Kingfisher with Minnow Sculpture

Regular readers will be familiar with my photographs of the Bulmers Woodpecker sculpture captured in a variety of different weather situations.

Fifty years since creating this iconic Herefordshire artwork sculptor Walenty Pytel has graced our landscape with a new piece; Kingfisher with Minnow.Photo of kingfisher sculpture

It was commissioned by the Cider Museum and stands between the museum and Sainsburys’ fuel station.Photo of kingfisher sculpture

Walenty Pytel was born in Poland in 1941 and moved to the UK at the age of five. He studied graphic design at Hereford College of Arts and has become a renowned artist specialising in metal sculptures inspired by nature. You can see more of his work here.Photo of kingfisher sculpture

Bulmers commissioned The Woodpecker to celebrate their eponymous brand of cider, presumably the Kingfisher is a nod to the cider apple orchards that grow alongside the River Wye where kingfishers reside.Photo of kingfisher sculptureI have to say that it is easier to spot and photograph than the real thing.Photo of kingfisher sculptureI think the graceful silhouette of his 50 year old woodpecker are hard to beat. Which do you prefer?Photo of Plaque for kingfisher sculpture

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Breinton Springs

I visited Breinton Springs in 2015 and blogged about it in Wye Walk – Part Three. I returned in May 2018 and have only just now decided to write about it. In 2012 the spring had been buried under a landslip following heavy rain. After my visit in 2015, but unrelated to it, the National Trust decided to rescue it.

Photo of Breinton Spring.

Breinton Spring obscured by a landslip 2015

They removed fallen and damaged trees, excavated soil which was then used to form a causeway and shore up the banks. Stones were gathered up and used to create a step near to the spring. The causeway was also formed from brash and cordwood log to allow for drainage and improve access. They also cleared away a lot of human rubbish. In my opinion the area is now much improved.

Photo of breinton springs

Breinton Springs restored 2018

It was a frosty morning in May when I visited, the meadow was full of diamante cobwebs. photo of cobweb with frost

Mist rose gently from the river.mist above river

The cattle were already well into their breakfast as the sun broke up the haze.

Ever get the feeling you are being watched?cow looking through hedge

The hamlet of Breinton is a short distance from the city of Hereford adjacent to the River Wye. The nearby orchard and St Michael’s church are on the site of an abandoned medieval village. The spring itself is surrounded by stonework indicating it’s importance at some time.photo of church silhouette

Near to the church are the remains of a moated mound which consisted of walls and a stone gateway dating from Norman times. It is thought that the Cathedral’s Chancellor was based there around 1150 AD before moving into the city in the 13th century. At this point it seems to have been used as a stock enclosure. A church was first built here around 1200 AD but was rebuilt between 1866 and 1870.orchard fenced

The area around Breinton is very rich agricultural land. Irrigation channels were dug across the meadows from the river and it was a popular drovers’ route for bringing livestock to Hereford. The river could be forded nearby and there were ponds for watering animals. The area is still rich with nurseries and orchards associated with Wyevale and Bulmers. Woodpeckers flourish in the orchards giving rise to the brand of Bulmers cider.orchard with sun rising

Buried in the churchyard is Dr Henry Graves Bull (1818 – 1885) founder of the British Mycological Society and the Woolhope Field Naturalist’s Club (WFNC). The area around Breinton is considered to be diverse in habitat and wildlife consisting of woodland, grassland, riverbank, orchards, hedgerows and different types of farmland. It was a favourite stamping ground for botanists from the  WFNC who discovered rare flowering plants, fungi and mosses here, presumably they actually trod carefully rather than stamping. photo of flowers and grasses

In 2012 over 200 different flowering plants were identified including rarities such as Shepherd’s Needle and Corn Buttercup.

Illustration of flower

Shepherds Needle – Scandix pecten-veneris Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé ”Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz” 1885, Permission granted under GFDL by Kurt Stueber

The hedgerows themselves consist of a diverse variety of shrubs and trees and create vital habitat and corridors for wildlife. Breinton provides a home for foxes, badgers, otters, squirrels, moles, hedgehogs, bats and birds such as kingfishers, skylarks, woodpeckers, yellowhammers and buzzards. The ponds host a variety of amphibians such as great crested newts and there is a rich diversity of insects including moths and butterflies.hawthorn tree on riverbank

A bat survey in 2013 identified six different bat species; soprano pipistrelle, common pipistrelle, myotis, long-eared and serotine bats.

