FAMiLY/DAYS OUT: Dad’s, St Mary’s, Hardwick, etc.

Lunch at Frankie’s Café: Dad, me, Teresa and Sam.

Teres and I spent yesterday evening and most of today, over at dad’s, in Hardwick. He treated us all to lunch at Frankie’s café. Thanks, Pops!

Sadly, Frankie’s had just been burglarised, the evening/night before. Subhuman scum, as Alan Partridge would say. But we didn’t let that spoil our lunch.

St. Mary’s, Hardwick. Glimpsed through hedges and trees.
A lovely setting.

This was another locked/closed church. But there was some kind of scent going on nearby. Enquiries after were made, successfully, for a key. And lo, we gained entry.

A gallery of images…

The church is officially closed. In part due to ongoing repairs. Which can be seen, kind of, in the last pic, above. And under these circs it was doubly nice to be let in to see the interior.

Small square scrap of original wall painting.

I’ve used my iPhone’s built-in software to enhance the two images immediately above and below. Neither photo as taken was particularly good, or easy to discern. Even tweaking the filters leaves much to be desired! But both have been somewhat improved upon.

Much larger wall painting fragment.

The only thing I can make out in the smaller square one is a bit of red ochre type colour, and what looks like the outline of a circle. Pretty paltry!

But the much larger image is also much better. A crowned man is sat upon a lion, and above are two more figures. There’s also a scroll, which would doubtless have featured writing.

Certainly not the most beautiful or exciting church we’ve ever visited. But, as ever, she yields up interest if closely studied.

BOOKS/CHURCHES, Etc: England’s Thousand Best Churches, Simon Jenkins

Bought for 30p, in a church.

I’m just reading the intro to this large and battered tome. And already I love it. Jenkins quotes Thomas Gray: ‘homely joys and destiny obscure…’ Yep, that’s the life for me!

Later on he talks about the Church of England, and indeed The Church of England, as being ‘the true Museum of England’, and describes visiting English churches as feeling ‘the breeze of history’, a perfect phrase, capturing exactly the gentler aspect of the experience of my secular enjoyment of this ostensibly ecclesiastical – but in truth much broader – experience.

DAYS iN/OUT: Mowing the Lawn

Prole fare, for lunch In’t garden.

We have Patrick stopping over. Just had a pot noodle each, in the garden, for lunch.

Teresa, always overjoyed when I take a snap.

And then I mowed the lawn. Or the scrub that passes for a lawn at ours.

Pathway through the ‘cottage garden’.
Almost a lawn, from this angle.
The left is the bad area. Needs re-turfing!

Re-turfing bear patches (growl!) is a job we ought to do ASAP.

Teresa puts the picnic chairs and table back.

Teresa puts the picnic chairs and table back, as Pat tries to get out of camera shot. You can’t escape, Pat; even out of shot, we can see your baleful shadow…

Definitely looks better.

I always enjoy cutting the grass. Both for the job itself. And for the results. Overall our garden is still a messy, shaggy affair. This little note of civilised order brings a welcome note of contrast. And a slightly reassuring sense of our ability to, if not control the garden, at least interact with it.

MUSiC: Ant Law Trio, St Neots

Ant Music.

This evening Patrick and I went to a jazz gig, in St Neots. Pat is actually taking lessons with Ant Law. So it’s the pupil watching the teacher, in action.

Bassist Niklas Lukassen takes a solo.

Ant said this gig was the debut performance of this trio line up: Ant on guitar, German bassist Niklas Lukassen, on upright and electric, and drummer, Dave Hamblett.

Who you lookin’ at?

All three are are top-drawer world class players. And this was pretty hardcore muso-jazz. So much so some older folk, sat in front of us, left during the interval. Not their bag, I s’pose?

It was nice to go to a gig. Not something I do much anymore. But the cost of drinks – even non-alcoholic drinks – is, literally, insane!

We arrived a bit too early. And whiled away about an hour, drinking non-alcoholic beers by the riverside:

DAYS OUT: All Saints, Walsoken, St Peter & St Paul, Wisbech

The approach…
Wow!

This first gallery is mostly (all?) exterior shots, taken before I went inside.

This next gallery is interior stuff. Mostly font – the font is fabulous! – roof, and sundry wooden stuff.

The next gallery is the glass (and some odd paintings):

And these next two galleries take us back to the wondrous world of wood. The roof(s), and associated sculptures, and the sculpted bits on the ends of the pews (no doubt they have a proper special name; I don’t know/recall it!).

St Peter & St Paul, Wisbech. Shut!

Sadly St Peter & St Paul was closed. I got there at 2.15 pm, to find it fully padlocked. With a notice in four languages, saying open daily, 10-2. Bummer!

MUSiC: City to City/Night Owl, Gerry Rafferty

This arrived yesterday.

