Life, photos but not the universe

The internet

Oh dear  Every lazy choice we make on the internet coming home to roost.

Well I don’t know what we thought would happen.  I mean what do you expect if you allow algorithms to make choices for you!  And why don’t the spam algorithms do the same thing?  But perhaps that wouldn’t be such a good idea either.

On the other hand, I’ve just discovered that there’s a TED app.  The internet takes away on one hand (algorithm) and gives with another.

Well the book present (see last post) went down very well and Mr Youngest revealed to collective astonishment that he’s never even heard of Swallows and Amazons.  He’s going to read it after Gorgeous Babe has read it and then Youngest is going to re-read it as well.  I foresee a certain amount of contention arising around Titty.*

I had a brilliant afternoon last week; I had lunch with a lovely friend and it was sunny and I saw three churches and a white horse.  The horse is about 200 years old, one of the churches is Saxon, one is Norman and the other is – I dont know.  It’s not on any of the lists of churches I’ve looked at and unfortunately, assuming that I’d easily be able to Google it, I didn’t note down its name.  (Or photograph it’s notice board which I didn’t see. When I’m taking photos, I forget that people might want to know stuff like the name of a church and its history but I usually just take a quick snap of  the notice board so that I can look up the church later).   And the hamlet  in which it lives, doesn’t appear to have a name either though it might be part of Fyfield.

I have a habit of turning to churches if I can’t get a good photo of the landscape.  Even if the light is sad, a church will nearly always make a point, designed as they mostly are, to make a link between heaven and earth, so they are forgiving about light.  Also, wherever you are in the English countryside, there’s usually a church round a corner nearby.  On this occasion, round two corners, about a hundred yards away from each other. I would love to know why the Norman church is redundant though it’s bigger and more church shaped than the tiny, barn-like Saxon one.  And why the Normans built a new one instead of  extending the existing Saxon one.  Perhaps they didn’t like to use the older buildings and there are loads of Saxon and Norman pairs standing next to each other all over the country.  Actually, when I was trying to find out about the third, unidentifiable church, I kept getting links to another one about a mile away which makes me thinks that Wiltshire must be extra well supplied with churches.  Anyway, having used the churches to satisfy the need to take any old photo, I feel I owe it to them to go back and look at them at a better time of day (after lunch is a bit late – or early – for pretty light) and I might as well revisit the horse while I’m there.  And have a look at the other church as well, why not?

Meanwhile, some snaps.

In a slightly random order.

Anyway, inspired by the weather and the churches and the horse I got myself up unbelievably early on Friday and drove through mist and fog and sunrise to have another look, worrying all the time that I’d left it too late and all the enticing misty light would have burned away by the time I got there.  Not a bit of it.  I rolled over the hilltop and down towards the two villages of Alton Barnes and Priors, into a heavy, dark mist.  The horse was completely shrouded and the churches were mostly invisible.  I hung around on the hilltop for ages, getting wet feet and muddy shoes but the time came to return and the sun only peeped over the top of the clouds without ever reaching the valley.  Well probably it did, an hour or two after I’d given up and gone back for a hair cut.

Ah!  I’ve found the third church.  It’s St Nicholas’ church in Lower Fyfield.  And it’s a listed building.  I’ve discovered a lot of instantly forgettable information abut it’s structure and materials but not much else about it.  Also, to my astonishment and chagrin, I discovered that there are Laurence Whistler windows in the the Saxon church.  I must have walked straight past them without noticing which says a lot about how observant I am!  And in the Norman church, there are two trapdoors with sarsen stones underneath them.  No, I didn’t notice them either.

Well that means I’ll need to go back again early in the morning and hang around till the sun is high to get a good look at the sarsen stones underneath the Norman church and the Whistler windows.    Oh well, it’s a lovely drive along the Kennet Valley and through Savernake Forest before turning off and climbing up over the Downs.

