Sunday, 27 September 2009


I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was going camping for a stag weekend. Well, it was dead good and surprisingly civilized - I actually came back feeling healthier then when I'd set off. Probably the best moment was getting up on the first morning and, while everyone else was still snoring in their tents, making myself a cup of tea with my little stove and kettle and drinking it with a cigarette and a couple of chocolate hobnobs.

Anyway this weekend was the wedding. It was great - I enjoy weddings. As always I drank too much and went to bed very late. I had a bit of a hangover but that was largely vanquished by the hotel breakfast. I'm sure it was fear of a killer hangover that led to me booking my return ticket for the afternoon - but I overdid the caution and a five o'clock train left me with quite a few hours to kill. The wedding was in York. I love that name: York, such a weird little word.

My hotel was two hundred yards from the Minster and after a walk by the river to clear my head and a read of the paper I thought I might as well check the place out. I think I'd probably been in before (my parents were avid cathedral spotters in my youth and they're all a bit of a blur). There's a very good statue of Constantine the Great outside the Minster. He's lounging on a throne, menacingly toying with a sword. In Rome the colossal head of Constantine was one of the things that I really wanted to see. Sadly it was being tarted up for the millenium and not on display, I think they were painting the walls or something. I prefer the statue in York but the colossal head is more imperial - I think it's the vacant expression on his face. If I were a hostile mustachioed tribesman the colossal head would have given me the more pause for thought. Seated Yorkshire Constantine looks cruel and formidable but human. Colossal Roman Constantine just looks utterly untouchable.

All cathedrals are worth a visit and it's a strange person who isn't a little awestruck at the proportions of these places and the intricate craftsmanship to be seen everywhere you look. I was creeping about in the crypt when evensong started and it was an unearthly sound and very beautiful. It's strange though - it would never occur to me to listen to a recording of it. It only seems to make sense in a church. It's things like this that make me wonder if I'll ever go to church again. Going through bookcases at my parents' a few years ago I realised, by looking at the inscriptions in prize books, that I'd attended Sunday School for at least four years. I can't remember the point at which I stopping believe in God. I do remember I was about five when I first realised about death and how upset I was. My mum told me not to worry as it would be a long time before I died, to which I thought: "You're missing the point". And she was and no doubt deliberately because of course there is no answer. There are so many beautiful and reassuring things about Christianity but, call me old fashioned, I think you should only go if you believe in it all.


  1. All things are good after a chocolate Hobnob, I find.

  2. True - with the possible exception of toothache. Without the chocolate though they're nothing, it's like munching on a cork coaster.

  3. You are so right. Heard at our house just the other day...

    "Hey! You bought Hobnobs!"


    "Oh NO!! They're not chocolate ones!!"