Sunday, 8 February 2015

A Visit to Glastonbury

This weekend, a friend of mine came to visit, which was fun.

My friend was keen to visit Glastonbury, soon Saturday, that is exactly what we did.

We started by visiting Glastonbury Abbey, which is, of course, a ruin, having made the mistake of being far too rich and having an Abbot who tried, allegedly,  to hide some of the Abbey treasures when the time came for the Abbey to be dissolved. The abbot ended up being Hung, Drawn and Quartered on Glastonbury Tor, in 1541, and the Abbey was duly dissolved.

(An earlier connection: Jocelin, Bishop of Wells and Glastonbury, was one of those named in Magna Carta as having been among those present at the negotiations)

The abbey was very quiet - probably in part to do with how cold and grey the day was, so we had each part of it more or less to ourselves.

As well as the ruins,there were flowers, lots of snowdrops, and some early crocuses, and also birds and squirrel.

Things have been updated since I last visited - the Abbot's Kitchen now has reproductions of tools and furnishings to give a sense of how it may have appeared while in use, which was interesting.

After walking around the Abbey, we spent some time walking around the town and visiting various shops, before getting lunch, and then moved on to visit the Chalice Well, which is a natural, iron rich spring.

The spring is a very reliable one, with archaeological finds of Mesolithic flints, and a few Roman potsherds, and the spring was channelled in the medieval period. (Archaeology has shown that the current well is probably a hole in the original, medieval well-house)

The Well  is currently advertised as a holy spring, with healing properties,and the water is channelled through various pools and waterfalls, including some pools in  which one may paddle / bathe if so inclined. Which was not tempting, given the freezing temperatures we encountered!  (There is a modern myth that the Chalice is the Holy Grail, hidden near the spring by Joseph of Arimathea - the more prosaic explanation is that the spring was known as 'chalk well' or 'chilk well' for most of it's history, and there is no evidence of it having any significant Christian or Pre-Christian spiritual or religious significance ) 

Whatever the origins and background, the garden is very quiet and tranquil, and there were lots of birds, including a very friendly Robin. The flowers are not at their best, but the pools are pretty. 

We tasted the water (rusty, but slightly more palatable than the spa waters at Bath), before moving on to climb the Tor.

We set off a little before four, and made our way up to St Michael's Tower. The Tor wasn't as busy as it often is, (probably due to the cold!) and despite it being a little hazy, the views were fairly good.

As always, it was breezy at the summit, so we didn't stay too long, before heading back down to the town, and back home for tea and cakes and a convivial evening. (calling in briefly on the 'Hot Fuzz' swan at Wells Police Station, on the way home)

Sunday, by contrast, was a much less energetic day; we had a lie in, then spent the morning snuggling the cats and catching up. 

Which was nice.

It turned out to be a very bright, sunny day, which the kittens made the most of. 

Cats are good at making the most of sunny days.

It was lovely to get to spend time with my friend, I enjoyed the weekend, and hope she did too (although I am rather tired, now - late nights sitting up and talking will do that!)

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