Monday, 19 January 2009

The sheep and the goats

This morning, I visited Worcester. Although it's hardly ever been much more than half an hour away from where we've lived, it's terra virtually incognita. As I had to go anyway (see below), I thought I'd look up Jenkins's verdict on houses of possible interest. As a result I found myself going round The Commandery.

This has to be one of the best museums I've seen. There are six layers of history specifically peeled back via the free audioguide, but even if you haven't the patience to listen, its displays can't fail to impress.

I particularly liked the room painted (probably about 1500) with murals, including this one. An archangel (Michael?) is holding scales in which lie the souls of the recently departed. (The Commandery was once a hospital: were the dying left - to die - in this room?) It's a tug of war, whether each soul goes to the devil (below left), or whether Mary prevails, with the aid of those heavy rosary beads.

Sobre to reflect on this after I'd left The Commandery and was kneeling in Worcester Crematorium! An old friend of my mother had died, aged 93. I often asked my mother why they were such good friends, as on the face of it they didn't seem to have much in common. "She was very good to me when your grandmother died," my mother said. In 1947.

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