I confess to writer’s block. This blog keeps slipping from my grasp. How do you put one amazing trip across the pond into one blog that justly chronicles feeling and thought? What are those nebulous terms anyway?
Who am I?
When push comes to shove, the thing I brought home from England was a sense of magic. My small plebeian-consumer bohemian-hipster 21st-century 20s-statistic head got blown to smithereens by the sheer immensity of history. And how that history, the farther it goes back, gets bigger and more unexplainable.
For instance, how can one man take away an entire country’s culture, kill people, burn all ancient Christian books and ravage churches because of a money-mongering divorce and people still honor him?
Which brings us to kings and queens itself. Visiting Windsor Castle where all the great monarchy of England lived before Queen Victoria and marveling that these walls listened to the daily patter of people who were the leading rulers of the world. The wealth of a castle itself gives authority. For goodness sake, the King had a room to sleep in, to put on his house slippers in, to get his bath in, to eat his breakfast in, to listen to his daily appointments in, to get dressed in… Haha. For real, he almost had that many rooms!
And then we saw Glastonbury Abbey. Burned by Henry VIII. Traced back to AD 64. The legend says that Joseph of Arimathaea traveled here with Jesus in the Hidden Years (when Jesus was 13-29 years old) and they built a chapel of adobe. Joseph returned years later and established a monastery here with eleven disciples.
The place has an eerily holy feeling to it. Like it’s way bigger than you and you could never know what is here that is unseen. The brilliantly emerald grass of England amongst towering stone arches, Gothic walls leading nowhere. Our Lady Chapel, re-built thousands of years ago when the daub one burned down, is the heart of the Abbey ruins and stands the most in tact. You can almost feel the ages of history, the remains of the thousands of saints that are buried in the grasses surrounding the Abbey.
And then, of course, that’s where King Arthur and Queen Guinevere were buried. No biggey. Apparently when King Edward and Queen Eleanor came to honor and move their grave to the place of honor in the Abbey in the 1000s Queen Guinevere still had shimmering waist-long golden hair that disintegrated when she was touched. And then when Henry VIII ransacked the Abbey the grave was destroyed and Arthur and Guinevere’s remains disappeared.
We know because they took Instagram photos of it.
Actually back then they had a social media program called an iWitness Account.
I know. I stink at jokes… ; )
Then there was the day we drove through the dazzling green meadows of England farmland and saw idyllic stone farmhouses with ivy creeping up the walls and orchard trees and white sheep. Or saw the great Bodleian Library where Hogwarts was placed and has books that are thousands of years old and a fellow of the library must know the original language, whatever it may be, to read it. Or ate in a pub that was built in the 1600s. There’s a reason BBC films all their Masterpiece Theatre mini-series here. They don’t have to build any sets.
The last day in England we stopped at Stonehenge. This place beat any of them. 5000 years old. Stones standing against the cloudy England sky in a bitterly cold, rainy afternoon. Sheep graze around the Henge, keeping the grass naturally chopped short. One of the archaeologists on site told us about the phenomenal history of the place. There are villages that pre-date the Henge underneath the soil. If you knock over a few molehills with your foot, you’re bound to find ancient artifacts. There are barrow-downs everywhere where people who appear to have been great men of ancient eras are buried. You can draw a straight line from the outer rocks of the Henge to the Great Pyramid of Giza (also built around the same time). How did they know how to make a straight line across the world before satellites?
There’s an outer rock that I am convinced is a troll turned into stone. He was probably the troll set to guarding StoneHenge. Or maybe the troll that was trying to destroy StoneHenge that was outsmarted by a wizard. You can decide for yourself.
There’s a reason so many of the great fantasy novelists have come from England.…
You can look at my iWitness Account on Instagram (@camillerosemary) to see more pictures of Merry Olde England.