We are gearing up for Freyja starting school in September. This week was all about sorting out her school uniform. Like many of the schools in the area, there are certain items that are specific to the school and we could only get these from the uniform shop in Gloucester.
I always opt for visiting Cheltenham rather than Gloucester for shopping and so the girls have never been into Gloucester city centre. The uniform shopping was successful so we stopped for coffee (for me) and ice cream (for the girls) in a café. It was then that it struck me that Gloucester is the girls hometown. They were both born here. I felt sad that it had taken me so long to properly introduce them to the city.
As I had some time left before we needed to get back, I took the girls to the cathedral. The cathedral really is a magnificent building. The city of Gloucester is built on flat land, so the cathedral dominates the landscape. Freyja was intrigued by the ornate decorations on the outside of the building.
Inside the building, the girls automatically quietened down and appreciated the peacefulness of their surroundings. It felt like a an innate reaction that they should be quiet in here. They were in awe of the sheer size of the building that they were in, the colourful stained glass windows and the statues surrounding them.
We went for a walk around the cloisters. These are really beautiful – in a different way to the main body of the cathedral. The walls and ceiling is ornately carved – it’s fan vaulting is thought to be the earliest example of this in England, there are some beautiful stained glass windows, and in the centre there is a beautiful green oasis, tucked away within the cloister walls. Fans of the Harry Potter films will recognise the cloisters from the first two films, notably the bit in Chamber of Secrets where ‘The chamber of secrets has been opened’ is written in blood on the wall.
Today was just a fleeting visit. There were school skirts and shirts still left to buy, and another visit to Freyja’s school. But I made a vow that we will come back and revisit the cathedral and the city. I will make more of an effort to explore my girls’ hometown with them, to appreciate the area where they were born and find the parts that they will begin to love and feel proud of.