Friday, 31 July 2009

Thursday 23rd July

[I am now writing this from notes, albeit brief notes, and from memory, rather than typing up what was actually written. It was only a couple of days ago though, so hopefully I won't have forgotten anything important.]

Today, we went to Gloucester Docks. Mum and Dad fancied the Waterways Museum. James was being obstinate, and I quite fancied a soldier museum, but it didn't look so good when we got there, so we all went into the Waterways Museum. The first thing we did was go on a boat ride, which was very good fun. Forty minutes, and the captain gave a fantastic talk about the canal, the boat, and the general history of the area. The boat we were on was requisitioned during the Second World War, and was used first as a harbour patrol boat, then to help evacuate soldiers from Dunkirk. And then came the really interesting bit: during the Blitz, she was used as a floating ambulance. The theory was, the roads got too clogged up, but it's a bit harder to clog up the Thames, so that's how she served during the Blitz, complete with nurses on board. After the Blitz ended she went back to being a harbour patrol boat, and then it was back to her original owner and she was later sold to the museum. The other very interesting thing involves a popular children's nursery rhyme: Humpty Dumpty. (Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, All the King's Horses and all the King's Men, Couldn't put Humpty together again). Popularly depicted as an egg, this seems a rather nonsensical rhyme. But when you discover that Humpty Dumpty was, in fact, a siege gun constructed by Royalist troops trying to get into Gloucester, it throws a whole new light on the matter. The troops were laying siege to Gloucester, and they got fed up of waiting for them to run out of food. So they decided to a siege gun to help knock a whole in the wall, so a bunch of men (a forlorn hope, as the advance party was known), could run in and open it up for the rest of them. Because, allegedly, the siege gun they constructed looked like a particular politician, they named it Humpty Dumpty. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you like the Parliamentarians/Roundheads), when they fired the first shot, it blew up and was unfixable. Thus was born the rhyme about Humpty Dumpty.

After we'd looked round the museum, and my brother had cheered up because there was a water bit demonstrating locks that you could quite easily use to cause a bit of a tidal wave within the simulated canal, we went out into Gloucester. I had a look in an Antiques Centre, because I felt like it, and it's sometimes on Bargain Hunt (yes, I'm sad, I quite like to watch it while I'm eating dinner if I'm at home). Anyway, it was kinda fun and I was tempted by some stamps. Yes, I collect stamps. Or some rather fun looking postcards which illustrated aircraft from the First World War. But then Mum texted me and said they'd found that there was a The Works down the road, so I tootled off down there. I love that shop, but they've closed the one in Preston :(. And there I discovered to my delight four Osprey Aircraft of the Aces books for £2 each! So I had to buy them. And then we popped up to the Cathedral, which was pretty impressive, and ancient (built shortly after the Norman Conquest--William the Conquorer and his nobles had a bit of a thing for building Cathedrals and Monastries). However, I suspect it had rather suffered under the Parliamentarians, who as well as fighting the king were also vandals/iconoclasts, and decided that it was a terrible sin to display lots of pretty statues. I think there should have been statues in all these little holes, so it looked kinda forlorn. And that was about it I think, other than coffee/coke/ice cream in MacDonalds cos Mum was a bit knackered and the Cathedral cafe had been a bit noisy and overcrowded.

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