A bet

So, back in January 2011 my good friend Adam made me a bet that I could not lick every Anglican cathedral in the UK within 5 years. This was a challenge he had previously lain down to another friend, but, liking the sound of it myself I shamlessly hijacked the whole thing (sorry Dan).

Over a drink in the Lyceum Tavern on London’s Strand I pretty much begged Adam to make the bet with me instead, and almost immediately regretted it. A contract was scrawled onto a scrap piece of paper and the whole thing was settled.

Sobering up at home later, I made a list of all the religious buildings that would require a good lick in order to save me from getting publically naked. The discovery that over 40 were in need of my attention made me want to start drinking again instantly, but the realisation that 5 long years lay before me in which to complete the task was greatly reassuring. In this respect Adam’s apparent willingness to shoot himself in the foot made me laugh long and heartily. Further generosity was shown in the bet’s exclusion of ALL non-Anglican cathedrals in the UK. I work right next to Westminster Abbey, and Westminster Cathedral is a short stroll away, though as neither are classed as Anglican I can walk past them haughtily and leave both unlicked. Adam, you fool.

So, the cathedrals that need licking are as follows:

  • Blackburn
  • Bradford
  • Bristol
  • Canterbury
  • Carlisle
  • Chelmsford
  • Chester
  • Chichester
  • Coventry
  • Derby
  • Durham
  • Ely
  • Exeter
  • Gloucester
  • Guildford
  • Hereford
  • Leicester
  • Lichfield
  • Lincoln
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Norwich
  • Oxford, Christ Church
  • Peterborough
  • Portsmouth
  • Ripon
  • Rochester
  • St. Alban’s
  • St. Edmundsbury
  • London, St Paul’s
  • Salisbury
  • Sheffield
  • Sodor & Man
  • Southwark
  • Southwell
  • Truro
  • Wakefield
  • Bath & Wells
  • Winchester
  • Worcester
  • York

A lot of stone to lick and many miles to be covered, but at least I’ll get to see some new parts of my homeland and get to revisit some places I already know and love. There are also some places on the list I never dreamed of visiting again and am planning a quick lick and departure rather than stay another minute.

So far I’ve licked 5 cathedrals and will tell all on these pages.

Many friends have offered support already. Please do the same by commenting or joining the Facebook group – http://www.facebook.com/messages/?action=read&tid=14b557453e954ae7a1e8a22316cf1a94#!/groups/255221431175197/


4 thoughts on “A bet

  1. Having been directed to your website, I am interested to know what part Adam plays in this wager…. I presume there must be a financial implication or some penalty for Adama… if …sorry…when…. you succeed??

    • A very good question. Adam’s role is simple: to hinder my cathedral licking progress wherever possible. So far he has done little to prevent me from achieving my goal however, and has been very coy on the subject. He has had other things on his mind of course (getting engaged, new job) but I do enjoy smugly giving him progress updates. The fact that we now live together gives the whole thing an extra edge too.
      As for the loser, it was originally agreed that he must streak around York Minster. I think we are both regretting that decision now!

  2. Congrats,. My wife Jean and I completed the tour of all cathedrals and active abbeys in UK two years ago. Note Book ‘Cathedrals for the Curious’.
    Wonderful experience especially of choirs.Everything of high quality. Hope you enjoy as much as we did: towns, cities and cathedrals.
    Best wishes. Geoffrey Lord.

    • Hi Geoffrey,

      Great to know that there are like-minded folk out there who have also visited every cathedral! Well done for completing your quest and I look forward to reading your book. Do you have a favourite cathedral?

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