musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Month: June 2015

Going through the locks

I must admit the canals in the UK fascinate me, they are a rare glimpse of an age that has passed and which has become somewhat of the domain of the inland boater and canal fan.  I have never really been able to explore them properly, and only just see the occasional length of water in my travels. In Tewkesbury we have two major rivers: The Severn and the Avon, and at one point they are joined together through the Avon lock. The Avon Lock may be seen in the map below.

Just by chance I was there when a narrow boat traversed from one to the other.
At this point the narrow boat has turned across the Avon river and is now heading into the lock, the gates on the Avon being open, and the other side being closed. The water level inside the lock is the same height as that of the Avon.
I am now standing next to the open lock gates, the black and white beam is one of the arms of the gate which would have been manually operated but which is now electrically operated. You can just see the bow of the narrow boat on the right.
The narrow boat is now inside the lock and is being moored to the side of the lock, however, the mooring lines are not tied down, the one end is held by the skipper so that he can pay the line out as the water level drops. The lock gate is still open at this point. Now the gate on the Avon side gets closed with the narrow boat inside, the water level is still the same as it was.
This is the gate from the outside.
The water in the lock is now drained into the other side of the lock, lowering the level of the water till it matches that on the other side side of the lock.
 
 
Once the water level is the same the Severn side set of lock gates can be opened.
 
And the narrow boat can start moving into the Avon and a bit further down into the Severn 
and the gates can be closed once again, ready for the next customer. It can work in either direction, the only difference being that to rise up into the Avon water would be let into the lock from the Avon side. 
This whole process took 9 minutes according to the file information of the first and image above. 
It is as easy as that…
The Avon joins the Severn just a bit past the narrow boat in the image.  If you had turned to Port you would have eventually reached the Upper Lode Lock
and if you had turned to Starboard you would have come to the Mythe Bridge.
 
Of course when the rivers flood the lock gates become moot anyway.
 
 DRW © 2015-2018. Images migrated 01/05/2016, added in upstream and downstream links 24/06/2018
Updated: 24/06/2018 — 15:13

Tewkesbury Abbey

Tewkesbury does not have a lot going for it, however, there is one thing that stands out and that is Tewkesbury Abbey.  
 
It dominates the skyline and like so many other cathedrals and abbeys is really worth seeing. I have been fortunate that I have seen other similar buildings in Salisbury, Lichfield and, Bath, and each has been different, but each has common aspects that make them similar.
 
 
And of course, the size of the buildings really makes them difficult to photograph in their entirety because you can never really get the angles and distances right. Salisbury was probably the exception to this rule because the Cathedral Close is a large space. Tewkesbury does not have that luxury.
  
Unless you go outside the grounds into what is known as Priory Park.

I will not expound on the history of the building, there are others much more qualified than I am, suffice to say that the abbey has it’s own website
  
I did a quick walk around of the building, and it still has a large graveyard, although parts of it seem to have been ploughed under, but I did get to see my first carved stone coffin in a long time and there were more than one!
  
Entering the cool dimness of the building is like entering another world. These churches seem to overwhelm with their presence and Tewkesbury is no different. I think part of the magic is that they are really buildings that make you feel small, by their nature they are big, and their interiors can overwhelm you with the sense of age and that strange feeling of being somewhere special. I suspect they overwhelmed their congregation too, making them feel humble in this most sacred place.

 
In the image above, the font and war memorial are on the right, and the war memorial is especially beautiful. Although I do not know how many people are actually aware of it. 
 
Moving forward towards the crossing, the pulpit is on the right and lectern on the left. Both face the congregation.

 

At the crossing is the Quire (or Choir) and the screen, as well as the north and south Transepts. The Tower sits above the crossing.

The area just past the screen is beautiful, with a stunning floor and beautiful ceiling, photographs do not do this area justice. If you had to cross the screen and pass the Quire the and look towards the congregation the view would be something like this.

