"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

A Christmas Tree Festival

I returned last Saturday to the Church of St Nicholas in the village of Curdworth to visit the Christmas Tree Festival.

There were over 30 trees each decorated with a different theme. Sorry the photos are pretty poor I had to use the camera flash as it was so dark and for some reason I really struggle to get decent photos when I use the flash.

The font which is actually Romanesque 12th Century not Saxon as I originally thought. It just goes to show you have to very careful on the source of information you use from the internet!.

Had a nice glass of mulled wine and a mince pie:)

Some of you may remember that when I visited earlier this year I was intrigued by the spider motif in one of the stained glass windows and I had discovered that one of the parishioners had done some research into the history of the church. I actually met the lady on this second visit and something should soon be appearing on the parish website so am hoping to find out a little more soon about the window.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Oak and Shires Event, Books and Christmas Baking

D and I went along to an "Oak and Shires" event at Yorks Wood last Saturday afternoon.

Yorks Wood covers around 11 hectares and is ancient semi-natural woodland comprising mainly Oak and Birch plus some Ash and Willow. Invasive species are controlled within the woodland. It was designated as a Local Nature Reserve in 1991. The wood, originally known as Kingshurst Wood, was first mentioned in 1456 when it was owned by the Mountford family. The wood became known as Yorks Wood from the 19th century named after the family who then owned Kingshurst Hall. Birmingham Scout movement bought the wood and surrounding fields in the 1920's and set up a permanent County campsite. But during the 1970's the site was sold for housing development although thankfully most of the wood was left untouched to act as a buffer between housing estates.

There were several displays of traditional woodland craft including pole lathes turning wood and hurdle makers and this display by a company from Malvern who make products from locally coppiced wood.

These beautiful gypsy flowers were made in a couple of minutes.

Good to see the Green Man there providing music and storytelling.

There were various activities for children including face painting and the RSPB had a stall.

Tan Tan, a working heavy horse, was demonstrating how horses can be used to help manage woodland.

Babbs Mill LNR is adjacent to the woodland. Sadly, currently part of this area is under threat from possible housing development.

I've put my gypsy flower in among the dried flowers I bought from Tewkesbury Abbey.

I've just finished reading the Green Road Into the Trees where the author Hugh Thomson walks ancient ways from Dorset to Norfolk (highly recommended) and was about to start reading Claxton by Mark Cocker and Inglorious by Mark Avery until I got sidetracked. Recent visits to Herefordshire together with reading the Merrily Watkins books reminded me about these two books. I bought and read "The Old Straight Track" by Alfred Watkins back in 1979 but "Timpson's Ley Lines" is a more recent purchase albeit 15 years ago. Its been lurking on my pile of books to read since then! Apparently Timpson also wrote a book on Country Churches unfortunately now out of print but I'll be keeping an eye out for it in second hand bookshops.

I finally started my Christmas Baking yesterday - Christmas Puddings first of all. I use a recipe by James Martin - note the pen scribbles concerning cooking time experiments!

Ready to be steamed.

Those of you who've been reading my blog for a few years might recognise the mould on the right - it makes a canon-ball shaped Christmas Pudding!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Halloween Ghost Walk Stratford on Avon - 30th October

I meant to type up this post days ago but I seem to be going through one of those phases with Blogger where I find it hard to get motivated to produce posts.

Anyway, after we'd visited Holy Trinity Church I moved the car to a car park in Church Street behind the Courtyard Theatre and we went in search of somewhere to eat and ended up in Barnabys - a fish and chip shop which also fortunately sells vegetarian pizzas!

It was still too early for the Ghost Walk we were booked on so we went and had a look round the RSC shop something we rarely had time to do when we used to go and see plays there.

There were several Halloween Ghost Walks taking place on the Friday evening and ours was led by Jocasta the Witch - it was great fun and rather spooky walking round the old streets of Stratford listening to tales of ghosts, murders, misery, witches and spells with quite a bit of history mixed in too.

The walk included a private tour of the "haunted" Hall's Croft which we visited earlier this year. Its a half-timbered building dating back to the 1600's and was the home of William Shakespeare's eldest daughter Susannah and her husband, Dr John Hall, a physician.

The visit included a glass of Mulled Wine :)

More haunting tales told around the churchyard of the church we had visited earlier.

Although the car park was lit we had a very spooky walk back round the rear of the Courtyard Theatre along an unlit road and alley - not the sort of thing you want to experience after a Ghost Walk!

We stopped off at Wootton Wawen on the way home to take a photo of St Peter's Church - a Saxon Sanctuary. This church is always lit at night but this is the first time we'd had a camera with us.

A little purchase from the RSC shop which I couldn't resist (although again it'll be going away for someone to give me at Christmas!).

Last Friday evening D and I went to Birmingham Rep to see the Regent's Park Theatre production of "Lord of the Flies" - it really was excellent. I believe the production is touring the UK at the moment so I would recommend it if it comes to a theatre near you.

Yesterday and today visits to The Range and Hobbycraft mean I am well stocked up to start knitting some of the "Knit and Purl" toys in the book I posted a photo of recently. Also have finally finished knitting squares for D's blanket and am in the process of sewing the pieces together. Photos of finished products at some stage in the future!

Most of the photos above were taken by D with the Canon - sorry about the date on each one - didn't realise it would be impossible to remove!