Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Friday 10 June 2011

Getting out and about

It's always the little things. Playing with Developing a thorough understanding of how to get the best out of all the functions of a smartphone (OK, trying to organise my music files, with the pretty album pictures, the way I want) turned out to mean hours of fiddling with metadata for a couple of thousand files: or more or less my job for the last ten years or so. So much for all the leisurely outings....

However, one warm and sunny day (remember them?), a quick flick through a book of walks brought something else to mind. These two slides were taken some time in early 1967, somewhere near the village of Ashwell in Hertfordshire, which I dimly remembered as rather picturesque, and here it was, mentioned in the guidebook.

What better incentive to go and see it again?

Barely an hour from London by train, and within five minutes of leaving the station, all that could be heard was the faint whine of planes going in and out of Stansted, and much more insistent bird song. Passing through prairies of wheat, there were skylarks trilling overhead, and moving along past the dog roses in the hedgerows, a pair of partridges flew out in opposite directions.

Up hill and down dale, and, fortunately just as lunch was required, the village church came into view across the fields:

It turned to be every bit as picturesque as memory said, with half-timbering, pargetting and cottage gardens straggling along the main street.

Click on the image to see when the pargetting was done

But, lest you should think the place was pickled in about 1954, the church was packed with excited children of all races rehearsing for a steel band concert.

The guidebook's route back to the station offered one last panoramic prospect of the village (click to enlarge this photo for the full effect):

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