Set inside the tiles of the floor in front of the altar are a number of brass plaques. The town has gone down in history as being where one of the decisive battles fought during the War of the Roses was fought, and eighteen year old Edward, Prince of Wales, the last legitimate descendant of the House of Lancaster, was killed either in the battle or during its aftermath and is buried in the Abbey.

The Abbey as it exists today is a mere shade of its former self as can be seen from the plan below. Which leads me to wonder what it must have looked like before the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

The altar area is beautiful, and may just be the most impressive I have seen in a church so far, although that is not saying too much because I have not seen them all yet.

and the altar  is surrounded by really magnificent stained glass windows.
It is a beautiful space, and no amount of photographs will do it justice.

And, as is usual there are a large number of floor memorials and effigies in the aisles and around the abbey, and the crypt houses the remains of George, Duke of Clarence (brother of Edward IV and Richard III), and his wife Isabelle (daughter of “Warwick, the Kingmaker”). These are housed behind a glass window in a wall of their inaccessible burial vault behind the high altar.

 
This is the Robeson Cenotaph. Archdeacon Robeson was vicar from 1877-92 during the great Victorian restoration of the abbey. He is in fact, buried in Bristol Cathedral.
 
There are a number of small chapels with in the abbey, and each is unique, these are just two of them. The chapel on the left is St Catherine’s and the one of the right is the Lady Chapel
 
There are three organs in the abbey, and the biggest is probably the Milton Organ dating from the 17th Century.
 
There is a lot that is beautiful in the abbey, it is a breathtaking building and worthy of multiple visits, I cannot however explain it all, or even begin to understand it or the significance of what I saw. It really has to be viewed in the context of the congregation who called this their parish church. The abbey is the second largest parish church in the country, and you I expect they may be very protective of their spiritual home. They have every right to be.

Random Images
It was time for me to move on and continue my explorations elsewhere. I will probably be back one day, it is that sort of place. You do find something new to see each time you go there, and I know of at least three things that I have missed, and that is a good enough reason to return.

Climbing the Tower


I had the opportunity to go up to the spire on the 11th of July, and it was one of those experiences that always leaves one impressed (and somewhat breathless).

The spiral staircase leading upwards has been retreaded so it does not bear the worn treads of generations of tower climbers. Our first stop was on a level that goes across the top of the inner roof and into the bell ringing chamber.

 

The bell ringing chamber is a beautiful space, it left me breathless,  It is hard to believe that this space was completed like this, you would think that it would have been just a plain room, but it is nothing like that at all.

 
and then we climbed more stairs and came out on the roof.

 

The view of Tewkesbury is interesting because the town would still be recognisable to somebody who climbed this spire 2 centuries ago. Time does not pass quickly in this town, and many of the buildings are almost as old as the Abbey is.
 
The view is spectacular, and it was a really enjoyable exploration that happened purely by accident.
© DRW 2015-2018. Images migrated 01/05/2016
Updated: 31/12/2017 — 16:37

Tottering around Tewkesbury

On Monday the 15th I did my first bit of tottering around in Tewkesbury. I had to take in the sights before I started work just in case the job went phut and so did I. 
It is not a large town, it is smaller than Salisbury, but like that town it is rich in history and tradition. If you approach it from the railway station (Which is not called Tewkesbury) the town really is more of a cursive Y shape, with the Abbey being the best feature of the place.

The station by the way is called Ashurch for Tewkesbury, and not too many trains stop here. It is closer to Cheltenham than to Worcester, but sadly trains are few. Once this was a thriving railway junction, with tracks heading in all 4 directions. Today it is empty.  Thank you Mr Beeching!

The map above shows how large the Ashchurch Junction was, Tewkesbury is on the left and the line heading to the left would run up to the town and then to Upton on Severn. Today parts of that line are the cycle path.

Back at the town I really only planned on looking at the Abbey, which is a magnificent structure and which I will be visiting again as I have two war graves inside of the church. Interestingly enough the Abbey is actually the parish church and is probably the most ornate parish church you could ever want for. I will be doing a proper blog post about it at a later stage.

 
Having visited the abbey, my next port of call was the local cemetery. And it was not a very impressive one as far as these things go, although it did have a really nice chapel building.

