Saturday, September 17, 2005

Holidaying at Home

We're enjoying a week's holiday in our own home, which is a novelty. I’ve been getting a bit behind with blogging, so this might be quite a long update!

I’ve been gradually reclaiming the garden. I found some plants in our nearest garden centre that had been thoughtfully gathered into collections of six plants (for pots) that toned in with each other. There were scarlet, gold, and silver collections. I chose gold – it includes things like oregano, some variegated type of herb, a wispy grass, thyme etc. I teamed these up with purple and yellow violas and gold-coloured heather. The three pots are now full of organic peat-free compost and looking very smart with their new plants. It just makes the garden look more cared-for than having three empty pots. And it’s too late in the year for vegetables ;)

I’ve also been reining in the brambles and couch-grass, and have discovered some more plants that had been strangled underneath. A small, struggling pierris and what looks like Virginia creeper (is that the one that goes red in autumn?)

On Wednesday, we had a day out. We visited a pub on Edgehill that has a turret overlooking a beautiful garden and an amazing view across Warwickshire. Oh, and some historical interest which I forget (I’m hopeless at history). We then visited Hook Norton Brewery, which looks like something out of Harry Potter. Rick bought two crates of beer (which is all he went for really) - and we bumped into our next-door neighbour in the car park, which cheered Rick up no end as he clearly shares the same love of good beer.

We moved on to visit the Rollright stones. This is a group of prehistoric megalithic monuments, including a circle of at least 70-odd stones (they are apparently uncountable); a single standing stone (the King Stone); and the remains of a Portal Dolmen burial chamber now known as the Whispering Knights.

Wednesday evening was clear and breezy, so we walked up to Burton Dassett Hills to fly our kites. On the highest hill, there is what looks very much like a henge. It looks like a small causeway camp (where there are gaps in the henge). From this hill, you can see the remains of quarrying on the hill below, which in the low sunlight showed the pits clearly in shadow. It looks for all the world like an iron age camp. I could imagine a large settlement there, with the henge on the hill I was standing on being the place that they laid their ancestors. Sadly, the history booklet about Burton Dassett mentions none of this. Just quarrying, windmills etc. How could they miss its significance as a prehistoric site? ;)

Thursday was shopping day. We both hate shopping, but we did do rather well, which means we don’t have to do it again for a while. In the evening, I drove to Southam College for my first reiki class. It was a filthy evening – dark and raining, with floods on the roads – and of course I didn’t know where I was going, which was fun. I ended up pulling into the car park of Southam School and asking the caretaker where the college was. “You’re in the car park of the college,” he said looking bemused. Hmmm. Good signage, then.

Turned out that there was a school disco on. The resulting traffic chaos as parents dropped children off caused Belly Dancing to start late. Belly Dancing was in the same room as my class, with the same teacher. So I watched the Belly Dancing for a while (Incredible. I’m sure I’d put something out of joint if I tried it.) Very few people stayed afterwards for the ‘reiki’ so there were only about six of us. It turned out to be a kind of meditation and spiritual healing circle. I wasn’t sure what I’d expected, but it was nice to be meditating in company again, so I’ll give it a go.

Yesterday, the bikes came out again and we pedalled back over to Claydon. The café was open and served us a delicious lunch (salmon with watercress and lime sauce – works very well indeed). The café is part of the Bygones Museum, so we paid for our tickets and had a look round. It is wonderful! Basically, it is the private collection of one man, Andrew Fox. He just loves old stuff, and has collected it over a period of 60 years. In 1972, he opened it to the public to raise funds for the Church. It is housed in three farm buildings, organised into themed rooms and ‘shops’. Stuff is just cluttered and tumbled together – not carefully laid out in glass cases with little typed histories (yawn). It includes objects from domestic and work life, war memorabilia, contents of old shops, and lots of old farm machinery, as well as a traction engine and steam roller from the 1930’s. You can just browse at your leisure, picking out items of interest. Ages of objects vary, so there are some things that we can remember using and others from the 1800’s. It’s like stumbling across an old cupboard at your Grannies and gleefully rummaging through it. Worth a look if you are ever passing, and the tea shop is definitely worth a visit. In addition, the gardens are beautiful and there are geese and hens to watch, clucking and scratching about. A treasure.


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