Tuesday 23 April 2013

Someone has it in for me!

Well, I didn't think I would be posting today to say that instead of getting better on the steroids and antibiotics, I have actually gotten WORSE and now have Pleurisy!  I have spoken to my GP who didn't seem as concerned as I feel (!) and just said to up the steroids for another 3 days before gradually ending the course.  That should do it . . . apparently.  Let's hope so, as the pain in my back and behind my shoulder blades is rather unpleasant.

Anyway, I can manage to post a few photos.  This top one is a patch of wild Daffodils near Kempley in Gloucestershire (right on the border with Herefordshire).  This indiginous wild sort would have been the ones that Wordsworth wrote about - throw all thoughts of the gaunt modern King Alfreds from your mind please.

We went to Kempley Church first.  Still too early for a big mass of daffodils I think, and without my friend J we didn't know the best places to look, but they will be there next year . . .  Kempley Church was very quiet this time.  No special atmosphere that it had last year. 

I don't know what it is about such spots, but they truly seem to link in with the landscape.  There are several places I could name (York Minster for one, parts of Avebury - nay, the entire area of Avebury, Gloucester Cathedral, and this church) where there seems to be a connectivity to . . . a divine feeling.  That's the nearest I can come to describing it.  At York it is like a pillar of pure energy flowing up through in one spot in - I think it's the Chapter House.  This little church has it too, but it is more of an . . .earth energy . . . almost like a heart-beat.  Strange.  There's a little church on the Devon coast my friend went to, which had this feeling in such bucketfuls she nearly passed out . . .  Explain it we can't, but it's there all the same.

Someone (on the Parish Council?) had decreed that it be limewashed in pale pink.  I didn't like it.  It might work in Suffolk, but not here.  Bring back the white, say I.

I hope that you can read this or are able to enlarge it if you can't.  Of the beautiful tympanum (guess who forgot a photo?) it says:  'The entrance to a Norman church was a focal point for symbolic imagery.  The carved tympanum at St Mary's, between the arch and the lintel over the south door, depicts the Tree of Life, a symbol of Christ's salvation'.  It dates to around 1130 and is similar to that at nearby Dymock church (which I visited, and also failed to take a photo as I was concentrating on the Dymock poets exhibition end of the church . . .)  Smacked wrists!

The lovely Gothic Norman archway between the Nave and the Chancel (which looks deliciously wonky, as I dare say they didn't bother with footings much in those days.)  You can just see the chequerboard of the Norman wall paintings and the echoes of others in the Nave. These are apparently "the most complete set of Romanesque frescos in Northern Europe.  Here is a LINK to the history of Kempley from Wikipedia.

And here is the other side, with paintings, looking back to the little escape doorway? at the end of the nave, leading into the tower.  Probably defensive - there is one just like it in the 12th C church opposite Manorbier Castle in Pembrokeshire. 

This LINK will tell you all about the wall paintings, which  span two dates.  The ones in the Chancel date from the 12th C and were painted directly onto wet plaster. 

The Wheel of Life, above, in the Nave, dates from the 13th C, when all the frescos were painted using tempera (egg albumen mixed with pigments) on dry plaster.  The Wheel of Life shows the ten Ages of Man.

One of the window apertures showing the  painting of  Heavenly Jerusalem.

How much we have lost over the Millennia, with the painting over of such frescos by the zealous Parliamentarians.  What colour.  What design.  What craftsmanship.  When I was younger, I used to poke fun at the old people who used to be interested in Church architecture and history.  Now I am one of them!


  1. what a rotten time you're having. get well soon xx

  2. Hope you get better soon now that the weather is warming up but do take things carefully and get stronger before you go gadding off again, pleurisy is horrible. Lovely photos of the church xx

  3. I know when you have been sick and the weather warms up you just want to get out ! but like @thelma said take care. Pleurisy is horrible I have had it.
    I adore the last photo of the Heavenly Jerusalem. Beautiful !

    cheers, parsnip

  4. Kath - I can honestly say that YOU have made it bearable for me! I am crafting - making a paper-pieced quilt in a design OTHER than a hexagon, and that is thanks to YOUR inspiration! It never occurred to me that I could do anything other than hexagons (or perhaps squares) by paper piecing. So when I am pinned to the sofa, poorly, I can still be useful - and fulfilled. My crafting muse returned BIG TIME this week, after a notable absence.

    thelma - I am glad you enjoyed the church photos. In my "spare" time I am reading the Robert McFarlane book. I have carefully wrapped your copy, and having read the first couple of chapters when it arrived, asked for my own copy from Gabby for my birthday. WHAT a fabulous writer he is. I promise not to go gadding off until I am recovered.

    parsnip - Yup - I agree. Pleurisy is NOT NICE! I am pleased that the photos bring you much pleasure too. It is a very special little church, and replaces an earlier Saxon church.

  5. Pleurisy is horrible - steroids are horrible too BB, so I hope that both soon disappear from your day.
    I agree about that church and its pale pink - I feel it needs to be pure white - it really is such a beautiful building.

  6. Weaver - I might moan about the horrible elements of modern medicine, but I have to say, without them I probably wouldn't be here today, on several counts. When I HAVE no option but to take the tablets, that's what I do, but the side-effects of the steroids have been awful in the past. This time, thankfully, not so noticable. I have noticed a BIG improvement since upping my steroid dose according to Doc's orders. Glad it's not just me and that pale pink . . .

  7. So sorry to hear you are still poorly - hope you feel a lot better soon.

    I really enjoyed your wonderful post and lovely photos - so interesting. The church is beautiful. I have become interested in churches in recent years - have the Robert McFarlane book too btw - but haven't had chance to start reading.

    We may possibly be off to York soon so I will remember your experience and look out for the Chapter House.

    Lovely to see the wild daffodils too :)

  8. You poor thing. I do hope you improve soon. What a nightmare. On a positive note, your pictures are beautiful. I absolutely love that chequered window reveal with Jerusalem around it. Fingers crossed for quick recovery. x

    PS - we're off to Bovey to pick up an Ivor Williams back for the Land Rover on Saturday and I will think of you!