September 22nd, 2008

Sawley Abbey

After picnicing on the coast we drove inland in search of something medieval.  I leafed through my English Heritage guide book and picked out Sawley Abbey. I didn't think we'd been there before, but as we got closer and I started to recognise the scenery I realised we had. It was ten years back (at least) and I'd just bought Ailz a pendulum and she walked round the church trying to dowse where the high altar had stood.
The guides tend to be a bit sniffy about Sawley. "Not a major monastic site"- that sort of thing. I don't suppose the monks thought of it in those terms.

It was a Cistercian house with a reputation for producing fine scholars. The name used to be written Salley and maybe it was pronounced that way too.

There's a pretty, little village and the river Ribble runs nearby. This was Yorkshire until 1974, when local government reorganisation turned it into Lancashire. The hill framed by the arch (cobbled together from bits of monastic detritus) is   Pendle Hill- famous as the meeting place of the 16th century Lancashire witches.

Places like Sawley make me very happy in a sad sort of way. Does that make sense?


Yesterday I was mostly lopping trees.  We have an ash tree in the back yard that has to be ferociously cut back- pollarded in fact- if it's not to eat up all our autumn and winter sun. My electric saw wasn't charged, so I put it on charge for an hour, cut a couple of branches, charged it some more- and so on and on until the job was completed- which took all afternoon and well into the evening.   I think this spasmodic method- short bursts of activity punctuated by hour long rests-  may have spared my poor old bones from getting really shook up.
Rabbits adore ash leaves. Who'd have guessed?