This bucolic idyll also inspired Herefordian artist Brian Hatton (1887 – 1916). Ironically he suffered from hay fever as a child and was often packed off to Swansea for his health. He was killed during WWI in Egypt. His paintings captured the pastoral scenes around Breinton; sun soaked harvests and wildflower meadows the backdrops for his rural workers, gypsies and horses. You can learn more about his life and see more of his paintings here.

painting of corn stooks in the sunshine

Corn Stooks – Brian Hatton 1908

What springs from Breinton is a small pocket of history, evoking bygone days when the countryside was full of life rather than the chemically treated sterile monoculture we have become accustomed to.

 

Fitall Plug

This is a deviation from my usual nature based posts and is one for the historical electrics geeks out there. Going through Grandpa Ratz’ impressive collection of tools we found this handy gadget; a Loblite Fitall plug.Photo of Fitall plug

By moving the black plastic lever, brass pins would drop down in different configurations to fit into the varying types of sockets that were around during the 1960s. Apparently there were 5A, 13A and 15A sockets in those days. From reading discussions by people who used Fitall plugs it seems to be an electric shock waiting to happen.Photo of Fitall plug with pins dropped out

It also seems to not live up to its marketing hype either; I quote from the wonderful Museum of Plugs and Sockets: “The Fitall plug is useless for Wylex or Dorman & Smith sockets.” So much for fitting all! You can read many more details about this plug, with lots of photos of one taken apart here.Photo of Fitall plug base plate

Hereford in the Snow

Following on from my post about the poppy display at Hereford Cathedral in the snow, here are some more photos from my walk into Hereford City during the Mini Beast from the East’s blizzard.Photo of blossom in snow

I thought this blossom looked very pretty in the snow. At first I thought it might have been blackthorn, but there were no thorns and some green shoots were showing, so I expect it is some sort of cherry plum type thing.Photo of blossom in snow

Far more easy to identify is Holy Trinity church, a Grade II listed building dating from around 1870.Photo of Holy Trinity Church

In the grounds stands a memorial cross dedicated to the men of the parish who died in WWI and WWII. For more information on the memorial, the wording and the names inscribed see this website.Photo of war memorial in churchyard

Regular readers will be familiar with the Bulmers woodpecker. This is my only photograph of it in the snow.Photo of Bulmers woodpecker in snow

Next to it is the WWI memorial poppy bench.Photo of WWI poppy bench

Another opportunity to save my soul; Eignbrook church. It is another lovely building.Photo of Eignbrook church in snow

Now we reach the old medieval walls that used to encircle the City of Hereford. Not much of a deterrent to ingress these days, unlike our traffic system. Note the snow squished daffodils.Photo of part of old wall in snow

This part of the wall was the site of one of the entrances into Hereford and the area is still called Eign Gate.Photo of Eign Gate Hereford in snow

Now we come to the cathedral, it is currently hosting the WWI poppy display “Weeping Window” as mentioned in a previous post.Photo of poppy display Hereford Cathedral

Skipping along to the nearby Old Bridge, we get views of the River Wye ….Photo of River Wye from bridge

… and the other side of the cathedral.Photo of cathedral from bridge

Walking down by the river and sheltering under the New Bridge we have the Old Bridge and cathedral in one direction.Photo of old bridge and cathedral

Hunderton bridge emerges through the blizzard in the other direction.Photo of hunderton bridge in blizzard

Back at the cathedral, Sir Edward Elgar patiently waits for the pot holes to be repaired before it is safe to cycle home to Malvern.

Also left out in the cold is Bully, the sculpture of the iconic Hereford bull.Photo of hereford bull sculpture in snow

He is guarding the Old House. It strikes me that we Herefordians are not very imaginative when it comes to naming things! Photo of Old House in snow

Oh well, time to trudge back home for some hot chocolate.Photo of old house in snow

Poppies at Hereford Cathedral

Sunday 18th March 2018, the UK winter was having its last hurrah with the “Mini Beast from the East” bringing biting Siberian winds and even more snow. As you know I can never resist a little stroll in a blizzard; this time I visited Hereford Cathedral.Photo of Hereford Cathedral in the snow

I thought the art installation currently there, “Weeping Window” would look good and even more poignant in the snow.Photo of poppy display Hereford Cathedral

This work was created by artist Paul Cummins and designed by Tom Piper. Along with “Wave” it formed the basis of “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” at the Tower of London at the start of the WWI Centenary in 2014.Photo of poppy display Hereford Cathedral

