Wednesday 31 July 2019

Little Jack Horner

Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner
Eating a Christmas pie.
He put in his thumb
And pulled out a.....

Not unreasonably you would expect the next word to be "plum"...however, if the inspiration behind the nursery rhyme is credible, then it would actually be the deeds to twelve manors. Little Jack is supposedly one Thomas Horner who was the steward to the last Abbot of Glastonbury, Richard Whiting. The abbot is said to have sent his steward with the pie to London as a gift to the King at the time of the dissolution. En route Horner did stick his thumb in the pie and extracted the deeds to Mells Manor. He took up the mantle of turncoat with aplomb by being one of the jurors who condemned his former boss to death. Perhaps it will then come as no surprise to find Horner then took up residence in Mells Manor..I smell the whiff of some shady goings on!


Tuesday 30 July 2019

The Christchurch Tales

Christchurch Priory is not as well known as it should be for a place of its size and magnificence. Perhaps people bypass it because they don't want to get caught up in the Bournemouth traffic. We dropped in to break our journey a few weeks ago and were delighted by what we found. Here are some of its tales.

The cockerel weathervane is much more commonly seen on churches. This gilded salmon records the tradition that the first salmon of the season was always given to the prior.

This seven eyed "Goat" high up on the tower might have been quite the weirdest thing I've ever seen [and as you know I've seen some pretty out there stuff in my time]. Since I've returned home I've discovered that it's a ram and it represents the seven spirits of God which is spoken about in Revelations.

To see a medieval stone altar piece in this country is all its glory, rather than being smashed to smithereens is highly unusual. The donkey in the background looks particularly smiley!

During the Christmas truce in December 1914 both sides exchanged buttons as gifts. The chain of buttons marks this event in the Chapel of Remembrance.

This amusing sculpture is the work of Jonathan Sells and marked the 900th anniversary of the priory in 1994. Info board included as it explains all four sides and saves me from typing all of it out.

Ah yes now the tale of the Miraculous Beam [note the important capitalisation I've used [only a small block is left now]. At some point in the history of the building of the church [or so the story goes] the carpenters failed to measure twice and cut once. This error led to there being a beam being too short and the embarrassed chippies having to explain to their boss that they'd wasted an expensive piece of wood. Cue one mysterious carpenter turning up unexpectedly who doesn't interact with the others. The next day said chap has disappeared, but that dratted beam now fits prizes for guessing who he might have been!

As for this motley lot of images that I'm finishing with...I'll leave you to make your own tales up!


Monday 29 July 2019

A pressing problem....

Well I couldn't disturb him could I....poor thing has really suffered in all the heat with his velvet thick black fur coat. The ironing will just have to wait.❤❤❤


Friday 26 July 2019

Grin and bear it.

Am not very good in the heat, but lots of water and pacing myself seems to have done the trick thankfully. It's been too hot to spend much time on the computer, so it's a short and sweet one from me today. This is "Cheshire Cat" [in Tewkesbury] and is the work of Alderman Knight school.

For those with a naughty sense of humour, you might enjoy the feline images on the link. My two girl cats used to do precisely this as a party trick...they would wait until we had guests and then plonk themselves straight in the eyeline of our visitors before washing their bottoms....they wanted to be sure that they had a captive audience😼 Humphrey is much better mannered thankfully😸

Have a good weekend!


Wednesday 24 July 2019

A splendid fellow

I like the sound of the American writer, Henry James's butler immensely. He clearly never gave a fiddler's flute no matter how much James remonstrated with him about his flamboyant style of service. Below is the description poet Ford Madox Hueffer gave after dining at Lamb House in Rye where the author lived.

I would have enjoyed the spectacle!


Tuesday 23 July 2019

Cloak and no dagger.

I lay the blame for this impulse purchase [see how deftly I am sidestepping all responsibility here!] entirely at the door of Nurse L. Had she not shown me the rather scrummy red cloak she had just purchased at Tewkers and then offered to show me the stall where she had got it I would not have brought this home with me.....

A few years ago I spent a lot of time looking at cloaks. I found a lovely woollen shawl type thing which I frequently wear in the winter, but I never found a cloak which was "right". Either it was the wrong fabric, wrong colour or wrong price. It didn't help matters that I didn't really know what I was looking for, but I was working from the assumption that I would just know when I saw it. I even bought a pattern with fanciful ideas of making my own, but that didn't happen either so I put it on the backburner and forgot about it. This one is perfect. I love the serpent clasp, the wool and the colour was absolutely me. It will be just right for the Druid celebrations I attend [maybe not at this time of year granted!] and practical too.

This all happened by 9.30 on the Saturday of the festival and the stalls weren't even open to the public until 11am. Despite this being a very reasonable price I avoided them for the rest of the weekend to keep temptation at bay!!


