Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Some Exeter Ambling – St Michael and All Angels, Pinhoe.

I have previously mentioned my walk to this church and its peaceful surroundings while staying in Exeter. The most rural of the churches in Exeter, this attractive little church is set in a neat church yard with a fine view over Exeter. 

There would have been a wooden Saxon church on this site in the tenth century.  It was was burnt during the invasion by the Danes in AD1001.  The village of Pinhoe was raided that year by a band of Vikings and the vicar rode to Exeter by donkey for more arrows for the defenders. Although it was to no avail – church and village were burned to the ground - the priest was awarded an annual payment of 16 shillings for his bravery.  It is said that this sum was still paid to the Vicar of Pinhoe in Victorian times.

The main body of the present church was constructed of Heavitree stone (a local red sandstone) and Thorverton stone in the early part of the fifteenth century.

 It is in the Perpendicular style.  

The north aisle was probably added in the sixteenth century.

I understand there is a typical Devon fifteenth century wagon roof with carved bosses and a fifteenth century screen and pulpit. The font is the oldest feature in the church with a Saxon base and would probably have been in the earlier wooden building.    

But sadly the porch door was locked.  

I find it really aggravating when rural churches are locked. 

Not only does it deny one the opportunity for a period of quiet reflection but it also stops one seeing the interior – no matter how far one has travelled to do so.   

The register dates from 1561.

In the nineteenth century the church was in a very poor state and restoration work was started. The chancel was rebuilt, the nave, aisle and tower restored.  There was new flooring, roof repairs, a vestry and porch. Stairs to the rood were discovered.  This work was completed in 1880.

Apart from one small area all the stained glass is modern but other than this little  piece in the porch I was unable to see any of it. 

I found this most evocative headstone in the churchyard.  It has no carving, no mason’s work, ‘just’ a piece of stone and yet it somehow moved me more than any of the traditional ones.

Some of the old headstones were covered in lichens and mosses.

One of my favourite features was the 17th-century, thatched lychgate.  It's wonderul to think that people were walking through here at the time of the English Civil War.

Happy Tuesday



Monday, 28 May 2012

Adventures of a Town Mouse

 Hello, I live at The Willows...

The folk here provide food for the Hedgehogs but the lazy so-and-sos never seem to eat any.

 Excuse me chaps, coming through...

Eeny, meeny, miney, mo...

I think I'll have this one..

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Meandering thoughts from a meandering man

Other people’s posts – and Memorial Day

I must point you to a couple of other people’s posts this weekend – Firstly there is a super fishy post on Rambles from Frog End.

And, as Monday is Memorial Day in the USA, I can’t do better than point you to a post on Marcheline’s blog  which gives a different slant on it.   Thankyou to Bear and all those others who have risked or given their lives for the US and her allies.  Whatever one’s political beliefs about the rights and wrongs of various conflicts we owe enormous thanks to our armed forces.  And remember – it is Armed Forces Day here in the UK on 30th June.

The garden at The Willows
The garden is coming on apace now that the weather is summer-like and the sun is shining fit to crack the flags.

The whole garden is a spread of Forget-me-nots.  I suppose that technically they are weeds since they seed themselves everywhere and aren’t planted in a single one of their locations.  But if a weed is simply a plant in the wrong place then not a one of them is a weed – I love them wherever they appear. A flower like this can’t be in the wrong place.

One of my most loved plants is the Chinese Balloon Flower.  

The second hanging bag is up.  

A Geum.

Some Chives.

Like the Forget-me-nots the Aquilegia seed themselves all over the place and they help to fill some of the potential gaps in the borders. 

Another wild flower that jumps up in different places each year – Red Campion. 

And the lawn has some Daisies in it.

Another mailcrossing envelope and the resulting moustache

This super envelope came from Amy in Vancouver.  During the past year she got engaged in a photo booth so that inspired the envelope and its contents. 

