Rains and ruins: A visit to Tintern Abbey

One morning in early July of 2009, I was contemplating ways and means to avoid thinking and writing out my dissertation, a dissertation which would culminate a year’s worth of stay and study in London. It was a year in which I studied a bit and travelled a bit (though not necessarily in that order). So when I received a mail about a day trip to Wales for a very affordable sum from the travel club I was a member of, I immediately signed up for it. So desperate I was to escape my dissertation that I didn’t even look at the details of where we would be travelling to in Wales.

It was only when I got into the tour bus that I got to know that we were headed for Tintern Abbey and Chepstow Castle via Gloucester. Now while neither Chepstow not Gloucester sounded familiar, Tintern seemed very very familiar. Literarily familiar. English school book familiar. But I just couldn’t place it nor get it out of my head. Even the heavy rain, which followed us all the way to Tintern and beyond and back to London, couldn’t distract me from trying place Tintern Abbey. By the time we reached Gloucester, I could take the uncertainty no more and sent a text message to my brother back home in India, asking him why Tintern sounded so familiar.

His reply took a long time coming. The route to Tintern from Gloucester took us through the ancient and beautiful Forest of the Dean, where upon Tintern vanished from my mind to be replaced by Harry Potter ! Tintern returned to my thoughts only after we left the Forest and passed through some of the most beautiful villages imaginable.

Just as I noticed the signboard for Tintern, my cell phone beeped. It was a one word text message from my brother, which said “Wordsworth”. A single word was all that it took me to place Tintern in context.

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