I’m back volunteering at Fountains Abbey, and every time I’m there, I’ll spend time in the ruined Abbey itself. I’ll gaze up at the voids which were once windows. Any stone tracery has long disappeared, revealing views of the sky and trees beyond. And I wonder what the monks saw, during their long hours of worship – eight sessions a day, the first at 2.00 a.m., when the night was charcoal-black and only smoky tallow candles lit the space? The ascetic Cistercians had no statuary in their churches, little stained glass, so the monks probably glimpsed a barely-to-be-discerned landscape beyond, through water-greenish, slightly uneven glass.
In her challenge this week, Jude has invited us to compare the same scene in colour, and in black and white. I thought it would be interesting to do this in a building in which colour plays little part. Surely there would be little difference? Well, apparently there is. I find the black and white version a little too austere for my tastes. What do you think?
And here’s a view of the Abbey with Huby’s Tower, which was completed a mere 13 years before Henry VIII brought the Fountains Abbey community to an end in 1539 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. I’ve tried to show it more as it might have looked then, set in a wilder landscape than the manicured parkland we see today. And when it came to the monochrome version – well, there’s black and white, and black and white. Again, there are choices here ….
This really is a challenge. Photos demonstrating 3D. Showing the heft, the mass, the solidity of the main subject: putting it in the perspective of its surroundings.
I took myself to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. Here is an ancient Cistercian foundation, in ruins since the days when Henry VIII called for the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Here are Georgian water gardens, developed by John and William Aislabie in the 18th century. And here I found my subjects.
Much of what you find in the gardens is more playful. This balustrade overlooking the lake, shows icicles. ‘It’s summer now’, is the message. ‘Enjoy yourselves. Winter will be along soon enough.’
This young pheasant has found the Banqueting House. Outside is a lawn cut into the shape of a coffin. The message is similar. ‘Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die’*
And later, explore the woodlands of the High Ride and its ancient trees. Their roots are pretty solid.
* from the Books of Ecclesiastes and Isaiah in the Bible.
It’s nearly rutting season. Stags begin to gather their harems, display their fine antlers. In a week or two … let battle commence.
My contribution to Six Word Saturday.
An entry for Six Word Saturday.
It’s equinox season: that blessed time of year when day equals night, and when, for us, the days are getting longer.
It’s transition time in so many ways. Those wonderful winter trees, their tracery of twigs and branches transcribed against the sky are skeletal still: but only just.
This morning, on my way out, I noticed tightly furled leaf buds, glossy and taut on shrubs in the garden. Two hours later, coming back, the tender leaves had burst out, tiny and delicate, waiting to be toughened up and to grow in the mild spring air. It was very windy too – hence no photos.
Has spring sprung?
Today’s Ragtag Challenge is Tracery.https://wp.me/p9YcOU-1ll
All photos apart from the first and the last one were taken walking through the parkland of Studley Royal, Fountains Abbey.
Father Christmas came early. Three months without a camera was enough, he reckoned. He lacked a beard and red clothing, and looked remarkably like Malcolm, but he helped me choose, provided the credit card and carried the new camera home for me.
We trialled it on Sunday. The grounds of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal is familiar territory, but reliably photogenic.
Even at ten o’clock, there was still mist rising from the Moon Ponds. And even though the view from Surprise View is no longer surprising, it’s none the worse for that.
But look! This is what we spotted in a distant meadow. Time to put the zoom lens through its paces. Aren’t these deer magnificent?
Later, we passed the fine Elizabethan Fountains Hall. It was fun to contrast the view of the house itself with the version spotted in a puddle we passed.
A good walk, and it’s good to have a camera once more.
As usual, click on any image to view it full size.
I enjoy Jo’s Monday Walks, and browsing through the posts of some of those who contribute too. So I thought I’d join in the fun. Yes, I know it’s Tuesday…..
If you live near Studley Royal and its deer park, as we do, you’ll be used to deer. They’re very shy though, and unless you’re there very early, or when poor weather is keeping visitors away, you’ll only get distant views of them.
