The church at Glastonbury Abbey was once enormous: its importance was eclipsed only by Westminster Abbey. The ruins are pretty impressive – particularly the Norman doorway to the Lady Chapel. As with the Parthenon, it’s hard to imagine how colourful and decorative it would all have been in its heyday: the floor tiles and faint traces of colour give a hint, but I have a lowering feeling that I would have found the original rather tacky. Perhaps a contemporary Hindu temple might be a better guide to what the intact church would have looked like.
The rest of Glastonbury was pleasant and “alternative” in a rather conventional fashion. (Pigtails for men and ethnic weaves for women.) It’s been like this since the first time I was here in the 1960s or 70s – and even before that, I guess, based on my vague memories of John Cowper Powys’s novels. But I shan’t cavil: goodness knows our current way of living needs some alternatives, although not necessarily with crystals.
Then a walk up Glastonbury Tor to see Wales and the topography of Somerset, from the dip in the Mendips that indicated Cheddar Gorge to the hummocks that were once islands when the flat lands were inundated in warmer times. Given that it is February, it couldn’t have been a better day for it. The terracing makes an ice-cream swirl of the hill and the tower a 99 flake. There was also a query from a fellow tor-climber if the large landmark in the distance was Stonehenge; er, no, it’s Hinckley nuclear power station.