Tuesday, 5 August 2008
There are a couple of things I like about the new flat that I didn't really appreciate before.
The first is the view of Arbroath Abbey (above). The bit I can see from the living room windows and the kitchen window is the circular window that you see at the tallest part of the ruin and some of the remains of the other monastic buildings to the right.
Legend has it that the Abbot of Arbroath Abbey used to leave a light in this window to guide ships safely to the harbour (though another version states that it was a signal to smugglers!).
Known locally (somewhat unimaginatively maybe) as the 'Round O' it is the town's most famous landmark. The proper name for this type of window is an oculus. In monastic or church architecture it symbolises eternity, having no beginning and no end (although by no means religious, I'm fascinated by monastic or church architectural symbolism and did a course in it at university. There is a fair amount of stuff out there on the subject, although the first real writings on it were by the famous Abbot Suger of St Denis).
The abbey itself was founded in 1178 by King William I. He would later be known as King William the Lion of Justice, which was later shortened to William the Lion. He is buried in the abbey, although his grave is now marked by a modern stone. It is thought he was the first Scottish monarch to adopt the Lion Rampant as the emblem of the Scottish monarch.
In 1320, the Declaration of Arbroath (which is thought to have influenced the American Declaration of Independence) was sent from here to the Pope at Avignon.
Even though what remains of the abbey is situated in the middle of what is a large town, it is an extremely quiet and peaceful place. If you are ever in Arbroath, it is well worth a visit.
The second thing I really like is hearing the nearby church clock chiming the quarter hour, half hour and the hour. I know some people would be irritated by this, and others wouldn't even notice, but I really like it, and the chimes are a good way of keeping me on time!
Apart from that, almost all my furniture is now in and the place is pretty much finished, although I keep discovering things I don't have, but need. The other night I had to knock on a colleagues door (she lives round the corner) and ask to borrow a bottle opener.
I was at Ikea on Sunday to pick up more things on the way back from Traquair House near Peebles. There was an event on there with an 'Oriental theme' which I quite fancied. I was a bit shocked that it was £18 to get in, and I was very disappointed with it to be honest. It's something I won't be going back to.