When you live ‘over the shop’ it is good to get away on holiday. Last week I ventured south to stay with friends in Bracknell (near Ascot) in Berkshire. Not a part of the world I know but I certainly do now. For there was hardly an inch we did not explore.
Day 1 – drove to Cookham for the Stanley Spencer exhibition: The Art of Shipbuilding on the Clyde. The gallery is in the old Methodist chapel where Stanley attended as a child. I got a little print of his Last Supper. Then we walked around the village after a lovely lunch at Bel and the Dragon (highly recommended).
Day 2 – to Woking and the Lightbox Gallery Enjoyed the Pop Art exhibition which brought back many memories and the Paul Weller exhibition of photographs. Wandered round the Peacock shopping centre which was enormous. Drove to a wee church nearby dating from 1026 made from pudding stones (presumably called that because they look like fruit puddings).
Day 3 – Pottered round Bracknell and then to Wokingham for lunch. The Vicar and his wife came for dinner and we talked ‘church’.
Day 4 – Savill Park today which was a bit like the Botanics but bigger. There was a sculpture exhibition in the grounds so that you wandered round a corner and came across a large wooden apple or a group of cane deer.
Day 4 – church today – Holy Trinity Bracknell. Nice to be pew fodder and chat to some folk who remembered fondly Bishop Alan Smithson who was once rector there. Another garden in the afternoon.
Day 5 – into London on the train to the British Museum for the Treasures of Heaven exhibition. It was absolutely incredible with reliquaries galore all very tastefully laid out in the domed Reading Room. (More tasteful than a bunch of thigh bones in plastic bags which a select group of us adored in Carfin one parish outing anyway.) The earliest items dated from the Roman period but mainly were from the medieval period. There were quite a few fragments of the true cross, three thorns from the Crown of Thorns, the foot of St Blaise, the breast milk of the Virgin Mary, some of St John the Evangelist’s hair, and my favourite was the Mandylion of Edessa – one of the earliest likenesses of Jesus.
I ate exceedingly well, walked lots, got my finger shut in a taxi door and spent a lovely evening in the Minor Injuries Unit, blethered loads, saw my first dragonfly, and slept like a log. A great holiday methinks.