...and a cheery meeting to plan various History Walks and associated projects. But first a visit to that glorious Cathedral: it's been lovingly restored and cherished in recent decades, and has a warm sense of welcome. The shrine to St Richard is flanked by candles and icons. Every side chapel is clean and well cared-for, some set aside specifically aside for silent prayer, some displaying discreet notices explaining some item of interest. There were children scurrying about doing half-term activities learning the history and finding out about saints and shrines and things, and there were volunteers dressed in Historical Costumes waiting to be asked to talk. It felt like the sort of Britain one used to know.
On to a tasty and talkative lunch: lots of good plans for the year ahead (watch this Blog for info).
On to visit an elderly aunt a few miles along the coast: Tea (served formally and properly, so it merits a Captital Letter) and buttered buns and coffee-and-walnut-cake... and we talked of family news and old times...her daughter was one of my bridesmaids, and we recalled that lovely wedding and many other family gatherings over the years...
And finally back to Chichester. The driver was friendly and helpful - I thanked him for coming a long way out of the city to get me "Only too glad" he said "I was sitting waiting by the station, with drunken girls shouting horrible, slutty stuff, swearing obscenities - can't repeat them. I was glad to get away." In the waiting-room, a man and child lurched out, rather awkwardly. I settled with a book after exchanging a sort of nod to two other passengers, as one does..."Glad you're here" one said "It's been vile. Some woman came in, dead drunk, and shouting at her daughters on her mobile phone, Horrible language.Some row about a party they were having . Then a man came in with his little boy: the man was drunk, and the child was made to carry a bag of clanking bottles.They've just left."
Chichester, Sussex, on a February night. What are our big cities going to be like this summer?