I had heard that there was also a small graveyard by the old disused Baptist Church and that was my next destination, although finding it in the veritable warren of alleys and courts was difficult, but eventually I found it and it was a gem.

tewkesbury 345

It has a surprisingly interesting burial in it too, that of Joan Shakespeare, who was William Shakespeare’s younger sister. She married into the Hart family, and one of the Hart descendants moved to Tewkesbury. John Hart was a chairmaker, and so was his son, and there are two Shakespeare Hart burials in this tiny plot. Unfortunately I was only able to find one (Thomas), but will keep it in mind for the future for a revisit.  I did a revisit in December 2017 as part of my “Cemetery in the Snow” mania,

The town has a lot of wood framed buildings in it and it is really a pretty place, although not too large and prone to flooding. There are more images from Tewkesbury at my Best of Tewkesbury gallery.
There are two rivers next to the town, the Severn and my old friend the Avon. They are the source of the flooding and I must bear that in mind if I decide to settle here. 
 
That glorious iron bridge may be Thomas Telford’s Mythe Bridge over the River Severn, although I was not able to get close to it to double check. (I did eventually find the Mythe Bridge and wrote about it later) In fact the whole marina area is almost impossible to access, although I did not go too far as I was starting to tire.

Methinks I should look at getting myself a narrowboat.

In case you wondered, there is a War Memorial in the town, although it sits in a very awkward place which is very difficult to photograph because of the traffic. In fact the traffic in this small town is terrible, there is really only one main street and everybody goes past or around this memorial. I believe this junction is called “The Cross”

Don’t blink now, that was Tewkesbury.  Actually there is much more to the town that these few images, but I did not go over the top imagewise and will add to this as I go along.

The Town Hall

 
tewkesbury 027

 

The White Bear

Ye Olde Black Bear. Supposedly the oldest pub around (est. 1308)

The former livestock auction house and The Albion pub

Former hospital, now flats

Former hospital, now flats 

 

The railway line used to run up this road to the mill

Bridge over the Avon

Bridge over the Avon

Churchwise there are a few, although the Abbey makes everything else look like nothing. The Holy Trinity Church has somewhat of a modern feel about it, although there is a graveyard so it may be older than it looks

 
Tewkesbury Methodist Church

Tewkesbury Methodist Church (aka “the Messy Church”)

From a shopping point of view there is a Morrisons, Aldi, Poundland, Tesco Metro, WH Smith and quite a few others that I don’t usually shop at. Unfortunately though the town is 45 minutes walk from where I lived at the time of writing, so any expedition I made to there had to be worth my while. A quick walk through really did not reveal too much, but I may have missed seeing a lot of what is under my nose.
 
The town has gone down in history as being where one of the decisive battles fought during the War of the Roses was fought, and in time I will go look that area up, but suffice to say, eighteen year old Edward, Prince of Wales, the last legitimate descendant of the House of Lancaster, was killed either in the battle or during its aftermath and is buried in the Abbey.

Next month is the Medieval Festival and hopefully I will pop along and have a look at it. Who knows, there may even be a blog post about it. (blogpost created 2017)

However, at the end of the day Tewekesbury is only famous for 3 things:

  1. It flooded in 2007
  2. It has a Medieval Festival
  3. Tewkesbury Abbey

and now I live there.

Actually you can now add: “The great snow of 2017” and “The water shortage of 2017” to that list

© DRW 2015-2018. Images migrated 01/05/2016

Updated: 15/07/2018 — 10:04

By the time you read this….

I will be Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire. Yes, it is true, I am starting a new job on Wednesday. The last week in Staffordshire was kind of crazy and I had to make a decision in a hurry as to what I was going to do. The die however is cast and I am sitting in a loft thinking about what I have done.
 
