I've just come back from a fantastic day.
Daughter No. 1 is on a camping holiday in the Forest of Dean and we thought it would be great to meet up for the day. My days off work and her holiday plans coincided with an agreement to meet today at Tintern Abbey, a huge Cistercian ruin in the Wye Valley close to Chepstow. A decent weather forecast meant that it was also a great excuse to give the Triumph a leg-stretch.
Tintern Abbey is in a beautiful sheltered setting. The valley is wide there, with steep wooded sides, and on a Spring day like today looked magical.
We met in the car park of the Abbey at lunchtime. No. 1 and her partner were hungry (nothing changes) and so was I after 130 miles of spirited riding through some fabulous countryside, so we went immediately to the pub next to the Abbey, the Anchor.
It was the perfect day for a sit-down in the beer garden, so I ordered a pint of bitter and some fish and chips, and we whiled away the first part of the afternoon catching up and enjoying a drink and some decent pub food. The sun was warm and the sheltered position made it quite hot.
We then did the expected tour round the ruins. Ruins is ruins, but it must be said that these ruins were not expensive ruins - £3.80 per adult seemed very reasonable compared, according to Dn1, with anything up to four times that in some parts of England. The site is massive and the ground plan very complex. Add to that the fact that some parts are merely foundations, while others are still the full height as when they were built in the C13, and the rest are of varying heights in between, and you get a very complicated 3D artefact. My eye was caught by the graphic nature of the interaction of the walls against the wooded hills in the background.
Later in the day, we visited some old iron mine workings near to Clearwell. As an ex-potholer, I found the workings fascinating, and when I get a bigger flash for the camera I will return and post some images here; but for the little second-hand digital job that I was using today the darkness was too much and none of the images was useable.
A goodbye in the car park and a surprisingly cold blast home, but a great day - not just seeing my precious offspring (sadly, daughter no. 2 has a dissertation to write and couldn't make it), but giving the bike a good workout on some excellent riding roads.
The riding season is back. Praise be.