Monday, 20 April 2015

Leicester Visit:: Part Two

Hello! And welcome to part two of my Leicester visit. It seems like just as I left university, exciting things started happening in the city- namely the confirmation that the skeleton they had just dug up in the carpark was definitely Richard III, the building of a new museum to commemorate his life and death, the funeral procession and reburial, and the re-landscaping of the Cathedral garden.

Therefore, all of this section was new to me and I just had to go and have a look!

The garden was very pretty. Before it had been a grassy jumble of headstones and ivy, whereas now the stones had been moved into little bordered hedge sections, trees had been planted with seating areas and there were lots of brightly coloured tulips in the new flowerbeds.

Inside the cathedral was Richard III himself, buried under a new tomb stone. I was slightly disappointed in the stone, having thought that it should be slightly more ornate than this very modern block of marble, but I was cheered by the sight of a beautifully stitched piece of cloth known as a funeral Pall. It was made by Jacquie Binns, who was specially commissioned to design and create a cover for the coffin. The Pall consists of a series of figures sewn onto black velvet, and features groups of medieval figures as well as modern people associated with the discovery of Richard.

It was absolutely beautiful, with amazing stitched details and shiny golden threads.

After a highly historical morning, we hopped into the car and drove to Bradgate Deer Park- another place steeped in history, and, as we discovered in the visitors centre, with a link to Richard III.
The connection of this place to Richard III is through the family of Lady Jane Grey. She was the Great Great Grandaughter of Elizabeth Woodville and Kind Edward IV, who was the brother of Richard (as well as being the Great Great Grandaughter of Elizabeth Woodville -again- and John Grey of Groby- oh what a tangled web we weave!). In the visitors centre they have a great section on the Grey family and their connections and history, well worth a visit.

I love how the above photo seems to show the stag laughing!

I have been here once before, when my friend Emma came to visit me, and learned a little bit about the history of Bradgate House which was one of the earliest brick built houses in England, and also the birthplace of Lady Jane Grey (Queen of England for 9 days). It was nice to visit it again, even if it was blowing a gale!!

There was one tiny little group of ducklings paddling about in the choppy stream, they were so cute! They weren't going to stand still to be photographed though.

We wandered along for a little while and then decided to stop and have our picnic lunch at one of the provided benches. Someone (above) kept a close eye on us the entire time, just in case we left any leftovers.

And even Elvis popped out to share in some Lemon cake- the poor chap has lost an eye, I will need to make him a patch I think.

Although I know that Bradgate is a deer park, the amount of deer there still surprised me. There were hundreds and hundreds of them! I don't remember there being this many last time I visited but there was one particular field which must have had about two hundred, and that was only one field in the entire park! Mostly Fallow Deer although there were a few herds of Red Deer mingling in.

There's the Old John Tower up on the hill, one of Leicestershire's most famous landmarks.

At the end of our long walk to the centre of the park, we stopped at one of the bird watching hatches overlooking the reservoir. There wasn't much to see though, a Blue Tit pinching bits out of the wall on the other side, a few Moorhens, Coots and Ducks and a confused Cormorant who couldn't decide which way it wanted to go and kept swimming between the trees in the above photo.

Eventually we had to say goodbye to the deer and made our way back to the car. But even on the drive back home there were things to see. This beautiful reservoir, whose name I can't find, caught our eye and we had to stop to take a closer look. It was so still and peaceful.

I had such a lovely time in the outdoors. It's amazing what natural beauties you can find so close to a city, and somehow it makes them all the more special. Join me tomorrow for the third and final day of my trip.

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