Friday, 6 March 2009

Sometimes, like today, I can't find a common thread to link all the things I want to blog about, so please excuse the random assortment which follows. . .

This cottage is the home of some friends of ours, dear friends, with whom we like to go 'walkabout', as often as we can.
They live half way up a hill in the Cotswolds and they feast their eyes daily on some of the most beautiful scenery in these parts.

Lovely views in all directions, this one from the bottom of the garden.

Just up the road, a neighbour's cottage. My son, Nick, helped repair this thatch when he did his thatching apprenticeship.
I've found some more material for my 'Gargoyles, Ghosts and Gravestones' talk and all this research is such a brilliant excuse for exploring Tea Shops as well as churches. . . and so to Burford, Oxfordshire.
This dapper looking chap is a 'weeper', mourning the passing of Sir Laurence and Lady Tanfield, seen below. . .
Known in life for their terrible wickedness and in death for their rides in a spectral coach up and down the main street of Burford.
Their tomb is huge and dark and I didn't linger there long. . .
Such pretty fragments of old glass, here a Lady in a wimple and below a pilgrim with his cockle shell of St. James.

Can you bare to come outside in the drizzle?
The trees lead down to the river Windrush, the prettiest of rivers , which laughs and tumbles it's way through green valleys and little towns. Follow it on foot and I can guarantee you'll find many wonders. . . not to mention some lovely pubs.(Shall we do that in the summer hmmm?)

The 'bale' tombs, once extravagances of those involved in the wool trade, are peculiar to these parts.
Close up, another world to explore.
Talking of other worlds, My lovely mum was 80 years old on Wednesday.
We're having a family party on Sunday, but on her birthday my brother and I took her to Hereford, at her request.
We did some mooching around, some shopping and eating, easy to spend time in this fascinating old city.
The Cathedral has enough to keep me enthralled for a lifetime, it's like being in a sweetie shop, don't know what to look at first, for now here are just a few delights . . . .

Mum's favourite, in any church, anywhere, is the Corona. It seems to be suspended in mid air, over the altar.

My favourite, in amongst all that is ancient, are the windows in stained glass, made in our times to honour Thomas Traherne, a 17th century Hereford man, a poet and a mystic.

I'm just sorry that my pictures don't capture their true beauty or the atmosphere as the sun comes through them.
If you ever go to Hereford Cathedral, perhaps to see the medieval chained library, or the Mappa Mundi (a 13th century map of the world on Vellum) please don't forget to look at the windows too. .. . . . .
Now , it's getting late but I need to ask for help. . . The group of Textile Artists I belong to, Group Purple, are putting on an exhibition in the summer. It's called 'an Anthology'.
We each have to choose a piece of prose or a poem , and make a series of work inspired by the words. Easy, yes?
Well, I hesitate because the title was, I think, my idea and now I just can't choose.
I love Mary Oliver's 'Sleeping in the Forest' and Sam Walter Foss' words which begin, 'the woods were made for the hunters of dreams. . . '
Or should I choose something light and silly like the Owl and the Pussy cat?
I just feel that I need or want , a change of direction, any ideas? Please.x


femminismo said...

Oh, so much to comment on! Your friends' house is wonderful. Aside from the windows - which may be a tad modern - has the house ever been used in a Jane Austen movie?! Lovely views indeed. What an education reading your post. I had no idea there were "weepers" in stone for the lords and ladies. And what is "mooching"? Here is means trying to get something for nothing, but I don't think that's what you and "Mum" were doing. The corona is so utterly beautiful I can see why she loves it. And as for a theme, "the woods were made for the hunters of dreams" inspires me. In fact, maybe I'll do a journal page on that. Thanks, as always, for the lovely visit. Invite me again, OK? Jeanne in Oregon

Hermes said...

Wonderful photographs. I love old stained glass and that bale tomb is fantastic. Happy birthday to your Mother too. I would choose the Foss but a textile featuring woods would be great to my mind, rather like an Arthur Rackham print.

annette emms said...

Jeanne - You are always welcome, your company and your comments are much appreciated!
The cottage is pretty, but I agree about the windows.Round the back a little stream rushes past, about 3 or 4 feet from the door, you can hear it's music in the background wherever you are.
No Jane Austen, but a tumbledown cottage nearby was used for a BBC production of Silas Marner and somes scenes from Bridget Jones were filmed around here.
Mum will laugh when I tell her that 'mooching' has other meanings, to us it means well, just looking around, discovering what's what. . .
See you soon.x

Hermes = Thank you, I'll pass on your good wishes!
Foss' words are haunting aren't they and I love the idea of Arthur Rackham trees. . .

acornmoon said...

What enviable cottages! I love stained glass, the older the better but like you find it difficult to photograph. Yours have come out very well.

I find the words by Foss enchanting and open to lots of different interpretations.

Keep us posted!

Arija said...

Your posts are always filled with oodles of interesting snippets. Love the mourner, Was he paid? Catherdrals are like magnets to me too.

Laure Ferlita said...

Such lovely images in your post! The cottages, the churches, oh, to have time to wonder about and explore would be . . . heaven! I am also taken with the name of "Windrush" - what a wonderful name! It conjures up such images! Thank you so much for sharing your world via the blog. I would love to sit in on one of your "talks" of ghosts and goblins.

