Tag Archives: Historical architecture

Fountains of wishes

IMG_0292 Trevi fountain

Bertie and Croc were feeling a little hot in the comfort of the black camera bag. Every now and again, Bertie would waft the corner of the bag open in an attempt to create a slight breeze…..it didn’t work very well and usually resulted in more warm air coming into the bag.

Bertie lifted the flap of the bag for the third time. There were lots of voices and noise outside, which was different from the honking horns he had heard the last time he had attempted to let some air in. He braved a peek out of the bag and realised they had stopped.

There were crowds of people. He had not seen this many people since they were in the Vatican. “We must be somewhere important” Thought Bertie and went to nudge Croc. Croc was already beside Bertie, which made him jump a little. “That was unexpected!” Bertie said to his friend. “I usually have to come hunting for you at the bottom of the bag.” Then Bertie noticed something. His friends eyes were wide and Croc was staring in the direction of all the people. Bertie strained to see what he was looking at and as his eyes adjusted to the bright light he could see water.

“Oh no!” Thought Bertie, “Here we go again!”

Being a Crocodile, and being from the tropics, Croc had a certain fascination with water. Especially when it was as warm as it was today. They began to move again. This time they were making their way towards the water and Bertie could see that it was actually a fountain. The fountain had the most magnificent sculptures behind it. The water was the most beautiful turquoise blue and Bertie had to admit it did look very inviting.

Bertie began to look around for some clues as to where they were. Croc began to look around for an escape route to the fountain. He wasn’t quite brave enough to make his way out of the bag and pick his route through the crowds. Bertie saw a sign. “Oh my” He thought. “This is the Trevi Fountain.” He explained to Croc. “It is one of the most famous fountains in the world!” Croc continued to look at the crystal clear waters. Bertie carried on explaining that if you throw a coin in the fountain you will return to Rome. Some people even believe you can make a wish and it will come true! Croc thought, if you throw a crocodile in the fountain they will be very happy indeed and that would definitely be a wish come true!

They were achingly close to the water now and Croc, in a fit of bravery, made a leap for freedom. He tumbled down onto the railings. He began to make his way towards the water and away from Bertie’s shouts. A man, not noticing the small crocodile knocked Croc and sent him sliding further along the railing. He bumped into the arm of a lady and then fell a few inches onto the concrete below the railings. He began to feel scared. He started to forget about the water as he tried to dodge the people who were crowding around him.

“Eek” Croc squeaked as he was nudged again, this time back towards the direction he had just travelled from. He covered his eyes then felt a soft pair of hands on him guiding him to safety. It was Bertie. Croc grabbed onto his little friend in a fit of relief and let himself be led back to the safety of the camera bag! Thank goodness for good friends, thought Croc as he snuggled bac into the safety of the bag. Bertie closed the zip just in case Croc got any more ideas and they felt themselves being carried away from the crowds and the magnificent fountain.

Advertisements

Gladiators and crocodiles

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bertie and Croc were looking forward to a restful day. They had spent an entire day touring the Vatican in Rome and being wowed round every turn at the amazing art work. Bertie had been so excited to see the Sistine Chapel that he had completely worn himself out! Croc was silently pleased when his best friend fell into a deep slumber and didn’t awake until the next day. Croc liked his quiet time, it was when he did all his best thinking! He did find that having a friend as excitable as Bertie was brilliantly motivating but he didn’t get much time to think.

The next day both friends were awoken by the hustle and bustle from outside the camera bag. The walls of the bag had heated up in the morning sun and Croc had, subconsciously, moved towards the warmest wall and was snoozing contently.

As they peeped out of the zip in the bag they both realised they were about to exit a busy train station. They blinked as they came out into the bright sunshine and then Bertie’s jaw dropped at the sight in front of him. Looking at his friend, Croc could feel the excitement buzzing from Bertie. Bertie tugged at Croc’s paw!

“Do you know where we are?” Said a wide eyed Bertie. Croc shook his head, confident in knowing that Bertie was fast approaching his tour guide mode and he would soon find out without having to use any brain power what so ever. “It’s a very, very important historical place.” Started Bertie.

As Croc looked at the crowds of people around him, milling around the large, ruined building in front of him he began to notice everyone forming orderly queues at the entrances like little ants going into an ant hill. He didn’t fancy standing in those queues and was relieved when they turned off down the side of the building and began to explore the outside.

As Croc half listened to Bertie’s excited chatter he picked up some words, such as Gladiators, fighting, Colosseum, entertainment. It didn’t sound very entertaining to Croc, exhausting yes, entertaining not so much. Then his little crocodile ears picked up…..Bertie said “bears” and “even crocodiles”!

