Friday, June 26, 2009

Laudanum, Wrong Turns and Dreaming Spires

Our intrepid flock spent the last two days in the charming village of Nether Stowey, which is famous for being the spot where the poet Coleridge lived and wrote many of his most famous poems, including the laudanum-induced "Kubla Khan." We actually stayed in that house and walked in the garden. Coleridge never properly finished the poem, since his reverie was interrupted by "a man from Porlock," which is a (relatively) nearby town.

The hosts were wonderful and I can't say enough good things about the town. We frequented a pub that was playing on the Coleridge connection by naming itself "The Ancient Mariner" - no, they did not serve albatross. There was also a lovely bistro called "The Hairy Bear" after the owners' Welsh Terrier. We went there last night as a thunderstorm was brewing and had a wonderful time!

During this time, we also visited both Stonehenge and the marvelous city of Bath. Go see them both - I'll leave it at that.

Today we left Nether Stowey behind and traveled at a leisurely pace through the picturesque Cotswold hills (villages by Disney) to our final stop - Oxford, home of the dreaming spires. Due to heavy weekend traffic and more than a few wrong turns, we got here too late to do much more than walk around. It's been a lifetime since I've been here, but the Eagle and Child is still here, as is the moving Martyrs' Memorial. Three Protestant prelates were burned at the stake in the street; two of them together. According to legend, Latimer said to his friend Ridley as the flames began to burn: "Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out."

Courage like that deserves a monument.

We head back to London tomorrow, most likely arriving in the afternoon. We then have Sunday to play and then head back to the States Monday morning, arrived (due to time zone magic) early afternoon on Monday.

What a trip!

1 comment:

amnbsdad said...

I bet you asked if they served albatross. Didn't you?