With the spate of visitors that we have been entertaining recently – and my sister-in-law and her daughter from Chicago are now staying with us – we have been re-visiting some of the nearby attractions multiple times. In doing so, each time we have noticed or strayed into new parts or aspects of these places. On the list of repeat destinations outside of Bath are Castle Combe, Lacock and Dyrham Park.
I very much like the cloisters at Lacock Abbey and looked more closely at the ceilings with their elaborate carvings and noticed particularly the female faces which to me evince a quintessentially medieval sensibility in contrast to a carved classical face for example. Since this was an Abbey for nuns the face seems appropriate.
We had been told that there was a ford at Lacock but had not seen it on two previous visits. This time, however, we walked down to the small church and found the little lane down which it can be found. It was a beautiful sunny day so children had just naturally started playing in the ford and the stream running alongside the village.
We really only explored all of this, including the church, because we wanted a change from the National Trust’s own tea rooms for lunch and ventured off to find an alternative. At first it seemed as if our only choice would be one of the pubs but then we stumbled on a tea garden accessed through a gap in the buildings that led out into an extensive and well-kept garden in which there were abundant tables. The menu looked good and the scrambled eggs and mushrooms on the all day breakfast menu did not disappoint as they say in all the best restaurant reviews.
After lunch we were wandering around the church – dating from 1480 – when we saw some photographs displayed in a side chapel that a tourist had taken of the roof which revealed just how strong the colour still was on the walls and roof. As we all know, churches and cathedrals were usually painted in colours we would today regard as positively gaudy and here was a glimpse into that past. I took some of my own pictures and though not as startling as the ones on display they still illustrate how vivid the colours would have been. There was a rather haunting face in the chapel that still bore the remnants of paintwork and once again shows the distinctive medieval visual style.