“What?” Thought Croc, people would fight animals like him and his best friend in this large, circular structure? He shook his head in shock. He looked at the flimsy metal fence around the Colosseum and thoughtfully wondered was it there to keep the people n and the crocodiles out or the other way around? People really were weird he decided as he sat comfortably next to Bertie to pose in front of the magnificent and extremely interesting round building behind them.

A Bishops Castle

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Croc had learnt quite a bit about history and religion in his short visit to Wells. He was surprised how the two often went hand in hand. Darwin had a completely different kind of history to this country, and the Northern Territory certainly wasn’t the place for grand Cathedrals and huge, ancient buildings, more rock paintings and lots of red dirt! The cyclones in Darwin would flatten the stone structures he had seen so far and the heat and red dirt would stain the walls, like it did with everything in the desert regions. White was never really white in the Northern Territory!

As they rounded a corner, Bertie and Croc peeped out from the zip in the camera bag eager to see where they were going to next. They heard the birds before they saw them! Now if you have been reading Bertie and Croc’s adventures for some time you may recall Croc had a nasty introduction to swans (click here to read the post)……he wasn’t quite over this. There, in front of him, as they rounded the corner were……SWANS!

Croc tried to drive deeply into the bottom of the camera bag but he got wedged between the lens of the camera and the wall of the bag. Bertie, seeing his friend was in trouble, gave Croc’s tail a tug and pulled him loose. Bertie held Croc’s trembling claw and pointed to what was beyond the swans.

Croc’s eyes widened……it was a castle!!! He suddenly forgot the swans. Bertie explained that while Croc was wedged in the camera bag, they had stopped by a sign which told the story of a swan learning to ring a bell for his tea. The castle wasn’t a castle. It was called the Bishops Palace and the Bishop would often come out and feed the swans when he lived there a long time ago.

Croc was confused. Why would a Bishop need a palace? From what he had learnt from history so far, only Kings had palaces? Bertie explained that the Bishop was VERY powerful and that is why statues of the Bishops were next to those of the King of the Cathedral in Wells. The Bishop was worried that people would try to kill him so he built a palace with a proper portcullis and moat and EVERYTHING.

Croc was relieved when they moved away from where the swans were located. He relaxed and began to enjoy the view. It was a truly beautiful day. He began to wonder what it would be like to live in a palace……..?

Bertie’s tour of Wells…..

img_0084-edited

Croc woke with a sudden jerk. This was because Bertie had poked him with his paw. For a teddy bear, with soft stuffing and fur, Bertie had quite a solid paw when he wanted Croc’s attention!

Blurry eyed Croc dragged himself out of the bottom of the camera bag and peeped into the bright sunshine. He let his eyes adjust so he could see where his travelling buddy had disappeared to now. Bertie was sat proudly on a stone wall. Croc was beginning to get use to the fact that everything in the UK felt slightly cold to touch. He was use to the heat of the Australian sun warming everything until you would get serious burn marks if you dared to plant your bottom on it!

Croc was impressed with the sharp blue skies in this country. There was something about the crispness of an early morning that he liked.

Wearily Croc gingerly stepped onto the cold wall and made his way quickly to his travelling companion. Bertie pointed at the huge, gothic building in front of them and explained it was a Cathedral, called Wells Cathedral. It was built between 1175 and 1490. Croc thought that was a really long time to build something!

Croc had never seen a Cathedral before. They didn’t have structures as grand as this in Darwin and he began to wonder how a building this ornate and detailed would stand up to a cyclone or an earth quake.

The more Croc looked the more he could see. There were statues of Kings and Bishops nestled in their own crevices in the buildings architecture. Croc giggled as he noticed some of the  statues were now faceless after years of weathering, and they looked a little weird and slightly intimidating. Bertie explained that the statues alternated to show the historical relationship which the church and the rulers of the country had. Croc was too busy wondering why the building needed so many windows!? He kept loosing count of them all? How many can you count?

The Shambles

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As our two adventurers began to make their way away from the York Minister and towards the busy streets of the town centre, Croc began to crane his neck to watch the Minister disappear behind a mass of smaller buildings and busy people. Everyone seems to know exactly where they are going, thought Croc. Croc thought that the people rushing past him looked like bees buzzing around in their own worlds seemingly oblivious to everything and everyone else around them.

Bertie had saved the best for last. As they were making their way back to the car Bertie took Croc down a narrow street. The houses here were higgledy piggledy, lopsided, and so close together Croc could hardly see the sky. It gave the whole lane a sense of darkness and spooky gloom.

