Live like a local.
October 25, 2020 Latimer, Chenies & Chess Valley, Buckinghamshire.
The fun facts of history make an era come alive! Yesterday we took a train and went about an hour outside of London (very last station on a tube line) and we hiked about 7 miles. It was an easy walk, remember there are no mountains. Makes me wonder if the “hike” part comes from the difficulty I came to expect on a hike and therefore I shouldn't use the word here in England? Or if a “hike” is merely a walk for enjoyment. Regardless, it was blue skies, crisp air and we see only the occasional passerby equally enjoying nature. I could not help wondering if this would be our last gorgeous fall day this year, to do such a hike/walk. I hope not, it felt invigorating.
About halfway was the perfect stopping point, libations poured freely. I expect it might have been the case for the last few hundred years, and so we too, drank with enthusiasm. (I did regret this impulsive decision once I needed to relieve myself and there seemed to be only open fields) The Sarrett Church, and its large cemetery, was across the street from the Cock Inn.
The Church was built in 1190. William I insisted that any village that had a population of at least 100 people was to have a church built, but it was unclear if the village of Sarrett had 100 people. ”That such a comparatively large church should be built for the small community is unremarkable: agriculture had prospered during the 12th century and God was a dominant influence in people`s lives” But what WAS interesting was that there was a tunnel built between the church and the Pub/Inn. Our server told the story that during the plague there were so many deaths that the church could not handle all the bodies – or could not bury them fast enough. They would use the tunnel to bring the bodies and stack them up in the pub and bury them in the fields in unmarked graves. It is where the parking lot is today. The thought was unbelievable until I realized we are not that much different from 1348. The difference is in 2020 we use refrigerated trucks to keep the bodies until we can tend to them. “The need to find a cure for the plague also prompted people to engage in research and studies using scientific methods. Many experts believed that this helped change people’s thinking and started the momentum toward innovation and scientific research, leading to the Renaissance.” Maybe once Covid is in our past, we, too, can go back to believing in science?
The other thing that made me reflect a bit was passing William Liberty’s grave, 1777 - 52 years old. He was young, but that wasn’t so surprising, we all understand how hard life was in the day. But that having an estate that would be handed down from family member to family member. Having your grave and history stay with the estate for, well, for as long as they could imagine. Today we have nothing like it. More specifically, an ordinary person has nothing like it. David was more shocked that a brickmaker could afford such an estate. Then again, most things were made from bricks so clearly it was lucrative employment.
The walk was glorious. Weather could not have been more beautiful. The trail was a bit difficult to follow, the least helpful clues. A tree might have three directional arrows but with no explanation to where they end up. We’d cross over a stream with a current they’d mark as a "river". We even played Pooh Sticks from the bridge over the “river”.
We only had one hiccup – between the three of us we were unaware that it was daylight savings. It meant that it got dark an hour earlier than we were expecting. It allowed us to view the most peaceful time of day: when the daylight is exchanged for the moonlight. Again, I am reminded how attached I am to our electronics. We did not have an analog clock between us.
Don't take life so seriously.
I'm Jody. I love to travel. I love to take pictures. I love to meet people and find interesting places. I also love to write about and post pix of what I've found. But, I've been told that I write like I talk - in streams of consciousness. So, if proper grammar and well composed sentences are a must for you - my posts will make you crazy. If you want to follow my journey as I learn about really cool places and offer some great tips about living abroad, read on!