Our Lady’s Dowry: Chichester, Day II

I return to you now, at the turn of the tide…  Well, hopefully at the turn of the tide.  As I mentioned yesterday I have come down with some type of malady which has resulted in me not really being able to sing, the kiss of death on a choir tour.  I awoke in the middle of last night with a raging fever and a rather upset stomach (possibly from dinner last night).  Luckily I have Tylenol so I took some of that and I also availed myself to some cold water and a wash cloth to try and cool down a bit.  There’s hardly any air movement in the small room I’m sharing so that didn’t help matters.  Sleep came in fits so by morning I wasn’t in any state to go to rehearsal or participate in the activity of the day.  I spent most of the day staring at the ceiling and drinking plenty of water, and then going and taking steamy showers to try and help with my voice.

I rallied towards the afternoon and managed to take the bus to the cathedral with everyone else but I didn’t have it in me to sing so I went across the street for a bowl of soup (I hadn’t had lunch, you see) while the choir rehearsed.  The place I went to was a pub and restaurant that they had built in an old church.  It was sad to see a church being put to that use, even if the food is good (which it was), but what can you do if numbers dip so low.  It didn’t help the church was right across the street from the cathedral itself…

I roamed around the cathedral before Evensong and came across what I had been looking for: the grave of Gustav Holst.  Many of you reading this blog will know him most for his famous suite, The Planets, but he was also an organist and a composer of choral works.  I still haven’t been able to figure out what Holst’s connection to Chichester is, but I hope to find out before the end of our stay here.

Chichester also has an interesting site in the South aisle of the cathedral.  Sunk into the floor is a glass panel which which allows you to look down onto Roman mosaics dating from the 1st century.  There are a number of other interesting artifacts in the cathedral here, which I hope to include in the next few days.

1st century mosaics under the floor of the cathedral.

So where was I?  Oh, yes.  I was wandering around before Evensong and I was trying to figure out where the best place would be for me to sit if I wanted to surreptitiously videotape the service.  I stopped by the verger’s office to ask for permission (they’re very tricky about photography and videotaping in England in general) and see if he might recommend a good vantage point.  I was not disappointed.  Not only did he very graciously give me permission, but he told me that the best place to record would be up on the stone rood screen that spans the front of the Quire.  It was spectacular!  I climbed the spiral staircase up to the top (which put me on the same level of the organ loft) and settle down on the floor.  In order not to be seen I had to sit on the floor of the loft on top of the screen and I set the camera on the little parapet.  So that is how I spent Evensong.  I figured that since I couldn’t sing, I would be useful in another way and document the service for posterity.

The internet connection is quite slow at the hotel so I’ll be uploading more of the videos over the next day or so.  Here are parts I and II with which I will close this post and get some much needed sleep.

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