About Us

There are four of Them: three girls and one boy, little stair-steps all. There are two of Us: best friends, co-parents and truly in love. The Six of us have epic adventures full of laughter and love, occasionally containing tears, but always together.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ancient History Revisited

Of course, I've gotten totally behind in my adventure posting (again - and like this will be the last time). Come to think of it I'm totally behind in most of my posting. Eh, anyway, here's a bit of catch up on the adventures we've been having around Northern Yorkshire. (Oh it feels so lucky/amazing to write that!)

Before school started, we took a Sunday afternoon and drove about ten minutes from our house, down into Kirkstall. There we wandered through the ruins of a beautiful Cistercian Abbey, aptly called Kirkstall Abbey. It was completed between 1152 and 1182.

They had a fabulous information center, built inside the old reredorter. The kids got a big kick out of the fact that a reredorter was the bathroom for the monks. One of the neat hands on exhibits that was available, were blocks that were shaped to create different types of architectural arches. It was really cool to be able to try and balance the blocks to create the four different kinds of arches that were used when the buildings were built. Of course, the kids did manage to drop the wooden blocks on their own fingers, so that wasn't so cool, but it didn't keep them from trying to create the arches. They also had quite a few costumes for the kids (and grownups) to try on and a wig with the monk haircut.

There was also a really nice history of the monks, what they believed and how they kept the abbey running while trying to remove themselves from the world. There was quite an amazing system of abbeys in England and for a while they were very successful (and got pretty large).

Unfortunately when the monks were disbanded some of the abbeys were treated pretty badly. For a long time, a main carriage road ran right through the main chapel at Kirkstall and the reredorter was once a tea house! Now they are taking good care of it and trying to protect the ruins as much as possible. It is a beautiful ruin and completely worth the free admission and an afternoon worth of time!

(In the last one, we are standing in the library. It was an amazingly tiny room. The monks were instructed to spend an entire year reading one book!)

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