Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Barely making the bus!

Mainly sunny, mild, temps 15

Wonderful day, especially compared to the rain we've been having here. Everything is VERY green. I may not be the first person to comment on that in England.

We're now in Bristol. Woke up in Bath - having arranged a taxi to Bristol. We were told it would take about 15 minutes since they're side by side. Well - not really. Took an hour. And we were to meet our bus tour. End up being 30 minutes late into Bristol, keeping everyone waiting.

Michael and I are, in many ways, complete opposites.

He's very patient, relaxed - deliberate. He's the tortoise.

I'm the hare. Impatient, I walk fast, leap to conclusions.

He makes me more deliberate - and while he takes longer to come to a conclusion (while I wait and fidget) he's almost always right.

I get him off his ass.

We're a good team - when we remember to respect and honour each other, which is the vast majority of the time. When we don't, well, it ends in tears.

So for me to be half an hour late was almost inconcievable. We have a joke in our family about my mother (now 10 years gone) that she'd pack, get her coat on and wait with her purse by the door 24 hours before having to take a trip. It wasn't all that far off the mark.

But guess who I meet in the mirror? The front hall mirror as I prepare for a trip 12 hours away? Poor Michael. But he's almost always late. almost missed more planes and trains with him than ever. Very stressful...and not just for me, but for any living creature.

It really is some jest of an omnipotent humourist that we've fallen completely in love. Like those odd relationships where a lion will fall for a volkswagon, the touching relationship our dog Trudy has with the sofa arm.

Unlikely - yet fulfilling.

Anyway, the tour, bless them, waited for us. this was a tour set up by CrimeFest for those of us registered. It started at 9am and we were back at the hotel about 6pm. Long day. (some buggers were late!) But what fun. We visited the fabulous Wells Cathedral. 400 statues around the outside, dating back to the medieval times and perhaps before. In fact, historians studying early armour have no actual examples of it - the only place they're depicted is in a couple of these ancient statues high on the outter walls of Wells Cathedral.

Then off to Glastonbury - what in some quarters is recognized as Avalon, as in the Arthur legend. In fact, the bones of King Arthur and Gweneviere are said to be buried at Glastonbury. Very old site - druid first (with a Tor) then Christian. History of both tolerance and intolerance. and horrible deeds. I'm more drawn to and curious about the pagan history, though sadly we didn't get much of that except gentle mocking. I'll have to return on my own one day.

Then finally a stop at the gardens of Stourhead. Stunning!!!! anyone who cherishes gardens will go nuts. They're an 18th century English garden designed by Henry Hoare. Up until this time most english gardens were very formal and rigid. He decided to create a lake, and grottos and flower beds overflowing and trees planted thick - for their structure, and colour and leaves. There are moments it's fall-on-your-knees gorgeous.

sadly we had to race around the 2 mile lake - only three of us chose to do the whole thing, but wow, was it worth it. If you yearn for peace, and beauty and serenity - come to Stourhead. Give yourself a of hours. come, as we did, mid-week before the crowds appear.

Now we're back in our latest hotel. tomorrow morning going out with George, the sales rep for Headline (my UK publisher) for this territory, to sign stock for a few hours. then CrimeFest begins.

Oh, yes - we had lunch with Michael Jecks - many of his Knights Templar mysteries are set in this area. He's terrific.

Anyway - off to bed. Hope you're well.


donna said...

Hi Louise: A little tip which I learned over the years - I have all of the clocks in our house set 10 minutes fast (my husband doesn't know it) to help combat his lateness. His whole family has what I have called "the perpetually late gene". I hope Michael doesn't read this!
Regards, Donna

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Donna -

Well, I think that's just horrible. I would never do that. (that's for Michael's consumption!!! - actually I think that's briliant - and your husband's family and Michael's must be blood relatives)

Thanks for the great idea.