I did have an interesting time in Staffordshire though, I saw many things, and many places, and visited many graves, There were four gems of cemeteries, (Ryecroft, Belgave, Key Hill and Warstone Lane) that I visited, and of course I also visited the cities of Birmingham.  and Lichfield
 
I do not know how long I will be where I am now, but hopefully I will be able to settle down and make something of my new situation. I expect there will be cemeteries to visit, and Worcester, Cheltenham and Gloucester are not too far away, and Bristol is also within range, Maybe you will soon be reading about my travels there soon.
 
So, do not despair, as they say in the classics… “I be bak!”
Updated: 03/05/2016 — 19:48

Pausing at Letocetum

On our way to Tewkesbury, we stopped over at Letocetum, which is one place I had meant to go visit, but had never gotten round to it.

Also known as “Wall Roman Site”, it is close to the city of Lichfield and it was an important military staging post, and posting station near the Roman military road to North Wales, and Icknield (or Ryknild) Street. Ryknield street is actually Watling Street, (the old A5), The road we parked on was the old A5. It has been double carriageway’d in the meantime and to make it a double carriageway it was diverted. The A5/Watling Street had a bend just to the east of Letocetum. Ryknield Street itself is in Lichfield, and would have extended towards Watling Street and formed a junction with it roughly at the point of that bend in Watling Street as mentioned above.

Like at so many other Roman sites scattered around Britain, there is a legacy of architecture and ruins left for us to ponder over. Although in the case of Letocetum, there is probably more not seen than what is visible.

 
Realistically these are merely foundations, although it is relatively easy to deduce the what the ruins may have been part of because if anything the Romans were predictable, they liked their comfort, they enjoyed their baths and they built to last. Two major structures were at this site, the Mansio and the bath complex. The bath complex is the building with the courtyard, it would have had a change room, heated room, an exercise area and probably a cold room, and a place where you could get a quick massage or possibly a meal while talking business with a friend.
 
The Mansio (or hotel) is the building across from the bath and it was where travelling officials or visitors could stay. (For a quick bath just go over the road).
  
This was a thriving community back then, a fort having been established close by in AD50 and probably abandoned near the end of the 3rd century; the bath-house and mansio being destroyed by fire.
  
It is strange to consider this small piece of Rome so far inland, the closest beach to Lichfield is over 70 miles away, and it must have been quite a journey to get here, especially in the days before highways, railways and modern vehicles.  I am sure the Roman in transit must have welcomed this small haven in a country that was not always as friendly towards them as they would have liked.
  
And while we were there, a child was attempting to do cartwheels on the grass, and I could not help but wonder if so many centuries before a Roman child was doing the same thing? That is the problem with ruins like this, it is hard to imagine them as being real places with real people living in them.
  
 
 
Some images were taken from the information boards at the site. 
© DRW 2015-2018. Images migrated 30/04/2016
 
Updated: 31/12/2017 — 16:42

Finding the fallen: Belgrave Cemetery

My visit to Leicester meant that I could add yet another cemetery to my list, and see whether I could pick up more of the CWGC graves that needed photographing. I had 2 possibilities in mind, Belgrave or Welford cemeteries, Belgrave was the closest, although at the time I did lean towards Welford more as it seems to be the older of the two. I am however glad I did go to Belgrave, the first reason has to do with the railway experience that I had, and the second has to do with angels.
  
The cemetery is not a large one, which was a good thing because I had limited time to do what I had to. There are 49 CWGC recognised casualties in the cemetery, although on the notice board in the entrance it states that there are 90 killed in action named on family stones. That is probably the most PM’s I have ever seen in a cemetery. Interestingly enough there are 364 stillborns and  under two year olds buried here too.
 
The cemetery is divided into 5 distinct areas, with the B and C areas on a bit of an upwards slope.  There are also toilets! which is a bit odd seeing as they are in the centre of the cemetery. However, I wonder if that particular space was not where the demolished chapel used to be?
 
The War Memorial is not a complicated one, and if I had not walked past it I may have missed it.
 
