Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Gothic Bath

Just a few minutes’ walk from the bustle of cosmopolitan Bath lies a truly Gothic experience.  

The graveyard of St Mary’s, in Bathwick, has become an historical side note, through no fault of its own. The churchyard of St Mary’s was opened in 1809 when the original 12th century St Mary’s church was demolished to widen Bathwick Road. The mortuary chapel, now a ruin, was designed by John Pinch, as famous in his day as John Wood, but now forgotten. It was built in 1818, a year before Queen Victoria was born, and constructed out of the material salvaged from the demolition of the 12th-century parish church.

The chapel was used for baptisms and funerals but only for two years until the new parish church down the road was consecrated in 1820. By 1856, the churchyard was closed in favour of St Mary the Virgin Churchyard which opened in the same year at Smallcombe Vale.

 
The cemetery has a desolate feel, intrinsically Gothic. As I stood in the foggy dusk taking photographs, a bat appeared, completing mystic figures of eight between the yew trees. One can just about make it it out in the photograph below. Just the one bat, with raggedy wings. He didn't seem perturbed by my presence.
I am not that suggestible, but I swear something was moving in the shrubbery. A badger, possibly, for they do cause havoc in the grounds. At least I hope it was a badger, for one of the graves was partially excavated at one corner, and I can only hope that this is the perfectly logical explanation.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Solstice surprise

Many, many years ago, I used to be Features Editor on the Bath Chronicle.

A rollercoaster time it was, and, for the most part, a lot of fun, as we survived the storms of the 1980s and early 1990s, some literal, the rest figurative. I even wrote a book about it! Tomorrow's Anecdote is fiction but based on those turbulent days of Kinnock, Thatcher and Major.

Years passed. One of my former colleagues became editor after I left on maternity leave, and is now editor of the glamorous Bath Magazine. And to my surprise, I found myself writing features again.

Solace for the Solstice is a fun article about shunning plastic baubles this Christmas and releasing your inner Druid. I even took a few photos. You can find it here on pages 108-9.

Such fun. Thanks, Georgette. And I love the retro cover of this month's issue!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Dazzling Bath

Just a simple walk from Henrietta Street over to the Royal Crescent on a frosty afternoon.









Monday, 3 October 2016

Back to Bath


This is the post I’ve been eager to write for months. 

It’s official. We’re moving back to Bath.

Rob has a new research/teaching post and starts this month, so we’ve found somewhere new to live (tba) and are working out the logistics.

It’ll be complicated but we’re so thrilled that it’ll be a pleasant challenge rather than a ghastly slog.

From the first afternoon we arrived many, many, many years ago on a bright June day before Rob’s first interview at the university, we both fell in love with the place. Despite tricky finances and a collapsing housing market, we bought a lovely little terraced house, got our first dog (the wonderful Amber), survived various professional crises and, most memorable of all, celebrated the birth of our daughter, Lauren.

Years went by ...

Work took us to Kenilworth, and beyond, but now ... we’re back. Back to Bath. 


It has a wonderful sound. And since we’ve been here, the weather has been simply superb. Day after day of dazzling autumn sunshine, just as we enjoyed all those years ago when we first arrived and would trundle down to the Viaduct, a great little pub near the aqueduct and sit outside in the gorgeous sunshine. Some things have changed, but in many others, time seems to have stood still.


I’m taking so many pictures, my camera batteries keep running out – and I have three!


Today, I’ve contented myself with some simple shots of the surrounding countryside. Much more to come. Much, much more.

Happy sighs.

Now, where was I with that last manuscript?

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Phantasy photo


Photo taken in a Welsh forest near Llanwyrtd Wells. Inspiration for a fantasy story or what?

The next day, the toadstools had completely vanished. And yes, I'm watching Stranger Things.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

I think I’ve found my niche


Whenever I visit a garden, I’m drawn to the quietest corner, imagining how to recreate a mini-oasis of calm and inspiration.

Recently, I had the luck to visit Wallington in Northumberland, and found the perfect niche.


A joyous combination of modest asplenium ferns, alchemilla and lobelia set in a Regency-era horse-shoe enclosure facing the sun.

Frosted greens and navy are definitely my favourite combination for tranquillity. Add a lichen-encrusted stone feature, a bench and sundry hostas in pots, and I’m in heaven.


A small, naturalesque waterfall gurgled discreetly, reminding me of a wry comment by Alan Titchmarsh, amused at a large garden fountain, commenting that ot sounded like a large equine relieving itself into a deep trough. Oh, dear. I still can’t walk past ostentatious water features without wondering where the nearest loo is.

I may never aspire to the view they have at Wallington, but when we move house, I now have my wish list.

PS I discovered that the gardener at Wallington used to work at Packwood House -- another of my favourite haunts.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Impressions of Edinburgh

Our daughter Lauren has just finished her taught Masters (MSc in Global Middle Ages) at Edinburgh.


Where did the time go? I think we all know more about whelks, wheelbarrows, pigs and bagpipes than is strictly healthy.

After a great five years, concluding with fabulous month in Edinburgh, it's time to celebrate ... and say a fond farewell to Grindlay Street. Great wee flat and a super view of the castle.

Well done, poppet! A major milestone.


PS I just took the photos using my phone but it's given things an Impressionist vibe.