Thursday, 1 March 2012

Z goes to church

The trouble with making a pot of coffee is that you feel you have to drink it all, rather than just one cup.  It's a small pot, anyway.

On the way to the funeral, I found myself in a two-mile tailback, going at walking pace.  It turned out that the coffin was being taken to the church by horse-drawn carriage.  It was the funeral of the Head of one of the local primary schools, I went there to represent the High School and hadn't known her personally.  She had been off work for a while, ill with cancer.  She was only 40 years old and had two young children, pupils at the school.  It was an immensely sad and shocking sight, such young children following their mother's coffin.

It was an interesting church which looked large from the outside but was quite narrow once you were in, with room for four people to squeeze in to a pew.  I was all right, being with two other women not broad in the beam and a young boy, with whom I shared my hymn sheet, but the three women and a burly (not fat) man in front of me looked to have to negotiate which moved first if not to get stuck.  There were fairly fragmentary remains of (presumably) ancient frescoes on the wall - usually, these have been painted or plastered over and it's only when renovations are carried out that they are rediscovered.  The advantage is, of course, that they have been preserved from the wear of centuries.  Here is a link to the church, which describes some of its other features.

This site and its companion, Norfolk churches, is well worth a browse.  I discovered it years ago and it's one of my favourites.  Simon Knott has visited every church on the site - I seem to remember that he often goes by bike.  I was tremendously excited, a few years ago, to find his name in our village church visitors' book, looked up the entry and left an enthusiastic note of thanks and belated welcome on his site's visitors' page.  The church is just over the field from our house, I can see it from the room where I sit now - although not now, it's 10.30 at night.  The photo on Simon's article is taken from the other side of the church, however.


5 comments:

Tim said...

Wonderfully evocative and moving post, Z. Just a late night thought: the spirit of that church is embedded in its stonework.

Mike and Ann said...

I've often driven past Shadingfield Church on our way from Blythburgh to Beccles, but never been into it. Must remedy that. I did have a potter round your Church last year, and a very pleasant little Church it is.

Mike and Ann said...

P.s. That lovely little brick porch looks as if it's early-or just pre- Tudor.

Z said...

The good thing about dropping into a church when there's no one else there is that you can take in the feel of it. Over hundreds of years, an atmosphere seeps in. Fortunately, many churches are kept open, at least during the day.

luckyzmom said...

I was blown away by all the old stuff during my trip to England so long ago (12-13 yrs?).