The plaque simply reads: 
To Commemorate 
the Brave Men of Belgrave
Who Lost Their Lives
in Both World Wars
 
The memorial was placed in November 2008.
 The headstones are not in too bad a condition, and there is plenty of evidence that they do take a lot of care with the cemetery, the grass was cut and there was no litter or anything that detracted from the experience. Quite a few headstones have been toppled though, but I suspect that is from a safety aspect. There are a lot of of accidents caused by toppled headstones, and the legal and bad publicity ramifications can be large if a headstones falls on a child.
And then there are angels. Belgrave has seven distinct angels, 2 of which are truly spectacular and which I am reproducing here.
I have to admit that the first angel is really beautiful, my photographs do not do her justice. At one point I really felt as if she was looking at me, but that is probably because she is on a pedestal and looks down on everybody below her anyway.
I was able to cover the cemetery quite quickly, picking up the CWGC headstones as I found them and occasionally spotting a PM close by. It will be awhile before I sort my images though, so as yet I do not have a final tally of how many graves I found. But I do know there were a lot of very unique PM’s too.  There are over 15000 burials in the cemetery, and it has a friends society that looks after it.
 
It was a great little cemetery, one of those rare gems that are a pleasure to see, and of course, a pleasure to explore. As much as I would love to return here I probably will never get the opportunity, but, I am glad I did chose to visit, because at the end of the day this visit was full of surprises.  The final grave tally? 36 out of 49 CWGC found as well as 12 PM’s. Gee, it could have been many more, but that is for somebody else to complete.
 
 
© DRW 2015-2018.Images migrated 30/04/2016
 
Updated: 31/12/2017 — 16:42

On ethics, honesty and morality

These past few days have seen two items hit the headlines, the first relates to the FIFA scandal and the second to the ongoing scandal about the home of the president of South Africa: Jacob Zuma. I will not even try to explain the matters because this post is more about consequences and principles. I will also touch briefly on fraudulent educational certification, because that has a lot to do with what I am going to discuss.  
 
When I was young I was raised to be honest. That meant that I paid my debts, I presented my educational certification correctly, I did not accept or offer bribes, paid my taxes and I generally obeyed the laws and regulations that pertained to wherever I was at the time. It was drummed into me at a very young age and I learnt the lesson and carried it forward into adulthood. I also accepted that there were consequences for dishonesty, and there were things that you could do, and things that you were not allowed to do. When I look for a job I do not add the odd masters degree or certification. I was not brought up that way. I try to be ethical and honest wherever possible. 
 
Yet, I look at the whole FIFA debacle and the controversy back in South Africa with dismay because something is fundamentally wrong with our society. The perception exists that if you wear a suit and tie you are honest, and if you are a blue collar worker you are stupid and know nothing. Yet, it was men (mostly) in suits that brought about the global collapse not too long ago, it was men in suits that took bribes and lined their pockets, it was men in suits who stood in front of national television in South Africa and blatantly made excuses about how money was spent on a house and a swimming pool, money that could have built at least one school, or fed at least a million people. It is the sheer brazenness of those suits (for that is how I shall refer to them, even if they wear skirts), and their lackeys and cronies and henchmen that gets my gall up. It is the greasy metro cop who stands next to a car and tells the driver that he is hungry or thirsty and that he knows somebody who knows somebody that can get a fine squashed. It is the glib politician that stands on a podium and says “vote for me” even if he is the biggest crook on the planet. It is the little men in offices that create rules that make ordinary peoples lives difficult, it is the social system that pays money to somebody who does not deserve it yet denies assistance to those that need it. It is the suit that becomes a director with a fraudulent degree to his name, it is the company that persecutes the blue collar worker for taking loose change found in a machine yet ignores the shenanigans being perpetrated in the head office that cost the company millions.
 
These things go against everything that I believe and stand for, They make me angry and bitter, and they make me loose respect for those who should not be doing these things in the first place. They make me view every policeman as a corrupt official, and every public servant as a lazy good for nothing that does the bare minimum. How do you respect a manager that has lied about his qualifications? How do you sit in a disciplinary hearing about something trivial while the person conducting that hearing has lied through his teeth to get where he is? How can I believe a public broadcaster that has a board with so many clouds over its head that even the weather service is defeated? How can a president of a country ignore the starving people in his country while he adds to his personal fiefdom? I could go on forever asking these questions and I will not have an answer to any of them.
 
