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Saturday, 25 April 2009

All good things .....

Today Mausi heads home for Germany, her holiday at an end and no doubt with a huge pile of work waiting at her desk. Still, judging by the photos she has left me of her stay, she has enjoyed it. It has included touring with my Iranian student friends - seen here at Newent on the Severn Estuary - and exploring castles and dockyards. 

Holy week and Easter are among the highlights she enjoys and the Iranian guys were fascinated by the preparations and celebrations. Our trip to the wilds of East Sussex and Kent added some more experiences and in this last week she has found herself helping with some of the matters I am responsible for in the Abbey, including testing new components of the audio system and discussing the possibilities of a new lighting scheme for this ancient building.

Bodiam Castle is a beautiful place, one we enoyed immensely exploring. It must have been a truly magnificent home until Cromwell and his supporters visited it, robbed it out and burned the interiors. Even crowded with people you can still get a feel for the 'home' it must have been to a fairly large household. The chapel in particular must have been really splendid and the Great hall range (to the left in the picture) and the Lord's quarters (the right hand wing) were luxurious in their appointments. The lake it sits in is an artifical one and the River Rother used to be deep enough for ships to come to a harbour created on the reverse of the bank from which this picture was taken.

Our visit to Chatham finished with a dinner in the George Vaults in Rochester, one of the so-named "Medway Towns" with its Norman castle and even older cathedral. There was a Saxon Cathedral here when the Normans came and built the present one. This is where the Monk was first Licenced as a Reader and he has fond memories of doing chaplain duty here on summer weekends. 

Finally it has been a busy week at home and with the Abbey demanding attention once more. This gave Mausi the opportunity to take some photos in areas she has previously visited, but not photographed. Some of these will appear here in due course I hope, though, for now, I will share just one more.

 When Mausi arrived the Copper Beech in the Abbey grounds was bare. In the last few weeks it has decked itself out for the coming summer with its full panoply of rich copper coloured leaves. Summer has arrived and Mausi will be heading home to the first signs of it in the Rhine-Pfalz with, I hope, a lot of happy memories.

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