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Bristol , United Kingdom
My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, will be published early in 2022 by Indigo Dreams. I am co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy. https://theleapingword.com

Saturday, 18 January 2014

To Hetty Pegler's Tump and Selsley

Dru was off to release a few Inking Bitterns into the wilds of Gloucestershire and did I want to come too? I said I could spare a morning (with Ted in tow) and she agreed that was all it would take, so off we went.

First stop Thornbury, where Dru snapped up a copy of 'Biggles Gets His Men' in a charity shop, then Berkeley (where there are no bookshops but a soon-to-close newsagents and a pharmacy in the former pub), followed by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge.
We also hoped to pop into the church with its graceful spire but it was locked.  The churchyard was interesting, though,  if swampy. In contrast to the elegance of the architecture, there were some very thuggish cherubs.  I suspect they are bouncers at the Pearly Gates.
Then it was off to Hetty Pegler's Tump, the Neolithic Long Barrow at Uley, just outside Dursley.  The mound is named after Hester, wife of the the 17th century owner of the field, who died in 1694.  

We took the scenic route to the tump, which led past a quarry in the wood.  
It was pretty rainy and the ground was sodden and slippy, but the colour and geometry of rock and trees made up for that.  
Back up on the road we found ourselves in cloud, but the skies were clearing from the west and by the time we reached the tump, the day was brightening.
Is it my imagination or is there an oval, Paul Klee-esque face staring out of the stone lintel?
The entrance being much smaller than the one at Stoney Littleton - or me possibly being rather fatter - I didn't attempt to squeeze through it, but this is what it looks like inside.  
View across to the River Severn
En route to Nailsworth to drop off some books in the Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, we saw a sign for Selsley, a small village outside Stroud with a remarkable Arts and Crafts Church, and as Dru had yet to visit it, we made a brief detour.  

Look, isn't it stunning, seen through the Lych Gate with attendant jackdaws?

The last of the great Cotswold wool churches. 

Selsey's chief treasure is its windows, which date from 1862 and are the only complete set designed by Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co.  
This is one of my favourites - another Ascension, like the mediaeval window at Fairford and the stone carving in Wells Cathedral.  
And this is the beautiful West window.
There were lots of lovely Arts and Crafts touches - the delicately carved screen around the Lady Chapel, the capitals on the (rather ugly marble) columns, the altarcloth and pulpit hanging, but I'm sticking with the windows for now. 
In the churchyard, some of the more modern headstones were reminiscent of those at Mells and Partrishow.  This one is engraved with a few lines from 'Parting' by Jorge Luis Borges.
Back at the car, Ted was twiddling his paws so we let him drive us home via Nailsworth and Wotton-under-Edge (whose bookshop, unfortunately, was closed), returning somewhat later than planned ... but what a cracking day out.     

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