‘Day of These Days.’

A Heaven sent day. Trinity at St Eustachius' parish church - Tavistock

A Heaven sent day .  Trinity of gable ends at St Eustachius’ Parish Church – Tavistock

Another of my favourite poems is ‘Day of These Days’ by Laurie Lee –

Such a morning it is when love
leans through geranium windows
and calls with a cockerel’s tongue.

When red-haired girls scamper like roses
over the rain-green grass,
and the sun drips honey.

When hedgerows grow venerable,
berries dry black as blood,
and holes suck in their bees.

Such a morning it is when mice
run whispering from the church,
dragging dropped ears of harvest.

When the partridge draws back his spring
and shoots like a buzzing arrow
over grained and mahogany fields.

When no table is bare,
and no breast dry,
and the tramp feeds of ribs of rabbit.

Such a day it is when time
piles up the hills like pumpkins,
and the streams run golden.

When all men smell good,
and the cheeks of girls
are as baked bread to the mouth.

As bread and beanflowers
the touch of their lips,
and their white teeth sweeter than cucumbers.

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Dartmoor on the 1st of September 2015 – had that ‘golden’ feel of late Summer – that feeling when you know the year has turned yet the ‘sun drips honey’…everything was clear and sweet. 

Tavistock seemed serenely calm – even sleepy, in contrast to the normal hustle and bustle around antiques day – free-parking right outside the the market was a complete breeze too! Inside was quiet also – and I wasn’t tempted by anything there – although I did buy two items in the charity shops – just a couple of pounds spent which was another bonus!

After an hour around town – we headed back to the car passing under Tavistock’s own great son, Sir Francis Drake – he was resplendent with the sun gleaming from his finery. Just then – four raven messengers circled high-over Tavistock – and despite the noise of traffic around Guildhall Square – I heard their unmistakable proclamation; Dartmoor was calling us ‘home’…

Definitely not rooks; I know a raven by its shape and call anywhere.  Raven fly-past - right below left knee! You can enlarge this image by clicking on it.

Definitely not rooks; I know a raven by its shape and call anywhere.  Raven fly-past – right below left knee! You can enlarge this image by clicking on it.

As if drawn by a magnet – we returned to a favourite area around Sheepstor – including an overdue visit to the idyllic Church of St. Leonard.  On the way – we enjoyed our picnic in ‘Raven Wood’ – followed possibly, just possibly mind – by our last ice-cream cornet of the season – topped with a lashing of clotted cream! (available from Willy’s ice-cream van at Burrator)  After refreshments – we met up with a gaggle; another group of feathered-friends who reside at the reservoir…

Geese at Burrator Reservoir.

The geese of Burrator Reservoir came over to say ‘Hello’ – although the old gander gave us his usual ‘friendly’ greeting – and hissed!

Big Bolshy Goosey Gander of Burrator!

Big Bolshy Goosey Gander of Burrator!

Goosey Fair - Tavistock.

Odd one in! Coy Canada Goose…

it's clearly a 'Goosey Affair! Maybe some unusual goslings next Spring to look forward to?

it’s clearly a ‘Goosey Affair! Maybe some unusual goslings next Spring to look forward to?

On-wards to Sheepstor village - and a chat with another olde acquaintance of ours...the keeper at the gate.

On-wards to Sheepstor village – and a chat with another acquaintance of ours…the keeper at the gate.

At St. Leonard’s, the church warden was busy mowing – and the air was redolent with the sweet smell of cut grass – and lawn mower…

Tom watched the warden at work. Meanwhile, I knelt in the uncut grass and paid my respects to ethereal ‘Mary Light’ – whose beautifully cut headstone dates to 1766. I just love her name – and her ever-present angel who always smiles back at me…

Sheepstor Churchyard.

What’s in a name?  I’d love to know who she was…thought-provoking headstone in Sheepstor Churchyard.

St. Leonard's - Sheepstor

Such a ‘timeless’ joy to enter enlightened St. Leonard’s…

Sheepstor Church

Yay! And the swallows were in too – happily chattering away above our heads…

Sheepstor Church - Dartmoor

and there were ‘simple’ flowers in the porch.  Hydrangeas and ‘berries dry black as blood’…

Inside St. Leonard's - Sheepstor

Inside St. Leonard’s – the stained glass windows were all aglow.  I took this photograph of ‘St. Stephanus’ several years ago – just as the sun came beating through his heart. Ever since – he has had a special place in my heart – and home. I keep ‘him’ in an oxford frame – hanging on my parlour wall – where I feel his warmth daily. (Detail from the Sarawak Window, St. Leonard’s Church – Sheepstor.)

Sheepstor Church - Dartmoor

After coming out of the church – we headed for our favourite bench in the far corner of the graveyard – and rested awhile under the Beech beside the historical ‘Brookes’ family plot…their motto on the railings reads ‘Dum Spiro Spero’ – ‘While I breathe, I hope.’  A beautiful place to just be and do ‘nothing’…

Then we headed back through 'Raven Wood' - where 'Mary Light' came out to play...

Then we headed back through ‘Raven Wood’ – where ‘Mary Light’ came out to play…

and I happened upon a treasure; an emerald heart of moss growing naturally on the woodland ‘path’.

We gathered a few sticks - enough to make a faggot for the fire at home...

We gathered a few sticks – enough to make a faggot for the fire at home…

then finally, from the comfort of our car seats - we enjoyed the remains of our thermos - and the day; watching the day pull-in beside the high road to and from Burrator.

then finally, from the comfort of our car seats – we enjoyed the remains of our thermos – and the day; watching the day pull-in beside the high road to and from Burrator.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A couple of golden keepsakes at home…

For Mary Light - who ever she was? Hand embroidered memento mori - made by Leslie Ann. (commissioned piece from - https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/609East)

For Mary Light – who ever she was? Hand embroidered memento mori – made by Leslie Ann. (commissioned piece from – https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/609East)

Sheepstor by W. H. Dyer

Original watercolour of Sheepstor by William Henry Dyer. I love the detail of the rooks around St. Leonard’s tower. W.H. Dyer lived most of his life over the moor in Babbacombe near Torquay in Devon – and his paintings are mostly of Devon and especially Dartmoor – they date to the early 1900s.

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Brookes - Sheepstor Dartmoor

To read more about Sheepstor go to –http://www.legendarydartmoor.co.uk/sheepstor_church.htm

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