Monday 22 July 2019

Swanning Around

Erm....please forgive me. Somehow I managed to completely forget to take a photo of my intended target when I was in Wells a few weeks ago. My intention has been to get a close up of the bell which is near the bottom of the right hand tower of the Bishop's Palace Gatehouse....I think if you enlarge it you might just be able to see it if you squint hard enough! There is one the other side as well I do believe.

In the 1870s the bishop's daughter taught the swans who live in the moat to pull the bell ropes when they were hungry. Thus a tradition was born which continues to this day. Sadly the cob died this year and the pen left of her own accord. However, a new pair has arrived to replace them....the main criteria for their suitability for the job was that they had hearty appetites and enjoy a snack!

I am surmising that this swan sculpture we found was inspired by this custom. The city had 60 swans decorated in 2012 and then auctioned them off to raise money for charity. This one is a remainder. It seemed rather appropriate that the images of the people with their umbrellas were all covered with raindrops on what was rather a wet, grey day.


Thursday 18 July 2019


I went to Wells to do adult things like looking at the cathedral. I didn't factor in the possibility of finding Smaug and my very own hobbit hole. If you fancy a bit of time out of the adult world please do pop by and rest awhile. Despite the rather huge teeth you can see that I was not afraid and sat down with the dragon....this delightful children's play area is in the grounds of the Bishop's Palace.

Hope you all have a good weekend. If I'm still feeling brave perhaps I'll acquaint myself with the dragons in the GOT. Not ever watched it, but now we've bought most of the series second hand I might just start now some of the furore around it has died down. Always was late to the party!!


Wednesday 17 July 2019


"Tewkers", as Mythago has nicknamed it, does quirky doors rather well I find....a small selection on our brief walk round on Monday morning before we had to return to Sussex.

The owner of the first one came out whilst I was admiring it....I complimented him on it and he did say they are rather fond of it. I can see why!

A rather more formal affair in its classic black and white combination. It rather puts me in mind of an Everton mint! 

There were ancient wooden doors galore with all manner of wonderfully carved dragons and beasties on their lintels, but this one won my heart. It's a 15th century example from the Cross House which nowadays houses a dentist. From a religious figure through to greenmen, wyverns, really has it all. However, as the adage goes about the devil being in the this case this is literally true when you look up at one of the spandrels for the devil is the detail! If you double click the image you might spot the dragon below with the head appearing from its backside. I completely missed this at the time, but someone has commented that the face does bear a passing resemblance to a certain political figure from over the pond who is in trouble apparently with his racist tweets this week! As for me ....I couldn't possibly comment!

That's it [famous last words] for my tales of Tewkesbury...please forgive me if the blog appears to start boinging all over the place in the next few days. It's not that I've been living the life of Reilly. It's just because I have been to a few places recently and am only just getting on top of editing the photos.


Tuesday 16 July 2019

Lock, stock and barrel.

Traditionally the Saturday morning at the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival is a free one for Mythago as we don't have our first slot until lunchtime. In previous years I've pottered around the abbey, but this time I decided to nose around the Living History village for an hour. I love talking to all the reenactors, both for their enthusiasm and knowledge of how people actually lived at the time.

Please don't be impressed with my apparent knowledge...I am simply parroting what I was told!!

This fellow was hammering the metal sheets which go inside the jackets they wore. Apparently folded metal gave more strength when hit. It's all a bit of a myth that the knights always fought on horseback. They tended to dismount as soon as they reached the battlefield and then engaged in combat on foot. They were extraordinarily fit men. Having seen some of the weekend knights overheating and exhausted after the staged battle I can see's very difficult to remove the heavy armour and all the protective layers underneath quickly when your breathing and movement is very restricted.

Replica weapons of the period. Don't think I would wish to meet anyone bearing any of these on a dark night!

I simply had to ask this lady who she was representing as I had never seen that sort of headwear in any Medieval illustrations before. Apparently she is dressed as one of the gypsies who originally travelled across from Rajasthan. She used a basket to build her hat on!

I rather liked the plush interior of this tent [more along the lines of glamping I'd say] and if I was to buy a tent this one would be my one of choice. Having heard however, that one lady had just paid £700 for one it's probably a good thing that I don't enjoy camping!

A final gleaning....the lock, stock and barrel part which forms today's blog post. This is a 15th century cannon. The skills of a barrel maker were needed for some types of cannon I believe because they were made from separate pieces of metal and then bound by hot metal hoops which contracted on cooling....the idea of transferable skills is not a new one then!

Delighted as I was to finally make it to the camp I subsequently found there are two more over the far side of the site that I didn't know about......well that's next year's free morning sorted then!


Rest awhile and smile.

I parked my ample rump on that there bench and followed the instructions on its plaque.  It wasn't exactly an onerous task to have to re...