Friday, June 20, 2008

"And so we came to Hetty Pegler's Tump...."

Once long ago, while I was getting ready for Oxbridge entrance exams, having spent a while on The Wasteland, our English lit group had a splendid time creating our own T.S Eliot pastiches. The offerings of the students were distinctly unmemorable, but I will always treasure this line from the masterpiece that the Head of English produced - and from then on harboured a longing to explore the beautifully named Hetty Pegler's tump, - which is in fact a long barrow here in this very county of Gloucestershire.

Today being Friday, I've been in non-vicaring mode (more or less). I did a little footling this morning, while waiting for the window cleaner to finish the twenty (oh dear me, yes, TWENTY!) vicarage windows - but otherwise, I've been keeping sabbath. The original plan was to go and do some work on the lovely Polyphony, who is currently leaking somewhat (though only through the roof, - and thus in no danger of sinking) but LCM has come down with a nasty dose of man-flu or thereabouts - so was holed up in the cave, leaving the Dufflepud and I free to do whatever.

We shared an idyllic picnic.
When was the last time someone else made up a picnic for you, dear readers? The Dufflepud is the recipient of his mother's undying gratitude - specially as he included all the necessities of a childhood picnic, from ham sandwiches to Chelsea buns, washed down with elderflower cordial- which we consumed sitting in the sunshine amid the wild flowers on top of the "tump"....
A deer, surprised by our presence, bounded off into the woodland, which has apparently grown up since the time the barrow was raised. All those years ago, there would have been clear views across the Severn into Wales...No chance of enemies creeping up on these hill dwellers. Ever the romantic, the Dufflepud had bought a candle and matches as well as his maglite, and together we crawled through the low arch into the first part of the barrow, lit the candle and peered into the shadows. Safety fences prevented deep exploration, but we stood in one of the ancient burial chambers, and touched stones shaped to stand there one thousand years before Christ walked in Galilee.We speculated about the lives and deaths of those who had been buried here. Chieftains, we guessed, to merit such an imposing resting place.
With the noise of the road barely a murmur,we lay looking up at a kestrel, lazily circling overhead...

For some reason,blogger is refusing to allow me to move pictures to sensible places...Just think creatively, OK?

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I have TS Eliot's Four Quartets in the bag for my retreat. "The Dry Salvages" are just off the pont where I'll be on retreat. Too far to actually get out onto to touch without a boat, but in the same vein as your pilgrimage!

And a huzzah to the Dufflepud for packing his mother such a marvelous meal!