(Written Friday, 5/15)
It was rather gray, threatening rain on Thursday, with heavy showers expected Friday, so we flipped our days around and left the Cathedral for Friday to be inside when it was wet. We started the morning at the Salisbury Museum and had a great overview of Stonehenge. And it would be a pretty cool museum for kids, too – lots of hands on stuff like lifting the stones they used to sculpt the sarsens, and blocks and a pulley to see how many men and oxen it takes to raise one upright. Lots of stuff about Romans and more recent stuff, but we mostly skipped that. <g>
So we drove the half hour to Stonehenge, and the rain held off for us. I listened to the audio guide for a while, but I’ve read enough and having just been at the museum, I felt like I was hearing the same thing over and over. But the guys listened. I’m in awe of the work it took and the incredible astronomical calculations you can make with it, but my favorite thing is still Mary Stewart’s version of Merlin building it.
The boys’ reactions? Tim is fascinated with how people were able to raise Stonehenge with the technology they had. Bryan says, “Stonehenge? Rocks – old, well-placed rocks.” (His favorite parts of the trip were Glastonbury Abby and the Roman Baths.)
It didn’t take as long as I had figured, even with time just sitting there, so we headed over to Old Sarum. The drizzle turned to light rain, but we wandered anyway. There’s not much left, but that’s where the original settlement was for hundreds of years. Then the church and the army had a falling out, and the bishop moved his headquarters a couple miles down the road to the current Salisbury and built the cathedral there.
Then we went to dinner at the Haunch and Venison, a cool old building (13th century?) that backs up against one of the old churches. It had great food, but even better was the mummified hand of a card sharp who cheated and someone chopped it off a couple hundred years ago, and the story of the tunnel they built from the church in the days the building was a brothel – allowed visiting clergymen to commit indiscretions with discretion! Tim wasn’t thrilled with the sloping floors, but the next room over from us (where we went to look out the window at the church) had huge nail heads in a very uneven, if somewhat more level floor.