Friday, 28 August 2020

Five at the End of August


Thanks for popping in.  It's a while since I have managed to find five things for a Friday, life's just been like that.  Today though I offer you these, whilst I hope that you are all well and enjoying life.

1.  Did you hear Women's Hour yesterday?  I just caught one article as I returned from the shops in the car and had to sit in the garage for a bit until it had finished!  Sue Brown, Printmaker, Louise Asher and Liske Johnson came up with the idea of creating a community project called Same Sea, Different Boat during the strange non-motivating days of Covid-19 to boost crafters and to get them to describe their life during coronavirus.  They asked them to make a 10 cm x 10 cm collagraph print to be stitched on, which would be made into a quilt.  Here are a few links, here and here to her blog with all the information on how to make one and join in too if you like.  It's looking really good so far.

2.  Our last week of Eating Out to Help Out resulted in another tasty pub lunch plus a countryside walk.  I'm not sure we'll carry on having the lunches every week or my waistline will get far too big but we have discovered some nice places to go now and again and hopefully helped them out as well.

3.  I have a stack of books, THIS HIGH, to read with another couple on the list as they are due out in September.  Thank you Miss CK for the Happiness you gave me.  I'm back in 1536 with Thomas Cromwell with The Mirror and the Light having just reread the previous Wolf Hall books.

4.  This year's chillies are looking colourful despite being leftovers from last year.  Quite a few have not grown true to type as they have crossbred but still put on a good show.

5.  You may remember my poor teapot that flew off the table and broke, well here is its pretty replacement.  Thank you Mr CK.

Have a great weekend.


Tuesday, 25 August 2020

On the Train



Thanks for popping in, it's lovely to see you.

After five months of staying local and having checked the coronavirus statistics, we thought we'd investigate travelling by train.  Would it be really crowded?  Would people keep their distance? A trip to Reading revealed only a few passengers on the train, all wearing masks and well spread out.  Reading Station had far fewer people waiting than usual and plenty of one way systems in force with extra staff checking tickets at the end of the platform.  So far so good.

Heading for the river, it was great to be back after such a long time.

Along the banks and into Caversham Park Gardens, the trees were putting on a great late Summer show, only a few rather dried up mulberries could be seen but at least the tree looked well propped up after the problems in the past.

In the town, the Council had done its usual excellent job with the flowers, although Queen Victoria still didn't seem amused.

Broad Street seemed quite busy, we're not used to it, and some shops had closed.  However, John Lewis was all organised for the queues with one way systems and hand sanitiser available as you stepped through the door with a member of staff making sure you used it.  They have a new cafe, perhaps it's been there ages.

Leaving the shopping centre, we took the path through the churchyard past the old Hospitium, where travellers and pilgrims at the time of Reading Abbey could stay for two nights for free as long as they attended the church services.  There was time for a walk around Forbury Gardens before heading back to the station and home.

It's great to be out exploring again even though it won't be as often as it was before.


Thursday, 20 August 2020

Finchampstead Feasting and Foraging


Thanks for calling in.

This week's walk centres around Finchampstead, a small Berkshire village which is rated as one of the most desirable places to live in the UK.  The car is parked near St James Church up on a hill close by the remains of the Roman Road, the Devil's Highway which ran from London to Silchester.  In fact the hill could be the remains of a Roman temple.  St James Church is mainly 12th Century.  If you are interested in Finchampstead's history, follow this link which includes stories about HenryVIII and his brother Prince Arthur, Emperor Magnus Maximus, St Oswald and John Walter, one time owner of The Times.

The Manor House next to the church is on the site of East Court, one of two important properties in Finchampstead dating from the 1290's.  The Manor of Finchampstead was granted by Henry I and Aldermaston to Robert Achard, who gave it to three knights in return for their pledge of service.  Two of these were Alard and John Bannister and the Manor of Finchampstead descended down the Bannister line.  It was eventually inherited and split between two daughters to form East Court and West Court.  There is another house in Finchampstead which is named Banisters after the family.  It gets so complicated as the name East Court has been moved to a different house, West Court has been enlarged and Bannisters is now a newer model from Charles II's time.

The current Manor House was donated to the church by Lady Helen Gladys Liddell on her death in 1984 aged 101 and is used as the Church Centre for meetings and parish office.  When I was young, my family and I used to visit Lady Liddell's beautiful garden when she opened it to the public and her 'eighteen pence teas' were legendary.  I'm just trying to think if that was 18p or 18d!  

Our walk continues along the footpath passing through the churchyard and down the hill.  The countryside is picturesque especially with the Constable clouds on a sunny day just hours after a deluge.

I love these dappled wooded paths.

The path is a short cut to the memorial hall with its cricket pitch and sports fields.

Returning back the way we came, the Queens Oak pub comes into view, where we stop off for lunch on the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.  It used to be called the White Horse but in celebration of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee when an oak tree was planted on the green outside, its name was changed to the Queens Oak, the only pub in the country with that name.

Another footpath off to the left looks tempting until we see the sign.

Perhaps not!  Instead we'll look at the three celebratory oaks on the green.  Can there be a smaller triangle of grass with so many royal memorials?  Rather nice that they've put them altogether. 

There are some lovely circular walks if you have time which can take you to Horseshoe Lake near Yateley or the National Trust's The Ridges.  This disc at The Ridges shows how far you are from various places around the country, some close by and others a bit further away.

The bracken is beginning to turn yellow and brown.

You can see for miles, way over to the pylons in the distance.  It's quite steep down into the woods and very muddy this visit after all the rain, the waves of tree debris were quite obvious.  The rain must have been gushing down the hill.

The air must be good with all the lichens growing on the trees, what beautiful shapes.

The purple heather was in its element.

Cheerio for now!