Wednesday, October 23, 2013

England, Day 5: More from Grantchester

Grantchester: where to begin? Perhaps the best place is here, at the Old Vicarage. This is where Rupert Brooke had a rented room, and the place he wrote about in his poem, aptly titled "The Old Vicarage, Grantchester."
 His room, I believe, was in the vine-covered section to the right in the photo above. I doubt there was such a sweep of drive in his time, but perhaps there was; perhaps it was a carriageway. The Old Vicarage is now the home of the author Jeffrey Archer and his wife Mary. Archer has been steeped in scandal over the years (and spent time in jail for perjury), but his books continue to be best sellers, and his wife has stayed by his side through it all.

Striking red vines cover the brick walls surrounding the Archer's home. The lush described by Brooke in his poem is still evident in Grantchester
 The curving road just outside the vicarage gates is unusually quiet in this photo. Large trucks, bicyclists and cars passed with great regularity while we were walking, and I was impressed at the way they all avoided each other on this narrow road. My West Virginia roads are certainly narrow too, but don't see the volume of traffic generally as this road seems to handle.

Down a public pathway, and behind the vicarage, we found this idyllic spot, the water described in Brookes' poem:

And here is the old mill he referred to in his 1912 poem, still standing and in apparently good repair, although it is no longer an operating mill.
Willows and water, so peaceful and timeless.

Before leaving on Sunday we took another walk with cousin Les, this time along the river to see Byron's Pool. According to legend, Lord Byron came here as a student to bathe in the river. The area is now a public area, with little piers built for fishing and excellent walking paths.

And here is Byron's Pool:

Along the walkway, we saw this marker:

It looked like a grave marker, but Les said it was most likely a memorial to someone who loved to come here to walk. This is similar to our American roadside memorials that have become so commonplace in the last 20 years; they spring up wherever someone lost their lives. In England, as I understood it, a memorial can be placed at a favorite location (perhaps for a few--I would imagine there might be a charge for this privilege).
And this lovely walk spelled the end of our time in England. We were soon on the plane and flying to Ireland. Before I go there, though, I'll have a few more remebrances of England to share.


Sue said...

So charming and picturesque. I need to visit England again.


Michelle said...

Such idyllic scenes. I am looking forward to seeing more AND of Ireland!

Rowan said...

Glad you managed to visit Grantchester - I must try and go there myself one of these days.

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