Posts Tagged ‘village’

Wierd dream I had last night

I’m feeling a bit low on inspiration so I’ll just tell you about a wierd dream I had last night.

I was just going about my normal business in the dream and everyone was talking about this place. It was like a little town underwater in a lake somewhere nearby. And people lived there.

I went on a day trip there, or something, I’m not sure. Anyway, I was there. Just walking about, getting stuff at the underwater shop etc. There was a funny glass dome thing over some areas of it so you could walk about as normal. But then there were parts where you had to go out into the water to get to the next building. I was still walking fine, there didn’t seem to be any problem of me floating off or anything. It was more the inconvenience of having to hold my breath. I wasn’t even getting wet. Just having to hold my breath.

Then someone said to me that I should move there and live there all the time. I was really really gutted because I love where I live now. I was being such a martyr about having to move there. I was getting all teary and going ‘I’ll really miss everyone and everything but ok, I’ll move to the underwater village.’ I remember that I was emotionally torn by this decision but I knew it was the right thing to stay there.

Mental. I wonder what mixture of things I watched on TV or talked about for THAT to have come up in my dreams.

Also, I have a secret that I’m dying to tell you but I don’t want to spoil the surprise on the very small, very unlikely chance that the person who the surprise is for might read this. So you’ll just have to wait.

Walking into history

It’s Wednesday again and time for Rambler5319, my guest blogger, to take over….

Last week’s pics from my holiday were really mostly about signs. I did take some others (and a few more signs). These are from the walks I did in an area which is steeped in history. Parts of it go back to the time of the Romans and beyond.
As you approach the village from one direction, you see this magnificent hand-crafted sign. (It took over 8 months to make.)
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Each element in the sign has some local significance and I was curious to find out what they all represented. Local village history gave me the answer:
The cross-keys representing St Peter’s Church (now ruined).
The white cross (blue background) represents the existing St Andrew’s Church.
The beige area represents the main cereal crop – barley.
The green area represents the other main crop – sugar beet.
The white pathway between them represents an old footpath called Peddars Way which passes through the village.
The black symbols on the left middle represent churches & chapel. To the right middle, the tree is Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee Tree and the windmill is also local to the area. A lot of thought definitely went into this impressive creation.
As you approach from another side of the village you are greeted by this one
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They definitely like you to feel welcome.
I found this next structure in a garden in the main street of the village. Talk about plush multi-storey avian apartments!! Ever seen one of these before?
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WALK NO.1
This was about 6 miles round, mostly on paths away from the roads. The route I travelled, to the next village (Sedgeford), is a small part of what is a much longer (46 miles!) ancient path called Peddars Way. Some believe its existence actually pre-dates the Romans and that they just extended and improved it. So here I was walking on a path that Roman soldiers probably marched along almost 2,000 years ago! I’m glad I wasn’t wearing armour and carrying a heavy shield as the sun was very warm and my brow was wiped many times on this walk. Here’s a section of it but can you tell which direction my compass needle was pointing if I tell you it was about 11.00am?

