Monday, 14 October 2013


 Still on the subject of holiday. Woke up about 7 a.m. Sunday, and the above scene greeted us.
Decided we would walk to church. Now, as a Norfolk fenman, born and raised, I am going to air my one objection to the West Country. It is precipitous. I remember reading, as a lad, in one of Kipling's short stories, a description of a small country in the Himalayas - the passage (according to my memory) goes something like this:- "The country was only twelve miles square, but as most of those miles stood on end, it seemed bigger."   Well, our hotel was probably less than half a mile from St. Michael's Church, but as that half mile stood on end, it seemed  (certainly to a fenman) a good deal further. There's probably a bye-law that everyone venturing from the town to the Church must rope themselves together and carry pickaxes and climbing tools.

The above picture was taken from the churchyard, and the narrow lane leading down towards the town (just to the right of centre in the photo) bears out what I was saying. It is called Church Steps. Still, we made it, and my reward is shown in the next photo.

 Saw, on entering the church, a very finely carved, and quite complete, rood screen to our right. On the right hand side of the rood screen stood the above clock jack. I thought I knew most of the clock jacks in England, but this one was a new one on me. There was a small set of old spiral stone steps below the rood screen, which obviously led up to near where the jack stood. There was a rope across the staircase and warning notices.  After the Service I approached the nearest Church warden, told him I would like to climb up the staircase, and take pictures of the jack. I agreed that this would be entirely at my own risk, and that if I fell off the rood screen and broke my neck, I gave my word that I'd not prosecute anyone. Took several pictures of the jack (with which I won't bore you- I appreciate that they're not everyone's cuppa). This one has been heavily overpainted at various periods, but appeared to be of early/mid seventeenth century date. When I came down I found the other Church Warden waiting for me. He looks after the jack, causes it to ring its bell at the start of services, and showed me a guide to the church in which there is a record of  'Jack Hammer' being repaired in 1641.
The two photos below (they are the same photo- this machine is playing silly beggars again!!!) were taken as we strolled down Church Steps.

We spent the next three days, visiting Dunster, Pat (as recorded in previous blog entry), Bishop's Lydiard (on the steam railway), and generally pottering round the area. We then spent two further days motoring home via Ledbury, Malvern (Good B.& B.), then on to Milton Keynes, stayed over with daughter Sarah, and arrived home on Friday.

                                                  Good break.   Goodnight.


Rog said...

Sounds like a perfect holiday. They don't call you little Jack Horner for nothing.
Ps we like to buy stock on out Hols and have been known to turn it into a husband v wife reality show type contest with the results held on a shared Excel spreadsheet.

PixieMum said...

Oh how I envy your visit. Holidays during my teenage years, and subsequently were spent staying in chalets on Dunster Beach. Apparently still a haven of peace, looking out across the Channel, lots of rain too, my father' scar was dented by hailstones, It was less commercialised then, no Butlins, one could arrive by train from Paddington, just change at Taunton, walks across the Golf course to and from Minehead.

Now it has to a place of happy memories.

Mike and Ann said...

Hello Rog. A few years ago almost any village had an antique shop, so that travelling could be made to pay for itself. Now I seem to be limited to the auction rooms and EBay. Still, you never know what you'll find at antique fairs, do you? So the treasure hunt goes on.

Mike and Ann said...

Hello Madeleine. When our children were young we holidayed in Dunster, so we know that area to some extent, and it's still a very pleasant area to visit.

Pat said...

Only a cock stride away:)