Every Day I Write the Book

Taking advantage of mild weather today,  we went on a cycle ride into Lichfield. It was too far to walk, but a good distance for winter, less accustomed cyclists and also Paul had recommended Lichfield in particular. The first hurdle was seeing if the tandem could get past the couch. It did without any oil going on the fabric. Success!

Lichfield has several attractions and we didn’t have time for them all but first port of call was a coffee shop. The building and friendly staff was enough to recommend the Minster Coffee Shop, but it was a first to purchase a cake that coordinated with Shane’s cycling jacket. It hit the spot as did Shane’s scone with jam and clotted cream.


Hi-viz cheesecake

Lichfield is famous as being the place of birth of Samuel Johnson and had statues of both him and Boswell. His house is a free museum with many tiny rooms and we were greeted very warmly. I would recommend it as an easy paced tour. His dictionary is on display, both in a glass case and a reprint that can be handled. Largely more suited to adults, there are children’s attractions scattered around.

Dictionary extracts in the form of an alphabet poster.

The dictionary was his magnus opus and is impressive but he did make his living before then through writing in many ways and had an early love of books, growing up in a book shop. Johnson’s fame was increased after his death with the publication of his biography by Samuel Boswell.


There is much to divert the visitor but the cathedral is an obvious draw to Lichfield. Shane is not usually keen to go into a church and I sometimes pop in alone, so I was taken aback to see him agree , not just to go inside,but to join a tour advertised as 45 minutes long, particularly as I was looking for a toilet and he’d suggested I could try looking in the cathedral for one. I didn’t ask the tour guide for a toilet. He was very engaging and we were given the surprise demonstration of a rising and descending floor and allowed to sit in the choir seats. I was glad that the common practice of foot washing was not on offer, though we were shown the pedilavium. There was also on display an ancient handwritten translation of the gospels from Latin into English, which appeared to have some women involved in its production. The cathedral has 5 organists and I have found out tonight that my former colleague (and Facebook friend) has played there.


Organ pipes in the windows at Lichfield cathedral, viewed from the choir seats.


We enjoyed the tour though it had overrun by about 20 minutes. Our enthusiastic guide passed round links to his blog afterwards. We didn’t give him a link to ours.

We headed for a late lunch/ afternoon tea. I wondered about returning to the cafe we had elevenses in , but alas Thursday is it’s half day and it closes after lunch. Perhaps a return visit is in order to take advantage of the savoury menu.


Afternoon “tea” with a difference

We found a bakery with a cafe but alas still no toilet, but still a quick tasty snack was available and Shane searched for toilets on his phone. I headed to the library opposite which had a large sign saying toilets were not for public use. Fortunately public toilets were available next to the park, so a comfortable cycle back was assured. We passed this sign on the way in and out of Lichfield….it doesn’t say whether bikes are allowed. We did find cycle parking not far away.



Cycling in the close, do the Dean and Chapter allow it?