Ed Ricketts has been travelling again and taking the opportunity to follow in the Paddy’s footsteps, this time at the Abbey of St Wandrille where Paddy spent much time writing, and described in A Time to Keep Silence. Ed has sent some pictures for us to enjoy.
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Hope you are well. Good to hear the news on the Artemis Cooper biog – should make for good Christmas reading!
If it’s of any interest to you, just to say that I was on a brief cycle tour of Normandy last week and passed by (well, it was intentional) the Abbey of St Wandrille, memorably described of course at the start of ‘A Time to Keep Silence’. As you can see from the attached photos, it was a glorious day with the surrounding countryside looking extremely green and in bloom.
I made a quick tour of the Abbey buildings, and slightly regret that I didn’t have more time to ask if it was known which ‘cell’ was PLF’s, or indeed if the connection is still remembered in any way today (no evidence of this from the gift shop). I would recommend a visit some time, it can be enjoyably combined with Rouen and the riverside abbey of Jumieges, a few kilometres to the south. A series of ferries also cross the Seine at various points nearby, which is somehow also quite a Leigh Fermorian experience. Finally, a paperback copy of ATTKS can easily be carried on a bike! (you just about make this out in one of the photos).
I think, from now on, I might try to follow a principle of ‘visiting one place PLF wrote about per year’ – there are worse ways of spending your time.
Cheers and keep up the good work,
An eye for detail and the memory of the Hotel New York in Cluj