I think this picture sums up much about how I feel about England. Crowland Abbey is out on the Lincolnshire Fens north of Peterborough, creating a gaunt silhouette for miles around. Only the north aisle is still standing, together with the great skeletal arch that once formed the west front. On a dark and sombre day it can be very foreboding- there was once a glass case up on one of the pillars with the skull of an abbot in it, and just for good measure a huge slit where a sword or dagger had been plunged into it. Somebody stole it of course, it's probably now a novelty ashtray on a coffee table in Spalding or somewhere. But one day I went in and the Pink Panther was sitting there as if in rapt attention of a particularly compelling sermon. I assume he normally spent his time in the little Sunday School area, but for me he lifted the spirits, a vivid reminder of everyday life carrying on outside this austere building.
4 hours ago