Sunday, 7 March 2021

"It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is.

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.

39 comments:

  1. Ah those little religious spats, a few deaths here, torture there, an Inquisition perhaps, a crucifixion or two! The walk you took was no doubt delightful, Rosemary, made ever more so by warm spring sunshine. There is nothing quite like it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Being in lovely warm sunshine was a tonic and made us feel as if better things are on the horizon for everyone of us.

      Delete
  2. Who knows what is meant by "local"? At one time they were saying to keep to your own village, in which case many NT properties should be very quiet indeed as, apart from a few estate workers houses, the villages have been removed centuries ago. We have a church in Cambridgeshire dedicated to St Cyriac and St Julitta. Roll on springtime!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is interesting John - only four more churches to locate now, although I do know that there is also one in Devon.

      Delete
  3. Darling Rosemary,

    We have so enjoyed this virtual stroll with you today. How pretty everything is looking and "staying local" for you is certainly a treasure trove of delightful experiences.

    It is strange how we are all so drawn to water and the canal looks to be a hive of activity now the sun is gathering in strength. Water sports have never been a favourite of ours as we cannot swim, but, nevertheless, watching others paddle and sail is always fun.

    Saint Cyr is most intriguing and we found your short history fascinating. It led us discover more about your church which is indeed very beautiful. It would appear that so many institutions carry the name of the saint in France as relics of the saint were brought back to France by a bishop in ancient times. However, it is most unusual that your church carries the name of this saint and must, perhaps, have some particular connection.

    Spring is definitely painting the world with fresh colours. Never has it been so welcome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Jane & Lance,
      Learning about St. Cyr took me back on a journey to Turkey again.
      William D'Ow was granted the Lordship of the Manor in the area by his cousin, William the Conqueror, and a 17th century manor house built on the original site still sits alongside the church. Maybe that french connection resulted in the church being named St. Cyr.
      Watching the paddle boarders making their way up and down the canal was relaxing to see but it would not be for me either. I would be concerned about the loss of balance and ending up in the water.

      Delete
  4. Dear Rosemary,
    Spring, Mark Twain said it best. That is exactly how I feel. I hardly know what to do with myself or what I want to do first. We are still waiting for Spring. A few snow drops finally made their appearance. I'm grateful for even the small signs.
    I had to laugh at what your friend David said. 'So what, a few deaths here and there' ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Gina - I know that there are still plenty of dull cold days yet to come, but it does feel as if we have actually turned the corner - not only Spring on the near horizon but the gradual decline of the virus too - cross fingers.

      Delete
  5. Beautiful shots of your early springtime...I'm amazed at those hardy souls paddling on that cold cold water. I will perhaps feel as Twain did when the days and nights are warmer, and more colors are ablooom here. Sunny days have been such a recent blessing though. I love to walk around my neighborhood.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Barbara - that particular day was unusuallt warm for the time of the year, it felt like summers day. Enjoy your days walking around your neighbourhood.

      Delete
  6. Lovely time, I can see the smiles on your faces and feel the warmth of the sun. Our Sat. was like that too and, after picking up our fresh eggs from our farmer friend, we took a 2 mile walk and it felt so good!
    Even though the paddle boards look like sturdy versions, and I love being on the water, they would not be a first choice at this time of life with balance issues. I have a hard enough time standing on one leg to put my jogger pants on, lol!!!!

    Enjoy your Sunday - hope it's sunny and warm.
    Hugs - Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It has been a lovely Sunday too Mary, but not so warm. I know exactly what you mean about standing on one leg Mary.

      Delete
  7. I love the wild daffodils' bright splash of yellow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the update, I appreciate it. I had not heard.

      Delete
    2. I was'nt sure, but thought that you would want to know.

      Delete
  8. Hello Rosemary, Ancient churches with churchyards bordering a canal in springtime--it doesn't get any more picturesque than that! Your Mark Twain quote reminded me of Noel Coward's song: "The sun is shining where clouds have been
    Maybe it's something to do with spring!"
    https://genius.com/Noel-coward-something-to-do-with-spring-lyrics
    --Jim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Jim - Noel Cowards song would certainly have been appropriate too. What a wonderful composer and lyricist he was.

