Empty spaces

Life Over the weekend I visited York to see my old friend Denise and we went to see York Minster because the seating has been removed to make way for a ball which also has the side effect of providing an opportunity to see the naive as it would have been in the earlier parts of the past millennium. The building has not had an easy life, wrecked by fire and poor architecture, but as it stands now, it's a remarkable space, although curiously without the chairs, as Denise noted, it feels smaller. Which is odd because the photographs I've taken which are waiting to be developed show people sitting and standing and still being dwarfed by the central columns.

We called in at mid-day and the church was quiet busy, but the crowds and guided talks didn't stop the enjoyment of just being there. When I visited Notre Dame in Paris, despite its immensity, I ended up leaving far more quickly than I'd planned simply because I couldn't contemplate and think in that way that churches are supposed to allow even questioners like me. Some of our time was spent looking up at the bosses designed by Blue Peter viewers to replace the ones destroyed by fire in 1984. For some reason the judges decided that two of them should feature astronauts.

Once Denise had got the bus home and I'd looked around the city a bit more, I returned to the Minster for Evensong. By this time it had gone dark and the artificial lights were illumining the place giving it a completely different visual complexion. New shadows meant that carvings were much more apparent with faces and figures suddenly becoming slightly more sinister. But the voice of the choir and the lessons somehow nullified this and unlike earlier in the day it became somewhere for quiet contemplation. I wanted to lie in the centre of the marble floor looking up at the ceiling, letting the atmosphere wash over me, but something held me back. So instead I simply paced around looking at everything anew, listened to the music for a few moments more then headed for home too.

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