Thursday, April 14, 2011

Speaking of Up ...

Today was a day spent in motion. We took the bus from Bath to Wells, then on to Glastonbury. It was a very pleasant bus ride over rolling hills, through quaint villages, hedgerows, cows and sheep. It was also long, nearly 1.5 hours each way. A colorful lot of people hopped on and off the bus, and I was certainly happier when the more pungent Brits popped off - booze and cigarettes smell just as strong here as they do back home.
Glasonbury we went to because I wanted to go. Tom had little interest. I managed to drag him into Glastonbury Abbey because it is in ruins. Very peaceful and quiet and I very much enojoyed the herb garden. There were interpretive signs for every plant (which I photographed) telling how they were used by the monks. The kitchen was the only part of the Abbey still standing. It's a octagonal (or round, can't quite remember) building with a high decorative roof. Fireplaces in three corners led up through the roof and a drain went out the fourth.
I wanted to climb the Glastonbury Tor, Tom did not. We both were interested in seeing the Rural Life Museum. A quick little tour bus drops folks at both places, so I hopped out at the base of the Tor, a steep hill, cone-shaped, with no trees and a chapel on top, and started up the path. A steady flow of people made their way up. I climbed behind a rainbow-child hippie sort wearing pink and crystals and multi-colored pastel toenails, which I saw because she was climbing barefoot. Ouch!
There was nothing to block the wind and my goodness did it blow. I was only wearing a T-shirt and jeans and spent very little time on top of the Tor because it was FREEZING and I didn't want to make Tom wait too long. There are two paths up the Tor, one on the far side from town, and the other going the other way down towards town. That one came out near the Rural Life Museum and, although it's a bit steeper, I took that one down. The wind blew straight up the Tor, bitingly cold and straight up my nose. I was happy to get down.
The museum had interesting info on peat-cutting, cider making and milling, and also had the Abbey's tithe barn. I had never heard of a tithe barn, but it's exactly what it sounds like - where the monks kept the tithe that was paid to them by the local farming community.
Next it was on to Wells for Tom's portion of the day. For most, the draw of Wells is its gothic cathedral. For Tom, it's that parts of the movie "Hot Fuzz" were filmed there. After we located the tourist information and got Tom a printout of movie locations, we decided to split and I visited the Cathedral and he went on his merry way.
The highlight of the Cathedral for me was the bizarre clock. It has three rings on the face - one for the hour, one for the minute and one for the lunar month. Best of all, however, is that on every quarter hour, two knights run around like a giant cuckoo clock on top of the face, and, as it said on the sign, the same knight has been getting knocked down for 600 years ... wow.
Back home to Bath to try to catch up on sleep before an early departure to Oxford.

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