Monday, 3 July 2017

The Richard III experience

Simple but striking tomb of history's favourite villain
Finding a few bones in a car park seems to have transformed Leicester's fortunes. Suddenly an unremarkable east midlands city has become the Richard III Experience.
There are banners everywhere and anything remotely old has a display panel linking it to the crook-back king, one of history's great villains, whose remains were discovered under an old car park here that had been built on the site of the church in which he'd been buried after his defeat and death at the Battle of Bosworth.
You can't escape the Richard III experience
It was a discovery that caught the imagination and has got the tourism tills jangling. After a bit of argy-bargy with some distant relatives, Richard of York was re-buried not in York but here in Leicester Cathedral. It's given a rather modest little cathedral (a parish church until its1929 promotion into the episcopal premier league) a whole new life: the simple but striking tomb is centrepiece of a completely re-worked interior.
Don't get me wrong; I don't blame Leicester for cashing in - it certainly got us exploring what turned out to be a very likeable city. A fuller look is demanded tomorrow.
More of a weak and feeble stream today
The run into Leicester finally brought us off the canal and onto the River Soar, a change marked by a large 'Strong Stream' warning board. Today's stream was a feeble weakling: the pound north of Aylestone so low we were scraping through the bottom.
Seadog Brian can't enthuse about a football stadium
The mighty Freeman lock weir by the football stadium – the subject of hair raising warnings in the guidebooks – was barely trickling and we could watch egrets and terns feeding there while gliding past.
More prosaically, on the way in we also passed a canalside Aldi with a handy mooring - our first supermarket shop stop since back in Market Harborough.
The river runs into central Leicester along its Mile Straight, past smart new university buildings and high rise office blocks. It's lined with mooring bollards – all of them empty because boaters are warned off staying there in 'bandit country'. Instead we moor in a securely locked compound by the pretty Castle Park and, like the foxes and badgers, venture out at night when the locked park is empty.
And finally...seen on St Mary's Mill Lock:

Something of a contrast in messages

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