Sweetbriar Dreams

So where shall we go on our journey today?

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Through the Office Window

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Saturday, 25 January 2014

When the Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary

The rain taps on my window, such a soothing sound, just like a crackling fire on a cold winter's night with a clock softly ticking in the background.  Comforting, familiar music to my ears that fill me with warmth and coziness.  A couple of weeks ago I received some comments that were kindly left to say that my 'ordinary' was 'extraordinary'.  This made me take a step back and realise that I needed to take stock of what is in front of me day to day.  Yes, I go to work every week day with the same old roads, the same old landmarks, the same old views across the fens.  But then, I enter a world that is so steeped in tradition, history and beauty and ashamedly after a while, I don't really see it anymore.  I walk around with things occupying my mind and not noticing what is in front of my eyes.  

Looking out from my bedroom window, the rain came down, not gentle warm rain, but cold, icy stair rods! This was followed by thunder and lightening.  The 'ordinary' had become 'extraordinary'.  Thunder in January?  I've never known it.  It became a moment in time to slow down, enjoy the clean and tidy house that I had worked on all day and just follow the rain drops as they took it in turns to race down the window pane.
Simple little things that beg to be noticed and all they get is a fleeting glance.  The peace and tranquility that can be right in front of you, something that we long for on hectic busy days.  Sometimes it is there, staring you in the face, but we don't notice it.  As I make my way to work each morning and close my car door, the trees are silhouetted against the unique sun rises that are a gift each day to those who are awake early enough to catch their beauty and colour.
Looking at things differently can just be the wonder of just looking up.  How often do you do that?  I personally love doing this and then watching how many people will do the same.  'What is it?' they are thinking, 'oh look at that!' and then they reach for cameras or phones to capture something that they would have normally just walked past.
The 'ordinary' views of Peterborough Cathedral suddenly become 'extraordinary'.  The ornate carvings, the workmanship of people long departed and the magnificence of the architecture so beautifully set before us.  As I took this shot with my camera pointing upwards and taking my time, a man came up to see what I had seen, he was curious and a bit hesitant to be interrupting my moment.  I heard him draw breath when he realised there were vaulted ceilings and hidden windows.  I smiled, he smiled, we both acknowledged the splendor and then I left him taking shot after shot, just looking up and smiling.  
I have been enjoying this week looking at things differently.  I'm now giving my blog an early spring clean by de-cluttering and tidying up.  Sweeping away the cobwebs and bringing some spring freshness onto my screen.  I feel a little cluttered, like a bunch of elastic bands that can ping in all different directions.  A tidy blog is a tidy mind and I feel more comfortable being organised!
So, I leave with you with a view of the Fens before the rain descended.  I do feel as though I enter two different worlds each day.  Both ever changing, and both constant and reassuring.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend and week.  Don't forget to look up, see the 'extraordinary' in the 'ordinary'.

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Sunday, 19 January 2014

Where Shall We Go On Our Journey Today - Crowland Abbey

It's been a while since Mumsy and I have been on a little journey out and about together.  So, after many, many months of driving past Crowland and promising Mumsy that I will take her there one day, yesterday was THE day.  No, not the best of days in the low January light but I think the low light added to this atmospheric place.  So, once again, you know the drill (even though it hasn't happened for a while!).  Grab a comfortable chair, a cup of tea and come along on a little journey through this interesting town.

We started at Crowland Abbey, (Croyland Abbey) full of history and visible evidence of its dissolution in 1539.  The nave and aisles continued to be used as the parish church.  It is thought that the main damage was caused by the fortification by the Royalists in 1643.  The building was taken by Cromwell in May 1643.
The grey open skies were all that was visible above us in the medieval nave.
And looking back towards the front of the building you could imagine how magnificent the windows and doors would have been.
From the front there is some stonework still remaining.  Some probably damaged by hatred but others by the Fenland weather.
Even though damaged the work is still beautiful to see.
Here you can see the extent of the damage.  Practically half is missing, but still visually stunning.
So, shall we have a look inside?  Just by the door there was a tiny gate.  I love these little secret wonders.
Inside was quite dark and VERY cold but what struck me as we came in the door were the bell ringers' ropes hanging like a beautiful spider's web above your head.
Then the Parish Church set out all before you.
To the left the Book of Common Prayer awaits the next service, all neatly stacked away.
To the right, a Norman Font.
As we made our way down the nave I noticed the chairs, so sweet with their document holders on the back.
This chest is 15th century and just felt so fantastic to see.  Apparently in Victorian times, the three locks were put on so that the Rector and the two Church Wardens would be present when opening.  I suppose you couldn't trust anyone back in those days!
Above our heads at the altar was something very strange...a Green Man!  The Green Man is a Pagan symbol of fertility so it was weird that this should be in a church.  The information said that the roof was in place in 1427 which would suggest that the altar was not in place at this time.
Looking back at the Church shows what a special place this is.
We continued outside to look at the ornate cemetery and walked under the ruins.
Now I'm a little bit nervous when stepping on gravestones and graves, I find it disrespectful so I was mortified when I realised what I was walking on as I went towards the cemetery.
Some were difficult to read, but with the footfall, their permanent reminders of the person who had passed were going to be lost forever.  I found this quite sad.  However, I wanted to go to the Victorian part of the cemetery with their ornate words and carvings.
So, as we both went into our own worlds of thoughts, Mumsy and I separated briefly to read and imagine the lives of the people held here.
Here a marker shows where the choir used to come up to.
The variations of the graves were beautiful to look at and read, as well as look at the different mosses and leaf fall surrounding the stones.
We spent so much time around here, totally immersed in a wonderful period of human history but there was more to see in town.  Thatched cottages!  Oh how I miss my Sweetbriar Cottage!  However mine was a little bit more weather proofed than this one, but doesn't it still look beautiful?  So much character!  I know the amount of work that the inhabitants have to do that is ongoing.  Thatched cottages are gorgeous but a money pit to whoever inhabits them!
Thatched tea room.  I love the look of The Old Copper Kettle and will make a return visit one day.  Can you see the thatched tea cup and saucer above the front eyebrow window?
The Abbey Hotel.
On our walk around the town we saw this sign...well, I had to take a shot didn't I?!  I don't think that it has any connection to the Thames, but it's a reminder of home!
And then this wonderful gem of a sign.
The sign is placed on this gem.  It is called Trinity Bridge and there is some fantastic facts and figures about this monument here.
The bridge dates back to about 1360 but the original wooden bridge would have been built about 716AD.
Can you see the ware from the amount of people who have climbed the stairs and walked across this bridge when water was running beneath it.
Now only people walk beneath it but you can attempt to climb its steep stones (I would suggest a dry day!)
As a treat we decided to have an impromptu picnic at the fishing lakes which is a short drive away.
Yes, fish and chips to enjoy on a cold, damp, grey, windy day on a picnic table!  They were delicious!  Even though people drove past us thinking we were mad!
So, Crowland was a sure hit and well worth waiting to see.  It is full of history and surprisingly quiet during a Saturday but it has some lovely shops, eating places and historical things to see.
Phew!  Well done if you are still with me.  I hope you have all had a wonderful weekend and welcome to some new followers, it's lovely to have you along.

I'm going to have my own cup of tea now and catch up on some blog reading.

Have a lovely week.

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