***Note: We are officially back in the normal swing of things in the US. We arrived home very early Saturday morning. Anna made it to ballet for a 9:30 class (true dedication). I drove back to Concord on Sunday. The first day back to work after a long break is always rough, but I've been looking forward to going through photos to finish my blog postings for our last 2 days in England.
Today we were feeling, right from the morning, that our beautiful vacation is coming to an end. There were so many things we wanted to see and do, but of course we knew we wouldn't be able to fit in everything. Anna was feeling like she didn't get enough shopping in while at Bath yesterday. I was feeling like I haven't been able to relax and enjoy the immediate area enough. Michael was feeling like the decision of what to do today would best be left to me and Anna.
We picked Sherborne, another medieval market town located about 20 minutes away from the cottage. It is bigger than Crewkerne (which has been described by Eileen, the owner of the cottage, as a "one horse town," which might be a fair assessment, but I do love its charms), and has a reputation for good shops and antiques. There is also an abbey and a castle that was built by (for) Sir Walter Raleigh.
It was market day, so local vendors were set up along the high street. Anna and I bought some hot cross buns, while Michael looked longingly at the local meats, knowing they wouldn't keep in the car all day. There was a steady drizzle, which made it imperative that we stop in each shop along the street to keep dry on the way to the abbey. We found another hat shop, this one more expensive than the one in Bath.
We also stopped for the best lunch we've had yet - fish pie with mashed potatoes and cheese on top for me, steak and ale for Michael, and more eggs, bacon and potatoes for Anna, with her usual hot chocolate and whipped cream (she's in a rut!) It was again the best whipped cream Anna has ever tasted! I couldn't even wait to take a bite before I took this photo...
Sherborne Abbey was so beautiful - Anna said it was her favorite church. There were sections of the Saxon structure, medieval stained glass, and the nave was stunning and colorful.
There were also some colorful stories associated with the abbey. When it became a Benedictine Abbey, the monks built a separate but attached structure for the villagers to worship in and kicked them out of the abbey proper. The baptismal font which had been used by the villagers for generations was still located in the abbey, so whenever there was a child to be baptized, the villagers had to request of the monks permission to use it. The villagers didn't like this, so they carved their own font and began using that. The monks didn't like this, so they smashed the villagers' font. In retaliation, the villagers shot flaming arrows into the abbey, where the ceiling was being renovated. The scaffolding caught on fire and the flames permanently stained some of the stone red.
We stayed at the abbey all afternoon, and didn't make it to Sherborne Castle before it closed for the day. With a little extra time on our hands, we took the back way home to the cottage, driving up Ham Hill to take in the view of our village and the surrounding countryside.
We got home early and had a relaxing evening. Anna and I went over to the farmhouse to chat with Eileen and a couple other guests. We talked about the Royals, and Anna got quite an education about the naughty behavior of some of the members of the Royal family! She still loves the idea of having a queen, though, and we both regret not being able to be in England for the Diamond Jubilee in June.