Friday, March 22, 2013

Travelling with Loie And Bucky

Great Canfield hidden Saxon stone
It is early and the wind is rattling and whistling round the maple tree in the garden, that means, though I already know, it is going to be bitterly cold in London today.  We are going to see the Ice Age Exhibition (that figures as Loie would say) and will meet Loie and BuckyE after at the Museum Tavern, as you go in on a ticket time.
Great Canfield graves

We took them back to the station yesterday as they are renting an apartment for the rest of their stay.  But in the two days they stayed with us we did plenty, though we had to switch the itinerary round.
Firstly, they arrived from the airport late morning and we had lunch, and then decided to do the churches, firstly Greensted, the oldest wooden church building in Europe, it snuggles amidst a straggle of houses, cosy and Victorian from the outside but stroke the grey-black wooden staves and you are immediately transported to a Saxon England.  Then Great Canfield church where one has to call someone to get the key to open the church, so a wander round the old gravestones for fifteen minutes.  We admired the flyflots at the entrance and Odin and his two ravens though the church pamphlet will say that it is Jesus with two doves.
Then the marvellous 13th century painting of Mary and baby Jesus above the altar, which had been restored in the 19th century after those wicked Cromwellians had painted over it, luckily with white wash.

Great Canfield 13th Century painting

BuckyE held the mirror so that we could see the marvellous Scandinavian Ringerike stone with a fabulous beast looking over its shoulder.  The stone itself has been reused in the chancel arch high up.  Then late afternoon we drove to Broomfield Church to see the pudding stones used at the base of the building, mostly these churches also have roman brick coursing through their fabric, and of course flint, meticulously layered in those soft creams and browns.
Greensted brick work

The next day, we drove for an hour to Sutton Hoo, and saw the marvellous jewellery and reconstruction of the burial there, Loie had done her dissertation on the Saxon burial but had never seen it before but it was freezing cold there as well.  Then a two hour drive to see Seahenge, free entry this time, and I once more fell in love with that old central trunk as it stood grimly black and fissured against the wall.  LS wrote a long piece in the book (reserved for children to write their thoughts on the timber circle) as to why they should have put the great tree trunk in a central place.  Then BuckyE caused a bit of a rumpus about banding within the wooden posts, an explanation was found by phoning the archaeologists, and we departed happy and then the long drive back, sadly on the other side of the M11 motorway was a terrible accident causing the traffic to back up for miles, and then the strange sight of an empty motorway (they must have closed the junctions) for a long way.

The Ringerike beast

Broomfield church in sunnier times


  1. That 13th century painting is absolutely gorgeous. I'd like to see it really close up. Thank you for today's tour!


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