I love this place


I'm in Salisbury. I gave myself a day here to adjust to the time change before the meetings tomorrow. I've seen Stonehenge and toured the cathedral on previous trips, so today I just went shopping. Tuesday is market day and I've never had a free Tuesday here before, so even "just shopping" has been a new experience. Salisbury is a medieval city; the cathedral is celebrating its 750th anniversary this year. A Renaissance Faire could be scattered among the buildings of the city center and no building or musician would stand out (unless they wore costumes.)

Nothing in the Renaissance Faire can match the 700-year-old Haunch of Venison pub, where I stopped in for a pint when my feet gave out this afternoon. The rooms are tiny, the ceilings low, the staircase narrow, the doors small. I saw (cue spooky music)...the hand. There's a petrified hand in one of the walls, which was discovered during an attempted remodel when some old brickwork was being knocked out. The hand is (supposedly) that of a vicar who was caught cheating while playing cards, and punishment was summarily carried out by the chopping off of his hand as it lay on the table. "Cards" are still visible under the fingers. Hard to believe these slips of paper would have survived being walled up for 700 years, but...oh well. It's a good story, and it's definitely a petrified hand. The place is supposedly haunted, but it's way cool enough with or without ghosts or even (reprise spooky music)...the hand.

August 2009

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