Monday, 25 April 2011

The train departing from platform 5 will depart from platform 3

Last Friday I started writing some notes for this blog on my way back to Manchester but I didn't get very far as I ended up chatting most of the way with three Americans from Washington (state) who are over here travelling around England. I warned them against telling people they are travelling around 'England' when they got up as far as Edinburgh and then on to Aberdeen, before making their way back down to York. I was a little perplexed that they had chosen Manchester as a suitable tourist destination but they explained that they were taking the opportunity to see a soccer game and apparently, to people from across the pond, these usually take place at Old Trafford. (Just for the record, I love Manchester and think there are plenty of interesting things to see, but I just wouldn't place it in my top ten holiday destinations in the UK, especially not alongside London, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and York)

My travelling companions, as I found out, should actually have been on the next train and would probably have been asked to pay a hefty surcharge had a ticket inspector come round. Fortunately, the inspector was nowhere to be seen, as I have found to be the case whenever (a) the train is late, (b) the train is crowded and (c) all the passengers had been told, after boarding at Euston and wondering what the hold-up was, to get off platform 5 and traipse over to platform 3 instead. I think the guard was watching me to make sure I had just finished settling myself down before making that announcement. As it happens, the train departed at about the time the three Americans' train should have left anyway, so I think they would have had a fairly strong case in their favour (or favor?). Not only this, but they had just raced across London, after some helpful soul had instructed that they needed to get to London Victoria.

I was travelling back to Manchester on the Friday morning so that I could get to the Maundy Thursday Mass in Winchester on the previous evening. This weekend is the most important time in the Christian calendar and the tradition in the Catholic church is to celebrate what is called the Easter Triduum comprising three services on the Thursday evening, Friday afternoon and Saturday evening. These three services form a unity, and so it felt a little odd to travel a couple of hundred miles from the first part to the second. I wonder if this is some sort of record. Probably not; for that I would probably need to get up to somewhere like Inverness for the Easter vigil on Saturday night. (Is this the correct use of a semi-colon? I have never really been clear on this punctuation, but what I have been told is that it is for a break that is more than a comma but less than a full-stop, and that seems appropriate here)

I took a few photographs last week but didn't get round to uploading them. My (rather lame) excuse is that I had been put in a room in the hotel that was too far away from the wireless access point, and so was practically unusable. Here, then, are some of those pictures.

On the main street, High Street, there is a section called The Pentice seen here from the East (right) and the West (left). I took these photographs early on a sunny day on a phone camera, so I apologise for the quality. I discovered that the word 'pentice' comes from the Latin 'appendo', meaning 'to hang', and the word 'penthouse', an apartment added to the top of a building, is a corruption of it. The Pentice in Winchester seems to have been built and rebuilt over last seven or eight centuries. Up until the 12th century, this area was probably part of a Norman palace and then, after this was destroyed, it became the site of the Winchester Mint until the start of the 13th century.
There then appeared The Drapery, where drapes and cloth were sold, and it is possible that it was a covered market from this time. In the 14th century, the name changed from The Drapery to The Pentice but the actual colonnade probably dates from the 15th century, with number 32 being rebuilt in the 19th. The shops are not numbered, but it is quite easy to spot which is number 32 - there are three buildings with similar sloping roofs with a big square building nestling between them. You can see this on the first picture, between the black-and-white and the green buildings with sloping roofs, although a picture from a different angle would have been better.

In case you were wondering, this is not actually my own research but taken from Winchester and Late Medieval Urban Development: From Palace to Pentice by Tom Beaumont James and Edward Roberts - worth a read if you are interested.

Across the road from The Pentice is Parchment Street, with WH Smith taking over the entire block before it crosses over St George's Street. The picture is the best I could do, bearing in mind that it was taken underneath The Pentice so the ceiling and pillars got in the way a bit. I am guessing that Parchment Street originally housed bookshops and stationers, and perhaps this is why WH Smith chose this site. As it is, I could find only one other shop, a second-hand bookshop, that would be apropriate for the street name.

I hope this wasn't too incoherent and disjointed. Once again, this was written while travelling down to sunny Hampshire and posted with minimal editing before heading off to bed.

No comments:

Post a Comment