(the links - the phrases which are printed in green - will take you back to the original posts if you click on them)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~And speaking of bikes.....
A few posts ago we were at St Andrew's Church in Chesterton. I went there to look at the medieval wall paintings...I also found the plaque to the memory of Anna Maria Vassa, the daughter of a slave....and, while poking about, I spotted and photographed the royal coat of arms seen above.
It was hidden away in the gloom at the foot of the bell-tower but I photographed it anyway as I liked its exuberance and ornamentation. Yesterday I edited the photo on the computer. Now when I say "edited" I actually mean I pushed it to the absolute limit to see how much detail I could uncover by increasing the contrast and colour of a rather dingy image.
And there it was - at the top are the letters J2 and R which indicates that it was created during the reign of King James II, which dates it very precisely to between 1685 and 1688, the period of his brief time on the throne. This means that it's not only extremely old but also as rare as hen's teeth since very few coats of arms would have been commissioned during such a short period and of course even fewer would have survived.
The royal crest has undergone many subtle changes over the centuries. if you look at the central roundel you will see that the top-left and bottom right quadrants show the triple fleur-de-lys of France; this is because England maintained that it had a claim to the French throne during this period. At the bottom there's the English rose and the Scottish thistle celebrating the recent union of the two countries.
And finally......I said that I feared for the safety of the two model sheep which had appeared outside some Cambridge offices. They are just the kind of thing which appeals to the playful and imaginative side of the great minds which we have here at Cambridge University. The other Saturday morning I saw that the inevitable had been attempted; drunken sheep-rustlers had been at work. They hadn't quite succeeded in liberating the poor animal but they'll be back...they'll be back....