Before leaving the Cathedral, we sought out some nautical graffiti, on a pillar that would have been to the north of the Nave Altar. The ship is hard to date, but it is a reminder of the ebb and flow of people and cargoes up and down the Norwich river.
The stone on which it is scratched came from Caen in Normandy. Bishop Herbert Losinga who founded the church was a Norman and, maybe, the stone masons who cut and laid this stone were not a native East Anglians. At a time of the cathedral’s founding Norwich was a bustling Anglo-Viking community and links across the North Sea have continued to the present day.
The enduring links with Scandinavia can be seen in 13th Century Carrow Psalter, where one page tells the Story of St. Olaf
Making our way down river, we pass King Street which was once a buzzing dockside haunt of merchants and seafarers and, the nearby, St. Julian’s Church. Gentrification of the waterfront is in full flood, but signs of the commercial past are everywhere.
That night we moored on the edge of Norwich, at Commissioners Cut in Thorpe St.Andrew.
By morning the rain had passed and we were able to walk before heading down river to Postwick Wharf. The moorings are set in the Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Thorpe Marshes Nature Reserve, just across the river from the Whitlingham Country Park. After the rain, butterflies and dragon flies were beginning to fly and the wild flowers ( “consider the flowers,” the man said and the birds!)
The wild flowers were to die for!
<Not the smoothest link!>
The death dealing aspect of water is never far away, and here by the side of the peaceful river those who wander and wonder find a reminder. Three memorial benches
Stella Kambi, a Congolese teenager, died trying to rescue her cousin, Bonhuer Musungy, from St. Andrew’s Broad. Claudiu Mihai, a Romanian teenager, wanted to be with God, so took his own life! All three were immigrants, all three students at Thorpe St. Andrew School.Then and now, Norfolk is connected!
John Donne comes to mind!
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
Returning to the boat. we headed down river with the ebb ( cue Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Crossing the Bar?) towards our next stop at Postwick.