"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

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Berkswell Church

We had a pub lunch at the Sixteenth Century Bear Inn at Berkswell last week - we had gone the week before on our Wedding Anniversary but the pub had been closed due to a leaking water pipe :(

Photo of The Bear from a previous visit.

The dining area in the pub is called Cromwell's Room which refers to Cromwell's troops lodging in the village before the Battle of Kenilworth. During recent renovations a Cromwellian helmet and boot were found in an interior wall. For centuries the annual October Stattis Fair (when workers and servants from the surrounding countryside met up in seek of employment from local farmers) was held here.

We were due to pick up E on the way home and had 15 minutes spare so paid a brief visit to the beautiful Church of St John the Baptist which dates back to 1150.

Wayside Preaching Cross

The stone steps pre-date the church and are probably Saxon.

The porch dates from the Sixteenth century and the room above was originally the Priest's room, then the village school and later the parish council house. It is now used as a Vestry - access is via a series of steps.

The Oak door leading into the church is 600 years old and was made with hand made nails.

The Font (1946) and the Pulpit (1926) contain vineleaf motifs that copy the ancient screen carvings and are the work of Robert Thompson of Kilburn. Hidden around the church are 9 carved mice (the mark of the woodcarver Thompson). I've only found 2 on previous visits but found a third today in the Lady Chapel - really need to take a torch with me I think to examine all the carvings closely.

Mouse on the Font

the Pulpit and in the

Lady Chapel.

More carved wood - sorry not the best of photos - it was a dull and gloomy day and consequently it was dark in the church.


Stained Glass

A rare example of a Sanctus Bell dating from the 16th Century or perhaps even earlier.

Such Bells were often placed in a wooden frame inside the rood screen which separated the Chancel from the Nave. In Medieval times it would have been rung just before the consecration of the bread and wine.

I didn't have time to go down to the Crypt this time but its a beautifully peaceful, tranquil place so I've included a few photos from a previous visit.

The Crypt is a fine example of Norman architecture and dates back to the 12th Century (the East part was built around 1150 and the Western Octagonal part later in the century). It is believed to be a reconstruction of an earlier crypt that dated back to Saxon times and there may have been a shrine on the site.

Sadly, there was no time to look for graffiti (Medieval or otherwise).

Monday, 26 October 2015

A Wood, a Painting and a Lane

I had a brief trip out with D the weekend before last looking for some autumn colour. We were planning to go to the Vale of Evesham but an unexpected family commitment in the afternoon meant we had to stay local so we went along to Hay Wood, near Baddesley Clinton.

Hedgerow trees along the route showed a lot of autumn colour but colours weren't so noticeable in the woodland itself. Light was very poor so apologies for the photos not being very sharp.


and a few plants still in flower.

I've made a few brief visits to this woodland in the past but one of these days I'll find time to have a longer walk there - I suspect it may be good for butterflies in Spring/Summer.

A few years ago I received a print of a painting of Conker Lane, near Bentley Heath for a present. The artist is Brian Tovey who has a gallery in Henley-in-Arden.

While we were in the area we stopped off at Conker Lane to take a few photos. I have a feeling that the artist painted the photo possibly some years ago as there is a lot of new housing in the area on each side of the lane and lamp-posts have been erected. Of course, the artist could just have decided to leave these features out! There again we didn't have time to walk along the Lane as far as we'd hoped so the painting could have come from an area further along the route.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Dahlias at Baddesley Clinton

We met E for lunch in Solihull a few weeks ago and I was hoping to combine it with a trip to Baddesley Clinton to see the dahlias and scarecrows. It had been raining heavily all morning so I thought we were going to have to forget the visit but as we drove past the rain actually stopped for a brief three quarters of an hour so we were able to walk round the gardens.

I am not usually a lover of ornate flowers, for example, I don't like lilies or chrysanthemums very much, but strangely I do like dahlias. Perhaps its because it reminds me of the ones my father used to grow - as a child I was always fascinated by the earwigs you could find in the pom-pom variety.

I usually visit mid September but there were still plenty flowering.

There was also still plenty of colour in other areas of the walled garden.

Several clumps of mistletoe growing on the apple trees.

A quick look at the Vegetable Garden - the scarecrows were no longer there :( Perhaps they remove them at the end of September?

I thought this might be the last bee I saw this year but we have had a few in the garden this week.

One of these days I will be unable to resist temptation and will buy one of these metal sculptures!

We got back to the car just as the rain started again.