Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!



Sunday, 29 March 2020

Lincoln 2

After looking round the castle in the morning, I decided to walk down the hill into the main town. It is very steep and with a name like 'Steep Hill' you can't expect anything else.




I wandered around taking lots of photos of interesting buildings. I haven't got a guide book so unless there was an information board nearby I had no idea of the building's history.


At the bottom of the hill you go through this archway which leads to the larger modern shopping areas.


 The Stonebow or  stone archway over the High Street dating from late 15th-early 16th century. It is part of the Guildhall and stands where   the Southern gate to the old Roman City once stood. The Guildhall has been used since its construction in 1520 and is still used today for council meetings.






The centre of the town was much bigger than I had thought - lots of different shopping areas.

The River Witham flows through the centre of Lincoln.
This iis the Empowerment sculpture  which straddles the river.
The cast aluminium turbine blades change into figures that reach out to one another. It was made in celebration of the Millennium.






This is the central market which opened just before the war in 1938.


This large, impressive building is Lincoln railway station. It was built in 1848 in the Tudor revival style.
The trains travel to and from London as well as other cities.  I was surprised that there was a level crossing for the trains going in and out of the station. I  don't recall ever seeing that in a city before.
The barrier came down just after I had crossed so I waited to see the inter city train on its way into the station.





Just before the level crossing the train lines go over the river which is looking very high. On my journey to Lincoln I saw a few fields still underwater from the floods we had just a few weeks ago.
The river flows into Brayford Waterfront. In the 18th and 19th centuries Brayford Pool was an important inland port. The banks of the pool were lined with warehouses, flour mills, silk mills, granaries and breweries.  By the 1870s this was all coming to an end when the railway came to Lincoln. The railways could transport people and goods faster than any boat and it wasn't long before the boat companies were put out of business.

In the 1960s the pool was saved from becoming a car park and much development took place. Nowadays you have Lincoln University on one side of the pool and on the other there are numerous restaurants, bars and hotels.













In 1972 Wigford Way bridge was constructed over the river. Prior to that a swing bridge existed.


I followed the river to the High Bridge.


Gruesome character looking out of a window overlooking the bridge!

High Bridge is known to locals as the 'Glory Hole'. It was built about 1160 and is said to be the oldest bridge in the country with buildings on it. Two centuries ago the bridge caused great difficulties for boats using the River Witham. The river here is shallow, making it hard for boats to cross the high riverbed, so goods had to be unloaded in the Brayford, carried under the bridge by small boats called 'lighters' then reloaded onto bigger ships in deeper water.







Further along the river is The Witch and Wardrobe pub, another of the old buildings still standing in the city centre. Initially built in the 13th century. The buildings exterior was an extension built in the 15th century.



I decided it was time to walk back up Steep Hill. I stopped to take photos of some of the more interesting shops.








One tea shop caught my eye 'Bunty's'. My Mum was always known as Bunty by her Scottish relatives. She had been given the name by her Granny and it stuck.  I didn't need much encouragement to go in and sample the tea and scones.
Mum would definitely have approved of the china tea set and the warm scone with homemade raspberry jam. I asked the owner where the name had come from but she didn't know as it had been named by the previous owner. She thought it might have had a connection to the popular girl's comic in the 50s which was called 'Bunty'





Finally I was back in the Cathedral quarter. This time I walked around the other side of the mighty Cathedral. I would be moving on in the morning and I just wanted one final look.




To the right of the Cathedral is this passageway leading to the remains of the medieval Bishop's Palace.



Behind this is the converted church where I was staying.



I walked back up to the Cathedral and onto the green. Minster Yard is the are immediately surrounding the Cathedral. Together with a number of nearby streets it was enclosed within a defensive wall in the 14th century. The area was known as Cathedral close. The green are in front of  the houses was once the graveyard of St Margaret's church dating back to the early 11th century.



At the end of the Close is Pottergate, one of the gates built in the 14th century to defend the cathedral. It was locked every night until the 1700s. A lot of the adjacent wall and houses were demolished in the 1800s to make way for a wider road.



I have really enjoyed my time in Lincoln but it's now time to enjoy one last evening in the converted church B and B and hope that the next place I am staying is equally as interesting.


Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Safe but not at home.

Today is the day I was due to fly home from Thailand had I gone on my trip to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. I'm not sure which country I would have been stranded in but I know I would not have been able to get home. So however much money I lost by cancelling is irrelevant now. Being safe at home is worth its weight in gold.
The alternative trip that I am currently posting about should have lasted a couple of weeks but everything was changing so quickly that in the end I was away for 8 days and did not visit friends as I had intended. I did not visit restaurants but ate breakfast and dinner in my hotel room. The risks were increasing daily. When I returned to London we had a family discussion and decided it would be better if I moved in with my daughter and family as she has a chronic illness and needs support and protection. So here I am,  unsure for how long, home schooling and food shopping. So busy that it's difficult finding time for blogging!

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Lincoln Castle

About 100m from Lincoln Cathedral is the castle. I made that my first port of call this morning as the forecast for later was rain and I wanted to walk on the castle walls which give the best views of Lincoln Cathedral. You can walk the whole circumference of the walls giving great views over the city and surrounding countryside.  Lincoln Castle is also home to one of only four surviving copies  of the Magna Carta.



The castle is almost 1000 years old. After William the Conqueror's success at the Battle of Hastings he had a castle built in Lincoln to serve as a reminder that the Normans were in charge. Centuries before the Romans had built a fortress on the same hilltop.


As you stand on the castle walls you can see why building a fortress here was so important.




The spiral staircase leading up to the walls. There is also a lift for people who are less able to walk up the stairs.


Within the castle walls is a Victorian prison which is now a museum.

You can see the cathedral from miles around.






Between 1817 and 1859, 38 condemned prisoners were hanged on a wooden gallows constructed on the tower roof. These public executions were watched by vast crowds outside the prison.

The prisoners were held below the tower awaiting their execution.


Graffiti on the walls done by the prisoners.


The unnamed gravestones of prisoners.


Once I had walked around the castle via the walls I went to have a look inside the prison.
The red bricked Georgian jail opened here in 1788 replacing an earlier one deemed unfit for the safety and health of the prisoners. When philanthropist and penal reformer, John Howard, visited in 1776 he found prisoners were kept in dungeons that were dirty and offensive. A new jail was built that included a chapel, infirmaries and a wash house. Today only the front section of the Georgian jail remains as the rest was demolished to make way for a Victorian prison.



The Victorian prison was designed with single cells to hold prisoners in isolation away from the influence of other inmates. Overcrowding, fever outbreaks and shortages of staff made it difficult to operate this system. All prisoners, except Roman Catholics, the sick and women with babies, attended daily prayers, as well as two services on Sundays. The male prisoners were locked separately into the wooden stalls by the warders. They could see the chaplain but not one another. Female prisoners sat at the front of the chapel.

The view from the pulpit.

The  seats sloped downwards so that anyone falling asleep would slip off.

Within months of opening the prison was overcrowded. Cholera had broken out in London's Millbank prison and convicts due to be sent there had to remain in Lincoln. Without enough cells to hold the male prisoners separately, the magistrates abandoned the separate system.