Sunday, 9 November 2014

Days Out In Devon: Buckfast Abbey

Another pregnancy story.  When my bump was just about beginning to get noticeable, I popped over to a local filing station for some milk.  Some overseas readers might think that odd as you'd think that they'd sell petrol and diesel and maybe a few car related artefacts. But oh no! In the UK they sell all sorts of stuff.  Food, newspapers......I even spotted a money box in the one at Trago Mills the other day.  More worryingly I was tempted to buy it for Lou.

Now where was I?  There was a Spanish woman in the queue in front of me who remarked on my bump with way more excitement than you'd expect from a complete stranger.  We were almost doing a little dance of joy in that soulless striplit stop.  'Ah a baby!' she cried manhandling my abdomen as people think that they have an entitlement to do when you're with child.  'When you have him you will realise that you never knew you could love so much!' I think she may have been right.

Anyway we reached another milestone yesterday.  I've realised early on that successful motorhome life means that you do not stay holed up in the vehicle day after day, especially if another human being is sharing it with you.  The refectory restaurant at Buckfast Abbey is lovely and after those glamourous tasks of buying a replacement gas bottle and toilet fluid, we headed on down there for a snack.

For the first time in years, I persuaded Louis to try the tea that came with his scones, cream and jam and he loved it!  After filling our tummies we headed off to reacquaint ourselves with the place.

Now the abbey here isn't an old one. It was only finished at the end of the 1930s.  There is a beautiful Arts and Crafts feel to it.  Sure, there are some fancy twirly bits like a gilded ceiling but these adornments are used in moderation, unlike in some older churches which are so crammed full that you don't know which way to look.

My favourite part of the church is the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. an even more modern annexe with funky, chunky stained glass made by the monks in their workshop, including this great big Jesus!  It's a chilly place of prayer where I sneaked a few minutes silence.   Then after eschewing a purchase made from the bewildering amounts of alcohol made in convents and monasteries throughout Europe, I treated us both to a bronze pocket angel from the monastic produce shop made at Maria Laach, a Benedictine Abbey in Germany. We had one before but lost him.  Let's hope that he was found by someone who needed him.

We returned to the abbey in the evening.  After all its only a hop and a skip down the road.  We found a poster saying that the abbey choir were singing Faure's 'Requiem',  as part of the remembrance weekend programme, one of the free concerts where there is a retiring collection, that seem to happen quite regularly.   This mass is  one of my favourite bits of choral music, and even though Ollie Murs is more up Lou's street, he was happy to give it a go. The performance was inspiring.  It brought tears to my eyes and made my spine tingle.  I reckon Passenger might be able do that too on Thursday when I see him.  My musical taste is eclectic after all. Louis loved  it  and had a great time staring out the little boy soloist, the only other kid too.  'I think I won,' he said.  Then he added  'Can we come to this next year?


  1. We visited Buckfast Abbey about 20 years ago when we were holidaying and staying in Buckfastleigh. We loved it.

  2. Your motorhome life will be a voyage of discovery...on home ground!