"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, 31 December 2019

Happy New Year

Wishing everyone a very Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year.

Special thanks to those too who leave comments. May 2020 be filled with special wildlife sightings and moments.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Recent Reading and Peter Pan

I hope everyone has had a lovely Christmas.

I haven't done a book post for a while so here is a list of books read recently.

I am really enjoying the Joanna Piercy series of books.

I had been waiting patiently for this book to come out in paperback and when it did I ordered a copy from a bookshop that will remain nameless. But when I went to collect it the assistant had ordered the hardback. This put me in a bit of quandary as I often chat to her about books and I did not like to make a fuss for this reason so I came home with the hardback! Anyway it really is an excellent book and even more fascinating due to Willoughby's connection with Middleton Hall which I have visited in the past and written blog posts on. Highly recommended but please note the paperback is now out!

I love Betty Smith's books on Warwickshire and this was as interesting as the others. It was a second hand purchase as the books are, I believe, now out of print.

This was another second hand purchase and if you are interested in medieval times it is an interesting read with some beautiful medieval illustrations for each animal.

I do enjoy the Midsomer Murder books although I do find it takes a few chapters to get into the book as Caroline Graham adds a lot of detail. I will read the entire series and then look into the possibility of watching some of the tv series which I missed.

The book on churchyards is a very good introductory read to the history of churchards and cemeteries and tombs/monuments.

This series is great and I am pleased to see that there are a lot still to read. It is the type of book I find I can't put down and it didn't take me long to read it!

I enjoyed this book and at times it was very funny but I did find it the type of book that I could only read for a small amount of time at any one sitting.

Last weekend D and I went to see Peter Pan at Birmingham Repertory Theatre. It was a modern take on the book and we both really enjoyed it. The special effects and sets were also very good.

We had really good seats only about four rows from the front and I was delighted to see that there was a little screen below the stage with "sub-titles" of the play narrative. I think I have mentioned before that my hearing is not brilliant (still haven't gone into getting a hearing aid!) and I do struggle to hear at the theatre so I found this idea really helpful. I am not sure if it will be used regularly but I really do hope so as it would make a real difference to people like me with poor hearing.

We had a our usual delicious Veneziana pizza with polenta chips beforehand at Pizza Express and it was a lovely afternoon out with Centenary Square in Birmingham City Centre looking very festive.

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a very Happy Christmas and best wishes for a Healthy, Happy and Peaceful New Year

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Christmas Tree Festival at St Cuthbert's Shustoke

Last weekend D and I visited the Christmas Tree Festival at St Cuthbert's Shustoke. The church is normally locked so this was a good opportunity to look round as the church seems open each weekend in December for the festival.

The exterior of the church is mainly early 14th century and the church is built of red sandstone.

The chancel and south porch were rebuilt at Preedy's restoration in 1872/3 and the church was re-modelled by Bodley and Garner in 1886/87 after a fire left the chancel and nave roofless. The present church roof dates from this time.

The oldest complete part of the church is the tower. The two lower parts are 14th century and the top of tower and spire were added in the `15th century. (Note for Rustic Pumpkin - the spire definitely looks stuck on here!).

The spire was damaged by lightning in 1777 and 1811 and was twice repaired by John Cheshire. Shustoke church has connections with William Dugdale (1605-1686) who was an early English antiquary who wrote "Antiquities of Warwickshire". He was born in the rectory, baptised in the church and is buried in a chest tomb in the chancel. I completely forgot to look for the tomb although it may well have been obscured by Christmas Trees. I did take a poor photo of a memorial on the wall to a Dugdale but the photo isn't good so I can't make out the date to see if it is for this particular William Dugdale.

The tower clock was installed as a memorial to the dead of the 1914-1918 war.

The gargoyles are 15th century.

Timothy came too this time :)

South Door

The Christmas Trees which were all real looked lovely - I didn't take photos of them all this time as it was quite dark in the church. In fact,next year if I visit any Christmas Tree Festivals I must remember to check if the camera has a starburst effect as it might look good with the tree photos.

The 1887 font is a copy of the original Norman font which was destroyed by fire caused by a lightning strike in 1886.

Medieval stained glass fragments?

Double piscina

Memorial to one of the Dugdales (mentioned above).

The stained glass is by Burlison and Grylls 1875 - 95

East Window

Timothy photobombing the trees

I was very good and didn't have any tea or cake but D had both including a large slice of Christmas cake!

I had a quick look round the churchyard before I left.

Priest's Door

I can't find any information on this carving but I suspect it may be fairly modern?


View from churchyard

The church of St Leonard's at Over Whitacre in the distance. This is a church I have never actually visited although I suspect it will be locked but one day I will stop off as I often drive past and get a few pictures of the exterior and churchyard.

Remains of a 15th century cross on an octagonal stump and plain square base.

As usual I missed items! The William Dugdale tomb, a scratched mass dial on the SE buttress and inside the church a dug-out old parish chest.

I did visit this church a few years ago to look round the churchyard and learned then of a raised mound to the south of the church - the age of the mound is not known although it could be Anglo Saxon or earlier - I think it is called The Shawbury Mound. I did try, without success, to research it at the time to see if I could find out more but it is something I will continue to do.

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera
D left his camera at home

Reference: Website - William Dargue "A History of Birmingham Churches from A to Y" Shustoke Warwickshire St Cuthbert
Book - Pevsner "The Buildings of England Warwickshire"