Derbyshire 45 - Chesterfield /another church/a countdown to the holiday/what clothes will we need?/what difference a day makes

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April 6th 2018
Published: April 10th 2018
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Most mornings I rip the thought for the day off my calendar. The thoughts come from Chinese and Japanese writings, from Hindu texts, Buddhist ideas but overaching the themes always make me think, make me smile and sometimes I fail to understand what they say and why they say it. Today I had nothing exciting to read and the only things that came into my mind were songs. The earworms were about and I found myself thinking "What a difference a day makes - 24 little hours" or " Here comes the rain again " Yesterday snow, today warm and Springlike. Today heavy rain.

Over the last week or so I have walked to work through all sorts of weathers. The skies have been blue without a sign of a cloud. Just vapour trails from planes that were either heading towards America or coming back and heading for Europe. I thought of the passengers - were they fans of Trump or did they hate him? Did they support the wall between the USA and Mexico or did they oppose it? What about the recent gun tragedy ? I guess they were like us some loving Corbyn and wishing to see a Labour government back in power, others fans of Mrs May. Europhiles and remainers, brexiteers and everything in between. As I walked I pondered these thoughts about Brexit and looked at the translucent petals of the Christmas Roses in the gardens. Spring is coming slowly , gardens are a sea of yellow - daffodils and forsythia, the pink of the Flowering Currants - yes Spring is on its way.

My stomach has not taken on that stomach churning feeling it usual has at this point in the year. The holiday is just round the corner and I should feel the butterflies but they are not there. Perhaps that is because one day the holiday is on and the next it is off. We have started to pack Gabby - clothes - what shall I take? The weather in northern France wont be much better than it is here at the moment. Perhaps a few degrees warmer but not T shirt weather. I pack my thin coat, a gillet and a couple of jumpers. I shall have to hope for the best . We check and recheck the train time. Leaving should be much easier this year. No more Suzy Shuffle . No more going out early to move my car onto the road, followed by moving Glenns car, We wont have to open the garage door and take out the ramps. Move Suzy onto the road before reversing the procedure. All we have to do is lock our door, set the alarm , make sure the last things are loaded and uplug the electric . Should be easy.

We should be able to leave around 8.30 and take our time getting to the Tunnel at 1ish. We plan to spend the first night in Neufchatel en Bray and stay on the aire next to Camping St Claire. If the aire is full then it will be the campsite. A meal to celebrate our first night in France. We keep changing things . We don't even know if we will stay two weeks, three or the four we had planned. For the first time since 2012 we have a plan but its probably not one we will keep to. We may just go on a wing and a prayer. Life feels weird so who knows what our trip across La Manche will come to.

We haven't gone far this week. The last minute things need to be done. The alarm serviced , picking up of the necessary drugs to take with us. The pleasure of being old age wrinklies. The furthest I got was just up the road which turned out a bit of home blog rather than an away one. What we find near us are churches. Rather a lot of them. Old Saxon and Norman ones, some Gothic wonders, others built in the heyday of Victorian religion. Churches and chapels popped up everywhere. A Salem, a Baptist chapel, Bethesda, the New Jerusalem, Mount Tabor. Some still serve the same function but others have been turned into homes - The Old Chapel , Chapel House , Ebenezer Cottage replace the old religious establishments. Here we have what was a Saxon church with later additions. Our church is a church of two halves. It reminds me of a doll with the front sporting a smiling face and the back a scowl. In the 1960's or thereabouts the congregation decided they were fed up of their old draughty church which was damp, cold, hard to heat and was in need of some serious restoration . So what did they do? They knocked down one side and rebuilt it in a modern style. As I stood in front of it did I like it ? Well no, not really . So why not?

I guess because I like early churches it seems sacreligious to destroy a wonderful building and replace it with something modern. As I walked round I hated the modern bit which was attached to the old parish church which had early 12th, 13th , 14th and 15th modelling. It was all built in a mellow sandstone although the new bits had the dreaded concrete in their construction. The roof was leaded and slated . The west tower was original and I did love that. As I walked round I wished I could go inside but sadly the church was locked up. I guess inside might have been inspiring with Norman font and rood screen but today I would see none of it.

The new modern window stretched from one side of the building to the other. Pale yellow, green and blue glass filled the window and I guess inside on a lovely sunny day the church would be flooded with lovely colour. This contrasted with the clear glass and gothic windows on the back side , There were some traces of older doorways long ago filled in and mullioned windows.

As I was not able to go in the rest of my visit involved walking round the graveyard. As always that proved fascinating. I veered away from the newer part and headed behind the church for the older gravestone. Some tiny just poking out of the ground like teeth. Others large and blousy . As I walked round I read the inscriptions on the stones, I walked past the war memorial covered with poppy wreaths. It wasn't the best of visits to a church but it always makes me realise I don't have to go far to see something of interest. As I walked home I started to get the butterflies - how many more working days until I go away? Not many now. What about swimming sessions - not many of those either . I am counting the time until I go away in minutes rather than hours . It is time to get excited.

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad gave me my final thought for the day "You are what your deep driving desire is" So what is my driving desire ? It's to see whats local and to see what farther afield and enjoy every moment wherever the time is spent.

What's Sions driving desire ? To get more cards from his best friend Woolly Mammoth now in Laos.


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