We were away from home on holiday from Tuesday 1st July until Wednesday 9th July. As we neared home on Wednesday the weather deteriorated – the sun disappeared, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped. While we had been away the weather at home had been quite warm with a little sun but a lot of cloud according to my mother. I took Mum out shopping yesterday and we were fortunate to be able to do it in the dry. Shortly after getting home at 2.00pm the heavens opened and it rained for hours with some thunder and lightning. I went for my monthly blood test this morning and chatted to my friend who is the phlebotomist at the medical centre. Her daughter and my younger daughter E are the same age and were friends when E was able to go to school. The Sixth Form Centre that Katrina attends was flooded yesterday and the roof was blown off the maths block so Katrina was enjoying a day off school. My friend keeps horses and a tree had blown down in her paddock yesterday too. The weather is quite autumnal at present.
Wheat field behind our house
The wind and rain has done considerable damage to the fields of crops in the area. Please note the overwhelming grey sky!
My last post ended with me about to visit my eldest daughter in Sheffield to watch her perform in George Etherege’s play ‘Man of Mode’. The few times I have visited her I have only stayed for one night so this time I booked two nights in a hotel and hoped I would be less rushed and tired and would be able to see more of my daughter and more of the city as well.
The journey was virtually uneventful and there were no delays. The air conditioning wasn’t working on the train and I was amused by a young man becoming hot and somewhat bothered trying to force open a locked window. The conductor eventually wandered through the carriage and asked if we would like the window opened. We were very pleased to see him open it with a key – fresh air is a wonderful thing!
The approach to Sheffield station seen from the station Google image
I have had to supplement my photos with some from the internet as not all of mine came out well.
I decided to walk to my hotel in the city centre as it was a fine afternoon and made myself a refreshing cup of tea. After a short rest I went out shopping and bought some food for our early evening meal and took a taxi to A’s house. The taxi driver was friendly and told me all about his daughters and what he planned to have for his evening meal. He was just about to finish work for the day. I had arranged with A that she would be standing at the end of her driveway as I probably wouldn’t recognise her house. I pointed her out to the taxi driver who waved at her. He was surprised that she didn’t wave back but of course I told him she had been brought up well and didn’t wave to strange men in cars.
A made us a cup of tea and then we ate our meal and I enjoyed our chat. I walked with her to the Drama Studio and while she got changed ready for the performance I waited outside for the doors to open. I had plenty of time to re-acquaint myself with the view from the top of the steps.
Houses opposite the studios
Shops opposite the studios
I had plenty of time to stare at the door too…..
The entrance to the drama studios
and at some of the carved detail.
I took a photograph of the studios the next day and looking at the resultant picture I see that either I wasn’t standing up straight or the building is leaning backwards.
I think it was me!
The building looks like a former church and from a photograph on display inside, I found that it had been used at one time as a synagogue.
I enjoyed the play immensely and was sorry that there were so few people in the audience. A played the part of Mrs Loveit, a spurned mistress – a jealous, bitter woman out for revenge.
These are photos of A taken by a friend in the dressing room. They do not quite show how beautiful she is or how good she looked in her costume.
I waited for her afterwards and we walked back to my hotel together and had a drink in the bar before she got the bus back to her house.
The next day we met mid-morning and she took me to see the Cathedral.
Sheffield Cathedral Google images
It was formerly a parish church dedicated to St Peter and St Paul but was made a cathedral one hundred years ago in 1914. There has been a church on the site for a thousand years but the oldest part of the present building dates from 1430. Chapels were added over the years – for example in 1520 the 4th Earl of Shrewsbury built the Shrewsbury Chapel where he and his two wives have their tomb and there is a grand monument to the 6th Earl who was guardian to Mary Queen of Scots when she was imprisoned in Sheffield from 1570-1584.
Chancel ceiling with golden angels
But by the 19th century it had also become very dilapidated. A diarist of the time said that the church was ‘one of the most gloomy places of worship in the kingdom.’ This is no surprise as Sheffield is also known as ‘Steel City’ and in the 19th century the place was full of steel and iron foundries with furnaces blazing all day and night. The dirt, soot and smoke must have been terrible. The nave had to be demolished and rebuilt, the church was enlarged and the interior was modernised.
Ancient banners hanging in one of the chapels
This lovely statue is a memorial to commemorate the special relationship between the city of Sheffield and ships of the Royal Navy bearing the city’s name. It was placed in the cathedral on 17th April 2000 by His Royal Highness the Duke of York CVO ADC. It is a tribute to all those who gave their lives in the service of their country. British people remember that HMS Sheffield, a 4,100 tonne destroyer with a crew of 300 on board was hit by an Argentinian Exocet missile on 4th May 1982. Twenty died and twenty-six suffered blast and burn injuries. It was the first ship to be lost in enemy action since the Second World War. Prince Andrew took part in the Falklands War.
The church was made a cathedral when the new diocese of Sheffield was formed. Yet more plans were made to enlarge the cathedral but only some of the building works were carried out. In the early 1960s more extensions were made including the narthex entrance and the west end was extended with a lantern tower. The latter was repaired and new glass put in in 1998-1999. Work is continuing to this day.
After admiring the Cathedral we walked up through the city to the Botanical Gardens This was originally laid out in 1836 in the ‘Gardenesque’ style which featured winding paths and scattered plantings among tree-planted mounds. The Gardens are listed by English Heritage as a Grade II site of special historic and architectural interest. A major restoration programme was completed in 2005.
Sheffield Botanical Gardens Google images
We wandered about the grounds admiring the plants and sat for a while on a bench. I didn’t manage to take many photos unfortunately as both A and I were bothered by sore feet!
Copper Beech leaves
A modern clock on the glass pavilion
The pavilions contain plants from the temperate regions of the world. They are 90 metres long and contain thousands of panes of hand-blown glass.
We had lunch – a cream tea (scone, jam, clotted cream, cup of tea) in the restaurant and then went our separate ways – A back to her house to do some more writing and me to traipse all the way back to my hotel for another rest and then more shopping for food.
I decided to walk back to A’s house instead of taking the bus or going by taxi but half way there I almost regretted my decision as it was all uphill, quite warm and my shopping was heavy. However, I managed it and felt very pleased with myself once I had got my breath back. We ate together as we had done the day before and again I walked to the Studio with her and waited outside for the doors to open. There was a larger audience this evening and I enjoyed the performance as much as I had done the evening before. I met A after the performance and said good-bye to her there as she was seeing friends after the show. I walked back to my hotel quite exhausted having walked some miles in the past couple of days. It had rained while we had been in the theatre but stayed dry for my walk back to the city centre.
Steep hill down to the station
The following morning I returned to the railway station. Sheffield was getting itself ready for the Tour de France with banners and posters everywhere.
The water feature outside the station didn’t look so attractive on a cloudy day.
The train journey home went quite quickly and I enjoyed it more as I had a window seat this time. We passed through lots of showers of rain and I managed to take a photo of Ely Cathedral as we pulled out of the station.
It is easier to see in the winter when the trees are bare!
A told me her play had been reviewed in the Sheffield Star so I looked it up on the internet. A was described as ‘the excellent A S’ – but I could have told them that!