Inside the great walls of Chester

February 2, 2014 — 63 Comments

This week is bridge week (a self study week) at the RCS and this year I decided to go home and visit my parents for a couple of days. I have quite a lot of work to prepare for college and I thought that mixing a little time with my family alongside my studies would give me a bit of a boost.

Saturday morning started bright and sunny and although cold we thought that we would go for a walk around the city of Chester. There is always something going on there and it is great fun just to wander around.

ChesterStreet1

Views from Eastgate on Chester’s City Walls.

ChesterStreet2

We were walking along the walls when we heard the sound of fire crackers coming from behind the Cathedral, so we went to investigate.

Chinese-Lions

It was the Chinese new year celebrations outside the Town hall. Just as we arrived the Chinese Lions were leading the crowd into the Town Hall.

Chester-Town-Hall

Excitedly we followed everyone inside the grand Town Hall where the festivities continued.  A number of children from local schools performed an entrancing friendship dance with little colourful scarves, I wanted to jump on the stage and join in 🙂

Then some of the local representatives of the Mandarin Language centre came on stage to show the intricate stitching and brocade work on their dresses, they were really beautiful garments.

Chinese-Brocade

Finally we moved outside to watch the Dragon dance which was performed by a Liverpool based martial arts club.  My Dad managed to video some of the dance to give you a flavour of the day 🙂

I just couldn’t resist getting in on the act right at the end 🙂

Chinese-Dragon

So in this year of the Horse I would like to wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year 🙂

Mandarin Chinese:

新年快乐 (xīn nián kuài lè, pronounced “sheen nyen kwy luh”) = Happy new year! (literally “The new year comes fast!”)
恭喜发财 (gōng xǐ fā cái, pronounced “gong shee fah tsy”) = Wishing you a prosperous new year! (literally “May you have much joy and wealth!”)

Cantonese Chinese:

新年快乐 (san1 nin4 faai3 lok6) = Happy new year! (literally “The new year comes fast!”)
恭喜发财 (gung1 hei2 faat3 choi4) = Wishing you a prosperous new year! (literally “May you have much joy and wealth!”)

HappyNewYear

I would like to share this Happy New Year wish which was created by my good friend Pascal Barnier.

Charlotte

It started to rain shortly after the celebrations so we moved into the Cathedral.  It is beautiful building with hundreds of years of heritage.  You get a real sense of the history of Chester just by looking around the cathedral and soak in the sheer magnificence of the building.

Chester-Cathedral-

There has been a Cathedral on the site since about 1093 in Norman times and has been added to and altered many times over the years.

One of my favourite parts of the Cathedral are the choir stalls. They date from about 1380 and it took 20 master wood carvers and 20 apprentices 2 years to complete what in my mind is a true work of art.

Carving-of-the-Choir-stalls

What amazes me is that part of the carvings on the pews in the choir stalls depict an elephant. But as none of the workmen had ever seen an elephant they carved them with horses hooves 🙂

Elephane-Pews

Elephane-Pews-Feet

These old stories are a great piece of our history and I just love to discover them on my wanderings 🙂

63 responses to Inside the great walls of Chester

  1. 

    I’ve always loved dragons. Thanks!

  2. 

    Salut Charlotte, merci ! Very nice and interesting.
    Have you felt the vibrations of the cathedrals? mixtures sensations of wood, stone and stained glass?
    Good luck for work, good time for you, and say “hello” to your parents.
    Friendships 😉
    Pascal

    • 

      Salut Pascal, I always want to sing when I go into near empty cathedrals and churches to hear the acoustics and reverberation. It was very quiet and reflective on Saturday, when the sun came back out the windows were just beautiful there were some very contemporary ones in there too.

      Best wishes 🙂
      Charlotte

      • 

        Hello Charlotte. Me too, worse than you, when I’m in a church or a deserted chapel, I “module” (kind dedjeeredoo) to feel the vibration of the building. Which is great, it is in summer, with light coming through the windows to see vibrate “dust” s in the rays of light ……. There is also the narrow valleys between the rocks or sites with an echo …… in fact, with the “voice” you get a little to do as dolphins and bats;-) And in religious building, there always has specific hours when light is totally magical;
        All the best for you Charlotte

  3. 

    Very cool video. Great photos and great post and Happy Year of the Horse!

    • 

      My brother was born in the year of the horse and I got a rooster year 🙂 Chester is a lovely city to visit, we walked around the walls but there was a very cold wind and this event made a nice treat.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  4. 

    Such gorgeous pictures! I always enjoy your entries!

  5. 

    What a great article. We live nearby. Sorry I missed this celebration. Thanks for sharing.

    • 

      Hi Penny, it’s great when you just stumble into events like this we weren’t expecting anything, we had to go into the town hall because it started to drizzle but it worked out really well.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  6. 

    Thank you for sharing such beautiful photos and experiences from a part of the world I most likely will never see. I always enjoy seeing new things through your eyes.

  7. 

    Thank you your words and photos brought the experience alive for me. 😀

  8. 

    Ok on a totally superficial note I love your coat! I also love that Cathedral – so beautiful!

  9. 

    I so enjoy your posts as one never knows what they will share. You are truly one very fortunate girl. You have so many talents and opportunities open to you; such a fun, full life. I love the art piece by your friend. A Happy New Year back to you.

    • 

      Hi Cheryl, I certainly am fortunate, I have always been encouraged to jump right in and make the most out of every opportunity and this was one such occasion. I met Pascal Barnier through social media and love his work; it is so unique and different and makes my Facebook header a talking point in itself.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  10. 

