Sunday, July 20, 2008

Our Trip to England: Part Two, BUXTON

Steve and I planned a day trip to Buxton, in the Peak District of England. The train ride was lovely; Buxton was lovely; the weather wasn't fabulous....but it could have been worse! We dodged rain all day long.

Just outside the city limits is one of the area's caves, Poole's Caverns. This provided a beautiful walk in the country and past fenced in suburban gardens with carved sod. Steve really admired this but knew our dry climate would never allow it.

The cave was larger than we anticipated. The tour was very good.

The guide tried to describe the unique stalactite formations as "a stack of pancakes" but all the men just rolled their eyes. They know a phallic symbol when they see one!

Another unique characteristic of this cave was this milky looking formation. It was only wet on the surface despite looking like a river of thick cream.

Of course, visiting a town's churches and cemeteries is always on our "to do" list. While rain poured, Steve and I crept around the graves taking photos.

The church beside this cemetery was closed but the older St. Mary's church was not only open, it was part of the local Blessing of the Wells and Flower Festival.

Inside we were treated to flower arrangements created with a "musical" theme. One window was called "The Sound of Music". Another was "Fathom of the Opera". There was "Miss Saigon", "Fiddler on the Roof", "Billy Elliot", and "Josef and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat". We were served tea and cookies and told about the wells.

(Above: One of the embroidered panels in St. Mary's)
Buxton was a popular settlement throughout history due to its hot, natural springs. Each year since pagan times, the wells are blessed with a festival. Nowadays, priests do the honors...but there is still a very pagan feel to it all. This festival began only days before our visit. It was also the start of the town's arts festival too.

Steve and I had a great lunch....soup....which we needed due to the cold rain. We roamed the little shopping streets, visited the Pump House which now houses local artisans' wares, and headed to the former part of the university.

On the way, we past the Opera House.

The university has a building simply referred to as "The Dome". It is the largest unsupported dome in England....bigger than St. Paul's cathedral! What was more fascinating to me, however, was the reflection on the pendulum that swung from the top!

Also in Buxton is a great antiquarian and used bookstore on five floors of an old, Victorian era building. It is called Scrivener's. The proprietor also teaches workshops on bookbinding and repairs old volumes. It was so much fun exploring all the rooms.

Above and below are the "Victorian" room.

Below is just one example of book art that hung on the narrow staircases....great inspiration.


Julie said...

Thank you for a fascinating look round Buxton! I used to go regularly to visit my then in-laws but I missed a lot of the things you found. Looks like DH and I will have to go for a weekend. (It's about 2 hours drive from us).

Wanda said...

Bet Steve's comments were a blast in the caves! ha ha Your pictures are to die for! Really great! This year's weather isn't the best so you did exactly what you have to do...put on the rain coat and go anyway!