Friday, August 24, 2007


Our second stop on our circle tour of the west was Glastonbury. Wow! What a beautiful area of the world! The drive from Salisbury to Glastonbury was uneventful and speedy (considering it all took place on "A-Routes".

I'll say it again, what lovely countryside! When I was in high school, I first read the J. R. R. Tolkien book, The Hobbit. The cover of the book showed a verdant hilly countryside meant to be The Shire, where the hobbits in the book lived. I was not at all surprised to find that Tolkien had lived and died only a few miles south of here and had visited the area many times while teaching at Oxford. This place really is The Shire.

By the time we arrived at the car park in Glastonbury the rains had stopped. The cloud cover had lifted and the day was lovely! It was absolutely gorgeous! Tending a bit to the warm side, but the winds at the top of The Tor (our next stop) would make us glad that the day was a bit on the warm side!

Once we had walked around a bit, we decided to take the bus to the bottom of The Tor. The Tor is a hill just outside of town which is crowned by a fourteenth century stone tower; all that remains of an earlier stone church.

We walked up the hill (snapping pictures all the way) to the summit and drank-in the landscape. It is easy to see why so many legends of ancient magic and mystery have been borne by this place! Legend has it that when the water table was higher (in the fifth and sixth centuries, before the downs were drained to make them arable, the valleys, filled with water, shrouded in mists, gave rise to the myths of Avalon.

I can certainly see an enchanted maiden lying in the beauty of these surroundings and selecting Arthur as the rightful king of England! If any place has magic, this place surely does…

…Even now that the cows have taken over.

If my uncle had had this kind of a view on the dairy farm back in Minnesota, I'd have volunteered to work summers for him far more often in my youth! We spent a good time at the top of The Tor, shooting photos, people watching, enjoying the day, and basically just screwing around. Well before it got old, we decided to head into town, walking down the other path and back to the town center, and have a proper English Cream Tea: Tea, Scones, Jam and Devonshire Clotted Cream. Yum!

Our next stop of the day was to be a place far older and far more mysterious. And we'd get there by sunset. But only if we got moving...

Wherever you are today, I hope that you've encountered beauty and mystery today, and I hope that you've done it in the company of friends!

Don Bergquist - 24 August 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

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