We have been in Bury St Edmunds for about ten days and it is an easy place to live. We are house-minding for my Aunt and Uncle who have run away to Alaska while the Olympic games are happening. Bury is dominated by the remains of the Abbey and its magnificent gardens. I have been enjoying walking through them on my way to the town. Hanging baskets filled with flowers line the streets.
We have the Lonely Planet guide for England and this is what it says about the Abbey and gardens: “Most impressive, are the remains of the western front, where the original abbey walls were burrowed into in the 18th century to make way for houses. The houses are still in use and look as if they have been carved out of the stone like caves.” My Aunt lives in one of these houses but it is not a bit like living in a cave.
Good friends of ours have just moved to Coober Pedy in South Australia and they are living in a cave – they wake up to complete darkness, they don’t have good internet reception, they are underground. In comparison, our abode is light, airy and the sun awakens me at 5.30 am.
Nearby is Samson Tower – the gates built in the Norman times as an entrance to the Abbey. In front of it is a beautiful statue of St Edmund by Dame Elisabeth Frink (1976). I can gaze out at this statue from our bathroom window and I love it. The rest of the abbey spreads eastward like a ragged skeleton, with various lumps and pillars hinting at its immense size. The Cathedral is next door to us and seems enormous, but it is tiny compared to the size of the old Abbey. Living amongst these ruins is a bit like living in an alien landscape.
We are not being tourists here. We are both working and we are finally working on our marriage material together. I have been waiting for Keith to read and to think in his way and now he is ready to do things “my way” a little and I plan to buy a giant sketch book so we can brainstorm ideas.
On Friday we went to the Bury Historical Records Office which is next door to do a little bit of research into Puritan families who lived in the area. We found some interesting documents. I was a little worried I would have trouble reading hand writing and figuring out what they were saying – for example f is s but managed quite well.
Our worlds are colliding a little here, as I am doing an online creative writing course and am “attempting” to write a story about Katherine Gell who lived from 1624 to 1671 and Keith has written about her. Certain aspects of her life have sparked an interest – so I am gleaning as much as I can about this period in history – it is an amazing period of time – a Civil War and then Charles 1 lost his head. However, it means we have plenty to talk about and I am not in the least bit bored. Creative writing is hard work and I am having to do some tough self talk.
We have been running four times this week – I managed to figure out how to use the couch to 5k app – am still figuring out the music bit. On one run, it was set on a perpetual loop of the Corr’s “Run-away” which is fun to listen to once, but after that, I was a little over it.
We slept in this morning as we stayed up late to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics. It was magic – we thoroughly enjoyed the BBC coverage – silent commentatators. We loved the Queen and James Bond, Mr Bean, the Beatles and the introductory film along the Thames with the magnificent music.