The weather was a lot warmer today but quite overcast and a bit drizzly. On the list for today was St Briavel's Castle and Puzzlewood. We stopped first at Ross-on-Wye for breakfast and, when we saw the church, it was quickly added to the day's agenda.
The Guildhall at Ross-on-Wye was built in 1650. The clock was added about fifty years later. So amazing to think all this was well before Captain Cook even discovered Australia!
Before we get to the church though, I need to give an account of the next episode in the soap opera of my leg issue. I am very happy to say that the leg has continued to improve everyday and is now giving almost no trouble at all. BUT (why must there always be a BUT?). Incomprehensibly, about two weeks ago, I became separated from my bag of pills. I have no idea of how or where they went but, without doubt, they have gone!
I had some of the pills for my leg but today was the last day so I knew I should do something about it. Would it be another whole day experiencing the joys of the NHS? During breakfast, I looked on the internet for health clinics in Ross-on-Wye (by the way the "Wye" is a river). I called the first one I found. I would need to go there to be registered. Then they would get a doctor to call me. We found that the clinic was located only a few hundred metres from the church, so we called in. A form was duly filled in and I was told they would call "after lunch". So, back to the church.
The choir stalls and the sanctuary
King Edward the Confessor
The Three Kings visiting the Holy Family. It's interesting to see all the different ways certain events are depicted in stained-glass. They are often set in times and cultures far removed from the originals.
A splendid window quoting "I was an hungred and ye gave me meat" Refer Matthew 25:35-46
As I have said before, each church has something special to offer (they are NOT all the same!) This one has hedgehogs! The Celtic name for the area, "Ergyng", means "Land of the Hedgehog". There are several mementos of this in the church.
The second visit today was the village of St Briavels (pronounced "Brevels"). The places of interest were the castle and the church, both built, originally in 1089. The castle is used as a Youth Hostel so we couldn't go inside.
St.Mary's Church, St Briavels
Some of the gravestones in the picturesque graveyard are covered in moss.
The Nave. Note the Norman arches on the right and the later Early English arches from 1274.
Sorry about the protective grid showing from the outside, but I liked this window of Jesus in the family carpentry shop.
I don't usually like the more modern windows so much but this one is an exception. The three panels across the bottom depict the Nativity.
These three photos are details of the main window above.
St.John (detail of larger window above)
The arch is quite out of shape - it must have been subject to a bit of force at some stage.
The spiral staircase up to the bellringing chamber.
After a short drive, we arrived at Puzzlewood. This is an ancient woodland site in the Forest of Dean. It has features known as scowles. Pathways created in the 19th century allow visitors to view many of its interesting and beautiful aspects. It was very pleasant meandering along the paths but we had to be careful, it was quite wet and slippery.
These solar panels are not part of Puzzlewood but are in the fields nearby. I was surprised to see them as I didn't think there would have been enough sunlight to make them viable.
Puzzlewood has been used as a location for the TV shows "Merlin" and "Dr Who" and a "Star Wars" movie. Refer to the Puzzlewood link above for details.
From Puzzlewood, there was a half-hour drive to Gloucester Cathedral in order to attend Evensong. Just as we arrived, my phone rang. It was the Alton Street Surgery in Ross-on-Wye offering an appointment with a real doctor! So without even getting out of the car, we drove the 26kms back to the Ross-on-Wye. The half-hour drive took an hour because there was so much traffic! The receptionist at the surgery was very understanding and moved the appointment later. Within 20 minutes, I was out with a prescription for replacement blood-thinning medication for my leg as well as two other types of pills I had brought from Australia (and lost as well). Within another ten minutes, the pharmacy across the drive had dispensed the pills and I was done. Such a different experience from before! Amazing!! Sadly, we missed Evensong but it was worth it for the peace of mind in having the medication. The doctor said that taking the pills and wearing compression socks (which I had already bought) would be like "wearing a belt and braces to hold up your pants" and that the chance of any further problem in that department was very small indeed. Good to know!
So, after a good carvery meal at the Walwyn Arms in Much Marcle we arrived back "home".