August 23   2 comments

Tuesday, August 23

Today we took our all-day trip to Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, the New Forest, and a few other incidental stops.

First, on the way to Stonehenge, our guide drove us by the Knowlton Church site where there had once been a standing ring of stones (now gone) but where there was still the circular moat and doughnut-shaped terrace typical of these rings outside it. Inside the circle was a ruined kirk which had been the center of a town. According to our guide, the town and kirk were abandoned after the Black Plague killed almost all the inhabitants.

Our guide handed out dowsing rods, and I took one. Skeptic as I am, and though I grasped the dowsing rod firmly in my fist, it did twist consistently in my hand twice as I passed over the moat of the ring. In the same direction each time – back toward me (I was walking out of the ring). Most interesting and unexpected!

The other strange thing: I took many pictures of this site. Not one appears on my camera. All the other photos I took from this trip showed up as usual – but there is not one out of the several dozen I took of the Knowlton site. Spooky!

Then, on to Stonehenge.

Crowded, and cold, and wet! (it was raining, and we were a bit underdressed.) These were our main impressions. The stones are very, very, VERY impressive. It is inconceivable that they were raised by human hands/stone age methods. But walking around the stones, viewing them, among so many others, and doing so while so uncomfortable – this was not optimal. I regretted it. I dutifully took plenty of photos from every angle, but did not feel any great love for the site.

However, I didn’t let this influence my actions at the gift shop! I felt fairly sure I wouldn’t be coming back – so I made sure to get plenty of souvenirs!! If I come to England again, I’ll rent a car and go to the Avebury site, where one can still walk among the stones and touch them. But considering how much time elapsed since my last visit, by then, they may have outlawed such license at Avebury by the time I return.

Next, to Salisbury Cathedral. We drove past the site of Old Sarum on the way – a hilltop fortress settlement that predated London by quite a bit, but now just a mound. Our guide said there was a castle there, but according to the guide, it was torn down after no one could come to an agreement about who should pay for keeping it up.

Salisbury Cathedral – what can I say? How to describe it? Exquisite, I think, is as close as I can get. As a person who has spent most of their life focusing on making things by hand, and doing things with care, this was a surfeit of joy. The carving! The stone! The wood! The very cushions that the choristers sit upon – they are gorgeous. I was all agog.

And there is something gorgeous and new in the Cathedral, a font; the Salisbury Font by William Pye – it is BRILLIANT. It is a PERFECT WORK. I don’t say that often, or carelessly. A silent fountain, which flows from four corners (it is cruciform, but ‘old cross’ shape) – the water flows into baffled receivers in the floor, to silence the ‘plash – and the surface, glassy, mirrors the interior of the Cathedral, and the whole thing so quiet and so thoughtful, that it detracts not a bit from the edifice, but only enhances it. I was greatly touched by this work. It actually brought tears to my eyes.

I think I’ll have to make a web album of the photographs of this day, or put them on Facebook – I don’t think I can load them all onto WordPress. But I will post a few. I took a great many photos of the botanical, needlepoint bench-cushions, hoping to copy them at home…the gift shop is missing out on a great thing by not selling the patterns/kits for replicas of these. I will have to do what I can myself.

We had a hasty (delicious!) lunch in the refectory cafe at the Cathedral. We only had an hour and a half at the Cathedral; we could easily have spent 5 or 6 hours, and then come back the next day and looked at everything again, gladly.

After this we headed to the New Forest, where we saw quite a few of the famous Ponies, and not only that, but Fallow deer as http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJ62kB6Hpjo

well – stags, does and fawns! This was gravy, indeed.

Several items crossed off the bucket list in one day – some which we didn’t even know were there!! A wonderful day. We made our way back to the hostel and had a nice quiet dinner and long hot showers. This hostel has been very good to us – tomorrow, Wednesday August 24 is our last full day in Swanage.

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Posted August 24, 2011 by Evelyn in Uncategorized

2 responses to “August 23

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  1. Wow, looks and sounds like the two intrepid travelers are having a glorious time. Loved that your photos of Knowlton site did not APPEAR. England has it’s eerie parts. Enjoy the steak and kidney pies! Shera sez hi!

  2. Fantastic!

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