It can be seen at Hereford Cathedral until 29th April 2018 after which it will go on tour. You can find more details on their website or search #PoppiesTour on Twitter.Photo of poppy display Hereford Cathedral

The cascade comprises several thousand hand made ceramic poppies, representing the lives lost during World War I.Photo of poppy display Hereford Cathedral

The Cathedral in Hereford will be hosting other events focusing on the home front during WWI. Not only did Herefordshire provide recruits for military action, most notably Suvla Bay in Gallipoli, but also workers for the local munitions factory and of course the vital farm work providing food. More information can be found on their website.Photo of poppy display Hereford Cathedral

Blackfriars Cross

In addition to the Whitefriars Cross mentioned in my previous post, The Cross at Whitecross, Hereford also has a Blackfriars Cross.Photo of Blackfriars Preaching Cross

This is to be found closer to the centre of Hereford City in the ruins of the Dominican Blackfriars Monastery. The friary was established in 1322, with the preaching cross in the cemetery. The preacher would stand inside the structure and proselytize to whoever gathered to listen. The nearby Coningsby Hospital was originally built in 1200 by the Knights’ Hospitallers, the crusading knights of the Order of St John.Photo of Blackfriars monastery

The preaching cross is a very rare example, I have read that it is the only surviving example. The cross was pretty much just a ruin when the famous artist Turner painted it. As with the Whitefriars Cross, the Victorians restored the preaching cross in 1864. They seemed to be fond of using their new found industrial skills to take care of our history.

Painting by Turner of Blackfriars Cross

Blackfriars Cross, Hereford (A Monument) ?circa 1793-4 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 Gallery Oldham – Charles Lees Watercolour Collection http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/TW2199 , Photo: © Tate, London 2017

In 1538 the monastery was destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries when Henry VIII disbanded such properties to raise money for his military campaigns after his spectacular falling out with the Pope. It was also considered by many that there were too many religious orders owning too much property and wealth.Photo of Blackfriars Monastery

These photos were taken on a film camera in the 1990s and digitally scanned.

The Cross at Whitecross

There is an area of Hereford known as Whitecross, named after the cross standing in the middle of the roundabout where two main routes into the city converge. I passed the cross during my stroll during the blizzard mentioned in a previous post; Snow! In Hereford!Photo of Whitecross

Originally known as the Whitefriars Cross, after the religious order, it was erected in the 14th Century. The hexagonal base is still the original, made of local sandstone, whereas the cross itself was restored in 1864. It required further repairs in 2005 after a car crashed into it.Photo of Whitecross

The base consists of eight steps, one of which is below ground level, a pedestal and socket stone. The pedestal has six recessed panels which were decorated and include the coats of arms of the Charleton family. It is topped by a foliated Latin cross. Lewis de Charleton was the Bishop of Hereford 1361-9 and it was he who instigated the erection of the cross.Photo of Whitecross

The purpose of the standing cross was to mark the position of a market place that was set up during the second outbreak of plague when people were too afraid to enter the City. Items brought out of the City were dipped in large resevoirs of vinegar kept on either side of the cross to disinfect them. Also coins were left in the vinegar vats to pay for food that had been brought to the outskirts of the City from the countryside. This second outbreak of plague reduced the population of Hereford from 3,000 to just over 1,000.Photo of Whitecross

The second plague pandemic is better known as The Black Death, it reached England in 1360, lasted for three years and killed approximately 800,000 people, around 20% of the population. It was a pneumonic plague caused by Yersinia pestis bacteria. During the first outbreak in 1349 the relics of St Thomas Cantilupe were taken from Hereford Cathedral and paraded around the City in an unsuccessful attempt to thwart the outbreak.Photo of Whitecross

Foggy Street Scenes

Looming out of the fog is this abandoned old house. Its plaque informs us that it is dated from 1884 and named Clifford Place.Photo of empty building in fog

Incidentally, 1884 was the date of the Post Office Protection Act, part of which made it an offence to set fire to post boxes. Photo of post box in fog

Protection of Post Offices, Postal Packets, and Stamps.

Placing injurious substance in or against letter boxes.

3. A person shall not place or attempt to place in or against any post office letter box any fire, any match, any light, any explosive substance, any dangerous substance, any filth, any noxious or deleterious substance, or any fluid, and shall not commit a nuisance in or against any post office letter box, and shall not do or attempt to do anything likely to injure the box, appurtenances, or contents.

