And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so much ! " - Mark Twain.
Mother Nature has cast off her winter mantle, rubbed the dust from her eyes, and opened wide her paint box splashing delicate yellows, pinks, blues and shades of white around our land.
The National Trust has once again opened up its grounds to those who book online. However, although we would love to visit one of their spring gardens, our "lockdown" instructions are to stay local, so remain local it must be.
Fortunately we have a wide variety of different landscapes here on our own doorstep - hills and valleys, canal towpaths, woodland glades, and Common land.
With the warm sun on our faces It felt more like a fine summers day, so we decided to walk along the canal towpath that runs through the valley below where we live. People were picnicking, and paddle boarding, birds were being skittish as they swooped playfully across the water.
A group of Black headed Gulls - the white headed one is still wearing its winter plumage.
A church dedicated to St. Cyr has stood on this site for over a 1000 years, more than six centuries before the navigation canal was built in 1775. But who was St. Cyr?
He was a child martyr at the time of the last but most severe persecution of christians by the Roman Empire. In A.D.303 the Emperors Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius, and Constantius issued a series of edicts rescinding Christians' legal rights and demanding that they comply with traditional religious practices. Cyr and his widowed mother, Julitta, fled to Tarsus in central Turkey [Tarsus being the scene of the first meeting between Mark Antony and Cleopatra, and the birthplace of the Apostle, St. Paul]. But, Julitta and Cyr were betrayed and arrested on arrival. When questioned by the heathen Governor Alexander, Julitta would only say “I am a Christian”. The Governor tried to persuade Cyr to get his mother to change her mind, but Cyr replied “I am a Christian too.” This so enraged the Governor that he stabbed Cyr then threw his dead body down some steps and Julitta was then crucified.
There are only 7 churches with a dedication to St Cyr across England and yet curiously there are two of them close together in this area.
In France dedicating a church to St. Cyr is frequently used and not considered unusual.
Nutshell Bridge was built at the same time as the canal to enable the wool merchants to carry their wares across the water and to the mills beyond. Today it is hard to imagine just what a busy throughfare this area would have been with barges plying up and down the canal all day long carrying various materials - coal, timber, coke, tar, and withies used in basket making.
Leaving the water boarders leisurely paddling their way along the canal, we decide it is time to return home for a refreshing cup of tea.