An App-ELY-ing Day Out!

Paddy and Plunkett really did make the most of their recent trip across the water to England! They might have started out enjoying the lively university city of Cambridge, but they saw no reason to stop there.

Time to take a trip down the road to Ely, a city which started life as an abbey on an island in the fens (marshlands) of East Anglia. The city’s history has been full of ups and downs, mostly starring that abbey – it was founded in 673, destroyed by Vikings in 870, rebuilt again a hundred years later, and then in 1083 a Norman abbot decided that the site would be just perfect for a new cathedral. Work began in the early 1090s, and the result was a building that still stands today.
Beasties at Ely Cathedral - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesWell, mostly… The Norman-era central tower actually collapsed in 1322. However, Ely Cathedral wasn’t going to let that cramp its style – the tower was rebuilt and then some! What stands there now is the famous Octagon, which you can see in the centre background of this photo.
Ely Cathedral from the Front - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAs I’m sure you can imagine, Plunkett couldn’t wait to get inside this place for a closer look! Unfortunately, he really should have checked his diary first…
Palm Sunday at Ely - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… Because it turns out that the lads had rocked up on Palm Sunday! They decided to let the annual procession (complete with full choir and real live donkey!) pass them by, and headed off in search of morning coffee on the banks of the River Ouse instead.
Paddy Enjoys Coffee in the Sunshine - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesPaddy certainly wasn’t going to say no to another hour of lounging around in the sunshine!

Suitably caffeinated, the boys made their way back to the Cathedral… and this time they managed to get inside! Plunkett was immediately transfixed by the ornate interior…
Plunkett Inside Ely Cathedral - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties…While Paddy enjoyed the colourful stained glass and mosaic floors!
Stained Glass and Mosaics - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd then, there were the beautiful high arches of the Octagon!
Inside the Octagon - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Paddy, did you know that the roof and lantern in the centre of this tower are held up by timber structures that couldn’t be built now, because there aren’t big enough trees any more?”

“I didn’t. But Plunkett, did YOU know that you can climb up to the very top of this place and look out over the city?”


“Ah, go on!”

One third of the way there, and the ground is already starting to look very, very far away…
Going Up, at Ely Cathedral - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesBut the view from the top of the West Tower was totally worth the dizzying heights and sore paws!
View from the top of the West Tower - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesWell, it was for at least one of our monster friends!
Paddy's View From the Tower - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesOh dear, poor Plunkett! Will the boys make it safely back to ground level, or will Paddy sign them both up for a tandem bungee jump off the top of the tower? All will be revealed in a couple of weeks!

In the meantime, don’t forget to join us again next Tuesday, when I hope to be sharing a tutorial and pattern for my little felt bees! See you then!
A Little Felt Bee - CrawCrafts Beasties

23 thoughts on “An App-ELY-ing Day Out!

  1. The Beasties are much braver than I am. I would never even get up that high let alone look over the edge. I look forward to the bee tutorial – my 10 year old has gotten into felt crafting so it will appeal to him.

    1. Oh yes, I’ve been meaning to ask how he was getting on! I think I’ve figured out a way to get my templates into a share-able format so with any luck there will be a new project for him to work on next week! 🐝

        1. Erk, I remember those days all too well! I’m sure the summer holidays can’t get here soon enough. I had to look One Punch Man up (I’m clearly not as hip and with it as I used to be) but I’m impressed… Hope it’s going well for him!

        2. Last year, that kid was all about Steampunk; this year he is all about Anime and all things Japan. I have been having to buy sushi for his lunches.

        3. Well, it’s at least it’s healthier than McDonald’s! Don’t let him see the bento box lunches that Japanese kids take to school with them though, or you’ll really have your work cut out for you! That said, he might have fun making his own “onigiri”, which are kind of the Japanese equivalent of a convenience store sandwich…

        4. He hasn’t mentioned those. I’ll need to get him to look them up. I’ve neither the time or the budget for him to have a sushi lunch or bento box meal every day so he’ll just have to cope with boring old sandwiches and a piece of fruit.

        5. Ha! Proper order… Even now, I still class sushi as “treat food”. But if he keeps harping on about it, onigiri are simpler, with cheaper ingredients… Plus he can make them himself, and free up valuable art time for you!

  2. How do these two always get such glorious weather for their expeditions? Lucky they have sunglasses! I’m looking forward to the bee tutorial too for obvious reasons….

  3. Oh, I love this … I think the travel bug just bit me. I find abbeys and cathedrals always so compelling.
    To me, for some reason the first picture didn’t really look like it belonged to the other ones. So I googled an aerial view and now it makes sense. What a huge building – it expands in several directions. WOW!

    1. I know! There so many towers all over the building that I was getting confused myself when I wrote the post! I found the map on Ely Cathedral’s Wikipedia page really useful for getting my bearings. I think the interesting layout has a lot to do with the various additions and collapsings that have happened over the Cathedral’s lifetime, but it really makes for a fascinating place! Thanks for reading! πŸ˜€

  4. Wow! Just wow! I love the architecture of these old cathedrals and all the building, destruction, and rebuilding – and the competitions for the biggest/tallest churches back in the day. Still, it’s hard to muster the courage to climb their towers when you hear guides telling their groups about how many times the previous towers have collapsed (this is what kept me away from the tower of York Minster), so congrats to P&P on their bravery! And now I’m wondering just how big those trees were before they sacrificed their lives to the church.

    1. They must have meant “native timber”, because I imagine there are still big ol’ trees lurking in rainforests, or some species of sequoia that would probably do the job. Turns out ancient woodlands with large oaks are no match for densely-populated island nations hell-bent on playing “my church is bigger than your church”. And now I think I get why Plunkett was reluctant to stand too close to the edge… He was probably paying much closer attention to the guide! Cheers for stopping by, Tammie!

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