*For those of you who haven’t read it because you’re so young**, Titty is the name of a small girl in the story.  I’m not sure if I ever knew what it was short for.

**If you haven’t read it for some other reason, the above is still true.


September 10, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. I rather liked the way Arthur Ransome played about with names – that Nancy’s real name was Ruth, but pirates were ruthless so she had to change her name, and that the baby’s name was really Bridget but she looked like an old Queen Victoria when tiny so they called her Vicky. I always assumed that Titty was Laetitia, in which case I’d not blame her for shortening it, but I don’t remember it ever being mentioned.

    I have ludicrously total recall of a lot of books I read as a child.

    *wanders off muttering “better drowned if duffers if not duffers won’t drown”…

    Comment by Z | September 10, 2012 | Reply

  2. What an evolutionary view of child rearing Z! But what an excellent word, Duffer.
    I loved that he was so good at scale – the huge and impersonal fells and the tiny, busy children. the Fram, sitting on a lake, unmoving, hinting of wild adventures in the wider world.

    Comment by Mig | September 10, 2012 | Reply

  3. One of my favourites, too. And when I discovered that Ronald Fraser lived next door to me(in London) we exchanged the odd piratical shout over the fence and conspired to launch an attack on the garbage men.

    All them churches darn in Wil’shire? It’s prob’ly on account of all them witches, innit? 😉

    Comment by dinahmow | September 10, 2012 | Reply

    • Should I have said that Ronnie Fraser was in the movie of Swallows and Amazons?

      Comment by dinahmow | September 10, 2012 | Reply

      • Movie? Have I missed something?

        Comment by Carol | September 11, 2012

  4. Holy cow……I don’t know anything about the books and I KNOW if I ask himself I’m in for a whole lot of story telling–which he’s pressed for time to do at this moment in time, given he’s setting a toilet and sink in the basement washroom! LOL Well, that’s my story for that bit!

    But the churches–he took a breather to explain the difference between Norman and Saxon to me–and then I went looking at the Whistler images and went ‘WOW’ a lot.
    GO BACK!! I wanna see what goodies were lurking under your nose. And misty photos in a churchyard are exceptional for this time of year methinks–any time of year, actually.
    And while I have NO clue what that stone under a trapdoor is about, it sounds like an adventure to be had, for sure.
    I adore your churches.
    Ours pale in comparison, though I still adore a wander about and a quiet sit with the camera in hand. I always get that ‘feel’ going in a church……and yes, every time the light is just amazing, but that’s probably purposeful…..right? 🙂

    Comment by Mel | September 11, 2012 | Reply

  5. And btw–I watched the TED link about you and the internet.

    1915–actually, I think he’s pretty on target with what he had to say.
    How scary is that……

    Comment by Mel | September 11, 2012 | Reply

  6. Dinamow just sent me here and I can see I’ll be subscribing. Still love Swallows and Amazons, read the complete set every couple of years. Only realized lately that titty is an unusual name for a little girl these days. We don’t have a lot of really interesting churches in Australia so enjoyed your photos.

    Comment by Carol | September 11, 2012 | Reply

  7. Dunno ’bout witches Dinah, I thought they all lived in Pendleton, Up North. Coo, fancy playing pirates with Ronald Fraser. I remember that Francesca Annis was in the film and I really wanted to see her – but….

    Hi Carol, thank you for dropping in. I wasn’t allowed to watch the film when it first came out, because I was too young to stay up so late! When it next came out, I offered to let the children stay up and watch it and they all said no. so I missed it too.

    As long as he doesn’t come from the wrong side of the Pennines (like Mr Youngest) I’m sure he’ll be able to tell you all about them Mel. And yes, I really do have to go back and look for the windows – though all the windows in the church were tiny – it won’t be a big experience! And I’m sure there’s some collusion about light in churches : )

    Thank you Carol, I do have a bit of a thing about churches.

    Comment by Mig | September 11, 2012 | Reply

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