Thursday, July 09, 2015

England 2015: Day 5--The Caen Hill Locks, More Churches, and the West Kennet Long Barrow


Are you still with me???  HA!  My head is swimming in images from that one week in England but here we are already at day 5 of 7.  And 8 more days before grandson Nicholas arrives!  You could say I'm running with the wolves right now.  :)

Day 5 was Friday, 19 June, when I was back with Lisl and Michael in Bath and Astrid was with us.  That day we covered a multitude of sins visual delights.

We started the day at the Caen Hill Locks on the Kennet and Avon Canal in Wiltshire.
It's a flight of 29 locks rising 237 feet in 2 miles,
but we were are at the main flight of only 16 locks.

All I can say is that it's one of the wonders of the world!
We started at the top near the café and looked down.

Once at the bottom, we looked back up.
Who dreamed up such a technological feat!

All out in the middle of Mother Nature doing her thing.

Lucky for us, narrowboats we going up and down.
Some people live on these boats while others rent them for vacation.
If you're on such a boat, you're the one who operates the opening and closing of the locks,
along with some willing volunteers, if you're lucky.


Does this look like a fun vacation to you?
You'd never forget it!

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After the locks, we visited 3 parish churches which I will add to my list thus far:

8.  St. Mary the Virgin Church, Bishops Cannings, Devizes, Wiltshire, 13th century.

Right away you can tell this isn't like the other parish churches we've seen thus far.
This one seems quite more grandiose, doesn't it.

 Yes, indeedy.

I wonder if this would have been too big for my preacher dad?

 Or too grandiose?

But he would have loved the the old wood.  The hymnals.  The cushions.

9.  St. Mary the Virgin Church, Alton Barnes,Wiltshire, 10th century.

See how quickly things can change.  This one is from the late Saxon Period (410-1066)!

And it's still in use!

It even has a wee balcony with all kinds of photo ops.  How fun.

10.  All Saints Church, Alton Priors, Wiltshire, 12th century.

Just a hop, skip and a jump away, we walked to this hard-to-find church.
It was declared redundant in 1972 and is no longer used for regular worship.

But it's still open to all and was being set up for the summer solstice celebration in 3 days.
(I wanted to do a brass rubbing at that front door.)

It had a strange presence I still can't explain....

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Between the churches we saw things, of course,

Nature's church.  And English architecture.

And more White Horses.  We've now seen 3 (one from last year).
Lisl wants to walk the White Horse Trail to all 8 (of 13) remaining Wiltshire horses.
Knowing her, she'll do it...all 90 miles!

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By mid-afternoon we were off to the West Kennet Long Barrow in Avebury,
a Neolithic chambered tomb built in (drum roll, please) 3650 BC.
Notice the Druids along the way, for the upcoming summer solstice.

The keepers of the gate told us no secrets.

We had to find them out for ourselves!
It felt like a desecration to see picnickers on top of the burial chamber,
but we held our tongues (hopefully not Ugly Americans??!!).

 Can you imagine being buried in there?

Many offerings were left in nooks and crannies.

And when we walked back down, we felt Mother Nature's gentle breeze.
The ancient whispers of the ages nearly rattled my bones.
How is it possible to see things this old?

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Once back home we ate and drank to the day at the nearby Fox & Hounds Pub.

Good God.  Good Friends.  Good food.  Let's eat!

It doesn't get much better than this, folks.

10 comments:

  1. Look at that countryside! And sometimes sun! Just so beautiful, and I can tell it's lunch time because I want to eat what's on those plates. :)

    Don't overdo please and bother your wrists/hands with all that PP!

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    1. I just love England, Ruth...can you tell??!! And the good news about my wrist/hand is that I use an ergonomic pad on which I rest my wrist and NEVER have any "issues," no matter how many hours I work every day. But thanks for the warning. I feel very lucky.

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  2. Fabulous...I love locks and the churches are wonderful especially those beamed ceilings....but the West Kennet Long Barrow is right up my alley with the White Horses....love history and archaeology.

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    1. You would totally love England, Donna. I hope I end up living there in another life. HA!

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  3. This was such a beautiful day. So many things we saw. Unique in the right meaning of the word. Those locks, amazing. The three churches, each with their own soulfulness. In the middle of nowhere. To end such a perfect day with perfect food and company, what else can you wish. This is life as it should be lived... Wonderful post adding to the memory to keep, thank you MLS. IHVJ.

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    1. Every time we go to England we are thrilled beyond end. I like the idea that we could actually live there if we ever wanted to. HA! We have more friends there than here, when you think about it!!!

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  4. Just love how you take us along to see these amazing sites with you! LOVED the videos from day 4!

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    1. The thing is, Robin, we both share with each other and thereby see more of this incredible world. YAY!

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  5. It’s clear you had a glorious time. I think we may have explored those ancient burials, but what really caught my attention was those locks. Do you know when they were built?

    The locks caught my attention, but the parish churchyard stole my heart. Lovely!

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    1. "The Caen Hill locks, built in 1810, were engineer John Rennie's solution to climbing the steep hill near Devizes and were the last part of the canal to be completed." You'd never forget them if you saw them, Ted. But, yes, nothing quite beats those parish churchyards!

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