Saturday, 18 June 2016

A Most Wonderful Surprise - Finchale Priory, County Durham, 9th June 2016

I wrote a lot about life and living in my last post.  Today and tomorrow I'm going to write very little.

There will be photos.  Lots of photos.  If you aren't into seeing lots of pictures of ancient ecclesiastical ruins - and a few pictures of me - look away now.  Seriously, flee, escape, run for the hills.  And then you won't see this ruin because it's in the valley.  If you do like pictures of ruins and want to see selfies of someone then scroll down and see them.

The River Wear at Finchale Abbey
I took lots of pictures.  The ones that follow - like most of the ones on this blog - were taken on my phone and on the whole haven't been edited at all.  A few have been cropped.  I do love my phone and am enjoying the camera on it so much.  I'm sure a decent digital camera would be much better but for now I'm enjoying the one on the phone.  Plus I massively enjoy that it's instant to take a picture and send it to a friend and to receive the pictures they take.  That brings me much joy.

This is Finchale Abbey or Priory.  Very seriously: If you are in the area, visit it.  If you're in a car it'll cost you three pounds to get the car out of the car park.  But that's the only cost for visiting.  If you're on foot it'll cost you nothing at all.  Visit it.  Do.

The site is owned by English Heritage, who have this to say about it on their website:

On the banks of the River Wear, in a beautiful wooded setting, stand the extensive remains of Finchale Priory. It was founded in 1196 on the site of the hermitage of St Godric, a retired sailor and merchant, who settled here after a life of adventure and travel. The priory was an outpost of Durham Cathedral and functioned as a holiday retreat for the monks of Durham until its suppression in 1538.

The story of Finchale can be read in its surviving remains, from St Godric's original church and tomb through the 13th century priory and its later rebuilding.

This, on the edge of the priory was a happy place to choose for lunch and I sat with sausage rolls and ginger cake from a Chester-le-Street bakery, and my trusty bottle of tap water.

I live quite the luxurious life!

It's me, sitting down having lunch.

I'd been hoping for a bench somewhere along the path so I could sit.  And then the road section of the walk happened and I didn't want a bench.

Being able to sit in calmness at Finchale made me very glad that I hadn't found a bench.  Lunch at Finchale was a much, much better option.

Hey, it's me again.

People stare at me a lot.  But just recently I find that I really like the way I look.  It's a joy to like the way you look and be content with your appearance.

It's still new to me.  That joy is an experience that I never had for most of my life.

I sang in this room.  Loudly.  Not caring too much that someone might come in and find me in voice.

It was a priory so I sang as seemed appropriate - the Kyrie:

Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy

Kyrie, eleison
Christe, eleison
Kyrie, eleison

I think the last time I sang the Kyrie was at the Easter Vigil mass I went to in the centre of Gateshead last year when I found myself in the church choir for the evening even though I don't go to the church.  That was a fun night but I haven't been to a Mass since then.

I know that's a lot of pictures of Finchale.  I apologise for so many pictures and so little text.  Or maybe you prefer it that way.  If you do prefer it, you're in luck!  Because tomorrow there will be another post.  And it will be filled with more pictures of Finchale.  I liked it there a lot and I liked just being able to walk in an wander and enjoy the place - that it was free to enter.  I like free places.  I can afford to see them.  And this one was definitely worth the admission fee!


  1. Lovely photos, and with a mobile phone very lovely. Either my phone isn't as clever as yours or I lack the skill to use it properly. Probably the latter.

    Those who, in times past, chose the monastic life, certainly found some lovely places to pursue it.

  2. Thank you.

    My phone is more clever than my old phone was. And I'm now learning to use its camera better. I am also learning how to quickly edit photos but am far too lazy to do it most of the time unless a damn good cropping is needed! The camera is 13 megapixels, and 5 megapixels on the front camera and the lenses aren't bad for a phone. It's really very good indeed for the price of the phone. And it's a lot of fun.

    If I get more into this I should one day find myself a good digital camera - one that nice lenses can be attached to. But that's not something for this week. And I like the immediacy of the phone and being able to take a photo and straight away post it or send it to a friend. It's a joy.

    I'm getting a lot of enjoyment from being out recently. There is much I can't do. But there is also much I can do and I'm perhaps slowly, slowly beginning to find out what that is and where the passions of Clare may lie. It's a good feeling.


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