of the most historically interesting places I’ve been, along with Edinburgh and London. The cobbled streets are filled with the most wonderful selection of old buildings, some of which are so buckled and bowed with age it’s amazing they’re still standing. Pretty much every corner we walked round presented us with something else to wonder at, and I spent a lot of time gazing up at the old windows and saying, “Imagine the STORIES, Terry! The stories they could tell!”
I was particularly interested in the stories THIS building could tell:
The quote above the door is from Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield, and reads:
“A very old house bulging out over the road… leaning forward, trying to see who was passing on the narrow pavement below.”
The doorway has been built to exaggerate the lean of the building, but the house itself is, indeed, very old, and the leaning is entirely natural. The people working in the bookshop it now houses were kind enough to not only tolerate my posing in their doorway (I was actually one of a queue of people, all doing exactly the same thing. I was probably a BIT more posey than most, though…), but to also answer our questions about the building. They didn’t know exactly what had caused it to tilt to the side like that (drink, maybe?), but assured us it’s not about to fall down anytime soon, which was good to hear, because it’s quite a sight.
The rest of the buildings in the city weren’t quite as exaggerated as this one, but many of them were much older, and just as fascinating in their own, unique ways. It really was an incredible place to walk round, and if you had the time, it’s the kind of city you could probably spend days exploring without seeing even half of what’s there.
As for us, unfortunately we DIDN’T have time to see nearly as much as we’d have liked to (I did manage to see the local Primark, though, in a bid to find shoes that wouldn’t aggravate my blister. Priorities, people!), and all too soon we were heading back to Terry’s brother’s house to pack our bags and prepare for our flight home that evening. There was one more adventure in store for us, however, but I hardly need tell you that it’s a long, LONG story, and will require a whole other post in order for me to tell it. Just be grateful I’m not going to do it in the form of an epic poem, in Middle English, OK? Don’t think I haven’t considered it…