Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – England chapter Oxford, Cotswold & Around has to say about St Albans Cathedral:
Under the name Verulamium, St Albans was the third-biggest city in Roman Britain. Its current name derives from Alban, a Christian Roman soldier who was martyred here in about AD 250, becoming the first English martyr. These days, it’s a bustling and prosperous market town bordering London’s northwestern fringes, with a host of crooked Tudor buildings, elegant Georgian town houses and a fantastic multi-era cathedral.
St Albans Cathedral, built by King Offa of Mercia in 793 around the tomb of St Alban, is a magnificent mélange of Norman Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The longest medieval nave in the country gives way to ornate ceilings, semi-lost 13th-century wall paintings, rounded Norman arches built with reused brick from Roman Verulamium and, of course, the shrine of St Alban, hid- den behind a stone reredos (an ornamental screen covering the wall at the back of an altar).
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
After taking a half hour tour of the cathedral, and loving every minute of it, I stopped to admire the choir lofts and the carving of Saint Alban. I raised my camera and snapped a photo, and then proceeded to move forward to get a closer shot. A statue of Saint Albans was above a doorway at the end of the choir loft and I was looking up at it. I didn’t see that there was one step down and after missing the step, I twisted my ankle and fell forward hard onto the floor of the cathedral.
I heard a loud sound coming from my ankle and then a crash as my camera hit the floor. The incredible thing is my camera was fine and every other part of me was fine except for the left side of my foot below the ankle. After hearing the loud sound from my ankle I was worried that one of the small bones in my foot was cracked or broken. Luckily I was able to hobble out of the Cathedral, and drive the car one kilometre to the Saint Albans hospital.
Luck was again on my side and it was a quiet afternoon with only one other patient in the Minor Injury Unit. I was seen very quickly by a nurse practitioner who examined my ankle. She was convinced it was just a sprain and there was no need to x-ray it. She gave me some advice, a double tensor bandage from my toes to my knee, and a lovely cane to take with me.
Prior to seeing the nurse practitioner, I had filled out all the medical documents and given my travel insurance information. I was expecting to have to pay for everything, but was told there would be no charge as I was not being sent on for further testing. Wow!
I managed to drive the two hours to Heathrow with little or no discomfort. From then on, I did as I was told and spent the balance of the day and all day yesterday with my foot elevated and ice packs on it. We were treated royally by all the staff at the Renaissance hotel, and when I requested an upgrade they gave us gold status that included access to the executive lounge.
We spent all the non-resting time there having complementary food and wine. The attendant even went to another part of the hotel to fetch a bottle of Chilean wine for me when I pointed out I couldn’t drink Australian wine. Having a cane on your arm is not so bad when you’re still somewhat mobile and not in too much pain!
I only had to take one Tylenol the first night because my foot was aching a little, but after that, despite the fact that I am limping and my ankle is very swollen, I didn’t have to take any painkillers.
We decided we could still carry on with our plans to travel to Georgia, but felt we had to make a decision about the return flights home. I wasn’t at all sure how long the injury would take to heal, we decided to fly home on the 13th November instead of the 21st.
I’m so glad that we took our friend’s advice and visited St Albans. The cathedral it was absolutely stunning, and my only regret is that instead of taking pictures during our tour, I thought I would wait and take them quietly afterwards. As a result, I have very few shots to remember the exquisite architecture.
I’m of the firm opinion that my accident was caused by the fact that I didn’t stop and say a wee prayer to Saint Albans at his shine. It’s something I do in most places of worship, I usually give thanks for my good health and the continuing good health of friends and family around me. Do you think that St Albans could be so spiteful?