Any person who acts in contravention of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding ten pounds, and on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for a period not exceeding twelve months.

You have been warned.

St Nicholas’ Day

This comes a little late as the feast day of Saint Nicholas is on 6th December. However, I have just received some chocolates in the shape of St Nicholas and Zwarte Piet, from a friend in Belgium.Photo of chocolate St Nicholas and Zwarte Piet

St Nicholas was the bishop of Myra (in modern day Turkey) during the 4th century. There are various stories of him performing miracles during his lifetime, including saving a ship during a storm. He was renowned for his charitable works and secret gift giving and is the patron saint of sailors and children.  Saint Nikolaos was known as Sinterklaas in Dutch, which is just a hop, skip and a jump to Santa Claus.

Painting of Saint Nicholas

Saint Nicholas by Francesco Guardi [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It is traditional to give gifts on St Nicholas’ Day in many countries and a lot of folklore has been built up around this event. St Nick is represented as an elderly gentleman with flowing beard and bishop’s robes, riding a white horse and carrying a book with lists of who has been good and who has not.

Illustration of Saint Nicholas

By Clara Bruins (Groot St. Nicolaasboek) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

He is accompanied by Zwart Piet, a controversial figure. The pair were thought to represent night and day/light and dark/good and evil. Some suggest that the dark skinned Zwart Piet represented Spanish Moors, others that he was a chimney sweep. He is dressed in 16th century clothing and his role seems to be to beat naughty children while Sinterklaas hands out sweeties to good children.

Illustration of Santa Claus

Saint Nicholas as Santa Claus – By unknown, publisher is Fisher & Brother of Baltimore [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Protestant reformists abolished such frivolities as Saints’ feast days and gift giving, but the festivals remain in parts of Europe where Catholicism prevailed. St Nicholas is also highly revered by Eastern Orthodox Christians. However, he has clearly made a revival in many of the Christmas traditions we know today. Interestingly some people think that the St Nicholas traditions themselves can trace their origins to Pagan times. Similarities exist with the Pagan god Wodan/Odin who rode through the air on a white horse checking on whether people were behaving themselves or not.

Illustration of Odin riding Sleipnir

Odin – Lorenz Frølich [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

One ceremony performed on the Feast of St Nicholas was the ordaining of a Boy Bishop. The chosen boy would perform all of the ceremonies of the Bishop from 6th December until 28th December, Holy Innocents Day. In England this ceremony was abolished by Henry VIII in 1542. However, it was revived in my home town of Hereford in 1973 where Hereford Cathedral selects a Boy Bishop annually.Photo of Hereford Cathedral

Oddly enough, this whole train of research was started by my purchasing this cute ratty Christmas decoration from my friend in Belgium via her website, and her kind gift of some chocolate! Some of the proceeds of the sales of her adorable figurines go towards her rat rescue.Photo of rat decoration

Armistice Day

November 11th is Armistice Day, which marked the end of the First World War at the 11th hour. The following Sunday is known as Remembrance Sunday. Photo of WWI Bench

Paper poppies are sold by the Royal British Legion to fund their work supporting those who have served, and their families. They are worn as a mark of respect for the sacrifice made by those who serve.photo of remembrance poppy

Blood red poppies grew in the killing fields of World War I and are a poignant symbol of the bloodshed. It is always hoped that people will learn the lessons of history.Photo of field with poppies

Birch Polypore

This fabulous fungi growing on the fallen silver birch branch is a birch polypore, Piptoporus betulinus. It is a parasitic fungi that causes brown rot in birch trees, but continues to flourish after the poor tree has died.Photo of birch polypore

It is also known as the Razor Strop Fungus; barbers used to cut thin strips off this leathery fungus to make strops to sharpen their cut throat razors. It can also be used as tinder to start a fire with a spark, it will then smoulder and hold the flame. In the Scottish Highlands it was used to start the fires to celebrate the festival of Beltane (now May Day). Two pieces of this fungus were found on the body of Ötzi the Iceman, who died in the Alps 5,300 years ago. Poor Ötzi was found to be suffering from whipworm parasites, the birch polypore is now known to contain ketones, terpenes and aliphatic alcohols which can act as anti-inflammatories along with polyporenic acid which is apparently effective against intestinal worms. Clearly Ötzi had yet to complete his medicinal course before he met his end. Amongst its many other uses it also acts as food and home to many species of insect.Photo of birch polypore

