A warm, sunny but occasionally breezy first Sunday in July, we had arranged to meet a friend for an arts festival event in Old Town followed by a meal at the country inn. We had intended to walk, but she had an errand in town and picked us up on her way back. She drove up via Pecket Well and along Billy Lane, finding a spot to park near the corner of Wainsgate Lane.
During the short stroll to the chapel, we admired the pretty cottage gardens, resplendent in the bright light.
A couple lounged on deck chairs at the entrance. One of them was a local artist jointly responsible for the event. She explained what to expect from the sound installation. ‘Gather’ entailed a music performance played on a loop. As we settled on pews, among a smattering of others, the sounds of wispy singing could be heard, followed by tweeting birds, choral music and a small narrative about the Baptist Minister, John Fawcett.
The pleasant noises created a contemplative atmosphere. However, I had some trouble settling on the hard benches. My concentration wandered to examine cracks in the crumbling plaster as the sunlight made odd reflections on the pulpit. I turned to speak to Phil and he pointed to the slip of paper requesting peace and quiet – I suppose he thought that was funny!
At the end of the sound loop, I snuck out back to take photos of the kitchen. Finding a ‘no entry’ sign on the door, I asked the artist for permission. she obligingly led me round to the side door and left me to try and capture the interesting junk and fading wallpaper amidst shadowy light. Back out front, kind words had been left in the comments book.
We hung around outside a while, to chat to the artist and sip water. A selection of old photos showed the chapel choir through the ages. We reflected on the excellent quality of the old choir recordings and marvelled that it had been recorded at all.
We walked back to the road. Our friend drove her car down while we enjoyed a pleasant walk through the village. We re-united at the country inn. Armed with drinks and a menu we took seats out in the garden and chatted awhile to a mutual friend until he departed for home. Although a pleasant breeze tempered the heat, it was hard to find a shady spot. Eventually, we changed tables and settled down to peruse the food options. We caught up on each other’s news until pies and more beer arrived.
We said goodbye to our friend and took the back exit onto Lane Ends. At the next junction, we continued straight ahead. On Rowlands Lane, grey haze hovered over the valley bottom. Desiccated flowers and tall grasses swayed in the gentle wind. Crows flitted from rickety gates to yellow fields. Majestic foxgloves rose into a picture-perfect sky. At the end of the lane, we took steps down to the edge of Dodd Naze and crossed the road to reach the public footpath where we turned left.
A short stretch, fenced in on both sides, led to the virtually dry small stream. We stepped gingerly over stones covered in green slime into Common Bank Wood and followed the dusty path.
Tall trees provided welcome shade. We noted that some trees had been cut down and sported signs stating that the path would be closed later for an arts festival event and wondered what that could be.
From Osborne street, we took a steep flight of steps. The blinding sun made stark shadows on the way down to Commercial street. We had considered visiting more free events in town. The street theatre appeared to have ended as only a few people milled about. We wandered in vain for a couple of minutes looking for clues. Hot, tired and thirsty, we abandoned the mission and returned home.
More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQti4FFQuY60aCBGIn0CQ