Friday, 24 October 2014

The Black Death

Today we're back at St Ed's in Acle to take a look at another
of it's treasures - the Graffito!
Mind the steps as you enter.
The old Saxon round tower with Norman additions.
 With the ebola virus rampaging throughout parts of Africa
and beyond it doesn't somehow take too much
imagination to picture how it must have been
in mediaeval Europe during the time of the plague.
Suspicion of strangers, panic in the hearts of the
people and fear on the faces of all lest it should
come calling and step over the threshold into their homes.
Not much to look at but a powerful message nonetheless.
 Acle was one such place touched by the pestilence
in the year 1349 because a message was recently discovered
written on the north wall which had been hidden for
centuries by plaster.  It read as follows:
Oh lamentable death, how many dost thou cast into the pit!
Anon the infants fade away, and of the aged death makes an end.
Now these, now those, thou ravagest, O death on every side;
Those that wear horns or veils, fate spareth not.
Therefore, while in the world the brute beast plague rages hour by hour,
With prayer and with remembrance deplore death's deadliness.

 No one knows who wrote the Latin inscription.
It may have been the Parish Priest holed up in the church
saying masses for the dead while all around the plague rampaged
sparing no one, high or low.

I bet my bum looks big in this.
 The use of the words "horns and veils" in the inscription
is thought to refer not to sinners and the righteous
but to lay and religious women as horned headdresses
were very popular in the middle years of the 14th century.
And on that cheerful note I shall leave you.
I must go and look for my paint spray can - you
never know when you might want to leave the odd
few words on the north wall!
Although I think in similar circumstances I'd
keep it short - "Damn and blast".

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Home Contents Insurance - aaargh!

This morning I popped into the office, which is
the beating heart of our little community, to flag up a
problem with my gutters.  Whilst there I just happened to
glance at the notice board and saw a poster
for a company offering contents insurance
specially tailored for people in similar circumstances
to myself.

Knowing my luck, I thought I'd better.
 Good, I thought, that will save me a trip into Norwich
so I jotted down the details (including an extremely attractive
first year offer of £25.54 which is less than 50p per week
as they were quick to point out for those of us whose
wits are too addled to work it out for themselves.)

Is your mummy there Peter?
 Back at the lock up I wasted no time in phoning and spoke
to a "child" who introduced himself as Peter.
I was tempted to ask if his mummy knew he was playing
with the phone but somehow managed to resist.
Now we get to the bit which outraged me.
We went through all the rigmarole and small talk and
he quoted me a figure of £56.92.  That's strange,
I said in my best dowager voice, the poster in the office
said £25.54 for the first 12 months.  How do you
explain that?

Don't mess with the wrinklies - some of us still have teeth!
 Without turning a hair he told me that company policy was
to only offer the lower price if challenged.
I'll leave it to your own imaginations to write
the ending to this little scenario as I don't really want
to go into print with my exact words.
But to give you a clue - thieving and another word for
illegitimate were in there somewhere.

Monday, 20 October 2014

God moves in a mysterious way ......

..... his wonders to perform
which is why, on my first surreptitious visit to the Church of
St Edmund King & Martyr in Acle
that I made a rather spectacular entrance through the
North door (yes, I know, the one usually reserved for the Devil!)

The North Door
I was so busy sticky-beaking everything at once that I failed
to miss one vital, and rather important, piece of information.
The rather tiny and partially obscured sign which
read "Mind the steps".

Consequently my first view was captured laying flat
on my back at the foot of said steps whilst
uttering foul oaths and blasphemies for which I
expect to pay heavily on the Day of Judgement.
Good job the Vicar wasn't about.
15th century font
 The font is one of the church treasures and was dedicated
in 1410 AD, so eat your hearts out my colonial readers,
we're talking real history here!
It has eight panels containing the symbols of the four evangelists
alternated with angels all doing angelic things.
No Alice dear, not making Angel Delight, whatever next?
Some of the faces had been smashed during the Reformation
only to suffer further vandalism at the hands of the Victorians
when they attempted to restore them!
Talking of faces, there is also a rather moving memorial to the men from
Acle who fell during the Great War which is somehow made all the
more poignant by the fact that it bears fading sepia photographs
instead of simply a list of names carved in stone.
There's a great deal of interest in St Ed's which could turn
into a mini-series if I'm not too careful but for the moment
I'm off to find something soothing for all my bruises
which are springing up like mushrooms as I type.
And - yes, Camilla, I've tried turning the other cheek
but it doesn't help.


