I sent off my latest entry to the Just Back Telegraph competition last night. £200 would be nice.
I went on two walks today. Gently did it. If you walk down through the village of Milton Abbas, past the pub, the post office, the church on the left, past all the pretty whitewashed and thatched houses there is a turning to the right. It goes to Milton Abbey School.
Twenty yards along this road is a small pathway to Milton Abbey Church. You pass a large lake on your left. I saw swans, geese and then four horses, three of them were laid on their sides in the sun.
As you come into the school grounds-beware, they have a nine hole golf course amongst them! The small group of golfers at the tee above didn’t see me, didn’t shout ‘4’, although it was very windy and maybe they did. The ball dropped 20 yards in front of me!
In 1780 Capability Brown designed the landscape here. Along with Sir William Chambers he helped design and build the village of Milton Abbas as well. Lord Milton, the owner of Milton Abbey didn’t like the adjacent market town of Middleton, it was disturbing his vision of rural peace. So Middleton was demolished and the villagers relocated to the new, Milton Abbas.
Walk across the golf course and you come to Milton Abbey Church. It’s beautiful. The North and South transepts are huge, exceedingly high, and the volume of the church can instantly open you up to a peaceful place.
Walk towards the altar, turn to your right and you find the Lady Chapel. There’s a striking painting of a modern day Jesus. It was painted by a local artist Mark Ponsford. Scruffy hair, tough country casual clothes and a bar of timber across his shoulders. Jesus that is, not Mark. Jesus is looking down. I cannot remember if you can see his eyes.
Look around you and to your left is a small framed piece of writing. You can pick it up, it’s not fixed to anything. I read what it said, put it back on the shelf and took a deep breath.
I walked out of the church, across the golf course and back the way I had come.
At the bottom of the village on the left was a painter and decorator’s sign. It reads: Robin Golledge, “Small enough to care, big enough to cope”. Good motto. I telephoned him. He was happy for me to share the info. His number is 07798 718 779 should you need his skills.
I met a lady half way up the hill. She told me the way to the Upper Churchyard, directions written on the framed piece of writing.
Past the pub on the right, through a gate under what might be an elderberry tree, (sorry I am no gardener) you will find the most beautiful dedication to a teenage boy who died whilst a pupil at Milton Abbey School. There is an eighteen inch high cross with a carving of a parrot on one side. Underneath lies a carving of his favourite dog. They are very well made, in bronze I think. They will last for generations.
His Mum carved them.
Sam Vacher. 12th March 1982-May 10th 1998.
(Apologies, 549 words).