Weekend 523.0 (Hereford)

I was in Hereford this weekend for football, food, and history. This was my first trip¹ since Walsingham in November. The genesis of this trip was a bit unusual. My mum and dad received a Christmas card from a parish priest with a picture of the Virgin and Child in a stained-glass window. There were some details regarding its location but I still had to conduct a little sleuthing on the internet to determine the church. The stained-glass is from All Saints in Hereford which is more café than church these days (the carrot cake and coffee were sublime). The window is still there and in a tiny functioning chapel (the café closes on Sunday for services).

My trip was anchored by a football match. On Saturday afternoon Hereford United played Boston United. It was a Northern Football League matchup coinciding with two very historical moments. It was the 50th anniversary of the FA Cup match when lower-division Hereford defeated top-tier Newcastle United whilst the start of the match included a minute of silence for recently passed former club chairman Peter Hill. I don’t know anything about Peter Hill, but from the tributes, it seems like he was a nice chap and a pillar in the community (and on Sunday I saw a rainbow over the stadium). I never understood the phrase football is life until living in England. These clubs and their stadiums are churches and cathedrals of a different sort.

I had dinner at a wonderful restaurant called Cotto, and I am NOT a foodie, so if a restaurant makes it in a post it was special. There were no tables so I sat at a counter facing an open kitchen. The staff was exceptionally friendly and they had an ornately framed picture of Maradona at the end of the counter.

What a bold statement!

I asked whether or not its adornment caused any controversy with the locals and was regaled with the story of an incident.

Mass on Sunday was at St Francis Xavier. I loved how the parish priest started the Mass with one decade of the Holy Rosary. The Mystery was Christ’s Institution of the Eucharist (Mysteries of Light).

There are two other notable places to highlight. The first is Hereford Cathedral / St Ethelbert. You can easily spend a half-day in the cathedral. The cathedral is probably best known for the Mappa Mundi and the Chained Library but the Ascension stained-glass window, Gurney stoves, and Stanbury chapel are destinations in their own right.

The Hereford Model Centre on Commercial Road is a little overwhelming. I believe they have every model and accessory manufactured in the last seventy-five years by every major brand. The staff is friendly and passionate so bring a list and make sure you budget ample time to spend in this premier modeling / hobby store.

(1) FA Cup – Hereford United Giantkillers 50th year anniversary (Hereford Times)

(2) Peter Hill – Photographs and Videos of his time at Hereford United (Your Herefordshire)

(3) Hereford album on Flickr

(4) The Institution of the Eucharist at the National Gallery

(5) London Station Group (Collect ‘Em All)

¹Southampton doesn’t count since I should have just purchased season tickets at this point since I spend so much time in my ancestral home.

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