Wednesday, 18 March 2015

England's oldest and most perfect almshouse

The Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty is a medieval almshouse in Winchester, Hampshire, founded between 1133 and 1136. It is the oldest charitable institution in the United Kingdom

When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.

The founder was Henry de Blois, Bishop of Winchester, grandson of William the Conqueror,  younger brother to King Stephen of England

It must be, I thought, one of the race's most persistent and comforting hallucinations to trust that "it can't happen here" -- that one's own time and place is beyond cataclysm.

Not only is it the oldest but is also the largest medieval almshouse in Britain; it is built on the scale of an Oxford or Cambridge college, but is older than any of the colleges at the universities. 

And we danced, on the brink of an unknown future, to an echo from a vanished past.

It has been described as "England's oldest and most perfect almshouse"

Until then I had always thought of loneliness as something negative—an absence of company, and, of course, something temporary... That day I had learned that it was much more. It was something which could press and oppress, could distort the ordinary and play tricks with the mind. Something which lurked inimically all around, stretching the nerves and twanging them with alarms, never letting one forget that there was no one to help, no one to care. It showed one as an atom adrift in vastness, and it waited all the time its chance to frighten and frighten horribly—that was what loneliness was really trying to do; and that was what one must never let it do...

Anybody who has had a great treasure has always led a precarious existence

Children have a different convention of the fearful until they have been taught the proper things to be shocked at.

Most people prefer to be coaxed or wheedled, or even driven. That way they never make a mistake: if there is one, it's always due to something or somebody else.

The clock is the most sacred thing in a hospital

It seemed to me an odd view to take - rather as if one should protest that one didn't LIKE the idea of dying or being born. I preferred the notion of finding out first how it would be, and then doing what one could about the parts of it one disliked most.

Everyone starts by knowing nothing about anything, but God gives him brains to find out with. 

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