We had finally made it to Bakewell and headed off for a lunch of fish and chips on the banks of the Wye, watching the ducks, geese, and seagulls and marvelling at the size of the trout in the clear, shallow water. The inner man, or woman for that matter, feeds upon such beauty, but the outer needed to be fed and watered too. It would be a long day with a drive cross-country for the School meeting in the evening, so lunch was a must. It would be late before we ate again.
It was almost obligatory to call at one of the many old pubs the little town is dotted with while we decided upon a plan of action… as far as we ever do, that is. It may be fair to say that the prospect of a nice cool cider was probably more tempting than anything else… you need something to wash down your lunch after all. Eventually, it was decided that we needed to pick up a new map of the area on the way to the church. We’d seen the crossroads where the archaeologists think the High Cross used to stand… so a further visit to the cross itself seemed to be called for.
We strolled up the hill and through the churchyard, attended, as always, by a small flock of birds… jackdaws this time. Again. There have been a lot of jackdaws lately. Too many to ignore… We take note, acknowledge, and walk up the path to the cross. It really is quite incredible this thing… over a thousand years old and showing strange creatures and Norse gods on a Christian cross topped with a crucifix. We stood there, looking, talking, debating the various theories we have been exploring in Doomsday, which we had just finished writing. It would, in fact, be fair to say that the cross, the holy wells, and the church itself had played a big part in setting us off on this particular adventure… Bakewell and Glastonbury between them had given us enough food for thought for a medieval banquet.
It was a while before we wandered up to the other cross, only marginally less ancient and originally sited at the place we had seen the faery woman masquerading as a little old lady in the ice-cream van, then the porch awaited… “I’m not looking, we haven’t got time…” We managed to get through without being caught in that time warp of symbolic speculation, heading for the information boards inside the church, where our odd and possibly offbeat conversation on the portrayal of several subjects drew some disapproving looks from other visitors. I should point out that there is no disrespect here… no ridicule or heresy, unless the search for understanding is seen as heretical; only a sincere quest for a deeper perception that steps outside the accepted parameters of history, a true and personal comprehension that sings to heart, mind and soul alike.
We managed to acquire a brace of proper Bakewell tarts, one to be given to our hostess later that night, the other to be overindulged with fresh cream and honeycomb ice cream over the remainder of the weekend. Not decadent at all… quite frugal in fact as one small plate of the stuff equated to several large meals ‘calorifically’. We wandered back to the car eventually and headed off in search of a hillfort we were planning on climbing before the barometer did. It was, by this time, way too hot to climb… even for us and we’ve been known to do some really daft climbs in that kind of weather. We settled for finding the route for the next time then headed back towards the town, where I was supposed to turn right… but turned left instead on impulse. There was a well somewhere… a sacred spring that had given the place its name. The policeman hadn’t known where it was, nor had anyone else I’d asked… but we knew it was in a park… Bakewell isn’t that big a place… we’d seen most of it already…
Sure enough, the park materialised and we pulled up the car amid a small cloud of jackdaws… always a good sign. And there was the well. Nowadays called St Peter’s Well, or simply Holywell, the town itself took its name from it… and there again we had to speculate. Today the well stands, unsigned, in a neat little corner of a public park near the children’s playground. In the centre is the great, stone wellhead, beside the old carved stone trough. Today the waterfalls, circle within circle from a graceful urn circled by flowers. The water tastes pure and sweet and the sound is soothing and refreshing on a hot July afternoon. We lingered a while, watching the children laughing and the flock of jackdaws apparently doing much the same until we both felt it was time to go. We still had a long drive ahead.
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Don and Wen, following the breadcrumb trail of arcane lore and ancient knowledge, scattered across the landscape of time, turn their attention to the myths and legends of Old Albion. They delve into the tales of King Arthur, asking some very strange questions about biblical family trees and exploring the many stories that abound in the very landscape of Avalon. Meanwhile, in Derbyshire, the voices of the past still whisper from the stones, opening a passage through time, place and memory to another world…
Doomsday: The Ætheling Thing
How is it possible to hide such a story… the hidden history of Christianity in Britain? Oh, there are legends of course… old tales… Yet what if there was truth in them? What was it that gave these blessed isles such a special place in the minds of our forefathers? There are some things you are not taught in Sunday School. From the stone circles of the north to the Isle of Avalon, Don and Wen follow the breadcrumbs of history and forgotten lore to uncover a secret veiled in plain sight.
Doomsday: Dark Sage
…. something was spawned up on the moor… something black that flew on dark wings. It heeds not time or place… but it seems to have developed a penchant for the travels of Don and Wen….
“Are those two still at it?”
Doomsday: Scions of Albion
Things are getting serious…
Exactly what is Wen doing with that crowbar and why is she wearing a balaclava?
All will be revealed…or will it?