179: Gloucester

OS Explorer map 179, Gloucester, Cheltenham & Stroud – I do not own this map, and had not visited it before starting this blog. Visited again for this post 13th August 2018.

So my previous two posts concerned a trip I made in August to Aberystwyth, when I and Millicent went to visit our friend Erithacus, who was on a Welsh summer course at the university there; the next day, Millicent and I went to Worcester on the way back, where we looked around the cathedral and Millicent got on a train home. After that, I got myself some lunch and then drove down to Gloucester.

The reason I was going to Gloucester was to visit my friend No Longer Hairy, who was staying there for six weeks on a course. I arrived a little earlier than the end of his last class, and after I parked in a parking garage, wandered determinedly around Gloucester in search of a toilet, eventually finding one in a large branch of Tesco.

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Wandering around Gloucester

I was to meet No Longer Hairy outside the cathedral, and on the way there from the Tesco, I made a pleasant discovery by passing St Oswald’s Priory, which I had no idea was a thing; it’s the remains of a priory, pretty minor towards the end of its life but with exalted beginnings, being a 9th-century foundation of Æthelflæd and Ælthelred of Mercia, which faded into insignificance only after the current cathedrial was built. It also held Oswald’s relics for a while after Æthelflæd made a raid into Viking territory to recover them.

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The ruins of St Oswald’s Priory

I then met No Longer Hairy outside the cathedral, and we sat about for a while having a talk before having a brief wander inside – but only for five minutes, it was closing I think.

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Gloucester Cathedral from its cloisters

It was generally very pleasant; I do love a good cloister. After that, we went and sat in a pub with drinks for a while, and then, with dinnertime approaching, moved to Pizza Express for dinner, and generally had a pleasant time chatting about things.

No Longer Hairy is going to be spending the next year in the Philippines, working for a bible-translation charity; he’s spending his time at the moment learning Tagalog, but the work, if I understand it correctly, that the organisation does often consists of a linguist working with a native speaker of some very obscure language to bash out bits of the Bible together, which is wonderfully interesting. The course that he was on in Gloucester when I made this trip was with the same organisation; they were teaching him linguistics with a view to facilitating him being able to easily acquire languages without proper materials in future – he’d been learning Tamil in classes using no textbooks and no English at all, and I was just really interested in what he’d been doing.

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No Longer Hairy (very non-hairy at the moment), as we looked for restaurants.

After dinner, we parted, I got back in the car, and left for home, having had a very pleasant couple of days away.


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