I have always been interested in motivation, I always want to know why a serial killer murders people, or why a man rapes a woman, or why the Nazi’s killed the Jews or why Anakin Skywalker did not rescue his mother long before she fell into the hands of the Sandpeople. 
 
I was raised to believe that one day there will be a retribution for what you have done wrong, and if this is true I expect some people are going to be in a lot of trouble with the universe. Some are going to be stuck in the queue where dictators go to answer for every crime committed in their name. Some will have to explain why they beat their children to death or taped the mouth of a dog closed, and some will have to explain how they stole food from a dumpster to feed their starving family. 
 
I would hope that the retribution will make up for the many wrongs and rights that we perpetrate in our lives, because the law sure isn’t doing the job it is supposed to do, although given the propensity for the dishonesty amongst those who are supposed to obey and uphold the law I suspect they may find retribution a very difficult time.
 
My mother is a great fan of “payback time” and while we usually laugh about it I like to think that somewhere along the line this is true, but given the greasiness of many of these people I suspect they will find a way  to evade the turning wheel.
 
So this message goes out to the suits and their cronies and henchmen and those who run roughshod over everybody: you may think that you are above the law, but at the end of the day you never learnt anything about being honest, or have any ethics and frankly your lack of morality is deplorable. I know you will be proud of yourself, but take it from me, the rest of us aren’t! 
Updated: 31/12/2017 — 16:45

Don’t mention the war!

Yesterday I spent the morning in Leicester, and decided to visit the cemetery closest to where I was. It happened to be a small cemetery called Belgrave cemetery, and my lift dropped me off close to the cemetery. On the approach to my destination I saw a sign for the Great Central Railway PLC and decided to have a look before continuing on my way. 
  
However, my plans for the cemetery took a nosedive when I saw that the railway was having a “Wartime Weekend”. I also caught a German Leutnant having his morning cup of coffee and cleaning his rifle. The French Tricolour was waving in the breeze. I could almost hear the theme music from ‘allo ‘allo playing in my head in the background. The station was reasonably deserted and the signage said that the first train would be arriving at 10H45. 
 
And that I was not standing in Leicester North Station but at…
  
I bid the German an Auf Wiedersehen and decided that I would be back at 10H30 and that he must not invade or start building fortification until I got back.  
In my absence the forces had gathered, busloads of children and their teachers, soldiers from the past and even more World War 2 era clad people were all awaiting the train. The soldiers were members of a re-enactment group that were going to partake in the Wartime Weekend.  
The platform side was crowded, there were at least 4 separate groups of school children all eagerly waiting for the train (as was I), and I spent quite a bit of time discussing uniforms and insignia with the soldiers and those involved with the re-enactment. According to the French station master the train was not too far off.
I moved to the opposite platform to wait for the train which soon appeared from under the bridge. 


As usual the crew did not have a lot of time to admire the scenery, they had to uncouple the loco and run her back to the end of the train, although she would then have to run tender first for the rest of her journey. The station is an endpoint and there is no turning triangle.

The loco is a LMS Stanier Class 5 4-6-0 5305 and was built in 1936, being withdrawn from service in 1968.

Once the loco had moved I headed back to the platform to try get a closer look at her from the far end of the platform, but the military were everywhere!
 
And not only Allied troops, but the French Resistance was there too.
 

As I stood watching this I realised that a very similar scene may have played itself out in wartime Britain as children were evacuated from their homes, although back then the children would not be wearing hi-vis vests, pink backpacks and with cellphones clutched in their hands. It was really a poignant scene to witness, made all the more so when a group in the train started singing songs that were famous during the war.

The engine had coupled back onto the train and then pulled the guards van from the consist and shunted it back onto the spare platform line.

The platform was steadily getting less crowded, although the police and military were still in evidence.

I returned to the end of the train where the loco was moving back into her position for departure. And a shiney beastie she is too.

