I went for a walk in Colchester. I hadn’t been there in years, not since I spent a year at the university studying European drama and making myself unemployable. Inevitably some parts of the city seemed very familiar and surprise, surprise some things had changed out of all recognition.
This piece of sculpture on the High Street was a great addition, ‘Woman (walking)’ by Sean Henry – that’s a good, snappy, unpretentious title you’ve got there, Sean.
And I walked in Castle Park, the grounds of Colchester Castle, a fine castle however you look at it, even if you’re not all that interested in castles.
The gardeners were out planting.
And I suppose they probably plant all year round, because all at once I came upon a crowd (I’m not sure I’d really call it a host) of daffodils, and I don’t honestly know if there were ten thousand of them - counting daffodils is a tricky business - but there were certainly plenty of them.
And then, all at once, again, I came upon an obelisk. To be fair I knew it was in the park somewhere but I hadn’t actually expected to find it.
It’s not that big as obelisks go but it’s an interesting one. It was erected in 1892 by Henry Laver, a local dignitary, when the park was opened. It commemorates the death by firing squad on that spot in 1648 of two Royalist commanders: Sir Charles Lucas and Sir George Lisle, after the siege of Colchester.
Both Lucas and Lyle are regarded as Royalist martyrs in some quarters. Lucas left a manuscript titled Treatise of the Arts of War, but it was written in cipher and was never published, which I suppose is understandable. You don’t want the polloi knowing all the arts of war, on the other hand it does rather cut down your readership.
Henry Laver was an Alderman, a Justice of the Peac, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, which looked like this. He was also the author of The Colchester Oyster Fishery: Its antiquity and position, method of working and the quality and safety of its products, which looks like this: