Snorbens

Gargoyles, St Albans Cathedral

If the title of this piece means nothing to you, the photo below (and the photo at the top) may possibly give you a clue.

St Albans Belfry

Yesterday (Saturday), we visited the Hertfordshire town of St Albans (affectionately known as “Snorbens”) and that is where these photos were taken. The Clock Tower is a fascinating building to visit and it is of historic interest. The gargoyles appear along one of the sides of the Cathedral.

Café Rouge, St Albans

There is a lot to see in St Albans without even leaving the centre of town, such as the curious building that houses the local branch of the Café Rouge. This is especially true on a Saturday when the street market is in session.

Today, we were not looking for the usual and the photos that follow show some of the interesting things we did see.

St Albans Cathedral
St Albans Cathedral from the Vintry Garden
St Albans Cathedral
Façade of St Albans Cathedral. Note the Buddhist monk in the foreground

First, however, as St Albans is, of course, a cathedral city, I suppose you will be expecting a couple of photos of the Cathedral. Let’s get it over and done with, then.

Verulamium Park

For me, the highlights of the day were our two visits to Verulamium Park. If you wonder at the name, the explanation is that Verulamium is the name given by the Romans to their settlement in what later became St Albans. The name comes from the original Celtic name, Verlamion, but I have no idea where that comes from. The Park is a beautiful green space with grass and trees, with a huge ornamental lake in the centre. It is home to a large population of water fowl and other birds. Some of our encounters, later facilitated by the purchase of a packet of seeds, are shown below.

Doves on sign post
White dovers on a signpost
Moorhen
Moorhen with a beautiful red face-blaze

Pretty goose but I don’t know of what species
Adult coot
The coots are very bold here and even sometimes chase ducks away!
Feed me!
This coot chick is begging an adult for food
Hypnotic waters
Coot chick swimming on swirling hypnotic waters

It was a beautiful sunny day and there were lots of people on the banks, especially parents with their children. There were families among the birds too.

Canada Goose family
A family of Canada Geese
Duck family
Mother and ducklings
Heron family
A family of herons on the island in the lake

There were some characters among the birds, too. Some liked to boss the others about but the more indivualistic kept to themselves.

Curly Tail
Old Curly Tail
Old Blue Eyes
Old Blue Eyes: “Got any bread?”
Red Face
Old Red Face: imperturbable

We had very many fascinating encounters with water fowl and other birds but I risk boring you with any more avian pictures. Here are some other sights we saw on our explorations.

Old ford
The old ford beside the bridge that replaced it
Church clock dial
Church clock dial: I think it is unusual to find them without numbers
Sea beast
Is this a big fish or a dolphin? Seen in the garden of the museum

Oh, all right. Just one more bird picture, because this one seems to symbolize a happy lazy afternoon spent en famille. Moments after this photo was taken, a dog came and chased them all into the water but as soon as he had gone, they climbed back out and resumed snoozing!

Lazy afternoon

St Albans is a fine place to go on a warm and sunny day. There is plenty to see both in the open air and indoors: there are two museums, a free one – my favourite, obviously! – and a spanking new one with an entry fee though, regrettably, this was closed when we visited it. For lunch we went to the Waffle House on the site of the old water mill. We had a Thai vegetable curry.. on a waffle… and a naughty dessert of sliced banana and cinnamon sugar with ice cream. This was not served on a waffle, fortunately.

Will we be going back to St Albans? Oh yes, definitely. For one thing, we want to go up the Clock Tower again, something we did not do this time around but have done before. Knowing my fascination with clocks, you will understand why. The views from the top are splendid too!

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About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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6 Responses to Snorbens

  1. emalyse says:

    Glad you enkjoyed ‘Snorbans’.Filmed many a wedding at the Cathedral & Abbey (that & St Stephen’s Church across town).Used to go to the St Albans Arena for the odd show too. There’s a quaint little book store further down the high street (Holywell Hill?) whose name escapes me but there’s a overflow section in which you literally have to walk across the back garden to get to it.

  2. Ed says:

    Thanks for the guided tour. I had planned to spend three days in England in June, unfortunately due to the exams papers I have to mark, I won’t be able to go. So your blog is a very pleasant substitute. I will come back !

  3. SilverTiger says:

    As an ex-teacher who well knows the dread of exam marking, I sympathize. Such a shame that you missed your trip. I do hope it is merely postponed and that you will make it later. I look forward to seeing an account on your blog.

    Maybe I will cover places that you have visited too and if so, I look forward to seeing your comments.

  4. SilverTiger says:

    To emalyse: I think I know the bookshop you mean though there are several.

    I am sure we will go back in the not so distant future.

  5. Catz says:

    Loved the pictures!

  6. SilverTiger says:

    Thanks, I enjoyed taking them.

    You have some nice photos on your blog too. I liked the rabbit (you can almost read his/her expression!) and the bee on the flower: insects are always hard to capture.

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