Thursday, 29 July 2021

Coastal

 By the time I got to Tuesday I could put it off no longer.....I had to go shoe shopping which is something I never enjoy, but several pairs of faithful summer sandals have finally given up the ghost. Starting with the charity shops there was either nothing in my size or vertiginous numbers that definitely only came under the wedding/Saturday night out category. I'm not in the market for a set of bunions to compete with Victoria Beckham's thanks😈 Anything else wasn't going to stand up to me putting it through its paces and it was going to be a case of buy cheap buy several times over. Thankfully the tale has a happy outcome and am now restocked courtesy of the sales.

Whilst I was pottering around I happened to notice how pretty the town centre was looking. I understand that the colour scheme was inspired by the coast and I think that they've nailed it. It particularly sets off the blue on the bandstand.





Arilx

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Mystery plant

 Well what do you know....this "weed" has turned up uninvited in our garden. We pondered whether we should leave it alone [ after much excitement last year that leave-it-alone turned out to be a slightly less than thrilling buttercup!] or remove it as whatever it is really has chosen the most awkward spot to grow in. As you see from the photo below it's competing with a very vigorous raspberry. However, we decided to give it a stay of execution and over the ensuing months it has grown a bit like Jack's beanstalk....all upward and green leaves. That was until we got back from holiday when we noticed some tiny little flower buds had appeared.....we've sat patiently these past couple of weeks for it to bloom and I have to say it was certainly worth the wait....


As for what it is....well I can't really help you there I'm afraid as we're still very much in the dark. Its leaves are the pointy ones. Our latest theory is that it's some kind of Soapwort. However, all suggestions would be very much welcomed. Whatever it turns out to be in the end it's most definitely earnt its rightful place and is a keeper!

Arilx


Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Deerhurst

Nowadays Deerhurst is a tiny village and it seems hard to imagine that it was here in 1016 that Edmund Ironside and Canute signed the treaty which saw them cease fighting and agree the division of land in the North and South between them. Mysteriously Ironside died shortly afterwards and his share passed over to the Viking making him the first King to rule over the whole of England since the Romans. From the Norman conquest onwards Deerhurst began to lose its power and gradually slide into obscurity. However, it doesn't take much of a leap of imagination to see how it might all have once been....the signs are still there.

The more than substantially sized St Mary's church might just be classed as a parish church nowadays, but it started out life as a priory church and formed part of the larger Benedictine priory site [ the attached house is the priory farmhouse] which was in place by AD 804. Over time the lands were divided up and reallocated until the whole lot was dissolved in 1540. What we're left with is the most complete Saxon church in the country. It is a marvel of strange beasts and carvings which incredibly predate the Romanesque gems I usually vaunt on here.

This one is known simply as the Deerhurst Angel. She sits up high on the exterior of the church, but she started her life on the inside of the original Saxon apse. Now all you have left of it is a semicircular line of ground level stone work which picks out where it once stood.

As you go through the main door you are greeted by these beast label stops on either side of the entrance. Those are quite large fangs they've got whatever they are and the traces of red show that they were once painted. To me they look quite canine like, but the general view is that they are dragons. To my eyes the carvings on either side of the chancel arch look far more dragonesque. Whichever version is correct or not, what we do know is that supposedly there was a Deerhurst dragon which enjoys terrorising the locals and snacking on their cattle. In a bid to stop the rapicious creature the King put up a reward for whoever killed it. One John Smith stepped forward and by leaving milk where he knew the brute would drink it he took advantage of its resulting drowsiness and hacked off its head with his axe. Apparently he was given land for his derring do.



Wherever you look there's some little detail to catch the eye or record the different periods of the changing of the church's fabric. This wall is a perfect example of exactly that. Those triangular apertures are openings to a room behind it.



It seems just about every font as a good story to tell and this 9th century one is no exception. It might have the only known double spiral pattern decorating its sides, but this didn't stop it from being abandoned in 1653 and spending the next couple of hundred years being used a trough by a local farm. Eventually it came to light again in 1843 and it was reunited with its base that had been rediscovered in  the Coalhouse inn some 26 years later.


Other small snippets I liked were the inclusion of a pet dog called Terri on the brass memorial for Sir John Cassey and his wife Alice from 1400 and this turkey cock that features on the Strickland family coat of arms. Apparently you have their ancestor to thank for bringing the bird back to the country after he sailed with John Cabot on his voyage to Newfoundland in 1497.


