Friday, August 17, 2012

Home from Tynemouth

Our house is confined to the top of a high rock and is surrounded by sea on every side but one. Here is the approach to the monastery through a gate cut out of the rock so narrow that a cart can hardly pass through. Day and night the waves break and roar and undermine the cliff. Thick sea frets roll in wrapping everything in gloom. Dim eyes, hoarse voices, sore throats are the consequences... 
Shipwrecks are frequent. It is a great pity to see the numbed crew, whom no power on earth can save, whose vessel, mast swaying and timbers parted, rushes upon the rock or reef. No ringdove or nightingale is here, only grey birds which nest in rocks and greedily prey upon the drowned, whose screaming cry is a token of a coming storm.
I have spent the past few days in Tynemouth with the Dowager Lady Bonkers and can reveal that the 14th-century monk who wrote the above was exaggerating. The truth is that it is an attractive and interesting place - I shall share some photographs with you over the next few days.

The one above shows the gatehouse of the Priory, where the monk had been exiled from St Albans.

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