As I said in my last post, I’m going to be skipping around on the ‘story line’ of my travels. It’s just getting too complicated to try to keep up on each step of the journey. So, here I’m skipping my trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland and vicinities (which I’ll get back to later) and moving on to my time in Leicester, England.
I love this picture. It’s so ‘England’ to me. I took this on an early morning walk.
Why Leicester, you may ask? I was seeking out family history. I’ve written of it before – the gaping hole in my history that was my dad’s side of the family. For so many years, I had no connection. But that’s been remedied by my visit to Boston to meet my cousins. I hoped to find more family connection in Leicester.
It’s a city smack dab in the middle of England and the crossroads of two major railways.
There’s more history in Leicester than you can shake a stick at and I won’t be covering it here. Honestly, it’s not the reason I went there, plus English history is so long and convoluted, I would be doing an injustice by trying to join together the bits and pieces that were evident in this town.
Still, it was an interesting and pretty city.
Richard III played a big part in the history in Leicester and there are statues and museums and plaques in his honor all around town.
Guild Hall, which was built around 1390, was a meeting place for businessmen and the gentry. This building was nearly demolished in 1876. People at that time thought the building was old-fashioned and gloomy! Fortunately, that did not happen. Here are a few more pictures in and around Guild Hall.
It really was humbling to be walking around in this structure that was built so very long ago. You wondered what was discussed here. What was the mindset of these people? You try to imagine yourself there.
This reminded me of my visit to Asilomar in California. Good design is good design.
This is a church named Saint Mary de Castro.
A docent showed me a small patch of Medieval tile still in the floor – possibly from the 13th century.
So, what is in Leicester that is part of my family history? Possibly nothing. My last name, Kirby, is incredibly common and there are vestiges of it in England and Ireland. But, when I read many years ago there was a castle in England named Kirby-Muxloe, I had to see it. So, I did my research and found it’s open from March through October and I was on my way….
…and it was closed.
Come to find out it was vandalised this past year and from now on it’ll be closed in August. But, see that bit of brick in the lower right hand corner of the picture? That’s my English country home. Just sayin’.
So, what do you do when you have a travel setback or disappointment?
You take pictures of anything that’s remotely related to what you wanted to see (even if it’s a ratty post office sign that’s also advertising the local dry cleaners). Then you make the best of it, move on and be grateful you got to do anything at all.
Then you start taking pictures of all the pretty berries for something to do while you’re waiting for the bus back into town!
So, this blog post is for you sister, brother, Kirby cousins. I found our family home – now we’ve just gotta figure out how to get in!