August 9 – Children’s Holiday Programme at the Cathedral

Icelandic Spar for Navigating

Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

When we went to work it was a nice day though considerably cooler than any day in the last two months. However, by the time we came to walk home at the end of the day, it had been raining nearly all day. We were still dressed for summer in light clothes so managed to get thoroughly wet on the way home.

The first of the children’s three Holiday Programmes was on today from 10 am to 12.30 pm. Its title was “Naughty Normans”. Visiting our mosaic was the second of nine activities on their program so we were inundated by children from about three and thirteen accompanied by their parents or grandparents. We explained about how the mosaic was made and then suggested they find, Harold getting the arrow in his eye, always a popular scene, Halley’s Comet, and the guy taking a “selfie”.

That always amuses the adults but with that age children, I think they don’t realise the humour as they have no idea that the Normans could not take a selfie. Just to explain, in the Battle of Fulford and Stamford Bridge section which Michael and Rachael added to the Medieval Mosaic, there is a scene of a guy holding something up to the sky, which looks like a man taking a selfie. It depicts the navigator on one of Harold Hardrada’s ships attempting to navigate on a cloudy day. He is holding a piece of Icelandic Spar which when held up to the sky diffracts the light allows the navigator to pinpoint the sun even on a cloudy day. There is only one seam of Icelandic Spar in the United Kingdom in the cliffs on the beach near Brixham, Torbay, Devon. We found it while doing an earthcache in Torbay on 27 July 2016. We were very excited to learn about this. When we went back to Rachael’s home in Berry Pomeroy we told her all about it and she dashed away to her room. She returned with a piece of Icelandic Spar which she had purchased to give Mike as a gift. A wonderful coincidence!

The afternoon at the exhibition was also busy with visitors and one lady told us about the Framework Knitters Museum which we must visit in Ruddington, Nottingham when we are up that way. It looks very interesting especially since William Lee who invented the framework knitting machine may have been an ancestor of Michaels and considering that this is how we have made our living for the past 31 years.