Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Of Mice & Ladies

Inspeximus : Ragged Society Outing Sat 24 April 2010

On this sunny afternoon a small party, with Lady Arnolfia as most charming guest, enjoyed a pleasant outing to Stratton Strawless, where they availed of the "Open Bluebell Wood" event.
Each Spring this plucky little Norfolk community generously opens a small area of private woodland to all, with tea & refreshments, to enjoy the first bluebells of the season. The few pennies asked for admission goes entirely to the upkeep of their historic local church. Is it not exactly such spirit as this of which healthy societies are made?

The quality of the culinary welcome was not lost upon the antiquarians, with Esotericus leading unerringly through blossoming trees & garden chairs to the Tea Tent. The two cheerful ladies were kept busy with Members most of the afternoon, on a rough count of sixteen cups of tea, twelve slices of cake, three flapjacks & sundry pots of homemade jam. Some moments of concern arose upon Gregorius announcing he would pay for everything and then disappearing, but he was soon tackled.
Lady Arnolfia proved herself a formidable ceramics connoisseur at the bric-a-brac table, and other members had fortunate encounters with some much sought after items. Major Hodgeforth (Retired) declared himself extremely pleased with a wooden giraffe, one of which he had "…been after for bally ages, by Jove."

Esotericus created a much talked about impression by producing his treasured prehistoric tool for the raffle ticket lady, kept snugly in his pocket as always. Members then enjoyed the delights of the woodland paths, where the bluebells, while not yet making a carpet of dazzling Spring blue, were to be seen readying themselves for the great burst of life soon to come.
Sadly, it must be reported that some other visitors were so disgruntled by Nature's failure to provide full blossom on demand as to actually lodge complaints with the organisers. Shame.

Naturally adventurous, the antiquarians explored to the furthest westerly edges of the woods, enjoying magnificent views across open country to Hainford Hall. During this ramble, Curmudgeon raised two elegant deer, grazing amongst the woods, their warm brown pelts blending perfectly into the trees as they tripped lightly away. Major Hodgeforth's suggestion of tracking au naturelle - which he vouched as the best method of communing with Nature's mysteries - was declined.
Young Maximillian, aroused by sight of those two magnificent animals, was determined to make his own discovery, and in no time at all had brought the party to view a dead mouse. The little creature lay upon the tilled earth in warm sunshine, remarkably fresh & unscathed, with no apparent cause of such mors praematura. Major Hodgeforth offered an impromptu lesson in Transvaal survival skills, which apparently enabled Boer Commandoes to live for a week on such tiny morsels, but without any takers.

The gentle toll of church bells roused antiquarian instincts, of course, and the day concluded with a visit to the excellent church of Stratton Strawless, St Margaret. Like all churches, it has it's own fascinating peculiarities and treasures, but the quality of it's welcome to all must be surely almost unique. Clean, cared for facilities to make tea & coffee await the visitor, with excellent flapjacks to boot, and the door seems always open. Confetti littered the gateway - that very day it had given it's ancient blessing to yet another joining of lives, proof enough it can still play a part in this busy world.

Lady Arnolfia's excellent taste of course led her to remark upon the chandelier, which Mortlock & Roberts believe of exotic eastern European origin. It graces the well lit nave splendidly, almost causing one to miss the fine stained glass, amongst which is a delicate angel's head looking as contemporary an image of beauty as if made yesterday. Esotericus used his new fangled gramophone-recorder instrument to sample the churchyard birdsong. At last, with much reluctance, the party gathered itself to return to more mundane cares, leaving the warm stones bathed in early evening sunlight.

haec olim meminisse juvabit

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