Sunday, 16 November 2014

Cloister Honeymoon

In August I married the man I love; we have been working together ever since to build our own family cloister! We have a new home, not far from my work but also close to a Guernsey Dairy Farm, fields and places to have adventures. We have kitted out the kitchen and explored the local greengrocers and butchers. The feasts have been celebrated, every one. And, although we have observed the Friday abstinence from meat, fasting has been non existent as we have settled into our new vocation to journey together till death do us part.

On honeymoon we stayed first in a small wooden framed cottage in the woods near Shrewsbury. It was called St Winifred's Well - the 15th Century hideaway was once a chapel and place of pilgrimage, built above a natural spring that pilgrims came to pray by and bathe in.  You can just see it in the background of the picture to the left. St. Winifred's body had been lain there, they say, when they carried her body from Holywell to Shrewsbury in 1138 - from that night onwards the spring water flowed, famous for its healing powers - most particularly bruises. I was very pleased about this, as I accidentally fell in whilst exploring and looking at Mr. Frog one morning! Winifred's Well was a place of tranquility where you could be with nature and nature could be with you. The bathroom was separate from the house, in the old pig-sty. As there was never anyone around you could run gloriously hot bubble baths and soak with the door open, looking up into the trees and making friends with Mr. Robin and Mrs. Songthrush. I wrote about our beautiful week here in the cottage log book, and you can read my entry a separate post.

After a week relaxing among the trees we were headed for the mountains of Wales. En route we stopped at the UK's oldest place of continuous pilgrimage - St Winifred's Well, Holywell. Since the 7th Century, through bad times and through good, pilgrims have gone to this place to pray and ask for the prayers of St. Winifred. And, well, having just spent a week in the woods learning about her, it would have been rude not to pass by. 

In Wales we stayed in an old slate miners cottage at the top of the mountain, surrounded by sheep. Neither of the cottages we chose to spend the first weeks of marriage in were accessible by road, and both had roaring fires. We had plenty of time to read, chat, cook, eat and explore. We climbed Moel Siabod in Wales - an epic climb you can read about in the diary entry I made to the cottage log book. You can read the entry in a separate post.

Marriage also seems to have brought out my creative side: I have knitted the blanket of my dreams, perfect for winter hibernation. It is made of pure wool from Suffolk sheep. I started the project on honeymoon and finished it only yesterday. Much of the wool was bought with John Lewis vouchers bought as kind gifts from relatives and friends. So, thank you to all of them. I am very proud of our blanket, and Mr. Cloister loves it too.

I attach some pictures, and will write separately about some of our bigger adventures. I hope to get back to writing some recipes soon.

All in all, although the last few months have been very busy, they have been blissfully happy. I hope that you enjoy reading the log entries.

In the meantime,

St. Winifred - Pray for us.

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