We were staying with friends near Helmsley in order to visit the Christmas Craft Fair at Duncombe Park. We had planned to have a light lunch there and progress to Hutton le Hole and Lastingham in the afternoon. However after a spur of the moment decision, we decided to investigate the Ampleforth Tea Shop and Visitor Centre instead.
When we found the state of the car parks, we suspected there must be something going on, and nearly turned around and went elsewhere. Thankfully we didn't!
In the Visitor Centre we encountered Fr. Kentigern, who we knew from our visits to St. Chad's, Kirkbymoorside while we were scouting for a property in the area before we abandoned our plans to relocate to the area from Sunderland. He gave us a free CD of music made by various Ampleforthians, and after a coffee and a bowl of soup in the Tea Shop and a mooch around the Gift Shop, we had a spell of reflection in the Abbey, with an organ recital (organist practicing for the following Sunday?) and a wander around both the hidden corners of the Abbey and also the beautiful grounds!
Just goes to show that sometimes it is better to do things on the spur of the moment rather than pre-planning!