"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

Friday, 13 April 2018

Brief Visit to Two Local Country Churches, Recent Reading and Cake!

Yesterday was damp and drizzly, murky and misty but I decided to pop out for a few hours locally despite the weather as I was getting fed up of being cooped indooors.

I decided to check out a couple of local churches which I haven't visited before. Unsurprisingly, both appeared to be locked. I've discovered that most churches in North Warwickshire do tend not to be open whereas those in South Warwickshire often are.

First of all I went to St Wilfred's, Old Arley and here it is surrounded by mist!

The church is fairly old as the chancel and nave were re-built in the 14th century when the West tower was added. I have a useful book on Old Parish Churches in Warwickshire and when this was written it sounds as though churches were still open as mention is made of fragments of original glass in one North Window in the chancel and an effigy of a priest with angels at his pillow dated 1350.

A few photos of the exterior of the church and churchyard.

I've never seen anything like this on a grave before.

The churchyard was full of yew trees and it would certainly have been worth visiting a few months ago when there was a huge influx of Hawfinches which seemed to favour churchyards especially those with yews!

Onto St Giles, Nether Whitacre.

Parts of the Chancel date back to the 14th century and the tower is 16th century.

There were a few Primroses and Lesser Celandines in flower along with plenty of Daffodils.

Many gravestones were old and weathered with inscriptions erased by weathering and the stone covered with moss and lichen.

Daffodils and Primroses

Recent Reading

The second in the "Outlander" series by Diana Gabaldon and a re-read. Am so enjoying re-acquainting myself with this series.

Determined to learn more of Mary Anning - I read this super book.

And so onto the next Maisie Dobbs novel - this series just gets better and better.

The Lake District Mystery Books are good too - I will be sad when I have reached the end of the series.

D recommended this children's book to me and as he wants to visit the area where the series is set - see here I thought I would read the book. It is exciting and well written (although I would imagine a bit frightening for children!) and if you like fantasy, legend and folklore, I think you would enjoy it. I certainly couldn't put it down!


Years ago when I was little mum often used to bake a chocolate orange drizzle cake. I have never found the exact recipe but recently found something similar on BBC Good Food website which I made today. It went down well with the family - as you can see there is only half left. The recipe can be found here .


David Gascoigne said...

The old church looks quite wonderful. I think they should turn the whole thing into a bird sanctuary! I am sure they could convert the church into a delightful visitors centre. I am not sure what the trend is in Britain but over here churches are closing in record numbers.

Ragged Robin said...

David Gascoigne - Thank you so much. Yes, I think churches do close - some are rescued by various charities such as The Church Conservation Trust that do a wonderful job. I visited a superb church today, full of history, and the churchyard is a "living churchyard" which is a place were wildlife is encouraged e.g. parts are left unmown for wild flowers, and bat and owl boxes etc. etc. are put up. When nature is encouraged they can make wonderful mini nature reserves.

Dean Stables said...

I love exploring old churchyards/cemeteries. We have some mighty fine ones up here.

Ragged Robin said...

Dean Stables - Thank you. They can be superb sites for wildlife as well as history if wildlife is encouraged there. Went to a super one yesterday which was a "living churchyard" with owl, tit, bat and hedgehog boxes and so many primroses in flower. I could have spent hours there!

Rosie said...

Both churchyards look fascinating and the dog is an unusual addition perhaps forever guarding its owner's grave? Your cake looks delicious thanks for the link to the recipe. I had to smile at 'The Weirdstone of Brisingamen' - I have typed that out so many times. One of my first jobs was in the offices of a large bookshop. We dealt with county library orders and my bit was the children's section,we had to type invoices, so the titles of Alan Garner books, Paddington books, Dr Seuss and etc are all so so familiar as are The Incredible Adventures of Professor Brainstorm and Biggles Sweeps the Desert which always made me smile. We've walked several times on Alderley Edge it is quite other wordly in places, Hare Hill the little NT garden is lovely too:)

Pam said...

Oh The Weirdstone of Brisingamen was one of my favourite books as a child, I still have a copy, it's fantastic! We also read it in junior school when I was about 10, i'd already read it by then! I think I need to put it on the reading pile.

The weather has been dreary hasn't it, it's good to get out despite it, if you go prepared to get a bit wet then it's still a good day I think!

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thank you and yes I think you are right about the dog. The cake is good - although next time I think I would add zest of 2 oranges not one to cake mix to make it a bit more orangey! I also put more chocolate on the top than stated!

I still have several boxes here of the children's books I can't bear to part with! although son has kept most of his in his room! There is such a wonderful selection available (far more I think than when I was little!).

Thanks for the tip on Hare Hill - will make a note! for when we hopefully go.

Pam - Thanks. It is an amazing book - I was racing through it at the very end to find out what happened!! Son read Elidor when he was little as I think he had seen it on tv but the Weirdstone was a recent buy in a second hand bookshop. I might read Elidor soon! :)

Thankfully weather was lovely yesterday and although a bit cloudy fairly dry today. I had got to the stage where I just had to go out!

Pete Duxon said...

wow! that dog is VERY unusual love it!

Ragged Robin said...

Pete Duxon - Thanks Pete (with all the churches you have visited it is good to see that you think it unusual)!! Pity I missed the dogs and cats theme in Twitter's #AnimalsinChurches!!

Pam said...

I've never read Elidor, usually this genre isn't my thing but Brisingamen was possibly the only exception!

Ragged Robin said...

My son reckons Elidor is good though not as good as The Weirdstone but he does read a lot of fantasy far more than me. I was going to recommend the Philip Pullman Dark Materials Trilogy but perhaps not if the genre isn't your cup of tea! :)

CherryPie said...

The church looks really interesting, did you go inside?

The cake looks delicious :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Cherry Pie - Thank you. Sadly, both churches were locked - often the case in North Warwickshire :( Sometimes churches have the occasional open day so will try and find out.

Pam said...

My daughter tried the first Dark Materials book but couldn't get into it but I must admit I haven't given it a go.

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - The books can be read on many levels (so suitable for adults) - have been to a couple of talks by Philip Pullman (Neil Gaman was also at the second one) and he is very interesting. We did go and see plays at the Rep based on the novels too. My son has bought a prequel called "Dust" or something similar - too lazy to check!! but I haven't read that yet. Need to space out fantasy books with other reading!