We spent a lovely Saturday afternoon in Buckfastleigh.We spent an idle hour wandering up the high street. (Bigging it up a bit there, three charity shops, a holistic healing centre and a Boots) HOH and I thought it was lovely and said we could see ourselves retiring here. FOW2 said it reminded her of a Hitchcock movie with a couple of nasty killings and pointed out that no-one else knew that we were there. If we disappeared – how would the police know where to look? This, I suppose, shows the difference in our ages.

Anyway, then we wandered up to Buckfast Abbey. HOH and I spent a good fifteen minutes trying to decide if we had been there before because neither of us could remember. FOW2 looked at us aghast all the way though the conversation and, I think, silently asked God that she would never be like that when she was old. I was determined to see a monk before we left (although apparently it is unacceptable to walk through an abbey singing “And we won’t go home until we’ve seen a monk” to the tune of “Put on your Sunday clothes”) 

Anyway, we did see one, you can probably just see him in this photo. I know, I know but I’m too shy to be any kind of decent photographer, I would never dream of going up to someone and asking for a photo and I have no idea where the zoom is on the camera. Still, you get the idea – probably.

I had no idea that the abbey was rebuilt having been destroyed after all the unpleasantness with Henry VIII and wasn’t actually finished until just before WW2. At first, I was a bit disappointed that we were looking at a comparatively modern building but, as we walked around, I was struck by the enormity of the vision to restore something like this. It really was very impressive. We then sat in the Abbey and listened to a choir practising. Quite lovely. And, as HOH pointed out, although we are not what you would call on the same wavelength, doctrinally with such a high church set-up, both of us felt that we could feel God in the bones of the place. There is a tiny Methodist chapel in the grounds of the Abbey and I wanted to show FOW2 the contrast between the way people worshipped. However, there was a lady doing a bit of  vacuuming and she didn’t seem best pleased with us because she seemed to want to do a bit of a tour thing and we weren’t too keen. I do understand that but it kind of killed my point abut the non-conformist churches growing up because they were more welcoming to the common man. Anyway FOW2 was very nice about it and said she understood and we went off to the gift shop to buy some sherbet lemons instead.



  1. May 11, 2015 / 7:58 am

    I have never been to Buckfastleigh. Nor drunk the tonic wine. FOWs always look aghast when eavesdropping the reminiscences of their middleaged parents. But now you have made my mouth water at the memory of sherbet lemons. How did Wesley get his chapel in their grounds? Thank you for a post to make me smile early on a Monday morning already complicated by difficult emails!

    • May 11, 2015 / 10:05 pm

      Not sure how the chapel got there. Can only think it was because the Abbey was rebuilt fairly recently so Methodism was a thing.

  2. May 11, 2015 / 12:46 pm

    I went there years ago and loved it, but didn't see any monks.
    Your acronyms beat me, what is FOW?? I'm obviously not up to scratch on these modern idioms!

    • May 11, 2015 / 1:40 pm

      I'm sorry – FOW is Fruit of the Womb. Eldest son is Fruit of Womb One (FOW1) and daughter is Fruit of Womb Two (FOW2). It seemed a good idea at the time 🙂

  3. May 11, 2015 / 5:14 pm

    You would probably like what I get to see, a monk playing football at my local rec' hitching his habit up and wearing football boots.

  4. May 12, 2015 / 7:38 am

    No, no – you *did* show FOW2 exactly how things are done in Methodism ;0)

    I love Buckfast Abbey! Did you go into the monastic shop? It has the most wonderful things made by monks and nuns from all over Europe :0D


    • May 13, 2015 / 8:55 pm

      No, we didn't go in there because we somehow got the idea that it was a shop for the monks to buy their things in. We ended up queueing in the gift shop and I bought Buckfast Abbey Tonic Wine because everyone else was and now I have no idea what to do with it.

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