As some of you may know, my dear wife is an MS sufferer. She is what is termed as Primary Progressive and is now in her 17th year. She has coped remarkably well but is now on Morphine patches to help with the pain. However, the reason I am telling you this is that, because of the Morphine, coupled with the fatigue of the illness, she tends to get knocked out! So, there was no way we were going to be able to leave for this trip before mid-afternoon, as hopefully she would be awake enough to travel by then. This we managed to achieve, we then proceeded to tow the Caravan up to the Golden Valley which is about an hour and a half’s journey, which is about the limit for Ondrea.
When we arrived it was freezing cold and dark – nothing worse than trying to site a Caravan in the dark. However, it didn’t take too long and I had Ondrea in the van, the next thing is to get the heating on and the hot water. After messing about and scratching my head for nearly 4 hours, I managed the heating and hot water task. I had made a major slip up and forgot to check the LPG Gas before we left, and needless to say, we had ran out! I managed to get a fresh bottle and the heat was on, but that took 4 hours!! I was not the champion of the day, to say the least!!!
The next day was a little warmer and by this time the van was warm and snug. We had breakfast and then I planned to go and explore the area leaving Ondrea with her Kindle.
The first place I found was a small village called Vowchurch. A tiny village that is mentioned in the Doomsday book albeit spelt fowchirche. As I drove into the village the first thing I spotted was this beautiful old church called St Bartholomew’s. To say it was old was an understatement. This lovely little church had been standing on the same spot, welcoming people since the early 1200’s
Now I have seen a large number of churches over the years, it is one of my delights to find a church and then try and find some of the history behind it. Having said that in more recent years, when I have attempted to enter the House of God, I usually find the door is locked! So no sanctuary there then. Imagine my surprise when I approached this ancient door and found a sign pinned to it.
Needless to say I grasped the ancient iron door handle and twisted it in it’s rattling socket. The handle must have been 200 years old if it was a day. I wondered how many people before had turned the very same handle, back in the day when there was no running water, no sewage works, no electricity. And what had they entered the church for…a happy Christening or wedding, or a sad farewell to a loved one.
As soon as I entered the church it was slightly chilly and getting dark. What struck me most was the silence and the feeling that I wasn’t alone. I know, a number of you will be saying that I was making it up because of the age of the building etc. But I promise you, the feeling in that Ancient Old English church was welcoming. I sat down in one of the pews and said a prayer. I then looked around for some information leaflets or a booklet. Once I had found it I then looked for somewhere to put a donation. Many of these old churches have iron boxes build into the stonework and you post your donation through a small slot. I found what I was looking for and made my donation.
After spending about 20 minutes in the church, I realised that I needed to get back to the Caravan site. So I said thank you to whomever may have been listening and made my exit back into the daylight.
I had a quick look around the graveyard and the ancient stone bridge that crossed the river Dore and headed off.
So, a wonderful hour spent in a time gone by, the next day I went to another village where there was an even bigger church, but more of that on another occasion. When I returned I was greeted by a chubby little Robin who just sat there and posed for me.