Beauty And The Beast

Shane had heard of a carillon in the park in Loughborough and a museum, so we headed there, to find that the museum was closed that day due a staff shortage and despite a sign saying there was carillon performance at one o’clock ‘today’ there were only carillon playings on Thursdays and Sundays and ‘today’ was Wednesday. More on that story later then. But the park and town had other things to explore and our disappointment at the museum’s closure was upturned when we realised that while the cafe was the same building, it had a separate entrance and was not short staffed so lunch was near at hand after all. We admired the bell made for St Paul’s Cathedral, or at least its mould and noted the aviary close by then went for something to eat.

The aviary was full of a wide variety of birds and amazing sounds, some like a phone ringing. The was a guide and a sign to explain the sad story of Banjo, a bird so distressed by the loss of a friend that he had plucked himself. He had stopped this self harming once a friend, Janet, was introduced. Banjo had permanently damaged the feather follicles so that they could not grow back but Janet seemed to be managing to be friends anyway and they were to be seen close to each other (but in the darkest spot for photographs mainly) and he would call to her. She is a golden beauty but Banjo has not been rejected.

It looks like a happy outcome for Banjo. The park is beautiful but includes three unusual memorials to war. One was a modern artist’s response to the topic of war and the stages of grief bedded in flowers. The largest was a tower, a more traditional monument, a building, with the names of people on it but having the musical element as a different touch. The place being famous for bell making might be the reason. They also had a nearby horse statue, a beloved beast that survived the first world war and lived to a ripe old age, decorated with honours.

We continued in the park and found another monument, a legacy of Loughborough, and a world famous business. Benches were in the shape of ladybird books. I hadn’t known they came from here. They make a colourful addition to an already varied park. They cover so many topics and the style is so familiar, even in the gigantic glossy form of these benches.

We left the park, looking elsewhere, in search of other interests. The Old Rectory has a museum but was not open today, Saturdays only. It had gardens to look round though, so we headed that way. On the way through town we found more of the benches. I recognised the fairy tale stories. I had a few of those myself. We had a seat just along from Cinderella, so I could take something out of my shoe. Shane decided he was right to think the benches were attractive but not comfortable (a beauty and a beast maybe), but I found it okay. We weren’t on it long and I was preoccupied rather than trying to get comfortable so it served its function well.

The garden of the Old rectory had some wicker structures, the bell was a recurrent theme, but otherwise they were garden and nature based. The giant dragonfly doesn’t fit in the bug hotel and looks a bit scary. There was another one and Shane was pointing it out but wasn’t so sure what to make of him being included in the photo and me saying it was for a Beauty And The Beast theme. Which is which, he wondered.

Later in the afternoon we hit upon a great cafe and Shane had the last slice of chocolate and banana bread and I had a deluxe flapjack. They were quite beautiful and beastly in their own way. I loved my iced earl grey and elderflower tea. I recommend Public.

Today we did get into the museum and Shane had another encounter with a giant insect. Did the same question come to mind I wondered? At least this time they were colour co-ordinated. The museum was very well done, full of beasts, beautiful tapestry and fairy tales.