However, what left me with the greatest impression of this church is that right from its Saxon beginnings its story continues to unfold and evolve today. Due to flooding in 2007 a certain amount of archaeological exploration was carried out. This led to the removal of some pews and the finding of a small section of the earliest wall. The space has been opened out to make it more accessible for wheelchair users. Environmentally friendly lighting is set to follow. The opportunity has also been taken to create a new chapel to St Alphege who began his ecclesiastcial work here before going on to become the Archbishop of Canterbury [he was martyred after being killed by the Danes in 1012]. It was completed by an oak altar built by local craftsmen Brian Lovejoy and consecrated in 2012. One wonders where the twists and turns of this place will take it next!

Arilx









Monday, 26 July 2021

Beneath the plaster.

This charming 16th century farmhouse is called Abbot's Court and is in the tiny Gloucestershire village of Deerhurst. Originally the stone portion of the building would have been covered in white plaster so that there wouldn't have been such a marked contrast between the two.

 


In 1675 a large carved stone was discovered in the area. It recorded a stone chapel being built on the orders of the local Saxon Earl Odda for the soul of his brother Aelfric who had died on 22nd December 1053. Unusually for the time and for England it was dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The location of the chapel had long since been lost, but the Odda Stone, as it came to be known, found its way into the conservatorship of the Ashmolean Museum. This was enough to send me scurrying back to my photos of my one and only visit there. Knowing me and my penchant for old stones....bingo! My hunch proved to be right. Not that I had any idea of where it had come from you understand then!

By 1885 the farmhouse was undergoing renovations and as for that old plaster....oh so very 1884. It just needed to chipped off and gone. Thankfully as the stone underneath began to emerge once again the Rev George Butterworth recognised what he was really seeing before him. One of the most complete Saxon chapels remaining in the country. It is not surprising that it had remained under people's noses, but not seen because the nave had become a kitchen and the chancel a bedroom!


Now it's open during daylight hours and free to visit. Inside it's completely unadorned, but has a real sense of time having stood still.


Whilst this alone might not tempt you to stop awhile in the village it has another Saxon gem to take your breath away....tomorrow folks!

Arilx

 

Friday, 23 July 2021

Summer greens and blues

 


Sometimes an image needs no explanation....except those colours! We popped into  Hidcote NT garden a couple of weeks ago. Have a fantastic weekend. I have posts to share....just working up the momentum to sit down and write 'em is the problem right now!!

Arilx

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Easy to identify.

People are going to have no trouble finding where you live if you have a front door as splendid as this!


Tewkesbury again. Hope you're enjoying the sunshine.

Arilx

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Coming along nicely.

 Some shots from our garden that I took over the weekend. We've now [Mr GBT has I should say although I did ably assist him with some of the antirrhinums one evening] put all the pollinator/bird friendly plants in that we had planned for and with all the rain everything seems to have taken including the cutting from my parents beauty bush that we didn't think had made it. With all the rain we have had it's given all the newbies a head start and so over the coming years it should all meld together nicely into a managed tangle. Am delighted with it all so far, but despite the recent sunshine those figures still look as miserable as sin!




We were only talking a few evenings ago about how bad we are about actually sitting outside, so Saturday night, glass of vino in hand all three of us [TYM was at home for once] sat round the table quietly chatting for a couple of hours. As it was getting darker we were treated to the silhouettes of pipistrelle bats flying overhead catching insects on the wing and a meteorite flare. Such times together are rare and special.

Arilx


Monday, 19 July 2021

Fancy a cuppa and a slice of cake?

 In my family there is a run of birthdays between May and July. I like to make everyone a birthday cake [except TYM who prefers cheesecake] of their choice, so this afternoon I shall be baking for my Mum. Earlier in the month it was a lemon drizzle for Mr GBT and prior to that I decided to surprise one of my best friends with this....she loves unicorns and anything purple. It met the brief and she was delighted [it tasted good], but it hasn't converted me to purple icing I'm afraid! She's now the proud owner of those unicorn sprinkles....I didn't think I would have need of them again anytime soon🦄


Now one of the things Mr GBT and I like to do best in the world is to visit a tearoom for a cuppa and a slice of something moreish and calorific once in a while. The Abbey Tearooms in Tewkesbury is a marvellously quirky little cafe stuffed to the gunwhales with all sorts of intriguing knick knacks. I'm still inclined to go outside where it's possible/practical so we headed out to the tables in the tiny courtyard garden out the back. How could I resist when I clapped eyes on this highly original space and innovative reuse of everyday items. I thought you might enjoy the views too and the final photo explains the background of the creator of this little oasis. The knight is because the Battle of Tewkesbury on 4th May 1471 was one of the major battles in the Wars of the Roses.











