Albion, ancient sites, Art, Books, Don and Wen

Dear Don: Offing North…

northern skyDear Don,

I haven’t been north for so long I am getting withdrawal symptoms. Can’t wait! Though of course, the weather might put a bit of a downer on our plans if the snow keeps up.

We should at least be able to get to see the Saxon stuff we’ve been waiting to see.

Chester is do-able, so I will finally get to see the places you have been telling me about, as well as Werburgh’s shrine in the Cathedral. You know it was Æthelfleda…another one of our Sisters of Mercia… who is said to have turned the early church there into a college?

Her church was lost, of course; razed to the ground in 1090AD, but there is a lot of the subsequent church from 1093AD still extant. Even if it did get the obligatory Victorian facelift from our old friend George Gilbert Scott.

stowe 042Doing a bit of research it seems you will have a field day with the geometries, particularly the floor of the Lady Chapel, by the looks of things. It does make you wonder how much of the symbolic language of sacred art we have lost over the centuries. I know a lot of it is still out there and available for research… like the stained glass lady we found at St Thomas’s that day who knew such a lot about the abstract designs. The one who told us about the Heaven’s Gate windows high in the wall above the altar.

Okay, I know that many of the symbols are fairly obvious, even to our untrained eyes, and even more are designed to speak to the subconscious through that universal symbolism that seems to go beyond words and across time. But I wouldn’t mind betting there was an inner circle of savants who knew more about the geometries than has survived.

lincoln bakewell gt hucklow 269It’s going to be like Lincoln though… too big to take in. Even the most cursory research is showing a plethora of misericords, stained glass from some of our usual culprits like Kempe and Clayton and Bell, and wait till you see the lectern! The font is a bit unusual too and carries the ChiRo symbol.

We could probably spend a week in there…

But let’s not forget the gelid waters of Holywell…

Bringing your bathing gear? It is January after all…

Anu, by the way, is collecting balls for your next visit.

The floor seems to be permanently covered in them…Anu

Love,

Wen and attendant Beast. X

5 thoughts on “Dear Don: Offing North…”

  1. You two are so fortunate to be able to see the archaeology, the history, and other aspects of the world you are in and help to make it all so meaningful and give us all the opportunity to see it through your eyes and ears too. There is nothing that is more soothing in the cold weather as I sit drinking a cup of something nice and hot and pondering my great big beautiful and sacred world. How lucky we are that WE are the ones who get to spend time in this universe? It may be like a grain of sand or even less to have visited this world, but it is the best grain of sand I have ever known. For all its tears, its pains, man’s inhumanity to mankind, and all those other things we come to know on our journey here, it is still the best thing going that I can imagine. I can envision you all treking with your four-footed companion through the snow, fingers and noses freezing, to bring us yet another wonderful and amazing window to the world. I know for certain my life has been enriched by every stone, every brick, every spirit of someone who lived in some other aspect of time. You have, in this work, stretched my reality (and unreality as it were) in such ways as to create a tapestry of life that we may never see again. Thank you all so much for every single footstep, every single finger to the keys, every four-step to gather another tennis ball, and every single mug of something hot to warm the soul and all that belongs to it. Because of all of you, these winter years of my life are golden!

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    1. What a lovely thing to say, Anne. And I agree, it is hard to imagine anything more beautiful than being ‘here’ and ‘now’. But please, don’t magine us trekking through the snow too hard before next weekend… we’re sort of praying for decent weather! It gets cold up there in the north and we have a workshop to run… preferably without frostbite 😉

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