Double Rainbow

The reward for the torrential rain yet again today was a double rainbow. I admit this is not the most glamourous setting for a double rainbow, but it will have to do.Photo of double rainbow

As you all know, a rainbow is created when sunlight hits raindrops, and the light as it passes through is refracted. Red light has a longer wavelength than blue light and so bends less. This is why rainbows always have a longer red band at the top and a shorter blue band at the bottom.A double rainbow is created when the light is reflected twice off the raindrops. The second reflection has less light so the second rainbow is dimmer as well as upside down.Photo of double rainbow

Painting of Richard III

1520 Portrait of Richard III. Unknown, British School [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In the UK we remember the colours of the spectrum, or rainbow with the mnenomic, “Richard of York gave battle in vain” – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. This relates to the War of the Roses. The Yorkist Richard III lost the battle, and his life in 1485, to the Lancastrian Henry Tudor who became Henry VII. This saw the transition of the British monarchy from the Plantagenets to the Tudors. I presume that this mnenomic is not used in other parts of the world.

 

View from the Bridge

I have previously shown you the view from under Greyfriars Bridge, the “new” bridge that crosses the River Wye in Hereford.Photo of the underside of Greyfriars Bridge

Perhaps the view from the top of the bridge is more interesting, especially as the sun is setting over the River Wye and the steps of the rowing club.Photo of sunset over River Wye

If we zoom in we can just make out, in the dimming light and grain, the Hunderton Railway Bridge. This is an iron bridge built originally in 1854, then rebuilt in 1912. It was part of the line between Hereford, Abergavenny and Newport. Closed during the Beeching railway cuts in the 1960s, it is now a cycle and foot path.Photo of Hunderton Railway Bridge

Let’s have another look at the sunset, after all who doesn’t love a sunset?Photo of sunset

Looking over the other side of the bridge, Hereford Cathedral is beautifully burnished by the setting sun.Photo of Hereford Cathedral at sunset

Funny looking tree though.Photo of bendy tree and Hereford Cathedral

Victoria House

One of my early morning suburban strolls took me around the grounds of Victoria House in Hereford. A once fine building falling into dereliction.Photo of Victoria House

It was built in 1912 to accommodate the resident surgeon of the Victoria Eye Hospital. This hospital used to be next to it, but has sadly been closed and turned into residential accommodation. Victoria House was then used as an administrative centre for the local health authority. Several years ago they also moved out and the building has been left empty.Photo of Victoria House

There are plans to knock it down and build a retirement village or some such. However, many local people feel that it is an iconic and significant building. Although they failed to get it listed, they would prefer that the building be preserved and restored.Photo of Victoria House

A local school backs onto this building and they have objected to the planning proposals on the grounds that, “… if the site is developed as proposed it will back immediately onto an area within the school grounds that has been developed as an outdoor classroom and as a haven for wildlife. It highlights the importance of the area for improving children’s understanding of their environment .” I should imagine the bunny I encountered would agree!Photo of rabbitThe gulls also seem to have made a home in the chimneys.Photo of gull on chimney

I have also found that if you look for buddleia, you will find it.Photo of buddleiaOne last look while it still stands.Photo of Victoria House

View from the Bridge

Now that summer has arrived and the sun has made an appearance, I thought we should take another stroll down to the River Wye and admire the view from the Old Bridge. Don’t lean over too far!Photo of River Wye and arch of Old Bridge

The river banks are looking very green and bushy.Photo of River Wye in Hereford

On the left you can see Hereford Cathedral.Photo of Hereford Cathedral

Walking back into town there is an enticing little continental cafe with a rather natty advertising sign.Photo of bicycle decorated with flowers advertising a cafe

This is apparently also the site of Nell Gwynne’s old home. Hereford claims her as its own, but there seems to be no actual evidence for this. Nell was famously one of Charles II’s mistresses and bore him two sons. Photo of Nell Gwynne plaque

She seems to have started out rather unpromisingly as the daughter of a drunken “madame”. She managed to get herself into the orange selling trade at the London theatres before becoming an actress. It was quite a new fangled thing to have actresses in the seventeenth century; previously men had played all roles. This was where she caught the eye of the merry monarch, and they began an affair in 1668. Apparently the King’s dying wish was, “Let not poor Nelly starve,”. His brother, James II did indeed pay off Nell’s debts.