A lot of hard work went into this and she even included a couple of false moustaches in case I fancied trying my own self-portraits.  Needless to say, I did!  

Time for a bird bath

Jo caught this baby Robin having a dust-bath on the lawn.  A sure sign that the lawn needs watering.  This baby Dunnock then took over.

But the baby Robin was quickly back to reclaim his spot from the intruder.

Some speedy contortions are involved in this process.

Hope you are having a good weekend.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Meandering around on a Wednesday

Another assortment of odd thoughts as I ramble in my chair.  It began life as Toddling on Tuesday twenty four hours ago but I git side-tracked by real life...

Welcome to the world Hugo – nephew to Son-in-law-and-friend-who-loves-otters. He arrived on Saturday to the delight of parents Dewi and Gary.  It remains to be seen how delighted his big sister Leona will be.  In my experience siblings often don’t fully appreciate each other until they are about twenty (if then). I hope Leona and Hugo prove to be the exception and are firm friends from day one.

I’m just about settled in again at home and celebrated the fact by having a massive migraine on Monday.  Fortunately it only lasted twelve hours but it was fun awful while it lasted.

When I emerged from bed feeling like a washed out flannel it was to find that the drains were blocked.  The drains in England are the responsibility of the householder where they only serve his property but the responsibility of United Utilities where they serve more than one property.  Fortunately my tracing the route of the blockage eventually led to where the drain is joined by one from the doctor’s surgery next door. Hooray – not my problem.  At least once they’ve fixed it and we can flush the loo again it’s not my problem.  (Twenty four hours later they had cleared the blockage and all was back to normal.  It was wet-wipes from the surgery that had blocked it.  Wet wipes are allegedly bio-degradable but the water board folk said they don't - it's a fallacy.  They just block the drains.)  

Witches Beware !

I have mentioned Rougemont Castle Gatehouse, Exeter, before.

But I didn’t mention that it was here that the last women to be convicted of witchcraft were tried in the 1680s and hanged at nearby Heavitree.

The idea behind mailcrossing is that you create an envelope and send it to four (or nine) other people who in turn send you one that they have created. Inside the envelope you can put whatever you like but it is meant to be original and not expensive.  This was one I received from Traci in Texas (addresses deleted).

I like the way she’s told me so much about herself. 

Inside there was a lovely notecard and a hair clip / brooch she had made.  

Because I was a man (the only one in the group) and she knew from my website that I enjoyed cooking she also enclosed a pan scraper for stoneware pans etc.  It will be ideal for cleaning the cooker top which is always a bind to scrape clean.

I shall show the other envelope I have received so far when I have time to scan it in.

The postcards still keep arriving, of course.  This is a wonderful one from Russdia.

And just look at its stamps.

And it's great to see that somewhere still hand-franks its post.  I know the volume of post in most places makes it prohobitive but it is such a prettier result when a human can see that the sender has made an effort with the stamps.

The Garden
It has been was a glorious day (yesterday) and I have spent nearly all of it in the garden.  Gardening - not just lazing about. Though Partner-who-loves-tea and I did take time off for a crossword on the patio at lunchtime. I'll show some of the flowers in a future post -perhaps tomorrow.

I’ve been planting more pots and weeding and generally tidying up.  Some Nasturtium seedlings have gone in and the Sweet Peas are now in their final location, among the canes next to the conservatory window.  More petunias are potted up and the first of the hanging bags is now in position. 

I have had a bracket on this corner for a few years but every time I hung a basket on it I walked into it and hurt myself.  Hanging baskets are heavy when you collide with them at face height.  But a hanging bag is ideal.  It stays closer in to the wall and I haven’t come anywhere near hitting it.  This first one is full of Petunias. The next one will be by the kitchen window and will have a mixture of trailing plants.

Misty has by now settled back in to her routine of being fed by Daughter-who-takes-photos but this was the night before I left Exeter – she obviously slept in my suitcase because she wanted to come home with me. 

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