Part Three:
Inner Courtyard
& Chapel

Perhaps one of the most atmospheric sights that the CRCMH has to offer is the inner courtyard in the rain. Being caught in the hospital during a downpour is a remarkable experience due to the echoes from the old tin rooves and creaking building materials. And watching the water run off the guttering amidst the crumbling brick and lush green surrounds is somehow soothing, albeit in a dark yet ethereal way.

From time to time, assorted objects will turn up - discarded by other adventurers - and block your path. Here, we are hopping over a giant polystyrene model of the CRCMH (complete with helipad believe it or not - even though the hospital doesn't have one). Nobody knows what the model was for. When we first stumbled upon it, it was relatively intact in one of the canteen rooms. But as time passed, pieces of it somehow found their way across the entire site. Gremlins at work perhaps...

One of the more useful objects lying around was an old hubcap. I say "useful" because at least it could be flung across the courtyard towards the chapel (that's the ivy-covered rectangular building directly opposite on the Western side). Here, we see "Launchpad" demonstrate the magical properties of the, er... everyday hubcap.

The grass is always greener on the other side. That is, unless you're in the CRCMH inner courtyard. Here the grass is mainly yellow and dry. And very very tall. Looking back to the East, you can see windows of the top floor where we have just come down from, and below that, some more German text. It says 3rd Company in a gothic script.

The courtyard is good for a number of things other than throwing frisbees. One of these is its role as a meeting place. This is due to its position in the dead centre of the CRCMH. Here, Alaric and the gang meet up to decide which direction to head off in today. Many exploration sessions would begin with a blank sheet here in the inner courtyard before a destination area was chosen.

It has been decided to head South. But first, let's continue West into the chapel. The religious heart of the hospital is unfortunately amongst the darkest places on the tour (I guess that churches usually are - relying mainly on natural light and candles). Therefore, we can't show it in much detail to speak of. But at least it's still standing. We know of someone who once left a candle burning in the CRCMH chapel. Suffice to say, on our next visit we were greeted by a little charcoal mess.

Standing inside the chapel, looking due East, you are provided with a rather interesting view. It's a bit like the temple of Abu Simbel really, or even Stonehenge - a cosmic alignment whereby you can see all the way from the very back of the chapel, through the foyer, to the Eastern perimeter wall in the distance several hundred metres away. And only a few paces away is a line of sight far longer than even this one. I speak of the Grand Corridor and it is a sight to behold. But we'll get to that in a moment.

But as for the chapel itself. It's a rather paltry affair to be honest. There's something about it which makes me think it was a slightly later addition. There's an air of newness about it - like it was never fully completed. I know that this can't really be true because patients from the 1970s remember it being there, but it does feel like a work in progress rather than a disintegrating ruin. Inside, it's quite bare. There's a door which leads through to a tiny room at the back - with a small "serving hatch" seperating the two spaces. But there's no furniture to speak of, and indeed not many signs that this was ever a "House of God" at all. One clue, perhaps, is the gaping hole in the Western wall. This shows every sign of once being the home to an intricate stained-glass window - perhaps (wisely) removed upon the closure of the hospital. Here, "Launchpad" (who you're going to see doing lots of stupid things I'm sure) tries it out for size.

So that's that. And now we're going to move on to that little corridor I mentioned. Just a little one. But I don't really know where to start on that...

[return to the shrine]

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