Friday, 30 November 2012

Durham Christmas Fair 2012

For a long weekend, each first December weekend, Durham hosts its Christmas Fair. It has grown into an institution and I often attend. Today my chance was there so I took it. Bright, crisp but very cold. This view of Palace Green breathes frost. Back left is my old haunt, the Theology department. I got quite a lot out of my visit. Some nice bus photos. Three different breads from the Atkins bakery on the market. The market never fails to delight. I bought something from Get Dressed for Battle. I love original market stalls and this was certainly one. Going back through the last few blog posts and Rookhope will feature. It has been in my life since 1978 and very much so since I explored the Auden connection from about 1998.

I had heard about a photo exhibition by the Dean of Durham Michael Sadgrove and this had helped me make the journey. I was glad I did. There must have been about seven varied Rookhope images in his selection. I must engage him about Auden, Rookhope and Christianity. The Cloister was chock a block with food fair stalls and a few others. One of them being tended by my old MA supervisor, Anne Loades.

There were some nuances in wandering about the cathedral. It was a bitterly cold day and outside almost everyone had head gear on. As I entered the cathedral I had the foresight to remove my woolly hat. Just as well, as a sidesman was very officiously persuading people to remove the offending articles in the house of God. Was he a jobsworth? A number of his colleagues were making no attempt to remove other hats.

It is interesting to see the amount of security an event like this engenders. At one door from the cloister there were two clear notices facing those on the cloister side of the door. They said Entrance. It was taking the combined efforts of three members of security to persuade the throng that really Entrance meant No Entrance!

So in some ways I felt a little like Jesus at the Temple. Which Benedictine monk could have foreseen an ecclesiastical authority welcoming a food fair into the monastic cloister? Times change and like the Vicar of Bray, we do to. I have always felt sympathetic to the Vicar of Bray. Both (Berkshire + Ireland) are lovely places. The Bray of the story is I think the Irish one where remaining on good terms with whoever was on the winning side was important. Modern Cathedrals have to survive and I am sure if I was the Dean I would be both interested in Rookhope and welcoming food fairs to my orb. I would though wish my sidesmen and security teams to offer a fullsome welcome and to be alert to putting up misinformation. The Dean is an ardent blogger himself as well as a photographer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wasn't it John Betjamin who removed his cycle clips on entering a church because he didn't have a hat to remove?