Lanercost Priory

I’m going to post some photographic highlights of our recent trip to the UK and Ireland, in the order that I take a fancy to the hundreds of photos I took.  Murphy’s Law’s corollaries include “if you see something really worth photographing, while you’re driving, there won’t be a place to stop for miles”.  This comes about because some English and Irish roads are single track so you block all traffic both ways if you stop.

Laurie took this picture through the windshield as an illustration:

Single Track Road, England
Single Track Road, England

That said, I still managed to get some interesting shots.  One of our side trips from my father’s place took us up to Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland.  Just before reaching the wall, we stopped at Lanercost Priory.  Like dozens of abbeys and priories across the country, it is a marvel of civil engineering.  Even when not maintained for a few centuries, following Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, it remained standing.  Here is a view of the undercroft.

Lanercost Priory undercroft
Lanercost Priory undercroft

This dates from 1165, so they clearly built to last.  Imagine the work that went into building this from stone, with a roof that would last 1,000 years.  I could have sat for hours in this peaceful place, just admiring this one roof.  Here is a view of the priory’s church:

Lanercost Priory: church
Lanercost Priory: church

These people were certainly masters of stonework.  With what would seem to us like primitive tools, they substituted time and effort which would seem to be obsession to our modern, rushed lives; few would spend decades on a single task, now. But look at the love which went into these buildings and carvings like this one and think how little will be left of our digital products today, 1,000 years from now.

Lanercost Priory: baby's tomb
Lanercost Priory: baby’s tomb

Lotus flower opens before holidays

I’ve been waiting impatiently for this one as the lotus starts off as a tiny pinhead of a bud even when the stem is well above water, and takes weeks before opening. This is the only bud this year so I was afraid I wouldn’t see it as I’m going on holiday in a few more days.

I had thought it was going to have shades of pink but so far all yellow.

It has closed up now as the light is fading.  I should have checked the scent while it was open; it’s in the middle of the pond so it involves wet feet.

Lotus flower

I now have two lotuses because I thought last years’ had been too badly damaged by the snapping turtle to flower this year; correctly it appears as there are no flowers in sight, though it has recovered enough to produce many leaves, so perhaps next year I’ll build a temporary fence until the turtles have gone home.

I decided to try a multi-year time lapse look down our driveway.  It has become a tunnel instead of a gap between the trees in the twenty years between the frames.  The oak tree just to the left of the drive has gone from a 4 inch trunk to a foot across and finally started producing acorns.  I had come to think that all my oaks were males, but they just weren’t fully mature.  (Some would say that for humans, that’s the same thing.)

Driveway
Driveway

The constant reference is the power pole on the right.  It didn’t grow.   The Blue Spruce was just planted when the first one was taken, in memory of Laurie’s father Doug. You can just make it out though it the colours weren’t showing much because the picture was taken in spring when the new green growth was coming and hadn’t yet taken on the blue tinge.  On the other hand, a couple of elms at the front of the woods have succumbed to Dutch Elm disease and been removed.

In case you’re wondering, we are going to England, Scotland and Ireland for our holidays.  Scotland is a brief one-day visit as somehow or other I have missed seeing a friend who lives there for quite a few years as he was away on trips when we had a chance to get there.  We’ll be staying with my dad in Morecambe for the first couple of weeks and touring the neighbourhood, which includes the Lake District, the Lancashire Moors and the Yorkshire Dales; some spectacular countryside with excellent pub food (not just your Canadian idea of English pub food, but some really excellent meals and local ales).

Here is a view from not far from my Dad’s place, looking across the bay from a very old, small christian churchyard.

Morecambe Bay
Morecambe Bay

But notice holes in the stone to the left of yours truly (the back one).  They are graves cut right into the rock to preserve the bodies.  These are from the Vikings who invaded northwest England.  Who knows, maybe they are my own ancestors; my (formerly) red beard attests to the link. In the top view, the holes are the traditional European tapered coffin shape.  I’ll try to post pictures as we go, but Internet connections may be hard to come by, so there may be a gap followed by lots of pictures in a few weeks.