First impressions no longer count in these days of declining town-centre shops. Certainly when the first requirement is somewhere to eat a modest lunch most High Streets are to be avoided. The usual chains were not our aim so we found an independent place that the locals seemed to favour. We were soon fortified for our destination in Chichester.
Destinations we found, as a sign to the cathedral diverted us while waiting for the hour appointed for our visit to Pallant House. How glad we were to be diverted; the only regret was not having longer to spend at the cathedral because the sign also triggered a memory that a John Piper tapestry was to seen there.
If not the high point of our day’s art it was a challenger. Piper also designed stained glass for Robinson College Cambridge and this was similar in imagery and colours. Piper’s work on churches during the second world war and the years after is justly memorable, and it is fitting that Pallant House has one of those to compare with the tapestry.
There are various features of the cathedral that gained from the persistence of Walter Hussey in commissioning “gifts” from prominent artists and composers. Piper was one; another was Leonard Bernstein, whose Chichester Psalms suggest a soundtrack to Silver Travel reviews could be an enhancement.
Long before Dean Hussey the cathedral also acquired the Arundel tomb that inspired a poem by Philip Larkin. This was not one of his hatless and doffed bicycle clips visits to a church. The poem is printed and hung in a frame at the foot of the tomb, a reminder that “What will survive of us is love.”
The cathedral close is another place for spending time and although it leads back to the High Street the way goes under an elegant Tudor arch. Going towards Pallant House there are more elegant buildings in quiet streets, again fit places for contemplation. We said we would return for a short or perhaps long break next year, particularly if infection from foreign travel remains a risk. There is still the coast to see and Fishbourne Roman villa is nearby as well as places like Great Dixter and Sissinghurst from which we have been absent too long.