In the early hours of Sunday morning I decided to see if I could see some shooting stars. I had only ever seen a shooting star once before so after hearing on the news yesterday afternoon that The Germind Meteor shower was due to give us a shooting star show on the night of 13/12/14 morning of 14/12/14.
Waking like clock work at 01.30 hours for a call of nature I stared out of the bedroom window to reveal a frosty night with clear sky my astronomical adventure was on.
Deciding our road had too much light pollution I de-iced the van and headed for darker skies. (Heater full on, heated seats full on) Passing through our village with the odd person staggering home after a night out and taxi dropping people off.
Parking up in the car park at 01:30 Durley Church I starter looking skyward my eyes soon adjusted to the dark “It is full of Stars” to quote 2001 A Space Odyssey.
In the moonlight with the outline of the church tower I spent the next hour and a bit watching the fast moving lines of shooting star streaking access the sky. seeing one every few minutes, I stopped counting at 20 sightings.
A most interesting way to spend the early hours of a Sunday Morning.
One of my interests is to visit old churches to enjoy the architecture both inside and out, today I decided to look at 3 local churches within Southampton. I am not religious but enjoy the tranquillity within the churches.(when I can get inside) I understand why but increasingly I find church doors locked, this was my experience today even with the approach of Christmas I was greeted by locked doors.
My first visit was to The Church of St Mary’s in the Parish of South Stoneham I thought I was in luck when I walked up the drive reading the sign Welcoming me to the Church and stating ” A place of prayer, worship, community and pilgrimage since the 12 century”. Set in its own churchyard the church was interesting. despite the sign the church was locked.
On into the city centre and The Parish Church of Southampton St Michael’s I entered through the large wooden door thinking things were looking up this time I was met by an inner glass screen with a door telling me pushed to open, unsuccessful it was also locked !!!.
OK, down the road to the bombed out Holly Rood Church which is now a merchant navy memorial since its bombing in WW2 by German Air Force. Several memorials are inside the ruined church including one for the Falklands War.
So with no roof and thanks to Hitler’s attempts to destroy the City of Southampton I finally got a moment of tranquillity inside a Church today.
The Parish Church at Warnford is situated in private parkland the former house of the estate was demolished 1958. The Church of our lady dates back to Saxon origins (much rebuilt in between 1171 & 1213) the west tower is Norman.This site is not well known, Parking is difficult but worth the effort. A short walk along a public footpath crossing the river meon along an estate road you reach the church. Inside to the left of the alter is a grand monument to Sir Thomas Neale (died1621) his life sized effigy and those of his two wives sit on top of the monument, Out side the church by the main door is an interesting grave stone to George Lewis showing a skeleton pointing to a fallen branch. It is said to be recording the accidental death of this local carpenter who was killed by a falling branch while cutting wood on the Sabbath.
Behind the church is the small ruin/remains of St Johns House a 13th century aisled manor house.
Many people are aware of the Brighton Royal Pavilion and its Indian design. Due to this it was used as a Hospital in the first world war. for Indian Troops. 1.5 million Indian soldiers saw active service on the Western Front in WW1. some 12,000 were wounded. 53 of the servicemen who died in Brighton were Sikh & Hindu, respecting their religious needs they were cremated on the South Downs close to Patchham (their ashes then being then scattered in the sea).
At the cremation site is a war memorial called The Chattri as the monument is known was unveiled in 1921 by the Prince of Wales.
Today this war memorial is well worth the walk on the Downs across farm land to its isolated & tranquil location a good spot to reflect on what this memorial means.
Priddy’s Hard is part of Gosport opposite the Royal Naval Dockyard at Portsmouth in Hampshire, for some 200 years it was a restricted area 1st developed as a fort it later became an armaments depot (around 1777) for the Royal Navy basically a massive weapons and explosives store. Much of the site is now redeveloped as housing but some of the most interesting building are part of the explosions museum and open to the public.
Knock Eire is a centre of international Catholic pilgrimage & prayer site. On August 21st, 1879, the Virgin Mary, St Joseph and St John the Evangelist, appeared on the gable of Knock Parish Church. This Apparition was witnessed by 15 locals , young & old. As a result, Knock became a major Irish pilgrimage site of prayer and worship. In the latter part of the 20th century Knock’s popularity increased steadily, making it one of Europe’s major Catholic Maria shrine together with Lourdes & Fatima. Today this shrine is visited by one and a half million pilgrims annually.We visited a few years ago, the short walk from the car park to the shrines, passed through what was like a little Christmas market lots of wooden shed/huts all with plastic bottles of all shapes and sizes for sale for you to fill with Holly Water which came from a bank of taps near the Cathedral.