Tuesday, 11 November 2008

A Nightingale Sang in East Wellow

Last weekend, the large cat suggested a walk around East Wellow because "it's where Florence Nightingale is buried". This is a man who shows scant interest in history, so I was shocked by this sudden conversion to the finest of academic pursuits. Sadly, my delight was short lived. This "Florence Fact" had come to his attention because Miss Nightingale, as well as being a nurse, was also a statistician. This was a complete revelation. I had no idea that she was numerically famous although I did know a reasonable amount about the Crimean war (and obviously, everyone has heard of Cardigan, Raglan and Balaclava, the latter being a particularly nasty form of torture inflicted on children during cold spells in the 70's). But he, being a mathematical sort of person, did. Who says maths and history don't go?!

King Alfred woz ere

Anyway, we set off, having not really had a decent walk for a few weeks, only to be met by a steadily increasing drizzle. It was just about tolerable in the churchyard of St Margaret of Antioch, where Florence is buried. I only found out this evening that the founding of this church goes back to the time of King Alfred and that the building itself contains a rather splendid medieval wall painting. So perhaps we shall be going back to have a closer peek.

Having taken a photo of the grave, which does rather stand out from the rest of the burial plots, the drizzle began to turn nasty, and on following the waymark for the beginning of our walk, we were confronted by this...

"You shall not pass!"

Well, I wasn't prepared to walk through that little lot. Having survived the infamous "Pea Field Fiasco" just outside Petersfield last year, I wasn't willing to risk a reprise with an even more menacing crop. Navigating Fangorn would have been preferable. So we returned to the car. And to be fair, it was absolutely chucking it down by then.

East Wellow is pretty and the church, even in the drizzle, looked interesting. With more time I think it would be worth exploring further. The roads are very narrow, though, so if you fancy visiting the Lady of the Lamp in her final resting place and having a walk afterwards, you may as well leave your car at the church as there's nowhere else you can safely park unless you have a motorbike or a very thin vehicle.

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