Monday, November 06, 2017

Bath Textile Summer School Free Day!

 England Trip...What day is it? Part One
  One of the great things about teaching (or taking) a four day workshop at Bath Textile Summer School, is that there is a planned vacation day in the center of study on you can give your brain a time to relax, or catch up if you are behind. I scheduled a day tour for my 'free' day....and good grief, I was so tired by the time I got back, totally wiped me out but it was fabulous! We started with a trip to Wiltshire to see Stonehenge. It was really magical~ the stones so much larger than I had ever imagined....the field next to it was full of sheep that had just been sheared so that just added to the awesomeness!

  You may have noticed how hard it is to find a payphone here in the US,  now that everyone has a cell phone(not me~ Im still hanging on with all my might to not get one)...England is no different, and it was fun to see the ways the different villages have chosen to use their iconic red phone booths (or tardis)...this one is now an emergency defibrillator booth~ since this little community is a ways from the nearest hospital. If someone is having a heart attack, you can run to this booth and grab the portable defibrillator.

  After Stonehenge, we were off to Avebury to see the Avebury Circle....a Henge larger than Stonehenge, but much less publicized. On our way one of England's famous chalk horses is merrily galloping thru the countryside. They were made in the 18th c by removing the upper layer of turf & soil to reveal the white chalk underneath

 Along the way, my heart was skipping a beat every time I laid eyes on a thatched roof cottage~ this was the back of the cottage...but I didnt care~ what I was interested in is along the ridge line~ the two hares. Thatching roofs is a dying art~ the thatchers grow and harvest their own thatch...since wheat grown for food has pesticides that weaken the stalks. They cut it, bundle it, and then create works of art on top of already beautiful cottages. Many thatchers sign their art, with a thatched figure on the ridge line that is their signature, and theirs alone.
  I left this picture big so you can click on it to enlarge it~ the figures are totally thatched~ you will also be able to see the wire netting strung over all~ this is to keep the thatch in place. Not that it ever falls out, because it doesnt. Having a roof thatched is very expensive .. and while the thatch makes a great waterproof roofing material, the birds also like it to make their own nests out of~ so the wire is to keep the birds from unpicking it.

 We are arriving in Avebury now~ you can see the half buried stones of the circle jetting out in the village. These stones are made from same materials as those at Stonehenge, they have just not been shaped.
  Above is a pic of the aerial  view of the village~ the Henge itself is so large, its hard to tell from the ground its in a circle

 Oh my Golly. Everywhere I walked here was a perfect picture postcard. The gardens are all so green and beautiful! I am so jealous of all ya'll that get to live in England.

 Walking along to the church,  I look up and see not one, but two thatched roofs :::swoon:::::

  And then I realize, the ancient stone wall I am walking alongside, is thatched on the top as well! Truthfully speaking, I could have sat right here for the entire rest of the day..week...month....and been totally happy.

 St. James Parish Church has been on this site since 1000AD.  The aisles were added in the 12th century, the tower in the 15th century. I was thrilled to see the doors open~ who could see that and not go inside?

 Beautiful stained glass and woodwork would have been subject for plenty a photograph...but as I always look at my feet when I am walking, I was much more interested in what was below, than above.  I wish we would have had more time, I would have liked to really study the floor tiles/headstones~ some dating back to yes, the 12 century. This one from a young man, 19 years old, who died April 23rd, 1697.

 After our quick visit at Avebury, we were off to explore the Cotswolds. More thatched cottages....

Another chalk horse. I believe this is the Westbury Horse if I remember right.... it's just about time for lunch so we will stop in Lacock Village...and that, oh my....I will need a separate post for~

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