Thursday, April 22, 2010

Volcanic Ash Cloud with silver lining

We should be in Assisi today. But we are home, looking at blue sky's and wondering if the invisible cloud of volcanic ash is going to drift down to our roof and sidewalks. We have seen some little particles blowing in the wind that might be ash, but that is it.
The 8 day pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi was replaced by a four day pilgrimage to the Yorkshire Dales, land of James Herriot. So he isn't a saint! And there were no relics to venerate, or beautiful churches to inspire awe, or ancient paintings to wonder at (at which to wonder?).
But....we did sit in his car!! And we found out his real name!! And we got very, very close to some sheep!! And we drove on winding, rock wall lined, narrow roads....just like he did!! So, it was a bit like a pilgrimage. Seriously though, as new (except for the husband who watched it as a kid) fans of the old TV show and books, it was a real treat to see the actual location. And.... check out the new hat The Ringmaster is sporting: 



















On a more religious note, we visited a ruined Cistercian Abbey, probably destroyed by Henry VIII. We stood in what was once the large chapel in front of what was once the altar and recited the Angelus AND the Regina Coeli. We sat in what was once the chapter house and did the Magnificat in choirs, just as the monks would have. 
This magnificent abbey was tucked into a little valley, with a cluster of homes on one side, and a more modern Methodist church in the middle of the cluster. There were sheep on the hills all around. You could squint your eyes and imagine the monks working in their fields, tending their sheep, in procession to the chapel for prayers. Amazing....and sad. 

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