April 2nd, 2007

little review

Greetings from Lacock, Avebury, Stonehenge

We had a rather pagan day before the start of Passover, beginning at Lacock Abbey, which remained intact after the Dissolution and has beautiful cloisters that were used in the filming of the early Harry Potter movies. Fox Talbot, who invented the photographic negative, inherited the property after it had become a private home and there is a museum on the grounds about his work. We didn't actually tour the abbey-turned-country-house, just the cloisters and some of the gardens. Then, after a brief stop to see the Cherhill (Oldbury) white horse, we drove to Avebury, which we have visited each time we have been to Britain -- the beautiful Wiltshire town with a stone circle surrounding it. We picnicked in the middle and walked around the circle to see Silbury Hill and the other nearby sights. As it has been every time I have visited Avebury, the weather was magnificent...not a cloud in the sky, though there was some haze.

We stopped briefly at Stonehenge because we couldn't bear not to when we were so close...didn't do the audio tour this time, just walked around the circle under the gorgeous afternoon sun. From there we drove to Glastonbury, where we stopped briefly in a couple of the spiritual-New Age-Wiccan stores before going first to the Chalice Well -- an underground spring that reaches the surface at the foot of the Tor amidst lovely meditation gardens -- then climbing the Tor itself in the hazy late afternoon sunshine. There were sheep low on the hillside and rabbits and ravens up near the top, which was windy but not nearly as cold as the rainy day when we climbed it two years ago. Then as now we drove out of the city listening to Loreena McKennitt, inevitably!

After an afternoon at the focal point of British goddess worship for anyone who grew up a fan of The Mists of Avalon, it felt kind of strange to stop in Tesco, pick up Passover essentials and come back to the cottage for a seder, but we did...quite modified in places, as we had no shank bone and had kind of forgotten to pack the Haggadah, but the kids can recite most of it from memory after Hebrew school model seders, and the quickie charoset and lack of gefilte fish did not seem to distress them. Avebury and Glastonbury have always felt absolutely spiritually right to me, so I am quite content with unorthodoxy.


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