      Delete
  9. Sorry, I meant to link to the song itself, not just the lyrics:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKeVJwEl44o
    --Jim

    ReplyDelete
  10. Dearest Rosemary,
    What a lovely 1,000 year old Church that is. Wondering if they still say Holy Mass there?
    The water boarders kind of 'ruin' the peaceful spring image with that Church and old trees in the background... Kind of unreal.
    Hugs,
    Mariette

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Mariette - it is a Protestant church not a Catholic church. The banks of the canal are wild and natural, not cultivated. They are covered in water reeds, bull rushes, irises, and meadow sweet which have yet to green up following the winter.

      Delete
    2. Protestant Churches have Mass too isn't it Rosemary?

      Delete
    3. Protestant churches have Communion - the word Mass is not used.

      Delete
    4. That is strange, here it sure IS... and with the 1,000 years of age for this Church, back then there were no protestants.

      Delete
    5. Dear Mariette - if you read a post that I wrote on the 7th may 2017 entitled "Rushton Triangular Lodge and Sir Thomas Tresham" that should answer your questions. Unfortunately the https: link doesn't appear to be working.

      Delete
  11. How lovely to see the spring flowers again! These pages will be hotting up with more local colour before long! It is especially at springtime that I'm reminded that so many of the flowers we adore in the shoppes here and in gardens around the neighbourhood are the cultivated cousins of those that you're lucky to see growing wild in your banks and hedgerows and woods and graveyards. That is a proper picture-book church, too, and looks dreamlike beside the waterway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It feels as if we are slowly turning a corner, in more ways than one. Once Mother Nature gets going there is no stopping her, but I agree that the church does sit in a very pretty spot.

      Delete
  12. I think spring cheers everyone up, especially the last two. Warmer sun,longer days, splashes of colour and this year more hope. Still can't understand the water board trend as I've shot past loads in my kayak and it just seems so much slower, easier to fall in, less relaxing, yet covers a tenth of the distance usually. Even inflatable kayaks are better to my mind yet boards and standing up has really taken off as a sport. You will not catch me breaking the ice and going cold water swimming either, no matter how fashionable it gets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There seem to be many people doing that cold water swimming. I had always thought that it was dangerous to thrust your body into ice cold water, but it appears not to be the case.

      Delete
  13. Dear Rosemary, the white bloom with red stems is stunning - I do not think I have ever seen it. And it is always great to see some daffodils, nodding their cheerful yellow faces. I am glad your lock-down includes local walks, which makes such a difference to our lives. A walk by St. Cyr's church looks very appealing, as does the church itself, settled into its place by the canal, for 1,000 years! It all looks very tranquil.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Patricia - come to think of it I am not sure that I ever seen that prunus before either, and I don't know what it is called. However, it does appear to open very, very early in the year.
      I would love to have visited a NT garden, but the one that I wanted to visit was not local. However, we do have one or two local ones which I must check out to see if they are open or not.

      Delete
  14. What a delightful walk. When we had our narrow boat holidays (a long time ago now) we never saw any paddle boarders but perhaps this is a recent activity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that paddle boarding must be a newish water activity to do.

      Delete
  15. Dear Rosemary - I felt warm sunshine in the chilly air all through your photos. The flowers of the pristine white petals with showy stamens are breathtaking. They look like “Ume”, or prunus mume, the floral harbinger of Japan. To me, spring colors are pink and yellow. The old churchyard with grave stones is atmospheric. I’ve travelled only local for the past year. I’m okay as there is so much to see locally, and I think so you are. Enjoy the season.

    Yoko

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Yoko - I must admit that I am not too sure which prunus the blossom is - it has such colourful red stems. I have looked in my flower book but been unable to find the same plant.
      Our National Trust are planning to plant over 40,000 prunus trees during the next few years in various parts of the country. With luck, one day, Spring here might even resemble Japan's beautiful displays.

      Delete
  16. I think that after such a long time of being restricted home , we appreciate everything so much more. Things that we used to ( rightfully ) take for granted like a walk in the amazing nature awakening in Spring. As I probably already said, in my next life ( who knows :-))) ) I want to live in England, just love the variety of the stunning landscape.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Jane - you have exquisite landscapes in Italy, and dont't forget that you also have far warmer weather than us too.

      Delete
  17. Beautiful shots! Spring is establishing itself well there.

    ReplyDelete

❖PLEASE NOTE❖ Comments made by those who hide their identity will be deleted

“You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you - you have to go to them sometimes”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh