Friday, 24 January 2014

A Resolution from the Settee of Sickness

Holed up on the Settee of Sickness, thinking about the frailty of human body and spirit and all the places I can't get to right now reminds me of the litany of towns, beaches, hills, churches, museums and islands I've claimed I really really must see soon that remain unvisited.  

Some of my wanderlust must stay unsated for financial reasons.  Australia and India are out of reach.  Holidaying with my cousin in New Jersey will have to wait indefinitely.  Even 'exploring Scotland properly' and 'reading Seamus Heaney on the Blasket Islands' are too pricey, at least until I pay off the National Debt. 

But there are plenty of places closer to home I still haven't got around to seeing.  Here's a top ten:


1. Lullington Church, Somerset, famed for its Norman stonework.  I tried to visit it once before but drove over a she-pheasant en route, arriving traumatised (even though it wasn't my fault, the silly creature dashed out of a hedge inches in front of the car, made a right angled turn  and proceeded to run up the road. It was only a matter of time (about an eighth of a second) before there was a sickeningly soft thud under the front right wheel).  Upon said arrival, I found the church was locked.  As I had to be elsewhere in half an hour, I didn't have time to drive back past the bleeding corpse of my victim to locate the key holder, so made do with exploring the outside.  Which was lovely, but not enough and I still had pass the grieving male pheasant standing aimlessly on the grass verge on the way back.  Hopefully four years on he's no longer there.  

2. Zennor, Cornwall - specifically to see the mermaid carved on a bench end in St Senara's Church, but also to have a wander around the coast there.


3 a.  Crosby Beach, near Liverpool, to see Antony Gormley's sculpture, 'Another Place'.  In the meantime, here's one of his figures in the flooded crypt of Winchester Cathedral.  

3b.  Oh and I want to see the Angel of the North too.


4.  For a long time, I've said I need to get to know Dorset better.  Seeing the Cerne Abbas giant last year was a delight, after many years of yearning.  Now to visit Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door; Dorchester; Thomas Hardy's cottage at Higher Bockhampton and St Michael's Church, Stinsford; Fleet (where J Meade Falkner's novel 'Moonfleet' is set) and Burton Bradstock to collect fossils and driftwood.  I think I'll need more than one day. 

5.  St Cadoc's at Llancarfan in the Vale of Glamorgan was just another little old Welsh church until 2008 when a thin line of red paint was unconcovered on one of the walls.  Since then, twenty layers of limewash have been removed to reveal images of  the seven deadly sins, Death and the Gallant, and an enormous St George and the Dragon.  I shall combine my visit with a trip to Ogmore-by-Sea and/or St Illtyd's, the mediaeval church in Llantwit Major.  


6.  While we're in Wales, it's the centenary of the birth of Dylan Thomas this year. I need to go to Laugharne, and whilst I'm there, St David's too. I may be some time.  

7.  Lundy. I have never been to Lundy Island. How much longer?

8.  Mother Shipton's Cave. My daughter says I'll love it.  When next I'm up north.  


9.  My friend Jan and I have long been intending to make a pilgrimage to all the Wiltshire Chalk Horses.  So far I have only ticked off the Westbury White Horse.  

Then there's the Uffington White Horse which isn't in Wiltshire and which I have visited but which I need to revisit, on foot, along with Wayland Smithy.   This is a separate day out all by itself.  


10.  Radstock Museum.  Many of my ancestors on both parents' sides are from North Somerset.  It's just down the road yet I know little about their way of life.  Time to put that right.  

Probably a bit too ambitious to try to do all of these over the next 11 and a bit months.  But I'll aim to tick off at least four.   

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