Damian in Anglesey   Sun Mar 23, 2008 12:12 pm GMT
To all those to whom Easter means something other than chocolate eggs and simnel cake!:


Featured on BBC1-TV Songs of Praise on Easter Sunday, 2007

Recorded in Lichfield Cathedral, Staffordshire, England. The cathedral at Lichfield is magnificent, with imposing spires dominating the city and surrounding countryside. The city was the birthplace of one of the world's greatest lexicographers - a great lover of the English Language and its construction - Dr Samuel Johnson. 1709-1784. Not only did he love the written word, but the spoken word also, and he was one of the most brilliant of conversationalists of the English Language. All his works deal with the beauties and intricacies of English in quite some style.

It was inevitable that his fame and fortune drew him away from Lichfield, and he lived out his life in London, a city he adored. One of his most well remembered sayings relates to London:

"When one is tired of London, one is tired of life".

Pob bendith y Pasg i chwi oll. Blessings of Easter to all.
K. T.   Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:48 am GMT
I don't know what simnel cake is, but I do like hearty music and good group singing. I guess that cathedral has good acoustics!
Damian yn Sir Fon*   Mon Mar 24, 2008 12:27 pm GMT
Simnel cake has been associated with Eastertide in the UK (mainly England) since the coming of St Augustine in the year 567AD and thus the dawning of Christianity into Britain, and the Roman Catholic faith which eventually became the established religion of these islands until the bloated, self indulgent King Henry VIII of England sort of changed things around a wee bit to suit his own selfish ends.

Simnel cake is traditionally eaten on Easter Day. Basically, it's a fruit cake made up of flour,butter, eggs, spices, currants, raisins, sultanas, glace cherries, mixed peel and grated orange, and topped with almond paste over a glazing of apricot jam, and then with twelve marzipan balls in a circle around the top of the cake, and which represent the twelve apostles of Christ.

This is another link with a nice example of the "group singing" you say you like....this time Songs of Praise went to Gloucester Cathedral, as you can see. I am familar with this cathedral as my grandparents now live on the border of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, in a place not far away from Gloucester. It's huge, and the acoustics are great, as you can hear. The cathedral contains the tomb of the English King Edward II (b.1284 -d.1327) - the scourge of us Scots back then! - but he didn't deserve his very cruel putting to death at nearby Berkeley Castle in 1327. His tomb is a shrine to this day, especially by certain sections of the community) and on the two times I was in Gloucester Cathedral his tomb was covered in posies and bouquets of flowers.

I have to say, as a Scot, that the cathedrals of England are truly magnificent edifices - invariably huge and of varying styles of architecture - and the choral music events constantly being held in all of them (apart from normal services) bear testimony to the fantastic acoustics of these ancient buildings. Gloucester, and nearby Hereford and Worcester cathedrals, are alternate venues of the annual Three Choirs Festival held each August.

Scottish (and Welsh - I am in Wales at the moment but leaving to drive back home to Scotland in a couple of hours' time!) cathedrals are much smaller than the English ones. Not far from here in North Wales is Bangor Cathedral, and really beautiful as it is, it can be said to be smaller than a fair number of "normal" English parish churches!


*"yn Sir Fon" - "In Anglesey" (Welsh) Anglesey is in NW Wales.
K. T.   Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:34 am GMT
Thank-you for the very interesting information and the links. I probably should have said "choral" singing.

Was that greeting Welsh? I don't know any Gaelic languages except a word or two in Irish.
K. T.   Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:35 am GMT
The cake also sounds delicious!
Damian n Edinburgh   Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:35 am GMT
Yes, the greeting was in Welsh. And yes - the cake is really yummy, but you have to like marzipan almond paste - it can be an acquired taste! I have a good mate down in North Wales (he coaches me in Welsh) and I always like going down there - you have the feeling of being in a "foreign" country somehow as soon as you cross the border - it must have something to do with all the road signs and bi-lingual road markings! Oh - and they way they are all speaking Welsh I some area as soon as you enter a small village shop - but generally they revert to English when they realise that you are a "foreigner"! And I love the way the Welsh love us Scots so much!