Wednesday, 04 August 2004
A World Tour Of Carlisle Castle
CREDIT: © Owen Ewart/OwenEwart.com
WHERE: Carlisle, England. WHAT: tour of the ancient town.
MAP: Carlisle. Thumbnails  and text  link pop-up larger images.
As cities go, Carlisle, England, is something of a newcomer, becoming by area the largest city in England on April Fools Day 1974. The Romans were there almost two thousand years before, and after them the Normans, who were really red haired Viking administrators, but without silly helmets. Those adopted Frenchmen were the ones who created the core of the city we know today, by building a  castle in 1092 AD and a  cathedral in 1122 AD, the two buildings that put the stamp of continental gravitas on so many British medieval towns. Tourists are the latest invaders of the city, not least among them the redoubtable Owen Ewart.
Taking small boys on cultural expeditions can be fraught with danger: the last time we did so, a trade for a following day of paint balling had to be negotiated. Arming the natives to keep the peace has a very poor record in the annals of history, but on that occasion it worked. Owen's World Tour of Carlisle Castle seems to have been a rip roaring success. The party made their way around the old heart of the city, now bisected by a modern inner city traffic relief road for which no millennium foot bridge could ever really be adequate compensation. Refreshment stops, and a trampoline session, were probably the Tourist version of bread and circuses to preempt any potential for rebellion. A great day out if you ever visit the city.
Not every hero gets to stand on the podium. In the recent 2004 edition of the Tour de France, Thomas Voekler fought off inevitable defeat like a true hero, cresting the Pyrenean climb of Plateau de Beille to retain the race leader's yellow jersey, for the following day and as far as the Alps. By the time the race reached Paris, Voekler had even lost the under-25 white jersey competition to Vladimir Karpets, but did show his colors and grinta around the final laps of the Champs Élysée. A champion can only be a hero by earning respect while winning, but the greatest of these is respect.
Now where were we going with this… oh, yes! Sometimes when we make the final picture selection there are images that do not make the cut, but are never the less worthy. We remember George MacDonald Fraser, author of 'Steel Bonnets' and the 'Flashman' series, being interviewed for the 'Debateable Lands' presentation, filmed in the inner keep of Carlisle's castle: a window onto the old town was the background. The metaphor was about power and oversight, which was visually evocative and semiologically powerful. Ladies and Gentlemen! Your appreciation please, for today's winner of the Thomas Voekler Award for best picture not on the podium.
|. . . . . . . . . . . . |
. . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .
Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)