What a difference a week makes! Last weekend I didn't venture out because I had succumbed to a very heavy cold. I lay in bed reading Annie's blog about her moment of peace on a Sunday morning and remembering similar mornings when we lived in Gibraltar and not on a damp, foggy moor and under the cloud. But this Sunday - after yesterday spent by the sea, I was up and ready for the early dog walk.
This was a three service Sunday for the Curate (four -if you count attending the evening service) so he went off to the church early on his motor bike. He has to get to two more churches so the bike proves an efficient and enjoyable mode of transport. I am still finding my feet in all these churches - and it can be a bit of an ordeal to walk through those doors on my own, so this morning I enjoyed the space and the quiet outside the church.
I walked through the church yard in the early morning sunshine, listening to the single church bell ringing and passing a few folk making their way to the early service. Seeing the lights on in the church, I thought of The Curate getting ready to lead the service. Sentimentalism, romanticism ..call it what you will, but I found myself enjoying a moment of very English peace - and so it continued for the rest of my walk. There is something very special about England in the Autumn (when it is not raining) and my walk called to mind John Betjeman's Poem Autumn. (I know it's not November!)
Red apples hang like globes of light
Against this pale November haze,
And now, although the mist is white,
In half-an-hour a day of days
Will climb into its golden height
and Sunday bells will ring its praise.
The sparkling flint , the darkling yew,
The red brick, less intensely red
Than hawthorn berries bright with dew
The watery sky washed clean and new,
Are all rejoicing with the dead.
The yellowing elm shows yet some green.
The mellowing bells exultant sound:
Never have light and colour been
So prodigally thrown around;
And in the bells the promise tellsOf greater light where Love is found.