    Beautiful! And so exciting! Chester is where we will spend our next Christmas after our son’s wedding in France. (We live in New York.) So nice to see the cathedral again!

    • 

      Chester at Christmas will be beautiful, fabulous lights and activities, I’d recommend a lovely walk around the walls and a stroll to the River Dee. I did a charity concert once in St Mary’s Centre which used to be the church of St Mary’s On the Hill near the County Courts to raise money for the children’s department in the local hospital. How exciting for you a wedding in France too.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  11. 

    Lovely photographs Charlotte! It was such a treat to see this! Where I live now, there is no mention of the New Year. I miss it. But we celebrated it at home which was nice. This post of yours really lifted my spirits. THANK YOU!

  12. 

    That is so funny that you showed up in the video too. I was expecting to see Chinese people doing the dragon chasing the ball but I think most of them are not Chinese. Aren’t they?

    • 

      The dragon dancers were from Liverpool and there were much bigger events in Liverpool so we had a lovely mixture of performers in Chester. They all looked exhausted at the end but I would have loved a dance holding the dragon, I was jigging in the front of the crowd though 😉

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  13. 

    Beautiful photos make for some special memories. You are very fortunate to be able to experience so many amazing travels .

    • 

      Hi Janice, this is the City nearest to my family home, I have many happy family memories from Chester and know it well because it is compact and you feel very safe there.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  14. 

    Very good captures, you have good eye for details 🙂

  15. 

    Love the living history lessons you post. You’re a splendid travel writer 🙂 I noticed the left rear hoof of the elephant is bifurcated, like a cows or a deer hoof — or is that just a reflection or a scratch? Most interesting.

    • 

      Hi Jim, I remember one of the robed curates telling me about the horse’s hooves when I was little and I was inspecting the carvings and making sketches of them, so when I go back I always take a look. I’d guess the wood carver if they’d never seen an elephant but only local animals may well have just fashioned them like cows, deers and horses to touch all the bases 🙂

      All the best
      Charlotte

  16. 

    Thanks for sharing. I love the pictures. My brother is currently studying in China and is all fireworked out!!

    • 

      Ooh that sounds exciting, what is he studying? I love fireworks too, the best display I ever saw was at Disney in Florida, the Disney Villains on a waterfall with fabulous music.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      • 

        Wow the fireworks in Disney sound fabulous. He studied business and chineese here in Ireland and then moved to Beijing to study film production in the Beijing Film Academy. He’s there two years now and also spent a year of his undergrad there on a scholarship. I’m hoping to recover from my illness before he comes back home as I really want to visit!!! LOL

      • 

        That’s sounds like a fabulous experience and a great way to practise his skills.

  17. 

    Thanks for sharing your little adventure with us! I love visiting old cathedrals too – and castles. So much beauty and history. 🙂

  18. 

    I so wish we had had more than a fleeting on-journey visit to Chester. Just the glimpses we had of it were enchanting.

  19. 

    Lovely post Charlotte, Glad you enjoyed it shame it rained, I love the Cathedral in chester it’s beautiful.x

  20. 

    Chester seems an interesting historic town. Love the old Tudor buildings too. I agree you’ve got a beautiful cathedral there! Didn’t you join in for the final dragon dance as well, eh? 😉 Thanks for sharing the video and photos, Charlotte. 🙂

    • 

      The old Tudor buildings are lovely, it’s such a shame some of them got pulled down to be replaced by boring plain brick and clear glass. I was so tempted to ask if I could have a go with one of the poles but I guess it looked easier than it was to be co-ordinated with the others and cross over and under each other. Glad you enjoyed it.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  21. 

    Beautiful photos – I love the dragon dance!

  22. 

    We visited Chester briefly one morning. Even through the pouring rain we could see what an attractive and unique town it is. We hope to get back there another time.

    • 

      The dreaded rain 😉 it does seem to rain a lot in the North West.
      It made a nice break from studying. There’s lot to do around Chester too, if you use it as a base you can visit North Wales which is just beautiful, Liverpool, and quaint towns like Knutsford.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  23. 

    I visited your blog a few times but I prefer liking the post after I read it, (keeps the like and comment authentic, it’s more of a self-righteous thing 😉 ) I really loved the video of the dragon dance and the pictures of the cathedral are beautiful as well. Happy new year to you too (恭喜发财) 😉 🙂 I would wish you again, there is an Indian new year coming soon as well 😛 😀

  24. 

    What a fun time and beautiful photos! 🙂

  25. 

    Chester has such a great history. I love the dragon dance, but it’s the year of the horse!

    • 

      I wonder if they do the dragon dances in China or if they have different themes each year?
      I love Chester a nice compact City and it’s finally getting the cinema and theatre sorted out.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  26. 

    I like the symbols (words). It always amazes me how they can draw each unique one.

  27. 

    Hi, Charlotte: thank you for photos from your hometown of Chester! Sad to say it, but I’ve not strayed “far enough” from London, Cambridge, Cardiff, or Edinburgh. Aside from my fondness for football, I know there are other reasons to visit other places in the UK; your visual tour helps. 🙂 Thanks also for your Chinese New Year wishes; all the best to you as well, from the other side of the planet. 🙂

    • 

      Hi Henry we have the best football clubs overall in the North (he he) most of my friends at school support Manchester United whilst I support Manchester City so I’ve learnt to be diplomatic 😉
      I went to the Tate Gallery in Liverpool whilst I was at home, fabulous exhibition. Hope you get a chance to visit 😉
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  28. 

    A marvelous post, Charlotte! What an interesting contrast: The colourful Chinese New Year celebrations and the solemn Gothic Cathedral. 😉

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