Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Meon Hill

A couple of Summers ago, I posted a photograph of Meon Hill, but this shows it better: I took it yesterday, pausing on the drive up Saintbury Hill. I was making my way home after collecting a bike Edmund had bought on eBay for William: his earlier one had been stolen - proof (as if needed) that you can't leave things lying unlocked on a Bristol riverside.

I also photographed the church at Saintbury, across a field from the road - on the off chance that it was in Gloucestershire: it is - as I discovered on my return; but quite near the Worcestershire border. In August 1990, Thomas, Paddy and I cycled to Arrow, and Saintbury Hill was on our route home. It was deemed too steep: "I'm going this way," said Thomas (pointing down the flat road towards Willersey). It was a sticky moment, but by dint of stick and carrot we did eventually all push our bikes up through the churchyard. There were no further complaints, as from the top, it's all more or less downhill.

William's "new" bike was from Honeybourne, four miles South of Bickmarsh. I came there circuitously from lunch at the Air Balloon - not a pub I shall seek out on another such occasion: perhaps demolition for the much-needed road improvements is the best thing that could happen to it, though how to preserve that evocative name?

I drove from there up the M5, turning off at Ashchurch, where I stopped to photograph St Andrew's: it stands like an oasis in the desert, surrounded as it is by industrial buildings, main roads and the railway. Gloucestershire is nothing if not a county of contrast.

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