Friday, May 21, 2010

...and speaking of Benedictines,

This is Buckfast Abbey, which we visited on our way home from Sharp Tor today. Robin sat in the car and took a nap (he's still waiting for the antibiotics to kick in) while I strolled through the grounds and the abbey church. The original abbey was built in 1018,  (ten years before the pub at Rattery!) and destroyed in 1539 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. For over three hundred years, there were no monks at Buckfast, until a group of six French Benedictines rented the property in 1882.

The present abbey church was built between 1907 and 1937 by a small group of monks (usually four, but sometimes as many as six working together).  Only one of the monks was a trained stonemason. The others learned as they went along.

I quite enjoyed my tour and the quiet beauty of the abbey. I was tempted to suggest we stay for Vespers, but that was still two hours away when I wandered back to the car. Robin was up and about, so we headed home for supper.

But...even before we went to the abbey, we went back to Sharp Tor. Do you remember Sharp Tor? I do. That's where I nearly froze solid in my winter coat two weeks ago. Today, I considered wearing capri pants, but Robin repeated his warning that I might encounter vipers on our walk, so I changed my mind and wore lightweight slacks and a cotton blouse. No coat. No sweater. We stopped in at a charity shop in South Brent, where I bought a (very fetching) straw hat to keep the sunburn to a minimum. Then we stopped at The Pantry, where we bought Cheddar and Stilton, baguettes, apples, and tomatoes for a picnic lunch.

Thus provisioned, we proceeded to Sharp Tor, which was looking a whole lot better today than it did a couple of weeks ago. There was still a haze, but there was no rain, the sun was shining, there were brand-new babies all over the place -- oh, it was splendid. I couldn't stop taking photographs. I had a strange moment of deja vu until I realized that the day I was here, freezing, was the day that my memory card broke -- so I had taken a lot of these photos before!

The babies were, of course, completely irresistible.
This little fellow (the parti-coloured foal) got  himself into trouble later on. Stay tuned.
We climbed to the top of the tor, which is a mile from the car park, and there we got our breath back, ate our lunch, and soaked up the glorious day.

When we came down from the tor, we saw the little foal that I had photographed earlier. He had followed his mother onto the moor, where he fell afoul of a stick that stuck out of the ground. It was a forked stick (picture a dowsing rod, or maybe a barbecue fork) fork-side up. The poor baby had walked right into the fork, and he couldn't figure out how to get loose. There was another stick involved somehow, complicating the problem, and as I got closer I realized that the foal was panicking -- so I walked over to give him a hand. Fortunately, the thought of being approached by a human who actually intended to touch him was enough to throw him into reverse, and he managed to get out of his trap before I quite got to him. Happy ending.

Oh, but wait. There was one more thing. We drove home via the A38. When we got to Dean Prior, the last landmark before our exit, we saw a parade going across the bridge, apparently coming from the church.


Karen said...

Looks like a lovely day, Sandra. How much longer will you be there?

Sandra Leigh said...

We'll be here in Devon until the morning of the 29th, then staying with family and friends for the last two days, flying out the 31st, if the good Lord's willin' and the creek don't rise or, in this case, if BA's aren't strikin' and the volcano don't blow.

John Hayes said...

Those foals are unbelievably cute--glad he freed himself without incident!

Sandra Leigh said...

Yes, John - the poor thing had a whole moor to wander in, and somehow he managed to get himself stuck on a stick. Not the brightest foal on the moor, I'm afraid.

T. Clear said...

The story of the foal has me chuckling this rain Sunday morning -- thanks!

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