Archive for January, 2009
It is ruddy cold up on the moors just now. Down here in the warmer, low-lying parts, we hit minus 8C last night. Up there I think it was colder. The ice was more than two inches thick, which is rare, and some streams had completely frozen, with a trickle coming out from beneath. That’s something i’ve never seen.
So, with all this chill in the air, there’s only one thing for it. Friday, I’m going to take a tent and plenty of warm clothing, as well as a good 7cm high blow-up bed (filled with down to insulate me from the cold, cold ground) and have a sleep over. Still trying to figure out exactly where I ought to go, but somewhere high, far from street lights, and ideally out of the wind. Oh, and I need it to be close to some wood for a little fire. I have a new pride and joy, a little log-burner called a Bush Buddy. Made in Canada, it is a great device. Made of lightweight steel, it packs small and light, but allows you to boil a quart of water in eight minutes – and you don’t have to carry all the paraphernalia of cookers, fuel and all that gubbins. Just collect some stuff on the way. Bits of dried and dead furze, twigs from the hedges, and that’s about it.
And although I’m mad, I’m not stupid. Today I ordered a pair of lined, warm, Craghopper Kiwi trousers. It may be cold up there. I won’t be!
It is rare indeed to go to a church which is still as beautiful, if simple, as the Church of the Holy Cross and the Mother of Him who died Thereon at Crediton. My family’s enormously lucky to know the rector there, and he and his family have been wonderful hosts at several events. Best of all, we join them each year for the Christingle service in Crediton, and catch up afterwards.
This scene is one that I really like. It shows the different periods of the church. The window with the simple stone work, which illuminates the two warriors left of centre. They are part of the memorial to one of Britain’s noted Victorians, Redvers Buller VC. An enormously brave soldier, he fought with great distinction in a number of colonial wars. However, his success was in strict inverse proportion to his rank, sadly. The higher up the staff he rose, the more effective was his proof of the Peter Principle: every employee in a company will rise to his own level of incompetence.
Such was the case with Redvers Buller, it has been said.
However, he was a career soldier in very tough times, when the whole concept of war and warfare was changing. He made mistakes, certainly, but he also had forty six years of enormously successful service before that. And there is no doubt that his fellows in Crediton respected him hugely. There are statues to him in Exeter, roads named after him, and this magnificent memorial to him in the church in which he was buried.
There is much else to see at the church, though. It’s one of the recommended sites to visit on the Jecks tour of the West Country!
Happy New Year!