A Walk with a friend

St Radigunds Abbey MLP

St Radigunds Abbey – MLP

Took a walk last Saturday with a friend across the downs. An early spring walk on a day of damp earth and hopeful bursts of sunshine.

radigund subtle coloursWe crossed Kearsney Park over a chalk stream full of childhood memory. Not my childhood but his. He showed me St Radigunds Abbey where the white friars had lived. A flint tower coated in ivy, the jackdaws calling. Brides must weep that they cannot be married by such romantic ruins.

Glorious Britain, for all your detractors, you shrug off such marvels as if they were nothing. You are so rich with abbey, castle and ancient church you forget about them and they are uncovered down every rural lane and behind every hedgerow.

We walked on, over the hills and down green lanes where tree creepers crept and early windflowers took flight. He showed me the map. I followed, trusting that he knew the way. The conversation spiralled down into the mossy earth. We talked of.. we talked of everything and stopped for lunch in a church to eat sandwiches with our feet resting on memorials to long dead horsewomen.

hazel catkins and tree overlordsWe swung through gateways, light stepped through the mud and descended through a woodland dusted with hazel catkins, muted and burnished, their subtlety punctuated with the skeletal branches of bare oaks rising like overlords. Through a valley, along a road, down to a pub for cider and crisps.

Such walks, such friendships are among the great blessings of life, part of the cycle of life, a person you meet through the centuries and walk with and share the tiny moments with. These tiny moments we can blink and miss but sometimes, some days you stop and pause and think, well, really, this is not so bad.



Dode Church

interior dode churchTook a beautiful walk this weekend up and down the hills around Luddesdown in the Medway Valley in Kent.

In the middle of our ramble we discovered Dode Church, a tiny Norman church sitting on a mound close to a place called Holly Hill, undoubtedly once a site of pagan worship.

exterior dode churchThe church was abandoned along with the village following the Black Death in 1349 but was restored and is now in private ownership and used for weddings and occasional public events.

alter dode churchTo our delight the door opened and we walked into a magical scene of the tiny building flooded in candle light. The floor was covered in straw and herbs and the benches with sheepskins. It was truly like stepping back in time and just the pinnacle of an excellent walk.

In the valley below we found a authentic looking stone circle. Not the real McCoy I’m afraid but it proved a good venue for a bit of impromptu Morris Dancing led by my friend who is part of Liberty Morris Dancers. morris dancing 1 (2)

Perspective brides, arriving to view the venue were no doubt a little perplexed by our antics and failed to offer us a booking for their weddings.