Wednesday, 17 August 2016

On Old Ruins.

I thought tonight’s pictorial offering could be another of Britain’s notable old ruins.


This is Kelso Abbey in Scotland, a relatively unusual old ruin for having been built in the rather solid-looking Romanesque style (or ‘Norman’ as it is more usually called in Britain.) It’s fortunate for us that most of Britain’s ecclesiastical old ruins – and this is a rare something we have in common with other parts of Western Europe – were built in the various Gothic styles. I gather the Normans, for all they were pretty good at conquering people, weren’t so good at building big buildings. Their solid-looking structures weren't quite as solid as they looked and had an unfortunate tendency to fall over in a strong wind. The Gothics, on the other hand (a Germanic tribe from somewhere in the vicinity of Wuppertal,) invented the flying buttress and never said ‘oh, bugger’ again.

But back to Kelso Abbey, most of which blew over in a strong wind but some of which is still standing.

It was begun in 1128, although it was fifteen years before even part of it was habitable. Seems they took the time to do a proper job back then, and I assume the monks must have lived in motor homes or portakabins through a lot of uncomfortable winters. Or maybe they used tents covered with water-repellent Vaseline Petroleum Jelly, a most efficacious concoction with a wide variety of uses and which the monks probably had a lot of owing to their unconventional lifestyle. (I’m guessing here.)

Anyway, this picture was taken quite a few years ago. As far as I know, the building is still there, but the flowers probably aren’t.

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