So, back in January 2011 a good friend of mine challenged me to lick every Anglican cathedral in the United Kingdom for a bet. Back then I had a whole 5 years in which to complete this bizarre task, although to make things more interesting Adam (my friend and challenger) later reduced the time limit to June 16th 2012.
In the beginning I naively believed that there were no Anglican cathedrals in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – how wrong I was! It turns out there are 42 in England and 20 more the rest of the U.K., something I later discovered to my horror. Consequently, Adam very graciously (or stupidly) agreed to give me a 6 month extension to do the other 20, providing that I lick all the ones in England before the original deadline of June 16th 2012. This, I am very pleased to say, was successfully completed on June 15th 2012 at my home cathedral of York Minster. I then embarked on my travels to the 20 other cathedrals and licked my last ever cathedral at St. Asaph, Wales, in December 2012 and thereby won the bet.
During the quest I traveled thousands of miles, spent stupid amounts of money and had some of the weirdest experiences of my life. At times it was a total pain in the arse; a crippling burden that robbed me of sleep and peace of mind. But there were numerous positives: namely being able to travel and visit some of the most beautiful and fascinating buildings in the World. Cathedral history and architecture is great interest of mine and this turned out to be a rather odd pilgrimage for me. Needless to say, it wasn’t all about the licking.
I must stress that disrespect towards these cathedrals, plus the Anglican Church and its followers, is in no way intended through my actions. Although not a Christian myself I do respect other people’s beliefs and places of worship and would never dream of trying to offend anyone. Hopefully this blog will help to promote the outstanding cathedrals we have in this country, many of which are currently suffering financially and need thousands of pounds a day just to keep their doors open. The thought of cathedrals such as Ely, Lincoln and Wells closing almost brings tears to the eyes.
My travels, experiences and taste reviews will all be kept on this blog. Happy reading!