So, some days we got away from the city. These were the best for me. One was our aforementioned walk to Beechen cliffs. These are not exactly cliffs per say, but gorgeous views of the city non the less. The alleyways that we passed along were just the path followed by our illustrious Jane Austin and the characters in her stories - although most of the buildings would not have been there.
A little drive on the wrong side of the road took us to Lacock (pronounced lay-cock, not a french rooster, as you were thinking...right?)
So, the town is a medieval village.
Wow. medieval. thats cool. everything is small - door sizes, road widths, shops...Ive been to many places where old buildings are standing, but there is something so fascinating to me about a village like this, where the whole town still functions as it did - only with internet and gasoline.
Anyways, outside of the village is a large manor, that used to be an abbey and monastery.
It was then renovated to make a home for a family. The old cloisters are lovely and used to film parts of harry potter. But for me the grounds were fabulous.
Marcel running on the grass, getting stones from the road and throwing them over the "moat".
It felt so good to take a deep breath of the fresh air, walk around the gardens. The sounds of the city so far away. Its cheesy on hindsight, but oh so delicious when I was there.
Architecturally, the cloisters are such a gorgeous concept. An inner courtyard with rooms that enclose it, surrounded with a sculptured colonnade. The way the light filters into the hallway, reminds me of Shakespearean stories, of the Greek houses I visited in Cyprus, of Roman times, and then before. Its a way that a family and guest can live together with a level of privacy and modesty. All in one house, and yet separate enough to maintain propriety. An older, broader concept of "house" comes to mind.
Also while I was here I was struck with a thought, that is hard to explain, but was important to me. I was thinking about how so many people have lived and worked at Laycock, in history there were people who prayed there, who dedicated their lives to a certain craft and to elevating it to perfection. (I'm thinking of the nuns here...) How so much work has gone into both building and restoring such a place that people have come to find beauty.
I think it is so good that the community has been able to make such a place into a museum for all of us to visit...but there is something so odd to me about museums like this. I understand that things need to be preserved, but I also feel that it would be so nice to have people living and using such a place.
There are signs everywhere that say they need more money for the preservation of these places and that the government needs donations, but if people really cared about where they were, and they were able to use such a place they would have reason to help maintain it. I don't know, maybe we are too destructive to be trusted with such old things, but I wish that were were trustworthy enough to be able to look after a place like this while using it.
I daydream about a castle, old abbey or monastery that can be re inhabited for people to use, to live in, to have a school to learn in and to worship in. Perhaps in the future this will happen, and for the time being they are preserved for us. I would work hard to preserve a place like that, I think others would too. Anyways, this is getting wordy. Its just a thought that has been reoccurring to me a lot, while on holidays - we have to make parks and museums to go to on weekends that recreate a world we wish we lived in...(not to mention the effort we put into making movies that do the same thing...) why cant we just make our world like that all the time? huh?
I'm working on it - man oh man, I need help! please?...and one day hopefully we'll be responsible enough to reclaim a place like Laycock and make it alive with our song, laughter and prayer, life and soul...one day!