After leaving the Elderhostel tour in Oxford, we had not-very-well-defined
plans to see some other areas of England. The only certain places on our
agenda were spending the night with friends in Oundle and staying in Ironbridge.
I had visited Ironbridge some years previously when on a business trip that
spanned a weekend. While there I was convinced of two things: I had to come
back and Jim had to see it.
As it happened I confused some dates so the
scheduling didn't work out quite as effectively as it might have done.
As an avid reader of Dorothy Sayers
I wanted to see the fen country so tellingly described in
The Nine Tailors
so we headed in that direction and ended up in Ely (pronounced EE-lee).
What should we find there but
Oliver Cromwell's home. He seemed to haunt this trip!
I was hoping to find some kind of museum or guided trail that celebrated
the draining of the fens, a massive engineering feat that began in Roman
times. No such luck – at least for this trip.
There is an
Trail, but we didn't have time for it on this trip.
is home to yet another stunning cathedral. The founding of this one
is, like Christ Church, associated with a woman:
a Saxon princess who founded a monastery in the 7th century on what
was then an island. The present building was begun in the 11th century
and designated a cathedral early in the 12th.
The current octagonal
lantern tower replaced the original one, which had collapsed, in the
The great tower, in conjunction with the many windows, ensures that the
interior of the cathedral is well-lighted. In spite of its age and magnificence
it is still a very active parish
church with an active children's music program.
our too-short time in Ely we made our way to
, a small market
town SW of Peterborough.
As it happened this was my second visit to
this small town. We have good friends, Bill and Klaire Jameson, who
lived there for a time in the 90s when Bill was assigned to the nearby
US Government facility.
this trip to Oundle we visited friends Andrea Orr and her husband Mark.
I know Andrea through the Virginia Arabian Horse Association where we
are both on the Board of Directors. She was able to take her horse with
her to England and had a great time meeting Arabian enthusiasts there.
their years in England they had rented a charming house that had been
converted, along with several others, from old farm buildings. They
regretted that they hadn't purchased the house when
they had the chance because they both fell in love with England and
were sad to return to the Metro DC area when their jobs brought them
After a good visit with Mark & Andrea we were off to
Ironbridge. You may click your "back"
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