I landed at Gatwick on a typically warm, British summer day and made my way, by train, to Leominster. My friend, Lisa from ‘Lemster’, couldn’t come to fetch me because she had to attend her cousin’s wedding. A number of fellow travelers, though, helped me with my cases at the difficult spots, like getting on and off trains that had a big gap between the train and the platform edge; and I made it in good order to the fairly quiet Leominster station.
I walked it along the street, through the passage, across the Grange and into the church yard-Lisa’s directions were spot on-where Peter-no, not Simon Peter, just Peter-helped me the rest of the way across the church yard, down the steep steps and across the narrow country lane and into Lisa’s yard.
I collected the key from the neighbour and let myself in, and there on the kitchen counter was a lovely welcome card waiting for me:
I was starving by then, and more than ready for a big hunk of Alex’s bread. In her final email to me before I traveled, Lisa told me that she had bought one of Alex’s loaves, as well as a loaf from another artisan baker. But the loaves were unlabeled and I didn’t know which was which.
I sliced both. I tasted each and straightaway, I knew that the circular one with the rich, deep, malty taste; the thick, filling, solid structure and the nutty, seedy, crusty exterior had to be Alex’s. If it wasn’t, I was definitely in the wrong place!
I found a number of toppings: marmalade, a date and tamarind chutney, and some spinach. I pulled out the toaster and right there, at the kitchen sink, in front of the big, wide window, I had myself a feast. Bread really is the staff of life, especially when it’s made using high quality ingredients and old-fashioned fermentation methods that help to make the nutrients more bio-available.
Now refreshed and revived-I’m sure the nutrients from that bread went straight to my cells and energized me-I went outside and chatted with Flopsy for a while. Hmm . . . I wonder what she’d taste like for dinner? Rabbit stew with sourdough bread, anyone? Sounds somewhat tempting to me but I’m pretty sure Lisa’s daughter, Rachel, wouldn’t be pleased!
Lisa arrived later on and we then chatted till three in the morning!
At some point, after a few days, when I had recovered, I mucked in and helped Lisa with the last few tasks involved in her house move from another place, some miles away, to this present location. I wasn’t the only one on the move!
For the next few days, Vergers House would be home for me. It was a neat little cottage tucked away among a tangle of winding, narrow country roads.
The church was right next door, or as Lisa put it: we had God as our neighbour.
The church bells pealed out various tunes several times throughout the day and during the nights. I tried to work out the sequence but I’m not quite sure I got it. Lisa tells me, though, that it’s something to do with the times of calls to prayer and certain church services . . . makes sense to me.
It’s such a quiet little country lane that not much activity happens . . . until, not one, not two, but three fire engines appeared one afternoon. I grabbed my camera, and Rachel and I went to the gate. My auto-focus failed me though, so when one of the huge engines-it literally filled the lane-passed right at the gate and the burly fireman waved at me and grinned, the shutter fired but nothing was recorded. Oh drat! I think I was just too close to the subject-so close that I could easily have stretched up and shaken the fireman’s hand! Never mind, here are some other shots-and I don’t think there was an emergency: it seemed to be some sort of exercise.
And here are some more shots exploring the church grounds. It’s a pretty old church, I’d say.
But still in use today . . .
Views from all around . . .
And ancient grave stones aplenty . . .
All in all, I’d say Leominster’s a pretty cool place to be. It’s a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Birmingham. Rest and tranquility-a body needs some of that these days.