Fancy a Cuppa by the Cathedral?
By Simon Duffin
Published by Troubador, 26th July 2013
I have to say that I initially really didn't quite know what to make of this book. The concept is brilliant - to give a very brief introduction to notable cathedrals in the UK and also to note where a decent cup of tea or coffee may be had close by - but to do the cathedrals alone proper justice would require a massive tome, and that is outside the scope of this book. Information is concise, often intriguing but frustratingly short and the photographs are sometimes eccentric - Brecon cathedral's shot consists mostly of outbuildings, parked cars and a large tree obscuring what little of the cathedral is visible in the picture.
Are all Cathedrals included? No. The author has indicated that he chose to include some large Scottish churches which are known locally as cathedrals although they are not actually the seats of bishops. Bath Abbey was once a cathedral but not now, and is excluded from the book. The decisions seem a little arbitrary, and as an Eastern Orthodox Christian I was quite disappointed that a few notable Orthodox Cathedrals were excluded. It was nice to see coverage of RC cathedrals included.
Excellent and very comprehensive information is given about the establishments nearby serving teas and coffees and I found this much more interestingly written than the ecclesiastical information. My only concern is how quickly this part of the book may go out of date as businesses seem to open and close very quickly in the ongoing UK recession.
This is a fun book, useful to have if you travel and like to look at historic churches and if the search for a decent "brew" and bite to eat inspires readers to spend a few minutes or hours wandering around and hopefully enjoying the local cathedrals, all the better!