barely there

I am often drawn to places and things which are faded and worn away... perhaps by the sea, the wind, human touch, forgetfulness, or the passing of time.

I like the way time seems to move freely in and around the warp and weft of some places, or where it stands still altogether... places with a deep, rich history... voices drifting in and out of earshot.


The Wye Valley and Forest of Dean are full of such places: soft colours, faded paintwork, ancient whisperings.

We stayed close to the River Wye in a little cottage reached through a steep maze of roads and tracks, dipping down through ancient apple orchards and mixed woodland, down and down and down until it felt like we were almost underground, living like hobbits in the roots of the trees.

We walked back up the old, deeply sunken tracks to the village of Penallt where the old church showed us its treasures...

A carved wooded Madonna made from a single holly bole... very old and precious.

Ancient carvings in the great oak door...

Gravestones almost obscured by the slow beautiful growth of lichen so delicately and palely green that it could have come straight from the Farrow and Ball paint chart...

Angels guarding memories, voices, lives that were once solid and real...

On our return we passed a little chapel, derelict and empty... a 'SOLD' sign was hammered into the ground... we wondered about the people who were buying it and hoped they would respect its shabby wildness and whispering trees and not tidy it up too much...

On our long drive home we passed through the beautiful village of Newnham-on-Severn... the Romans forded the River Severn here and it was once an important medieval port. So much history here around every corner... this little offering was on an ancient track leading down to the old ferry... this was probably once the ferryman's cottage.

Just a taste of this lovely part of England... almost in Wales of course... Offa's Dyke passed close by our cottage. Everywhere are the signs of ancient activity, industry, transport and lives lived long ago. We enjoyed uncovering some of the stories and mysteries for a week, but now we are back it seems like another world... Maybe it is...

19 comments:

Pomona said...

I love the pictures of the church and churchyard - really evocative!

Pomona x

Gigibird said...

I very often get an overwhelming feeling of the past in places I visit.
I do hope the chapel is restored sympathetically but sadly I doubt it.

Jackie said...

Beautiful.We spent time in Ross on Wye a couple of times, and I used to go to Bromyard Folk festival in late September.It was all woodsmoke and apples.
How do you find such lovely cottages?

Frances said...

Sue, those pictures are marvelous.

I won't try for more clever comments, just want to thank you for taking the photos and posting them.

You did take me there.

Cheers!

cocoa and blankets said...

I think it is another world and a very very beautiful one at that, wonderful photos, I cant wait for my holiday...two weeks and counting..love and hugs H and family

Hens Teeth said...

Oh Sue, you can weave a wonderful tale. I did enjoy this post. Such evocative writing and achingly beautiful photographs.

Gilly said...

Such beautiful places, and so well captured by you! I can imagine someone carving that wonderful Madonna ages, maybe even centuries ago, with care and love. And that almost-hidden green door - who used it so long ago - you can bring the hidden things to light so evocatiely, with your great writing as well as your photographs.

acornmoon said...

Your photographs and writing capture the spirit of this beautiful part of the world so well.

Sue said...

If anyone else is interested in the answer to Jackie's question, we usually have a look at Alastair Sawday - there are often some great places there.

bad penny said...

Stunning images. I'm planning to take photographs in our village graveyard and intend to visit Highgate Cemetry too.
Your lovely bag came to Greece on a retreat with me !

theMuddledMarketPlace said...

lovely windows!

Sue said...

MMP - thanks! Penny - so glad the bag enjoyed its trip :-)

elizabethm said...

These are wonderful photos Sue, love them. I loved the part of my walk along Offa's Dyke that took me through this part of the country too, magical and a bit out of time. I am afraid that you might think I am touting for business if I say you must come here and I am truly not, but I would love to meet you and I am so sure that this is your kind of place when I look at these photos and read your blog. I'll go away now!

Cottage Garden said...

Beautiful and evocative. A wonderful post Sue!

Jeanne x

Diane said...

I love the colours in your photography - it looks and sounds lovely. xx

Luiza said...

I just discovered your blog, and I´m happy I did!
I love it. Love it so much , that I desided to come back. Again, and again , and again...

I edmire your photos, and the words you put in your texts, your deep thoughts.
Your work, inspires me to the limit.
Thank you for sharing.

Have a nice evening!
Hugs/
Luiza

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

other-worldly and restful photos, and your writing too, beautiful.
my hearts are here and they are lovely. Put away for Christmas, except one for me.....

julie

sarah-jane down the lane said...

What beautiful places and things, as you said amazing colour palette. I have never been to Ross on Wye but I should like to visit having seen your pics,

Sarah x

Kitschen Pink said...

Oh my that holly madonna is just so beautiful! and the carving of the heart - mmmmmmm. t.x