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Saturday, 24 August 2013

St Martin's Church, the oldest church in England

Hello everyone. It rained today. I realised how much I enjoy listening to the sound of rain while I glazed in the studio this afternoon. The studio is a glorified garage and the roof is made by some cheep sheets, which make quite loud sound when rain falls on them. I like the rhythm of rainfall. In Japan where I was brought up,very heavy rain comes every afternoon during the long hot summer. It is probably the memory of that, which made me feel happy. Canterbury is too north and too cool to have real storms so often. The violent sound and shock of thunder storms became a distant memory to me, but I guess it is still in me.

Today, I am going to show you the photos we took when we visited St Martin's Church, the oldest church in England, after we left St Augustine's Abbey on Wednesday. I hope you like gravestones because there are lots of Celtic crosses there.

The wooden gate
The church stands near the top of the hill. From the St Augustine's Abbey, it is only about 3 or 4 minutes' walk, but felt longer because of the climb.

The notice board tells the history.

It was built by King Ethelbert of Kent in 580 or sometime near that time. 
The church yard had smell of death. The old decaying smell.

Narnian lamp post

 The church was closed, but we were allowed to take Pearl into the yard.

Beautiful Celtic crosses

Grave yard is on the slope.

Elaborate Celtic cross

Some of them were leaning. 

Others lay.
 From the top of the yard, you can see the Cathedral.

A view of the Church from one of the benches on top of the yard. 

I wonder what inside is like. 
On the high ground, the smell of decay is gone. The sun is shining.

On the way back, I noticed the beautiful coffin. It is so dark that the camera didn't focus well. There was carving. It reminded me of an elegant key to a glass cabinet. It was at the foot of Narnian lamp post. My imagination was aroused.

Who lies there?

After leaving the church, the first thing I wanted to do was having lunch in the city centre. But Mike said it could be near two o'clock (neither of us had watches or mobiles) so that we should head back and ring the vet to check about Topaz, and Pearl looked tired so she should go home and sleep. So we trudged on, but when we came two third of the way, my feet stopped. I got sore feet and blisters. So we rested on a bench in medieval orchard park. After about 15 minutes, we got up again, and walked back. When we came home, it was near 2:30.  Mike soon rang the vet. We were told she was fine and to collect her after 4: 30.

We are two third on the way back!

I was so tired that I couldn't eat. I just wanted to lie down after drinking a glass of water. It was all my stupid suggestion that we could walk. We ended up a marathon walk about four hours without lunch or drinks except for strong coffee and slice of cake we had at 11. (Pearl had fresh water all of the time!)

Next time, we will drive.

P.S. Topaz came home safely, but she was very drowsy. I don't think she recognised me when she came home. We waited until 10 at night, but she didn't drink or eat. So I spoon-fed a tiny piece of Italian ham (that's only we had in the fridge on that night). Then she perked up. I opened a tin of Royal Canin, chicken and rice, sensitive, and spoon-fed it to her. She licked the spoon. We knew that as soon as she starts eating, she should start recovering.

She regained a full control of her tongue and feet by Friday morning. I have heard these skinny dogs get hit by general anaesthetic. It's true. Only her shaved leg is left as a sign of her ordeal now. Love your dogs and clean their teeth!  


  1. An amazing place. I enjoyed both the posts on the churches; we take every opportunity to have a look at old churches where ever we are. I love gravestones, they tell you so much about a place and it's people.

    Am with you on the teeth cleaning, goes for cats too. We lost our old cat due to renal failure from an abscess under a tooth.

    1. I highly recommend both. There are so much history in old churches. English gravestones are beautiful. Japanese ones look very similar to each other.

      Sorry about your loss. Thank you for the warning to cat lovers, too. Topaz could have similar fate if she hadn't had the dental job. She has never liked me to clean her teeth, so I have neglected on that point.

  2. I LOVE graveyards - I know that might sound strange but I think of it as each headstone having a story to tell. Yours looks very atmospheric - I think my imagination would have been aroused too! So glad Topaz is on the mend - Jessie Dog has been very poorly recently and we thought we might lose her - fortunately she seems to have turned a corner and we are so pleased. They are such wonderful companions. Hope your feet are better! Jane x

    1. So glad to hear about Jessie. I wish her a quick full recovery.: )

      I am taken by the beauty of some of gravestones in England. They are the last statement of their lives, and, as you say, tell us something about the people.

      Thank you. My feet are healed now, but we took a couple of days to recover from the walk! (We are not trained or not spring chickens!) Pearl was chirpy by the night! : D

  3. Enjoyed seeing the old graveyard and the view from it.
    Pearl looks so beautiful in that photo ( as always). Glad to hear Topaz is back to being herself.

    1. Thank you. We had a great, but exhausting day. I will go to see inside one day!: )

  4. I really love looking around graveyards. Especially really old ones like this! I've not been here. I also frequently think that we will have a little walk and find it is far! Your photos are stunning. Love those Celtic Crosses, and the coffin is magical too. (And the Narnia lamppost glows!) Pearl does look very pretty. Glad that Topaz will be okay.
    Minerva x

    1. Another graveyard lover! : )Thank you, Minerva. I will definitely visit the church again, by car. ; ) The coffin seemed to belong to a noble person. I will go to investigate it!