Fountains Abbey

Jan Leeming

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Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 11th April 2014


Sue and I had to toss up as to what we visited on our way back down from Alnwick to near Leeds. We decided upon Fountains Abbey and apart from one recommendation which did not live up to expectation, the ruins and the landscape were superb.

Have you seen the film 'Sliding Doors'?  Well, Sue had a sliding doors moment. As we arrived and were crossing the courtyard a man threw his arms around her and gave her a hug - he was a colleague from the days when Sue worked at Yorkshire Television and who was now working in a totally different capacity at Fountains.  They had a catch- up and then he said that we really must go and look at the little church with its fabulour stained glass!!  We'd not intended doing the full circuit but decided we'd better go and have a look.  If he'd told us it was Victorian Gothic, I for one wouldn't have bothered.  When you are regularly exposed to the staggering beauty and grandeur of a Cathedral like Canterbury, a Victorian Gothic Church has to be disappointing unless you are into Victorian Gothic.  And as for the stained glass - I didn't like it at all.  I'm very much a traditionalist and though I will open my mind to the modern - it has to be very good indeed and, in my humble opinion, these were not.


'Nuff said.  We then continued on our long walk around the artificial lake, the magnificently kept grounds and finally came to the Abbey Ruins.  We only had a very basic 'map' given us at the entrance to the grounds, but with my knowledge of how Cathedrals are laid out, I could work out most of the areas.  We'd almost reached the end of our wanderings when I looked at the 'map' and noticed that they indicated a 'Green Man'.  'Sorry Sue, but do you mind retracing our steps, I have to find the Green Man'.  Well I didn't need to find it, it was massive - the largest green man I've ever encountered.  Apparently there was a crack in the masonry and the Green Man was put there to fill it.  This, to me, is a mystery because Green Men have their origins in Pagan England so why in 1431 did they decide to fill a gap with a Green Man and not some other sculpture.  Mind you, on the other side of the Arch there's a very large Angel - so maybe they were hedging their bets!

We walked for 3 hours and I didn't have the appropriate footwear - so I've been suffering ever since and am walking rather like a crab.  In fact, when I collected Tamby from the Cattery, even the owner Kate noticed my odd gait.


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