When I were a wee nipper, mum and dad had Sleepwalking, by Gerry Rafferty, in their record collection.

Nostalgic (but very vague) memories…

Despite, like anyone else with ears, hearing Baker Street ad nauseam, over the years, I failed to realise that it was Gerry Rafferty – despite his very distinctive voice – singing ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’, with Stealer’s Wheel.

Anyway, I watched a documentary about Gezza yesterday, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked in particular his ornery non-compliance with Music-Biz diktats… so I bought this cheap twofer.

And now I’m eating a Big Breakfast lunch in Tesco, whilst reading – or rather browsing – the above tome.

Nice to see the Angel roof of St Wendreda’s receiving fulsome praise and two decent photographs.

Interesting… I hadn’t spotted ol’ Nick!

I think I’ll go visit a church or two, on this, my first (full) day off in a while. But I’ll post about that separately.

HEALTH & WELLBEiNG:

I’m obeying what my body is telling me, and sleeping. A lot. It’s strange, ‘cause not too long ago the issue was insomnia. Now it’s what I’m calling hypersomnia!

I think improvements in diet, and more/better exercise would probably help re-invigorate me. But, for the immediate time being, what I actually want to do, is heed my body (and mind, for that matter), and rest.

After the enervating soul-crushing experiences of the last year plus, I’m a different person than I was before all of that. For better or worse. Rest and sleep are – as far as I can tell – an essential part of recovery.

And yet contemporary life seems designed to induce guilt at such a state of affairs. I don’t think I should feel guilt or shame for wanting to rest and recover. Yet I do. Not a great deal. But enough for it to be irksome and counterproductive, in terms of the need to relax, as part of healing.

I guess, whilst life is far from either perfect, or even what I may have hoped for, I’m quite lucky in some respects. One of those being that, unlike many in our current society, the depth of my servitude, or the grip society has over me, is – by comparison- at times/in ways, quite loose.

To state it simply, and although it comes with very heavy costs, I have a certain amount of freedom. At least in theory. Perpetual total exhaustion currently rendering it a bit redundant! But at least I have the option, right now, to take the rest I seem so desperately to need.

I’ve been mostly sleeping now, as I do most nights at present, for about 12 hours a night/day. Often more. What I’m hoping for is recovery. There’s so much I want/need to do. But I can’t do it with no fuel in the tank (never mind no money in the bank!).

I’m taking a pal, Patrick, to a gig, tonight. He’ll pay for my ticket and petrol, etc. I’d prefer not to need him to do so. But needs must! In the meantime, I’ve tried, without success, to book some more delivery work. Truth be told I’m glad no shifts have come my way. As I’m so totally and utterly washed out!

I don’t even have the energy to read, nor even to watch anything! And I’m not looking forwards to being out late tonight. I like to be in bed by 8pm, nowadays.

The only thing I’m planning to do – aside from a few minor chores (buying a new toothbrush, getting some stuff for Teresa) – is have an English Breakfast brunch at Tesco, around midday.

Oh, and – not that I particularly want to discuss this ‘publicly’ – total exhaustion means loss of libido. In some ways this is helpful, as I have next to no ways of satisfying my normal perma-priapism. But in others it’s depressing.

Life, eh!?

DAYS OUT: Thorney Abbey, etc.

Abbey Place, Thorney.

I was in Thorney today. There are lots of lovely buildings in Thorney, such as those of Abbey place, pictured above, and in the gallery below.

An then there’s what remains of the Abbey. Now known as St Mary &St Botolph’s Church.

Stunning!

And here’s a gallery of snaps from the church/Abbey:

Also in Thorney, a lovely old windmill, that’s now a domestic residence.

The Mill.

And to finish, avenues of trees on Willow Hall Lane.

SPORT: Snooker World Champs,’24, Pt II

Jak Jones fought back, to within three.

I was out, working, again today. So, just as with the Sunday, I had to watch ‘catch-up’ style.

The first thing to note is that Jak Jones did extraordinarily well, having survived the 7- bloodbath that was the first session, to fight back to 17-14. And he’s won a lot fans in doing so.

Match ball…

But, as the ex-player pundits anticipated, having started with a six-frame cushion, Kieran was – never mind their respective pedigrees – odds-on favourite.

And so it duly transpired. After numerous frames where he seemed unable to cross that tantalising finish line, at 17-14, he finally did it. With a little help from Jak.

The emotions boil over.

I’ve warmed to Kieran slowly, over the years. Several of his admirable qualities were on display today/tonight: for one, it’s powerful to see what it means to him (and his family); for another, the sense of community and family he cherishes is heartwarming; thirdly, his candour and honesty.

Kieran celebrates with his sons. Lovely!

I could go on. But ultimately, he earned it. He deserved it. And he was generous in victory (as was Jak Jones in defeat). A great final! All hail the new chief.