This is The Shambles, explained Bertie. It is one of the most famous streets in York. It is said to be the best preserved medieval street in the world. Historically, The Shambles was a street of 26 butchers shops and houses. The paths beside the narrow road are raised up to create a channel which would have allowed the butchers to wash away the blood and offal. Croc felt slightly sick.

Bertie also pointed out how the fifteen century buildings lean into the middle of the cobbled street which would have meant that the roofs would have nearly touched. This was a problem in London and allowed the historic Great Fire of London to spread quickly from house to house.

Croc felt a cold shiver. Growing up in the Northern Territory he had never seen so many houses squashed into one place. There is so much history here, thought Croc as he continued to peep out of the pocket as they made their way down The Shambles. He was relieved to be going back to the car for a rest as his little Crocodile brain felt much like the street he was walking down…..busy and ready to burst with such an overload of information.

The Shambles

All images and text copyright of Samantha Key 2016

 

Gargoyles and zebras

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Waving goodbye to their new found friends in the Toy Shop window Bertie lead Croc towards the large, towering structure in front of them. Croc was too excited about his new friends to at first to look up, until Bertie gave him a little nudge and pointed towards the sky.

Croc’s jaw fell open revealing a very impressive set of teeth. The building in front of him was like nothing he had ever seen before. Croc was looking at the impressive York Minister. Bertie instantly went into tour guide mode explaining, to a rather overwhelmed Croc, that the stone York Minister was badly damaged in a fire during an uprising in 1068 and the Normans built a new minster in around 1080. This was the basis of the present impressive Minister he was looking at today.

It was indeed impressive, thought Croc. He felt slightly dizzy looking up at the tall spires on the Minister. The gargoyles looking back down at him and Bertie made Croc do a little shiver and he sank a little deeper into the pocket he was in. Soon he had forgotten the stony stares and had become immersed in the ornate detail everywhere he looked. As they walked around the side of the building, Croc also noticed the impressive towering windows. Where Croc was from this building would not have survived this long as a cyclone would have destroyed it by now he thought as he posed happily and proudly for a photograph in front of the entrance. Bertie smiled to himself noting Croc’s new found confidence in having his photograph taken.

Bertie took Croc all the way around the outside of the Minister, allowing him to take in all the details of the huge building. He then pointed to a smaller building which was in front of them. Peeling his eyes away from the impressive shadow of the Minister Croc saw the most unusual building he had ever seen. It looked like an architectural zebra!

Bertie laughed at Croc’s description and told Croc that it was a classic tutor building from around the 16th to 18th Century. As the walked along admiring the architecture, Bertie knew exactly where to take Croc next…..

The only time Croc took his eyes away from the Minister!
The only time Croc took his eyes away from the Minister!

Photographs and content copyright of Samantha Key

The old boat house

IMG_2349

Croc was still recovering from his brief encounter with the English wildlife. He didn’t feel as confident as he did before he had seen the swan and there had been no more leaning out of the pocket. Instead Croc had taken to peaking with one beady eye while using Bertie and a wad of tissues he’d found in the pocket as support.

In complete comparison, Bertie was in his element. He was reliving the past and so many happy and pleasant memories were coming back to him like ghosts being awoken by the sights, sounds and smells he was experiencing.

Bertie could remember listening to the story of how Newmillerdam got it’s name. The village was originally called Thurstonhaigh, but got its current name when a grain mill powered by water from the dammed lake was built, changing the name to ‘New mill on the dam”.

Bertie was in a wave of memories when he suddenly squealed and grabbed a rather startled Croc. “Look, look, look!” shouted Bertie waving his paw in the direction of the outside world. A rather shocked Croc attempted to sink back into the warm, dark pocket thinking if he kept getting shocks like this he would age beyond his crocodile years, but Bertie was having none of it this time. He gave a big tug on Crocs tail as he was trying to make his escape and they were both catapulted into the daylight, much to Croc’s dismay. As their eyes became adjusted to the light Bertie was elated to find they had been placed on a log together over looking the 1820’s Boat House he had been getting so excited about and had wanted to show Croc. Croc hadn’t noticed the Boat House, he was too busy looking out for white swan ghosts again and identifying a plan of escape.

As Bertie chatted away to Croc about the history of the Boat House, how he had once been in there for a cup of tea when it was a cafe and how it was the most photographed thing at the lake, Croc slowly began to relax and found himself getting caught up in his colleagues enthusiasm. If Bertie isn’t scared when he has those stubbly little legs to help him escape, then I should be fine, thought Croc. It was at this moment that Croc truly began to take in the pretty cool scenery around him.