Friday, 8 April 2011

Castle Gardens

On the bank just above us, beyond the ornate but locked gates which protects the moored boats from any unwanted visitors, is Castle Gardens. Apparently it marks the spot that was first settled by the Romans when they founded their city of Ratae back in the first century AD.
Since then successive generations have added their bit to it and since the ground naturally rises up to a mound, this was the obvious place for the Normans to build one of their fortified Mottes in the Middle Ages. Somewhere in the city too lay buried the remains of King Richard III, slain by the Tudors at the Battle of Bosworth (a site also close to a waterway; the Ashby Canal) in 1485. Though very little of the castle now remains, I couldn’t help wondering how much action and slaughter this garden area must have seen over the centuries. The manicured rock gardens and flowerbeds now so well looked after, hide beautifully what must have been a very unforgiving and turbulent past.
Today the Sun brought out all the good things, including the flowers. As I passed through there was a wedding party celebrating with photographs and the lawns were well scattered with happy people soaking up the Sun’s welcome warmth. There were a few holiday makers like me but most were company employees male and female in their in their sombre office suits, enjoying their respective lunch hours. The ladies were most cheeky with their hitched up skirts showing a lot of shiny lycra legs and tops pealed down to let the Sun get to their white shoulders and chests as was just about decent. The men, more diffident in their aspirations, were content to sit uncomfortably and in particular self-consciously on the grass with their plastic lunchboxes, having removed their jackets and ties back at the office.
It was a lovely warm day and something we are not used to in early April.
I did some shopping in town; went to Primark to buy tee shirts, jeans and socks for the summer and then went to have a look at St Martin’s Cathedral. It’s a small cathedral to any standard and reminded me more of a large parish church and like a lot of other buildings in this city, was not very old, though of course there were old parts in it. I get the feeling that Leicester is a very modern city today with its many pedestrianized shopping areas. With all the large national companies here it is a shopaholic’s dream city.
I have reprovisioned my cupboards and fridge and am now ready to move on tomorrow.

‘Futurest’ moored on the River Soar at Leicester

The Turret Gateway.
All that remains of the castle in its original form

St Martin’s Cathedral

Statue of King Richard III in Castle Gardens

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