Saturday, 18 October 2014

In the grip of a new passion

Sad to say it's nothing physical and steamy like a close
encounter with Sean Bean or even a "phantom affair"
with the late Oliver Reed - I wonder if that's
what causes "phantom pregnancies"?
Gone potty in my dotage.
No, it's much more down to earth than that
or Coral Bells as they're sometimes known.
You can't smoke them, you can't eat them but they
are a true feast to the eye with colours that change with
the seasons and leaves that stay put all year round.
They are of the family Saxifragaceae and hail from North America.
Mine hail from much closer to home, from the nursery
of Jooles and Sean aptly named Heucheraholics.
They are regular exhibitors and prizewinners at Chelsea Flower Show,
which speaks volumes in itself.  Their service is speedy,
their attention to detail superb and their knowledge priceless.
(That should get me a couple of freebies next time I order!)
The theme at Chelsea this year was the commemoration
of the First World War where they excelled themselves with
a garden called Warhorse complete with sandbags and soldiers helmets.
Here at the Lock-Up things are done on a much smaller scale,
nevertheless I think the Long Dog warhorse tribute display shows
the enthusiasm of a novice heucheraholic
and the promise of colourful things to come in my
herbacaous flower pots once I've got them all planted.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

I seem to have become flavour of the month around here ....

..... if only for one brief, fleeting moment in time
having just donated a huge bagfull of knitting wool,
which was surplus to my requirements, to the
local ladies knitting circle.

Home alone.

This august body of women meet regularly to
upcycle mounds of multi-coloured wools into
cuddly toys for sale in aid of various charities
throughout the year.


My husband used to puff himself up like a toad
from time to time and pronounce that women only
knit and sew to give their hands something to do
while they talk incessantly.
It's a wonder he lived as long as he did really.
The expression "male chauvinist pig" comes to mind
and come to think of it the term seems to have
fallen out of vogue of late.
I'm sure it can't be for want of candidates.
I'll take nominations should you wish.

These were made by an affiliated group up at Sandringham.

However, I digress.
These ladies may well all knit like the true angels
that they are but whether taken one at a time
or collectively (in their skein)
a sense of humour is one attribute they certainly
don't possess.

Camilla, where did you put the two balls that were left over?

So after a chance and rather flippant request for
a knitted "toy boy" I fell extremely swiftly from grace
and am no longer the rum and raisin delight on the
block but merely the new, and slightly odd, lady from No 5.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

If you go down to the woods today .....

.... there's a couple of things you need to check out first.
Arthur is in charge of the bear's "hedge" fund
1.  Has the venue already been booked by the local bears?
Arthur is a giant bear who lives out in all weathers in a gap in
his owners front hedge.  He is seldom if ever noticed
by people who pass at speed in their cars
but to pedestrians like me he brings a little smile every
time I go by.  He had nothing planned
in the woods today but next week they're definately off limits.
2.  Are you wearing suitable footwear?
And this is the hurdle at which I fell and so decided to take
the footpath up to the bridge instead.
There were still some mad sods about holidaymaking in their
little tupperware boats.  A fate which I used to regularly
suffer when my husband was alive.
But not any more!
I can think of nothing more miserable now than sitting in a chilly,
damp, confined space watching the rain pouring down
the windows (inside and out) and being asked if I would fancy
a game of Scrabble - no, I bloody wouldn't.
Now what words can I make with these tiles - CFFFKOU - I wonder?
The pub's not open yet, although people are starting to
gather in anticipation of the "all week Sunday roast"
but I don't think I shall hang about on this occasion
as my feet are starting to complain in these silly shoes
and I could do with a cup of tea.
Not so much the last rose of summer, more like the
final sunflowert of fall!
Anyway it gave me another reason to smile
-they always do.  I shall call him Michael.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Try anything once post script

If you've read the comments on yesterday's post
you will see that Erica has pointed me in the direction
of another artist who's "done" bowlers.
The late Lindsay Crooks of Dunedin, NZ.
In his particular case at Brighton.
Recreational Fisherman
I was unable to find a picture which I could reproduce for you all
to see so you'll just have to content yourselves with his jolly fisherman
instead unless of course you'd like to follow this link:

Thanks for introducing me to his work Erica,
albeit posthumously!