Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Dateline Yorkshire Sunday

Drive around the entrance to the Dales, to Ripon, and Fountains Abbey. Yes, ABC - another bloody church. But this one is a ruin, and magnificent with it. Built from the early 11th century on, by Cistercian monks, who specialised in water, wells and similar projects. It was a very rich abbey finally, and the stones still just ooze with that power. In typical fashion, the great tower was built by the last Abbot, just in time to be rendered redundant by Henry VIII's dissolution of all monasteries, only 30-40 years later.
Half of the buildings were recycled into a nearby Hall (manor house) and the half that remain are simply stunning. And there's a 18th c water garden further down, complete with temples, follies, a 42m tunnel, and a slew of statues. Lots of pics. Lots of walking.
We drive back to York via Knaresborough, but (darn mediaeval street layouts) cannot see the river Nidd and a large stone viaduct/bridge we know was there (because we went over it on the train Monday prior). So carry on to York, thinking to go back to the Minster and hear a Bach chorale. But we are both too tired out, and also do not want to dilute the Fountains Abbey experience. So we just hop an earlier train back to London and listen to Tom Waits (Blue Valentines) on the way.
These weren't the real dales, but they are simply gorgeous - quite reminiscent of parts of Southland. A little homesick moment or three. Or we could just live here.

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