Friday, 27 July 2012

As I walked out.....all the bells rang

As I walked out this morning towards the moor all the church bells rang. Bells all around the country rang at 8.12 for 3 minutes, to mark the official start of the Olympics. Even Big Ben in London rang for the 3 minutes. Martin Creed had the brilliant idea for this mass bell ring and what a wonderful way to wish all the athletes success.  

There is something wonderfully English to hear church bells near and far, tolling across the open countryside. As I walked The Collie along the footpath to the moor, passing the grazing sheep, I felt stirred by the peel of bells from our local church. The resonance  of the sound signified the excitement and importance of the London Olympics, even for those of us that live so far away from the venues.

Today has a far more British feel to it, we have lost the Mediterranean heat that made the road surfaces shimmer even at 8 o'clock in the morning. The burst of welcome continental heat broke the wet weather that was draining away our summer but it has now lost its intensity. The farmers have taken advantage of this break in the weather and  been frantically harvesting hay crops and ripened wheat and barley fields. We have heard the tractors working late into the night.

I quickened my pace towards the open space because I was sure I could hear other church bells - one, maybe two other churches were ringing out across the countryside. It was a wonderful experience to stand under a blue sky, surrounded by ponies and sheep (and a collie dog) and have the air reverberate with bells ringing. It truly felt like a celebration.

We have just returned from a two week holiday in Norfolk where there is the largest concentration of medieval churches in the world. Norfolk is  a very flat county  and the church towers stand out. We could count six churches when we stood on the sand dunes near to where we were staying. We visited many of these churches and climbed Ranworth and Happisburgh church towers. While the climbs seemed a little perilous( the towers were narrow and the steps plentiful!) both climbs were worth it for the view. At Ranworth you can get a proper understanding of the Norfolk Broads and a sense of their size. At Happisburgh (which we visited just before a thunderstorm) you can appreciate how flat Norfolk is and see the effects of  coastal erosion and coastal tourism.


 Our focus is now on the Olympic Games and all the competitors - I hope it is a successful and happy time for all involved.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Our bucket and spade anniversary


The Curate and I celebrate our wedding anniversary today – it is our plastic bucket anniversary.  We will make sandcastles on the beach together later on today, watched only by the curious seals and the little terns circling above us in the sky.
Carefully chosen gifts to mark our wedding anniversary.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Postcards from a Broad

The weather forecasters tell us of rain and flooding across the UK and we have had dramatic changes from rain that bounces off the ground to sun bathing warmth to winter north winds. (All of this in one day!) The weather has not stopped us swimming in the sea or exploring the Norfolk countryside.
We have visited churches with thatched roofs and flint porches. We have climbed church towers and surveyed the flat lands and the dramatic weather changes.

We have stood on the sand dune that protects our cottage from the North Sea and watched sunsets silhouetting the distant lighthouse. We have seen the sea change to pink as the churning evening tide froths and foams in the dimming light.
In the mornings, we have placed the first footprints on the washed sands and found the treasures left by the turning tide. We have run on the golden white beaches and swum in the grey blue sea – often observed by a curious seal. She lifts her head above the waves to see who is making all the noise.
The Curate and I feel very comfortable and at home in East Anglia. We love the wide, ever changing skies and flat lands with their ancient broads cutting into the landscape and fields that seem to stretch to the edge of the world, and horizons broken by church towers and towering poplar trees rising up into the skies .The contrast to Dartmoor is refreshing and energising.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Granny's Garden

My mother's garden is beautiful at the moment - a true English garden, hidden from sight behind a village house. What a wonderfully relaxing (dry) place to start our holiday.

 The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.  ~Hanna Rion

One is nearer God's heart in a garden
than anywhere else on earth.
  Dorothy Frances Gurney

Friday, 6 July 2012

A break in service.

Apologies for the break in blogging - The Term Has ENDed! The Curate and I (and the Collie and Lakeland) are escaping up the M5 motorway. There is a weather warning from the met office and we are expecting a month's rain in twenty four hours. It must be summer! 
We are returning to the East coast for a beach holiday. For the last few summers our families (who live there) have complained about the lack of rain in the summer months. Some people have even taken to planting drought resistant plants in their gardens. So we are leaving the beautiful south west beaches and the amazing moor ( and the rain) to head back to East Anglia and visit family before we are head to a house in the sand dunes of Norfolk. We are really looking forward to it.....and I'm not sure if internet even exists in these wild eastern places.