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Soaring Over Salisbury: Arts Festival Aerialists

May 23, 2011

Mary Poppins, you’ve got company: These Salisbury International Arts Fest performers suggest a new way to see southern  England. Formerly Sarum, Salisbury is home to the famous 13th-century Gothic cathedral of the name. A nearby grassy knoll (no relation to JFK) marks the site of its Norman predecessor, built 200 years earlier and abandoned for geographic reasons, like bad weather and a lack of nearby water sources:

Cathedral ruins at "Old Sarum," Salisbury's Norman predecessor.

Salisbury’s charming town center still boasts streets named for medieval uses, like Butcher Row and Fisherton and Penny-Farthing Streets. (Not sure what was located on Blue Boar Row…)

Old Salisbury Center

Front-row seats, riverside.

It was from a riverside inn in Salisbury that my family munched on jam-slathered breakfast toast—served in a proper rack, of course—as we watched the hotel’s straightbacked septuagenarian waiter scatter leftover crusts for the resident swans, a mother and her adolescent cygnets.

Elegant they may be, but these birds were no patsies, he solemnly informed us. Shortly after they hatched, a fox had begun menacing the nest, eating a baby or two. Then, a week before our visit, he had watched as the mother swan grabbed and drowned the fox!

Note to fox: "Cave Swanem"

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