"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

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Recent Reading


The above book was very good and a great introduction to churches if you are new to the subject. I have several similar books but each one has something different to offer. To be honest I would have preferred the "proper" book but B moans if I add more to my collection!

Up until now I have loved this Stephen Booth series but I really did struggle with this one and even scan read very quickly some sections.  In the middle of a pandemic I really do not want to be reading about a murderer obsessed with body decomposition not to mention graphic details of some funeral parlour and crematorium procedures.  I have uploaded the next in the series which I hope will be better.  I am just too squeamish a person to read a novel like the one above!

Still enjoying the above series immensely.

J R Ellis a new author to me (thanks Rosie and I think Pete too).  Another book I enjoyed and found hard to put down. Will certainly be reading more in this series.

I couldn't put this Priscilla Masters down either and finished it in just a few days. Not going out much (at least when at home) I am finding I am reading a lot!

Sorry not sure what I did there to left align photo!  This was another book read quickly and probably the best so far in this series. Thankfully, there are still many more to read.

Every so often a book comes along when I just know I have to buy the hardback as soon as it is published and this is one of them. I have loved every one of Matthew Oates's books and this was no exception.  If you love butterflies and especially if you are obsessed with the Purple Emperor you will adore this book.  It is a book to treasure.

This is the final book in the George and Molly series and, whilst not as good as the Shetland and Vera books, I have enjoyed them.

Another book where I would like to have the "real" book rather than the Kindle version. One of the excellent "Shire" Books and I found it very informative.  I really do miss visiting churches and cathedrals as I have been inside so few this year but it is always good to read more on the topic.

I hope everyone is keeping safe and well.

Saturday, 24 October 2020

Return to Herefordshire - Part 3: St Michael and All Angels, Croft Castle


St Michael and All Angels was built in the early to mid  fourteenth century (chancel and nave).  Timber bell turret added around 1700 with its lead collared ogee cap.  The church was enlarged in the 15th century and re-modelled in the 18th century.  Today the church serves the parish of Yarpole.

I wandered round the back to see if this time it was open and it was! A wide open door and no-one else inside so who could resist having a look round! 😃

The plain octagonal font, according to Pevsner, is probably 14th century.

The tiles are 15th and early 16th century from Malvern and Monmouth with one dated 1486. They are mostly heraldic.

Pevsner is at the caravan so I can't check but some of the tiles look more recent or have they been restored?

I had been given a tip by someone who lives in Herefordshire that I talk to on Twitter that I must not miss the monument and it was, without doubt, the highlight of the visit.

The tomb is to the memory of Sir Richard Croft, Sheriff of Herefordshire 1471-72-77-86 who fought at Mortimer's Cross in 1471. He was the MP for Herefordshire in1471 and was Governor of Ludlow Castle.  He was created a knight after the Battle of Stoke 1487 and died on 29th July 1509. The tomb is also for his wife Eleanor who died 1520. She was the daughter of Sir Edmund Cornewall, Baron of Burford, Salop and widow of Sir Hugh Mortimer of Kyre.

The tomb chest has standing angels holding shields beneath crocketed canopies. Inexpertly reconstructed when moved from the former North Chapel (according to Pevsner).  Recumbent effigies with a lion at the feet of Sir Richard Croft.  Eleanor's head rests on a cushion held by angels and at her feet are a lion cub and puppy.  There is an elaborate paired canopy over their heads vaulted inside with small angels. 

Unfortunately I am not really tall enough to get photos from above which is a bit of a pain. I couldn't even find something to stand on (minus shoes) as you were told not to touch anything! 😢

Against the rear wall there are saints in two tiers - the lower two St Anthony and St Roche and St Sitha and St Margaret above - and I spotted a tiny wyvern 😂

More Croft Memorials - I really should have taken better photos but it was a very brief whizz round. I also missed getting photos of the boxed pews and gallery at the west end.

The East Window is by Hardman 1916.

After we'd left Croft Castle I persuaded B to make a short detour to the nearby village of Yarpole as the church there has a detached tower - one of eight in Herefordshire.  There was some sort of event on at the church as we couldn't park and there were loads of people milling about. But Yarpole is certainly worth a future visit both the church and a walk round as there are some interesting looking buildings and when life is more normal a pub!!

We came home the following day - Saturday and I took this photo of a hot air balloon coming into land at the side of the M42. Not a great picture as I didn't have time to adjust the speed!

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330.

I hope everyone is staying safe and well in these worrying times.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Return to Herefordshire - Part Two: Croft Castle - Walk and Garden


Friday was dry and sunny so we returned to Croft Castle where I had pre-booked tickets. Arrangements were slightly different this time as you had to show your membership cards in a ticket office but it was a one way system and we waited until the people already in there had left.

I thought we were going to redo the Ancient Tree Walk but B had spotted a pool and bridge down in the valley when we drove in and decided to walk up hill through the parkland and then go through woodland in fish pool valley to find the features.  Of course, I hadn't brought the map of the walk with me so it didn't exactly go to plan.  There are so many beautiful ancient and veteran trees at Croft Castle - I am sure there was once a programme on Radio 4 about them which is something I will have to search for.

We then turned off the main path going uphill to walk through woodland above Fishpool Valley.

We didn't find the path down to the pool and bridge as we came back out near the cafe and toilets! Next time I will take a map of the walk with us.  There are certainly some lovely trails and much to see at Croft Castle and it is a real discovery.

We carried on to the castle and had another look round the walled garden.

There was a lot of mistletoe growing on apple trees in the orchard.  You could buy a bag from the shop for £2.50 to pick your own apples and afterwards I rather wished we had.

The castle is now open but we didn't go inside. The church of St Michael and All Angels was also open and I did go in there but will write about that in Part 3.

Rapunzel's Tower

Tree Art

I have slowly got used to new blogger although I still don't like it very much and it takes a lot longer to write posts.  I am still not happy about photo quality on the actual post although they do look a little better in the gallery.  I am still using "compose your own view" rather than html and find I add far less text as I get fed up of changing settings e.g. left align, paragraph and font size every time.

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera