The nerve agent attack in Salisbury has been a devastating event for the city. A bustling tourist town with a splendid cathedral and the draw of the Magna Carta, its been deserted for fear of being poisoned. The city has responded with free parking and attempts to reassure potential visitors. Neither has had much effect.
Takako and I have long wanted to visit the city. Undeterred by recent events, we drove down and spent a few hours. It was depressingly quiet, particularly given the summer-like weather we’d experienced for an unusually warm April weekend.
During my youth I went to Salisbury regularly and I can’t remember it being this quiet during the spring and summer. There were always people filling the streets and the grounds of the cathedral. Yet while this was the city’s loss it was our gain as we could walk the streets with relative ease and freedom. We were even able to enjoy a meal in a restaurant that should otherwise have been packed with tourists.
There was only one downside to this experience. We encountered a few too many elderly tourists whose general attitude seemed to be they were doing the city a favour by being there. Barging their way around, and at one point getting annoyed with traffic after they stood in the middle of a cross-roads, it was the only annoyance in an otherwise enjoyable day out.
Salisbury will recover, I’m sure of it. For now though, if you’ve ever wanted to see both a fine cathedral and a copy of the Magna Carta, I’d suggest you go there now.
There is absolutely nothing to be afraid of.