I turned to look down the platform, and it was empty except for a solitary railwayman plodding along, they were ready to go. A final clanking and rumbling from the steam engine, a blast on her whistle and she slowly started to steam away, leaving me almost on my own.

Curse this war! how much longer must it go on?

I had a quick look at the guards van that had been left behind; it is interesting how much different these are to the coaches we had back in South Africa.

And then it was time for me to go, we still had a long day ahead, and I had a long walk ahead of me too, but what an excellent morning it had been. A special mention must go to the people who participated and who were there in all their finery, they really did a great job and were all participating in what I hope is the sort of day those children on the train never forget.

 

© DRW 2015-2018. Images migrated 30/04/2016

Updated: 31/12/2017 — 16:46

Barton Under Needwood

On this fine morning I had a job interview close to a small village called Barton Under Needwood, and like many of these small villages it is an interesting place that really needs a lot of investigation to be able to appreciate it. Live there? maybe, although I expect it would take a bit of getting used to.  My route took me on the number 7 bus that heads out into the direction of Burton on Trent, although my destination was somewhere between Alrewas and Burton on Trent. The village of Alrewas I had encountered before when I visited the National Memorial Arboretum in April. It too is a small village and it had a very nice war memorial too. My route would end at Barton Lodge, and that seemed to be the closest stop to where I wanted to be, but the bus driver took me 2 stops further down which was even closer to my destination. The lodge is a really nice building, but I have no idea what the purpose of it actually was/is. It is also in an awkward place to photograph.


Because I am a perpetual panicker when it comes to being late, I am always early, and on this day I had an hour to kill, so I consulted my handy map and headed back the way I had just come to the first church that popped up.  That church happened to be a really stunning building that dates back to 1533, and it is known as The Parish Church of St James.

  
It is a very pretty church on the inside, with an atmosphere that is pleasant, but not heavy, and I was able to stroll around and look at the windows and memorials and all the other trappings of these small churches that are the centre of their communities.
 

I suspect the warm sunny weather may have contributed to the beauty of the church as it played on the stain glass windows. Outside the church there was a substantial old graveyard as well as a newer extension. There are 8 CWGC listed casualties in the graveyard and I was able to pick 5 of them without really looking too hard.

Outside the church, on a small island is the village War Memorial.  and the street in front of the church had a nice collection of old houses and of course the local pub (or one of the local pubs I should say).

My watch was reminding me that time was marching so I headed towards my destination which was about 1,5 km away. It was a pleasant walk, through a mostly residential area. I also passed the village pond,

and this small body of water led me to another thing that was curious about: canal and narrow boats. This area does have an extensive marina close by and a canal flows parallel with a portion of the road. I would have to cross this canal to get to the place where my interview was going to happen. Would I be lucky today?

For once I was, and this beaut glided past me just as I arrived at the towpath. One of these is my version of a dream home, whether it is stationary or gliding down the water is irrelevant; I want a narrow boat!!  Oddly enough this is the closest I have come to one so far, and the only one I have actually seen up close and personal sailing down a canal .

Excitement over I went for my interview which did not work out too well. Don’t call us, we won’t be calling you!

It was now just a case of retracing my steps back the way I came. I had 45 minutes to get to the bus stop, although I could also walk up to the church again and look around a bit more. I was tempted to pause for a pint while I was there, but needed my change for bus fare.

Unfortunately I had pretty much seen all there was to see in the village and so I had to hang around at the bus stop while time passed. I could not help but think of that narrow boat though, I really need to get to the marina and have a good look at those beauts.

I am generally not a fan of boats, but these are a whole different kettle of fish altogether, although I am sure that they too are really deep holes that you end up throwing money into.

While I was waiting I had a phone call, and I crossed the street to get away from the noise of a lawnmower, and spotted this guy in the courtyard of the lodge. He is a beaut.

Did I mention how nice the church was? yes I did, and will leave this post with some more images from the church. It is not often that you find one of this age, and very rare to be able to get into it too. Who knows, maybe one day I will be around here again, and the marina will be in my sights!

 

 

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Updated: 31/12/2017 — 15:41
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