The group of ramblers on the first postcard will include leaders, followers and friends, although not quite ‘beside each other’ as they cross one of the many small bridges over the River Windrush at Bourton-On-The-Water.
“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend”. Attributed to Albert Camus, French philosopher, author, and journalist who won the Nobel Prize in Literature at the age of 44 in 1957, the second youngest recipient in history. It made us realise that each day we switch seamlessly from leading to following, or not leading, not following, but hopefully walking beside each other as friends.
We saw the quote a few weeks in the Lettering Arts Centre at Snape Maltings. It was presented as a piece of beautifully hand-written calligraphy. Had it been a cheap plaque in a souvenir shop, or a fridge magnet at a garden centre, I may have dismissed it as a piece of sentimental sugar-coated trivia. However, it was displayed in a respected gallery, alongside other impressive works of art, and that seemed to give it more authority, gravitas and meaning.
The quote stuck with me and I knew that it was destined to be used in a postcard blog post. Back home, I searched through various files and folders of jpegs and found the following, hopefully appropriate selection. The first few showing ‘walk beside me and be my friend’ on the wonderful beach at Filey.
But perhaps not so much leading or following in the following one…
More ‘walking beside each other as friends’ this time on the unique cobb at Lyme Regis.
Moira Furnace was built in 1804 by the Earl of Moira. It was a coke-fuelled, steam-engine blown blast furnace for the smelting of iron from local iron ore, with an attached foundry for the manufacture of cast-iron goods.
The furnace was supplied with iron ore, coke, and limestone delivered by means of the adjacent Ashby Canal. The finished iron products would be dispatched by the same means. The furnace was built low down which made it easier to feed raw materials by taking them up the ramped bridge over the canal and feeding them into the top.
Although much thought and innovation went into the design it was a commercial failure. It was used intermittently until 1811 but it experienced continual problems. Bad design, bad construction, bad raw materials, and bad management were all to blame.
The furnace now has another life as a country park, museum, shop and home to numerous leisure activities including canal trips, fishing and the starting point of several walks around the National Forest.
I noticed that at the last three cathedrals we visited there was a pillar box close by and I began to wonder if there was some unwritten rule that a pillar box should always be provided near any cathedral. Why is there such a need for pillar boxes there? Who are the avid letter writers? They almost look out of place, as if they have escaped the hustle and bustle of a busy city centre or commercial area, to find peace and solace in the cathedral green or precinct, and who can blame them?
The most noteworthy of these three photographs is this Penfold hexagonal Victorian pillar box near Durham Cathedral. However, it is not actually a Victorian box. It is a replica, (is that a polite word for fake?) which was installed in the late 1980’s. Once you know that, and look at the overall condition, you realise it is not as old as it claims to be.
The Community of Cuthbert arrived in Durham from Lindisfarne in 995 and built an Anglo-Saxon cathedral. Construction of the Cathedral as we know it today was started in 1093 by Bishop William of St Calais. Amazing to think the construction of the cathedral and the unveiling of this pillar box spans a period of over 900 years.
The second postcard if from Gloucester Cathedral. This is the closest a pillar box got to the door of the cathedral so far!
And finally, a pillar box located at The Close adjacent to Lichfield Cathedral.