Success is getting what you want; happiness is liking what you get

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Bayeux Tapestry at Reading

We caught our First Great Western train from Kingham to Reading after collecting our £8.00 senior day tickets. Our journey to Reading was to view Britain's version of the Bayeux Tapestry. The original was commissioned by Bishop Odo of Bayeux, (half brother to William the Conqueror), about 1070.

Glennis and Jenny at Reading Museum

Elizabeth and Thomas Wardle saw the Tapestry, (actually an embroidery) on a visit to Bayeux in 1885. Elizabeth, with the help of her friends from the Leek Embroidery Society, stitched a replica "so that England should have a copy of its own". The designs were traced from photos and transferred to lenghts of linen. The 35 embroiderers took just over a year to complete it and the 70 metre project toured extensively. The replica is now housed at the Reading Museum in a specially designed and illuminated case.

Although we knew that this was a very long embroidery, we were amazed at how very long it was in reality. It tells the story of the events leading up to and including William's victory over Harold (the last Saxon King of England) at Hastings in 1066. It shows 626 people, 174 horses, 55 dogs, and numerous ships, trees and buildings. This was another item on Jenny's "must see" list and it was wonderful to see this amazing piece of work up close. Although a replica, it has been faithfully copied.

After all this history we took a walk down by the Kennett River, dodging the raindrops as we stood admiring the redeveloped Oracle shopping complex. Robin commented that it would be great to see a canal boat go by. And when he wasn't looking, one appeared, and not only that it was flying a New Zealand flag. Kiwis are everywhere.

The Kennett River at The Oracle

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