End of year, time for reflection. A year of rehearsals, running, concerts, brompton, tube, lessons, reflections, reading, chaos, learning, mountains, operas. An engagement, planning, excitement. Stress, breakthroughs, new birth. Year goes quickly, starts Norfolk ends Northumberland. One more Dickens to read. 2016 is marriage, new starts, ending and beginning new. I can’t wait.
What remains constant: our museum of weathered stone spread throughout the land. Damp, decaying. Corrugated iron parish halls, donation boxes emptied daily, visitors’ books with joke biros, faded informative wall displays, the past and future.
Summed up for me today in one of the last church crawls of 2015. Drive up M11 A1, Beatles music, Today programme, exit and roll downhill. Symmetrical building well-pointed, smooth, sand coloured. Looks 18th century. Chaos of A1 pressing through our ears, church stands stoical, disinterested in 4×4 aggression. Round from south to north, open bird-door like a fruit-cage, scape it along the stone. Even with prior knowledge, nothing can prepare for the breath-taking sensation if seeing that arch up-close. Preserved through the centuries, heart-breaking and warming. A feast for the imagination. Tickencote; don’t drive up the A1 without stopping there one time.
Further up the A1, north of Newark and Lincoln, trip down memory lane to Clumber Park. Warm breeze, hundreds of people with mud. In 2010-11 I volunteered in the kitchen garden digging some things. Garden closed today, tearoom open. The chapel is something else. 1880’s unfettered Anglo-Catholicism. Sandstone and spire, a testament to a rejuvenated spirituality of a time of rapid change. The house is gone, tourists and geese reign here. Not in the chapel, however. What peace and what grandeur. 2015 can end with respectful hush.