Castles in the air

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It was hot in Windsor yesterday. Very hot. It seemed only sensible to contemplate the enormity of the castle from a table outside the ancient pub with a cold drink. It would, in fact, have been almost impolite not to do so. Holiday or not, we were busy researching a theory and Windsor held one or two things we needed to see.

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The castle is a stunning edifice… a huge piece of the collective imagination, the sempiternal English Castle of dream, myth and fairytale, begun by William the Conqueror and evolving over a thousand years into a palace, fortress and symbol of monarchy. It is, however, full of tourists.. so we looked and admired… but did not enter. Over the gate ancient faces looked down, with some amusement, at the hot and thirsty visitors.

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We chose not to join them. Instead we visited the Parish Church… a quiet place, a pool of silence in a busy town. The cool interior was a welcome respite from the blazing sun. Though not a particularly attractive church, as churches go, it is replete with history. The screen behind the altar, however, is quite spectacular and some of the stained glass is stunningly beautiful. To the right of the sanctuary are the thrones reserved for royalty when they visit the little church, placed behind carvings of the pelican sacrificing its own blood to feed its children. It is often forgotten, I think, that those in such power are, or should be, servants of those they rule in this respect, for with power comes responsibility.

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It is often abused, of course, power can corrupt or debase the human who wields it very easily. Ego becomes a driving force and tyrannies are born, sometimes from those who began with the noblest of ideals. It is a human frailty and our history is littered with such tales.

Having exhausted the relevant possibilities of the town we headed back to base, being waylaid by an old coaching inn in the tiny village of West Wycombe, from whence we emerged some time later refreshed.

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It is the smaller places that hold the charm for me. The grandeur of the castle, like the magnificence of a cathedral, is something to gaze upon in awe.. which, I suppose, is the point. But the history of people and place comes alive in the simple, everyday places.. the tiny villages, the isolated chapels and the homes that have held our personal stories for hundreds of years, seeing families come and go, watching children laugh and learn, holding our hearts and emotions within their haphazard walls.

Yet even these are transient, as impermanent in the wider life of the world as mere castles in the air. The lands upon which these places are built hold a deeper memory and it is in the landscape itself, though we forget it sometimes, that we have our home.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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14 Responses to Castles in the air

  1. Beautiful post!

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  2. Don says:

    So enjoyed your post Sue. Have been to Windsor and have found it to be such a striking place, especially the castle. Thank you.

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  3. SirenaTales says:

    “…[I]t is in the landscape itself…that we have our home.” Stunning, simple, beautiful, true. Thans for another lovely post. xo

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  4. castles often feature in my dreams – at least the dungeon parts

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  5. grannyandthebaldguy says:

    amazing

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  6. Fran says:

    I am struck by the beauty of magnificent churches and cathedrals and palaces and places like Windsor, but it is the small places that find a place in my heart.

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  7. Thank you for sharing the stories connected to these historic places. They are beautiful – both the impressive castles and the lovely, little churches.

    Like

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