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Thursday, April 17, 2008

COFFEE, CAKE AND THINGS

(click on any image to enlarge)

A couple of streets away lives a feisty 87 year old lady, a widow who is fiercely independent but has come to know me, through my wife. She has had a interesting life - who would think to see this upright, beautifully dressed, silver haired woman that she was a Sergeant in the Woman's Royal Army Corps in World War II and commanded men manning an anti-aircraft battery which shot down a number of German bombers. On Remembrance Day each year she proudly wears her military beret with badge and her medals on her chest. (Aspects of this poem come to mind).


She sometimes asks me to do the odd "handyman job" which she cannot manage (she is proud of the large box of her late husband's tools - she always tells me she has the tools for the job!). She is an excellent cook and I usually get a "quid pro quo" in the form of cake. Her new fridge has arrived - the door was on the wrong side, so she asked if I could change it - job done.


Two days later my wife arrived home with a plastic box containing half a delicious jam sponge from her. I felt that the gift needed proper appreciation - the day was warm and springlike and a cycle ride beckoned. Cake and a flask of coffee were packed and off I pedalled to spend a leisurely couple of hours adrift amongst the lanes - the target being one of my favourite stops - St Rumwold's Church.


A convenient seat in the sun presents itself and I settle down to do the jam sponge justice.


(To enhance the meal the coffee was how I like it - laced with brandy!)


Sitting and musing in the sun I was kept company by my (very) old companion here - James Jordan, who sleeps beside my seat.

Let's have a look at his stone - it is written in archaic manner with the internal " s " written like an " f ". To save you enlarging the image it reads:
"Here lieth James Jordan
late of this Parifh, Yeoman
He died May ye 9th 1745
Aged 68 Years.
And alfo Seven Children
Four by Mary his firft Wife
One by Ann his second
And two by Elizabeth his Third"
A busy man who deserves his long, long rest!


But - where are my manners! I have brought you all the way down here and forced you to look on whilst I indulged - yet I have not shown you around the church. Let's go to the main door. Its woodwork was cut from Kentish oak trees 700 years ago


Regular readers of my blog will remember my love and affinity with wrought iron so it is a delight to put one's hand into the door's latch-ring


And so we enter this, probably the oldest church on Romney Marsh, dating back to Saxon times (c.800 AD). A tiny, scintillating gem of a building whether you have a religion or no.

You will notice the proliferation of candles - these are very necessary since the church has no electricity. This is a real delight at the yearly Christmas carol service with the holly and ivy glinting with the brasswork in the winking candlelight - the music being provided by a string ensemble in the ancient gallery at the back, as in times past.


Thanks for joining my serendipity - just look where opening a fridge door has led us! (shades of Narnia!)

17 comments:

Granny J said...

Thank you, Avus, for a lovely tour of a splendid old church -- it makes me only too aware of how pretentious our talk of local history here in AZ can be at times (myself included)!! How I would appreciate a Christmas service in that surround.

herhimnbryn said...

Thankyou.
Glorious post and the images have actually made me homesick!

I covert the images of the Oaken door and the iron door handle. I may have to copy them for my inspiration board:)

Lucy said...

How absolutely lovely, my heart gave a lurch when I saw that coffee and cake!

That wrought ironwork post was the first I saw here.

chiefbiscuit said...

Ah yes!!! I've been waiting for another ramble from you! Reading this has been truly good for the soul. Thank you so much - love the door handle and the inscription on the grave - written well before NZ was settled ... that jam sponge sure looks scrummy! (I must try the old brandy-laced coffee trick.)

boninook said...

One good turn deserves another. I think you might have the better deal though with the cake!
You must have found a lovely day to go cycling, any excuse for needing that cake. The quiet company must have made it even better.
St Rumwold's church reminds me of St Boniface church whiich is quite near here. It too is very old and is in beautiful surroundings and is just a hop and skip away from the beach. There may be a web site about it, if there is I will lt you know. The grave stones that can be read also make facsinating reading.

Vita said...

Is this the same church you took your lovely bicycle to for only just coffee a while back? What a lovely place you live in. I read this last week maybe, but you sent me off so many places I never got back to comment. Thanks for all the trips. My mother-in-law is now confined to bed and under Hospic care in a nursing home, and we have care of her dog, and I printed off the Crabit poem for her notebook.

Avus said...

Granny:
Never forget that your history is just as ancient as ours - it is just "different"!
Australia's (white) history is very recent, but when I was there I found 110 year old stuff just as fascinating.
HHnB
Sorry to make you "homesick", but I guess that will never completely go away. I agree about the church door - definitely one for the inspiration board.
Lucy:
Do you need to get help for the cake compulsion?
Chief:
Hullo you! Have you tried the coffee and brandy trick yet?
Boinook:
Thanks for visiting - I tried your blog to see where you came from, but it does not seem to be operative yet. (Would have liked to check out St Boniface's church)
Vita:
Yup! same church - perceptive you. As to the "Crabbit Old Woman" poem, good on you for passing it on to your MIL. (I hope the nursing staff read it - we all must remember and respect the depth and variety of life's experience in the aged - as the poem says, see "them", not just an old individual.)

Robyn said...

Lovely post. Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm off to catch up with HHnB now.

Nea said...

What a lovely journey with you across the countryside and into this old church. The door latch was stunning, I also appreciate its beauty.

I would find it hard to ever be inside with all the pretty countryside you have to cycle across. I must if at all possible find myself someday in the english country. I so want to see some of these sights for myself.

boninook said...

For some reason I cannot send you the details of St.Boniface Church but if you put it into your search engine you might manage to find something on it. It is certainly worth a peek

Avus said...

Robyn:
Thanks for visiting
Nea:
Yes, I am very lucky to live here. It is a wonderful country - it's just the politicians that mess it up!
Boninook:
Put "St.Boniface Church" into google and had 10 different churches from all over the world on the first page alone!

boninook said...

Try St Boniface church, Bonchurch, Isle of Wight!
N

Avus said...

Boninook:
Thank you! Got St Boniface OK in google and it was worth the search. What a little gem with similarities to "my" St Rumwold. Even links to Lewis Carroll and Tennyson - two of my favourite writers.

boninook said...

Glad you liked it. When I have the chance I'll try and take some pictures myself and send them through.
There is an even smaller church - St Lawrence. I don't know if there is a web site to that one, might be worth a search.
The kneelers always amaze me, the work that goes into them is incredible. Have you seen the Bayeaux tapestry? I was once lucky enough to go there and see it for real.
Boninook

Molly said...

You make a person want to be there with you, rambling around old churchyards, eating cake and spouting poetry! How does it go?---"Oh to be in England, now that April? Spring? is here."

Avus said...

Molly:
That might be a bit messy "eating cake and spouting poetry" - one at a time, I think!

My Wacky Friends said...
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