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I came across this notice just half a mile along the path.
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In case text in pic too small to read, at the bottom it says: “This roadside verge is being positively managed to conserve wild plants and animals in a joint project between Norfolk County Council and Norfolk Wildlife Trust. Note it’s just the “verge”; it was only a metre or so wide.
Just before joining the main road, leading into Sedgeford, the path emerged from its agrarian setting into a narrow road called Magazine Lane; also nearby were Magazine Farm & Magazine Wood. Seemed to me like an odd name to find out in the countryside. The mystery was solved a bit further along when I found this building
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It is called Magazine Cottage and is believed to have been used as a store for gunpowder during the Civil War. It was built by the LeStrange family who we will find out more about next week. As I walked past the village pub (King William IV), and down a side road, I saw a sign for a local archaeological project:
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I was intrigued. I decided to visit. As well as the actual dig site there were a number of displays and talks about the finds and other general info about life in Anglo Saxon times. Volunteer diggers camp in the next field to the excavation site:
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And some site facilities are what might be termed primitive. Note, in the pic below, only one tap can be used for drinking water:
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Here are some of the displays, starting with the skulls:
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And here are three Action Men but each item they are wearing has been hand made by a guy who is very interested in the period. He’d also made models of some of the “machines” (e.g. boulder launching catapults) the Romans used in sieges and attacks in battle.
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Next was a display of what they believe may have been types of food from Anglo Saxon times. The front page of the booklet to the right of pic (sorry chopped off due to trying to get all the food dishes in) says “Dishes made on the day course – Cooking up an Anglo-Saxon feast”:
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I also attended one of the 20 minute talks in a side tent. Time to put thinking cap on! Amongst other things, I learnt that an analysis of the chemicals in bones can suggest an area of the country where the individual lived. How? This is because the mix of certain elements in the water in different parts of the country can be quite specific to that area. Apparently, if you live in an area for 10 years or more, your bones will have levels of certain chemicals that have been absorbed from drinking the water in that area that will be the same as the water itself. The archaeologists compare the levels of two particular chemicals, strontium & oxygen, in the water, with the levels in the bones they find. They can then tell whether the people had lived in that area for about 10 years before their death or had moved to it from another part of the country.
Soon it was off to retrace the 3 miles back to the cottage and give my brain, as well as my legs, a rest; it had been a fascinating and very instructive time at the site. As I made my way across the field behind the site, to begin the trek home, I came across this unusual sight:
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Starting with the standing white horse look left to the brown standing horse and then to, what seems to be, a brown “blob” on the floor. This “blob” really was a horse lying on its side. Every so often its tail would flick up and down but it remained in this position the whole time I was crossing the field. Was it tired or maybe sunbathing? Do horses lie down if they’re tired? Do horses sunbathe?
The following day I did a short walk, along the sea front, in the nearby town of Hunstanton. Apparently it is the only resort on the East Coast of England which actually faces west! (You’d have to look at a map to see why.) The town motto (in Latin of course) is Alios delectare iuvat, which translates to “It is our pleasure to please”. I was pleased after my visit so I suppose they succeeded. I sat down on a bench for a quick sandwich and drink. I found it was one of those which had been erected in memory of someone who’d died. Here’s the plaque:
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Paul Richard Moore was not famous; I, you and lots of other people, will have never heard of him but clearly he was, and still is, VERY special to those who’d put the bench there in his memory. We don’t know how he died but look at his age – just under 30 years old. Now pause for a moment and think about that. Perhaps many readers of this post are younger or just coming up to it or some maybe past that age. Imagine if that was to be all time you would have. It’s always a great sadness when parents outlive their children as it’s one of those things, like this lad’s parents, you just don’t expect to happen. I spent a few minutes in quiet reflection: each moment we’re alive we’re making withdrawals from “The Bank of Time” but without knowing the balance left in our account! Of course, no deposits are possible and you can’t be overdrawn – but your account will be closed at some point! How we “spend” our time is important.
Walking just a short distance from the bench, I saw this. It was time to put that thinking cap on again.
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Closer inspection of the info board revealed some interesting stuff.
The wall in the pic is what is left of a chapel built in 1272AD in memory of King Edmund. Apparently he’d landed, from Germany, in 855AD and, a few years later, was crowned King of East Anglia whilst still only a boy. There was peace for a while but then invaders came from Denmark. The king was captured and, when pressed, refused to give up his Christian faith. He was tied to a tree and shot by Danish archers in 870AD aged about 29. He was interred at a place called Beodericsworth which later became known as St Edmunds Bury and finally the town we know today as Bury St Edmunds. He became the first patron saint of England and remained so for about 400 years. The current patron saint (George) was not adopted until the end of the 14th cent. Not a lot of people know that!
I came across this (Latin) motto: Alis Aptar Scientis. It means “Ready for the wings of knowing”. Well are you?

To Aslan’s Mountain with a wisdom stick

Everything was perfect. The weather was sunny. I had the afternoon off. I had a bag of snacks and water. And I was ready for an adventure.

Off we went, Danda and I, in search of the highest point in South East England. It was quite easy going at first so we were tricked into thinking it might just be a gentle stroll. We each found a stick to use, to make us look like seasoned ramblers. I felt mine made me look quite wise. So we started referring to them as Wisdom Sticks.

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As we pottered along, admiring the views and how lovely the evening sun was, we came to an area where all the trees had been chopped down. It looked so out of place, in the middle of such dense forest, to have a field which had been cleared so abruptly. I remember thinking that I hope there was a valid reason for chopping down all those trees. On the other hand, some of the moss covered stumps made for beautiful photographs.

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We had barely left this empty field when we found ourselves in a tiny little hamlet called Friday Street. I’m not sure why it is named that but I bet there’s some interesting history behind so I’ll Google it later and let you know the story. Anyway, aside from its unusual name, this hamlet is significant for another reason. The Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1200s, a major influence in the drafting of the Magna Carta, was born here. His name was Stephan Langton and the first thing we came upon in Friday Street was a pub named after him.