Yesterday though, we were having a walk, a long walk, just outside the park grounds. Our path had led us upwards, through woodland, and alongside the long stone wall which bounds the estate. And that’s when we noticed them. A stag with his harem of does – some twenty or thirty of them. We stuck our noses over the wall, and watched. The deer watched us, and concluded that since these faces apparently had no bodies attached, they posed no threat.
The stag – and there was only one – was striding around in an assertive manner, aiming to garner respect. The deer weren’t bothered either way, and there were no other males to impress. He realised he was wasting his time, and fell to grazing instead.
I’m still stuck without a camera, so these slightly fuzzy efforts will have to do as a record of a few magic moments shared with a parcel of deer we came across .
Did you know that ‘parcel‘ is a collective noun for deer? Me neither. Try these too.
Herd – leash – gang – brace – clash – bevy – rangale – bunch – mob.
Today’s Ragtag prompt is ‘parcel’. And as usual, click on any image to view it full size.
I’ve got lots of readers with Yorkshire connections. With addresses in Australia, southern France, London, Northumbria, Spain and East Sussex, among other places, I bet not one of them has celebrated Yorkshire Day.
Apparently it all began on August 1st 1975, in Beverley, as a protest movement against the local government re-organisation of 1974′
Who knew? Not me. Not anyone I know. We all bumbled through life in the 1970s, 80s, 90s, and though the early years of the twenty first century, blissfully unaware until about five years ago that we were supposed to be partying for Yorkshire.
Two Ripon shops take Yorkshire Day seriously.
Now Yorkshire cities take it in turn to host Yorkshire Day, and this year it is Ripon’s turn. This meant a fairground in the Market Square, a procession with a band and civic dignitaries, a service in the cathedral, picnicking in the Park, and all manner of stalls in the town centre, mainly celebrating Yorkshire charities and institutions.
Such as The National Trust’s stall celebrating Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal. I was there. I was one of a small team encouraging mainly families to have fun. A few punters dressed up as monks from the Abbey, or as fine Georgian ladies who might have enjoyed the Studley Royal Water Gardens. Most children – boys and girls – got enthusiastic about using the kind of wool which was produced in abundance at Fountains Abbey to get stuck into simple weaving. They chose their colours with care, threaded their shuttles, and wove, wove, wove. They ended up with nothing more elaborate than a bookmark, but goodness, they treasured them, and handed them carefully to mums, grandads – anyone who would put them safely away till they arrived home.
And we all ate Wilfra Cakes. That’s a sort of apple pie cooked with Wensleydale cheese, and a long-forgotten Ripon delicacy, produced thanks to the Workhouse Museum.
If we go back this evening, there are bands playing, and a big firework display. Well, any excuse for a party in God’s Own Country. Why not?
It was cold the other night. Very cold. And for three hours, I stood outside in the dark. I was happy.
I was volunteering at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal as part of an event that spanned two continents: in Poland; in Denmark; in Germany; in Russia; in France and in China. Do follow the links: you’ll immediately have a clutch of places to add to your ‘must visit’ list.
In all these places, for one dark chilly night in February, there was a Garden of Light. Normally, we can only enjoy the Water Gardens of Studley Royal by daylight. But thanks to this international festival, there was a new opportunity.
As night fell, lighting designed to spotlight the special features of the gardens pierced the darkness, revealing a garden in harmony with the philosophy of the time in which it was conceived: where Nature and Art work hand in hand. 18th century music played in the background.
Visitors were able to stroll round, lanterns or torches in hand, focusing on the Temple of Piety and the classical statuary of the Moon Ponds; or glancing upwards at the Octagon Tower and Temple of Fame, all bathed in golden light. The Moon Ponds themselves were lit by glowing orbs – sometimes silver white, sometimes red or blue, fading in intensity as the evening wore on.
The Abbey too was lit up, though I barely saw this as it wasn’t my role to be available there.
The moon was perfect – exactly half way between waxing and waning, it lit the visitors’ paths and illuminated the night sky. Whenever I looked up there was Orion’s Belt – and so many other stars usually invisible to town-dwellers.
Those of us there relished the chance to enjoy this peaceful yet joyous occasion. And as the event drew to a close, owls reclaimed the night, and their plaintive hooting accompanied us as we walked away, chilly but content.