I appreciate Minster Lovell will mean nothing to the vast majority of my readers, so let me offer a tad bit of knowledge: Minster Lovell is a bucolic village, iconically English, and sits on the edge of the River Windrush - a fast-flowing, beautiful river. Minster Lovell is old and while I can't tell you exactly how old (although I'm sure someone is reading this right now who can reel off the history from memory), it was thriving to some degree or another in at least the 12th century AD, when William Lovel held residence there. The village church may have been dedicated to a Saxon minster, and the village later absorbed William's family name into its own, creating Minster Lovell. (Apologies for such an elementary overview of the village history - I just crudely paraphrased what I skimmed on Wikipedia. And now I can hear all of the academics gasp and then sigh.)
Alright then, now that we have that bit of overview out of the way, let me tell you about Minster Lovell Hall. It's an truly beautiful site. Originally home to Lord Lovell (Richard III's henchman), the Hall was built in the 15th century; Lord Lovell was incredibly wealthy and this Hall served as a great symbol of his wealth. I can only imagine just how wealthy he was. Because today when you stand in the midst of the ruins, it's an impressive site. The majority of the walls have been knocked down, yet much of the foundation remains, offering great fuel for the imaginative juices and a fantastic insight into the magnitude of the place. The best things about this place is that 1) it's free to see and 2) it's not fenced off at all - you can walk right up to and touch the walls.
Dave and I sat there and had our lunch, enjoying the view of the river and the beautiful colors of autumn. I so badly wanted to take a picture to share the serene sight with my readers, but I'd left my camera in the car. I didn't have time to fetch it, bring it back, and snap away, because if I did I'd make my lovey late for work. So I decided I'd drop him off and swing back through on my way home. And that's just what I did. I slowly made my way through the single lane track, taking in the beautiful vista which was interrupted by rays of light puring through the trees which were lined like gentle soldiers alongside the road. I turned into the parking lot, grabbed my camera, and happily made my way toward the Hall. Just as I was approaching the church which shares a plot with the ruins, I took my camera out and panic struck. I had just remembered that earlier in the day (this morning in fact!) I'd taken the memory card from the camera and plugged it into my laptop so I could show off pictures of my new greeting card boxes. I was really hoping I'd put it back. I opened up the little slot where it lives and to my dismay it was empty! Damn and all sorts of other swear words! So now I'm forced to describe what I saw in words. Can you imagine that? Telling a story without pictures? Utter sacrilege! Ah well, what must be will be and without further delay, here's my illustration of how the ruins looked to me this afternoon.
Today the Hall was an especially beautiful site - the sun was starting to peek out through a hazy sky and the trees provided the most colourful backdrop with its deep orange hue. The ornate gothic window frame seemed to stand proud, its details exaggerated in the glow. The river was flowing at a rapid, but smooth pace - quietly offering a gentle sound now and again just to remind you of its existence. Birds were calling to each other, speaking in their chirpy tongue. The remaining walls of the Hall stood strong, almost proud for having escaped the fate of those that had fallen. Triumphant. The time-worn ancient graffiti looked elegant, its harsh edges softened. Stairs started in mid-air and led to some mysterious place shrouded by stone cavities, protective in its old age. Crisp leaves covered the ground like lace, tall spikes of grass fiercly (yet tenderly) shooting through the gaps as if it were spring. As I tread across nature's carpet, I was reminded of the delicate crunch sound that escapes from leaves when they are disturbed. Like a thousand tiny paper bags. I walked away, leaving the ruins in their sweet and silent triumph.