Sunday, 18 August 2013

Moving Experiences I

Looking from the ruins of one of the guest houses. These are
not my photos. I can't find those. I've had to rely on good old
Mister Google. However, I am sad enough to know where
each one was taken. I have some in snow somewhere.
We've had the Boy's Goblin over the last few days. It's been a good few days. We had two full days out, which is rather unheard of in our family with our two, and the children are predictably shattered from the experience. Having an extra adult whom they both adulated made things much easier though, so that was nice.

It's also helped in the ongoing moving in that the places we went are peculiarly connected to where we live now rather than where we are going to live. Yesterday we went to a place that holds a special part of me forever. I have been leading coursework trips there for an actual decade and so have visited it almost 40 times in that period. I have led tours of it for students about eight times too, so it really is a place that I know exceptionally well and a place in which I enjoy performing, so to speak, by showing people around. The Boy's Goblin was very kind and offered to be shown around, she showed interest and asked questions and I ended up practically running a coursework tour for her. It was like I was saying goodbye to the place in a way that I hadn't done when I last took kids there from school.

My favourite building. That wall you see there is scarred with
history over 850 years and, well, I am a frustrated architectural
historian, so it's a mild nerdgasm for me.
It is Fountains Abbey and, though you won't get me offering paeans of praise on here to it, you will see that I do feel that I will miss the place. A UNESCO World Heritage site with the oldest working mill in the world (850 years in case you were wondering) and the largest vaulted Cellarium in Europe (and thus the world) that also has a pretty location and some of the best thought-out museums that I have seen on such sites. It is one of the best preserved monastical ruins in the UK and has many features that you simply won't find anywhere else as a consequence of it being the wealthiest Cistercian Abbey in the British Isles in its heyday and then, latterly, being considered and rejected for a cathedral before being used as the centrepiece for Victorian water gardens. The main asset has always been the mill that ceased commercial function in 1927 but remains working and used, mainly for demonstrations now but also to provide power for the exhibits and Fountains Hall.

Atmospheric look up the aisle to the
Chapel of Nine Altars
One of my great loves of the last decade and a significant part of my life, I think I have taken most people that meant something to me to visit whilst I've lived where I do. And now, looking at where we're going to live, we are going to beyond the 'day out' distance for driving, which it was already on the outside of (what can I say, the UK is much smaller than most other countries and our road network lacks the space to be as long-winded as other countries, as a consequence we travel less distance on a day). In other words, no chance of running a coursework on it, less chance of it being a significant part of my teaching any more and limited opportunities to visit. I said goodbye yesterday.

I love what the artist has done here. Tres atmospheric. It's from
the ruins of the Brothers' Infirmary.

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