This past weekend Jason took me about a half hour away to the largest cathedral in the area–Ely Cathedral–so named after the island it used to stand on (before it was dredged and drained) being surrounded by eel infested water. (Anyone else reminded of the Princess Bride? Shrieking eels? Eh, eh?) The eel fishing industry was a large part of the commerce in the area back in the day. Now it’s surrounded instead by much more pleasant (and hopefully much less slimy) buildings, houses, and farmland.
The cathedral itself was massive and we decided to take a guided tour to the very tallest tower. Of course, it wasn’t until after we’d paid the fee and begun the tour that our guide kindly informed us about how no foundation was built underneath the floors and the cathedral itself has sunk quite a bit. This causes “problems” for them because the east wing of the cathedral had collapsed several hundred years ago, and major reconstructive work had to be done relatively recently because the tower was sinking, leaning, and crumbling. Great.
We proceeded to climb 218 crumbly, slick, narrow, steep, claustrophobic stairs to the top. Seriously, the Stair Master’s got nothing on this… Not to mention you’re crammed in there like sardines with 15 strangers just praying nobody has to fart. It was not even funny. Plus, all the while, the guide is reiterating about how things have fallen apart over time blah blah blah. When we were stopped at a point, Jason grabbed a stone to wiggle it to be funny–AND IT ACTUALLY SHIFTED. Like, not a loose brick or anything, it was part of the wall. Gahhh. I punched him and told him to quit it. Leave it to us to collapse a thousand year old church…
But finally we made it to the top in one piece and we could see for literally 20 miles around. It was gorgeous and totally worth it.
This was a memorial stone for a (very fertile) couple’s deceased children. You can read one section that says “Also 22 of their children died from 8 to 12 months old.” 22! Sheesh! It’s a wonder the mother survived that!