As to a new direction, what about taking a serious/dark piece of poetry and making a lighthearted interpretation in your work? Or the other way around. Something light is made serious?

When I am conflicted, I put my choices in a hat and draw out a choice. Sometimes I draw until I find what I really want to do - which is another way of getting to the truth of the matter! Whatever you do, it is sure to be wonderful!

Heather said...

What a super post - so many lovely things to look at and enjoy. Happy birthday and congratulations to your Mum. She is right about the Corona, it is beautiful. I haven't been to Hereford for many years but always remember the Chained Library and the Mappa Mundi. Those stained glass windows are gorgeous, different from medieval ones but just as glorious. As for ideas as to what you should do next, I have enough trouble making up my own mind without the responsibility of doing it for someone else - however, I like the sound of 'Sleeping in the Forest' or 'the woods were made for the hunters of dreams'. You could do something really special with either of those.

EB said...

A lovely mixture of a post.

I'd go for Sam Walter Foss - that quotation is so richly evocative...

Chris said...

Thanks for another wonderful journey. I have always wanted to visit the Cotswolds. Maybe I'll see you someday on a walkabout.

Clare W said...

I just love your post - who needs a common thread? The window of the pauper boy captivated me.

Blue Muse said...

Jeanne, I love coming to your blog, it's like passing through a veil to another world. That cottage of your neighbors is so beautiful, and the view is breathtaking! Happy Birthday to your mum! What a gorgeous place to go for her birthday - I'd love to see those windows in person.
I think you should go with Sam Walter Foss' words which begin, 'the woods were made for the hunters of dreams. . . ' That gives me goosebumps, and from what I have seen of your work, you could do it more than proud. Whatever you choose will be perfect, and it will come to you!
xo Isa

flyinamber said...

it must be amazing live surrounded with all those wonderful old things!lucky you!
love your neighbour cottage and stained glass..
congratulations to your Mum!

annette emms said...

Valerie - I would love one of those cottages!The two I've shown and many more in that vicinity are all owned by the Earl of Wemyss and rented by his tenants.Lucky them I say!

Arija -Not sure of any details about the weepers, I'll look into it!
I hope that you're feeling much better.x

Laure - thank you so much.I wish I could describe how the Windrush twists and turns through these parts! It even has a little village named after it,Windrush village is a most charming place with its' own tiny Norman church and the wonder is, that the craftsman who worked here 9 centuries ago made a whole collection of stone beasties whose faces peer at us, all around the door!As you can probably tell, I love it!
Thanks for your most helpful suggestions re. the poetry.

Heather - thank you , I'll pass on all the good wishes to mum!

EB - thanks and yes I'm very drawn to Foss' words. . .

Chris - oh, do come! Think what fun we would have!x

Clare - thanks! That glass was so beautiful but even the postcards you could buy weren't that good, so it's definitely worth a visit. . .x

Isa - Foss' words have the same effect on me, they've been lurking in my head for years, could be time to do something.
Your lovely comments are so appreciated.x

flyinamber - thank you. I love history that you can touch! I know there is much of historic interest in your country too.x

Penny said...

I am as usual late looking at your blog, but it is such a delight when I get to it. I love walking with you, I just wish I could do it in person.
I think the choice is yours on the poem, but I do love the sound of woods and a hunter of dreams.
Those cottages are incredible, so lovely but not sure what they are like to live in, I guess they have been modernised inside.
We had a pony called Windrush.

ruthie said...

My first time visit to your blog & i have spent a good while reading & gazing at your pictures - so many fascinating things - just wonderful - Sam Walter Foss - beautiful poem. *ruthie*

rivergardenstudio said...

There are so many beautiful photographs here... I love the cottages and the church scenes... Roxanne

annette emms said...

Penny - and I love having your company!The cottages are lovely and Yes, they do have all modern conveniences! really thick walls, window seats and a bread oven.

Ruthie - how kind of you to call! I had a quick look at your site too, fabulous!We have many interests in common I see. . .
Please come again.

Roxanne - thank you, you are so encouraging! Is spring knocking on your door yet?xx

Gwen Buchanan said...

The pictures you show Annette... makes me feel like I am dreaming! or maybe it is a movie or a wonderful story someone made up... How must it truly feel to live surrounded by this ancientness?
I always feel like this when I come here...

coral-seas said...

I don't think anywhere 'does' cottages like The Cotswolds. I've always dreamed of living in a thatched cottage, the one you have shown would do nicely, thank you. But then you say your friend's cottage has a stream just feet from the back door. Now I'm torn, because that is another must have for my dream cottage.

I am struggling to decide on a source picture for an exhibition entitled 'Artistically Based' so I sympathise with you, but you know that you can choose, don't you!

Thank you, though for introducing me to Mary Oliver's 'Sleeping in the Forest'. I've not read it before and it cunjured up such images as I read over and over.


Jacky said...

Those windows are amazing... I hope I get the chance to visit them one day (if my travels take me back to the UK).

Love that gorgeous thatched cottage of your neightbours too. Must be lovely to live in such a beautiful area.