About Me

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here I am in a little cottage that evokes the energies of my ancestral lands - a cottage on the moors of Cornwall, or on the cliff tops of Ireland or Scotland. It has a hearth. I am a hedge witch {of sorts}. I wear upcycled clothes, patchouli oil and Redback boots. I am a gypsy; an eccentric and a mystic [I often live with a foot in two worlds]. I serve my guests, tea from an old silver teapot. I love Vervain, yarrow, chamomile & mint. Star watcher and Moon gazer. story cloth weaver. keeper of family dreams and wishes. good friend and creator of life. herbal tea drinker and potion maker.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hadrians Wall, Mary Magdalene & a cup of tea at Rainbow Cottage, Alston - what a hoot!!

and off we go..along the gorgeous narrow, tree-lined roads. To explore Hadrians Wall and other ancient ruins and villages

First stop Lanercost Old Bridge. constructed in 1724.. that was before Capt. Cook discovered Australia!!

a chilly 5 degreeC.. and then onto Lanercost Priory.

and as we walked along the path to the ancient priory, I spotted a gorgeous church right next door.. a must see.. of course.

and for those who know me well, I am sure that you know just how I felt when I saw this sign at the front door!!

their service was just about to start but the parishioners welcomed us in for a look around. giving us both a bookmark that they give to every visitor. the Curator talked to us, giving us a little of the history, I paid to take some photos [which is suggested by a note at the font, proceeds go to the upkeep of the Church].. I could have hugged him when he told me,[when he heard my accent] that he thought I was an Australian who had been living in England for sometime!!

the Priory is dedicated to Mary Magdalene, she holds an ungent pot in her right hand and would have held a palm leaf in the left [which is now missing]. the actual statue is mounted at a high level in the west wall]

the ruins of Lanercost Priory - built from rock taken from Hadrians Wall.
as are alot of other buildings in the area.

and as I walked among the ruins of the Priory, ancient carvings and history, listening to the faint organ music coming from the church, it made me pine for my childhood religion of Church of England.. memories being stirred, among history older than I can fathom. I felt a belonging that I have never felt back home

did Mary Magdalene lead me here? I closed my eyes and just stood among the history. it felt part of my very being

an ancient carving of an angel in the walls of the priory

ruins of Hadrians Wall. built by the Romans as a defence against the roaming bands of Scotland. from one side of England to the other. from rock quarried from surrounding areas. an amazing feat.

arriving at a high point, a local offered to take our photo.. they came up every Sunday, just to look at the view..

and to see just how blessed they were to live in such a gorgeous part of the world. The Pennines. they suggested some roads that we might like to take.. nothing like having local knowledge to help discover places!! and we are so grateful that they did.. because I am sure that we saw places that we would never have stumbled across.. I cannot get over how at each turn there is yet another tree lined road, house after house from times past, beyond my comprehension. green hill after green hill dotted with castles and halls. fields lined with stone fences. the smell of coal burning. delicious to all my senses!! I am beginning to feel stirrings of not wanting to go home....

and then on to Alston. along roads where there was a very light dusting of snow

a little market village.. for a cup of tea
[if you look at this picture, the white house at the very end.... is Rainbow Cottage....

arriving in Alston, where the streets are ancient cobblestones.. and a very steep road.. shops seemed to be closed for the day.. we were going from inn to inn to find a place to have afternoon tea and use a toilet.. and asked for directions from a 'local' walking up the hill with cloth bag of groceries.. she explained that she was visiting her son and didn't know anywhere.. but invited us to her sons for a cup of tea.. we kept saying no, but she was insistent, she assured us, that her son would not mind at all.. so we followed her up the hill, wondering what the hell we were doing. she opened the door and invited us down a hall and into the kitchen.. where her son was making bread and cooking the evening meal. when she told him who we were, the look on his face said it all, but she sat us down anyhow and put the kettle on. we got chatting to 'David' while he continued to knead the bread.. he explained how he made bread, and I began to feel a little more comfortable being there.. his wife came out of the loungeroom and was quite taken aback to see strangers sitting at the table to have a cup of tea.. and we tried to explain that her mother in law had invited us in.. her comment and looks said it all 'oh did she'... then Theresa the mother, sent me upstairs to use the bathroom.. and the children were wondering who these aliens were with funny voices.. finally we could take our leave, thanking them for the hospitality.. and I asked for their address so I could send them something from Australia in exchange.. what a damn hoot! things like this happen to us often. not many make memories like this one!! we felt like stray cats!!

and then a last time to meet with Lydia.. for dinner

The City of Carlisle, beginning to be decked out for Christmas.. twinkling lights at this time of year, seem so perfectly right!!

it has been an amazing experience these past few days while in Carlisle.. being in 'Daisy territory', meeting her daughter Lydia, discovering the countryside for ourselves.. having adventures.. and now we leave to explore a little more of Cumbria.. the Lakes District....

[don't forget to click on photos to enlarge them]

a year later - 2013
I will never, ever forget that day when I walked into Lanercost Priory. This part of my trip was one of the best memories, meeting Lydia, the first days in England, the cold, the people. a 13th century priory church!!!  all beautiful memories. I had been told by some that the northerners were not friendly however they were the friendliest that I met. welcoming and friendly.

nor will I ever forget the look on David's face when his mother took us into his kitchen for a cup of tea.
memories of this time, really make me 'homesick' for what we don't have here in Australia.
my wish is to return there oneday.


  1. A wonderful post Robyn - this is so much fun!!

  2. I'd love to see Hadrian's Wall someday. I've always been interested in Roman Britain.

    That was an interesting "tea time" you had, LOL!

  3. You're seeing so many interesting places...your head must be spinning with it all. I was immediately drawn to one photo...the 7th down from the top...almost looks like a cave.

    And I'm sure you'll never forget tea at Rainbow Cottage!

  4. Oh Robyn, it sound like you are having a wonderful time, i am loving the way you tell these stories. lots of love Laraine.xxxx

  5. oh Robyn how wonderful! my dad used to live in the lake district and i would journey up their in my little citroen 2cv...i have an almost identical photo of me standing on hadrians wall! and i recognised the shopping centre too...happy memories :) and to meet daisy's daughter after all this time :)

  6. For some reason I thought Daisy lived in Cornwall. Obviously I was wrong. Not unusual!!
    The Lake District is so lovely, one of my favourite places for sure. I'm sure you'll love all of your experiences there.

  7. The whole experience seeps into your bones doesn't it?
    It will stay with you forever believe me!