Sawley Abbey in all weather

12827_4458757710264_289847268_nThis was a day of thank you ! Thank you to everyone who has ever planted bulbs at the roadside. Daffodils , crocuses .. you lift the mood punching above your size .Thank you !
Fog greeted the day and with the intention of getting above it I made for the top of the Moor. The route to Sawley abbey ,now in Lancashire ,but historically Yorkshire proved difficult to link into my tour timetable . I decided to visit on a day trip of training . Its quite a climb up to Cowper’s Cross and I don’t mind admitting to pushing ,but clinging fog still held the high moor in lock down . It’s a great place to think of the valleys below ,Airedale and Wharfedale and pray blessing .The cross a form to cling onto in the fog of life .
Knowing I needed to cross the Pennine watershed, I was expecting plenty of ups and downs . It was a strange sensation then to have fog so thick that it was difficult to work out if the road was going up or down and to cycle through snow drifts higher than me on both sides of the road . So it was with an added sense of relief that the sun was shining at Sawley and the huge stones radiated a pale heat from the strengthening spring sun . Sawley a small abbey but a place of rest , faith and learning for over 400 years sitting juxtaposed Pendle Hill. A beautiful quiet place in the Ribble Valley . A place of spiritual history . Not much remains of this great place founded in 1147 . Born of an obedient zeal to take the gospel from Citaeux in France into all the world , the legacy of Christians is immense . The beheading of the Abbott four hundred years later was greeted with outrage locally and a faction of the pilgrimage of Grace attempted to protest at Sawley .Just sixty or so years later the hold that witchcraft had in the area became well known . The famous trial of ten people ,some confessed witches resulted in hangings for murder through witchcraft in Lancaster and York .
So what of the interest today . It seemed that some of my fellow guests at the ‘Spread Eagle’ were oblivious to the history across the road and ‘had not noticed the Abbey’ The Pendle witches are more celebrated in memory . I write this a day after ‘ We fight not against flesh and blood .. But against the powers of this dark world and spiritual forces of evil … ‘ was read by Amanda Thatcher for all who cared to listen and understand . Sawley Abbey serene and ruined still remains as a counter to the history of Pendle’s fame .Even if Sawley Abbey’s people have been silenced the stones cry out to invite consideration of the faith of the first monks . The forty mile return gave great head space to consider the lilies of the field and be thankful . There was still snow to walk through and hail to fall but the tour of the Abbeys of Yorkshire has begun and you can read more about it here



Driving around

It all started well enough. Leisurely breakfast ,not too early . It would be normal to look forward to test driving new cars. But I’m contrary and like my car to be able to take some more knocks without being noticed. Yes, to all things new, but a big no to the first spoiling of newness. And that’s the logic. Stick with the old .
So to do a test drive, I admit , I needed some persuading . VW Harrogate. These guys are on the ball, greet with a smile , coffee , knowledge and understanding . Good test drive . May well get the business. So to next door. A famous 4 rings showroom. I’ll spare you the details but after 40 minutes and an offer to drive a car with 30000 plus miles on it instead of the new A3 we were saying our goodbyes to the manager. The contrast between expectation in a glass car palace and failing of customer service at a basic level leaves a tainted feeling .Let’s have a cup of tea and get over it!
But plans that never plan for the unexpected , or emotions that never plan for the surprise cannot expect resilience . So having thought that the day’s driving was done by 3 pm ,it was 7 pm when we turned the corner in Leamington Spa , heading back to Yorkshire with a passport . The saving of a 20 minute test drive was exchanged for six hours in a car with over 105,000 on the clock . Gas guzzling , oil demanding and no longer pristine but it saved a holiday and gave time for conversation. No need for a radio with good company , but maybe ,…yes I would love a reliable audio system in a car . Audi . Oh dear .