Legend has it that he was involved with King John in various ways. Good old King John of the Silent Pool from last week’s post, Searching for Agatha. And he’s not any more likeable in the legends that connect him to Stephan Langton and Friday Street.

Stephan was living in Albury when he was 18 and had fallen in love with a girl called Alice, later to become the Abbess of St Catherine’s in Guildford. Stephan and Alice were walking along in the woods one day when they were attacked by King John and his followers. I think King John needs to have a long hard look at his behaviour and make up his mind to act like a king, rather than a career criminal. (Actually, this story is quite hard to marry with historical fact as King John was around 1 year old when this was said to have happened!) Anyway, the king kidnapped Alice – more kidnapping – and took her to his hunting lodge nearby. If Stephan had had a Wisdom Stick, he could have fought the king off. Just saying. Wisdom Sticks are useful.

Stephan followed, then set fire to the house. I’m told it was in an attempt to rescue Alice but he apparently buggered off without her when she fainted from the smoke.

The logical outcome from this series of events? Well, of course he ran off, became a monk and was chosen by the Pope to be Archbishop of Canterbury. Of course. King John refused to accept him as Archbishop, Rome got grumpy, France threatened to invade… It was all going downhill. Until Stephan stepped in and the Magna Carta made its appearance in 1215.

In the meantime, Alice became an Abbess (I can’t stop saying ‘absess’ in my head when I write that word). They were both at Mass in a church years later and were reunited. But she was apparently so overcome with emotion that she died in his arms. I’m sorry? She was so emotional when she saw him that she DIED!? She died of ’emotion’. I bet Stephan realised how rubbish she was then. I bet that’s why he left her in the house after he set fire to it.

Anyway, back to Friday Street. It was gorgeous. I could have been anywhere, the French Alps, an Italian lake, the Swiss Mountains. It was just so pretty and picturesque.

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We came across this little sign as we were leaving the village and I obviously got two jars.

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We also came across a sign for duck eggs and chicken eggs, £1.50 a box, which I would have loved, but there were none left. All in all, Friday Street was one of the highlights of the walk, so small and peaceful, the houses just like a bit of the countryside. They had a way of seeming like they belonged there just as much as the trees did. I did wonder where people get stuff from though, there were no shops at all.

After leaving Friday Street, the going got tougher. Steep inclines and sharp drops saw me making lots of ‘oo’ noises as I almost fell yet again. My Wisdom Stick was invaluable for this section of the walk. I started to get a bit breathless and requested a Chocolate Stop. To be honest, I’d been asking for a Chocolate Stop since we started and Danda hadn’t allowed me one, said I was being a greedy guts. I didn’t dispute this fact, but I still wanted a Chocolate Stop. This was our view during our stop. Beautiful.

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Next we started the climb to our main destination, Leith Tower. The hill is at 965 feet above sea level so the tower was apparently built because someone (I forget who) wanted to be 1000 feet above sea level. I couldn’t wait to get up there, climb the tower, look out, get some great pictures to show you all.

On our way we came unexpectedly across this beautiful waterfall….

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.. and stood marvelling at it for a while. As we turned to leave, there was a surreal from-a-film moment, when a load of flying ladybirds attacked us. I say ‘attacked’, they didn’t really. They were were just flying and they were near us. But it was bizarre, some did fly into us. I spent forever trying to get shots of bugs on flowers and finally got an ok one.

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Anyway, we kept on our way and got to the tower finally. Remember how excited I was to go up it? To see the view?….

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It seems the English countryside closes when Laura goes for a walk…. This happened last time in Shere, everything closed. Anyway, never mind. The views were still stunning.

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You can see sheets of rain coming down from the clouds on the left and a patch of sun breaking through to the right. It was amazing how far I could see. I felt a bit like Simba and Mufasa, you know the scene where Mufasa is like, “Everything you can see belongs to us. Everywhere the light touches.”

Talking of lions, the walk back to our start point was equally as beautiful. The hilltop feels so high up, I imagine this is what Aslan’s Mountain is like. If any of you have read the entire Chronicles of Narnia, you’ll know what I mean. The last book, The Last Battle, finishes on Aslan’s Mountain, and Prince Caspian, the fourth book, starts on Aslan’s Mountain. In my mind, it’s like this.

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After standing around, imagining I was in Narnia for a while, we wandered back to the start point to finish the walk, where I gave my Wisdom Stick back to nature…

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…and said an emotional goodbye to it. Not emotional enough to die, mind you.

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