Tewkesbury Abbey.

We stopped off in Tewkesbury recently, on our way to the Hrafnslith training weekend at the ATC in Cranbourne.
We’d stayed in Tewkesbury some years ago, and I’d always fancied returning there to have another wander round the Abbey and it’s grounds.

Tewkesbury Abbey.Officially known as The Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin, Tewkesbury Abbey is in the English county of Gloucestershire, and is a former Benedictine monastery. It is thought to be one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Britain; in simpler terms, it is a stunning Norman building!

Tewkesbury Abbey.The entrance to the grounds is through an ornate gateway. There is a coat of arms at the top of the gateway, but I cannot seem to find any information about whose they are. Any ideas?

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The  pathway to the Abbey entrance is lined by Yew trees.Pathway to entrance of Tewkesbury Abbey. Entrance of Tewkesbury Abbey.Once inside there is something to look at in every direction. The walls and ceiling have intricate carvings. When you think that these carvings were made over 800 years ago, without the advantages that modern labour saving techniques provide, I have to say that it is pretty impressive. Many of the carvings are on the walls and ceilings of the tombs that lie throughout the Abbey. One tip though if you do decide to visit; don’t forget to look up!

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There is a wonderful organ in the Abbey as well. The Milton Organ was originally built in 1631, but was bought by the Abbey in 1736.

The Milton Organ - Tewkesbury Abbey.The wooden carved stalls are in the choir of the Abbey.

The choir - Tewkesbury Abbey.There is also a modern bronze memorial plaque to Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales. Edward was the leader of the Lancastrian force that was defeated by Edward IV at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471 during the Wars of the Roses.

Memorial plaque to Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales.The Latin is translated as: “Here lies Edward, Prince of Wales, cruelly slain while but a youth, A.D. 1471, May 4th. Alas, the savagery of men. Thou art the sole light of thy mother, and thy last hope of thy race.” (W. G. Bannister, Tewkesbury Abbey, As It Was, and As It Is.)

The grounds of the Abbey are small, but are wonderfully peaceful to walk or sit in. Here are a few more of the photos I took while we were there.

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Garden Delights

For years I loved gardening. I was really into the whole planting thing, and then watching the plants as they grew and flowered. I guess I got the bug from my mum; she always loved to potter round the garden at home. She was almost the most expert ‘slipper’ of plants; the smallest twig taken from a plant would become a focal part of her garden. Those plants weren’t known by any botanical names, but rather were known as the places they camme from. The one that sticks most in my mind was the Bundoran bush (it was a Hebe!). I followed her almost puppy like. Mind you, as a child I hated the weeding, but as I grew older I came to realise that it was all part and parcel of growing plants and maintaining your garden.

I became adapt at slipping the plants in my mums garden and growing them on. When I bought my own home, these plants became the start of my own garden; the cottage roses and shrubs. And I loved it; my own patch of earth to grow my own shrubs and flowers.

But somewhere along the line I lost it. The garden changed from a refuge from the stresses of the world and became a chore. I could see it happening to me, but for some reason I felt unable to tackle the smallest task. My beautiful garden became a semi wilderness.

Somehow this year something has changed. Perhaps it’s the beautiful summer weather we have had for the past few weeks. Perhaps it was the natural dyes I had started to make in the last couple of years as part of the viking re-enactment, and the curiosity of what I could use to create plane dyes. Spring came late, but when it arrived it seemed to breathe new life into me and my garden.

I went to a garden centre; once a place I would spend hours wandering around, and spent quite a lot of cash on bedding plants and seeds.

I came home and planted them. It felt so good!

That was over a month ago. As the days passed I watched the seedlings struggle up from the earth, and the bedding plants open their faces to the sun. And finally they bloomed.Not all at once; one by one they looked to the sun and smiled at me. And I felt like I had come home again.

So tonight, after drenching them with water to ease their thirst, I took my camera for a walk among their smiling colourful faces. Some of them have been with me for years, like the beautiful cottage garden rose I inherited as a slip from my mum. Others are new like the marigolds and pansies.
And I would like to share them with you. I hope they bring you as much joy from their pictures that they have brought me.

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