Arilx

Friday, 16 July 2021

One to warm the cockles.

 If you're a rescue animal lover like me [and most of my friends for that matter] this story about Hodge the Cathedral Cat might warm the cockles of your heart https://www.catcuddles.org.uk/news-articles/happy-rescue-anniversary-to-hodge. It sounds like he's settled right in in his new role🐈 For those with an interest in church cats [tick on both counts from me] there's even a talk on the topic here https://cathedral.southwark.anglican.org/visiting/hodge-the-cathedral-cat/clerical-cats-in-history-an-online-talk-by-dr-kathleen-walker-meikle/

Have a great weekend!

Arilx

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Touching Souls

 


With the racism fallout following the Euro 2020 final this sculpture called "Touching Souls" by Mico Kaufman sits outside the abbey in Tewkesbury and seems rather timely.  Kaufman said that if you noticed one of his public sculptures please stop and ponder on its subject. It depicts the cultural interdependence which characterises our world and "reflects on the bond that substantiates our humanity".

Arilx

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Set of antlers

 That moment when you're faced with a spare set of antlers knocking about the place and you decide to adopt a "novel" approach to display them... no pretensions of emulating Edward Landseer's "Monarch of the Glen here. No...you mount them on a wooden head and then paint an anatomically correct body to go with it.



How about that for a fantastic piece of early 19th century folkart and, though I say it myself, a rather pleasant change from the taxidermied hunting trophies I'm more accustomed to seeing. This was one of the many treasures I saw on my first visit to the NT's Chastleton House. Vintage Vixen went there recently and the minute I saw it I knew it was my kind of place. It didn't disappoint.

Many apologies for my recent lack of replying to comments...usually I try to respond, but have been darting around or tied up with family stuff of late. Will do better!

Arilx

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Holiday Walk

With the need to prebook anything we wanted to do English Heritage/National Trust wise we only managed to set one day aside for simply walking when we were in Suffolk. In the light of the frequent downpours it turned out to be just as well. On the day we ventured forth on a walk from Woolpit to Rattlesden the weather gods played ball and kept the rain at bay. After the clamour of Lavenham [lovely though it was] the peace and quiet we found on our way round was very welcome.

As we later found out St Mary's in Woolpit has one of the best double hammer beam roofs in the county....cue obligatory photo. At one time it also had a very popular shrine to our Lady of Woolpit and still today there's the Lady Well nearby. Wells are often cited as having special healing properties for ocular ailments. The properties of the water were tested in the 1970s and were found to have higher levels of sulphur than normal. Whether this has any bearing I have no idea!


Woolpit is such a picturesque village with its beautiful buildings and tiny museum. The village pump was erected to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. All good so far, but I'm really not sure about that creepy cobweb festooned creature in the centre. Somebody has placed a stone with it in memory of Sara Everard who was so tragically murdered earlier this year.






Now having left the village the Drinkstone windmills are across the fields. The post mill was built in 1689 and is the oldest in Suffolk and the smock one in 1780. Both are now listed. One of the joys of the area we were staying in was the number of verges overflowing with poppies and seeing the hares.



Onto Rattlesden and just as charming. More chocolate box thatched cottages and even a handful of thatched porches to match. Wonky chimneys and a wild haired figure hiding round the side of the house as you walk out of  the graveyard. Easy to miss that one unless you're snouty like me! The rainbow wall we came across by accident because, as is oft the case, we had managed to lose the path and a sign for "Searchlight Corner" whose story must be WWII related, but unfortunately not one I can find out about to tell.









Have a good weekend folks....we are off for another adventure this weekend and all thanks to Vix and her intrepid weekly National Trust outings she's done the legwork for me for the area we're going to!

Arilx

Dala

This is a rather larger example of the lovely Dala horses that you normally see. It sits in the entrance to a Swedish cafe we have in Horsha...