Portrait of Nell Gwynne

Portrait of Nell Gwynne – Peter Lely [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

She died three years after Charles, probably of syphilis, in 1687. She was renowned for her quick wit, Samuel Pepys referred to her as “pretty, witty Nell”. She is also credited with persuading the King to found the Chelsea Hospital for poor military veterans, now famous for the Chelsea Pensioners.

Photo of Chelsea Pensioners

Chelsea Pensioners – By Chelseapensioners (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Hawthorn Blossom Reprise

The local hedgerows are a-glow with white fluffy clouds of hawthorn blossom, as though wearing 18th century powdered wigs. I thought I really must take some photographs for my readers. Photo of hawthorn blossom

Between thinking about it and actually doing it we had a thunderstorm with torrential rain. Most of the blossom has been knocked off, and what is left, looks a little bedraggled.Photo of hawthorn blossom

Painting of Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette: François-Hubert Drouais [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By the way, powdered wigs ceased to be popular in Britain after a tax was levied on powder in 1795. Whereas the outrageously huge French poufs got the chop in 1798, not being quite so de rigueur after the French Revolution.

You might also like some of my previous posts: Hawthorn Blossom, Hawthorn Berries and Hawthorn Hybrid.

 

All the Fun of the Fair

Ah the sickly sweet smell of candy floss and fear; it must be the May Fair!Photo of Big Wheel Hereford May Fair

There has been a fair held in Hereford for over 900 years. It used to be known as St Ethelbert’s Fair and was run by the Bishop of Hereford. In 1838 control of the Fair was handed to the local authorities in exchange for twelve and a half bushels of wheat paid to the Bishop annually (I understand he is happy to accept a cash alternative these days).Photo of catapult ride Hereford May Fair

So for three days commencing on the Tuesday after the first Monday of May the civic buildings of the Town Hall, library and War memorial are cluttered by various stalls selling hot dogs, burgers and sweet treats, alongside traditional games such as hook-a-duck. Then there are the helter skelters, big wheels and the lunch lurching, retinal detaching catapult thingies.

There is just under five minutes of footage here at the British Pathé site of the May Fair in the 1920’s. The entertainment is more sedate and seems to be exclusively enjoyed by adults! It also looks to be pouring with rain.

Nosey Parker

Mrs Fancypants Squirrel is such a nosey parker. She came to watch me weeding the garden, as if that is such an unusual event!Photo of squirrel

The term “nosey parker” refers to anyone who sticks their nose into other people’s business. The first example of it in writing seems to be from 1890. London actress and sensation novelist, Mary Elizabeth Braddon began editing her own magazine, “Belgravia“. It was in the May 1890 edition that she wrote,

“You’re a askin’ too many questions for me, there’s too much of Mr. Nosey Parker about you, an’ I’d ‘ave you to know as I’m a laidee.”

I don’t have the full intriguing story so I don’t know if she is referring to a specific Mr Parker, or if perhaps she is referring to an overly inquisitive park keeper, who were known as “parkers”. No doubt the Victorian parker was the nemesis of many a courting couple.

Eignbrook Church

The church that I mentioned in “Backlit Clouds“, nestling between two pubs (bars) with the flowering cherry tree, is Eignbrook Church.Photo of Eignbrook Church

It is a Grade II listed building. Here are the details according to British Listed Buildings:

Mid C19. Yellow brick with dressed stone plinth, and
red brick to rear; Welsh slate gable roof. Dominant tripartite
window with cinquefoils, ringed shafts and lattice-leaded
lights under polychrome stone arches, and stone-coped
pediment, over buttressed porch with Corinthian pilasters to
moulded polychrome arch; oak doors in moulded arch; to right,
entrance with cinquefoil rose window, over, in projecting wing
with hipped roof; to left, entrance, to tower with light,
ashlar detailing and clerestory to spire, with further lights
to left side. Body of Church has 5, 2-light stone mullion
windows, with lattice-leaded glazing, under brick relieving
arches. To rear, apse with trefoil lights in stone arches,
under trefoil rose-window; lean-to to left and right.Photo of side and back of Eignbrook Church

A quick Google search shows that it belongs to the United Reformed Church. This was formed in 1972 by a merger between the Presbyterian Church of England and the Congregational Church in England and Wales, and then later with the Re-formed Association of Churches of Christ and the Congregational Union of Scotland. I quite often see people there who look very much down on their luck, so I presume that this church does good practical work in the community. I must also commend their gardener; what with the cherry tree, magnolia and fuscias it always looks blooming lovely.Photo of front of Eignbrook Church