Albion, Photography

Cider and Stones

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May 6th, 2013…

We woke this morning in Taunton. Long story. We had intended to spend the night in Glastonbury, but instead found ourselves on the road in search of a hotel. This road, unexpectedly, took us past Burrow Mump. Needless to say that after that brief glimpse, I need to go back there to explore, of course.

So, we wake in Taunton and hit the road in the general and unhurried direction of Wincanton… twinned with Ankh Morpork, there to meet with Bernard of the Discworld Emporium.

We didn’t manage it without a detour or two. No surprise there…

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We were being led by the day and following where it pointed us.

And the first place it pointed was towards Cadbury Castle.

This huge ancient earthwork is also on my ‘to explore’ list.

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Reputedly one of the prime locations for the legendary Camelot, it is certainly imposing and mysterious. And there were birds too. Regular readers will have noted that birds tend to dog the footsteps of your friendly and intrepid explorer. I blame Stuart, of course, my partner in mischief where the deeper earth mysteries are concerned. Though he was not with us, his presence and a few texts accompanied us. Granted, said texts were a little scathing about the nature of my research, particularly in view of several glasses of cider whose effects, he points out, are already well documented.

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Even so….

There were birds. A robin, corvids of varied description, chaffinches, and chickens. And the now inevitable feather in the grass.

We also visited the ancient church in the village, adorned with a medieval wall painting of Thomas a Beckett and some fine stained glass windows.

We finally made it to Wincanton, the village adorned with fleeting visions in robes as Discworld fans gathered for the Spring Fling. A leisurely and merry cuppa followed with Bernard and his wife in their beautiful home.

From there we hit the road in search of lunch and found the lovely White Lion, where the food was exquisite and the sticky toffee pudding wholly unnecessary…but very nice. Washed down with cider, what else?

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We had to pass the magnificent bulk of Stonehenge, of course. Twice, for some reason. We did not stop to join the crowd there. We have met these stones before they were encircled by the fences and visitors.

We did, however, stop in Avebury. Via more cider in Devizes, somehow. The sacred landscape… complete with attendant corvids… was not lonely today as spring lambs gambolled in the grass around the great stones under a perfect sky. The air thrummed with the music of shamanic drummers and we lingered a while.

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We paid our respects to Silbury Hill on the way home, then to the White Horse at Uffington as we passed.

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We arrived home late, after a stop by a pub in Brill and a setting sun behind a windmill.

It has been a wonderful weekend and a beautiful time shared with my dear friend, a rare interlude of intimate friendship and more than friendship.

There are some people with whom one can simply be and share oneself utterly, without pretence, with laughter and tears, without fear or masks.

Such friendships are both rare and precious, to be treasured and savoured, enjoyed to the full.

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I have had a wonderful weekend and tomorrow we have a final day together before the miles impose their inevitable barrier to the shared glance and reading of the eyes.

We have spoken of past and present, dreams and futures.We have laughed a lot, eaten too much and explored the green of an English spring.

There is a deep sadness at the imminent parting, yet for the past few days we have stepped away from time, from the constraints of daily life, and have shared the gift of simply being together.

People with whom the connection runs so deep are the family of the soul.

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