Location:United Kingdom

An avid tea-drinker who likes nutmeg in her coffee and warm lavender-scented quilts. She knits, crochets and partakes in random acts of craftiness (and kindness). She likes obscure works of literature, philosophy and the idea that her mind exists separately from her body. She enjoys moving furniture around, literary criticism and baking bread. She writes haiku about nettles, would like to swim with seals and become completely self-sufficient. She writes as if her life depends on it, listens to beautiful music, and loves her darling husband Mr. VP.

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Wednesday 11 September 2013

York Weekend: Part 3

Some more photos from York Minster, I think.  Just a couple.  This window really spoke to me as a lover of all things campanological.  Can you see all the bells?  The two panels either side of the centre show bells at the foundry in the process of being made.  I thought it was not only lovely but showed what was important to the early peoples of York.  Bells not only denoted wealth but were taken seriously as they called the faithful to worship.

One thing that did surprise me was that ‘commoners’ weren’t allowed to use the cathedral until the mid-C19th.  Only the very uppermost echelons of society were granted access, whilst the poor had to make do with the smaller churches dotted around.

It seemed a wasted day to not do something on the Monday before we drove home, so I suggested to Mr VP that we visit Fountains Abbey.  I’m so glad we did because it was such a gloriously sunny day with big, blue skies and a strong but soft wind blwoing through.

I hadn’t been to Fountains Abbey since I was a teen but remembered its grandeur which is as wonderful and stately as it ever was.  It’s hard to believe that it has been ruined for so long as it is still in very good condition.  In fact, of all of the ruined abbeys, it is one of the best preserved sites in the country.  I got a real feeling for monastic life and ritual here because the walls are so strong and sturdy and the rooms so well preserved.

In some ways, not having a roof has improved this abbey for me.  This way, I can celebrate and worship nature in such elegant and divine surroundings.  The lack of windows is both a pity and also a bonus, just look at the views from them!

I can imagine the monks here and I can feel their presence in the very walls.  It has a slightly sad tone to the place as it was built but only used for purpose for a short time; Henry VIII has a lot to answer for.

I hadn’t remembered this from the first time I visited, but I was awed to see how well the altar has remained despite the hundreds of years of abandonment.  It is easy to see how this was one of the richest parts of England at the abbey’s heyday.  I’d like to think that the monks, who I am sure still wander around the ruins at night, would be proud to see their handiwork still around today.

Such a pretty ruin.  I would have loved to have seen that window which now lies empty, I imagine it would have been a mighty piece of stained glass perfectly able to rival the great East window in York Minster.

In one of the lower parts of the ruins, where the monks would have conducted their daily business, the walls are not as high nor as complete as the abbey and nature has begun to reclaim the land.  This wall was teeming with different kinds of wildflowers and ferns.

I’m not sure how old this fig tree is, but it’s doing very well in the cloisters.

I seem to find graffiti just about everywhere now, and I wonder who wrote this and when.  I don’t think it’s as old as the walls, I would guess maybe Victorian by the script; if only I could decipher it!  Was it a declaration of love?  A wish?  A shopping list?!  Who knows.

Make sure you investigate the ruins of the abbey as there are lots of interesting places to find.  This room is hidden begind a door to stop pigeons (there’s mesh at the windows, too).  Would this have been a bedroom?  A meeting room?

This room is part of the cloisters and was pretty big.  The vaulted ceilings are quite something to behold and inside it there was a real sense of calm and quiet.  It’s a very peaceful place indeed.

This is the view from Anne Boleyn’s seat over what is called Studley Royal Park which encompasses the abbey ruins.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and from this elevation, you can see why.  We wouldn’t have known about this seat had it not been for a very knowledgeable and lovely lady in the tea-rooms who noticed that I was an avid photographer like herself.

Such a lovely view.

My last photo of the holiday: a crow’s feather.  We had a wonderful time in York and vow to visit it again.

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