Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Once more to Melrose Abbey

As luck would have it I returned to Melrose Abbey after my visit last (see previous blogpost here) with with Laura McCabe. I met up with fellow artist Helen Cowans as this is about half way between our respective homes. And we were further blessed with sunshine after two very stormy, overcast and rainy days. I arrived a bit early so before retreating to the coffee shop I wandered along the Abbot's Way by the side of the Abbey grounds. The first picture I could not resist taking was the one above, through the railings. I was very happy with it even when I clicked the shutter. Even though I took many more photographs this is the one that became my blip for today!

I'm trying to show you views I haven't featured before on this blog and this is a sideview of the magnificent door into the Abbey as seen from the surrounding graveyard.

Of course the Abbey must have looked miraculous when the stained glass windows were still in position but on the plus side the view of the surrounding countryside (the Eildon Hills in this case) which are on show now, is equally spectacular. With the sun shining the window became a silhouette through which the views are framed.

When two artists and photographers are out and about and specially when they're both blippers, they do tend to go blip mad. Here is Helen who brought all the SLR gear (I settled for my Lumix, as per usual). We stopped short of laying on the ground (I have been known to do that occasionally!) but we could be found in virtual every other shooting position! I suspect that you could just keep on coming up with new and exciting viewpoints and probably even the monks who spend all their lives in the Abbey, still discovered new treasure in the details on a daily basis. I can't wait to see which of her many pictures Helen will blip today. You can find her on Blip here.

The Abbey really is spectacular and however many times I vist I discover details that hadn't caught my attention before. On the above picture you can see how it must have towered above the surrounding countryside. It could probably be seen from miles away and served as a mighty symbol of God's power. although to me it's the human efforts required to build it, that impress. To the right of those arches at the top is the highest point, only seen by pigeons from close-up.

Of course a leisurely stroll through the graveyard was also part of our visit. I could now never come across graves without paying them a visit and Helen was also keen, the weather was lovely and sunny so nothing to stop us. You do notice different things during different visits and I hadn't seen this particular gravestone before. It's a very unusual shape, with the arch and then the open space before the stone proper. Skull, hour-glass, and crossbones can just be seen but I'm sure there must have been something on the arch too, such as text. Sadly wind and weather have wreaked their usual damage and it's all gone forever.

On this very nicely arched stone, you find the usual emblems of mortality, the skull, the hour-glass and the crossbones, with above the winged angel, a symbol of immortality. No text visible but quite a lot of this stone has been swallowed up in the earth.

Some of the gravestones are completely mystifying. I have no idea what is going on above, apart from a ferocious face peering out at us, which was what caught my attention. It's probably meant to be a skull. Any text has long vanished and I've never come such elaborate scrolls at the side (if that's what they are), as well as an instrument of some sort down below. Nature is in the process of taking over, and I'm pleased we were able to document it before it disappears from view for all time to come.

And by the way if you want to see more pictures of Helen's and my visit to Melrose Abbey you can find them (and me too!) on her blogpost here.


Helen Cowans said...

Hello! My blog is just publishing - we have lovely photos and so different! Must be the difference in heights :)

Georgie Horn said...

ohhhh, I'm so jealous of your visit to the Abbey!

Sandra said...

I received one of Frieda's ATC cards in the creative August swap! Thanks Frieda. I gave you a shout-out at my blog site.



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